Bread & Roses is proud to announce our slate of six socialist organizers for the Democratic Socialist Labor Commission (DLSC) steering committee. The slate includes
- Anthony Downing (Lehigh Valley) is a former factory floor leader and strike captain now working as a staff organizer for SEIU Healthcare PA.
- Ashley Payne (East Bay) is an SEIU 1021 chapter first vice president and a member of 1021’s Committee on Political Education and the Contra Costa County CLC. She is co-chair of East Bay DSA’s Racial Solidarity Committee.
- J.P. Kaderbek (Chicago) is a Teamsters shop steward. He has served on the Chicago DSA executive committee and helped grow its labor branch.
- K.T. Liberato (Philadelphia) is a full-time railroad maintenance and construction worker and the elected president of Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Local 3012 (a division of the Teamsters).
- Laura Gabby (New York City) has been a rank-and-file carpenter for eight years. She is the first woman elected to the executive board of Local 157, the largest Carpenters local in the country, and the chair of NYC-DSA’s labor branch.
- Rebecca Garelli (Phoenix) is a cofounder and lead organizer of Arizona Educators United (AEU)/#RedforEd. She was instrumental in organizing the educators’ campaign that culminated in a six-day strike and a 75,000-person march on the state’s capitol in 2018.
We are committed to rebuilding and supporting the labor movement because unions are society’s primary engine of explicit and continuous class struggle and because only a united multiracial working class can defeat capitalism.
As we carry out the labor resolutions DSA’s convention passed in 2019, we want to focus on five areas of work.
Position Socialists in the Rank and File
- Helping chapters survey and map their local labor conditions to identify organizing opportunities and encourage socialists to enter strategic sectors, such as logistics or teaching
- Encouraging and facilitating socialists to take union jobs
- Educating DSA members about the rank-and-file strategy
- Providing ongoing support for DSA members in the labor movement with training such as Labor Notes Troublemakers Schools and by supporting activists in seeking union office to transform their unions
- Collaborating with YDSA chapters to encourage high school and college students to consider rank-and-file union jobs
- Facilitating communication of socialists within industries to coordinate organizing within and across regions
- Encouraging democratic unions to initiate unionization drives to grow the labor movement and supporting DSA members who are organizing their workplaces
Build Strong Labor Formations
Labor formations (local branches or committees) are where the day-to-day labor organizing will occur. This is where DSA members will get support, get political and labor education, and plug into labor organizing.
- Facilitate creation of labor committees, branches, or working groups to serve as a home base for carrying out the DSLC’s priorities
- Create a national communication network so labor formations can coordinate across chapters, regions, industries, and sectors
- Help labor formations to assist with mapping and surveying DSA’s membership in the labor movement and help chapters to define organizing targets and pick priorities
Establish a Socialist Labor Education Program
By and large, the socialist and labor movements operate separately from one another without much overlap in membership. It is essential that socialists rebuild that historical connection. To do that, our members need to understand how today’s labor movement functions so we can organize strategically, on the shop floor, at the bargaining table, and in the streets.
- Continue to create pamphlets like the “Why Socialists Should Become Teachers” for other strategic industries
- Create a Speakers Bureau. The DSLC will find speakers who are knowledgeable and make it easy for chapters to connect with them.
- Create pamphlets on the rank-and-file strategy and on organizing the unorganized
- Help local labor formations to provide ongoing trainings such as the Labor Notes “Secrets of a Successful Organizer” series or trainings on how to inoculate coworkers against anti-union messaging during unionization drives
Labor Solidarity Organizing
Establish guidance for local labor formations on how to mobilize DSA members to support union organizing efforts, contract campaigns, and especially strikes. The DSLC can support labor solidarity campaigns by:
- Creating and consolidating graphic design resources online, such as signs and banners, for chapters to use
- Developing a strike solidarity manual, including a picket-line etiquette guide
- Holding national calls for members to share skills from outstanding solidarity efforts
- Creating a pamphlet on how to organize a union in your workplace
Well-organized, militant, democratic, rank-and-file–led unions are best positioned to take up struggles that benefit the entire multiracial working class, including fights for Medicare for All and a Green New Deal. In places where DSA chapters have limited relationships with organized labor or where workers face conditions that constrain their organizing on the shop floor, these campaigns can bring together labor activists to wage class struggle. The DSLC will develop a program for socialist labor activists to run class struggle campaigns, such as
- Organize for Bernie Sanders’s Workplace Democracy Act and to elect Bernie Sanders
- Fight privatization and commodification of the public sphere
- Organize for demands like Medicare for All, Green New Deal, immigrant rights, reproductive rights, and more
- Develop socialist labor leaders to run for public office and support candidates running class-struggle elections
We look forward to working with other members of the steering committee and the whole DSLC to carry out the ambitious plans we passed at the convention. We have a world to win! To read our full perspective for the DSLC steering committee, click here.