Steward's Corner

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Updated: 2 hours 45 min ago

North Carolina Nurses Seek Their First Union

Wed, 2020-05-27 15:48

Nurses in the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina filed a petition in March to form a union with National Nurses United. Roughly 1,600 nurses are expected to be eligible to vote.

Despite the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and a relentless union-busting campaign that has delayed the election, nurses at Mission Hospital in Asheville say they are on the brink of a historic labor victory in the country’s second least unionized state.

Categories: Labor Notes

They Won a New Union While Working from Home

Wed, 2020-05-27 12:40

When the Orlando Sentinel’s newsroom employees won our election in May with 81 percent voting for The NewsGuild, the organizing committee had not seen our co-workers in person for nearly two months. The election was conducted entirely by mail. Supporters watched the vote count at the National Labor Relations Board’s Tampa office by videoconference.

Yet we were confident of victory because over two years, we had laid a solid foundation for the union.

Categories: Labor Notes

Workers Will Take the Brunt of This Recession—Just Like the Last One—Unless We Say No

Wed, 2020-05-27 08:21

One reason today's horrific recession feels so familiar is that we're still digging out of the last one. When the housing market collapsed in 2008, 10 million people lost their homes and 9 million lost their jobs. The poverty rate went up and has stayed up even when unemployment fell to record lows.

Categories: Labor Notes

In a Pandemic, Finding New and Old Ways To Fight New and Old Foes

Tue, 2020-05-26 11:02

Workers this spring were forced to find new ways to assert their rights when faced with a deadly foe and employers indifferent to their lives.

Sometimes they resorted to the oldest trick in labor's book, the strike, especially wildcat strikes early on in the pandemic, and especially non-union workers. Sometimes they were forced to organize and protest virtually, making the most of social media. And the car caravan was reborn as an appropriately distanced tactic.

Categories: Labor Notes

VIDEO: Ford Workers Shut Down the Line at Dearborn Truck Plant

Fri, 2020-05-22 14:19

A video taken by an auto worker and obtained exclusively by Labor Notes shows a rowdy and chaotic scene inside Ford’s Dearborn, Michigan Truck Plant on Wednesday as workers refused to work after a co-worker tested positive for COVID-19.

Some stood by the lines; others simply went home.

Categories: Labor Notes

Help Us Save the Postal Service

Fri, 2020-05-22 10:16

Read more here about the crisis in the postal service.

Categories: Labor Notes

Can We Save the Postal Service?

Fri, 2020-05-22 10:06
Can We Save the Postal Service? May 22, 2020 / Alexandra Bradbury

The U.S. Postal Service is in deep trouble. The postal Board of Governors has asked Congress for $75 billion to keep the agency afloat; without it, the outgoing Postmaster General said, USPS could “run out of cash” by September.

A big drop in letters during the emergency shutdown has intensified the budget crunch, but the underlying crisis predates the pandemic. The good news is, the problem is mostly artificial—Congress created it with the stroke of a pen, and could fix it the same way. If it wanted to.

Categories: Labor Notes

Follow the Money: Employers Are Behind the Rush to Reopen

Thu, 2020-05-21 13:03
Follow the Money: Employers Are Behind the Rush to Reopen May 21, 2020 / Chris Brooks

The federal government squandered the time the states spent in lockdown. We still face a national shortage of COVID-19 test kits and PPE and there is no nationwide testing or contact tracing program. The United States has 4 percent of the world’s population, but about a third of the world’s coronavirus cases.

Categories: Labor Notes

You've Got the 'Rona But You Fail the Test

Tue, 2020-05-19 16:46

What will happen to all the people who catch the coronavirus but never get a positive test? As states gear up to send workers back to work, the number of infections will skyrocket. We are going to need a whole new layer of protection for workers who are scarred by this virus but who cannot document its presence in their bodies.

Categories: Labor Notes

Hundreds of Apple Workers on Strike in Washington

Mon, 2020-05-18 12:54
Hundreds of Apple Workers on Strike in Washington May 18, 2020 / David Bacon

Since this article was written, apple packinghouse workers at two more companies have joined the strike: at Hansen Fruit and Columbia Reach. Six worksites in Yakima County have now seen production shut down. The county has the highest rate of COVID-19 cases on the West Coast. The strikes are women-led, multigenerational, and multiracial, according to Edgar Franks of Familias Unidas por la Justicia, a local farmworkers' union. —Editors

Categories: Labor Notes

How the Coronavirus Crisis Became an Economic Crisis

Fri, 2020-05-15 12:18
How the Coronavirus Crisis Became an Economic Crisis May 15, 2020 / Alejandro Reuss

Part 2 of a joint series in Labor Notes and Dollars & Sense on the economics of the coronavirus crisis. Part 1, “Not Simply a 'Natural Disaster,'” is here.

