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Fifty-five years ago, in a speech to the convention of the Illinois AFL-CIO, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. laid out with characteristic moral clarity the essential role of unions in American life. “The labor movement,” he explained, “was the principal force that transformed misery and despair into hope and progress … [When] the wave of union organization crested over the nation, it carried to secure shores not only itself but the whole society. Civilization began to grow in the economic life of man, and a decent life with a sense of security and dignity became a reality rather than a distant dream.”

This Labor Day, America’s working families are facing unprecedented challenges.

In the 2017 fiscal year, FedEx owed more than $1.5 billion in taxes. The next year, it owed nothing. What changed was the Trump administration’s tax cut — for which the company had lobbied hard.

The heads of 12 leading labor groups are warning House lawmakers that the USMCA as written does not meet the needs of working people — and that without changes, they will oppose the pact.

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For two weeks last month, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) went on strike. Just as in 2012, the strike was widely acknowledged as a victory for the union. The successes for organized teachers are so numerous at this point that it is worth reflecting on exactly what the increased militance of educators and other workers means for US politics moving forward.

Ali Velshi talks with AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka about his union’s successes in the 2019 elections, and how his members are viewing the 2020 presidential campaign.

Watch the Interview.

“I say this to everyone in the media world who I talk to,” says Darren Atkins, wrapping up our phone interview: “Please, absolutely do not portray this as a hidden agenda to get rid of staff.”

The U.S. working class is currently riding a mighty strike wave, the likes of which hasn’t been seen since the height of Ronald Reagan’s 1980s union-busting spree.