Today in Labor History: April 9
IWW organizes the 1,700-member crew of the Leviathan, then the world’s largest vessel – 1930
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Member Tip: Contract Campaigns
As your union’s contract negotiating team goes through the process of exchanging proposals with your employer, arguing them out, and seeing where acceptable resolutions can be found, you may be called upon to step forward and play a role in the bargaining process. Your union may ask you and your co-workers to let the employer and perhaps also the public know, in a variety of ways, that the voice of the union negotiators is also your voice. The actions called for may be as simple as signing a petition supporting a contract demand or everyone wearing a certain color clothing or T-shirt on a “solidarity day” scheduled by the union. As things heat up, more assertive actions may be called for, like rallies on or off the worksite, conducting an informational picket before or after work at the employer’s premises, or withholding your labor, either for a short period of time or in a full-blown strike. A pressure campaign against the employer that is fought on many fronts—a “contract campaign”—has been the key to union victory in many a contract fight.
—Adapted from The Union Member’s Complete Guide, by Michael Mauer