At last count, conservatively speaking, 13.2 million Americans were unemployed, and according to Paul Krugman, we can expect the numbers to keep rising through 2010. The spirit-crushing reality of those figures has led several commentators to pen editorials bemoaning the passive state of the American worker. While laid-off French workers bossnap (kidnap their bosses) and the Chinese Commerce Minister warns of unemployment-related unrest, Americans have exhibited few signs of protest.
Last year, the workers of Republic Windows and Doors successfully brought back the sit-down tactic, providing one of the few sunny spots in the unrelenting gloom that is the American labor movement. The maneuver seems to be catching on as factories close and jobs become vulnerable. Last week, unionized workers at Hartmarx Suits in Chicago -- where Obama gets his impeccably tailored threads -- voted to stage a sit-in if the factory isn’t sold to someone who will preserve their jobs.
The recent judicial and legislative victories for marriage equality in Iowa, Vermont, and soon (possibly) D.C have again brought same-sex marriage to the forefront of the national discourse. Unfortunately, the myopic media focus on the marriage wars has eclipsed every other LGBT issue. Given all the coverage of this topic over the last year, you could be forgiven for thinking that this is the only injustice bedeviling the LGBT community. That simply isn't the case.
Labor studies departments and professors are popular targets for right-wingers, and many academics prefer to avoid the risk and wrath of corporate-connected trustees. That's why Kate Bronfenbrenner is organized labor's go-to professor. She has not backed down from her dizzyingly thorough research, despite having been sued by anti-union corporations for slander and libel (they even demanded that she turn over her research notes).