Belabored: How to Bargain for Power, with Jane McAlevey
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Belabored: How to Bargain for Power, with Jane McAlevey

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The wave of unionization continues apace across the United States and elsewhere in the world, but there’s often much less attention paid to the part of the process that comes after the winning of a union election: the bargaining of a contract. It can seem like the hard part is over when the votes are counted, but our guest this week reminds us that the hard part is just beginning. If that sounds daunting, well, Jane McAlevey is here to share her knowledge of how to make that hard part, if not easier, at least to help you succeed. McAlevey is a longtime organizer and organizing theorist,  the founder of the massively popular online trainings, Organizing for Power, supported by the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, and the author and co-author of several books and many reports and articles on the art of worker organizing. Her newest book, with Abby Lawlor, is titled Rules to Win By: Power and Participation in Union Negotiations, and she joins us to talk about using big, open, democratic bargaining tactics to win major gains at the table and in the contract.

We also check in with Donna Murch of Rutgers AAUP-AFT on the multi-union, 9,000-worker strike at Rutgers University in New Jersey, and hear from Katie Wells on a new report on the conditions of Doordash drivers. And we hear about the firing of a union leader (and former Belabored guest) at Planned Parenthood North Central States, and the junior doctors and nurses’ strikes fighting to save the British National Health Service.

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This season of Belabored is supported in part by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.



Daniel Han, ‘Pissed off’: Rutgers unions mull resuming strike amid mounting frustration over finalizing contractPolitico

Noah Lanard, Why Rutgers Faculty Are Striking for the First Time in 257 YearsMother Jones

Sarah, “Injury to All” at Rutgers UniversityDissent

Katie Wells and Isabella Stratta, The Instant Delivery Workplace in D.C., Beeck Center

Michelle, Transcript: Courier Class War, with Antonio SolisDissent

Anne Rumberger, Abortion Rights Are Workers’ RightsJacobin 

Sarah and Michelle, Belabored: Game Workers Unite and Win, with Emma KinemaDissent

Sarah and Michelle, Belabored: Reproductive Justice Is Labor JusticeDissent

Dan Zahedi, Junior Doctors Will Fight as Long as It TakesTribune

George Walker, Nurses Tell of Disappointment With Latest NHS Pay OfferNovara

Aubrey Allegretti, Denis Campbell, Kiran Stacey, and Jamie Grierson, Nurses will strike again in England after voting to reject government pay dealGuardian


Jane McAlevey

Organizing for Power

Jane McAlevey, Getting to Contract: Negotiating and Winning Against the OddsThe Nation

Sarah, After a Union Election Victory Comes the Hard PartThe Progressive


Sarah Jaffe is the author of Necessary Trouble: Americans in Revolt (Nation Books).

Michelle Chen is a con­tribut­ing writer at In These Times and The Nation, a con­tribut­ing edi­tor at Dis­sent and a co-pro­duc­er of the ​“Bela­bored” pod­cast. She stud­ies his­to­ry at the CUNY Grad­u­ate Cen­ter. She tweets at @meeshellchen.

Co-published with Dissent Magazine.

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