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Unions Can Still Strike—Don't Let the Supreme Court Tell You Otherwise

Thu, 2023-06-01 18:09

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Glacier Northwest v. Teamsters Local 174 is outrageous—valuing property over workers’ rights. But it could have been much worse.

Unions still have the right to strike. Employers still can’t generally sue unions in state court for losses caused by strikes. But the decision does open the door to whittling away those rights more in the future.

Categories: Labor Notes

Ford Parts Workers Strike over Money, Safety, Discipline

Thu, 2023-06-01 17:57

“I wish to be like eggs,” said Abdullah Saleem, in his third week of striking Constellium Automotive west of Detroit. “You know how eggs used to be a dollar a dozen and now they’re $4,” said Saleem, who has 11 years working at the plant. Pointing to the $18.60 that’s the usual pay for a Constellium operator, Saleem wants his wage to show the same progress as eggs.

Categories: Labor Notes

DHL Violates Neutrality, Freight Workers Join Teamsters Anyway

Wed, 2023-05-31 10:08

At the DHL Express superhub at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, 1,100 workers who load and unload freight on aircraft voted to join Teamsters Local 100 in April in one of the biggest private-sector union wins this year.

Package giant DHL, a competitor of UPS and FedEx, is one of the world’s largest and most profitable logistics companies, and the Cincinnati-area hub is the company’s largest.

Categories: Labor Notes

Biden Labor Board Restores Right to Use Heated Language

Fri, 2023-05-26 09:44

In a landmark May Day ruling called Lion Elastomers, the National Labor Relations Board restored the rights of union representatives to use heated language, including occasional profanity, during arguments with management.

The Board ordered employer Lion Elastomers to reinstate steward Joseph Colone with full back pay going back to a 2018 discharge.

Categories: Labor Notes

Slingshot: Children on the Killing Floor

Thu, 2023-05-25 10:36

The first labor story I ever wrote was about the death of Juan Baten, a 22-year-old Guatemalan worker who was killed on the job at a food warehouse in Brooklyn in 2011. Baten got pulled into a mixing machine that lacked the required safety guard.

It hit me particularly hard, because I had been 12 years old when I became an apprentice baker, cooking bagels in an industrial oven. I’d recoil in a sort of dance to avoid burning myself after shoving the bagels into the furnace mouth on a wide wooden paddle and dislodging them with an upward jerking motion.

Categories: Labor Notes

Organizing Despite the Churn

Mon, 2023-05-22 10:36

When the Amazon Labor Union first submitted union authorization cards, “we had to withdraw and file again,” recalled organizing committee member Justine Medina, “because Amazon challenged over 1,000 of our signatures saying they no longer worked there.”

The sky-high turnover at the 8,000-worker fulfillment center on New York's Staten Island, made collecting cards “a race against Amazon firing everyone,” she said.

Categories: Labor Notes

Common Good a Big Subject in Oakland Schools Strike

Fri, 2023-05-19 09:54

The 3,000 teachers and support staff of the Oakland Education Association walked out May 4, shutting down all 85 elementary, middle, and high schools.

Community support was immediate and widespread—parents were already familiar with the cuts the district had inflicted or proposed. Many donated food and joined our picket lines to walk, dance, and chant in solidarity.

Eighty-eight percent of teachers had voted to strike, after it became clear that our demands were not being taken seriously at the negotiating table.

Categories: Labor Notes

Battery Jobs Must Be Good-Paying Union Jobs, Says New UAW President

Thu, 2023-05-18 12:53

Contracts covering 150,000 auto workers at the Big 3 will expire on September 14, and the new leadership of the United Auto Workers is taking a more aggressive stance than in years past.

“We’re going to launch our biggest contract campaign ever in our history,” UAW President Shawn Fain told members in a Facebook live video.

Categories: Labor Notes

Union Win at Bus Factory Electrifies Georgia

Tue, 2023-05-16 12:04

After a bruising three-year fight, workers at school bus manufacturer Blue Bird in Fort Valley, Georgia, voted May 12 to join United Steelworkers (USW) Local 697.

“It’s been a long time since a manufacturing site with 1,400 people has been organized, let alone organized in the South, let alone organized with predominantly African American workers, and let alone in the auto industry,” said Maria Somma, organizing director with the USW.

Categories: Labor Notes

Rutgers Strike Wins Big But More is Needed to Change Higher Education

Thu, 2023-05-11 10:15

After a five-day strike in April, members of the Rutgers faculty, graduate student, librarian, and clinician unions voted 93 percent to accept a new contract which included dramatic gains.