Categories: Labor Notes

New Postmaster General Is an Expert Job-Killer

Fri, 2020-05-15 11:42

Much of the criticism of new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has centered on his $2 million in contributions to the Trump campaign and other Republican causes since 2016. DeJoy is in charge of fundraising for the Republican National Convention in Charlotte.

These facts are cause for worry, but postal workers should be even more alarmed at his 35 years’ experience in labor analytics—the art of eliminating as many jobs as possible.

Categories: Labor Notes

Not Simply a ‘Natural Disaster’

Thu, 2020-05-14 16:21
Not Simply a ‘Natural Disaster’ May 14, 2020 / Alejandro Reuss

Part 1 of a joint series in Labor Notes and Dollars & Sense on the economics of the coronavirus crisis. Part 2, "How the Coronavirus Crisis Became an Economic Crisis," is here.

The coronavirus pandemic is not simply a “natural disaster.” How many people and which particular people will fall ill or die depends not just of the characteristics of the infection but also on the policies and institutions of the society.

Categories: Labor Notes

Call Center Workers Strike for Telework in Portugal

Wed, 2020-05-13 14:34

Portuguese call center workers forced to come to work during the pandemic struck in March, demanding to switch to teleworking at home without loss of pay. Some workers refused to go to work, some took sick leave, some asked for vacation days, and others appeared at the call centers but refused to log in.

Categories: Labor Notes

WEBINAR: No Shock Doctrine: Organizing to Defend Public Colleges and Universities

Wed, 2020-05-13 14:02


Join Labor Notes and the Public Higher Education Workers this Tuesday May 19 at 5 PM EDT to hear public education workers speak about organizing for fully funded public higher education in the midst of the pandemic.

Categories: Labor Notes

GM Workers Find a Safer Job Making PPE

Wed, 2020-05-13 12:51

“I feel like I’m in the safest place in the company from the virus,” said Chris Viola, who, until April 20, was laid off from General Motors’ Cadillac and Impala assembly plant in Detroit. Now he’s working in a former transmission plant in the suburbs, making face masks along with a few dozen other GM workers.

Categories: Labor Notes

Ontario Early Childhood Educators Unionize during Pandemic

Tue, 2020-05-12 13:45

A group of early childhood educators with the Halton District School Board, near Toronto, were in the middle of a union drive when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

With schools closed and physical distancing rules in effect, workers had to quickly shift gears and experiment with new approaches.


In Ontario Designated Early Childhood Educators (DECEs) are paired with elementary school teachers to provide all-day kindergarten.

Categories: Labor Notes

Viewpoint: When Auto Plants Reopen, Some of Us Will Die for Corporate Profit

Mon, 2020-05-11 16:01

Despite all the evidence that we are nowhere near out of the woods with the coronavirus pandemic, the Detroit automakers and the United Auto Workers (UAW) have agreed to restart production at most facilities on May 18. Various part supplier facilities will restart even sooner.

Categories: Labor Notes

How Amazon Workers Are Organizing for the Long Haul

Mon, 2020-05-11 13:55
How Amazon Workers Are Organizing for the Long Haul May 11, 2020 / Amazonians United

Amazon logistics workers have won much attention for organizing during the pandemic. Around the country workers have signed petitions demanding protections, and in New York, Michigan, Illinois, and Washington, some have even struck and walked out.

These actions have generated support from our tech coworkers in Amazon's Seattle headquarters, politicians, and the wider public. Given Amazon’s centrality in our economy, this marks a crucial moment for the wider labor movement.

Categories: Labor Notes

Covid-19 Highlights the Need for Prison Labor Reform

Fri, 2020-05-08 11:44

For decades, prisoners in American correctional facilities have worked for no wages or mere pennies an hour. As the United States attempts to reduce transmission of COVID-19, more than a dozen states are now relying on this captive labor force to manufacture personal protective equipment badly needed by health care workers and other frontline responders.

Categories: Labor Notes