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Joel Rogers | The Nation

Joel Rogers

Author Bios

Joel Rogers

Contributing editor

Joel Rogers, a Nation contributing editor, teaches at the University of Wisconsin, where he directs the Center on Wisconsin Strategy.

Articles

News and Features

The fate of public sector unionism lies with a single Supreme Court justice—and not the one you’d want.

Wisconsin is just one front in ALEC's most recent war against against revenue and labor unions, part of an ongoing mission to privatize everything.

Taming global capitalism is the overriding challenge of our time. Joseph E. Stiglitz, Thea Lee, James K. Galbraith and others offer their ideas on how the United States can transform global capitalism by creating a new social contract.

Urban centers are by their nature spawning grounds of progressive politics.

Progressives urgently need a strategy to take back the states from the GOP.

Jim Weinstein has spent most of his adult life writing about the failures and possibilities of the American left.

John Edwards offers a real program of democratic renewal.

Unions are gradually making fuller use of the Internet's capacities to
improve communication with their own staffs or members. But increasingly
they are also using the web to recruit new members or to establish
"virtual communities" of union supporters in arenas not yet amenable to
the standard collective-bargaining model.

Alliance@IBM (www.allianceibm.org) is an example of an effective
Net-supported minority union, operating without a demonstrated pro-union
majority and without a collective-bargaining contract at a traditional
nonunion company. The alliance provides information and advice to
workers at IBM through the web. A similar effort at a partially
organized employer is WAGE ("Workers at GE," www.geworkersunited.org), which draws on contributions from fourteen cooperating
international unions. The Microsoft-inflected WashTech
(www.washtech.org) and the Australian IT Workers Alliance
(www.itworkers-alliance.org) are open-source unions that are closer to
craft unions or occupational associations. Both are responsive to the
distinctive professional needs of these workers, such as access to a
variety of job experiences and additional formal education, and the
portability of high-level benefits when changing jobs.

The National Writers Union (www.nwu.org), a UAW affiliate, is another
example of a union virtually created off the Net. It provides
information and advice--including extensive job postings--to members,
and it lobbies on their behalf, most spectacularly in the recent Supreme
Court decision it won on freelance worker copyright rights. But most of
its members work without a collectively bargained contract.

In Britain, UNISON (the largest union in the country) and the National
Union of Students have a website that tells student workers their rights
and gives them advice about how to deal with workplace problems
(www.troubleatwork.org.uk). It is a particularly engaging and practical
illustration of how concrete problems can be addressed through Net
assistance.

Finally, for a more geographically defined labor community, take a look
at the website of the King County AFL-CIO (www.kclc.org), the Seattle
central labor council that uses the Net to coordinate its own business,
bring community and labor groups together for discussion and common
action, post messages and general information to the broader community,
and otherwise create a "virtual" union hall with much of the spirit and
dense activity that used to be common in actual union halls in major
cities.

Let's create "open-source unions," and welcome millions into the
movement.

NEW YORK--In the aftermath of September 11, pundits were quick to proclaim the American left a victim of the war on terrorism, for two reasons.