From strike support to training organizers and supporting union drives, DSA members are helping to build a fighting labor movement.

by Indigo Olivier, In These Times

There is a war on the working class in this country and the only way we are going to win is by building an army of organizers,” says Anthony Rosario, a former UPS driver with Teamsters Local 804. He adds: ​And you’re it.”

Rosario is speaking as part of the second annual Red Hot Summer event in late June, organized by the Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA). More than 25,000 people tuned into the six-week labor training and political education series. The event is among a handful of projects spearheaded by YDSA and its parent organization, the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA).

striking sag workers stand outside a building at an intersection

Caitlyn, 23, helped organize the Red Hot Summer program in 2022 as YDSA leaders saw how much interest members had in supporting labor. ​The end of the Bernie [Sanders presidential] campaign morphed into a summer salting project,” she explains. (Caitlyn is now an organizer with Teamsters for a Democratic Union.)

Salts—labor organizers who seek jobs at nonunion workplaces—have traditionally been paid by unions. Lately, DSA has been training salts on a voluntary basis as a means of growing the labor movement and making it more militant. The number of DSA members actively involved in salting has not been disclosed publicly, but a survey shows nearly 2,000 members have expressed interest and DSA has conducted more than 800 one-on-one follow-up calls.

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