16 August 2019

CM Lewis on industrial or labour law (with relevance to Australia’s Change the Rules campaign): “We can, and should, codify our organizing gains into law at every turn. Radical industrial organization in the 1930s conjured the spectre of worker revolt on an unprecedented scale: a spectre that led directly to the passage of the National Labor Relations Act. Public sector workers in the 1960s — such as Pennsylvania teachers — turned to wildcat strikes and mass actions, like 20,000 teachers marching on Harrisburg in March of 1968 to demand fair pay, dignity on the job, and union rights. Striking postal workers in 1970 secured the right to collectively bargain for the first time. Once we’ve built power — power only created and sustained through organizing — we need to seize concessions that make more possible. But we need to be clear about what makes that law: organizing and working-class power. Changes to labor law aren’t handed down from the sky — or from transactional deal-making between ‘benevolent’ politicians and union lobbyists. They’re hard-won concessions gained through the power of organized workers. Organize first. Make the law follow.”