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Democratic Socialists of America (DSA)

How Workers and Communities are Fighting to Make Ford be Fair to Tennessee

Workers and the World Unite: Labor in an Ecosocialist Green New Deal

Unions Rally for Ceasefire in Gaza as Climate Crisis Lurks

By Ted Franklin - Labor Rise, November 22, 2023

Labor Unions across the country are calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, one of the most climate-challenged places on Earth. In the best of times, Gazans live on the frontline of climate change. Now they are living in a warzone rapidly turning to rubble.

U.N. experts say Israel’s bombing campaign has hit wells, water tanks, and other water supply infrastructure necessary to supply the minimum amounts of water needed to sustain human life. In early November, the UN reported that only 5% of Gaza’s water needs are now being met. The enclave lacks potable groundwater and depends on power and water supplies that have been cut off by the Israeli siege. UNRWA, the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, has warned that 70 percent of people in the Gaza Strip are now drinking contaminated water.

In mid-October, Palestinian trade unions issued an urgent global call to action, calling on workers everywhere to halt the sale and funding of arms to Israel and block related military research. The responses of the U.S. labor movement have varied. Some unions have aligned themselves with Palestinian calls for an end to Israeli occupation. Some have focused on ending U.S. support for the Israeli military effort. All are backing a ceasefire that President Biden and most U.S. politicians have so far refused to endorse.

As UAW Strike Heats Up, Allied Groups Plan National Day of Action, Activating Members to Rally Alongside Workers

By Public Citizen - Common Dreams, October 2, 2023

Environmental, advocacy, consumer, and civil society groups, including Public Citizen, Labor Network for Sustainability, Greenpeace USA, Jobs with Justice, Sunrise Movement, Democratic Socialists of America,, Working Families Party, Evergreen Action, and Green New Deal Network, today announced plans for a national day of action on October 7, aimed at supporting striking auto workers and urging the Big Three automakers—Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis—to meet the demands of 150,000 members of the United Auto Workers (UAW).

Participating groups will rally their supporters to advocate alongside UAW members for a fair contract that protects worker rights and prioritizes workers in the United States as the vehicle fleet transitions towards electric vehicles.

“The transition to EVs must not be a race to the bottom that exacerbates harm to workers and communities,” said Erika Thi Patterson, auto supply chain campaign director for Public Citizen’s Climate Program. “We need a just transition to EVs that protects our planet and people. That’s why 130+ groups representing millions of people are ready to partner with UAW in a national day of action to stand with auto workers. The implications of this strike could drastically raise standards across the auto industry and broader supply chain.”

The national day of action, planned for October 7, 2023, will mobilize members and grassroots activists to attend active picket lines where UAW members are on strike, and to join the UAW’s nationwide “community canvass,” where advocates will offer the public informational leaflets about why they support the auto workers in front of Big Three auto dealerships.

“Now is a decisive moment in whether the Green New Deal’s promise of creating millions of good-paying, union jobs will be fulfilled–or not.” said Sydney Ghazarian, a Labor Network for Sustainability organizer who has been coordinating UAW solidarity work. “UAW’s fight for an economically and socially just EV transition is our fight too.”

The Militancy of the UAW Strike Forced Joe Biden to Take a Side and Walk the Picket Line

By Nick French - Jacobin, September 26, 2023

Today President Joe Biden traveled to Detroit to join members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) on the picket line in their strike against the Big Three automakers. The move was Biden’s strongest signal of support yet, after a number of more equivocal statements about the ongoing contract dispute. He is the first sitting US president in history to walk a picket line.

Biden’s transportation secretary, Pete Buttigieg, declared that Biden went to Detroit because he is “deeply pro-worker.” One might doubt Buttigieg’s assessment, given that — despite Biden’s admirably pro-labor National Labor Relations Board — the president intervened to stop railworkers from striking over eminently reasonable demands less than a year ago and has so far been content to fund a transition to electric vehicles (EVs) with little regard for workers. (Buttigieg himself went on to qualify his statement: the president, he says, wants “the auto sector to succeed as well” and is “pushing the parties to get to a win-win deal that does right by workers.”)

In any case, to look at Biden’s decision as simply reflecting his personal commitments is to miss the bigger picture. Biden is looking toward reelection, Michigan is a crucial swing state, and the president and his team almost certainly feel a trip to the UAW picket line will be a boon to his electoral odds. And considering union favorability is at an all-time high and a majority of Americans support the UAW walkout, they’d be right to think so.

