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LABOR ACTIVISTS UNITE!2017.04.19 homepage.image

Develop your skills and knowledge as they’re needed like never before! Our bookstore is an excellent resource for labor activists: take a look!



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stew-trainingLearn the crucial fundamentals of being a union steward—quickly and easily—with the eight-part training course from UCS. Experienced stewards will find the course a great way to brush up on key skills as well. Interactive Scenario Simulators and Skills Checks put you in real-life situations to solve real-life problems. The course covers all the basics.

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New research shows that young workers in the US earn $10,000 less than people their age did 30 years ago, and have half as much wealth – and the numbers are worse for workers of color. (Canadians do not face this problem.) Given the attacks on, and decline in, unions, this number is neither a surprise nor a coincidence. The US labor movement, already less than 12% of the workforce nationwide (and below 7% in the private sector), is also getting older – with 25% of members (and a much greater percentage of leaders and stewards) older than 55.

Changing this downward trajectory for younger workers and for the labor movement will take work and leadership from all of us.  In the words of a 2011 convention resolution from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), “the continued strength and vitality of the labor movement depends heavily on the ability of younger union members to develop into strong and effective labor leaders…and our union’s ability to attract new members and nurture effective new leadership.”

In the December, this publication focused on advice for stewards over 35 on engaging and supporting younger members (find it at www.unionist.com). This time, we speak directly to younger members and stewards: Getting involved in your union can help change your workplace, the labor movement, and conditions for young workers everywhere. Here are some pointers for getting started.

Learn the backstory

Your union has a history—and you should learn about it! Whichever industry you work in, it is important to find out about your predecessors’ fights. What was the industry like before unions got involved? How has your union, and the broader labor movement, changed the nature of work in your industry and the country? What were your union’s foundational struggles? Was there a major strike or campaign that helped form your union? To understand and organize with the older membership, it is important to understand the battles they fought and inherited.

Be on the same side

The boss and the media are good enough at dividing workers without our help. “It's easy to blame older members and leadership for what you may see as failures and mistakes. But remember that you're on the same side of the bargaining table and who the real enemy is,” suggests Brittany Anderson, national AFL-CIO Young Worker Advisory Committee member from the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU). “When you approach from the perspective that you both care deeply about the union and want to grow and strengthen the labor movement, they're more likely to listen to and support your ideas and opinions.”

Understand the nuts and bolts of your union

If you want to get involved or to make change, you must understand how your union operates. Every union has a constitution and bylaws, including the process for meetings, elections, contract votes, and selection of shop stewards. They also may detail how to create a formal young worker committee, for instance.

In addition to formal structures, unions also have informal structures and cultures. When Actors’ Equity (AEA) members wanted to form a Young Workers Committee, they needed to understand both the official steps as well as the union’s culture and power dynamics. According to Kate O’Phalen, AEA National Councillor and Chair of the Young Workers Committee, “Getting this committee approved required a lot of groundwork before [we] ever brought the motion, officially, to the National Council. We unofficially organized some big successes to serve as proof of concept, and put a lot of time into having personal conversations with other board members to allay some of their individual concerns.”

No need to reinvent the wheel! Here are a few suggestions:

  • Find a guide! Options include an older member from your local, a young leader from another union, or a rep from your Labor Council or the AFL-CIO Young Workers, among others.
  • Take your time as you build relationships. There are no shortcuts to building relationships with fellow young workers or older leaders within your union. Take time to talk with people and really listen to them.
  • Take action! By fighting together toward common interests—and against common enemies—you work to build power and trust.
  • Be persistent. Making change, building relationships and power, takes time. Keep working and you will find and create the space for involvement and leadership.

—David Unger. The writer is an educator with the Murphy Institute at the City University of New York. Let’s keep the intergenerational conversation going. We welcome readers – whatever your age – to contribute your best experiences of working across generational lines at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and at theUCS Facebook page.  

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This Week's Labor Video

Union Busting 101

Former professional union-buster Martin J. Levitt (1944-2004) talks about how employers use fear to kill unions.

