Josh Eidelson

Josh Eidelson is a freelance writer and a former union organizer. Check out his blog here.

Recent Articles

A De Facto Union

In Wisconsin, organizers are finding it's easier to fight for workers' rights without legal recognition.

(AP Photo/The Green Bay Press-Gazette, H. Marc Larson)
Monday night in Madison, Wisconsin, Sheila Ellis, a union member who works as an office assistant for the state, went knocking on her co-workers' doors. During each visit, Ellis holds up a copy of their union contract. "This no longer exists," she says before asking the worker to "recommit to the union." But given Governor Scott Walker's anti-union law, which went into effect last month, it's not entirely clear what recommitting to the union means. Under the new law, unions can bargain, but only over wages -- and with the precondition that wages rise no faster than the Consumer Price Index. They have no legal standing to negotiate anything else, and they must re-certify the union in a vote every year. But unlike in a political election or in a typical union election, the union would lose this vote unless a majority of all eligible voters showed up to vote "yes" (by this standard, we would have been unable to elect a president in 13 of the last 25 elections, and that's only if everyone...

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