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Kansas Chipotle Workers Latest To Launch Union Drive

Lawrence, Kansas - Employees at a second Chipotle location are unionizing, this time in Lawrence, Kansas. The young workers are forming an independent union, and facing harsh—and likely illegal—pushback from management. A majority of workers’ signatures were collected on a petition to submit to the National Labor Relations Board, only to have that petition thrown away by management. So now they’re filing an unfair labor practice charge as they push to form a union. Quinlan Muller has worked at Chipotle for four years, at three different stores. “The Mass Street location is one of the most difficult stores I’ve worked at. We are understaffed, employees aren’t properly trained, and it’s not, like, the cleanest compared to other Chipotles.”

Kansas Votes Overwhelmingly To Protect Abortion

Kansas - Kansans have voted to protect abortion rights in their state. Yes, Kansas — the deep red state where Trump won by more than 15 percentage points last election cycle has voted to protect abortion rights. In fact, Kansas has a history of violence against abortion providers, including the murder of abortion doctor George Tiller in 2009.But the vote wasn’t even close. At the time of publishing, the vote was roughly 60% in favor of abortion rights and 40% against. It was overwhelmingly in favor of protecting abortion rights in the state, with a huge voter turnout and by a wide margin. Amidst the dystopian chaos that is the post-Roe world, legislators in Kansas tried to slip one past Kansans, holding a referendum in the middle of the summer, during a mostly Republican primary, in an effort to capture a repeal of the state’s constitutional protection for the right to abortion in a low-turnout event.

Ag-Gag Law Suppressing Whistleblowers Is Defeated

Laws intended to suppress journalism, whistleblowing, and speech on the food and agriculture industry continue to experience defeats in the United States court system. Known as “ag-gag” laws, the Tenth Circuit Court Of Appeals ruled [PDF] against the ag-gag law in Kansas, which became the first state to pass such a law in 1990. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled [PDF] on August 9 that a coalition of organizations proved they could be targeted by the ag-gag law in Arkansas and may proceed with their lawsuit. It also ruled [PDF] on August 10 that Iowa’s 2012 ag-gag law was partly unconstitutional. In all three states, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) was one of the plaintiffs challenging the manner in which these laws threaten freedom of speech under the First Amendment.

Community Members And Businesses Show Support For Frito-Lay Strikers

Community support is rolling in for Frito-Lay workers on strike in Topeka. Going into the second day of the first strike outside Topeka's Frito-Lay plant in nearly 50 years, a local relief fund had been set up to cover some union members' utility bills, as area businesses showed support for those on the front line. Members of Local 218 of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers & Grain Millers Union went on strike Monday after about 400 members voted down over the weekend a recent contract offer from Frito-Lay. The strike will last for an indefinite amount of time, and workers participating in the boycott are going without pay until it concludes. Given some union members may struggle financially during that time, a local relief fund organized by 785 Magazine aims to raise enough money to cover each union member's water bill for the month of July.

Members Of Topeka’s Local Frito-Lay Union Just Voted To Strike

Members of the local union representing Frito-Lay workers have voted to strike. After multiple rounds of mediated contract negotiations with the company yielded little progress, members of Local 218 of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers & Grain Millers Union on Saturday voted to strike starting early next month. According to Mark Benaka, business manager for Local 218, a total of 383 union members turned out for a series of membership meetings held Saturday in Topeka. He indicated a strike vote was taken during those meetings, with members overwhelmingly voting in favor of the boycott. "A vote of 353-30 took them into a strike direction," Benaka said. He said the strike is expected to take effect just after midnight on Monday, July 5. However, he noted Frito-Lay representatives indicated Sunday they wished to meet again with the union's contract negotiating committee before that date.

Iowa Tribe Creates National Park

Lincoln, NE — The Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska is creating the nation's largest tribal national park on a forested bluff overlooking the Missouri River and a historic site of its people.  The 444-acre park will allow the tribe to tell the story of the Ioway people and provide a rustic getaway where people can hike, camp and bird-watch, said Lance Foster, the tribe's vice chairman. "We've been here for 1,000 years now and, unlike other people who can buy and sell land and move away, we can never move away," Foster said. "This is our land forever. And we'll be here for another 1,000 years."

Kansas Man Facing 25 Years For Cannabis That Stopped Chronic Seizures

“No seizure medication helped. In fact, my seizures got progressively worse over time. It was terrible. Terrible. At my lowest I contemplated suicide,” Burgess told KCTV5 News. At one point, he was taking 23 pills per day to combat the seizures with little effect. Fredonia, Kan., authorities were possibly tipped off when Burgess chronicled his marijuana-growing endeavors on Instagram.

Tragedy In Kansas: Medical-Marijuana User Dies After Police Raid

Jennifer Hess, her husband Homer Wilson and their two sons were minding their own business on the night of Thursday, May 23 in their Eureka, Kansas home when policed knocked on the door. What happened next would change their lives forever. The officers said “someone had reported screaming coming from my house, which there wasn’t, and I went to close the door. At that point, they forced the door open. Two of them entered the house, and they demanded I go outside,” Hess tells Freedom Leaf. On June 14 on Facebook, she wrote: “They said they were getting a search warrant, alleging they had seen drug paraphernalia in the house.”

Kansas Quakes Likely Caused By Oil & Gas Fracking Process

Kansas officials have been reluctant to link the mysterious earthquakes in south central Kansas to fracking, but last week they said for the first time the temblors are likely caused by disposal of the waste water that is a byproduct of the oil and gas extraction process. “We can say there is a strong correlation between the disposal of saltwater and the earthquakes,” Rick Miller, geophysicist and senior scientist for the Kansas Geological Survey, told the Journal-World. It's the first time state officials have so clearly stated the likely cause of the earthquakes, which are afflicting a region where fracking is widely used.

Meet The Kansans Who Bravely Fought For Gay Rights

Michael Nelson stared at the room packed with students from the University of Kansas’ various LGBT groups. The 2014 school year had barely begun and the white-haired pastor, poet and gay rights advocate had come to talk about his lawsuit challenging Kansas’ same-sex marriage ban and other discriminatory laws in state court. Nelson could not help but see his younger self in the students’ eager, contempletive and occasionally vulnerable faces. So as he started to speak, he took a personal turn, because in Kansas, as he and the students already knew, anti-LGBT discrimination runs deeper than what is written into law—or deliberately kept out of it.
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