Labor Blog–And What It Means For Us

On this past Monday, Labor Day, Nathan Newman and Jordan Barab fittingly inaugurated a new blog devoted to labor issues. Mr Newman’s work on labor issues is well-known and we’ve referred to it before (Phaedrus in particular has often used Newman as a resource). Mr Barab is new to us–to me, anyway–but he runs another blog, also devoted to labor issues, particularly worker safety, called Confined Space which is a gold mine of information and links.

We may be somewhat later than everyone else in welcoming them to the Resistance–we were working on other things on Labor Day–but our welcome is heartfelt nonetheless. Both Newman and Barab have far larger audiences and get a lot more exposure than we do, so the possibility exists that some of the things we’ve been talking about here will get somewhat wider distribution at last. Let’s hope, anyway.

However, as far as Trenches is concerned, this new wrinkle tends to focus down our goals even more tightly by freeing us from the necessity of following the daily news. Along with working class issues not strictly related to labor–and the usual trenchant commentary, of course–I’m going to try to use that freedom to document corporate abuses, tricks, and scams as they develop and from the horse’s mouth. I’ll also be reporting in-depth on individual cases of workers who have been fired or mistreated by their employers, injured or even killed while on the job. The first of these reports is in preparation now, and I’m hoping it will be ready after the weekend.

These reports are liable to be a good deal longer than you’re used to, and may even be split into several different posts over the course of a week. The idea is to get a clearer picture, from ground-level, of what’s going on with workers in the wake of massive regulatory rollbacks and corporate control of the machinery of govt by concentrating on single incidents and individual stories that shed light on the true overall situation of the working class.

Nobody tells our stories. We have no modern-day Upton Sinclairs or Lincoln Steffins’ galvanizing public opinion with stories, articles, and books in the mainstream press. We are almost never heard, and even on the rare occasions when we are, no one listens. I don’t expect to change that, but I’d sure like to help make us harder to ignore.