Category Archives: Labor/Economics

Anarchism and the American Labor Movement

Anarchists, proponents of “anti-authoritarian socialism,” seek to abolish the state and capitalism. Anarchism replaces authoritarian governance and private ownership of resources with federations of self-managed industries and communities in which those affected by decisions participate in making them directly in … Continue reading

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What Can we Learn from The Amazon Union Vote in Bessemer, Alabama?

During the past year, as the pandemic reshaped our daily lives, the media has paid more attention to work and workers than it has in a long time. The pandemic has shone a spotlight on the deep inequalities that persist … Continue reading

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The University and its Workers during the Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has affected universities all over the country and the world. Different institutions have chosen different approaches, from keeping all courses online and discouraging students from returning (Smith College, Harvard University, etc.) to a full opening of residential … Continue reading

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Governor Pritzker has the Power to Halt All Utility Shutoffs by Signing an Executive Order

Robin Brown’s utilities in Champaign were shut off by Ameren Illinois on September 18, 2020, in the midst of our historical COVID-19 pandemic. When asked about how utility shutoffs affected her, Brown said “I’ve had to give away and separate … Continue reading

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Disruptive Shift Changes for UIUC Custodial Staff

Jenni Walkup is a public anthropology MA student at American University who lives in Champaign. She works in education and writes about movements and social change. She’s very good at Bananagrams. In August, 2020, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of … Continue reading

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SEIU Statement Regarding the Changes in the Building Services Department at UIUC

The University decided in mid-spring that it would reopen for the 2020 fall semester, a decision that would require drastic, “emergency” changes in our department and to the working conditions of SEIU members. Management didn’t notify union leadership until July … Continue reading

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The Pandemic and Pro Wrestling

In the November, 2019 Public i, I wrote about one of the earliest gig economies: professional wrestling. There, independent pro wrestler David Starr discussed the incredibly imbalanced power dynamics of the corporate wrestling scene in America. While watching corporations and … Continue reading

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Fighting for the Soul of Public Education

The administration of the University of California, Santa Cruz announced on Friday, February 28 that it would fire fifty-four graduate instructors who are on strike at the University. The announcement comes as the latest move in a nation-wide wave of … Continue reading

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A Bad Year Turned Good? Lessons of Setbacks and Victories

Labor Day has come and gone. It is always a great day for celebrating the history and contributions of American workers and the achievements of the country’s labor unions. In the wake of the holiday, however, an assessment of labor’s … Continue reading

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Janus v. AFSCME Council 31

By Dan Gilbert   Dan Gilbert teaches in the School of Labor and Employment Relations at the University of Illinois. In a matter of weeks the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule in Janus v. American Federation of State, … Continue reading

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History Matters: Remembering Two “Dangerous” Labor Union Women

By Stephanie Fortado Dr. Stephanie Seawell Fortado is a Lecturer at the University of Illinois Labor Education Program, providing workshops and extension programming for unions and the general public on the Champaign-Urbana campus and throughout Illinois. Before joining the University, … Continue reading

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Abused: Working Women Face Widespread Harassment and Violence

By Pat Simpson Pat Simpson, Emerita Professor, Loyola University, formerly taught in the Labor Education Program, UIUC. A longtime labor and social justice activist, she is  currently a member of the Chambana Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and of the … Continue reading

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GEO Rally for Fair Contract

On Wednesday, Oct. 4, the Graduate Employees’ Organization held a rally for a fair contract. The union had been without a contract for 50 days.  

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The Extremes of Struggle at the Monster’s Heart: The Black Working Class and Socioeconomic Realities under Obama’s Neoliberalism

“International capitalism cannot be destroyed without the extremes of struggle. The entire colonial world is watching the blacks inside the U.S…We are on the inside. We are the only ones who can get at the monster’s heart…”  — George L. … Continue reading

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History Matters: A Look Back at the Champaign County Labor Movement of the 1920s

For the past two years, newspaper headlines across Illinois have carried grim reports of budget impasse and inadequate funding for core state services and institutions, including for our flagship University in Urbana-Champaign.  Unfortunately, such dire reports are nothing new. “University’s … Continue reading

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“Labor Hour” Now on WRFU, the Radio Station of the UCIMC

After 21 years at radio station WEFT, the World Labor Hour radio program has moved its weekly 2-hour program to radio station WRFU (104.5 FM/wrfu.net) in the IMC/downtown Urbana Post Office building. The World Labor Hour radio program (originally called … Continue reading

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Demands for a Transformed University

On September 9, 2016, a “Rally for a Transformed University” was held at the alma mater on UIUC campus. It corresponded with the release of a list of demands. Led by Black Students For Revolution, the coalition of student organizations … Continue reading

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News-Gazette: Always Right

The News-Gazette has always been Right — right-wing Republican, and in its smug self-righteousness, right. The paper presents itself as “respectable Republican,” as representing the values of “proper,” polite society. It abhors what is impolitic, impolite. That the News-Gazette is … Continue reading

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In Memory, Honor, and Love of Gene Vanderport

It is difficult to write about an untimely death of someone whom one has known for almost half a century. Gene was my student, my comrade, and my friend since the late 1960s. Only a couple of years after my … Continue reading

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NTFC Local #6546: Work Actions Lead to a Settled Contract

For the last nineteen months, NTFC Local #6546, the union that represents about 500 non-tenure-track faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, fought for our first contract. When we started bargaining, in October 2014, we heard from our colleagues … Continue reading

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