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Updated: 8 hours 32 min ago

Staten Island Amazon Workers Pull into the Lead, While Bessemer Re-Vote Is Too Close to Call

Thu, 2022-03-31 21:10

In initial vote tallies today, Amazon warehouse workers in New York are ahead by hundreds of votes in favor of forming a union, while in Alabama the election is too close to call, pending a court hearing.

Categories: Labor Notes

Trouble in the Tulips: Organized Farmworkers Win Basic Demands in a Quick Strike

Wed, 2022-03-30 17:28

MT. VERNON, WASHINGTON, March 28—Tulips and daffodils symbolize the arrival of spring, but the fields are bitterly cold when workers’ labors begin. Snow still covers the ground when workers go into the tulip rows to plant bulbs in northwest Washington state, near the Canadian border.

Once harvesting starts, so do other problems. When a worker cuts a daffodil, for instance, she or he has to avoid the liquid that oozes from the stem—a source of painful skin rashes.

Categories: Labor Notes

Staten Island Amazon Workers Vote on a Union

Tue, 2022-03-29 20:50

As the country cheers on Starbucks workers organizing, the votes will be counted this week in two big union drives at Amazon warehouses—one in Alabama and one in New York.

Categories: Labor Notes

TV Review: Workers of Deep Space Unite!

Thu, 2022-03-24 00:00

This is part of an occasional series where we look back at the “labor episode” of a TV show. The Star Trek series Deep Space Nine has a great union episode with lessons about organizing in a customer service industry. Spoilers ahead for the fourth-season episode “Bar Association”!

Categories: Labor Notes

Stung by Ascension's Union-Busting, Michigan Nurses Gird for Contract Battle

Wed, 2022-03-23 14:42

The recent surge in union action has been met by an increase in union-busting by greedy employers—even in companies whose purpose is to serve and heal, such as hospitals.

The pandemic has put an acute strain on an already chronic problem: short staffing. For years many hospitals have adopted tools from the hospitality and the assembly-line production industry.

The hospital I work for—Ascension Borgess in Kalamazoo, Michigan—is an example of all of these dynamics. We were stretched thin even before the pandemic; Covid made the situation worse.

Categories: Labor Notes

Steward's Corner: Sustaining the Organizing Surge

Mon, 2022-03-21 11:43

It seems that union organizing has become both necessary and cool. Can this surge be sustained—and what will it take?

Categories: Labor Notes

Minneapolis Strikers Demand a Living Wage for the Lowest-Paid Educators

Fri, 2022-03-18 15:27

Labor is on fire in the Twin Cities. Educators in Minneapolis are wrapping up their second week on strike, and cafeteria workers are poised to join them.

St. Paul educators came close to walking out as well; the unions fed off one another as they built their contract campaigns. “St. Paul has the experience,” said St. Paul special ed teacher Jeff Garcia. “Minneapolis has the energy. They are really fired up.”

Categories: Labor Notes

Walkouts Hit Amazon’s Last-Mile Stations

Wed, 2022-03-16 20:04

Around 60 workers at three Amazon delivery stations—the final stop in the company’s logistics chain—staged a work stoppage early this morning.

Amazonians United, a network of rank-and-file worker committees around the U.S. and Canada, coordinated the walkouts in New York City and Maryland in its latest show of shop floor strength.

Categories: Labor Notes

A Nurse’s Story: My True Cost of the Pandemic

Fri, 2022-03-11 13:29

Content warning: This piece mentions death and suicidal thoughts. —Editors

February 2020: “I don’t want to see anyone in the hallway with a mask on,” the manager said.

We were standing at the nurses’ station, in what was to be the Covid unit. “Um, the CDC is saying this is airborne,” I said. “Not only do we need masks, we need N95s!”

Categories: Labor Notes

Texas Union Activists Fight 'Microtransit' Privatization

Tue, 2022-03-08 11:22

When “microtransit,” the new rage in transit privatization, showed up in Denton, Texas, union activists decided to fight back.

Microtransit is a loosely defined term that combines on-demand service with flexible scheduling and routes—imagine replacing a bus system with shared Ubers. It is presented as a high-tech alternative to public transit, but in reality it’s an extension of the drive to privatize.

Categories: Labor Notes

How Starbucks Workers Won in Mesa

Sat, 2022-03-05 07:00

Starbucks Workers United (SWU) won its third store election February 28 in Mesa, Arizona. The vote was an overwhelming 25-3, with three additional contested ballots, despite heavy anti-union pressure from the company and in a state with only 5.4 percent union density.

“We led with kindness and care and just did our jobs in the face of union-busting from upper management,” said shift supervisor Liz Alanna, who helped lead the effort. Shift supervisors coordinate the day-to-day running of a store but are eligible for union membership because they don’t have hiring and firing power.

Categories: Labor Notes

The Hows, Whys, and Whats of ULP Strikes

Fri, 2022-03-04 16:21

As nurses at St. Vincent Hospital in Massachusetts discovered last year, one of the most critical moments that can arise during a strike is an employer announcement that it intends to hire permanent replacements. Of course, the employer may be bluffing. But, if it follows through, strikers’ jobs may be in serious jeopardy.

