STRIKES ENGULF BRITAIN AS WORKER DISCONTENT RISES

About 100,000 civil servants in the UK are set to strike next month, affecting services around the country. Workers for 124 government departments and agencies will walk out on February. 1, impacting a range of public services including driving tests, passport applications and welfare payments, the Public and Commercial Services Union said in a statement. If the strike takes place, the government workers will join the thousands of rail workers, transport workers National Health Service workers and others already on strike  in a series of labor actions the UK has not seen in years as workers protest cuts in pay.

Bloomberg, 1/11; also see Rail Strike Bloomberg, 1/11

BOOK LAUNCH PARTY

You’re invited!  Locker Associates is hosting a Book Launch Party for an important new book, Labor Power & Strategy by John Womack, Jr. and edited by Peter Olney and Glenn Perusek.
 
Place:  Locker Associates, 225 Broadway, Suite 2625, NY, NY 10007
Date:   February 6th
Time:   5:00pm to 7:00pm
 
Labor Power & Strategy offers major insights into a key question facing the U.S. labor movement, including how to marshall power to win organizing drives in the twenty-first century.  The collection of articles is a must-read for a new generation of labor organizers who are on the front lines at Starbucks, Amazon and Trader Joes. Experienced labor leaders will also find this material very stimulating and evocative.
If you would like to attend, please respond to this email at lockerassociates@yahoo.com by January 23rd.
If you can’t attend the party, please consider purchasing this important book at PM Press here: PM Press-Labor Power & Strategy, or at Amazon here: Labor Power & Strategy.
022 HIT HIGH IN LABOR STRIKE ATIVITY
Last year saw a record 17-year high in strike activity by unions, according to Bloomberg News, driven in part by actions at over 100 Starbucks  stores. The number of strikes  was more than double the year before, although in terms of the number of workers involved, it did not match the years 2018 and 2019 when strike waves swept educational institutions. In those years, 80 percent of the strikers were in the field of education.
Who Gets the Bird, 1/8-1/15
DISNEY UNIONS RECOMMEND REJECTION OF INSULTING PAY OFFER
The Service Trades Council Union, comprised of six unions representing the 42,000 workers art Disney World in Orlando, Florida, has recommended that its members turn thumbs down on the $1 an hour pay raise offer of Disney in their upcoming contract . The insulting offer to workers, who currently earn an average of $16 an hour, signals tough negotiations ahead.The six unions ion the STCU are IATSE Local 631, Teamsters Local 385, TCU-I(AM Local 1908, UFCW Local 1625, and Unite Here Locals 362 and 737.
Who Gets the Bird, 1/18-1/15
HARPERCOLLINS  WORKERS RALLY IN SUPPORT OF STRIKE
Workers in the editorial, sales, marketing, and other departments, at HarperCollins publishers, on strike since November 10, marked the 50th day of their strike with a large rally in front of News Corporation in Manhattan, parent company of the publisher. News Corporation is owned by Rupert Murdoch, the right-wing media tycoon, and is also the parent company of the ultra-right Fox News.

Union members of UAW  Local 2110 are striking for higher pay (their current wage goes not enable them to live in a high priced area like New York so many have to rely on the income of spouses or parents), a commitment to diversifying the staff, and stronger union protection. Negotiations have been going on and off since December 2021 and workers have been working without a contract since April 2022. After months of failed negotiations and a one-day strike on July 20, 2022, the union authorized another strike last November.

“Management has been very uninterested in bargaining with us over our proposals,” said Laura Harshberger, union chairperson and senior production editor for HarperCollins Children’s Books. “I don’t know why the company has been so antagonistic to us this time around … My only understanding of it is that they don’t believe that HarperCollins should have a union, and they’re trying to union-bust, but we’re not letting them.”

The company has hired temporary editors as strikebreakers but many of its authors have refused to work with them and have honored the picket lines.

Publishers Weekly, Jan. 13, Jan. 18; Portside,Jan. 19

UNIONIZED STARBUCKS WORKERS STAGE WEEKEND STRIKE

Starbucks workers at 100 of their unionized stores staged a weekend strike earlier this month to protest the company’s refusal to bargain with the union. Starbucks has engaged in illegal union-busting tactics like firing union organizers, denying workers at unionized stores the same benefits as other stores, closing unionized stores and other violations of labor laws, all of which the NLRB is investigating. Some 270 stores in the Starbucks chain have voted to be represented by Starbucks Workers United in the past year.

More Perfect Union, 12/17

ILLINOIS GUARANTEES UNION BARGAINING RIGHTS

Amid all the attention paid to candidate races in the November elections some other important issues were on the ballot in several states in the form of referenda. A major one, largely overlooked, was an amendment to the Illinois state constitution guaranteeing the right of workers to organize into unions and the right to collective bargaining. “No law shall be passed that interferes with, negates, or diminishes the right of employees to organize and bargain collectively,” the amendment reads.

It effectively creates a shield against actions taken in many other states that have passed so-called “right-to-work” laws forbidding unions and employers from negotiating union security agreements  and laws that cancel or weaken collective bargaining rights of teachers and other public sector workers.

Economic Policy Institute, 12/7

NY TIMES STAFF STAGE ONE-DAY STRIKE

Frustrated by stalled contract negotiations, hundreds of journalists and other staff members at the New York Times staged a one-day strike Dec. 8. Their old contract expired in March 2021 and Times employees, from writers to security guards are increasing upset at the slow pace of negotiations.

Among the issues are retirement benefits and the company’s plan to phase out its pension plan. The Times walkout was one of several newspaper strikes around the country. Journalists are currently striking at the Pittsburg Post-Gazette and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Los Angeles Times, 12/8

NEW MEXICO GRAD SCHOOLWORKERS GAIN UNION CONTRACTS

New contracts for graduate school workers at the University of New Mexico and New Mexico State University will give them pay raises of 7.12 percent and 5.8 percent respectively. The contracts, negotiated by United Electrical Workers Local 1466 at UNM and Local 1498 at NMSU (UE). also gives them two weeks of paid medical leave each semester and reimbursement for foreign students for the fees they have to pay to work in the United States. The contracts, ratified by the membership this month, were the first at the state’s colleges after staff members chose the UE locals as their bargaining agents.

In another win for UE, members of its Local 696 at Planned Parenthood in Western Pennsylvania ratified their first contract Dec. 12. It provides for an average wage hike of $2- an-hour in the first year and a minimum wage of $20-an-hour minimum base pay after three years of service.

UE News, 12/17

NLRB GETS FUNDING HIKE TO ENFORCE LABOR LAWS

For years, funding for the National Labor Relations Board has been cut to the bare bones, preventing it from adequately enforcing the nation’s labor laws. The result has been the open flouting of these laws by employers. They have engaged in anti-union actions like firing union organizers, delaying union recognition and collective bargaining until union activists are gone and the union is broken, and forcing workers into meetings on company time to hear  anti-union harangues.

However, a section in the recent bipartisan spending bill will increase the NLRB budget by nine percent, or an additional $25 million to help it enforce the labor laws. It will go a long way toward relieving the pressure on the board that has seen it forced to reduce its staff by half in recent years even as its workload has increased, particularly in the face of increased union drives and worker demands for union elections.

NY Times, 12/20The American Prospect, 12/20

MORE GRAD SCHOOL WORKERS SEEK TO UNIONIZE

Over the past month, graduate workers affiliated with the United Electrical Workers (UE) at Northwestern University in Chicago, Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore launched organizing drives with rallies and record-breaking numbers of workers signing union cards. Workers at all three campuses are seeking a living wage, more support for international student workers, and a voice at their universities.

Together with graduate workers at the University of Chicago, these campaigns cover over 10,000 workers.

They join UE organized graduate school workers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology which won representation several months ago and is currently drawing up bargaining goals in preparation for upcoming negotiations with MIT.

UE News, 11/5

SEVERAL BALLOT INIATIVES GAIN RIGHTS FOR WORKERS

With public approval of labor unions at 71 percent, the highest in 56 years, three states and the nation’s capital voted this year to pass initiatives that raised labor standards and working conditions for employees. In Illinois voters passed an amendment to the state constitution to guarantee the right of workers to organize and bargain collectively prohibit the legislature from passing a so-called “right-to-work” law. In Nebraska, voters increased the minimum wage from $9 to $15 in incremental steps over four years and Nevada the minimum wage was raised to $12 an hour in two years. And in Washington DC  minimum pay for tipped workers will go up from $5.35 to $16 an hour in five years without forfeiting any tips.

The Century Foundation, 11/10

STARBUCKS WORKERS AT OVER100 STORES STAGE ONE-DAY STRIKE

Workers at more than 100 unionized Starbucks stores went out on strike for one day earlier this month in protest against the company’s stalling tactics – refusing to bargain with the union at unionized stores, cutting working hours, firing 150 union supporters, selectively providing raises and benefits at the non-union stores, and installing hostile managers at the union stores. The one-day strike took place on Red Cup day, a Starbucks company tradition when it hands out cups to its customers.

Jacobin, 11/xx

RAIL STRIKE LOOMS AGAIN AS LARGEST UNION’S MEMBERSHIP REJECTS CONTRACT

The country’s largest union of rail workers, the Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers (SMART-TD) has voted to turn down the contract negotiated with the aid of the White House a month ago. The major issues that were not resolved in the proposed contract, said the union are the attendance policies if the rail companies that are reflected in sick time, fatigue, and lack of family time that are not easily seen  but are deeply felt by the membership, said a union spokesperson. “It’s destroying their livelihoods.” A strike could begin as early as Dec. 9.

Common Dreams, 111/21

SECOND APPLE STORE VOTES FOR UNION

An Apple store in Oklahoma City became the second one in the nation in which workers have voted to be represented by a union. The Oct. 14 vote conducted by the NLRB saw 56 workers at the company’s Penn Square Mall voting to be represented by the Communication Workers of America with 32 voting against it.

At Apple’s first unionized store in Towson, Maryland, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, chosen by the workers, is currently preparing to begin negotiations with the company.

Associated Press, 10/15

LARGE RAIL UNION TURNS DOWN CONTRACT PROPOSAL

The narrowly averted strike of rail carriers last month has been put back on the table as members of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees, affiliated with the Teamsters union, voted against the proposed deal. The union announced October 11 that the deal had been rejected wit 56% voting no. The union represents 23,000 freight rail workers with 12,000 casting ballots in the vote.

Any potential strike won’t happen until Nov. 19 at the earliest with union leaders hoping to return to the bargaining table. At issue is the demand of workers for some sick days. Currently, they get no paid sick days. They have been demanding 13 sick days annually but the rail carriers have refused to budge on the issue. Earlier, the deal was also rejected by members of another union, which has since announced a new tentative agreement. Two other unions, re resenting conductors and engineers are set to begin voting during the week of Oct. 17. The two represent about half of the 115,000 union members at the nation’s freight carriers.

Labor Notes, 10/11

WEYERHAEUSER LUMBER WORKERS STRIKING FOR OVER A MONTH

For more than a month, lumber workers in the Northwest have been on strike against Weyerhaeuser mills and log yards. The issue is simple fairness. The company is demanding concessions from workers, insisting that they start paying for part of health insurance premiums and proposing wages that lose ground to the rate of inflation. This comes as Weyerhaeuser reported a record profit last year of $2.6 billion.  Under the present contract, workers made concessions, like agreeing to a two-tier system that ended pensions for new employees and a health care plan with fewer benefits. They saying now that they are done with concessions, particularly when Weyerhaeuser is raking in record profits. “We want our fair share of what we produce,” declared one of the picketers.

Portside, 10/7

US LABOR DEPT. RECLASSIFIES UBER, LYFT, FEDEX DRIVERS AS EMPLOYEES

Drivers for Uber, Lyft, and FedEx, previously classified as “independent contractors” have been reclassified as employees by the Department of Labor, giving them the rights guaranteed to employees under labor laws. One of them is the minimum wage law, which now guarantees them $15.50 an hour in California and other states where the minimum is higher than the federal one of only $7.25. When expenses they lay out for buying or leasing and maintaining their cars are subtracted from the money they earn, the drivers’ real hourly income is only about $6.20.

The American Prospect, 10/11

CEO PAY ZOOMED SINCE 1978 WHILE WORKER PAY STAGNATED

The compensation packages of corporate CEO’S has increased by 1,460% over the past 44 years, even as pay of most workers could not keep up with the rising cost of living, according to a recent study of the Economic Policy Institute. The rate of income growth has exceeded virtually all other economic factors. The study projects that, taking into consideration stock awards when vested and stock options when cashed in, CEO compensation at 350 corporations will average a staggering $27.8 million. Even considering the value of the stock options when issued but not cashed in, their compensation comes to $15.6 million. Last year, their pay package was 399 times the average worker pay, up from 300 times just a few years ago. Their pay and soaring corporate profits are key reasons for increased union activity in the past two years as workers, who have made big concessions, struggle to achieve a decent standard of living.

Economic Policy Institute, 10/4

RESTAURANT WORKERS AT SFO AIRPORT GET $5/HOUR RAISE AND FREE HEALTH CARE AFTER STRIKE

After a three-day strike, restaurant workers at San Francisco International Airport OK’d a new contract that won them a $5 an hour raise and free health care for themselves and their families. The 1,000 workers are members of UNITE HERE Local 3. They approved the new contract overwhelmingly. They will get an immediate $3 an hour raise and the other $2 will come in September 2024 when their hourly wage will rise from the present $17.05 to $22.05.

Portside, 10/3

LABOR ACTIONS PICK UP THIS MONTH

As we moved into October, thousands of workers around the country are either on strike or threatening one. Filings for union representation so far this year have increased 58% over last year with public support for unions at 71% approval, according to a recent Gallup poll.

Among the biggest recent strikes have been:
15,000 nurses in Minnesota,
4,500 teachers and staff in Columbus, Ohio
2,000 mental health care workers in California,
700 nursing home workers in Pennsylvania
1,100 timber workers in Washington and Oregon,
6,000 teachers and staff in Seattle, Washington,
1,200 casing plant workers in Indiana.

In addition, votes have authorized strikes at:
Kaleida Health facility in Bufalo, NY,
Kroger Groceries in Columbus, Ohio, involving 12,500 workers,
Auto workers at Ultium electric vehicle plant in Lordstown, Ohio, involving 800 workers,
Graduate school workers at Clark University and Indiana University.

And many more…

 The Guardian, 9/26

REFRESCO WORKERS BARGAINING FOR FIRST CONTRACT

Two years ago, workers at the  New Jersey Refresco bottling plant walked out to protest the company’s failure to provide for their safety during the Covid epidemic. They are now bargaining for their firt union contract, represented by the United Electrical Workers (UE). Key to the bargaining issues is the protection of their health and safety. Also at issue are low wages, lack of decent benefits, abusive treatment by supervisors, constant schedule changes causing havoc with their family lives, sexual harassment at the plant, and an attendance system that penalizes workers for getting sick. Refresco was named this year by the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health as one of the “Dirty Dozen” for their terrible health and safety record.

UE Action Alert, 10/13; You Tube video

OHIO KROGER WORKERS VOTE DOWN PROPOSED CONTRACT

Ohio Kroger workers, organized by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1059 have rejected their tentative contract for the third time and authorized a strike. The union represents `12,000 Kroger workers in the state.

