May 1, 2022
Pearl River May Day is a celebration of worker solidarity all around the world. In the USA, not so much. We pretend we honor workers on Labor Day, but mainly that’s an excuse for a holiday and maybe a picnic with real workers’ celebrations more a memory than a movement.
What does seem more of a movement in this moment is workers standing together, and, miracles never cease, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) actually having their back for a change. Starbucks, Amazon, REI, Apple, and even Dollar stores are in motion it seems as workers understand that right now, they have some leverage because of labor shortages and with the press of inflation know they need more change in their pockets as well as in their workplaces. When workers start moving it might last a minute, a month, or way more, but no matter how long it lasts, we need to support that movement anyway we can.
We want to do our part in helping workers in this movement moment. Merging the resources of ACORN, Labor Neighbor Research & Training Center, and the United Labor Unions, we’ve launched the Workers Organizing Support Center as a website where workers can get support in demanding their rights on the job through collective action or for advice in organizing an association or union in their workplace or among their co-workers in their area, depending on what course of they want to take. We have embedded ActionBuilder, an app developed by Action Network to assist workers in mapping and preparing their worksites for organizing. More importantly, we already have recruited more than a dozen experienced union organizers and labor lawyers, who are prepared to mentor and advise workers on what protections the National Labor Relations Act offers and how they can move forward to organize. We’re looking to put together 20 or 30 such mentors, so that each senior organizer can focus on supporting only one or two workplaces per month, depending on the amount of interest and heat we can absorb from workers interested in moving forward. We’ve already been working with workers at Dollar General and our friends at Amazonians United. There are a lot of other efforts by a lot of unions and others, and we cheer them on as well.
Our philosophy is that workers have a union whenever they decide to act collectively. Workers don’t need the company or the state to decide that they have a union. Workers’ decisions and actions in the workplace do that. The government only certifies what workers have already built, and the company only agrees when workers force them to do so. The Workers Organizing Support Center is going to partner with workers in this moment on whatever terms that work. We’ll support them, and we’ll hope they support us.
We’re going to memorialize May Day, every day, as long as we are able.