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Union Democracy Review

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Articles from Union Democracy Review online

Internet exclusives
Can staff unionism advance the cause of union democracy? Guillermo Perez interviews Herman Benson (full version)

Internet Free Speech:
Appeals court backs union curbs on the internet

Action proposal:
To end the employers' arbitrary "right to reject" -- Electricians press IBEW to defend union hiring halls.

Benson's Union Democracy Blog:
New constiutions for UNITE-HERE and for NUHW: Calling for democracy; resisting authoritarianism
SEIU raw power is replacing falling moral authority
When hailing Trumka, remember Yablonski!

AUD Conference -- Confronting Corruption in Labor Unions
Herman Benson on corruption in The NYC Central Labor Council(from Building Bridges)
Herman Benson on democratizing the union movement (from Building Bridges)

Selected articles from the current issue of UDR:
IAM Maine shipyard local reminds us: It's hard to resist a repressive trusteeship
IAM election needless. All 20 officers coast in.
In Steel Local 12-369: A woman, and black, it's tough to be local president
A formidable force for reform in the ILA
In Memoriam: Ruth S. Spitz ($100 Plus Club News #116)

Articles from previous issues:

Think of AUD when you write---or rewrite---your will (7/09-8/09)
Steelworker battles for democracy in ILA L. 2038 (7/09-8/09)
Appeals court backs union curbs on the internet (7/09-8/09)
In the Teamsters Union: What's the dollar cost of cruel beatings? (7/09-8/09)
Steve Early reviews views of the labor movement (7/09-8/09)
New stage in super bureaucratization of labor (on Benson's Blog)
Quest for democracy persists inside SEIU (5/09-6/09)
"Continuous standing" = farce in TWU local election(5/09-6/09)
Two views: Recording musicians clash inside the AFM(5/09-6/09)
A case study: Harassing union democracy attorneys(5/09-6/09)
Solidarities forever ($100 Plus Club News) (5/09)
Can local union elections be run more democratically? ($100 Plus Club News) (5/09)
At the SEIU: Harassing dissidents' lawyers, China style (Benson's Blog) (5/09)
Nurses now for sale, barter, and trade. (3/09-4/09)
In the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters: How to eviscerate the LMRDA, but quietly (3/09-4/09)
In the Transit and Transport unions (3/09-4/09)
Interview: Jane LaTour on her Sisters in the Brotherhoods ($100 Plus Club News)(1/09-2/09)
Change to Win is losing it (Benson's Union Democracy Blog)(1/09-2/09)
From now on SEIU = Stern Employees International Union ($100 Plus Club News)(1/09-2/09)
Three major nurses unions unite in AFL-CIO(1/09-2/09)
Rail Workers United off to a highballing start (1/09-2/09)
New democracy battles in Musician's Union (1/09-2/09)

Relentless attack on democracy in the Machinists Union (11/08-12/08)
IAM Local 2339N: Nasty aftermath to a Trusteeship(11/08-12/08)
Free Speech in the SEIU and MEBA?(11/08-12/08)
In The Cause of Union Democracy ($100 Plus Club News 9/08)
Union officers uncomfortable with online free speech(9/08-10/08)
Irony in the CWA(9/08-10/08)
More on labor’s lasting quest for ethical practices(9/08-10/08)
Employer rights and worker deaths in construction (from Benson's Blog)
Reflections on the SEIU Convention in Puerto Rico(7/08-8/08)
Action and inaction in the Operating Engineers(7/08-8/08)
Shorts: ATU 1181, CWA 1034, release time, AFSCME 372, Legal Momentum, Interfaith Worker Justice(7/08-8/08)
Maine shipbuilders protest vs. IAM trusteeship (5/08-6/08)
On the eve of the SEIU Convention(5/08-6/08)
Opposition wins most delegates from big SEIU local(5/08-6/08)
Shorts: hiring hall records; Harbor Herald wins in Longshore Local 333; Peace pipe for Nurses and SEIU?... (5/08-6/08)
On "democratic" centralism: Stern's illusion and democracy's nightmare (from Benson's Blog)
Nurses ask court to back rights in NYS Association(3/08-4/08)
At the Teamsters Independent Review Board(3/08-4/08)
Healthcare leader raps Stern; quits SEIU board(3/08-4/08)
Carpenters Mystery ($100 Plus Club News 3/08)
Interview with John Martin and excerpt from Fault Lines ($100 Plus Club News 3/08)
Four state nurses associations quit AFL-CIO union (1/08-2/08)
Race, gender and unfair hiring in construction: two cases (1/08-2/08)
Black and white can unite vs. construction discrimination (1/08-2/08)
Judge blocks Rail and Sheet Metal union merger

