The State Of The Labor Movement, Part 1: Assessing The Situation

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Outside of Occupy Wall Street, I think the biggest change for the positive in the realm of political activism I've seen in the past few years is in the area of labor. Even before I started writing the labor beat at Crooks and Liars, I noticed unions doing more to reach out to activists and bloggers, working together more and finding new ways to deal with the political landscape in an era when Republicans and corporations are doing everything they can, it seems, to kill the labor movement. But working families and their allies have been fighting back harder than I've seen since I've been paying attention to politics.

So to help that movement go further along, I want to start a series of posts taking a deeper look at unions and their activism, both locally and across the nation. I'm going to contact the unions individually and ask them a series of questions digging into what they've been doing, what successes and failures they've had, and what challenges they see both for themselves and for the rest of the movement.

Before I get started, though, I need your help. I want to make sure that I get the full range of topics in my question list so I'm asking you for ideas on what topics I should ask them about so we don't leave anything important out and don't leave any stone unturned if it should be turned. So, in comments, let me know what topics you think I should be asking about. Here are the types of things I was thinking of at this point:

  • Recent successes
  • Recent failures
  • Lessons learned from recent activity
  • The state of the particular union and the field(s) it represents
  • Biggest issues they face in their field
  • The state of the labor movement in general
  • Commitment to and actions towards diversity (gender, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, etc.)
  • Biggest challenges they face
  • Biggest enemies that are coming after them
  • Biggest allies they have worked with in recent years
  • What tools they need to succeed
  • What allies can do to help them
  • What they are doing to help allies
  • What is the next area they think the other side will attack on
  • What do they think the future holds

    What else should I be thinking about and asking about?

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