Organizing Upgrade

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Thursday, 21 February 2013 18:01

A Nurse's Story

Nurses-007I started working as a nurse in 2008. I chose to go into nursing because I wanted to do work where I thought I could make an impact organizing in the labor movement, but from a rank-and-file perspective. I feel that the labor movement, and unions, are crucial for any kind of serious social movement organizing in the US, and I think the most progressive, militant change will come from workers, rather than top-down efforts driven by staff.

I chose nursing, because I was really attracted to the physical skills, and working with patients in a way that you see immediate results. I felt I could see the impact of the work I did.

Published in Leftist at Work

imagesI want to share my story of how I came to be a waitress, a union member, and eventually, a Leftist committed to changing the world. I grew up in Philadelphia and was raised in a comfortable working class family. We were comfortable because my parents, a public school teacher and public school nurse, were union members. My best friend, my older sister, struggled with drugs, depression and school, and started working as a waitress at the age of 19. I went to public school and performed well, so I got a scholarship to go to college. In college, I was introduced to political ideas and union organizing. It inspired me to become a student organizer. Following college, I took a lesson from my sister who encouraged me to get a job if I was serious about worker rights. I decided to do union organizing as a worker so I could understand what it meant to fight for workers’ rights when my own job was on the line.

Published in Leftist at Work

teacher

This month, we are kicking off a new column, featuring Rachel Parsons, a teacher in New York City. With teachers on the front lines in the battle against public education, Rachel discusses the complexities of the job, including the complex dimensions of race, class, gender, sexuality, and how they intersect with learning and schools. Rachel will also touch the question of democratic voice in education for students, teachers and parents, challenges of working with the union, and the daily rewards and challenges that make up the job. —Ed

Published in Rachel Parsons

Organizing Upgrade interviewed two New York union members about their experiences working with Occupy Wall Street.

Interview with David Martinez, art handler and mover at Sotheby’s auction house in New York City, and member of Teamsters Local 804.

Sotheby’s workers were locked-out from their jobs at Sotheby’s in August 2011, just before Occupy Wall Street began. Throughout the fall, a group of supporters and Occupy activists got involved in activities to support the locked-out workers. Unfortunately, the lock-out continues.

Published in Leftist at Work
Tuesday, 26 June 2012 00:00

Feminism at Work

Rosie-The-Riveter-Dies-500x660I have been a committed feminist since early in life, but these politics were reinvigorated when I began working as a technician in a predominantly male workplace. Being a feminist in theory is much different than being a feminist when some guy is shaking the 18-foot extension ladder you are working on; it requires a different relationship to your goals.

In my early years, though I did face real material struggles, my feminism was largely ideological. For me it took place in arguments and was often about being right. In my work as a rank-and-file activist, my socialist feminism has become more defined and concrete. It is about building solidarity among my coworkers which is not only “right” but also actively builds the kind of solidarity it takes to enforce and reproduce socialist-feminist politics.

Published in Leftist at Work
Thursday, 29 March 2012 20:57

Introduction: Leftist at Work

We are excited to launch the Leftist @ Work column, which is a space for leftists to talk about the ways in which they organize in their workplace – whether it is how they talk with coworkers about political issues, how they are trying to build or revitalize a union, or how they orient their political perspectives to sync with their daily jobs. Some leftists find themselves confronting issues they didn’t expect would come up in their work.

Published in Leftist at Work

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