SEIU rearranges 600,000 into mega locals (11/07-12/07)
New York nurses battle over union ties(11/07-12/07)
Can AFL-CIO avoid a RICO suit in ATU L. 1181? (11/07-12/07)
Steel officers instigate reform revolt (11/07-12/07)

Surrendering to the internet: Democrats in spite of themselves? (9/07-10/07)
In Canada: Steelworkers learning facts of democracy....but slowly (9/07-10/07)
Who knows what in the Steelworkers? (9/07-10/07)
New House cuts back on union democracy (9/07-10/07)
The short way to get a union recognized (9/07-10/07)
AUD Advisor says AFL-CIO No Beacon of Labor Press Freedom

Does Canadian labor need an LMRDA? (5/07-6/07)
How to parlay a mere 417 votes into a political fortune (5/07-6/07)
Lesson in democracy from DC37 Retirees Association (5/07-6/07)
DC37 member criticizes AUD on direct elections (5/07-6/07)
Steelworkers L. 645 still charging libel

Operating engineers defend their internet rights (3/07-4/07)
IBEW president Hill upholds Canadian member's rights (3/07-4/07)
Mob ousted, reformers win in ILA Local 1588 (3/07-4/07)
UA 375 hiring hall rule provides for member recourse (3/07-4/07)
A long journey: from fieldhand to "wireman" ($100 Plus Club News 3/07)

How the Ironworkers and Pipefitters rig trusteeships(1/07-2/07)
In Food Workers Local 951: Pressuring witnesses to save a suspect election (1/07-2/07)
IBEW local fights employers' "right to reject"(1/07-2/07)
Confronting corruption charges in Operating Engineers Local 3
Teamster elections: inspiration from the ground up(1/07-2/07)

In Memoriam: Henry Zeiger ($100 Plus Club News 11/06)
On the eve of elections in Musicians Local 802($100 Plus Club News 11/06)
Round 2 in the internet battle in AFSCME DC37(9/06-10/06)
Blocking Carpenters move for more bureaucratic power. ($100 Plus Club News 11/06)
In Detroit: Carpenters corruption is centralized and efficient ($100 Plus Club News 11/06)
Hiring Hall Procedures in the Construction Trades(9/06-10/06)
Railroad workers on the right track for unity(9/06-10/06)
Federal employees can help enforce members' right to know (9/06-10/06)

Text of New DOL rule requiring Federal employee unions to notify members of democratic rights (7/06-8/06)
Once Again, Apathy, Bureaucracy, and Democracy (Benson's Blog)
AUD Conference to assess 50 years of reform effort (7/06-8/06)
Teamster Convention reveals fatal flaw in election rules (7/06-8/06)
In AFSCME DC37: A round in the internet battle (7/06-8/06)
In the International Longshoremen’s Association (7/06-8/06)

Battling corruption in United Transportation Union (5/06-6/06)
NYC schoolbus drivers demand action against indicted officers (5/06-6/06)
Book review: Two contrasting views on union corruption (5/06-6/06)
Don Taylor and Herman Benson exchange on union democracy and Change to Win ($100 Plus Club News #100)
Democracy is alive in Musicians Local 802 ($100 Plus Club News #100)
More on Musicians Local 802 ($100 Plus Club News #101)
Book Review: Poor Workers' Unions ($100 Plus Club News #99)

Danger of democracy on the internet? Kill it!(3/06-4/06)
DOL challenges close election in Foodworkers L 951(3/06-4/06)
New reform group shaping up in DC37, New York(3/06-4/06)
Letter to the editor: dislikes our elevator story (3/06-4/06)

Results of 2005 AUD Best Rank-and-File Website Contest (online version)(1/06-2/06)
Whose "IBEW" is it? An Electrician on the Internet.(online version)(1/06-2/06)
ATU international refuses to oust Local 1181 officers accused of mob domination(1/06-2/06)
The eternal quest for fair hiring in construction(1/06-2/06)
Chicago Elevator Constructors battle to retain election gains (1/06-2/06)

Union democracy online survives two lawsuits(11/05-12/05)
In the Operating Engineers (IUOE)(11/05-12/05)
Last year's scandal hangs over next Plumbers convention(11/05-12/05)
District Council 37 union delegates reject proposal for direct election of Council officers(9/05-10/05)
Update: Still Subverting Union Democracy in 2005(9/05-10/05)
100 DC 37 Pickets Demand One Member, One Vote!(9/05-10/05)
Reform breakthrough in Ohio Operating Engineers Local 18
Fifty-two playing cards = fearsome "Local 52"
A fine feud with no fighting! (on Benson's Blog)
SEIU pulls plug on "Future of Labor" discussion online
At the Carpenters Union convention in Las Vegas (Oct. 05)
One Person One Vote on AFSCME DC37 delegates agenda (Oct. 05)
IATSE showdown in Waikiki(7/05-8/05)
Feds file suit vs. rackets in ILA longshore union(7/05-8/05)
Battling Corruption in the ILA: a partial chronology(7/05-8/05)
Top Plumbers international officers expelled(7/05-8/05)
Action in Operating Engineers locals 18 and 66(7/05-8/05)
AFL-CIO split poses the question: must Labor bureaucratize to organize? (Benson's Blog)
Social Security office attack on AFGE splits union leaders(5/05-6/05)
Insurgent victory in ATU 241(5/05-6/05)
Notice to federal employees re: the CFC(5/05-6/05)
ACLU & Public Citizen sue in IBEW Local 46 election(5/05-6/05)
A glimpse at labor's projected future (on Benson's Blog)
How the Sweeney camp ignores its own first principle (on Benson's Blog)
Two letters on direct elections in AFSCME DC37
(May 05)
How I Became a Union Democracy Activist
(May 05)
Harvey for TDU Charges Teamster IRB Coddles Top Hoffa Aide (3/05-4/05)
If you can't woo 'em, sue 'em! -- An ingenious twist in punishing dissent in the SEIU (3/05-4/05)
NY Postal Union needs a lesson in democracy (3/05-4/05)
IATSE Local 798 Update(3/05-4/05)
LMRDA 105: "Dear Mr. that you care!" (3/05-4/05)
Making a splash: SEIU's Unite to Win (1/05-2/05)
Matt Noyes on AUD and the Internet ($100+ Club News, March 05)
Focusing the AFL-CIO debate: Bureaucracy vs Democracy (1/05-2/05)
Rank and file give IATSE 798 and extreme makeover(1/05-2/05)
Will the DOL permit unions to evade secret ballot elections?(1/05-2/05)
Federal unions must let their members know(1/05-2/05)
AUD's brief to the Department of Labor(1/05-2/05)
UA's Maddaloni and Patchell Ousted ($100+ Club News, January 05)
Interview with UA reformer Frank Natalie ($100+ Club News, January 05)

Reform movement spreads in the ILA Longshore union(11/04-12/04)
Local 509 asks questions about democracy in the SEIU(11/04-12/04)
In quest of democracy at Amalgamated Transit Convention(11/04-12/04)
Screen Actors Guild officers unnerved by actors' internet free speech(11/04-12/04)

Longshore workers nearly defeat master contract (9/04-10/04)
FAQ on court supervision of the ILA(9/04-10/04)
MASS merger in SEIU Local 888(9/04-10/04)
RISE uncovers corruption before its demise(9/04-10/04)
IATSE 600: Internet democracy triumphs over super centralization(9/04-10/04)
Divided appeals court denies Carpenters direct election (9/04-10/04)

The fall of RISE in the Teamsters Union (6/04 - 8/04)
A double miscalculation ended RISE(6/04 - 8/04)
Dockers campaign against ILA master contract(6/04 - 8/04)
ATU drivers win two week strike(6/04 - 8/04)
Court forces Ironworkers to democratize its constitutions(6/04 - 8/04)
Court deals setback for democracy in Carpenters union (internet only 7/04)

