2021 has been a pivotal year for the labor movement. As we have covered extensively here at TRNN, through strikes, unionization campaigns, protest actions, and record numbers of people quitting their jobs, workers across sectors are showing a level of assertiveness and increased militancy that we haven’t seen in decades. How far will this “labor awakening” go? How do we harness the rank-and-file energy driving these actions and use it to build a more robust and powerful labor movement? And can that movement fuse with other struggles for social and economic change to be a formidable political force? These are the kinds of questions that members of Organizing Upgrade are asking on a daily basis—and, in many ways, our future depends on the answers we come up with.

In this segment of The Marc Steiner Show, Marc welcomes back Alex Han, longtime labor organizer and new executive editor of Organizing Upgrade, to take stock of this year’s surge in labor militancy and to discuss the strategic steps that need to be taken to build labor power in the US, combat right-wing authoritarianism, and advance the cause of multiracial democracy. Alex Han has organized with unions, in the community, and in progressive politics for two decades. As a vice president of SEIU (Service Employees International Union) Healthcare Illinois and Indiana, he helped tens of thousands of home-based healthcare and childcare workers unionize. He helped found United Working Families and he served on the national political team for the Bernie Sanders campaign in 2020. He has also worked with labor and community organizations around the country as part of the Bargaining for the Common Good network.

Tune in for new episodes of The Marc Steiner Show every Monday and Thursday on TRNN.

Pre-Production/Studio/Post-Production: Stephen Frank, Dwayne Gladden


The transcript of this interview will be made available as soon as possible.

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Host, The Marc Steiner Show
Marc Steiner is the host of "The Marc Steiner Show" on TRNN. He is a Peabody Award-winning journalist who has spent his life working on social justice issues. He walked his first picket line at age 13, and at age 16 became the youngest person in Maryland arrested at a civil rights protest during the Freedom Rides through Cambridge. As part of the Poor People’s Campaign in 1968, Marc helped organize poor white communities with the Young Patriots, the white Appalachian counterpart to the Black Panthers. Early in his career he counseled at-risk youth in therapeutic settings and founded a theater program in the Maryland State prison system. He also taught theater for 10 years at the Baltimore School for the Arts. From 1993-2018 Marc's signature “Marc Steiner Show” aired on Baltimore’s public radio airwaves, both WYPR—which Marc co-founded—and Morgan State University’s WEAA.