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Labor Unions

The Creative Methods Workers Are Using To Stop Bosses’ Abuse

In the past six months, workers at more than 150 Starbucks locations have successfully unionized, fighting back against unfair labor practices by their employer. And in April, Amazon warehouse workers won a victory against one of the most powerful corporations in the world when they became the first company facility to vote to unionize in the United States. Public opinion has shifted to a high point since 1965 of support for unions, with 68% of U.S. adults saying they approve of unions, according to a Gallup poll from September 2021. Most workers would vote for a union tomorrow, if they had the opportunity. Yet, private sector union density continues to hover around a low point of 6.2%. The unionization rate overall is a little over 10%, with public sector participation around one-third.

New Director-General Has Titanic Task To Reposition The Role Of The ILO

The Covid 19 pandemic is not yet over and we are already looming in the face of a new crisis spurred on by the war in Ukraine and a rampant inflation that is affecting many countries in the developed and developing world alike. The ILO Director-General’s report to the Conference warns that a food, energy and financial crisis is approaching. This scenario will also lead to a new refugees and migration emergency and a climate catastrophe that will affect all countries. In the reality, we do not need to wait for future events to happen as we are already in the middle of a global structural crisis of the neo-liberal economic model that is responsible for the obscene growth of inequality, injustice and poverty and for the irreparable damages to our planet.

Augusta Chipotle Workers Have Formed A Union

The workers at the Augusta Chipotle are forming a union. The workers at the restaurant in the state’s capital filed for recognition as an independent union, Chipotle United, on Wednesday, according to the Maine AFL-CIO. That comes just a week after the Chipotle workers staged a two-day walkout in protest of what they called unsafe working conditions. Chipotle workers told the Kennebec Journal last week that low staffing is a big concern for them. Two workers are often doing the food preparation work of six people, and the restaurant will be staffed with three to four people when at least seven are needed. In a letter to the chain’s national management, they called those demands “unreasonable” and said they jeopardize the safety of customers and themselves.

Can Workers Overseas Provide Tips For US Labor Organizers?

The worldwide spread of Covid-19 created major challenges for workers and their unions throughout the globe. Very similar pandemic disruptions provided a timely reminder of the inter-connectedness of the global economy—and the need for cross-border links that enable workers to share information about their own struggles and learn from organized labor in other countries. What are some of the “best practices” abroad that might be reproducible in the U.S. to help strengthen workplace protections here? Two labor-oriented academics, Kim Scipes and Robert Ovetz, have recently published collections of case studies that answer that question in great detail. Their new books will be useful to both union organizers and campus-based observers of comparative labor movements.

Lessons From The Starbucks Union In Chile

The Starbucks union was founded in Chile in 2009, at the same time as big student mobilizations. These mobilizations were part of the seed that made it possible to form a union at Starbucks and in an area like fast food, which is very difficult to organize. The corporate culture of Starbucks is profoundly anti-union. Howard Schultz, who was the CEO of the company [he returned to that role in April —Eds.], is a megalomaniac who cannot bear to see his workers organizing and deciding for themselves what is right. Starbucks is one of the companies in Chile with the most fines for anti-union practices. All of that was conceived in Seattle, not in Chile. It was devised in the headquarters, where they are devising the tough campaign that you are experiencing now.

Workplace Bullying In Higher Education Is Rampant

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. This happened to one of us, Liz Adler. Liz was assaulted and threatened by a scissors-wielding professor five years ago in a prestigious laboratory at the University of California San Diego, one of the top research institutions in the country. (Liz is using a pseudonym as she’s still employed at the university where her assailant is a tenured professor.)

Virginia Target Workers Seek To Unionize

Workers at a Target store in Christiansburg, Virginia, have filed for a union election and, if successful, the store would be the first belonging to the retail chain to unionize. Target has long opposed unionization, with anti-union videos to discourage workers from unionizing. Earlier this year, Target training documents for managers to prevent unionization within stores were leaked. Target has already reportedly pushed back on the union organizing effort in Virginia, trying to use union dues as a tactic to deter workers. But workers are seeking to capitalize on a surging energy in the US labor movement after recent union victories at dozens of Starbucks stores and the first Amazon warehouse in the US.

Revolutionary Grounds

On February 23, the DSA International Committee, Starbucks Workers United, and the Emergency Workplace Organizing Committee hosted Revolutionary Grounds to hear insights from Starbucks workers organizing from Buffalo, New York, to Valparaíso, Chile. Jana Silverman, a Post-Doctoral Researcher at the Center for Global Workers Rights, talked with Andrés Giordano, incoming leftist Chilean congressman and a founding leader of Sindicato Starbucks Chile; Jaz Brisack, member of the Elmwood Starbucks Bargaining Committee; RJ Red, member of the Genesee St. Starbucks Bargaining Committee; and Joe Carolan, an organizer in New Zealand. Below is an edited transcript of their conversation.

