As the BART strike entered its third day, we discuss strikes and the tactics of organized labor. Union participation is dwindling and strikes have become increasingly uncommon in recent years, as workers fear putting their jobs in jeopardy during a bad economy. As the economy begins to improve, will workers head to the picket line to protest conditions they may have tolerated in leaner times? And are labor actions that brought change in the 1930s still effective now?

Phil Wilson, labor lawyer and president of the Labor Relations Institute, a management-side labor relations consulting firm
Harley Shaiken, professor of geography and director of the Center for Latin American Studies at UC Berkeley; and specialist in labor issues who is recognized as a leading expert on the U.S. automotive industry

  • geraldfnord

    We should distinguish between those city workers whose strikes would almost guaranty that someone will die—police, fire-fighters, medical personnel—and those whose absence would be inconvenient, even extremely inconvenient.

    The first group we should treat like princes, and expect great work from them and fire them if they’re not up to it. The second are more like ordinary workers, and bosses, whether it’s a fat man with a cigar or The People, tend not to value their employees’ labour decently until they’re deprived of it for a bit.

    (The BART strike lowered the amount of money you made in that period? Well, now you know how valuable BART is to you…and consider the annualised T.C.O. of a car….)

    • Rorden Gamsay

      Treating any authority figure like a prince will result in an unwanted tyrant.

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