The rapid, spectacular, entirely unexpected, self-organizing of workers at Amazon, Starbucks, and many other local franchises relying on low wage service workers inspired many observers of the labor scene to what they see as “spontaneous” uprisings as the route to a new labor movement and the future of labor unions. But others have countered that this self-organizing did not come out of thin air. The “spontaneous” workers had consulted with radical union organizers, and grew up in a period influenced by Occupy, Moral Monday and other challenges from below. Left writers, economists, and the left press had critiqued the growing inequality of U.S. life and insisted that the many millions of low waged service workers were necessary to the operation of society and deserve the “family” wages and benefits that make for economic security. Bill Resnick talks to Al Bradbury who not long ago worked as a researcher and organizer for SEIU Local 46 here in Portland and now is the editor of the monthly journal Labor Notes, that’s putting the movement back into the labor movement.
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