Workers Are Tired Of Being Exploited And They’re Fighting Back

This past weekend, workers around the world celebrated May Day, also called Labor Day and International Workers Day. May Day marks the accomplishments and contributions of workers and reminds them of their rights. Clearing the FOG spoke with Stephanie Basile and Brittany Carloni of News Guild, part of the Communications Workers of America, about the many victories they have had in organizing media outlets over the past five years. They use a model that can be replicated everywhere of training member organizers and connecting them with other shops across the country to build a powerful labor movement that is democratic. Stephanie and Brittany talk about this moment and why workers are fighting back.

May Day: Worker’s Struggle Celebration Is Well-Deserved

Working people across the globe are gearing up celebrate International Worker’s Day this May 1. Workers have been participating in monumental struggles since the previous year’s May Day, making this year’s celebration well-deserved. Peoples Dispatch looks back on some of the most important labor struggles of this past year: In Colombia, the National Strike Committee (CNP), which brought together diverse groups of social movements, organizations and trade unions, presented ten bills in Congress, which included measures to alleviate the worsening socio-economic conditions, protection and security for social leaders, actions against gender-based violence and violence against LGBTQ+ people, financial support to the agricultural sector, and  strengthening of education and healthcare.

Fired Starbucks Workers Bring Their Fight Directly To The CEO

Sanchez and McGlawn are two of the seven workers, known as the “Memphis Seven,” who were fired by Starbucks in February, just weeks after they announced their plans to form a union there. In a blatantly illegal move, the company terminated the workers (about a third of the entire staff) for supposedly violating company policy after they met with reporters in the store to talk about unionization efforts. But almost all of the workers who were fired were involved in organizing for the union, and it is clear that the terminations were a direct act of retaliation designed to crush these workers’ efforts to form a union and put an end to the unionization wave spreading throughout the company. The National Labor Relations Board has called the firings illegal, and has already filed complaints against the company.

The Amazon Labor Union Victory – Lessons For All Of Labor

In one of the most remarkable labor organizing victories in decades, the Amazon workers in Staten Island voted to unionize with the independent Amazon Labor Union (ALU). This is the first organizing victory for any union at any of Amazon’s 110 warehouses across the USA, the nation’s second largest employer with over a million employees. This was a real bottom-up organizing effort potentially highlighting an effective way forward for the rest of labor – a victory that gives momentum to workers not only in the other Amazon warehouses but in all industries. It demonstrates how and why rank and file workers are the essential elements of not only a successful organizing drive but critical to a revitalized labor movement based on struggle.

Bessemer Alabama Amazon Workers Continue Struggle To Unionize

Bessemer, Alabama - The second Bessemer Alabama Amazon workers and Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) labor board union vote will be counted starting on March 28th. It comes as a result of the National Labor Relations Board ruling that Amazon’s anti-union actions in the 2021 union campaign, was in violation of laws in the National Labor Relations Act. When looking at the challenges and meaning of the Bessemer Amazon union campaigns, It’s important to have a long view of organizing labor in the South. Transnational corporations like Amazon are attracted to the South, because of the low wages, its anti-union laws and the racist divisions in the working-class.

​Women And Labor: Key Struggles In The MENA Region

How do women and gender equality measures advance in a context of conflict, climate change, high unemployment, low labor force participation, limited democratization and a pandemic? These are challenges facing the Arab region as many citizens, women’s rights organizations, some governments and external partners seek wide-ranging institutional changes and an improved environment for women’s participation and rights. Surveys show public support for some — but not all — proposals for gender equality. Equal inheritance rights for women, for example, remain off the table, even in progressive Tunisia. Family laws that confer most privileges to men and place women under the guardianship of male kin or the spouse are difficult to change.

Minneapolis Teachers And Support Professionals Strike Enters Week Two

Minneapolis MN - Teachers and education support professionals at Minneapolis Public Schools began a strike on March 8, shutting down the Minneapolis school system. Today, March 14, the strike continues as the schools remain closed for a second week. Over the weekend a series of events were held by the striking educators; there we also several actions called by community and labor supporters in the area. On Saturday, March 12, a car caravan called by the Minnesota Immigrants’ Rights Committee (MIRAC) wound its way through Minneapolis streets to end at the Davis Center where the Minneapolis Public Schools office is located. The car caravan began on Lake Street in a predominantly Latino working-class neighborhood of South Minneapolis.
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