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Book Review: The Cost of Free Shipping: Amazon in the Global Economy

Tue, 2020-09-29 15:48
Book Review: The Cost of Free Shipping: Amazon in the Global Economy September 29, 2020 / Joe DeManuelle-Hall

Amazon's name appears regularly on picket signs and in headlines decrying worker abuse and corporate callousness. It can be difficult, though, to find a comprehensive perspective on the company's crimes and transgressions, not to mention discussion of what we can do about it. In The Cost of Free Shipping: Amazon in the Global Economy, organizers and academics provide just that.

Categories: Labor Notes

Hospital Workers Fight Job Cuts at Duluth’s Biggest Employer

Mon, 2020-09-28 13:03

Our health care employer announced hundreds of unnecessary layoffs this spring. Outraged at its poorly disguised greed, we didn’t just rely on negotiations. Instead, the members of our union voted unanimously to take the fight to the streets and into the community. We spent the summer fighting back—including holding our local’s first-ever pickets.

Categories: Labor Notes

Viewpoint: As the West Coast Burns, We Don’t Need Unity. We Need to Point the Finger at Those Responsible

Fri, 2020-09-25 15:13

#NeverForget. #SupportOurTroops. #BostonStrong. Americans often react to tragedy with calls for unity. People want to feel that we’re in this together.

But as fires burn throughout the West Coast, I’d like to offer an alternative vision. What we need now is to point the finger at those responsible. Rather than unity, we need blame and accountability.

Categories: Labor Notes

Your Letters and Parcels Are Piling Up Thanks to the New Privatizer General

Fri, 2020-09-25 13:05
Your Letters and Parcels Are Piling Up Thanks to the New Privatizer General September 25, 2020 / David Yao

As a postal worker I’ve seen firsthand how new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has changed mail delivery in his first months on the job, all in the name of “efficiency.” The results aren’t pretty.

DeJoy’s cost-cutting initiatives in July began with the order that all trucks must leave on time. These trucks take the mail, for instance, from a mail sorting plant to a post office.

Categories: Labor Notes

Lessons from the NBA Strike for Black Lives

Thu, 2020-09-24 12:31

In their righteous wildcat strikes, professional athletes showed us both how collective action can directly challenge power but also how a workplace campaign can get cut short if we’re not prepared.

Categories: Labor Notes

Pandemic Spurs Nashville Restaurant Workers to Organize

Wed, 2020-09-23 09:17

Restaurant workers in Nashville are experimenting with new forms of organizing in response to years of management abuse and the new threat of COVID-19.

In early March, just as the pandemic was looming on the horizon, but before any government-mandated shutdowns, a chef in the city’s rapidly growing restaurant industry started a Facebook page called “Nashville Hospitality Union.” Soon more than 1,000 restaurant workers had joined the page.

Categories: Labor Notes

Return of the Lockout: Uber and Lyft Try to Strong-Arm California

Wed, 2020-09-23 04:33
Return of the Lockout: Uber and Lyft Try to Strong-Arm California September 23, 2020 / Nelson Lichtenstein

In August a California court ordered Uber and Lyft to reclassify more than 100,000 drivers as regular employees. The two companies, which depend on a business model that defines drivers as independent contractors, got the decision lifted for at least a few months.

But in the meantime their threat to shut down operations in California—and thereby fire thousands of drivers while ending service to millions of customers—raises the question: What do we call this extraordinary corporate stratagem? A public relations gambit? A pressure tactic? Blackmail? A capital strike?

Categories: Labor Notes

Brooklyn Teachers Demand Full Remote Instruction

Tue, 2020-09-22 13:36

Outside the gates of Brooklyn’s P.S. 139 hung a poster with a report card for the Department of Education. Teachers frustrated with the ever-evolving plan to reopen schools had issued the DOE the following grades:

Timely submission of directives? F
Using data to drive decisions? F
Keeping stakeholders prepared and informed? F
Wasting time, energy, resources, driving us crazy? A+.

Categories: Labor Notes

School and Campus Workers Say: Not Until It's Safe

Fri, 2020-09-18 14:12
School and Campus Workers Say: Not Until It's Safe September 18, 2020 / Alexandra Bradbury

The push to reopen schools and campuses is hitting educators with a brutal fact: your employer will place you in deadly danger for the sake of the economy.

You knew this already if you worked in a meatpacking plant, an Amazon warehouse, or a construction site. But until 2020 you didn’t think a school or university job might kill you.

Categories: Labor Notes

VIDEO: Use Information Requests to Put Some Oomph into Your Contract Enforcement

Fri, 2020-09-18 12:47

Labor Notes is pleased to present a series of free webinars taught by veteran Boston labor lawyer Robert M. Schwartz.

