Steward's Corner

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Updated: 16 hours 15 min ago

Out of the Pandemic: UC Student Researchers Emerge United

Tue, 2021-05-18 13:42
Blog: Blog

Graduate student employees have fought for decades to form unions. In the 51 years since teaching assistants at the University of Wisconsin won the first graduate worker contract in the nation, our right to unionize has been only intermittently protected by the National Labor Relations Board, depending on which party sits in the Oval Office.

Categories: Labor Notes

Detroit Postal Workers Push to Dump DeJoy and His Ten-Year Plan

Wed, 2021-05-12 16:29
Blog: Blog

Last fall, the Detroit local of the Postal Workers (APWU) stepped out with a rally and flyer calling on workers to defend democracy and warning of a possible coup. National APWU picked up that flyer and copied it in a national publication.

Now we can only hope that the national union will begin to echo our call from the heartland to Dump DeJoy.

Categories: Labor Notes

Duke University Press Workers Organize with NewsGuild

Tue, 2021-05-04 17:32
Blog: Blog

Update May 5: The Duke University Press Workers Union officially filed for an election on May 3.—Eds

After years of high turnover, low pay, and discriminatory practices affecting people of color and queer people, workers at Duke University Press in Durham, North Carolina, are organizing a union.

The 120 workers do a wide range of jobs: editorial work on journals and books, sales and marketing, IT and business tech. Most are women and most are white—although mostly men occupy the upper-level positions, a reflection of the university publishing industry.

Categories: Labor Notes

Jordanian Teachers Union Leaves Behind Legacy of Wins

Mon, 2021-05-03 13:09
Blog: Blog

One of the Middle East’s most active and militant labor unions has come and gone.

The Jordan Teachers’ Syndicate (JTS) was outlawed and dissolved by the government in July 2020. It represented around 140,000 teachers in the small country of 10 million people.

Categories: Labor Notes

Steward's Corner: Outwitting Management’s Anti-Union Games

Thu, 2021-04-29 13:27

Amazon’s anti-union campaign in its Bessemer, Alabama, warehouse shined a national spotlight on the tactics that companies deploy to fight union drives. Below, a newspaper reporter explains how he and his co-workers exposed management’s routine with a humorous tool: a Bingo card.

Steward's Corner: Outwitting Management’s Anti-Union Games April 29, 2021 / Terrence T. McDonald
Categories: Labor Notes

Can Postal Vehicles Help Us Fight Climate Change?

Wed, 2021-04-28 17:05
Blog: Blog

The question of whether the Postal Service acts as a business or as a public service is playing out once again—this time in the discussion over fighting climate change.

The Postal Service has more than 200,000 delivery vehicles, many of which are 30 years old and overdue for replacement. They expose workers to exhaust fumes that are a rarity elsewhere in 2021. Hundreds have caught fire, in part due to age. The question of what to replace them with has become a topic of debate.

Categories: Labor Notes

TV Review: The Class Struggle at Superstore

Tue, 2021-04-27 10:37
Blog: Blog

The hit NBC show Superstore ran for six seasons before being cancelled after star America Ferrera departed. It won praise for showing problems faced by retail workers such as low wages, poor benefits, short staffing, racial and gender discrimination, automation, and the challenges of serving as essential workers during the pandemic.

Categories: Labor Notes

Don’t Compromise on Farmworker Rights

Mon, 2021-04-26 18:44
Blog: BlogAuthor(s): Saurav Sarkar

I covered the immigrant “mega marches” as a freelance reporter in 2006. In response to some horrific, punitive legislation passed by the House of Representatives, millions of immigrants took to the streets of Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, and other cities.

But unions didn’t take advantage of that energy in the streets to build a movement. Instead, union officials reacted—some for, some against—to policies coming from DC.

Categories: Labor Notes

Interview: 'Things Shouldn't Be Like This': Why One Amazon Driver Walked Out on Easter

Fri, 2021-04-23 17:54
Blog: BlogAuthor(s): Joe DeManuelle-Hall

Working conditions at Amazon have been under a spotlight for months—not only for workers in the company’s warehouses but also for its delivery drivers, who face extreme quotas, long hours, and intense surveillance.

Categories: Labor Notes

The National Guard Came to St. Paul to Repress Protests. We Kicked Them Out of Labor’s Hall.

Wed, 2021-04-21 16:50
Blog: Blog

Within days of the police killing 20-year-old Daunte Wright, the streets of the Twin Cities metro area were once again filled with National Guard units.

Democratic Governor Tim Walz and other officials claim this is to protect from the threat of “outside agitators”—a phrase that should be familiar to anyone who has sat through anti-union propaganda. But more and more local residents are calling it a military occupation.

Categories: Labor Notes

Lessons from Labor History for Organizing Amazon

Mon, 2021-04-19 10:35
Blog: Blog

The results of the recent unionization election at Amazon’s Bessemer facility were, to put it mildly, disappointing: 738 votes in favor of the union; 1,798 against; with turnout (perhaps as significant a marker) lackluster at just over 50 percent. Many people have weighed in with analyses of what happened and what this might mean for future organizing.

