This page is dedicated to Russ Allen, Labor Educator
Russell Allen saved this button from the Conference in 1959
Articles, News and Announcements
Live blog: Michigan right-to-work debate and protest coverage (photos, video):
Bill Moyers website: Dec. 11, 2012 "How Michigan's Right-To-Work Law Came to Be" by Theresa Riley
Excerpt: As President Obama noted on Monday, “These so-called ‘right-to-work’ laws, they don’t have to do with economics, they have everything to do with politics. What they’re really talking about is giving you the right to work for less money.”
Unions say Michigan ‘right to work’ law can be undone:
January 19, 2012
"Bloody Thursday is a one hour PBS documentary that tells the story of how West Coast dockworkers overcame huge obstacles to form their union, the ILWU. Set in the midst of the Great Depression, the film shows how longshoremen were fighting for their rights at the same time that most of their families weren't sure where their next meal would come from. The odds were stacked against the longshoremen. Mainstream newspaper publishers, fearful of unionization efforts at their own papers, launched brutal attacks against the dockworkers and drove public sympathy against them. In addition, politicians and the police openly used their resources to side with the shipping companies against the striking dockworkers. Bloody Thursday tells the human stories of the dockworkers who stood up against these odds and changed the course of American labor history." To learn more about the film visit http://www.bloodythursdayfilm.com/
Dec. 19, 2011 - Excellent union video: Fault Lines: The decline of labour unions in the US
For decades, labor unions in the United States have been on the decline. While they are widely credited with boosting safety standards and worker pay, many have received blame for wanting too much in the struggling economy. Unemployment is at 9% and people are clamoring for jobs, unionized or not. And their greatest political ally, the Democratic party, has taken its' support for granted weakening its' pull on the strings of power in Washington, DC.
Martin Luther King Jr.'s Forgotten Speeches KCTS 9 CONNECTS
Enrique Cerna interviews Michael Honey on his new book, "All Labor Has Dignity", which reveals an often overlooked side of Martin Luther King Jr. focused on economic justice.
View video of interview
Former Bridges Chair Michael Honey revisits the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. in light of the struggle in Wisconsin:
It’s 1968 All Over Again, and King’s Fight For Unions Is Still Essential
New book on Martin Luther King Jr. on Unions and Economic Rights
The book brings together 16 of King’s speeches on economic justice, many of them buried in the King archives until now. Mike edited the speeches and wrote an introductory essay for the book. The CD that comes with the book contains King’s speech to the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union District 65 in 1962, when he talked of racism, poverty and war; it also contains his March 1968 speech in Memphis. To order a copy: http://www.beacon.org/productdetails.cfm?PC=2173
Honey’s other books are “Southern Labor and Black Civil Rights: Organizing Memphis Workers” (1993); “Black Workers Remember: An Oral History of Segregation, Unionism, and the Freedom Struggle” (1999); and “Going Down Jericho Road: The Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King’s Last Campaign” (2007).
Trade unions fighting against human trafficking
Brussels, 22 October - On October 18, the second EU anti-trafficking day will be held across Europe. On this occasion, the ITUC, its Pan European Regional Council (PERC) and the ETUC emphasise that labour rights are human rights which apply to all, regardless of immigration status. Human trafficking, as one of the worst forms of exploitation of migrant workers, has in previous years been identified as a priority issue on European and international trade union agendas.
As a result, the Greek Confederation of Labour GSEE is hosting a conference in Athens on 21-23 November 2008 organised in cooperation with ITUC, PERC and ETUC to develop a specifically targeted trade union strategy to better defend the rights of these “invisible” workers.
Unreasonably restrictive migration policies throughout the world, including in Europe, render migrant workers extremely vulnerable and often push them into informal and unprotected working conditions. (…) Ensuring freedom of association for all workers offers an effective tool for workers to protect and defend their interests themselves, and to help victims of trafficking regain their lives and dignity. Many children are also trafficked, and trade union actions on child labour are also a key area of action. (…) To see the second newsletter of the Global trade union alliance to combat forced labour and trafficking: http://www.ituc-csi.org/IMG/doc/Newsflash_2_EN.doc
To see the ITUC Video on forced labour: http://fr.youtube.com/watch?v=hzpsVLYmVds
Excellent Labor Book Available
Michael Honey, Going Down Jericho Road, The Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King's Last Campaign, (W.W. Norton & Company, NY, 2007)
As Cornell West, Princeton University, says of the book: "A magisterial treatment of this neglected period, Michael Honey is to be saluted!"
