Public hearings on the January 6, 2021, ultra-rightist mob attack on the U.S. Congress are now underway. The facts presented at the hearings offer a reminder that the effort Donald Trump led to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election was far outside the previous norms of U.S. politics.For this reason, we are republishing World-Outlook‘s inaugural article we ran that fateful January. It offers an analysis that largely stands up to the test of time. It outlines the stakes for working people in those events. The issue goes way beyond establishing historic accuracy. It is still likely that Trump will run again for president in 2024. His unfounded and conspiracy-laden claim that the 2020 election was “stolen” still holds a large sway in the base of the Republican Party and among Republican office holders at the federal, state, and local levels. Trump remains the most authoritative leader of the GOP. Over the last year and a half, this much has become clear: Trump has made effective use of the technique of the “big lie” in continuing to insist the 2020 election was “stolen” from him. Many conservative politicians and business executives have accepted and promoted it. Many others are unwilling to challenge it publicly. This suggests that such politicians and pundits may be open to Trump’s course — using cunning and force to change an election outcome, tossing the “rule of law” by the wayside — as a possible solution to late capitalism’s crises that are getting worse under the Biden administration.
MINNEAPOLIS, March 29, 2022— After a 14-day strike that was the first in Minneapolis in 50 years, teachers and education support professionals (ESPs) returned to the classroom on Monday, March 28. They had just approved a contract that their union leadership touted as achieving significant gains. The district’s 28,500 students returned the next day. The contract includes significant raises for ESPs, bringing them close to the union’s demand for a $35,000 starting salary, with wages increasing from about $20 to nearly $24 per hour. ESPs will also get $6,000 bonuses, with those serving more than 10 years getting another $1,000. The union won its demand for mental health support teams in elementary schools and the placement of a social worker in every building. In addition, for the first time, class size caps are now in contract language, instead of a memorandum of agreement that has no teeth.
MINNEAPOLIS, March 12, 2022—For the first time since 1970, more than 4,500 members of Minneapolis Federation of Teachers and Educational Support Professionals Local 59 walked off the job on Tuesday, March 8. Teachers are demanding from the district to limit class sizes, pay for additional mental health support for students, and increase wages for classroom teachers and the 1,600 education support professionals (ESPs). The strike is getting widespread support from parents, students, and the broader community.
March 2, 2022—As locomotive engineer Marilee Taylor explained in the February 11 post on World-Outlook “BNSF Railroad Workers Resist Cruel Attendance Policy,” workers at the largest freight railroad (RR) in the U.S. are under fierce attack by the company owned by billionaire Warren Buffett. Workers who move the freight—engineers, conductors, brakemen and switchmen—frequently face work weeks of 60 hours or more, producing enormous profits for Buffett and the other wealthy RR owners. Many are on call to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with little or no predictability about when they will be called to work. Shifts are routinely 12 hours and perhaps longer before workers arrive at a destination where they can obtain some rest, often a hotel far from home. Trains are longer and heavier than ever, often carrying hazardous material, as the RRs seek to squeeze the maximum profit out of every trip. This poses serious safety risks for RR workers and the communities these trains pass through. Now Buffett’s BNSF wants more. It has imposed a new policy, called “Hi-Viz,” that demands employees to work even more hours. This cruel and dangerous policy has been upheld by a federal court judge who has ruled that the unions’ challenge to this policy is a “minor dispute,” and has denied the right to strike to oppose it.
This is a letter to the editor by railroad worker Marilee Taylor, who is a member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET). She explains: “I am currently a locomotive engineer, employed at the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF) in Chicago. I have worked for Burlington Northern (BN) and then BNSF for more than 28 years. I’d like to take a minute to introduce the video posted below [produced by More Perfect Union and titled “Railroad Workers Barred from Striking.”] On February 1, 2022, BNSF imposed a draconian attendance policy on those of us who work in the operating crafts, engineers, conductors, switchmen and brakemen. That is, those of us who actually move the freight on trains across the country from Chicago to the West Coast and back. The video helps us to get the truth out about the issues involved and the dangers of the forced BNSF’s attendance policy aimed at denying railroad (RR) operating employees, who already often work 60 hours a week or more, any quality of life at all. Most importantly the video focuses on how this policy will dangerously affect our own safety as workers, and the safety of all our communities. The risk of more rail accidents and potential disasters affects the entire country.”
In a November 17, 2021, vote, United Auto Workers (UAW) members at the major agricultural implements company John Deere approved a new contract and ended their month-long strike. The agreement, which covers some 10,000 workers in the U.S., was approved by a vote of 61% to 39%. The union ranks had rejected two previous contract offers.
NEW YORK CITY, November 3, 2021—Amazon warehouse workers in New York took a big step toward unionization on October 25, when they filed more than 2,000 signatures with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) seeking a union representation election. World-Outlook visited the union organizing center and spoke with Chris Smalls and other workers.
The Amazon Labor Union (ALU), a grassroots group organized by warehouse workers, is leading the organizing drive. With no affiliation to any of the established national trade unions, the ALU is trying to unionize the approximately 7,000 workers employed in four warehouses—the JFK8 on Staten Island and surrounding facilities dubbed LDJ5, DYY6 and DYX2. Amazon uses these warehouses to fulfill orders in the huge New York market.
If successful, the outcome will reverberate through the working class and labor movement in the United States. These workers know they are challenging a powerful enemy.
United Auto Workers (UAW) members at John Deere, one of the giants of the agricultural machinery industry worldwide, struck the company on Thursday, October 14, for the first time in more than three decades. Over 10,000 workers are on strike at plants in Iowa, Illinois, and Kansas. The Waterloo Courier reported the mood on the picket lines at entrances to the Deere plants there was “downright jovial.”
Mar. 26, 2021— Workers in Bessemer, Alabama, are engaged in one of the most important union-organizing drives in recent years. Their goal is to win representation by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) at the giant Amazon warehouse there. Voting by mail by the 5,805 workers began in February. It closes March 29. The outcome can have far-reaching implications for the working class and the labor movement in the United States.