Reformers win big in California State Employees Association (1/04-3/04)
What happened in Iowa and New Hampshire? (1/04-3/04)
Laborers Local 78: Local wins contract, but insurgents take the election. (1/04-3/04)
Who will police the Longshoremen's ethics code? (1/04-3/04)
UAW Public Review Board, a sometime deterrent (1/04-3/04)
Leadership overturned in National Writers Union (1/04-3/04)
The RISE program: trying to discuss Teamster reform at a Cornell University forum (1/04-3/04)

Results of AUD rank-and-file website contest (special 2/04)
Letter to Carpenters on the fight for direct elections (special 2/04)
AUD Brief opposing a stay of judge's order in Harrington v. Chao (special 2/04)

The New Unity Partnership: Sweeney critics would bureaucratize to organize (11/03-12/03)
Free speech under attack from within in the National Writers Union, UAW 1981 (11/03-12/03)
Victory for union democracy:
Carpenters win right to elect regional council officers
(with judge's decision and order to the DOL)(11/03-12/03)

Student labor activists support union democracy(9/03-10/03)
Can the IBT police itself?(9/03-10/03)

The Transmogrification of Teamsters Local 854
SAG members nix merger with AFTRA

Electricians rally at international union headquarters.(5/03-6/03)
ILA Baltimore local threatened with trusteeship(5/03-6/03)

DOL's proposed LM report form a mixed bag

The DOL: arbitrary and capricious by nature (3/03-4/03)
Nine years without a contract in ILA Lake Charles Local (3/03-4/03)
Extra: IBEW members to rally to take back the union
. (3/03-4/03)

UAW Toledo Local 12 forced to end ban on petitions (1/03-2/03)
New voices at AUD construction trades conference (1/03-2/03)

IBEW delegates demand due process in hiring (10/11 2002)
Is Teamsters Union safe for dissenters? An exchange. (10/11 2002)
Using the Internet for Union Democracy (10/8/02)

For union democracy in action, watch NYC public employees (8/9 2002)
Reformers win majority in harbor workers local 333, ILA (8/9 2002)

AFSCME DC37: reform fails the test (6/7 2002)
At the UAW Public Review Board (6/7 2002)

Can union democracy coexist with union conglomeration?
(4/5 2002)
Free speech irritates UFCW (4/5 2002)
AUD at Charleston ILA meeting (News 4/02)

Court orders Plumbers and Fitters to remove anti-democratic rule
(press release 3/02)
Court challenges DOL on Carpenters Regional Council (press release 3/02)
The "politics" of DOL enforcement 2/3 2002
Charleston Longshore unions win major victory 2/3 2002
California State Employees fight to stay in SEIU 2/3 2002

The vindication of Ron Carey
12/1 2001-2002
Carpenters reformers win in New England 12/1 2001-2002

Suspect BLE-UTU referendum blocked by federal court 10/11 2001
Are all insurgents good? Incumbents, all bad? 10/11 2001

"Charleston Longshore workers lead battle for reform."
8/9 2001
"Some unions hate to say, "you have rights." 8/9 2001
"Coming out for union democracy: AUD at Pride at Work" 8/9 2001

"Section 105 update: are unions complying?
" 6/7 2001
"Court strikes down ATU restrictive rule." 6/7 2001

"More about that continuous good standing rule."
4/5 2001
"Pipefitters win points in battle for democracy." 4/5 2001

"In Canada: Auto Workers and Carpenters leave U.S. internationals" 3/2001
"Democracy runs express in NYC Transit election" 3/2001
"Darwinian selection produces a monster" by Herman Benson, (with cartoon on election rules)12/1 2000

"Snapshots from the IBEW" 12/1 2000

"Women's Project launches Operation Punch List"
by Jane Latour. 10/11 2000
"Reformers jolt Carpenters convention" by Mike Orrfelt. 10/11 2000
"Long struggle pays off: judge orders IAM to inform members of rights"  10/11 2000

"Consolidation in the Construction Trades"
by Leon Rosenblatt. 8/9 2000

"Carpenters Form National Reform Group"
on the founding conference of CDUI. 3/4 2000
"The Fox and the Chicken Coop" -- comments on the proposed Teamsters Ethics Code. 3/4 2000
"Some Modest Proposals for a Teamster Code" 3/4 2000
"Let Your People Know!"--about Section 105 of the LMRDA requiring unions to inform members of their rights under the law. 3/4 2000

Legal Rights and Organizing
Legal Rights and Organizing:
homepage of this section, list of links below.

