NOVEMBER BITS AND PIECES
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.
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.