Categories: Labor Notes

Inside the Alabama Amazon Union Drive: An Interview with the Lead Organizer

Sat, 2021-04-17 11:08

Everyone and their mother—including us!—has published an analysis of the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union’s election loss April 9 in a celebrated union drive at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama. But most of us are writing from a long distance away, and with only a few pieces of the puzzle. What did the campaign look like from the inside? Labor Notes writer Luis Feliz Leon spoke on April 13 with Joshua Brewer, the campaign’s lead organizer, from RWDSU’s Mid-South Council.

Inside the Alabama Amazon Union Drive: An Interview with the Lead Organizer April 17, 2021 / Luis Feliz Leon and Joshua Brewer
Categories: Labor Notes

How We Turned Bargaining Around at Law360

Fri, 2021-04-16 15:33

[Yesterday NewsGuild members at Mashable, PC Mag, Ask Men, and Geek walked off the job for 24 hours, part of their ongoing fight for a first contract two years after the publications' parent company, ZiffDavis, agreed to recognize their union.

How We Turned Bargaining Around at Law360 April 16, 2021 / Juan Carlos Rodriguez and Dani Kass
Categories: Labor Notes

China: Leader of Delivery Riders Alliance Detained, Solidarity Movement Repressed

Thu, 2021-04-15 13:23

On February 25 “Mengzhu,” a well-known food delivery worker activist, was detained by Beijing police in a raid on the group apartment where he lives with other delivery workers. Four of them were also detained.

While two workers were released after questioning at the police station, Mengzhu—whose real name is Chen Guojiang—and two of his close friends are still detained. He has been charged with “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” a catch-all category often used against activists in China.

China: Leader of Delivery Riders Alliance Detained, Solidarity Movement Repressed April 15, 2021 / Karl Hu
Categories: Labor Notes

The BAmazon Loss and the Road Ahead

Wed, 2021-04-14 14:24
Author(s): Joe DeManuelle-Hall

What can union activists across the country take away from the high-profile defeat in the union vote at Amazon in Alabama?

The National Labor Relations Board announced April 9 that workers at Amazon’s fulfillment center in Bessemer, near Birmingham, had voted against joining the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union.

The tally was 71 percent no to 29 percent yes—though it’s possible the actual split was closer to 60-40, if you consider the large number of ballots that were cast but never counted because they were challenged by the company.

The BAmazon Loss and the Road Ahead April 14, 2021 / Joe DeManuelle-Hall
Categories: Labor Notes

Massachusetts Nurses Face Down For-Profit Health Care Giant Tenet in Daring Strike

Tue, 2021-04-13 12:02
Author(s): Sarah Hughes

On the same day that their employer announced it had made more than $400 million in profits during the Covid-19 pandemic, the nurses of St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts, declared their intention to strike.

“St. V’s” is part of the Dallas-based Tenet Health—one of the largest and most profitable for-profit hospital corporations in the country. It is refusing to back down on the number one issue for nurses: safe staffing ratios.

As of this writing, close to 90 percent of the 800 nurses have been on strike since March 8.

Massachusetts Nurses Face Down For-Profit Health Care Giant Tenet in Daring Strike April 13, 2021 / Sarah Hughes
Categories: Labor Notes

Pandemic Discrimination Against Asian Americans Has Long Roots

Mon, 2021-04-12 14:10
Author(s): Saurav Sarkar

“I have pepper spray and I hold it every time I’m alone right now in case I see someone that is really frightening,” said New York City teacher Annie Tan, who is Chinese American.

By February 2020, friends of hers had already been verbally harassed on the subway. One had been deliberately coughed on. Another was too scared to take the train anymore.

Many Asian Americans and Asian immigrants are experiencing similar incidents.

Pandemic Discrimination Against Asian Americans Has Long Roots April 12, 2021 / Saurav Sarkar
Categories: Labor Notes

How a Janitors Union in San Francisco Got Over Its Fear and Struck

Thu, 2021-04-08 17:28
Author(s): Luis Feliz Leon

With their contract negotiations stalled, hundreds of San Francisco janitors represented by Service Employees (SEIU) Local 87 went on strike March 24.

Roughly 3,000 Bay Area janitors were laid off as the pandemic spread last year. Their union is now demanding a return to work for all laid-off workers—but with improvements.

How a Janitors Union in San Francisco Got Over Its Fear and Struck April 08, 2021 / Luis Feliz Leon
Categories: Labor Notes

Steward's Corner: Surviving Public Speaking—The Off-the-Cuff Speech

Wed, 2021-04-07 17:55

Whether you’re making your point in your union meeting or with a reporter on the picket line, a lot of crucial public speaking has to be improvised on the spot. No need to panic: off-the-cuff speaking is a skill that can be learned by anyone, like every other tool in your organizing kit.

Following last month’s tips on prepared speeches and presentation skills, here we’ll discuss how to give short improvised speeches and comments that come through loud and clear.

Steward's Corner: Surviving Public Speaking—The Off-the-Cuff Speech April 07, 2021 / Keith Brower Brown and Jane Slaughter
Categories: Labor Notes