THIS EDITION OF the free bulletin, World Wide Work, is published by the
American Labor Education Center, an independent nonprofit founded in
WORLD WIDE WORK - February 2005
*Bad Connection: How Labor Fails to Communicate is a discussion of
how unions can communicate more effectively to build public support and
involve members. The article describes some revealing research about
attitudes of the public and of union members. It appears in the new
edition of New Labor Forum and can be found online at
*Final countdown in labor's debate. Only days remain until
March 1-3 meeting of AFL-CIO Executive Council that could decide the
federation's future. Leading up to decision time, SEIU's Andy Stern
is providing a new series of commentaries at UniteToWinBlog.org giving
his view of the key issues and what they mean to working families. The
blog gives readers a chance to add uncensored comments, and the site
makes available new position papers by other unions such as the UAW and
Postal Workers as well.
*Environmentalists' debate. While unions are debating
strategy, environmentalists are too. See for example a paper called
"The Death of Environmentalism":
http://www.grist.org/news/maindish/2005/01/13/doe-reprint/) and a
rebuttal by the Sierra Club's Carl Pope:
*Selling Women Short: The Landmark Battle for Workers' Rights at
Wal-Mart by Liza Featherstone (Basic Books). If you have a
general concern that the practices of the nation's largest employer are
hurting workers and communities, this book featuring Wal-Mart workers'
own stories will make you realize the situation is even worse than you
*Diamond: A Struggle for Environmental Justice in Louisiana's Chemical
Corridor by Steve Lerner (MIT Press). A classic example of the
intersection of the civil rights and environmental movements as a black
community that was excluded from jobs at two Shell plants but not from
the pollution Shell produced gained national and international allies to
win relocation to other homes.
*Globalization and Cross-Border Labor Solidarity in the Americas
by Ralph Armbruster-Sandoval (Routledge). Uses four case
studies of international anti-sweatshop campaigns to openly discuss
strategic debates and tensions among various student, union, and
*Bound for Freedom: Black Los Angeles in Jim Crow America by
Douglas Flamming (Univ. of Calif.). Many African Americans from the
South headed for Los Angeles in the half century before World War II,
hoping, like other migrants before them, to find freedom and
opportunity. This is the story of what they found.
*Espejos y Ventanas/Mirros and Windows: Oral Histories of Mexican
Farmworkers and Their Families edited by Mark Lyons and August
Tarrier (New City Community Press). Interviews with immigrant
families in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania - "mushroom capital of the
*Troublemakers Handbook 2 edited by Jane Slaughter (Labor Notes
Books). A new edition that provides more than 350 pages of
real-life stories and practical advice on virtually every aspect of union
*Making Steel: Sparrows Point and the Rise and Ruin of American
Industrial Might by Mark Reutter (Univ. of Illinois). A new
chapter updates a 1988 book on how management decisions ran the U.S.
steel industry into the ground.
*What's the Matter with Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of
America by Thomas Frank (Metropolitan). A journalist returns to
his home state to describe for coastal urbanites how the right has used
cultural resentments to get working class whites to vote against their
*The Hunt for the Dawn Monkey: Unearthing the Origins of Monkeys,
Apes, and Humans by Chris Beard (Univ. of Calif.) An account
for lay people of two centuries of discoveries shedding light on humans'
*I See Hawks in L.A. (Western Seeds). An innovative band
that falls somewhere between country and bluegrass. Perhaps the
only group in the country that performs a song about Senator Byrd of West
Virginia. Have issued two CDs: one with the same name as the group,
another called "Grapevine."
Free tools for effective grassroots organizing and communication,
as well as back issues of World Wide Work, are available at
If you want to receive this bulletin, please email the word
"subscribe" to the email address email@example.com . Contributions
to the American Labor Education Center are welcome and may be sent to
1869 Mintwood Pl. NW, Suite 43, Washington, DC 20009. Thank you.