GLRC presents a talk by labour organizer Jane McAlevey

The Global Labour Research Centre will present a talk on Dec. 1 titled “No Shortcuts: Organizing for Power in the New Gilded Age” with author Jane McAlevey.

The event takes place at the United Steelworkers Hall, 25 Cecil St., Toronto from 7 to 10pm.

global-labour-mcaleveyMcAlevey is the author of No Shortcuts: Organizing for Power in the New Gilded Age, and Raising Expectations and Raising Hell: My Decade Fighting for the Labor Movement and during the talk she will investigate the reasons behind the recent failures of unions, and lay out a way forward for the progressive movement.

Income inequality has reached levels not seen since the 1920s. Labour unions’ membership is in decline, and popular opinion has turned against them. Promising movements like Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter lack an organized base, and therefore are unable to build the power to effect meaningful change. Why do progressives in the United States keep losing on so many issues, and what is to be done?

McAlevey, an experienced community, electoral, and labour organizer, presents a dozen case studies of unions and social movements seeking to effect change in the 21st century. As she analyzes each case, she identifies the reasons for the movement’s success or failure. Progressives can win, McAlevey argues, but lack the organized power to enact significant change, to outlast their bosses in labor fights, and to hold elected leaders accountable. No Shortcuts shows that what victorious movements have in common is the use of grassroots mass organizing rather than the top-down strategies such as advocacy that have recently gained favor.

McAlevey is a postdoctoral fellow in the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School.

Discussants at the event include Stephanie Ross, School of Labour Studies, McMaster University, and Michal Rozworski, OCUFA, and blogs at Political Eh-conomy.

The event is sponsored by Centre for Social Justice, Global Labour Research Centre at York University, Socialist Project, York University Departments of Geography, Social Science, Political Science.

For more on the event, visit the Facebook page.