Taking on the Bosses: Lessons from Recent Workers' Struggles

Room: 
1.117
Timeslot: 
SATURDAY June 3rd Session 1: 10:00am - 11:50am
Abstract: 
What does it take to organize a union in the 21st century? You can learn from the panelists at this event. The panelists are workers and labor organizers who successfully unionized in the New York City retail stores of Verizon Wireless and in New York City warehouses operated by B&H Photo Video. You will hear the stories of their organizing campaigns, including the fierce opposition they faced from management in both companies. Panelists will also discuss the lessons learned from these experiences. The Verizon Wireless retail workers unionized in 2014, eventually going on a 49-day strike in 2016 before forming their first collective bargaining agreement with the company. Warehouse workers at B&H Photo Video organized a union in 2016, but they are still fighting for their first contract; meanwhile the company is threatening to move many of the jobs in their bargaining unit to a distant location in New Jersey. Come hear from participants in these struggles and discuss what it takes for workers to win in 2017.
Chair/First Facilitator/Speaker First Name: 
Dan
Chair/First Facilitator/Speaker Last Name: 
DiMaggio
Chair/First Facilitator/Speaker Affiliation: 
New York City Democratic Socialists of America
Chair/First Facilitator/Speaker Biography: 
Dan is the assistant editor of Labor Notes and a member of one of the local branches of the New York City chapter of Democratic Socialists of America.
Speaker 1/Second Facilitator First Name: 
Bianca Cunningham
Speaker 1/Second Facilitator Affiliation: 
New York City Democratic Socialists of America
Speaker 1/Second Facilitator Biography: 
Bianca is a Verizon Wireless retail worker and a labor organizer. She was fired for her outspoken activism in 2015 and is still fighting to get her job back. She currently works as an organizer with the Communications Workers of America District 1, and is the chair of the Labor Branch of New York City Democratic Socialists of America.
Speaker 2/Third Facilitator First Name: 
Mahoma
Speaker 2/Third Facilitator Last Name: 
Lopez
Speaker 2/Third Facilitator Affiliation: 
Laundry Workers Center
Speaker 2/Third Facilitator Biography: 
Mahoma is a labor organizer. He is executive director of Laundry Workers Center United, a workers center that organizes low wage laundry, warehouse, and food service workers in New York City and New Jersey. Many of the workers who benefit from the organizing campaigns of the LWC come from low-income minority and immigrant communities.
Speaker 3/Fourth Facilitator First Name: 
Rosanna
Speaker 3/Fourth Facilitator Last Name: 
Aran
Speaker 3/Fourth Facilitator Affiliation: 
Laundry Workers Center
Speaker 3/Fourth Facilitator Biography: 
Rosanna is a labor organizer. She is co-founder and co-executive director of Laundry Workers Center United. Relevant to this Left Forum panel, without a crucial labor organizing campaign conducted by LWC, the workers in B&H's warehouses would have lacked the resources necessary to successfully organize themselves for the purpose of asserting their right to collective bargaining under federal labor law. Rosanna and Mahoma led this campaign. With LWC's assistance, a majority of the warehouse workers successfully asserted their right to collectively bargain with B&H management, choosing United Steelworkers as their bargaining agent. Now that the workers have selected the Steelworkers as their bargaining agent, LWC still does important work on their behalf. Among other important work on behalf of the B&H warehouse workers, every Friday and Sunday Mahoma and Rosanna lead demonstrations and informational handbilling outside B&H's retail location on Manhattan's West Side.
Panel/Workshop Organizer First Name: 
Dan
Panel/Workshop Organizer Last Name: 
DiMaggio
Panel/Workshop Organizer Affiliation: 
New York City Democratic Socialists of America

Left Forum and LA Progressive
present: