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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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