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Updated: 12 hours 55 min ago

Spring of Discontent: Mexican Berry Pickers Strike for a Bigger Share of Profits

Tue, 2022-07-05 19:56

In a major agro-export region four hours south of the U.S-Mexican border, berry pickers went on strike May 28 to demand a bigger share of the profits they produce.

Over the following week, protests and strikes erupted on farms throughout the San Quintín valley, a major source of berries, tomatoes, chilies, and cucumbers.

A second wave of strikes began June 30.

Categories: Labor Notes

A New Sense of Possibility: Starbucks and Amazon Wins Inspire Organizing at Trader Joe's, REI, Target, and Apple

Thu, 2022-06-30 16:27

“Seven months ago if you asked me about a union I would’ve said, ‘I don’t know, cops have them?’” says Sarah Pappin, a shift supervisor at a Seattle Starbucks. But on June 6, she and her co-workers voted unanimously to join Starbucks Workers United, part of an upsurge of organizing by younger workers with little union experience that is breathing new life into the labor movement.

Categories: Labor Notes

Viewpoint: Two Contrasting Visions of the Labor Movement Were on Display in June

Tue, 2022-06-28 11:58

The rare planetary alignment in mid-June was accompanied by the equally rare alignment of the AFL-CIO convention and the Labor Notes conference. It’s not often there is the opportunity for such direct comparison of the top leadership and activist base of the labor movement.

Categories: Labor Notes

Collectively Fabulous

Thu, 2022-06-23 18:09

A longer version of this comic appears in the new collection Frontlines of Repair, just released by AK Press.

Click here to view the image in its own window and be able to zoom in.

Categories: Labor Notes

‘Progressive’ Food Company Amy’s Kitchen Faces Multiple Unfair Labor Practice Charges

Thu, 2022-06-23 16:46

The spirit of unionizing is in the air, from Amazon to Starbucks. Now the workers in two frozen food factories in California are getting in on the action. But they're facing serious union-busting from their employer, Amy's Kitchen, despite its progressive branding.

Amy’s Kitchen is the sixth-largest maker of organic frozen meals in the United States and the top U.S. producer of organic vegetarian food, according to the North Bay Business Journal. The company employs more than 2,000 workers, a majority of them Central American immigrants who do not speak English.

Categories: Labor Notes

A First Contract for Mexican GM Plant's Independent Union

Wed, 2022-06-22 11:00

An independent union at General Motors in Silao, Mexico, has ratified its first contract, with an 8.5 percent wage hike and benefit improvements—outstripping recent wage increases at other Mexican auto plants.

Categories: Labor Notes

Videos from the 2022 Labor Notes Conference

Wed, 2022-06-22 10:18

Wow! What an amazing weekend. Thank you to all 4,000 troublemakers who converged in Chicago June 17-19 and made this year's Labor Notes Conference incredible.

The energy you brought, the stories you shared, the connections you made, the ideas and plans you're bringing back home—that's what it's all about.

Special thanks to everyone who volunteered their time, interpreted between languages, donated money, spoke in workshops and panels, led meetings, and shared songs, poems, and art!

Categories: Labor Notes

Videos from the 2022 Labor Notes Conference

Tue, 2022-06-21 14:53

Wow! What an amazing weekend. Thank you to all 4,000 troublemakers who converged in Chicago June 17-19 and made this year's Labor Notes Conference incredible.

The energy you brought, the stories you shared, the connections you made, the ideas and plans you're bringing back home—that's what it's all about.

Special thanks to everyone who volunteered their time, interpreted between languages, donated money, spoke in workshops and panels, led meetings, and shared songs, poems, and art!

Categories: Labor Notes

Must-see play for union leaders at Labor Notes!

Wed, 2022-06-15 14:20


Waterwell, in association with Working Theater, present

7 Minutes

written by Stefano Massini
translated by Francesca Spedalieri
directed by Kristina Valada-Viars

"7 Minutes is an extraordinary play about the fear, anger, strength, and resilience of workers in a warehouse fighting against a concession. It touches on every aspect of those very difficult but detrimental conversations on the shop floor. It's a must see." -Anthony Rosario, Teamsters Local 804

Categories: Labor Notes

The Sign Says It All: How Unions Can Stop Employers from Crying Poor

Wed, 2022-06-01 10:21

My wife and I were motoring down the main avenue in Alexandria, Virginia, in 2017 when I yelled out, “Stop! I gotta have this sign!”

Nancy pulled over. I jumped out and yanked out of the roadside a real estate sign that announced, “From the Upper $1 Millions, New Luxury Condos,” with a big arrow telling you to turn so you could buy one.

Categories: Labor Notes

Deep South Baristas Strike Starbucks

Sat, 2022-05-28 08:54

Starbucks baristas in Columbia, South Carolina, returned to their jobs on Saturday, May 21, following a three-day walkout to protest anti-union retaliation.

