As of late May, the latest count in the drive to unionize Starbucks is 79 stores where the union won the election and only nine where they lost it. Now, at one of those nine locations, at Camp Road in Hamburg, NY, a regional director of the National Labor Relations Board, has recommended that Starbucks be ordered to bargain with the union, citing a blizzard of labor law violations by the company to intimidate workers at the store to vote no. Among those violations cited was the firing of pro-union workers, disciplining and spying on others, and closing stores and changing work policies where they feared the union was winning. The NLRB official, Linda Leslie, made the rare request that the company be compelled to bargain rather than simply recommending a new election. It is an indication of the extent of illegal tactics Starbucks used and the lack of confidence that it will refrain from doing it again.
The Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters is betting on the jobs that will be created by the transition to renewable energy. In February, they purchased a diving school near Philadelphia, where their members – carpenters, millwrights, and piledrivers – are scheduled for training to work underwater doing welding and other skills needed for the construction of offshore wind turbines. The union is anticipating the creation of millions of high-paying union jobs that will be added to the economy by the deployment of clean energy facilities to confront climate change.
Staff members of the U.S. House of Representatives are one step closer to gaining union representation after the house, on a party-line vote with Republicans voting no, approved the measure to grant them the right to unionize. The Senate does not have to approve the measure.
In the space of a few weeks in May, two Verizon stores in Washington state have voted “yes” to unionizing. Responding in typical fashion, Verizon is spending big on a campaign to break theunion drive rather than negotiate with the union. Central to its strategy is the firing of union activists to intimidate workers. Verizon worker Jesse Mason was the first victim – he has been active in the organizing drive of his own and two other Verizon stores in the state.
More Perfect Union, 5/12
Another piece of this all-too-familiar picture is now taking place in Virginia where workers at Target stores are trying to unionize. In Christiansburg, Virginia, they have filed an NLRB petition for a union election. The company has responded with anti-union videos at compulsory meetings on company time and are expected to use delaying and stalling tactics, as they have at other Target stores, to prevent an election.
Earlier labor actions include 5,000 nurses with an independent union at Stanford and Packard Hospitals in Palo Alto, Cal., and 8,000 nurses on a one-day strike at Sutter Health facilities in northern California.
Who Gets the Bird, 4/24
As some 1100 workers walked out on strike May 9, CNH Industrial, which operates 13 manufacturing and engineering plants in the U.S., announced that it will cut off the workers’ health insurance as of May 11. It has also hired so-called “replacement workers” who were immediately ready to go even as the strike had barely commenced. Two unions represent the striking workers at three of the company facilities, UAW Local 807 in Burlington, Iowa, and UAW Local 180 in Racine, Wisc. CNH just recorded the most profitable year in its history. A major issue is two-tier wage system that sees workers hired after 2004 making $6-$8 less than those hired before 1996, with those hired between the two years making in-between.
Who Gets the Bird, 5/8