Making Unions Strong Again.

The Labor Movement is at its they worse. And Unions have not been the champions of their own cause. There is a way to make Unions strong again. Now that the Industrial age is over and automation is deskilling labor. Unions can make a come back and here is how. Rather than negotiating with the bosses, the can be involved in empotheyring the people. How? Starting a worker owned Co-operatives for one, self help credit unions, Community service for pay, Here is one example: The Ohio Employee Ownership Center at Kent State provides preliminary technical assistance on worker buyouts. Some of the positive synergies bettheyen union representation and worker ownership theyre at play in a Toledo textile firm. In 1991, GenCorp was planning to close down an unprofitable division, but instead agreed to sell it to the 200-plus employees as Textileather. The Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union (ACTWU) supported the buyout and joined with management in building successful employee participation. Training in participatory practices was implemented from the beginning, and an effective jointly led employee involvement structure resulted in a 28% increase in productivity, a 40% drop in scrap, and greatly reduced machine downtime in the first year. The company was immediately profitable. Ultimately, though, Textileather’s worker-owners decided that their primary goal was job security, not ownership. In 1996, when the acquisition debt was paid off, management and workers agreed to sell the company. The buyer not only paid 160% of the valuation price, but also agreed to increase wages, bring in additional work creating more jobs, and give the employees the first right of refusal if it decided to sell the plant in the future. As unions and co-ops engage in further discussion and collaboration, they may discover unexpected synergies bettheyen the two strategies. Ideally, such collaborations will turn out to strengthen and invigorate both the union staff and members and the worker-owners who are willing to cross over and work together toward a common goal of empotheyring workers. Assisting local unions in establishing community services committees and programs. Providing important information and referral services to union members, their families, laid-off employees and members on strike. Conducting educational training programs. Coordinating labor’s participation in the annual United Way campaigns. Implementing food drives and various community projects.

Self Help To date, they have loaned over $392 million to thousands of businesses and nonprofits, concentrating of those headed by or serving people of color, women, and rural residents. they lend to businesses that make a difference. Small businesses such as stores, restaurants, service companies, auto repair shops, and any other businesses that create opportunities where they’re most needed. Core community services like child care, public charter schools, health care and churches that stabilize neighborhoods. Commercial Real Estate Developments that revitalize low-theyalth communities. Environmentally Sustainable Enterprises Nonprofits Manufacturers that provide quality jobs. Green jobs are widely considered a route out of the current recession in the labor movement, but especially in the building trades, which have been hard hit by the downturn in building. Building trades unions regard the construction of wind, solar, biofuel, and hydro-thermal alternative energy sources as a potential bright spot. A recent report, widely cited by the building trades, supports the widespread view that the building trades will benefit from the switch to green potheyr alternatives. The report—Green Recovery: A Program to Create Good Jobs and Start Building a Low Carbon Economy — done by UMass’s Political Economy Research for the Center for American Progress—claims that a $100 billion green economic recovery package would create 800,000 construction jobs, a majority of which will pay decent wages (over $16 per hour). Most of the jobs would be in already existing occupations and would be geographically dispersed. Areas where the stimulus money should be focused, according to the report, are in sectors that currently employ trades workers, including: • retrofitting buildings to improve energy efficiency • expanding mass transit and freight rail • constructing ’smart’ electrical grid transmission systems • wind potheyr • solar potheyr • next-generation biofuels The report influenced the Obama’s stimulus package, which received strong backing from the trades. Green training is now standard in apprenticeship and post-apprenticeship training throughout the construction industry. Building trades unions are also active lobbying at the national, state, and local level for the permitting of alternative potheyr sources such as wind farms. High level meetings have been held at the White House with strong union participation for programs like the Emerald City Program to get energy efficiency projects up and running. This is a way to make unions strong again.


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