Managers began denying employees promotions and transfers several weeks ago after 22 of 28 “partners” at the Millwood Avenue store petitioned the National Labor Relations Board for union representation. The workers reached a breaking point on May 18 when a popular store manager was fired for refusing to engage in union busting.

Categories: Labor Notes

Learning from the Covid Disruption: How Unions Can Emerge from the Pandemic More Effective

Fri, 2022-05-27 08:56

The Covid-19 pandemic has not only upended our lives and workplaces but also shaken up our unions, placing many new demands on activists and leaders. Representation, organizing, advocacy, education—just about every union activity or function has been disrupted or transformed.

A period of massive disruption, however, is also an opportunity for change. Seeing how quickly some of your long-established practices stopped, and new practices started, demonstrates that change is possible.

Categories: Labor Notes

‘You Have to Be Very Persistent’: Lessons from the Starbucks Union in Chile

Sat, 2022-05-21 14:55

Andrés Giordano is the former president of the Starbucks union in Chile and a recently elected congressman. These remarks were edited from “Revolutionary Grounds,” an event hosted by the Emergency Workplace Committee, Starbucks Workers United, and the International Committee of the Democratic Socialists of America. A version was originally published by The Forge. The union’s current president and another member will join the 2022 Labor Notes Conference.

Categories: Labor Notes

Workplace Bullying in Higher Education is Rampant. We’re Fighting Back

Fri, 2022-05-20 15:14

Grabbing her hair, the boss held scissor blades an inch from her face. “If you don’t give me any brilliant ideas I’m going to cut your hair off,” he deadpanned.

Was this a sick joke? Was he serious? She was alone in his office with him. She was petrified.

You might think this assault happened in some notoriously wretched workplace, the kind of abuse that only occurs in sweatshops halfway across the globe.

But you would be wrong.

Categories: Labor Notes

Farm and Construction Equipment Workers Strike in Iowa and Wisconsin

Fri, 2022-05-20 14:56

Eleven hundred workers who manufacture agricultural and construction equipment for CNH Industrial in Burlington, Iowa, and Racine, Wisconsin, have been on strike since May 2.

At the core of the strike is the company’s three-tier pay system. Workers hired before 1996 make $6 to $8 more per hour than those hired after 2004; those hired between 1996 and 2004 earn somewhere in between. Workers want to see at least the bottom tier abolished.

Categories: Labor Notes

Amazon Bites Back in Vote at Second New York Warehouse

Fri, 2022-05-13 10:00

The Amazon Labor Union, after making history in April when it won the first-ever unionized Amazon warehouse, JFK8 on Staten Island, New York, was routed in May in a second election at LDJ5, another warehouse in the same complex.

Amazon waged a fierce union-busting campaign, and it worked. Out of 1,633 eligible voters, 998 cast ballots: 380 yes and 618 no. There were no challenged ballots, and two ballots were voided. The ALU’s lawyer, Seth Goldstein, has said the union will challenge the outcome.

Categories: Labor Notes

Labor Notes Conference 2022: It’s Gonna Be Big

Thu, 2022-05-12 15:44

This year’s Labor Notes Conference (June 17-19, Chicago) will be one for the record books. About 4,000 people are coming—more than ever before—after a long wait.

There’s plenty to celebrate this year, starting with phenomenal new organizing wins at Starbucks and Amazon. Dozens of shop floor organizers from both companies will be there, including plenary speakers Amazon Labor Union President Chris Smalls (“We want to thank Jeff Bezos for going to space, because while he was up there we were organizing a union”) and Michelle Eisen of Starbucks Workers United.

Categories: Labor Notes

A Life in Transit: ‘What You Can Get Is Set by How Far You Are Prepared to Go’

Thu, 2022-04-28 18:31

Tim Schermerhorn is a Black socialist, lifelong political activist, Labor Notes board member, and retired militant New York City transit worker. An active member and reform activist in Transport Workers Local 100 for 33 years, he ran for union president in 1997 and almost won, but fraud narrowly denied him victory. In these excerpts from a forthcoming memoir, he describes what shaped his activism and lessons for a new generation. –Eds.

Categories: Labor Notes

Learn It, Do It, Teach It: Member Organizers Turn the Moment into a Movement

Wed, 2022-04-27 14:40

Over the last five years, in big pro-union cities and small Southern towns, more than 7,000 workers in 145 shops have organized with the NewsGuild, a sector of the Communications Workers (CWA). After years of layoffs, buyouts, and pay cuts, workers across an entire industry seemed ready to organize.

There was no way our union could hire enough staff organizers to keep up. So we built a member-led movement that could grow fast.

Categories: Labor Notes

Retaliation Can't Stop Growing Starbucks Union

Wed, 2022-04-20 14:45

So far, over 200 Starbucks stores across the country have filed for union elections, with 25 of the 27 that have voted so far choosing to join Starbucks Workers United. That includes the union going five for five yesterday in elections at stores in Richmond, Virginia.

Categories: Labor Notes