Labor Day

Today, let Labor Day serve as a time for socialists to reflect on the efforts of workers in Philadelphia and beyond to build working class power. 

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In 1882, a coalition of socialists and labor activists celebrated the first Labor Day with a march in New York City. A thousand people took to the streets that day calling for better hours, working conditions, pay, and a labor holiday. 

Today, let Labor Day serve as a time for socialists to reflect on the efforts of workers in Philadelphia and beyond to build working class power. 

On Wednesday, for instance, a majority of members of the Philadelphia teachers’ union voted to approve a new tentative contract that would include salary increases for the next three years, as well as a bonus this year and next. And in the past few months, healthcare unions in the city have gone on strike, secured strong new deals, and fought off decertification.

In Buffalo, New York, meanwhile, 50 Starbucks workers publicly announced their union organizing drive late last month. If successful, the Starbucks Workers United would be the first US union at the coffee chain. 

Let’s also remember today how much work there is ahead for organized labor in this country. In 1954, nearly 35 percent of workers were union members. Last year, the union membership rate was below 11 percent. In the year to come, let’s work to boost those numbers—and ensure that existing labor unions are strong for the fights ahead. Read on for more information on how you can support union efforts in Philadelphia today. 

On the calendar
Unless otherwise specified, all events are held via Zoom.

  • Labor Day Cookout! September 5 at 3pm, Lemon Hill Picnic Site #3 in Fairmount Park; Come join DSA for a cookout in the park! We'll provide the grill and grilltables - please bring beverages, sides, and desserts to share. All are welcome, including kids and non-members. RSVP here

  • Marxism Reading Group: What Is to Be Done?, September 8 at 7pm; Discuss Lenin’s most influential writing. Access the readings and RSVP here
  • Housing Committee Meeting, September 9 from 8-10pm; We'll discuss our ongoing tenant organizing through the Stomp Out Slumlords campaign, think through new canvasses for the fall, plan a new housing reading group, and more! RSVP here
  • New Member Meeting, September 12 at 2pm; An introduction to Philly DSA for new members and people thinking about joining the local. RSVP here

View the full calendar

Updates from the branches

Delco DSA

  • September Reading Group: Racecraft, September 9 at 7:30pm; We’ll be reading and discussing an essay published in Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American Life. RSVP here

View all events

BuxMont DSA

  • New Members Meeting, September 3 at 7pm; Talk about our ongoing campaigns & projects, organizational structure, and the many ways that you can contribute to building a democratic socialist future in Bucks & Montgomery counties and beyond. RSVP here
  • Political Education, September 6 at 3pm; Check back for updates on what we’ll be reading and RSVP here

View all events

This week in unions

  • GoPuff drivers, who are classified as independent contractors, are organizing for higher wages.
  • Teachers avert a strike with tentative contract which includes raises and bonuses. 
  • However, there’s still a lot of work to be done around working conditions and building conditions in Philadelphia public schools, so please sign Masterman HSA’s petition demanding that the district tests for environmental hazards, remediates said hazards, and more.
  • The Labor Branch OC wants to encourage everyone to come to the Labor Day Parade on Monday, September 6th. Many of our favorite local unions will be out in force to publicize their contract fights including AFSCME DC 33. We’ll be meeting at 8:15am in front of the Coast Guard building at Washington Avenue and Columbus Blvd.
  • There’s still time to sign the I'll Be There pledge to commit to supporting our city’s union’s during their contract negotiations: “We pledge to show up for workers by phone banking, letter writing, swarming social media, fundraising for strike support, picketing, and more. An injury to one is an injury to all!”

On the Bulletin

  • View the Racial Justice Committee Report 
    • The previous Steering Committee formed a commission in the wake of the George Floyd murder and subsequent uprisings to survey the Philly DSA membership on racial justice, and how best we as a chapter can embody racial justice in our work.
    • This report goes over the history of the Racial Justice Committee, as well as the survey results in full, and our conclusions and next steps. Read it here.
    • The next RJC meeting will be Wednesday, September 15th at 6pm. Stop by as we share any final thoughts on the survey and talk about our upcoming fall work.
  • Emergency Meeting: Eviction Moratorium, September 2 at 8:30pm
    • Join the Housing Justice Commission to talk through the Supreme Court’s decision to end the eviction moratorium and how we can organize against evictions. RSVP here
  • No Contract, No Treats: DSA Call to Support Striking Nabisco Workers, September 5 at 8pm
    • Join this call to learn about Nabisco/Mondelez worker strikes and how to support them in their fight for a fair contract. RSVP here
  • Our Green New Deal for Public Schools campaign is kicking off our petition drive.
  • Harassment and Grievance Process: In accordance with Article XIII of our Bylaws, a commission has been formed to receive, process, and review grievances for disciplinary action. To read more about the process or to file a grievance you can do so here.
  • Support Philly DSA! 

In solidarity,

Philly DSA

“When we can discuss socialism rationally. It will be as if a heavy curtain has been lifted from man’s eyes.” - Ed Asner

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