Celebrating The 4th With The Enemy

The Fourth of July, as we all know, is Independence Day. Hurray for George Washington and the revolution­aries, down with King George and the British. That sort of thing. But have you ever wondered what it’s like on the other side? Have you ever celebrated the Fourth across the border in Canada, in that territory […]

Labor’s Small Business Friends

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other outspo­ken foes of organized labor like to claim that small busi­ness owners are as anti-union as the notoriously anti-union Chamber and its big business members. But don’t you believe it. Unfortunately, plenty of people do believe it. They accept the conventional wisdom that employers, large or small, don’t […]

The Invaluable Legacy Of Willard Wirtz

Never has there been a greater champion of US workers than former Secretary of Labor Willard Wirtz, who died on April 24 at 98. Certainly in more than a half-century of covering labor, I’ve never met anyone more dedicated — or more effective — in winning and preserving vital protections for working people. That was […]

Obits For Sale

Like most daily newspapers these days, the San Francisco Chronicle is hustling to increase declining profit margins. But let me offer some advice to my former employer: Quit gouging grieving readers as part of your profit chasing. I mean those who pay the Chronicle for running their loved ones’ death notices on the paper’s obituary […]

‘We Need Jobs! Now!’

Of all the ideas out there on how to pull us out of the economic mess we’re in, none makes more sense than the program laid out by the AFL-CIO and a coalition of civil rights groups and other organizations. The program stresses government-funded steps to create jobs, while meanwhile providing expanded financial relief to […]

A Czech Miracle

It’s a time of celebration in Prague this month. A time to mark the November day 20 years ago when the “Velvet Revolution” erupted. A time to mark the beginning of the end of the Soviet rule that had crushed democratic reform movements in Czechoslovakia and its eastern and central European neighbors. For two decades, […]

Labor Hampered By ‘Vetoes Of Silence’

Nothing is more basic to our democratic society than the principle of majority rule. But what if the eligible voters who fail to cast ballots were automatically recorded as voting “no”? Ridiculous as it sounds, that’s exactly what the country’s airline and railroad workers face when they vote on whether they want union representation. Imagine […]

The Endless Censoring Of Labor

Did you know about the Bush administration’s rot­ten treatment of the air traffic controllers whose work is essential to air safety? That controllers were forced to work long, fatiguing shifts with little time to rest? That many quit because of that? Were you aware of the great potential for serious accidents that posed? Did you […]

A Bloody Day in San Francisco

San Franciscans are observing the 75th anniversary of “Bloody Thursday” this year — that day in July of 1934 when open warfare raged on the city’s waterfront, a key day in the struggle of workers everywhere to form effective unions. The battle pitted 1,000 heavily armed policemen against several thousand striking longshoremen and their supporters. […]

Don’t Bite the Hands that Feed Us

This much is clear about the confusing many-sided debate over immigration law reform: Whatever Congress finally comes up with — if it manages to come up with anything — is certain to victimize hundreds of thousands of our most important workers. The major legislation before Congress, be it bills backed by Democrats or by Republicans, […]

The Massacre at Ludlow

It began at 10 o’clock on that morning of April 20, 1914, in the southern Colorado town of Ludlow. National guardsmen, professional gunmen and others high on a hillside unleashed a deadly stream of machine-gun and rifle fire into a tent colony below that housed some 1000 striking coal miners and their families. Strikers grabbed […]