This webinar, held on September 17, was entitled "Requests for Information" and based on Chapter 4 of Schwartz's popular book The Legal Rights of Union Stewards. The session begins around the 22-second mark.

Categories: Labor Notes

Chicago Health Care Workers on Strike for Safe Staffing, $15 Minimum, PPE

Wed, 2020-09-16 16:26

On Friday a Cook County judge filed a partial injunction against nearly 5,500 health care workers preparing to strike the University of Illinois at Chicago’s hospital, clinics, and other campus divisions. The judge cited a “clear and present danger” to patients, reducing the number of union members who could participate in the strike.

But to members of the Illinois Nurses Association and Service Employees Local 73, the clear and present dangers at UIC are unsafe staffing levels, lack of protective equipment, and poverty wages, especially in the coronavirus pandemic.

Categories: Labor Notes

Graduate Employees at University of Michigan Strike over COVID, Police

Mon, 2020-09-14 18:08

UPDATE, September 18: GEO membership voted to accept the University of Michigan’s second offer on September 16 and end the nine-day strike. At the union’s largest membership meeting yet, 78 percent of nearly 1,400 members in attendance voted in favor of the agreement. According to a GEO press release, the union won “workable pandemic childcare options; substantive support for international graduate students; transparent COVID-19 testing protocols; and incremental but real movement on our policing demands.”

Categories: Labor Notes

New York City Teachers Work Outdoors after a Co-Worker Tests Positive

Mon, 2020-09-14 18:00

UPDATE, September 18: Amid continued protests, yesterday Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the start of in-person school in New York City will be further delayed for most students. Pre-K and special ed schools will still open September 21, but elementary school reopening has been pushed back to September 29, and middle and high school to October 1. —Editors

Categories: Labor Notes

Students Mobilize to Defend Disciplined San Antonio Teacher

Mon, 2020-09-14 14:31

My school district put me on administrative leave for organizing workers at my school. Then students and community members led a huge campaign that forced my reinstatement in just three days.

I’m the union steward at Luther Burbank High School on the Southside of San Antonio, where I teach U.S. history. After tense faculty meetings and intense questioning from district personnel, the school district placed me on leave on August 31.

Categories: Labor Notes

Review: Dying for an iPhone: Apple, Foxconn, and the Lives of China’s Workers

Fri, 2020-09-11 16:39

Jenny Chan, Mark Selden, and Pun Ngai did extensive field research for almost 10 years to produce Dying for an iPhone. The result is a riveting account of the lives of workers on the production line, but the authors go further to reveal the human, social, and environmental impacts of the iPhone's manufacture.

Categories: Labor Notes

School Is Remote—Can I Get Leave to Stay Home with My Kid?

Thu, 2020-09-10 15:00

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020 (FFCRA), passed by Congress in March, mandates up to 12 weeks of paid, job-protected time off for workers who must stay home to care for a child because the child’s school or daycare is closed due to coronavirus precautions. (The FFCRA applies only to employers with fewer than 500 employees.)

Categories: Labor Notes

Canadian Auto Workers Fight for Contract Transparency

Thu, 2020-09-10 09:45
Canadian Auto Workers Fight for Contract Transparency September 10, 2020 / Rebecca Keetch

As bargaining at the Detroit 3 automakers kicks off in Canada, union members are fighting back against a longstanding undemocratic contract ratification process. In an unprecedented development, the Solidarity Movement, a rank-and-file movement within Unifor, has launched a petition to demand full disclosure of the collective agreement before voting takes place. Since the launch in early August around 1,600 members have signed.

Categories: Labor Notes

Trump Labor Board Upends Special Status of Union Stewards

Wed, 2020-09-09 11:54
Trump Labor Board Upends Special Status of Union Stewards September 09, 2020 / Robert M. Schwartz

And you thought it couldn’t get any worse!

Categories: Labor Notes

A Candid Conversation About Queers in the Labor Movement with Longtime Union Activists Miriam Frank and Desma Holcomb

Tue, 2020-09-08 16:20
Pride at Work: Organizing for Lesbian and Gay Rights in Unions (1990)

Categories: Labor Notes

We Need a Disability New Deal, Too

Thu, 2020-09-03 18:08

The subway is something I’ve always loved about New York City life. But my family can’t ride it together, because my daughter has cerebral palsy and 3 out of 4 stations have no elevator.

One in seven U.S. adults has serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs or can’t do so at all. People with disabilities generally, including vision and hearing impairments and intellectual disabilities, make up 1 in 4 adults: that’s a huge minority.

Categories: Labor Notes