This Week's Member Tip

Why Grieve?2014.08.18membertip-mad

One of the most frustrating experiences in the life of a union representative is to hear an employer say, “That’s just you complaining; none of the people you say you represent even cares.”  Sometimes it takes a grievance filed by an employee—or two or three or more—to get the employer to acknowledge that a particular problem is real and needs to be addressed.

—Adapted from The Union Member's Complete Guide, by Michael Mauer.

International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM)

International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM)

International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
IAM Canada
Federal District 1, NFFE - IAM
District 1, Woodworkers
District Lodge 2, Woodworkers
District Lodge W-3, Woodworkers in WI, MI, MN, and ND
District 5, North and South Dakota
District 6, Des Moines, IA
District 8, Chicagoland, IL
District 9, MO & Southern IL
District 10, Milwaukee, WI
District 11, Quebec
District 14, Edmonton, Alberta
District 19
District Lodge No. 24, OR and WA
District 26, CT
District 27, Louisville, KY
District 28, OH
District Lodge 37, Houston, TX
District 66, La Crosse, WI
District 70, KS
District 77, St. Paul, MN
District 98, York, PA
District Lodge 141, Airlines
District Lodge 142
District 143
District Lodge 160, Seattle, WA
District 161, Lake Charles, LA
District 166, Cape Canaveral, FL
District 181, Manitoba
District 190, Oakland, CA
District Lodge 751, Boeing, Seattle, WA
District 776, TX
District 837, MO
Local Lodge FL1, San Francisco, CA
Local Lodge S6, Bath, ME
Local Lodge S7, Bath, ME
Local Lodge 10, Richmond, VA
Local Lodge W12, Klamath Falls, OR
Local Lodge 14, Horn Lake, MS
Local Lodge 18, Meridian, MS
Local Lodge 21, La Crosse, WI
Local Lodge 31, Omaha, NE
Local Lodge 44, Athens, AL
Local Lodge 48, Chicago, IL
Local Lodge 63, Portland, OR
Local Lodge 66, Milwaukee, WI
Local Lodge 70, Ft. Wayne, IN
Local Lodge 75, Cheektowaga, NY
Local Lodge 78, Milwaukee, WI
Local Lodge 100, Boston, MA
Local Lodge 104, Huntington, WV
Local Lodge W157, Tacoma, WA
Local Lodge 174, Ft. Worth, TX
Local Lodge 175, York, PA
Local Lodge 180, North Platte, NE
Local Lodge 243, Red Lion, PA
Local Lodge 263, Salisbury, NC
Local Lodge FL276, Madison, WI
Local Lodge 289, WA
Local Lodge 354, East Hartford, CT
Local Lodge 478, Genoa, IL
Local Lodge 516
Local Lodge 568, Salt Lake City, UT
Local Lodge 587, Portsmouth, RI
Local Lodge 601, AK
Local Lodge 610, Cape Canaveral, FL
Local Lodge 612, Seward, NE
Local Lodge 625, Blackshear, GA
Local Lodge 639
Local Lodge 648, Philadelphia, PA
Local Lodge 688, St. Louis, MO
Local Lodge 695, Montesano, WA
Local Lodge 700, Middletown, CT
Local 701, Countryside, IL
Local Lodge FL701, Dillon, MT
Local Lodge 708
Local Lodge 709, Marietta, GA
Local Lodge 712
Local Lodge 733, Raytheon Aircraft-Wichita
Local Lodge 737
Local Lodge 743, Windsor Locks, CT
Local Lodge 773, Cape Canaveral, FL
Local Lodge 774
Local Lodge 776A, Ft. Worth, TX
