the good work of LABOR NOTES
LABOR NOTES conference looks to renewed working-class militancy
by Erwin Freed, Workers Voice, June 18
The annual Labor Notes conference began on Friday, June 17, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel and Conference Center in Rosemont, Ill. Labor Notes is an organization and publication covering union struggles around the country. The conference is a much-anticipated gathering of left-wing and international trade unionists and supporters coming together to discuss their struggles, the politics of the union movement, and how to build a pole of “class-struggle unionism” based on solidarity and militancy.
The conference comes at a time when the working class in the United States is on the rise, expanding the scope of organizing new shops and rediscovering the weapon of the strike. These developments are being reflected in both the size and subjects present at Labor Notes. At Friday’s main session, Labor Notes’ editor and the Master of Ceremonies of the session, Alexandra Bradbury, stated that this year’s attendance of over 4000 people is far and away the largest in its over 30-year history.
The topics of panels also indicate the multiple fronts on which labor is fighting and the desire to connect struggles. The cornerstone of the Labor Notes conference are presentations from workers who have recently gone on strike, organized new shops, or generally been in motion. These are presented by speakers who won strikes in manufacturing, health care, education, construction, and the service sector—to name a few.
There are also a number of sessions on the role workers play in fighting for social change on and off the shop floor. These include multiple discussions on organizing against attacks on Queer rights, the centrality to the labor movement of fighting white supremacy, building a climate movement focused on taking profit out of energy production, and many more connections between social struggles and organized labor. There are also many useful “nuts and bolts” organizer trainings.
Taken together, the conference is providing a space to discuss how
the working class can fight and win against the ongoing attacks on
labor—including two-tier job structures—as well as the ruling-class
drive against reproductive rights and the LGBTQIA+, Black, Indigenous,
immigrant, and other communities. . . .