Statement from Caleb W. IN FAVOR of the resolution:
I have been involved with the chapter since 2019, almost exclusively through the Labor Working Group. I have also served as a co-chair of the LWG for the past two cycles. In this time, we have seen growth in the general public’s interest in “labor issues” however that’s defined, the emergence of exciting campaigns such as the ones at Amazon and Starbucks, and staggering progress towards a more militant US labor movement. It is crucial that the chapter (a) makes every effort to ensure the labor movement’s success at this juncture (b) takes advantage of the upswell to strengthen ourselves. On both counts, designating Labor as a priority will be a vital first step. I am extremely confident in the Working Group’s absorptive capacity to take full advantage of the priority role, both because we have succesfully served as a priority campaign for the past two cycles and because 2023 will see an all-star cast with strong experience as labor activists and DSA leaders take over as co-chairs. I urge all members to vote YES on Labor’s priority status!
Statement from Janette C. IN FAVOR of the resolution:
Greetings comrades, my name is Janette Zahia Corcelius (she/her/habibti). I am a chair of the Metro DC DSA Labor Working Group and on the DSA Labor SC. I am calling on my comrades to vote in favor of the LWG as a priority campaign! The Labor Working Group organizes with workers (including DSA members) from across the region to fight the boss, build new unions, strengthen existing ones through reform caucuses/opposition caucuses, and turn out comrades for solidarity actions. Organizing the working class in their workplaces– whether through traditional collective bargaining, pre-majority unionism, worker centers, or other types of organizations– is central to socialist theory and praxis. Especially here in the DMV– unions are diverse working-class organizations that build multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-generational solidarity through collective action for community transformation. Our ultimate goal is to win material benefits for the working class. Our biggest success this year was the passage of Initiative 82. Despite opposition from the restaurant industry and errors by the DC Board of Elections that forced us to rewrite our campaign timeline, this chapter-wide effort achieved a major victory for workers in the district. Not only did I82 win far more YES votes than its predecessor I77, several areas of the District that voted NO on I77 shifted to YES on I82. 53 chapter members gathered ~1,500 signatures in the bitter cold and knocked 18,000 doors to ensure I82’s passage. Our media campaign was also a major factor in the overall campaign’s success. As folks may know, the national DSA Labor priorities are SBWU and the impending UPS Teamsters strike and Amazon organizing. The UPS strike will start in August of 2023. We supported walkouts at Amazon this year. We are supporting existing members of the Teamsters and connecting them with the reform caucus, TDU (Teamsters of a Democratic Union) and organizing folks to take jobs in targeted industries such as UPS to get ready for that strike. For SBWU: we supported Starbucks workers with sip-Ins, rallies and marching on picket lines. We supported successful SBWU union drives at Starbucks locations in Arlington, Ashburn, Leesburg, Merrifield, Sterling, DC, and Olney. In addition to Starbucks stores unionizing, we are currently supporting La Colombe with UFCW Local 400. In addition to the national campaign priorities: we effectively mobilized chapter members to support unions and workers, turning out folks in support for the picket lines at the Strathmore Theater and strikes against union-busting at Union Kitchen. On May 1st, 2021 the Virginia legislature lifted the ban on public sector collective bargaining for local employees. This bill included a stipulation that each locality had to pass a resolution for educators and an ordinance for the general county/municipal workers. We supported educators and other municipal/general county workers in NOVA – specifically Prince William and Fairfax Counties in pushing for strong permissive collective bargaining ordinances and resolutions that will shape future union organizing activity. DSA’s presence has been strong and widely felt by rank-&-file union members and union leaders with NEA, AFT, SEIU, & IAFF local affiliates. We have testified and spoken out at these public hearings in a positive, powerful, and transformative way. This work is not done although we have made great strides! This year the Labor Notes Conference attracted 4,000 attendees, some of which were from our chapter. We are continuing the moment by helping plan quarterly Labor Notes Meetups. We had one on July 31st in Silver Spring, MD and December 4th in Columbia Heights, DC. The next one will be in Virginia. The purpose of the quarter Labor Notes Meetups is to prepare for the DC Area Labor Notes Troublemakers School happening in the summer of 2023. This is a regional training that is held in between and on the off years of the Labor Notes Conference. Labor Notes serves as an avenue to support existing union members who are in a caucus or are interested in creating a reform/opposition caucus. We are continuing to collaborate in an effective and meaningful way with LN. Moving forward into the new year, we intend to support workers employed by the state of Maryland for collective bargaining rights. This push is coming from our members involved with FSE UMD. We will also be supporting unionizing cannabis dispensaries such as Potomac Holistics with UFCW local 400. There is so much more we are doing and will continue to do. Please vote in favor of the LWG as a priority campaign! Peace, Love, Prosperity, & Solidarity: JZC