The UAW Strike with Jane Slaughter

Employment Creation through Green Locomotive Manufacturing at Wabtec’s Erie, Pennsylvania Facility

By Alex Press - Jacobin, June 24, 2023

On the evening of June 22, members of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) crowded into Iroquois High School to vote on whether they would accept what their boss was offering them. They are employed by Wabtec (an abbreviation of Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies Corporation), at a four-million-square-foot locomotive manufacturing plant in Lawrence Park, on the east side of Erie, Pennsylvania.

Lawrence Park was built by General Electric (GE), which ran the plant for more than a century before the company spun off its $4-billion-a-year transportation arm in 2019, transferring ownership to Wabtec. The area still feels like a company town: the roughly four thousand residents are tied to the plant in countless ways, and UE signs dot Lawrence Park’s Main Street, affixed to telephone poles and stuck in front lawns.

At Iroquois High, the members of UE Local 506 and Local 618 (the latter consists of the plant’s clerical employees whose jobs have not been eliminated by automation, now numbering in the single digits) were voting on Wabtec’s last, best, and final offer for a new four-year contract. They struck for nine days to win that first contract in 2019, defeating some of Wabtec’s most egregious proposals but giving up certain provisions they had enjoyed under GE, some of which they hoped to win back during the current negotiations. The company’s 1,400 workers have now been without a contract since June 10, when that first contract expired.

Months of bargaining failed to produce a tentative agreement, and the company’s actions only increased the workers’ frustration. Hours before the contract expired, Wabtec informed Local 506 president Scott Slawson that it was considering permanently subcontracting out 275 union jobs, which members read as a threat. That interpretation was only confirmed when the company then told Slawson on June 20 that it would rescind that move should the workers accept the offer.

BPRA: A Win in the Fight for a Green New Deal

How to Win a Green New Deal in Your State

By Ashley Dawson - The Nation, May 11, 2023

New York passed a publicly funded renewable energy program. This is how DSA did it—and how you can too.

New York just became the first US state to pass a major Green New Deal policy. After four years of organizing, the Build Public Renewables Act (BPRA) is now in the New York state budget. Passage of the act is a massive challenge to fossil fuel hegemony and a major victory for public power.

The BPRA authorizes and directs the state’s public power provider—the New York Power Authority (NYPA)—to plan, build, and operate renewable energy projects across the state to meet the ambitious timetable to decarbonize the grid mandated by the Climate Act of 2019. The NYPA, the largest public utility in the country, provides the most affordable energy in the state, but until now, it has been prohibited from building and owning new utility-scale renewable generation projects because of lobbying by profit-seeking private energy companies.

How did we win passage of this plan to start a publicly funded renewable energy program?

The Public Power NY movement began in late 2019 with a campaign organized by the eco-socialist working group of the NYC Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) against a rate hike request from the private utility ConEd. According to a 2018 report from the US Energy Information Administration, ConEd was already charging the second-highest residential rates of any major utility in the country (nearly double the national average), and now they wanted to raise electricity rates an additional 6 percent and gas rates by 11 percent.

To thwart this request, the Public Power campaign did intensive research into the for-profit utility’s recent history and found that though ConEd was making a billion dollars per year in profits, it had threatened to shut off power for 2 million low-income New Yorkers in 2018. Moreover, ConEd had failed to carry out grid upgrades that it had received $350 million to perform, a failure that left the power grid in an increasingly unstable state.

'Big Win': New York to Build Publicly Owned Clean Energy, Electrify New Buildings

By Julia Conley - Common Dreams, May 2, 2023

"A better world is possible," said campaigners who pushed for the passage of the Build Public Renewables Act. "And we are building it."

Climate campaigners in New York were credited on Tuesday with pushing Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul and the state Legislature to include in the state budget "historic" provisions that will build publicly owned renewable energy and end the use of fossil fuels in new buildings—without a loophole allowing municipalities to opt out of the requirement.

The budget, hammered out in recent days in talks between the governor and the leaders of the Legislature as advocates refused to back down from their demands for far-reaching climate measures within the deal, includes the Build Public Renewables Act (BPRA), which was secured "through four years of organizing across the state by thousands of [Democratic Socialists of America members], the Public Power NY coalition, and more," said the NYC-DSA Ecosocialist Working Group.

"This text is the biggest Green New Deal win in U.S. history," said the group. "A better world is possible. And we are building it."


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