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Updated: 5 hours 35 min ago

Washington Carpenter Revolt Swells Picket Lines

Fri, 2021-09-17 18:30
Blog: BlogAuthor(s): Luis Feliz Leon

Two thousand Washington carpenters went on strike yesterday, out of 6,600 who currently work under the master agreement with the Association of General Contractors (AGC). Five jobs were picketed, including construction projects at Facebook’s Building X, the Microsoft’s Campus in Redmond, and Alphabet’s Google.

“I didn’t know what to expect. People can talk on Facebook, but you don’t know until it’s time for people to show up,” said Joe Rice, a general foreman at Local 30.

Categories: Labor Notes

On the Verge of a Strike, Washington Carpenters Fight Union Leaders for a Wage Hike

Wed, 2021-09-15 16:38
Author(s): Luis Feliz Leon

After narrowly rejecting a contract offer, the union representing 11,600 working carpenters in Washington state is set to start a strike tomorrow.

It’s the fourth offer that members have nixed. A scrappy band of rank and filers known as the Peter J. McGuire Group organized the no vote over inadequate raises—despite pressure from union leaders, who were promoting the deal. They are also seeking reimbursements for high parking costs, increased employer contributions to health care and pension funds, and stronger sexual harassment protections.

On the Verge of a Strike, Washington Carpenters Fight Union Leaders for a Wage Hike September 15, 2021 / Luis Feliz Leon
Categories: Labor Notes

New York City Municipal Employees Protest Abrupt Return to Offices

Tue, 2021-09-14 15:32
Blog: BlogAuthor(s): Joe DeManuelle-Hall

Eighty thousand New York City municipal workers who had been largely working remotely for the past 18 months were forced back this week to full-time, in-person work—after less than two weeks’ notice.

The majority of the city’s 300,000 municipal workers were already back at work. Many—such as sanitation workers and health care workers—never stopped working in person. These remaining 80,000 were those the city had deemed “non-essential.”

Categories: Labor Notes

Steward's Corner: Recruiting and Keeping Volunteers

Mon, 2021-09-13 11:23

A tree is only as strong as its roots, and a union is only as strong as its actively involved members. Just as unions couldn’t function without stewards, unions also need member-volunteers to work on all sorts of committees, petition campaigns, direct actions, and more.

But the question is: How do you get members to volunteer their time, talents, and energy?

According to research on people who are active in social and political movements, the choice to get involved is based on three factors:

Steward's Corner: Recruiting and Keeping Volunteers September 13, 2021 / from the Union Steward's Complete Guide
Categories: Labor Notes

Review: How Workers Can Safeguard Pensions

Thu, 2021-09-09 16:39
Blog: Blog

In recent decades, a top management priority at the bargaining table has been reducing the cost of retirement benefits. The pandemic and its economic fallout have generated a new round of employer demands for pension freezes, benefit cuts, plan conversions, and two-tier coverage. Jim Russell’s new book Labor Guide to Retirement Plans shows why and how private and public sector unions should be mobilizing members against such concessions.

Categories: Labor Notes

Ten Thousand UAW Members Gear Up for a Strike Vote at John Deere

Wed, 2021-09-08 16:44
Author(s): Jonah Furman

UPDATE, September 13: On Sunday, all nine UAW locals at John Deere were presented with the company's first offer and took their own strike authorization votes. According to workers at those meetings, the company proposed a long list of concessions, including an end to the moratorium on plant closures, increasing workers' health insurance premium payments from 0 percent to 20 percent, and an end to overtime after eight hours. While company-wide numbers weren't yet available, among plants where numbers have been reported so far, 99 percent of voting members authorized a strike.

Ten Thousand UAW Members Gear Up for a Strike Vote at John Deere September 08, 2021 / Jonah Furman
Categories: Labor Notes

President of South Korea's Militant Union Federation Arrested for Organizing a Rally

Tue, 2021-09-07 17:35

Update: On September 15, a Seoul court denied Yang bail. The KCTU stepped up the war of words. “In October, the government will see a general strike that knows no precedent,” the organization said in a statement—Editors

The South Korean government has arrested the leader of the country’s largest umbrella organization of independent unions, a move that will further strain ongoing tensions with the labor movement.