NLRB REPORT SUMMARIZES UPTICK IN UNION ACTIVITY

The recently released NLRB report for the just-ended fiscal year shows that new filings for union elections were up by 53% over last year. A major problem at the agency is that part of the attack on labor unions since the Reagan administration has been underfunding which has resulted in the loss of half their field staff. It’s a problem that must be overcome to take care of the big increase in union activity and the need of the NLRB to enforce the nation’s labor laws.

Who Gets the Bird, 10/4. 10/8

COLORADO LAW NOW GIVES EQUAL PROTECTION TO DOMESTIC WORKERS

A new Colorado law, enacted in August, extends to domestic workers in the state the same protections enjoyed by other workers. They had previously been excluded from the 1935 National Labor Relations Act. Colorado thus joins a few other states that have brought equal benefits as other workers under the federal law.

Domestic workers include people who care for children, tend gardens and clean other people’s homes, among other jobs. The law says that these workers are “employees,” the same as if they worked in a factory or office and can file complaints with the Colorado Civil Rights Division against employers for things like cheating them on salaries, discrimination and harassment.

These workers have been underpaid and unprotected by labor laws throughout most of the United States. Colorado had previously passed legislation establishing a minimum wage and overtime requirements for them. The new law extends their rights to those of regular salaried employees.

CPR News, 9/14

APOLOGIZE STARBUCKS AND PAY BACK

In a major ruling Aug. 25 the NLRB ordered Starbucks to repay all benefits illegally denied to workers at hundreds of its stores that voted for a union. It also ruled that Starbucks issue a written apology to the affected workers for the harm it caused and that CEO Howard Schultz record a video admitting to these illegal actions.

More Perfect Union, 8/25

UNION DRIVES ALSO HITTING SOUTH

Southern states, long a haven for non-union shops, are not escaping current union activity. For a description of organizing at Dollar General stores and other locations and how workers in these states are learning the benefits of union organizing, click on the link below.

Facing South, 8/25

MICHIGAN STORE BECOMES FIRST CHIPOTLE RESTAURANT TO VOTE UNION

In Lansing, Mich., a Chipotle facility became the first in the Mexican grill’s chain to vote union. The restaurant chain operates 3,000  facilities in the US. The union drive is backed by the 1.2 million-member International Brotherhood of Teamsters. The workers are demanding higher pay and improved schedules.

NPR, 8/26

BILL IN CONGRESS PUSHES FOR DOMESTIC WORKERS BILL OF RIGHTS

Across the country, domestic workers have been among the most exploited. These workers, both employees and independent contractors, provide services in private homes as nannies, house cleaners, home care workers, cooks, and other jobs. A large majority of them are women of color. Their median hourly wage is $12/hour, barely enough to live on, no less to support others in their household.

In the past few years, a number of cities like Seattle have taken measures to protect the rights of domestic workers. In July, Seattle’s Office of Labor Standards awarded over $71,000 in back pay, interest, and civil penalties to a live-in domestic worker who had been robbed of her rightful pay by an employer who failed to pay the city’s minimum wage and overtime pay.

Now, a bill in Congress, originally introduced in 2019 by then Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Cal.) along with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), and reintroduced in 2021 by Gillibrand and Jayapal and Sen. Ben Ray Lujan (D-New Mex.) sets up a Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. which codifies their workplace benefits and rights and increases the tools to enforce the law. In July the House Education and Labor Committee held a hearing on the legislation that exposed the conditions facing these workers.

