FEBRUARY BITS AND PIECES
STRIKE VOTE AUTHORIZED AT CATERPILLAR
Caterpillar, the big farm equipment manufacturer, is facing a possible strike in a few weeks after 6,000 members at its plants in Illinois and Pennsylvania voted overwhelmingly to authorize one. Their contract expires March 1. A powerful encouragement for the Caterpillar labor action has been the strike at another farm equipment firm, John Deere, a few months ago that netted the workers a very good contract.
DISNEY WORKERS URGED TO VOTE NO ON LATEST OFFER
The 45,000 members or Florida’s Service Trades Council who work for Disney were urged to vote no on what the company says is its “best offer.” Although the union has not yet voted for an authorization for a strike, the situation remains volatile
KING KULLEN WORKERS AUTHORIZE WAKOUT
On Long Island, New York, several thousand employees of the King Kullen grocery chain, members of Local 1500 of the United Food and Commercial Workers voted to authorize a strike. Their contract expired in December.
Who Gets the Bird, 1/22-29
UE REGISTERS BIG WINS AMONG GRAD WORKERS
Thousands of graduate school workers have voted to be represented in collective bargaining by the United Radio and Machine Workers (UE) over the past few weeks. Among them are 3,000 workers at Northwest University in Evanston, Illinois where UE won over 93 percent of the vote and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore which saw 97 percent of its 31,300 grad workers voting to join UE. Still waiting final a final vote count on March 18 are 3,000 more at the University of Chicago.
NLRB RULES STARBUCKS UNION-BUSTING BROKE THE LAW
A three-member panel of the NLRB on February 13 upheld a judges finding two years ago that Starbucks repeatedly violated labor law by firing workers who were in the process of organizing a store in Philadelphia. The board the reinstatement wirh back pay for the workers who were dismissed in late 2019 and ealy 2020.
HARPERCOLLINS WORKERS RATIFY NEW CONTRACT
Editors and workers in the marketing, sales and other departments at HarperCollins publishers, who have been out on strike since November 10, have ratified a new contract and returned to work. The contract gains higher pay, a company commitment for more staff diversity, and greater union rights, the three major issues in the strike. A one-time bonus of $1,500 per worker upon ratification was also part of the settlement. HarperCollins is the only one of the five major publishers that is unionized but the settlement has the potential of encouraging unionizing efforts at other publishers.
WARRIOR MET MINERS OFFER TO RETURN TO WORK
In what appears to be a major concession, workers at Wxarrior Met coal in Brookwood, Alabama, on strike for nearly two years have made an unconditional offer tt return to work without a contract. The local of the United Mine Workers union have been on strike over the issue that they made concessions several years ago to keep the company afloat when it was in trouble but the concessions were not rescinded now that the company has become highly profitable. The strike originally involved 1,100 workers but only 800 of them are now available to return to work. During the strike, judges outlawed picketing of the company’s facilities and hundreds of workers scabbed. Union members then picketed the corporate offices of the company in New York The union’s offer recognizes a stalemate in the strike which saw Met Warrior’s quarterly net income drop to $99.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2022, compared with $138.5 million for the same period the year before. The fact that it still recorded a healthy profit means that it can afford to negotiate a decent settlement with the union. The union’s offer included the statement that negotiations would continue until a contract is reached.
PUBLIC TRANSIT WORKER ACTIONS
Labor actions among workers on public transit lines increased this month. So far, a strike is now in its eighth week in Loudoun County, Virginia, led by the American Transit Union Local 689 against the private company running the system. Not far from there in Virginia’s Prince William County about 150 transit workers who belong to Teamsters Local 639 shutdown the county’s OmniRide system when they struck against the same company. In Columbia, Missouri, transit workers along with other public workers organized and held rallies for a 10 percent pay hike and against a proposed cut in public transit service. Leading the action there is Laborers Local 955. Meanwhile, members of UAW Local 2300, representing transit workers in Ithaca, New York, approved a contract after eight months without one.
Who Gets the Bird, 1/29 – 2/19
OTHER UNIVERSITY WORKER ACTIONS
Awaiting a ratification vote is a contract negotiated by AFT Local 6290 for 600 grad school workers at Temple University in Philadelphia. After 10 months of negotiations, the clerical workers union at Harvard has set up picket lines. And in a new development, undergraduate students at Dartmouth College employed at campus jobs have won a $21 minimum wage after organizing last and recently threatening to strike.
Who Gets the Bird, 1/29 – 2/19