Categories: Labor Notes

Solidarity in Wartime: Interview with a Ukrainian Union Leader

Wed, 2022-03-02 19:22

Ignacy Jóźwiak of the Polish union Workers' Initiative interviewed Witalij Machinko, leader of the Workers’ Solidarity Trade Union in Kyiv, Ukraine, on February 27. This interview comes to us via the International Trade Union Network of Solidarity and Struggle. It has been translated through Polish and French, and we apologize for any errors in the process.

Categories: Labor Notes

This Year, Let's Coordinate Our Contract Fights to Bargain for the Common Good

Tue, 2022-03-01 18:48

A wave of worker activism has shaken the labor movement and captivated the public’s attention as the pandemic stretched into its second and third year—and this wave couldn’t have come at a more important time. With Covid claiming thousands of lives every day, the social safety net stretched past its breaking point, and the ultra-rich hoarding record sums of wealth, it’s urgent that we figure out how to link up more and more of us, in bigger and bigger fights.

Categories: Labor Notes

Here's What's in the New Bill Jointly Backed by Uber and the Teamsters in Washington State

Fri, 2022-02-25 02:43

Uber’s lobbyists, after clinching an agreement with UFCW Canada to launch a charm offensive at the Ontario provincial government for employee-like benefits on behalf of an estimated 100,00 drivers, weren’t done hobnobbing with unions.

Next up, the Teamsters in Washington state are working on a deal with Uber and Lyft.

Categories: Labor Notes

Richmond Educators Are First In Virginia to Win Bargaining Rights

Thu, 2022-02-24 09:47

Teachers and other public school employees in Richmond, Virginia, won a major victory in December when the city’s school board, in an 8 to 1 vote, approved a resolution granting them collective bargaining rights.

The victory sets a precedent for other districts and public sector employees throughout the state. Richmond is the first school district in Virginia to reinstate collective bargaining rights, after the legislature in 2020 lifted the state’s 43-year prohibition on collective bargaining for local government workers.

Richmond Educators Are First In Virginia to Win Bargaining Rights February 24, 2022 / Vernon Snow
Categories: Labor Notes

Twin Cities Teachers and School Employees Gear Up for Strike

Wed, 2022-02-23 16:07
Author(s): Barbara Madeloni

Three contracts, two unions, one voice. On February 18, three groups of educators in the Twin Cities all announced strike authorization votes.

Two are bargaining units in the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers: 3,000 teachers, who voted by 97 percent to authorize a strike, and 1,000 education support professionals (ESPs) such as teachers aides who voted by 98 percent. Each chapter had over 90 percent turnout.

Meanwhile a combined unit of 3,600 teachers and ESPs in the St. Paul Federation of Educators voted by 78 percent to strike.

Twin Cities Teachers and School Employees Gear Up for Strike February 23, 2022 / Barbara Madeloni
Categories: Labor Notes

We Can't Just Keep Saying 'Pass the PRO Act.' We Have to Organize.

Mon, 2022-02-21 11:28
Blog: BlogAuthor(s): Jonah Furman

In January our movement got its annual punch in the gut from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, whose 2021 report shows 241,000 fewer union members than the previous year. Just 1 in 10 workers belongs to a union; in the private sector it’s 1 in 16.

In 20 years the country gained 14 million workers—but unions lost 2 million members.

Poll after poll shows majority support for unions; “Striketober” gripped headlines for weeks. And yet our numbers keep going down.

Categories: Labor Notes

A New Union, At Last? Mexican Auto Parts Workers Get to Vote, Three Years After Strike Wave

Sat, 2022-02-19 12:52
Author(s): Luis Feliz Leon

UPDATE, March 1: Workers at Mexico's Tridonex auto parts plant in the border city of Matamoros overwhelmingly voted for an independent union on February 28. Workers cast 1,126 votes for the National Independent Union of Industry and Service Workers, 20/32 Movement (SNITIS), while 176 voted for the incumbent Industrial Union of Workers in Maquiladora and Assembly Plants (SITPME), which is affiliated with the Confederation of Mexican Workers (CTM).

A New Union, At Last? Mexican Auto Parts Workers Get to Vote, Three Years After Strike Wave February 19, 2022 / Luis Feliz Leon
Categories: Labor Notes

Buffalo Baristas Touch Off a Starbucks Organizing Wave

Fri, 2022-02-18 19:02
Author(s): Saurav Sarkar

Twenty-year-old Starbucks shift supervisor Gianna Reeve is a firebrand who doesn’t hesitate to speak up for the co-workers she loves. So when former CEO Howard Schultz came to Buffalo to give an anti-union spiel, Reeve stepped up to confront him.

Buffalo Baristas Touch Off a Starbucks Organizing Wave February 18, 2022 / Saurav Sarkar
Categories: Labor Notes