Labor Notes

About Labor Notes

Labor Notes is a non-profit organization that has been the voice of union activists who want to "put the movement back in the labor movement" since 1979.

For years, the labor movement has been reeling from an employers' offensive. We now have real lower wages, less job security, and smaller, weaker unions than the previous generation. Employers are turning what used to be good, steady jobs into poorly-paid drudgery, often dangerous and stressful. Some of us work more overtime than we want; others must make due with part-time or temporary jobs.

For the most part, our union leaders are not doing a good job of reversing this trend. Some are on the golf course; other just don't understand that things have changed -- that the old "business-as-usual" way of thinking won't work anymore. Some see the need for major changes, such as new organizing, but don't believe that democracy in our unions is key to making these changes.

Labor Notes believes that if the labor movement is to regain the numbers and the power we have lost in past decades, we must deal with the problems we face. Some of these problems are a result of outside influences, but some are our movement's own failings.

What We Do

The magazine

Labor Notes is best known for our monthly magazine of the same name. The magazine reports news about the labor movement that you won't find anywhere else: news that the mainstream media doesn't find worth printing...and news about grassroots labor activity or problems facing the labor movement that top union leaders don't want to print.

In Labor Notes, you'll find extensive coverage of the grass roots movements that are working to transform unions into fighting organizations, accountable to members. You'll find reports on innovative organizing tactics and contract campaigns. You'll read how activists in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada are working together to develop international labor solidarity in the face of the North American Free Trade Agreement. And you'll learn how labor-management participation programs -- "quality circles," "team concept," "reengineering" -- are enlisting union officials and some members in management's anti-labor agenda.

Selected articles are available online, along with subscription information.

Books and Pamphlets

Labor Notes books and pamphlets help activists deal with workplace issues. They are a valuable resource to union activists and reps alike. They include A Troublemaker's Handbook 2 and Democracy is Power.


Every two years, Labor Notes holds a national conference that attracts a thousand activists from across the US, Canada, Mexico, and abroad. The purpose of these conferences is to help activists build networks based on common issues. The conferences give a Montana railroad worker the opportunity to compare notes with a Teamster truck driver from Ohio. They allow a California nurse whose job is threatened by workplace "re-engineering" to exchange ideas with the electrical worker in Georgia who faces a similar employer attack in a much different industry.


Labor Notes holds periodic schools on issues such as the team concept. Recently a four-day school on Union Democracy was held and we're planning more! Check our website for announcements of dates and locations.

Articles by Labor Notes