Richmond, California is seeing a big jump in union activity with the unionization of 850 workers at the Hello Fresh facility. For Unite Here Local 2850, the union leading the drive, it will mean a big jump in their membership and a major step in Unite Here’s campaign to organize the rapidly growing meal kit industry. In Mingo Junction, Ohio, 175 steelworkers at the JSW mill are pushing to be represented by the United Steelworkers. JSW is a company based in India that is one of the world’s major steel companies.
A few other major union activities include:
- 350 janitors, members of Service Employees International Union Local 105, at Denver International Airport who conducted a one-day strike October 1 to enforce their demands for higher wages and better working conditions. A full-blown strike is a strong possibility if negotiations with management break down.
- A continuing strike by several hundred members of United Auto Workers Local 509 at Senior Aerospace in Burbank, California.
- A strike by 420 distillery workers represented by United Food and Commercial Workers Local 23-D at Heaven Hill in Bardstown, Kentucky.
- Steelworkers Local 40 in Huntington, West Virginia, now has 450 workers on strike at Special Metals, the largest nickel alloy plant in the world.
- San Antonio (Texas) Symphony’s 72 musicians, after previously taking a big pay cut, are striking against management’s demand to cut dozens of jobs.
- Other labor actions involve two thousand hospital workers in Buffalo, NY, and 2,000 telecommunications workers in California. The Buffalo hospital workers are members of the Communication Workers of America, Local 1133, who have been on strike at the city’s Mercy Hospital.
Who Gets the Bird, 10/2/21, (Email newsletter by subscription), Denver Post, 10/6
Union Actions Mushrooming Across Country
The Guardian reports a big spike in union actions around the country as workers in a wide range of industries are demanding higher wages, better safety and working conditions, and fighting against cuts in staff. The number of these actions are difficult to follow, particularly since they are barely reported in the press. Just a few of them are listed below.
- Some 24,000 nurses and healthcare workers at Kaiser Permanente in California are set to take a strike authorization vote. If they strike, they will join 700 building engineers already on strike in the San Francisco area. Strike authorization votes are also in the works with 3,400 health workers in Oregon and 7,400 health workers at USW Kaiser Permanente. Rejecting the company’s claim that their “Labor Management Partnership,” created 24 years ago was the framework with which to solve the issues and should not be abandoned “in the spirit of partnership” a union spokesperson, registered nurse Denise Duncan, said, “We have people burned out, complaining of mental health issues and PTSD. We’re in a situation as a union where we’re concerned about the future of nursing.”
- Other union workers voting to authorize strikes even as their contract negotiations continue are transit workers in Beaumont, Texas, and Akron, Ohio, group home workers in Connecticut, cafeteria workers at Northwestern University, and 2,000 workers at Frontier Communications in California. Strike authorization votes are also taking place among graduate school workers at Columbia and Harvard Universities. Authorization for a bargaining team to call for a strike vote has come from graduate school workers at Illinois State University. Tens of thousands of other workers throughout the country have also authorized strikes or are on the verge of doing so.
- Recently settled strikes involved 2,000 carpenters in Washington State, 1,000 Nabisco factory workers in five facilities across several states and 600 Frito Lay workers in Kansass
Michael Sainato in The Guardian, 10/1, Portside, 10/1,