President of South Korea's Militant Union Federation Arrested for Organizing a Rally September 07, 2021 / Kap Seol
Categories: Labor Notes

While Many in New York Stayed Dry and Safe, Immigrant Gig Workers Braved a Deluge

Fri, 2021-09-03 13:39
Blog: BlogAuthor(s): Luis Feliz Leon

During a typical downpour, the rainwater also pours gobs of cash in tips into the pockets of immigrant gig workers as they zip around the city delivering takeout to New Yorkers hunkering down at home. Flash flooding warnings are not a case for worry; they are signs of a boon to come, as food delivery apps like GrubHub, DoorDash, and Relay offer bonuses to entice workers to traipse through snow and rain to feed homebound residents. On these days of extreme weather, upwardly mobile customers are apt to be less stingy.

Categories: Labor Notes

Mexico’s Only Independent Farmworker Union Struggles On Despite Obstacles

Mon, 2021-08-30 13:42
Blog: Blog

In 2015, tens of thousands of poor, mostly indigenous migrant farmworkers (or jornaleros) went on strike in Mexico, blockading the transpeninsular highway that connects agricultural production in the valley of San Quintín, Baja California, with distributors across the border in the United States. These workers produce crops including tomatoes, cucumbers, and berries for U.S. and world markets—under conditions they decry as “modern slavery.”

Categories: Labor Notes

Steward's Corner: Helping New Stewards

Mon, 2021-08-30 09:55

Being a steward is a hard, often thankless job. That simple fact makes the turnover in some unions terribly high—a sure recipe for a weakened union and a corps of seriously overworked veteran stewards.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Experienced stewards can use what they’ve learned to bring newer stewards along—to mentor them with opportunities, resources, encouragement, and support. Just the way a seasoned mechanic can show a new apprentice a few tricks, so too can the veteran steward lend a hand to the newcomer. Here are some ideas on how to do that.

Steward's Corner: Helping New Stewards August 30, 2021 / from the Union Steward's Complete Guide
Categories: Labor Notes

Bottom-Up Labor Solidarity for Palestine Is Growing

Thu, 2021-08-26 14:41
Blog: Blog

In May, Palestinian workers urgently appealed for international solidarity against a sharp escalation of Israeli violence. Their appeals have been met with an unprecedented response—even in the United States, where labor officialdom has long supported the world’s last remaining apartheid regime (see sidebar).

This dramatic shift is reflected in statements issued by U.S. labor bodies, and, above all, Block The Boat, which successfully prevented an Israeli ZIM Lines ship from docking anywhere on the West Coast in May and June.

Categories: Labor Notes

Hotels Don't Waste a Crisis

Wed, 2021-08-25 11:23
Author(s): Saurav Sarkar

Javier Gonzalez used to send money every two weeks to his 85- and 90-year-old parents in his home country. He had to stop because his employer, Boston Marriott Copley Place, terminated Gonzalez and 230 of his co-workers last September, after temporarily laying them off at the start of the pandemic. They made up more than half the hotel’s workforce.

Hotels Don't Waste a Crisis August 25, 2021 / Saurav Sarkar
Categories: Labor Notes

Letter Carrier: Air Quality Is a Union Issue

Tue, 2021-08-24 17:41
Blog: Blog

On August 7, Denver, Colorado—suffocated with smoke from the massive California wildfires—topped the chart of the world’s most polluted major cities.

