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On the first two parts of this series, we discussed what exactly rank and file organizing is, and how it differs from top down, business unionist organizing methods, and then discussed some historical examples. In this third part of the series, we do a deep dive on two major rank and file movements from the last decade. First we look at the Chicago Teachers Union and the rise of the rank and file caucus, CORE, to leadership over the massive 2012 teachers’ strike. Then we discuss one of the most recent major union drives from the IWW, the Burgerville Workers Union. Both of these drives show the power unions can have when they actually engage and empower the workers themselves to take the reins of their organization and fight for the issues that matter most to them. These, along with the other examples we’ve covered, make a strong case for major unions to embrace rank and file leadership of union drives if they want to rebuild the labor movement.
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