Successful union campaigns could raise wages, reduce poverty, and spread democracy in the former Confederacy.

by Tom Conway,

Workers at Blue Bird Corporation in Fort Valley, Georgia, launched a union drive to secure better wages, work-life balance, and a voice on the job.

The company resisted them. History defied them. Geography worked against them.

But they stood together, believed in themselves, and achieved a historic victory that’s reverberating throughout the South.

Striking workers and supporters from the Walmart distribution center march for better wages and working conditions.

About 1,400 workers at the electric bus manufacturer voted overwhelmingly this spring to join the United Steelworkers (USW), reflecting the rise of collective power in a part of the country where bosses and right-wing politicians long contrived to foil it.

“It’s just time for a change,” explained Rinardo Cooper, a member of USW Local 572 and a paper machine operator at Graphic Packaging in Macon, Georgia.

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