Categories: Labor Notes

Massachusetts Nurse Strikers Aren’t Blinking

Wed, 2021-08-18 12:04

Five months into the longest nurse strike in a decade, little progress has been made but workers aren’t backing down. “We’ve got 150 days down and we’re ready to go 150 more,” said one picketing nurse outside St. Vincent’s Hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Massachusetts Nurse Strikers Aren’t Blinking August 18, 2021 / Sam Bishop
Categories: Labor Notes

Make Workplace Mental Health a Priority, Says Union President Who Survived San Jose Shooting

Tue, 2021-08-17 08:19
Author(s): Dan DiMaggio

It was 6:30 a.m. and workers at a San Jose light rail maintenance yard were talking with their union president during shift change.

Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 265 President John Courtney was there to discuss the state of the union, including a campaign for hazard pay and management’s push to squeeze more passengers onto buses and trains despite Covid. “You can’t run a union from your office,” Courtney says. “You have to get out there amongst the people. You have to hear what they have to say. They have to hear what I have to say.”

Make Workplace Mental Health a Priority, Says Union President Who Survived San Jose Shooting August 17, 2021 / Dan DiMaggio
Categories: Labor Notes

Striking Window Cleaners Want Their Dangerous Job Recognized as a Skilled Trade

Mon, 2021-08-16 15:51
Blog: BlogAuthor(s): Luis Feliz Leon

UPDATE, August 26: After 10 days on strike, high-rise window cleaners in the Twin Cities secured a new contract that creates an employer-funded, state-recognized apprenticeship program, bolsters sick days and disability pay, and includes 12 percent wage increases. Workers will earn over $30 an hour by the end of the four-year contract—wages second only to window cleaners in New York City.

Categories: Labor Notes

Richard Trumka, 1949-2021

Fri, 2021-08-13 15:44
Blog: Blog

Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO president since 2009, passed away from a heart attack August 5. Born in 1949 outside Pittsburgh, the son of a coal miner and a homemaker, Trumka worked in the mines before becoming a lawyer and then president of the Mine Workers (UMWA) at age 33. 
Trumka was UMWA president during the nine-month Pittston Coal strike in 1989, which ended in a rare labor victory during the Reagan-Bush era. The union beat back Pittston’s bid to force dramatic concessions and to pull out of industry-wide pension and health care funds.

Categories: Labor Notes

Chicago Passes Union-Backed Bill for Civilian Oversight of Violent Cops

Thu, 2021-08-12 18:11
Author(s): Joe DeManuelle-Hall

In July, Chicago’s city council passed a modified version of police accountability legislation that activists have spent years fighting for, backed by major public sector unions and Black labor leaders.

Chicago Passes Union-Backed Bill for Civilian Oversight of Violent Cops August 12, 2021 / Joe DeManuelle-Hall
Categories: Labor Notes

Striking Alabama Coal Miners Want Their $1.1 Billion Back

Tue, 2021-08-10 15:10
Author(s): Luis Feliz Leon

History repeated itself as hundreds of miners spilled out of buses in June and July to leaflet the Manhattan offices of asset manager BlackRock, the largest shareholder in the mining company Warrior Met Coal.

Some had traveled from the pine woods of Brookwood, Alabama, where 1,100 coal miners have been on strike against Warrior Met since April 1. Others came in solidarity from the rolling hills of western Pennsylvania and the hollows of West Virginia and Ohio.

Striking Alabama Coal Miners Want Their $1.1 Billion Back August 10, 2021 / Luis Feliz Leon
Categories: Labor Notes

Open Bargaining Brings the Power of Members to the Table in Berkeley

Thu, 2021-08-05 11:38

After years of salary scales that don’t keep up with the cost of living, an SEIU 1021 bargaining team for city of Berkeley workers decided to do something different at the bargaining table this year. They decided to go big—by opening up bargaining to all members.

This Local 1021 chapter—one of two at the city—includes librarians, recreation staff, homeless outreach workers, and fire department office employees. The chapter went into bargaining this year with some lingering distrust and division stemming from a 2013 state pension law that created a two-tier retirement system.

Open Bargaining Brings the Power of Members to the Table in Berkeley August 05, 2021 / F. Thomson
Categories: Labor Notes