Personal contacts & issues beat cash & pro-Trump campaigns. Unionists talking face-to-face about issues that matter to voters beat cascades of corporate cash and pro-Trump campaigns from right-wing candidates in November elections, said unionists, who added that being anti-Trump helped, as millions of progressives mobilized and voted against the Republican president’s policies and his cronies.

Results were impressive: Pro-worker candidates racked up victories from coast to coast, taking back the New Jersey governorship, retaining Virginia’s top three elected offices and electing unionists to the Seattle City Council and dozens of other offices.

Where union members didn’t run and win, labor supporters including an African-American lieutenant-governor candidate in Virginia and a transgender Virginian and two Latinas, all Democratic state delegate hopefuls, did.

“Working people won because our political independence focused on issues, not personalities or party registration,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “Moving forward into 2018 and 2020, we’re ready to boost worker champions no matter the letter next to their name in order to deliver hope and opportunity for millions of working people.”

L.A. Times newsroom majority authorizes union election. The majority of newsroom workers at the Los Angeles Times this fall signed union-election authorization cards, the first step in getting a recognition vote there, the News Guild announced.

While pay and benefits are important, the Times journalists also want “to safeguard the future of the Los Angeles Times and its journalists by forming a union and working together,” the newly formed Los Angeles News Guild local said.

“As journalists, we take enormous pride in the award-winning work we produce: Investigating corruption, covering the communities we live in and, at times, putting our lives on the line to bring the news to our readers,” they explained. “We deserve a seat at the table in decisions affecting our pay, benefits and working conditions.”

Negotiating a contract would preserve pay and benefits in “a legally binding document so Tronc [the Chicago Tribune] can’t change them unilaterally.”

UMW’S Gibbs tells labor to walk the walk on diversity. Jim Gibbs, vice president and organizing director for the Mine Workers, told the AFL-CIO convention in St. Louis said the federation must expand its leadership to women and minorities.

The makeup of the convention was almost half women and minorities, but putting women and minorities in positions of power hasn’t kept up. Most national union leaders are older white men.
Lack of diversity hurts organizing, Gibbs said, especially in the South. There, labor confronts political hostility, companies that always pit black against white, the history of racism-inspired so-called Right To Work laws, and corporate plantation mentality. And the South is the least-unionized region of the country.

“You cannot organize these folks and expect them to succeed when they see 12 white guys in a black neighborhood,” Gibbs said.

Hate groups, fascists, and administration support blasted. The AFL-CIO strongly condemned the hate groups of the radical right, including white supremacists, neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members, alt-rightists and their ilk. In a resolution sponsored by the Postal Workers, the federation also blasted support for such fascists “at the highest levels of government” – meaning GOP President Donald Trump.

“If we are not vigilant, we could wake up in a fascist America,” warned the resolution, which demanded “working class unity” against the hate and reminded workers that solidarity is needed to counter Wall Street and corporate powers as well as the alt-right and similar fascist groups. Those corporate forces “use ‘divide and conquer,’ always attempting to divide native from foreign-born, men from women, white from black, private sector from public sector, full-time from temporary, and U.S. workers from workers around the world,” the AFL-CIO added. “One of the first acts of Nazi Germany was to ban trade unions and persecute, jail and kill unionists.”

DNAinfo and Gothamist unionize, then billionaire owner closes shops. Weeks after workers at DNAinfo in Chicago and Gothamist in New York voted to join the Writers Guild of America East, owner Joe Ricketts shut down the local-news operations. Ricketts, CEO of DNAinfo and Gothamist and the founder of TD Ameritrade, never recognized the union and faced a National Labor Relations Board order to start bargaining with the union. Instead, he closed all DNAinfo and Gothamist affiliated websites.

Ricketts is the patriarch of the family that owns the Chicago Cubs.

News briefs courtesy of The Labor Paper

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