U.S: Workers, allies lay groundwork for labor law reform fight

by Mark Gruenberg

People’s World | August 13, 2019

Workers, allies lay groundwork for labor law reform fight
The Pro-Act, were it to become law, would make it much easier for McDonald’s workers to unionize. | Video snapshot

WASHINGTON – Workers and their allies are laying the groundwork for a long, costly and probably bloody – well, not literally – battle to achieve true labor law reform in the U.S.

Their vehicle is the PRO Act, the comprehensive labor law reform legislation which pro-worker lawmakers, acting in concert with the AFL-CIO Legislative Affairs Department and unions’ legislative directors, put together and introduced earlier this year.

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Australian workers win ExxonMobil strike after 742 days on picket line


People’s World | July 29, 2019

Australian workers win ExxonMobil strike after 742 days on picket line

The rat campaign mascot passes an ExxonMobil rig off Western Australia. | IndustriALL

On July 11, 2019 oil and gas workers in Victoria, Australia, dismantled their picket line after 742 days, following an agreement ending a long-running dispute with ExxonMobil and its maintenance subcontractor, UGL.

The David vs. Goliath victory against the world’s sixth biggest company, ExxonMobil, by workers who refused to give in, has had a nationwide impact in Australia.

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Oil workers move to reclaim power for the people in Iraq

by David Bacon

People’s World | May 28, 2019

Oil workers move to reclaim power for the people in Iraq

Iraqi oil worker. | David Bacon

As millions of people marched against the invasion of Iraq in the early 2000s, many carried signs pointing an accusing finger at Dick Cheney and Halliburton – “No Blood for Oil!”  But seeing that oil was a motivating factor for the war did not necessarily mean that people understood much about Iraq as a country, the role oil plays in its national life, or about the workers who pump it from the ground and refine it.

In 2013 I went to Baghdad with a longshore union leader, Clarence Thomas, to learn how the occupation was affecting Iraq’s workers and unions.  I documented factory life, and took photographs and talked with workers in the Daura oil refinery.  There I began to see oil’s central role in Iraq’s life.  I realized that further documentation meant going to southern Iraq, where most of the industry is located.

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Lessons from the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike

by Hassan Yussuff

Peoples’ World | May 16, 2019

Lessons from the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike

A crowd attempts to tip over a tramway car during the Winnipeg General Strike, June 21, 1919. | Library and Archives Canada

May and June mark the 100th anniversary of the Winnipeg General Strike. Beginning May 15, 1919, workers fed up with their misery on and off the job and inspired by the example of the Russian Revolution rose up and took over the Canadian city of Winnipeg, Manitoba for six weeks. Though it was eventually violently put down by the Canadian Mounties on what became known as “Bloody Saturday,” the strike proved that society could function without bosses. The period of militant labor fightback and radical activism would continue. Two years later, the Communist Party of Canada was founded. The article below commemorating the strike’s centennial is by Hassan Yussuff, head of the Canadian Labour Congress.

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‘We Will Not Be Complicit’: Protesting Assault on Yemen, Italian Dock Workers Refuse to Load Saudi Weapons Vessel


Common Dreams | May 21, 2019

Protesters and workers on strike prevent a Saudi ship Bahri Yanbu, that was prevented by French rights group ACAT from loading a weapons cargo at the French port of Le Havre due to concerns they might be used against civilians in Yemen, from loading cargo at the Port of Genoa, Italy May 20, 2019. (Photo: Massimo Pinca/Reuters)

In an act of defiance against Saudi Arabia’s brutal assault on Yemen—which is being carried out with the support of the United States and European nations—Italian union workers on Monday refused to load a Saudi vessel reportedly filled with weapons that could be used to fuel the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

“We will not be complicit in what is happening in Yemen,” union leaders said in a statement.

According to Reuters, dockworkers attempted to have the Saudi ship—officially called the the Bahri Yanbu—barred from entering the Port of Genoa.

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Trump’s trade war against China won’t help U.S. workers

by C. J. Atkins

Peoples’ World | May 16, 2019

Trump’s trade war against China won’t help U.S. workers

In this Nov. 9, 2017, photo, U.S. President Donald Trump, left, sits next to Chinese President Xi Jinping during an event at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Trump is escalating his trade war against China, but China is not giving in to pressure. | Andy Wong / AP

“Trade is a zero-sum game.” “There can only be one winner and one loser, and the United States is losing.” That’s the message Donald Trump has been hammering since before he even came into office. The biggest villain in his nationalist nightmares, beating and cheating the U.S. in the cutthroat game of global economics? China, of course.

The narrative used to justify his escalating tariff war goes something like this: The trade deficit is out of control because China plays dirty. It keeps U.S. products out of its domestic market, undervalues its currency in order to sell things cheaper, subsidizes its state-owned companies, and steals “our” technology to improve its own products.

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‘Unions must provide political education or labor will find itself more powerless than ever before’—Timir Basu on labor in India

by  and 

MR Online | April 30, 2019

Timir Basu

Labor around the world is facing a hostile situation to the extent and intensity unprecedented in labor’s history. At the same time, labor in the Global South and Global North is theoretically, organizationally and politically unarmed. In this interview conducted in April 2019 by Farooque Chowdhury, Timir Basu focuses on labor in India, a large economy in the Global South. Basu, once a revolutionary who organized among the poor peasantry, spent years in prison, during which time he focused on organizing prison labor. He has been an editor of Frontier, the radical weekly published out of Kolkata, ever since.

Farooque Chowdhury: You were actively involved with organizing the poor peasantry along revolutionary line. That was days of organizing armed struggle, years ago. Then, after getting out of prison, you actively got involved with organizing unions. You were simultaneously writing on labor and unions/labor movement in two famous weeklies—Economic and Political Weekly and Frontier. Later, over the years, as editor of Frontier, you keenly observe the labor and labor movement in India. What’s the present condition of (a) the labor, and (b) the labor movement in this south Asian country?Read More »