Inequality.org, 8/22

NURSES HAVE HAD IT: MINNESOTA NURSES AUTHORIZE STRIKE

Nurses around the country have long been under increasing pressure to do more with less amid deteriorating working conditions, concerns for safety and larger workloads. Hospitals have been saving money by cutting the nursing staff leading to poorer patient care. Now, nurses in the twin cities of Minneapolis-St Paul and Duluth, Minn., have authorized a strike vote as their union negotiations with the hospitals drag on. The Minnesota Nurses Association, representing 15,000 nurses in the area, voted overwhelmingly for the strike authorization, which would be the largest strike of nurses in the nation’s history. The union did not set a date for the stoppage. Before a strike begins, the union must give a 10-day notice.

The Guardian, 8/23

COLUMBUS TEACHERS STRIKE

Members of the 4,500 strong Columbus (Ohio) Education Association went out on strike Aug. 22 over issues that included safe classrooms, schools, and more comfortable working conditions. The union represents city teachers, psychologists, nurses, counselors, and other professionals.

On Tuesday, the second day of the strike, an incident of violence was reported when a man driving by in a car shot a pellet gun at picketers. No serious injuries were reported.

Portside, 8/23

KAISER HEALTHCARE WORKERS STRIKE

After many long bargaining sessions over working conditions at the Kaiser Permanente Healthcare facility in Sacramento, Cal., hundreds of mental health care clinicians walked out Aug. 16 overloading work conditions that prevent them from proper care for their patients. The clinicians say that the company does not leave them nearly enough time or pay to assess their patients’ needs. Many are leaving the company after burnout with patients often having to wait for three months to get regular weekly or bi-weekly appointments. They are represented by the National Union of Healthcare Workers.

Portside, 8/16

STARBUBKS STRATEGY: IF YOUR LOSING, STOP THE ELECTONS

Using an election in one Kansas store in which four out of its 19 union workers were fired in advance of the vote and the resulting dispute over mail-in bots, Starbucks has filed a legal action charging the NLRB with election misconduct and has asked for the cancellation of all elections at its stores around the country. The transparent move at flagrant union busting is the latest example of Starbucks strategy: if you can’t win an election, make sure it doesn’t happen.

Starbucks Workers United Website, 8/16

CHIPOLTE TO PAY $20 MILLION FOR VIOLATING WORKER RIGHTS

In a legal settlement that exposed some of the nefarious labor practices in the restaurant industry, Chipotle agreed to fork over $20 million in back compensation to 13,000 New York City workers for violating their legal rights. The company will also pay $1 million in civil penalties for violating the law.

The settlement was the culmination of a complaint brought four years ago by the Service Employees International Union against the fast food chain. It prompted an investigation that revealed that Chipotle violated city labor laws by requiring employees to work extra time without their consent, not allowing workers to use accrued time off work for sick leave or safety reasons like domestic violence, and not giving workers their work schedules 14 days in advance.

Low pay and poor working conditions have been a standard practice of the restaurant industry for decades that has led to a gathering push in the past few years to organize unions at places like Chipotle and Starbucks.

Official NYC website, 8/9

STARBUCKS ABORTION PROMISES BRANDED AS PUBLIC RELATIONS TRICKS

Starbucks union activists have denounced recent promises by the company on abortion as a PR stunt aimed at combatting the drive for unionization at its stores. The promises involved Starbucks recent announcements of new employee health care benefits including travel reimbursements for abortion services. The hypocrisy in the policy is exposed by the fact that the company’s announcement specifically excluded employees at unionized stores.

Starbucks Workers United, the union representing unionized workers at the chain has filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board alleging that the tactic threatens “employees with loss of benefits” for union organizing. After the tactic drew public attention, the company reportedly changed its policy and said its policy would cover all its workers but the union pointed out that absent a union contract, the policy could be changed at any time at the company’s whim.

Portside, 8/11

MAXIMUS WORKERS STRIKE

“You deserve a fair share. And you deserve to have your jobs be good union jobs. A multibillion dollar corporation like Maximus has the resources to treat you better. And we’re going åto make sure that they do. Hold firm. I know you’re spread out across communities all across the country but you are not alone. You have each other and you have all of us at the AFL-CIO standing with you.”

AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler

Shuler spoke at a virtual town hall meeting in support of Maximus workers on strike at facilities in Kentucky Mississippi, Louisiana, and Virginia. Maximus is a federal contractor answering  Medicare and Affordable Care Act marketplace lines. Their workers are protesting bad working conditions and are organizing to form a union affiliated with the Communication Workers of America.

Communications Workers of America website, 8/11

COSTCO TEAMSTERS PLANNING NATION-WIDE JOB ACTIONS

Moe than 17,000 employees at Costco stores around the country are members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. After rejecting a “last, best and final” contract offer from the compan by a 93-to-7 percent membership vote,  the union says it is close to a nation-wide work stoppage if recently resumed contract negotiations lead nowhere.

Teamsters Union website, 8/4

COLUMBUS TEACHERS ISSUE STRIKE NOTICE

“Final offers” from employers are flying fast and furious these days. One of the latest comes from the school district in Columbus, Ohio  this week. The teachers, represented by the Columbus Education Association, said “nothing doing” to the “final offer” as its delegate assembly voted unanimously  to issue the 10 day notice required by law of its intention to strike. A union spokesperson said that 2,500 of its 4,500 members had attended the meeting where the vote was held.

Columbus Dispatch, 8/4

STARBUCKS UNION DRIVE ROLLS ON

It has been less than a year that a Starbucks store in Buffalo, NY voted for a union. Since then, despite company hostility and union busting tactics, the drive for collective bargaining has spread nearly as fast as the Covid. As of late July, the number of Starbucks stores voting to be represented by Starbucks Workers United is approaching 200 and it appears to be only the beginning. Although still only a small fraction of the 9,000 facilities operated by the coffee giant, the union drive is gaining the momentum of a snowball rolling downhill. We think you’ll be hearing a lot more about it in the coming years.

Starbucks Workers United website

HADLEY, MASS. STORE BECOMES FIRST TRADER JOE’S TO UNIONIZE

Taking their cue from workers at Starbucks, Amazon, and Apple, workers at the Trader Joe’s store in Hadley, Mass. voted 45 to 31 to unionize, becoming the first in the chain to do so. Their union is called Trader Joe’s United. Another Trader Joe’s store in Minneapolis is scheduled for a union vote in September and workers at a store in Colorado have filed a petition for an election with the

NY Times, 7/28

 

UNION CHARGES CHIPOTLE CLOSED STORE IN RESPONSE TO ITS FILING FOR ELECTION

Shortly after workers at the Chipotle store in Augusta, Maine, filed for a union election, the store company closed the store down, an action, the union says, is retaliation for them seeking to organize. The move came just hours before the NLRB had scheduled a hearing on the union petition. It is against the labor laws for a company to retaliate in this way and the union has filed a charge against Chipotle. The company claims that its action was not in retaliation for employee union activity but simply a result of its inability to adequately staff the store, but the timing of the move casts strong doubt on its claim.

NY Times, 7/21

UAW LOCAL LISTS WINS AT CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS

UAW local 2110 based in New York City is breaking new ground organizing workers at cultural institutions across the region. Like all workers, they are fighting for fair wages, benefits, work and life balance and respect at work. To date, workers at these institutions have voted overwhelmingly to join our union:
The New Museum of Contemporary Art
Asian American Writers Workshop
Tenement Museum
Brooklyn Academy of Music
Center for Reproductive Rights
Brooklyn Friends School
Harriet Beecher Stowe
The Shed
Children’s Museum of the Arts
Transportation Alternatives
Portland Museum of ArtMuseum of Fine Arts
Film At Lincoln Center
Manhattan Country School
Studio in a School
Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art
Whitney Museum of American Art
Hispanic Society of America
Anthology Film Archives
Brooklyn Museum

BALTIMORE STORE: FIRST IN APPLE CHAIN TO ORGANIZE

Workers at an Apple store outside Baltimore have formed the tech giant’s first retail union in the U.S., marking another high-profile victory for the labor movement this year.

