“Unions Are Laboratories of Democracy”: Hamilton Nolan on Joe Biden, Gawker, and the Power of Labor

Vanity Fair   ·   Link to Article

Can you talk about some models of unions that you think the labor movement could learn from?

The culinary union in Las Vegas in particular is a good example of a very disciplined union. They’ve spent 80 years organizing workers. The biggest thing that we can all take from a union like that is that they build political power by building labor power—not the opposite. They don’t give donations to candidates and hope that the candidates will help workers. They go out and organize the workers—and they organize all the workers—and with the power of those workers, they then become a powerful political force, which they can use to help those workers. That basic model of really serious organizing, serious union density, constant internal organizing—meaning you’re always keeping your members engaged with the union and ready to fight—willingness to strike when they need to strike, hard strikes, long strikes, bitter strikes, doing whatever they need to do to maintain that labor power in Las Vegas and making themselves a political force by having the workers first. That is what they do really well.

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