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Labor Unions

Starbucks Workers Walk Out Ahead Of Shareholder Meeting

Starbucks workers at over 100 US stores walk out ahead of shareholder meeting Workers hold protest in Seattle outside of Starbucks’ headquarters in response to the company’s aggressive anti-union efforts Michael Sainato @msainat1 Wed 22 Mar 2023 10.27 EDT Starbucks workers at over 100 stores around the US walked out on Wednesday ahead of the company’s annual shareholder meeting and held a protest in Seattle outside Starbucks’ headquarters. The actions were launched in response to Starbucks’ aggressive anti-union efforts against worker organizing, which have included allegations of firing dozens of workers in retaliation for union organizing, intimidation, store closures, withholding benefits, schedule cuts and delays in bargaining a first union contract. Starbucks has denied or rejected all allegations and charges of labor law violations.

Getting The Members Into Motion At UPS

Rank-and-file activists at UPS have a huge task: getting our 340,000 co-workers ready to mount a credible strike threat by August 1. Luckily we don’t have to do it alone, like we did in 2013 and 2018. This time we have the support of Teamsters President Sean O’Brien, Secretary-Treasurer Fred Zuckerman, and the rest of our international leadership. We have a contract campaign coordinator, internal organizers, and a whole team of staff from the international union to engage members and coordinate all our efforts toward one big fight. But we need to show UPS that the whole membership is ready to fight, not just the leaders. Rank-and-file Teamsters need to be active and ready to walk if our demands aren’t met.

It’s A New Day In The United Auto Workers

The machine will churn no more. Nearly 80 years of top-down one-party rule in the United Auto Workers are coming to an end. Reformer Shawn Fain is set to be the winner in the runoff for the UAW presidency. As of Thursday night, Fain had a 505-vote edge, 69,386 to 68,881, over incumbent Ray Curry of the Administration Caucus. Curry was appointed by the union’s executive board in 2021. There are around 600 unresolved challenged ballots. (This story will be updated with the final vote tally when we have it.) “By now, the writing is on the wall: change is coming to the UAW,” said Fain. “You, the members, have already made history in this election, and we’re just getting started. It’s a new day in the UAW.”

Unintimidated, Amazon Workers Unionize Their Workplaces

The historic union election victory at the JFK8 Amazon warehouse on Staten Island sent shockwaves throughout the US and beyond, but New York is not the only place Amazon workers are organizing. In Moreno Valley, California, workers at the ONT8 warehouse have been doing the painstaking work of organizing for years, and now they are attempting to unionize with the independent Amazon Labor Union, facing the same union-busting playbook from Amazon management that workers in Staten Island, Bessemer, Chicago, etc. have faced.

Underpaid And Insulted, Maximus Call Center Workers Organize

Their effort to unionize really got underway in 2018 when thousands of workers came forward to allege wage theft totaling $100 million. Eventually the Department of Labor found wage and hour violations affecting 2,224 workers. The federal contractor at the time, General Dynamics Information Technology, agreed to pay $553,131 in back wages, according to a CWA spokesperson. Maximus bought the company out in November 2018. But despite the hefty settlement, the organizing began to fizzle because of high turnover. Then last year, workers walked off the job in Louisiana, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Virginia in March, May, and November, demanding voluntary recognition of their union and higher pay.

Game Workers Are About To Take On The Biggest Boss Fight Of All

Madison, Wisconsin - The American Dream never seemed real to Justin Smith, who grew up in Ohio’s Akron-Canton area. Factories had vanished, taking well-paying blue-collar jobs with them. Watching his single-parent mom do her best to survive on low-wage gigs, he got used to dreaming small. Then came the pandemic, which wiped out Smith’s hotel concierge job in Madison, tossing him into a year of unemployment and depression. In 2021, at the age of 34, he found a warehouse job at a retail gaming store for $11 an hour — much less than he’d earned before. It was a financial heartbreak millions of workers know well.

Tesla Workers At Buffalo Plant Launch Union Campaign

The organizing drive under way at Tesla Inc.’s plant in South Buffalo is putting a spotlight on one of the region’s largest private employers, and drawing more attention to region for its union activity. The campaign, launched by Tesla Workers United, also marks a new push by Workers United, which has supported organizing efforts by workers at area Starbucks stores. Those workers’ election victories have sparked organizing campaigns at stores across the country. If the effort to organize the RiverBend facility succeeds, it would become Tesla’s first unionized workplace. On Tuesday, the campaign was generating national media attention, given the prominence of its CEO, Elon Musk, and the company itself as an electric vehicle maker.

$340 Million Anti-Labor Consulting Industry Is Behind Union-Busting

The remarkable spikes in union activity over the last few years have given many on the left cause for hope: could we be on the precipice of a resurgent, newly galvanized U.S. labor movement? In the first three quarters of 2022, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) documented a 53 percent increase in organizing petitions — including startling wins by new, independent unions at Starbucks, Amazon, Trader Joe’s, and numerous others, across many sectors. There’s a widespread sense that a qualitative shift has taken place. That said — despite the perceptible increase in agitation — on quantitative measures, the picture is not quite so rosy. Overall union density in fact declined in 2022, to a new low of 10.1 percent. It’s yet to be seen if newly roused energies will translate into sustained, structured power. By some metrics, much of the present organizing wave seems to have been dashed upon the rocks — in no small part thanks to a merciless backlash from the bosses.

