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In the first part of a new Overtime series we dive into the history of rank and file movements that arose during the crises of the 1970s. The 70s were the beginning of the long decline of unionism in the US, but this decline did not happen without worker opposition. In every major union there were workers who refused to accept concession-filled contracts from sellout leadership and took resistance into their own hands. These movements, even where they were not successful, hold many valuable lessons for those of us who want to rebuild the labor movement today. Based primarily on the excellent collection of essays, Rebel Rank and File: Labor Militancy and Revolt from Below During the Long 1970s, this series will explore how we can improve our own movements for reform based on the struggles of the 70s. In our first episode, we introduce the economic and political background to the period and discuss rank and file movements in the United Farm Workers and the United Mine Workers of America. Future episodes will cover the CWA, the UAW, the Teamsters, and more!
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