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Unions: Thank you for Weekends/the Middle Class and Child Labor Laws- etc. to Infinity

Joe Biden has signed the bipartisan corporate infrastructure bill into law, opening billions in much needed spending on roads and bridges, much of which, unfortunately, will be first be given to corporations for use before shovels break dirt. The bigger spending bill, that contained most of the Democratic party’s agenda, was supposed to be voted on in House on Monday, yet despite assurances from corporate Democrats last week, no bill has been brought to the floor.

Meanwhile, across the pond, COP 26 has just ended to near universal disappointment from participants and activists alike. It seems clear at this point, that if the COP meetings ever seriously had a chance to bring countries together to combat the climate crisis, those days are gone.

The institutions supposedly designed to tackle the pressing social, economic, and ecological issues of our time are failing us. As discouraging as this may be, it is unsurprising. These institutions, despite their claims, were not actually designed to solve issues for the people at large, and it has only been through organizing and struggle that these institutions have been compelled to do so! For a long time, people have forgotten the reality of this dynamic. As the situation has become more dire, however, it appears that people once again are reaching for the tools of solidarity and people power:

Do you approve or disapprove of labor unions?

Approve: 68%

This is the highest public approval of union activity since the 1960s, and a 20-point increase since the all-time low of approval in 2009 (49%). This support is an especially promising sign, as the surge of union popularity comes amidst rising militant union activity. You wouldn’t know it looking at the nightly news, but so far there have been 178 labor strikes occurring across the US just in 2021! These workers are taking power into their owns hands, and aren’t waiting for their needs to be met through the good graces of their corporate overloads. While many strikes have yet to win serious gains, the mere fact that workers are standing up, and the people are standing with them, is reason to hope.

Unions historically have won enormous material benefits for the people of this nation from the 8 hour work day, to child labor laws, to the 2-day weekend. However, are not the be-all, end-all of organized people power, and have fallen short of the once ambitious labor movements goals. These days, union struggles are too often isolated fights between individual workers/unions and a company, rather than more systemic battles.

To expand the labor movement beyond any individual worker, union, or even sector we need to build ties between unions and community, to prepare for the struggles ahead. If the labor struggles of the 20th century tell us anything, it’s that progress will not be won quickly nor easily. It also tells us that a new times call for new tactics to build our collective power. Adding the economic solidarity of #DSOT to the labor movement’s struggles enhances the collective power of both! Our solidarity each week is an echo of the fights on the picket lines happening right now. So join us in the struggle for dignity and representation of all people, as we build our economic cudgel for the people!

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