Educate, Agitate, Organize: Two Can't-Miss Upcoming Union Organizing Events
Join these two vital conversations surrounding organizing fighting unions with seasoned union activist leaders
Haymarket Books, in coalition with rank and file caucuses and organizations from across New York City and Chicago, including the Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE), RAFA (Rank and File Action), the Caucus of Rank and File Educators (CORE), Labor Notes, and others, are hosting two powerful forum events to educate, agitate and organize around building a fighting labor movement.
These are CAN’T-MISS EVENTS. Sign up to join these vital conversations.
Find the event links and descriptions, below.
Today, Monday, January 16th at 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM CST, Online Event
Join us for a conversation on rebuilding the labor movement with Daisy Pitkin & former CTU president Jesse Sharkey
Daisy Pitkin’s On The Line recounts the ups and downs of a bold five-year campaign to organize industrial laundry factories in the notoriously anti-union state of Arizona. Pitkin offers readers a participant’s insight into what it took to forge solidarity so powerful that it overcame hazardous working-conditions, broken labor laws, and vicious opposition from the employer.
After years of aggressively anti-teacher rhetoric and hostile national educational policy, the Caucus of Rank and File Educators took over the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) in 2010 on the pledge to fight for the schools that teachers, students, and Chicago’s communities deserve. In 2012 the CTU led an inspiring strike that won massive community support and contributed to revitalizing the tradition of labor militancy.
For this virtual launch event for On The Line, Daisy Pitkin will be joined by former CTU president Jesse Sharkey to discuss what it will take to rebuild a fighting labor movement and how at their best unions can reach beyond the workplace and transform whole communities.
Order a copy of On The Line: A Story of Class, Solidarity, and Two Women's Epic Fight to Build a Union from Pilsen Community Books:
Daisy Pitkin has spent more than twenty years as a community and union organizer, working first in support of garment workers around the world, and then for U.S. labor unions organizing industrial laundry workers. Her essays have been awarded the Montana Prize, the DISQUIET Literary Prize, the New Millennium Award, and the Monique Wittig Writer’s Scholarship. She grew up in rural Ohio and received an MFA from the University of Arizona. Pitkin lives and writes in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she works as an organizer with an offshoot of the union UNITE. Find her at daisypitkin.net.
Jesse Sharkey is a teacher in the Chicago Public School system, and the former president of the Chicago Teachers Union.
Sat, January 21, 2023, 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM EST
Location: The People's Forum 320 West 37th Street New York, NY 10018
*We'll begin promptly at 2 pm, so please plan to arrive a few minutes early to settle in.
**Please wear a mask to keep each other safe.
More about Joe Burns and his book from Haymarket Books
"For those who want to build a fighting labor movement, there are many questions to answer. How to relate to the union establishment which often does not want to fight? Whether to work in the rank and file of unions or staff jobs? How much to prioritize broader class demands versus shop floor struggle? How to relate to foundation-funded worker centers and alternative union efforts? And most critically, how can we revive militancy and union power in the face of corporate power and a legal system set up against us?
Class struggle unionism is the belief that our union struggle exists within a larger struggle between an exploiting billionaire class and the working class which actually produces the goods and services in society. Class struggle unionism looks at the employment transaction as inherently exploitative. While workers create all wealth in society, the outcome of the wage employment transaction is to separate workers from that wealth and create the billionaire class. From that simple proposition flows a powerful and radical form of unionism. Historically, class struggle unionists placed their workplace fights squarely within this larger fight between workers and the owning class. Viewing unionism in this way produces a particular type of unionism which both fights for broader class issues but is also rooted in workplace-based militancy.
Drawing on years of labor activism and study of labor tradition Joe Burns outlines the key set of ideas common to class struggle unionism and shows how these ideas can create a more militant, democratic, and fighting labor movement."