…labor cannot simply rely on protests and petitions. Those are helpful and necessary, for sure. But for labor to truly recapture the full momentum of the public behind its fight for the middle class, labor has to rediscover the strike. Additionally, only when all unions join together behind their brothers and sisters who are striking and strike with them will the fight for the middle class begin to turn the tide against the forces seeking to destroy the American dream.
Fifty years ago this month, striking printers shut down seven New York City newspapers. The strike would last for 114 days and helped to kill four of those newspapers. “This was an absolutely unnecessary strike,” recalls Tom Wolfe, who worked for the doomed Herald Tribune. Deep down it was about technological disruption—a foreshadowing of dislocations that roil the newspaper industry in our own time. As a newspaper town, New York was never the same again.