Last February, thousands of protestors occupied Wisconsin's state capitol trying to prevent the passage of legislation gutting collective bargaining rights for public sector workers. It was tremendously inspiring, but ultimately unsuccessful. Labor educator Michael Yates looks back at the upsurge in Wisconsin and ruminates on the lessons to be drawn from it, especially for unions. (The first part in a two-part series on unions and the social movements of the last year.)
Union membership has been falling for decades, yet trade unions still give workers significant power on the job. And there are great hopes that the decline in union density may be reversed, with some pinning their hopes on the Employee Free Choice Act. Michael Yates discusses organized labor, EFCA, radicalism and working class identity.