Local Lodge 778, Kansas City, MO
Local Lodge 830, Louisville, KY
Local Lodge 834, Wichita, KS
Local Lodge 837b
Local Lodge 838, Londonville, NY
Local Lodge 839, Wichita, KS
Local Lodge 845, Las Vegas, NV
Local Lodge 850, Oklahoma City, OK
Local Lodge 851, Channahon, IL
Local Lodge 873
Local Lodge 898
Local Lodge 912, Cincinnati, OH
Local Lodge 933, Tucson, AZ
Local Lodge 957, Watertown, WI
Local Lodge 1018, NY
Local Lodge 1115, La Crosse, WI
Local Lodge 1128, St. Marys, GA
Local Lodge 1137, Kensington, CT
Local Lodge FL1164, Concord, MA
Local Lodge 1197, S. Beloit, IL
Local Lodge 1217, Clear Lake, WI
Local Lodge 1238, Dubuque, IA
Local Lodge 1255, Amarillo, TX
Local Lodge 1271, Lawrence, MA
Local Lodge 1287, Salt Lake City, UT
Local Lodge 1345
Local Lodge 1377, Waukesha, WI
Local Lodge 1400, Thomasville, PA
Local Lodge 1406, Sun Prairie, WI
Local Lodge 1426, Sioux City, IA
Local Lodge 1433, Kensington, CT
Local Lodge 1441, Greenbrier, TN
Local Lodge 1486, Alexandria, VA
Local Lodge 1487
Local Lodge 1526
Local Lodge 1528, Modesto, CA
Local Lodge 1539, Elyria, OH
Local Lodge 1584, Oakland, CA
Local Lodge 1635, Albuquerque, NM
Local Lodge 1660, Montreal, Quebec
Local Lodge 1689, Albuquerque, NM
Local Lodge 1725, Charlotte, NC
Local Lodge 1726, East Boston, MA
Local Lodge 1728, Waterloo, IA
Local Lodge 1746a, Cheshire, CT
Local Lodge 1759, Washington, DC
Local Lodge 1771, Sparta, WI
Local Lodge 1776
Local Lodge 1782
Local Lodge 1788
Local Lodge 1802, Vermilion, OH
Local Lodge 1833, Bloomington, MN
Local Lodge 1885, Portland, OR
Local Lodge 1886, Commerce City, CO
Local Lodge 1947, Fon du Lac, WI
Local Lodge 1976 , U.S. Airways
Local Lodge FL1981, Vallejo, CA
Local Lodge 1989
Local Lodge 1992
Local Lodge 1994
Local Lodge 1998, Honolulu, HI
Local Lodge 2003
Local Lodge 2024, Huntington Beach, CA
Local Lodge 2105, Jamestown, NY
Local Lodge FL2109, Watervliet, NY
Local Lodge 2180, Reedsburg, WI
Local Lodge 2191, La Crosse, WI
Local Lodge 2200, Plymouth, PA
Local Lodge 2202
Local Lodge 2259, St. Clair, MI
Local Lodge 2269, Lyndon Station, WI
Local Lodge 2304, Clarendon, PA
Local Lodge 2305, Scranton, PA
Local Lodge 2319
Local Lodge 2328
Local Lodge 2379, Fernadle, WA
Local Lodge 2409, Louisville, KY
Local Lodge 2424, Aberdeen, MD
Local Lodge 2458, Argonne, IL
Local Lodge 2484, Hicksville, OH
Local Lodge 2495, NY
Local Lodge 2515
Local Lodge 2552, Wallops Island, VA
Local Lodge 2569, Ft. Wayne, IN
Local Lodge 2574, Huntington, IN
Local Lodge 2575, Milwaukee, WI
Local Lodge 2590, Macon, GA
Local Lodge 2656, Uniondale, NY
Local 2699, Albany, GA
Local Lodge 2740, Fairfield, ME
Local Lodge 2765, San Diego, CA
Local Lodge 2766, Huntsville, AL
Local Lodge 2777, Milton, FL
Local Lodge 2789, Martinez, GA
Local Lodge 2799
Local Lodge PM2839
Local Lodge 2905, Mountaintop, PA
National Pension Fund
National IAM Benefit Trust Fund
William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center at Placid Harbor
IAM/Boeing Joint Programs Site, Health and Safety Institute and Quality Through Training Program