This account is a riveting, thorough, fascinating story that weaves history, politics, and social justice issues together seamlessly. It is the story of Memphis in 1968 when the civil rights struggle was focused on Dr. Martin Luther King and the sanitation workers who undertook a courageous strike due to dire conditions. It tells of those who worked hard to improve conditions and bring about justice, and those whose lives were affected. It is not the usual history of the top down. A refreshing account that seeks to bring hope and light to the events and conditions facing workers in Memphis, the over 500 pages keeps you pulled in. This is the way history should be told.
Michael Honey's earlier books include Black Workers Remember, An Oral History of Segregation, Unionism, and the Freedom Struggle, (University of California Press, 1999) and Southern Labor and Black Civil Rights, Organizing Memphis Workers, (University of Illinois Press, 1993).
Michael Honey is Professor of African-American, Ethnic and Labor Studies and American History at the University of Washington, Tacoma, Washington.
For details on Michael Honey and his most recent book, Going Down Jericho Road: The Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King's Last Campaign (W.W. Norton, 2007): http://faculty.washington.edu/mhoney/
Going Down Jericho Road
Review by Ellie Blalock, WIFP
Dr. Michael Honey, a professor at the University of Washington, Tacoma, recently published a new book, Going Down Jericho Road: The Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King’s Last Campaign, recounting the 1968 sanitation worker riots in Memphis, Tennessee. Amid the “plantation mentality” that defined southern politics at the time, black workers were kept in poverty by white supervisors and trade brotherhoods that were able to force them into the lowest-paying positions, with few options for social mobility. Anger reached a crescendo on February 1, 1968, when two sanitation workers were killed by a trash compacter after seeking shelter inside of a truck during a downpour. This horrendous event, on top of years of meager pay and no benefits, led to a strike, beginning on February 12, of almost 1,300 workers. The strikers faced great obstacles, one of which was the inherent danger in arguing for workers’ rights and organized labor amid the anti-communist sentiment of the 1960s and 70s. The reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., working on his Poor People’s Campaign throughout the American south, adopted the Memphis conflict as his own, eventually giving his life for the cause, which would prove instrumental in turning the tide of white supremacy.
Honey’s work is extremely engaging, addressing the sequence of events while seamlessly incorporating the histories of key players in the struggle as well as the social and cultural environment of the time. Honey’s fluid prose will not disappoint those seeking an eloquently-written piece of non-fiction, but the book’s greatest strength is its ability to draw attention to the lesser-known actors who truly fueled the Memphis strike and who brought the cause into the national spotlight. Going Down Jericho Road is an important book for anyone who wishes to understand more fully the complexity of the civil rights movement and how it affected all levels of American society.
Michael Honey, Going Down Jericho Road: The Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King’s Last Campaign (W.W. Norton, NY, 2007)
Workers Independent News Service
WIN -The Workers Independent News Service is a daily radio news service which focuses on the issues and concerns of working families and their labor unions. WIN is broadcast on radio stations across America. The primary objective of WIN is to raise the media profile of working people by having our headline news broadcast on commercial radio in every major market on every business day. (Go to http://www.laborradio.org to hear WIN news.)
Prior to the creation of WIN, no single nationwide news service focused on issues affecting the daily lives of working people, their unions and their communities. Today WIN is broadcast daily on over 45 commercial radio stations.
What issues does WIN cover?
Examples include union/community living wage victories, changes in labor rights legislation, job outsourcing trends, community alliances in support of sweatshop workers, union organizing in third-world countries and analyses of pension abuses. WIN covers our concerns that tend to be overlooked by mainstream media or presented with a biased view.