The strike was the first in Rutgers’ 253-year history, and remarkable in that all instructional workers walked out, including full-time faculty, grad workers, and adjuncts. Rutgers is the oldest large public university in New Jersey with 67,000 students.

Categories: Labor Notes

South Korea: Labor Union Leader Sets Himself Afire in Protest of Racketeering Charges

Mon, 2023-05-08 20:38

A South Korean union leader has ended his life, enraged in anger and humiliation as the government attempted to bring racketeering charges against him over union activity.

On the morning of May Day, Yang Hoe-dong, a chapter leader of a national construction workers union, set himself on fire at a courthouse where he was summoned to a hearing for the review of an arrest warrant for him. He was pronounced dead at the hospital the following day.

Categories: Labor Notes

Knights on Strike in California

Fri, 2023-05-05 10:15

Shocking video of Medieval Times strikers in Buena Park, California, run down by a car and then physically assaulted while picketing in a crosswalk had hundreds of thousands of views on social media in April.

“We began to get run over by cars,” said Jake Bowman, a Medieval Times knight-turned-union organizer. “People would get out of their cars and throw picketers to the ground. Some people cared more about getting into their two-hour, completely optional entertainment venue than workers’ lives. Sometimes you may have to yell louder to convince people to care.”

Categories: Labor Notes

Workers to Starbucks: Time to Negotiate

Thu, 2023-05-04 16:12

At Starbucks regional headquarters in Manhattan on May 1, staff were setting up an office pizza party when they heard a chant coming from the hallway of their fifteenth floor glass-enclosed office.

“Who are we? We are partners! Who are we? We are workers!” chanted a dozen Starbucks workers as they filled the reception area, many wearing shirts saying “Partners? Prove It. WE are Starbucks.”

Categories: Labor Notes

A Union Busting Chatbot? Eating Disorders Nonprofit Puts the 'AI' in Retaliation

Thu, 2023-05-04 09:48

Is artificial intelligence a new union-busting tool? For the leadership at the National Eating Disorders Association, it would seem the answer is yes.

Two weeks after the Helpline Associates at the NEDA won our vote to unionize and join Communications Workers (CWA) Local 1101, NEDA interim CEO Elizabeth Thompson made a surprise announcement: the Helpline was being eliminated and replaced with a chatbot. Every newly unionized employee would be jobless as of June 1.

Categories: Labor Notes

Viewpoint: We Are All Salts

Wed, 2023-05-03 15:09

Today’s revival of union “salting” could not be more welcome or more urgently needed.

A tactic as old as the labor movement itself, salting describes going to work in an unorganized workplace where there may be a chance to help initiate new union organizing.

It’s also a label for taking jobs at already unionized employers, hoping to play a positive role. But here I will deal with the former: taking jobs to help spur new organizing.

Categories: Labor Notes

Fisheries Workers, Cut for Organizing, File Labor Board Charges

Mon, 2023-05-01 15:59

A hundred immigrant seafood processing workers in New Bedford, Massachusetts, lost their jobs March 31 when their employer abruptly terminated its contract with the temp agency that placed them. Workers say it was retaliation for organizing.

Their fight will be a test case of new protections for immigrants who organize on the job. The company invited the fired workers to apply for their old jobs, but only a handful were actually rehired.

Categories: Labor Notes

‘Dirty Dozen’ Dangerous Employers Named for Workers Memorial Day

Wed, 2023-04-26 10:29

April 28 is Workers Memorial Day, commemorating those killed, sickened, or injured on the job. As part of a week of events, today the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health is releasing its “Dirty Dozen” report.

Categories: Labor Notes

Whose Green Transition? Ours!

Tue, 2023-04-25 09:37

Huge changes are coming for our workplaces, quick as a heat wave. This month Joe Biden inked new rules to make all-electrics the majority of new cars sold in America within a decade.

Send Labor-Climate News

Labor Notes wants your stories of organizing with co-workers to lead climate transitions your way. And we’re committed to help however we can.

Categories: Labor Notes

UFCW Convention Starts: Assets Up, Membership Down, Reformers in Motion

Mon, 2023-04-24 09:58

The United Food and Commercial Workers is one of the country’s largest unions, with 1.2 million members in the U.S. and Canada, two-thirds of whom work in grocery stores. Like other unions, it has lost membership over the last decade, but it has managed to double its assets.

Categories: Labor Notes