Chicago Grads Want To Turn City Into A ‘Powerhouse Of Organizing’

Chicago's thousands of graduate workers — increasingly responsible for teaching and research work once performed by faculty — have long been overworked, underpaid, and non-union. This month, that might finally be starting to change. On January 12, nearly 3,000 graduate workers at Northwestern University announced a landslide victory in their union election, winning 93.5% of the vote. This Tuesday, some 3,000 graduate workers at the nearby University of Chicago (UChicago) will also cast ballots, and while UChicago’s election results won’t be tallied until March due to mail-in voting, a majority of workers pledged to vote ​“yes.” The two universities are the largest employers of graduate workers in Chicago, and union victories at both would reflect a dramatic increase in the area’s academic union density.

Amazon Labor Union Wins Again At National Labor Relations Board

“The ALU is officially a certified UNION! This is a HUGE moment for the labor movement! Solidarity everyone! Let’s continue to fight for what we deserve!” This jubilant statement was tweeted out Jan. 11 by the Amazon Labor Union after the National Labor Relations Board officially named it the sole bargaining representative for workers at Amazon’s JFK8 warehouse. The NLRB issued its ruling over nine months after the ALU won a representation election by a wide margin at the Staten Island, New York, facility. Rejecting all 25 of Amazon’s objections to the election results, the Board gave Amazon until Jan. 25 to file a “request for review.” Once the ALU won the election April 1, 2022, Amazon could have immediately begun negotiations with the union for a first contract. Instead the union-busting behemoth chose to delay its obligations by filing spurious charges, alleging election misconduct against the ALU and the NLRB.

Harper Collins Debut Authors Won’t Work With Strikebreaking Editors

Workers at the HarperCollins Union have been on strike for over two months, braving the fierce New York City winter and picketing outside the company’s offices. Now, sources say their labor is being outsourced to temporary workers. While some authors are crossing the picket line and continuing to work with “scab”—or strikebreaking—editors, many are holding the line in support of the union and say they won’t work with any temporary workers while their editors strike for a livable salary. “I don’t want publishing to continue to be a place that’s only feasible for people who come from means,” said Kasey LeBlanc, who has a young adult novel publishing with HarperCollins in 2024. For over 80 years, HarperCollins has held a reputation as being one of the largest unionized publishing houses, with over 250 employees represented by Local 2110 of the UAW.

‘I Get To Have A Life’: Pilots Speak Out On Contract Fights

Airline labor is at a breaking point. The country’s four largest airlines are facing pilot labor conflicts, all centering on a mismanaged pandemic recovery. The pilots, split among three unions, share grievances over grueling schedules. They say overwork has depleted their home lives while inflation eats into their paychecks. Delta pilots have voted by 99 percent to authorize a strike, with 96 percent turnout. United pilots voted by 94 percent to reject a tentative agreement, and the American pilots union leadership voted not to even send their deal out for a vote. Southwest pilots filed for mediation in September, signaling that contract negotiations are not going smoothly either. Any potential strikes are still a long way off.

Teamsters President Sean O’Brien Vows To ‘Pulverize’ UPS

Chicago — Spelling out union strategy for an all-important contract with UPS, Sean O’Brien worked his way up to a fiery pitch. ​“We gotta strategize, we gotta organize, and then we gotta pulverize UPS,” he declared. The room erupted into cheers, applause and fists clenched upward. The presentation by the short, muscular, bald-headed, fourth-generation Teamster from Boston, a union member since his teenage years, felt like a shop steward’s typical nitty-gritty warm-up speech.  Listening near the back of the conference, Dan Campbell, 69, a retired Teamster from Wisconsin, felt lifted by what he heard. He liked O’Brien’s ​“hard-nosed” tone and especially liked his call ​“for everyone to get on board and row with all hands.” O’Brien is president of the one-million-plus Teamsters Union.

UFCW Reformers Look To 2023

Next April, 1,200 delegates from the Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) will gather in Las Vegas for the union’s international convention. A new reform group, Essential Workers for a Democratic UFCW, is gearing up for a fight. The group describes itself as a coalition of rank and filers, local leaders, and not-yet-union workers. Drawing inspiration from the caucuses that have recently won landmark reforms in the Teamsters and Auto Workers, it is pushing for change in three areas: union democracy, new organizing, and coordinated bargaining. The reform group is encouraging rank-and-file supporters to run for convention delegate on its platform. The effort has its strongest public backing from the union’s largest local: Local 3000, formed this year by merging Locals 21 and 1439.

Threat Of Rail Work Stoppage Growing

The Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS) on Oct. 26 became the second of 12 rail unions to reject a tentative agreement amending wages, benefits and work rules on most Class I railroads and many smaller ones. More than 60% of signalmen voted to reject the agreement, mirroring the 57% rejection rate of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division of the Teamsters Union whose votes were announced Oct. 10. All 12 unions and the railroads previously agreed to maintain a status quo until “early December,” meaning no strike or management lockout until all 12 rail labor unions have completed the contract vote ratification process and made one last attempt to avert a strike or lockout. Unless carriers agree for a third time to offer deal sweeteners, a nationwide rail shutdown—the first since 1992—is looming, as a strike by even one union likely will cause picket lines to be honored by employees of all other unions.
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