Born into the political and cultural quiescence of the 1950s, Jon Melrod grew up in apartheid-like Washington, DC. Active in the student movement that opposed the Vietnam War and a supporter of Black liberation, Jon embraced the ideology that the working class held the power to radically transform society. He left the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus for the factory in 1973. For 13 years he immersed himself in the day-to-day struggles of Milwaukee’s working class. Despite FBI surveillance and interference, Jon organized a militant rank-and-file caucus and rose to a top leadership position in UAW Local 72. After a mass workforce cutback, he left to attend Hasting college of law in San Francisco in 1985. Graduating cum laude with a JD, he opened a law firm in San Francisco, successfully representing hundreds of political refugees. His book “Fighting Times: Organizing on the Front Lines of the Class War” recounts his 13-year journey on the shop floor.
On Labor Day, right-wing prognosticators like to revel in the supposed demise of the U.S. union movement. While there may be a kernel of truth in the data – organized labor only represents 6.4%of the private-sector workforce – gross numbers are misleading and don’t begin to show today’s unfolding story of a newly invigorated union […]