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What #MeToo Can Teach the Labor Movement


What #MeToo Can Teach the Labor Movement

Jane McAlevey

Everyone has to be all-in for rebuilding unions.

Chicago public school teachers and their supporters picket in front of the Chicago Public Schools headquarters on September 11, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)


Excellent piece. We know that economic inequality is a major driver of poor workplace treatment; the calculations that women often make not to speak up are not irrational, unfortunately. I wonder if Ms. MacAlevey or someone else knowledgeable might be able to comment about the #MeToo equivalent movement in Sweden. Apparently, even a country with enviable gender equality laws and union representation in place for decades still faces considerable problems of sexual harassment. Is there something we can learn from them that might shorten the already considerable distance we have to go?


It’s hard to add anything to this piece. It is spot on in so many respects and has so much insight as to the types of difficulties we face. Building unions in a post-industrial economy is essential to so many issues we care about - wage inequality, sexual harassment, health care, voter turnout, oligarchy…


It’s worth noting that in order to get Social Security passed, agricultural and domestic workers—mostly black and many female—were specifically exempted. This needs to be addressed.


I think


can teach the public about Climate Chaos, a truly deadly existential threat, IS NUMBER ONE! Poverty. Racism. Violence to Women and Minorities and Planet Earth is (are) number(s): two through five. Then, maybe Labor.


This may be true, but climate chaos will destroy everything we care about if we don’t build and seize political power. The billionaires are not about to save us from climate chaos. If you want to build political power and take it from the people that are driving civilization over an ecological cliff, this is the way.

Telling people that issues that are primary to them - and that impact their lives on a daily basis - are actually not a priority is not going to win them over.


Our very existence - gone, whoosh, splat - means imminent, non-negotiable, planet-wide “suicide”. Yes, suicide. We the People, are the Moral Majority. A moral movement will not allow one step back from demanding an immediate, worldwide assault at halting planet-killing fossil fuels - or nukes. In historic terms, We the People, the moral compass of our political system, have been shut out and shut down by the SCOTUS’ Citizens United decision. We, even the cable-tv addicts, see the corporate coup in our own capitol! Some serious morality issues need airing. And Pronto! lol That’s why I feel so graced to be alive long enough to see Climate Chaos unveiled as THE THREAT. Not Racism. Not Sexism. Not any “ism”. Oh. Ugh. (Okay “consumerism” really is at the bottom of a possible 6th E.L.E.)

And Reverend William Barber, enter stage front and center, with a few million or so, all totaled, standing at his side: “Berners”. “Greens”. “Black Lives Matter”. “Standing Rock”. “Veterans for Peace”. “Code Pink”. “Nurses United.” “Occupy.” “350 Dot Org”. “Silent No More.” “The Poor”. “$15”. And pickin’ up the tune vibrations for the long-haul to end FOSSIL FUELS and NUKES, The “We Be Jahmin’ Reggae and Rockers and Rappers Families”!

If stopping rampant immorality that threatens our babies isn’t an existential, count me as having lost my mind! lol Humanity continuing on with Love. Respect, Honor. Family. Common! Another million or so years at, you know, camping, hiking, dancing, playing outdoors, oaring that canoe on beautiful blue lakes. I won’t quit yelling and ranting. STOP THE INSANITY NOW.


I have never understood how easily the unions disappeared (mostly) once Ronald Reagan made that end run around the Air Traffic Controllers Union. The formation of unions was responsible for creating America’s large middle class. Workers had power when they banded together. What power do non-Union workers have today? None. Everyone is an individual. And who benefits? Managers, executives, Boards of Directors, and shareholders all benefit from making sure their workers do not unionize. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, people who tried to organize unions were in constant danger. So much was at stake that murder and mayhem were mere trifles compared to preventing 5workers from organizing. Ronald Reagan dismantled the unions by making them seem unAmerican. Workers were just greedy.and lazy, undeserving of better wages and working conditions. That became the mantra. Workers turned on each other and where were the Democratic leaders explaining this scam to take away the gains that unions had provided? Quiet. The big political donors could see more profits headed their way if they didn’t have unionized workers. The rise in Income inequality is directly a result of the demise of unions.


“the absurd notion that unions are a thing of the past.”

Much of importance in this piece, though I don’t believe the struggles unions have long faced - whether from the export of industries side or the right wing attacks both inside and outside politics side - can be so simply dismissed.


Excellent article! Thank you! Reminded me of “Women, Know Your Limits”.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LS37SNYjg8w



I disagree. The solutions are all very simple. I hear it all the time from supposed leftists. I think they are watching too much lamestream media. It only gets complicated when the establishment doesn’t want to do what is in the best interest of WE THE PEOPLE! They trot out their “narratives”, and workers side with the people trying to destroy them! I spend more time fighting with employees siding with management. All good ideas to improve working conditions are shot down by the workers who would benefit because they have secret deals with the boss.

No Jane is right. Get behind the nurses! Until we get the asses out of these backrooms, I’m all for them being a pain at the bargaining table. BUT, we need REAL WOMEN to lead not women proving they can do just as much damage as men!


Hey RuseSo,

Sounds like we’re working on some of the same things. I’m a NYC teacher and work w/a progressive caucus of the teacher’s union - the Movement Of Rank and file Educators (MORE - it’s on Facebook) to democratize our undemocratic NYC affiliate of the AFT, the UFT. Don’t know which is worse - members brainwashed w/wrongheaded ideas as in your case, or - as w/the Democratic Party - members passive, ignorant and indifferent due to decades of being left out by ‘business unionism,’ as w/ours.

“I disagree”? Not clear what I wrote that you disagree with…“No Jane is right. Get behind the nurses!”? What did I say or suggest otherwise? As I wrote, I just don’t think U.S. organized labor’s problems are completely of its own making - and, therefore, not easily or simply reparable, as I took the comment I quoted to suggest.

In Solidarity, Have a Nice New Year…


Yes, Hello,

I know. I thought about it later and realized what you were saying. You are right! I am too used to dealing with non thinkers.


Have a nice day and new year!

In Solidarity!