Labor

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LA
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Putting the Movement Back Into Labor: The Trap of Contract Unionism

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LA
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This panel will offer an analysis of the reasons for labor's defeats and retreats since the 1980s and assess the potential for Occupy to help spur a new workers' movement.

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LA
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This panel will explore the relationship between the Occupy movement, especially in New York, and labor, organized and unorganized. This panel will discuss the history of this relationship, which predates the actual occupation of Zuccotti Park. it will touch on the dynamics and high points of that relationship, such as the protection of the park by members of unions and the united May Day march in 2011. It will also discuss grass-roots labor organizing efforts that have been going on for several years, which the Occupy movement has been working with, such as that of the Hot and Crusty workers, who, under the auspices of the Laundry Workers Center, won an important victory last year. Members of the panel will include Eleanor Rodgers of Occupy Kensington and Socialist Alternative, Oscar Ramirez and Maggy Crecencio from the Laundry Workers Center and Greg Dunkel, a long-term member of the Occupy Wall Street Labor Outreach Committee

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LA
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A panel on rank-and-file movements in New York among public sector and private sectors workers with representatives of four different unions or workers organizations. The panel discusses rank-and-file activism within the context of the unions and political developments.

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LA
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In 2011, 45,000 members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) employed by Verizon in eight states and the District of Columbia staged a two-week work stoppage to resist contract concessions.

This strike was the second largest anywhere in the country in the last decade, and ended without a settlement. After strikers returned to work, they continued their contract campaign for another year before ratifying a new agreement that ended defined benefit pension coverage for new hires and made other concessions to a firm making $20 billion in profits during the previous four years

Three Verizon strikers, and two longtime CWA-IBEW strike helpers—Amy Muldoon, Pat Fahy, Justin Harrison, Steve Early, Rand Wilson--and will discuss the lessons of this setback for telecom workers and other union members. Their session will describe recent trends in the telecom industry that make effective strikes more difficult, the challenge of organizing the unorganized at Verizon Wireless (and other non-union firms), and strategies and tactics that might make future IBEW-CWA contract campaigns more
effective. The panel will also address recent trends toward shorter duration, one- or two-day protest strikes by workers in other industries, including healthcare, fast food, and retailing (ie Walmart).
Co-Chairs: Steve Early and Rand Wilson.

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LA
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The four-year drive from 2006 until 2010 to win passage of the Employee Free Choice Act was the single largest union-backed campaign in decades. While EFCA died in Congress, the need to make it easier for workers to organize is as important as ever. But to win next time, reform must be conceived more broadly so that it benefits all workers – not just the few seeking to form a union.

What new legislative opportunities and organizing approaches could address the obstacles to recruiting new members and help with a rebirth of the labor movement?

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LA
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At its peak in 1954 over 1 in 3 workers were members of trade unions and US workers had one of the highest standard of living. Today Union membership has dropped down to 11% and the standard of living has deteriorated significantly. What can we do to organize the unorganized and how do we take back unions that "have" either given up or "sold out"?

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Monopoly capitalism creates the export of capital and modern imperialism, the subjugation of nations. The struggle of oppressed nations for liberation and national equality against imperialism is a direct struggle against monopoly capitalism and aligns with the fight of the working class against exploitation. Workers in imperialist nations must support liberation struggles of oppressed nations in their own interests. The struggle against national oppression and imperialism connects to issues of racism, war, refugees, immigration, trade, manufacturing, wages, etc.

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This panel discussion will discuss the labor and pay infractions/inequities in the fashion industry, centered mostly around fashion models. Fashion models are front and center when it comes introducing consumers to the new collections of major fashion houses, yet, we live in an era where fashion models, unless they have great agents or are supermodels, are being used as free labor, and in many cases being used as free labor for billion-dollar fashion brands.

How did this come to be? Don't fashion models live a luxury lifestyle? Perhaps, they once did, but that narrative has changed as fashion has become more of a global industry with a few fashion finance firms consolidating and controlling major fashion houses. Fashion models, once the darlings of the industry, are now being subjected to declining wages and are falling victim to the neo-liberal capitalist business models that are wrecking havoc on the working class.

During this panel discussion we will discuss the real narrative around what fashion models earn and how neo-liberal capitalism is quickly changing the fashion industry, putting livelihood of fashion industry professionals at great risk. There will also be frank discussion of evolving business models that can change pay inequity and fashion industry professionals, once silent, are organizing to claim what is rightly theirs.