Unions are absolutely essential for building working-class power. But they’re also often undemocratic. Building a strongly democratic labor movement is a key task for the Left and the labor movement as a whole.
Jonah Furman was the national labor organizer for the Bernie Sanders 2020 campaign and is based in Washington, DC. You can subscribe to his Substack “Who Gets the Bird?” here.
The United Federation of Teachers, New York City’s teachers union, is a massive local that could wield enormous power through striking. But the union hasn’t struck in nearly half a century — even in the face of a deadly pandemic and unsafe schools reopening. Why does the UFT refuse to use its most powerful tactic?