Request help
a guide to information on this site and a form to use to ask for advice, information, and assistance from AUD.

Questions and Answers about Legal Rights and Organizing: practical advice about your rights in the union and on the job: elections, grievances, contracts, finances, and more.

About the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA):the law that protects your rights in the union.

The Union Members' Bill of Rights: 
Free Speech and Due Process, Reporting Requirements, Trusteeships, Elections, Fiduciary Duties, Constitutions and Bylaws, Notification of Rights.

The Complete Text of the LMRDA: get the law word for word, with links to AUD's summary.

Enforcement & Organizing: how to get your democratic rights in practice.

How to get an honest union election: excerpts from the AUD booklet, and a few guidelines.

Your Job, Your Rights: an introductory pamphlet on grievances and fair representation.

The Painters Union 1962-1972 (Chapter 5 of Rebels, Reformers, and Racketeers)

Democracy on the waterfront. Articles and resources for members of the International Longhoremen's Association.

Construction Trades:hiring hall rights, getting information, women in building trades unions.

Women in 'non-traditional' trades: organizing and legal rights for union women and their allies.

Sample Letters:to get a copy of the contract or bylaws, file a grievance, run for union office and more.

Is your union in compliance with Section 105 of the LMRDA?: see what you can do to enforce the law.

Get your Union's LM-2 annual financial report here.

AUD handouts you can print and distribute:
Basic Democratic Rights of Rank and File Union Members; Cuatro Derechos Basicos de los/las Trabajadores/as Dentro de la Unión; Cyberdemocracy: your legal rights online; Checklist for Democratic Organizing; Organizing for Women's Issues; Where to File Complaints.

Mentoring for Lawyers: contact us to get advice or mentoring from leading union democracy attorneys.


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Where applicable, sales tax is included in all purchases (at no additional cost to you).
AUD is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Contributions to AUD are tax-deductible except for the first $30 a year, (because you receive a subscription to Union Democracy Review). To see AUD's Form 990 Tax Return visit

Books available from AUD include: Rebels, Reformers and Racketeers: how insurgents transformed the labor movement; Democratic Rights for Union Members; How to Get and Honest Union Election; The Manual for Survival for Women in Non-traditional Jobs; A Troublemaker's Handbook; Legal Rights of Union Stewards; Running for Union Office, and more.

Back issues and bound volumes of Union Democracy Review

AUD t-shirts: "Union Democracy for a Strong Labor Movement."

Order Offline
: how to pay, discounts, shipping. Discounts also available for bulk orders.

Organize those papers! Your own papers may become part of labor history. This brochure explains (pfd format).

Union Democracy Worker Education Project
Mission Statement
and Background of the Union Democracy Worker Education Project.

Upcoming events sponsored by AUD.

AUD Workshops, Conferences and Classes: education and organizing assistance for rank and file union members, reform groups, officers, and activists available from AUD.

Talleres en español
/Spanish Language Workshops and classes.

Register here
for AUD workshops, classes and conferences.

Set up an AUD workshop
for your group or local, in a town near you.

Our method:
how we use popular education for union democracy; with a short bibliography.

Sample activities
: an example from our work with union members.

Resources and links
for worker educators.

Education FAQs: questions and answers about the Union Democracy Worker Education Project

AUD Links:

Rank & File Groups

AUD Blogroll

Women Workers Organizations

Legal Resources and Government Agencies

Other Labor Websites and Publications

Official Union Websites, Workers Centers, Independent Unions

AUD's Rank-and-File Feeds (offsite)

Build an effective rank-and-file website: an AUD guide with a sample homepage and 50 points.

See also:

AUD's Best Rank-and-File Website Contest 2005

"Best Rank-and-File Websites 2004"

"Using the Internet for Union Democracy"


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