How can labor unions successfully organize workers under present conditions? How can union activists reach people when scores of new obstacles are in the way. Take Starbucks, for instance. Starbucks Workers United, the union started its drive just a year ago. In this one year, it has organized 330 stores around the country. But Starbucks has over 9,000 shops. At this rate, it would take over 170 years to organize them all.

Add to this the hundreds of federal and state laws and rules that have been enacted over the past decades by labor unfriendly administrations in the service of industry’s well-paid lawyers and lobbyists. Everything from dragging out appeals that delay union elections until the union activists are gone and the workers give up in disgust, to firing union activists on flimsy pretexts to spying on employers at the workplace.

What new strategy and tactics can labor develop in light of these conditions? An interesting article on this appeared in the New York Tumes Sunday Opinion section on July 23. Entitled “This is How the Boses Win” in the print edition and “Inside Starbucks Dirty War Against Organized Labor” in the online edition, it recounts how Starbucks has used all the tactics in the book, both legal and illegal to fight the union’s effort. sWe recommend that you read it. It gives a glimpse of the problem workers are up against in this current situation.

Unfortunately, we have been unable to link directly to the article.It can be accessed by going to the NY Times website and doing a search for the author of the article, Megan K. Stack



By now, everyone who follows the news or turns on a TV knows that 160,000 movie and TV actors are on strike, joining over 11,000 striking writers on picket lines in New York and Hollywood. In addition to pay, the issues are whether the new technology will exist just to profit a few big moguls at the top of the industry or for those working in the industry to share in the benefits.

In the case of the actors, they want guarantees that Artificial Intelligence will not be used to create likenesses of themselves for screening without their consent or the benefit of residuals. There is also the issue of streaming where residuals have been cut back, reducing their income. Writers have a similar issue with streaming and severely reduced residual payments.

We recommend that you view the video below of the speech of Fran Drescher, president of SAG-AFTRA, the actors unions announcing the start of the actors strike. It is an inspiring call to action, not only of writers but of all working people, effectively saying, “We’re not going to take this anymore!”

Memo to movie & TV moguls:” Don’t mess with the nanny. Fran Drescher, star of the popular 1990’s TV series The Nanny, and now head of SAG-AFTRA, the actors union, addressing a meeting announcing the start of the actors strike.



A new law, passed quietly in December now requires employers to accommodate women workers who are pregnant including pregnancy and childbirth related medical conditions, and conditions related to post-partum recovery. Passage of the law came after about 10 years of advocacy.

The law covers workplaces with 15 or more employees. And covers a host of requirements the employer mut meet to accommodate pregnant workers. The law was part of an omnibus pending bill that passed Congress in December and went into effect June 27.




We previously carried items about some states loosening child labor laws, including in jobs that are hazardous and often interfering with their schooling. But over the past few months the practice is spreading as employers consistently seek out low wage workers they can exploit. During the past two years, 14 states have introduced or passed laws that rolled back rules that regulated restrictions on hazardous work for minors, the number of hours they can work and the legalization of paying them substandard wages.

In Iowa, for example, a new law permits `14-year-olds to work in industrial laundries. Sixteen year-olds can work in construction, roofing, excavation, and demolition industries as well as operating power-driven machinery. Kids of 15 can work on assembly lines and 14-year-olds can work night shifts, all activities long prohibited. Spearheading the drive to weaken or repeal child labor laws are several right wing think tanks funded by wealthy conservative donors like the DeVos family and Koch Industries.

Portside, 7/7



Workers at the Waffle House in Columbia, South Carolina, went on a three day strike earlier this month over low pay, staffing shortages, and safety issues. “ “We are working for scraps and pennies,” said one employee. “We can barely buy the basic necessities that we need to live off of, we can barely take care of ourselves.”

Columbia Post & Courier, 7/8







In another one of those historic labor events involving people you don’t often link to unions, resident physicians at Loma Linda University Health voted 361-to-144 to unionize. The June 22 vote came after months of challenges from management. The medical facility is affiliated with the Seventh Day Adventist religious denomination.

The vote for the resident physicians to join the Union of American Physicians and Dentists was held by the National Labor Relations Board. The union originally filed the requited number of signatures to hold a union election in February but the vote was postponed by lawsuits. One of management’s claims was that as a religious education institution, it was not required to negotiate with a union. It still has vowed to pursue legal options to avoid union bargaining.

Recent trends across the country have preceded the Loma Linda vote. Residents and fellows at Massachusetts General Brigham in June voted for their 2,500 residents to form a union. And the largest union in the field, the Committee of Interns and Residents claims an additional 10,000 members in the past two years.

Spectrum, 6/23



Citing their inability to make financial ends meet in a city where the cost of housing has hit record highs, hotel workers walked out on pocket lines July 2. The strike, just before the July 4th holiday signaled the beginning of the summer tourist season, is being conducted by Unite Here Local 11.

“Workers have been frustrated and angry about… the inability to pay the rent and stay in Los Angeles,” a union spokesman said. The strike is one more labor action across Los Angeles and southern California as the high cost of living in the area have prompted demands for wages to match the costs,

NY Times/ 7/2