Employees at the company’s Towson Center store voted 65 to 33 in favor of joining the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, according to a vote count conducted Saturday by the National Labor Relations Board. Board officials have not certified the results yet to make them official.

UNDERFUNDING THE NLRB

The National Labor Relations Board was created by the Wagner Act in 1935 to enforce the protections to workers under the law, including the right to organize. In order to function it needs the funding to pay for its investigation of complaints, the legal staff needed to enforce its mandate in offices around the country and the many other functions it is charged with doing.

But for many years, it has been woefully underfunded, which makes it virtually impossible to carried out its major function to protect America’s working people. Despite rising inflation, its funding has not increased since 2014 when Republicans won control of Congress and revived their decades-old campaign to scuttle protections for the rights of working people to organize. For full details, see the article in Labor Notes by clicking on the link below.

Labor Notes, 7/6

 

LOCAL ACTIONS TAKE LEAD ON WORKER RIGHTS

In the face of difficulties in getting the federal government to act, many local governments are taking action to protect workers’ rights. For example, while the federal minimum wage still stands mired at $7.25, fifty-two cities and towns across the country have raised the minimum wage, many are now in the range of $15/hour – affecting some four million workers whose annual income has been boosted by about $7,800. Twenty localities now require companies to provide paid sick days.

State laws are following suit. New Jersey has a  statewide paid sick leave law, New York State recently enacted a law protecting pay for independent freelance workers after New York City passed one five years ago.

Portside, 6/28

 

2nd REI STORE FILES FOR UNION ELECTION

The latest retail chain employees to begin a drive toward unionization were the workers at the REI store in SoHo, Manhattan. They unionized their store in March. Now workers at an REI in Berkeley, CA has filed for a union election. Among the grievances they list is the chronic understaffing that has put a terrific strain on a worker trying to do a job that was meant for more than one person. It has also resulted in employees who are part-time now working 40 hours a week without the same benefits of health care, time-off, and overtime pay as full-timers. Another is the large disparity in pay among full-time workers.

More Perfect Union, 7/9

 

BIG IAM WIN AT ALASKA AIRLINES

Five thousand customer service and ramp workers, members of the Machinists Union (IAM), at Alaska Airlines have just won a three-year contract providing for raises from 16 to 25 percent.

 

STARBUCKS UNION DRIVE ROLLS ON

Starbucks workers are continuing to o organize into the independent union Workers United, From April to June Starbucks workers left their counters and walked out on strike in Seattle and three other locations in Washington State and  at stores in Massachusetts, Virginia, and South Carolina to protest the company’s union-busting tactics.

 

CASINO WORKERS SET TO STRIKE

Some 6,000 members of Unite Here Local 54 that staff the casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey, are set to strike at any day now.

 

RR WORKERS SET STRIKE VOTE

The Teamsters Union affiliate, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen are currently taking a national strike vote but a strike at this point is unlikely, say labor observers. This is because railroad workers are not governed by the normal labor laws. They are, instead, subject to the provisions of the Railway Labor Act which empowers the President to convene a board to negotiate a final settlement of railway labor matters.

Who Gets the Bird, 6/25, 7/2

 

STRIKE VOTE OK’d AT HARPER COLLINS

Workers at HarperCollins publishers have voted to authorize a strike if the company refuses to agree to a fair contact. Issues that the union is pushing for include pay, stronger job protection, better family leave benefits and a greater commitment for diversifying staff. Another issue arose after HarperCollins bought out Houghton Mifflin Harcourt trade division and the company’s refusal to include Houghton’s employers in Boston in the union’s bargaining unit or recognize their seniority as HarperCollins employees. The union, UAW Local 2110, represents workers in the editorial, legal, sales, design, marketing, and publicity departments. The current negotiations come after a year in which the company posted record profits.

Publishers Weekly, 7/5