Why does WIN use radio? There are other ways of delivering
Radio is a powerful force, with some 12,000 AM and FM stations broadcasting to millions of listeners every day. Studies of radio listeners reveal that high numbers of working people listen to radio during drive time (5:30 to 9:00 AM and 3:30 to 7:00 PM.) Radio is a convenient way of learning about news developments. We listen to radio while getting ready for work, driving to work or having a beer after work. Radio is a way of easily reaching millions of working people.
What products does WIN offer?
WIN currently offers three products: a daily two and a half minute headline newscast (Monday through Friday), a daily 30-second "Dow Bob" report on economic issues, three 2 minute feature stories each week, plus two Mike Konopacki labor cartoons formatted for print and the web. WIN offers all of our stories in print form to subscribers. Other products are being developed.
Where are WIN's offices?
WIN is headquartered in Madison Wisconsin but also has staff in New York City and Washington D.C. We hire reporters as necessary throughout America and other parts of the world.
What is WIN attempting to accomplish?
WIN wants to make our issues part of the public dialogue. Working people's stories, issues and interests are often overlooked by media organizations. The emphasis on dramatic incidents, warfare and the lives of the wealthy and famous tend to drown out everyday issues important to working people. WIN is about changing the face of news so that working people's lives and interests are reflected in the news. WIN takes a working person's perspective and examines the actions and statements of our political leaders and candidates.
Why does WIN focus on news?
WIN produces news rather than commentary because a news format reaches more listeners. Most working people listen to commercial radio news. WIN chose a format appropriate to commercial radioa brief headline newscast, a 30 second economic report (Dow Bob) and periodic longer feature reports. Our objective is to be broadcast on 300 stations each day and to be heard in every major market.
How does WIN get on the air?
Although several options are available, the best alternative involves our reaching out to cooperative labor unions who help us find stations or talk show hosts willing to run WIN products.
Alternatively, WIN can be sponsored by Local unions which pay for the WIN radio segment and receive advertising time for their Local in return. We recognize that local unions are key to our breaking into local radio markets by helping us make contact with talk show hosts, by sponsoring our news (buying advertising time) and by giving us tips that lead to news stories and feature stories.
How does WIN pay its expenses?
Radio stations or talk show hosts either pay us directly for
our services or allow us a percentage of the advertising related
to the WIN segment. We receive direct contributions from Internationals
and Local unions, other organizations and individuals. Unions
who contribute to WIN receive text, cartoons and streaming audio.
When is WIN typically on the air?
WIN's headline news service and economic report is made available to subscribing radio stations by 11:00 PM each day. Typically, but not always, WIN news is run during the next early morning drive time. Some radio stations run WIN's news later in the day or run feature stories or the Dow Bob at various times throughout the day.
How can Local unions help besides contributing to WIN?
· WIN always needs news tips. If you are aware of a
developing news story or have an idea for a feature story, please
contact us at 608-251-0185.
· Place the WIN logo on your web site. The logo service allows web site visitors to listen to the news without leaving your site!
Listen to WIN! Go to www.laborradio.org
For more information call Frank Emspak, Executive Producer 608-262-0680 or e-mail email@example.com
WIN thanks The Newspaper Guild for its support! Your contribution helped keep labor radio on the air at a crucial time.
. . . from our button collection . . .
Historians, labor educators, and working-class activists who seek to promote public and scholarly awareness of labor and working-class history through research, writing, and organizing.
Resources for Union Organizers
Labor Network for Sustainability is dedicated to engaging trade unions, workers and their allies to support economic, social, and environmental sustainability.
Workers Independent News Service (WINS)
WINS is a unique service devoted to providing news about the issues and activities of working families and their unions to media outlets across America.
Working Family Radio Network
U.S. Labor Against the War
"Jobs with Justice (JwJ) is a national campaign for workers' rights. Working through coalitions of labor, community, religious and constituency organizations, Jobs with Justice is fighting for workers' rights and economic justice."
"The Labor Heritage Foundation works to strengthen the labor movement through the use of music and the arts."THE GREAT LABOR ARTS EXCHANGE (GLAE) A gathering of union members, union staff, union officials, artists, labor educators and youth who use songs, art, poetry, theater, skits, posters, cartoons, and film to strengthen the labor movement."
web editor: Martha Leslie Allen
Women's Institute for Freedom of the Press
allen [at] wifp.org