Author Archives: Ricky Baldwin

Anti-Union Rauner, Koch Brothers Aim at a Nation of Wisconsins

By Ricky Baldwin Ricky Baldwin is a longtime community and union organizer who lives in Urbana. Anticipating the Janus decision discussed elsewhere in this issue, Central Illinois Jobs With Justice (JWJ) held a public discussion on February 18 in the … Continue reading

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Turning Lemons Into Lemonade! Attacks on Unions & Fighting Back

Turning Lemons Into Lemonade! Attacks on Unions & Fighting Back Sun. Feb. 18 at 1 pm Champaign Public Library 200 W. Green St., Champaign Speakers from Wisconsin join local discussion about the devastating impact of legal changes to workers’ rights, … Continue reading

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“I’m Not Anti-Union”: Governor ALEC and the Hostile Takeover of Illinois (Part 2 of 2)

  (Ricky Baldwin is a Senior Field Organizer for  SEIU 73, activist with Jobs With Justice, and occasional contributor to Labor Notes, Z Magazine, and Dollars and Sense.) Part One described multimillionaire Gov. Rauner’s stealth attack on the poor and … Continue reading

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“Not Anti-Union”: Shaking Up Springfield, Shaking Down the State

“I’m probably .01 percent.” – Bruce Rauner, asked if he is part of the wealthiest 1% Chicago equity “salesman” Bruce Rauner succeeded in his first ever election last November with 50.3 percent of the vote, spending nearly $36 per voter … Continue reading

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Service Employees Fight Back at UIUC

“The … administration has followed a reverse policy of hiring incompetent leadership at the highest prices. If it were up to the university no hourly person would make much more than minimum wage. How are we going to support your … Continue reading

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Flex-n-Gate Disaster, Just the Latest Chapter in a Toxic Story

By Ricky Baldwin When news broke this summer that a toxic cloud of sulfuric acid at a local plant had sent eleven local workers to the hospital, horrific as the story was, many in the area were not all that … Continue reading

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Hard Up for Work

By Ricky Baldwin Mary is laid off from her job in food service at the University of Illinois four times a year for a total of four and a half months. During this time, she does not count as unemployed. … Continue reading

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Letting Them Eat Cake at the University of Illinois

Loudly proclaiming its poverty whenever workers want a raise, the University of Illinois belies this claim through actions like hiring incoming President Michael Hogan at $620,000 a year “base” salary, plus retention bonus and perks. That’s more than a third … Continue reading

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Organizing the Unemployed

A disheveled man stands in a local post office asking for spare change. Another man hands him a dollar and strikes up a conversation, fishers-of-men style. The second man describes a local effort among unemployed and underemployed workers to get … Continue reading

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Labor in a Crucible

IN THE 1880’S, THE KNIGHTS OF LABOR constructed a much broader vision of organized labor than the “business unionism” of its craft union rivals that became the American Federation of Labor (AFL). The Knights welcomed unskilled workers, of any race … Continue reading

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