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Strikes

What Is The State Of Organized Labor?

Last year was a good year for organized labor. At least that’s the popular perception. And that perception has some real basis. Major strikes, including ones that led to substantial victories for workers, marked a positive surge of the labor movement in 2023—and perhaps on into 2024. (See sidebar, “Some Major Strikes of 2023.”) The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 2023 saw an increase of 139,000 in labor union membership following an increase of 273,000 the year before. What’s more, according to Gallup polling, public approval of unions was higher in 2022 (71%) and 2023 (67%) than it has been since the mid-1960s.

How Workers Are Winning Fans, Air Conditioning, And Even Heat Pay

If you’re dreading summer on the job this year, you’re not alone. Every month last summer was the most scorching on world record. Trapped under heat domes, dozens of metro areas busted their longest streaks ever of highs over 100 degrees. Phoenix afternoons were over 110 for a month straight. On asphalt yards nearly hot enough to melt, bonus-hungry managers forced workers to keep up the usual pace. The results were lethal. In 2022, the latest year for which we have data, 43 U.S. workers lost their lives to heat on the job. That’s up from 36 in 2021, and we can expect this cruel number to keep climbing.

A Judge Paused The University Of California Strike

Thousands of graduate and postdoctoral student workers at six University of California campuses were back on the job this week after a judge ordered a temporary stop to their weekslong strike. They’re represented by the United Auto Workers union and initiated the rolling strike to protest the university’s handling of pro-Palestine protests. They also called for related charges and disciplinary actions against their members to be dropped. This temporary order allows for classes to wrap up but leaves some big questions unresolved. The University has charged that the strike was illegal because it violated the union’s current contract, according to Melissa Matella, associate vice president for labor relations at the UC.

Threat Of Canadian Rail Strike Looms After Bid For Conciliation Fails

Last week’s meetings between the Teamsters union (TCRC) and Canadian National Railway (CN) were abandoned less than halfway through, as the parties refuse to see eye-to-eye. Rail workers at CN and Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC) were set to strike on 22 May, but a request from the government for the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) to “review if a strike could endanger public safety” put this on pause. The CIRB process does not impact continued bargaining, and last week TCRC and CN planned three days of meetings with the participation of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services.

Low Voltage Electricians Strike For The First Time In Unit’s History

Members of the limited energy construction unit of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 46 in Seattle will be voting June 6 on the latest offer from the contractors’ association, after nearly eight weeks on an unprecedented strike. The current offer includes wages far below the union’s original demand, nothing on paid holidays except an exploratory committee that might not meet until September—and giving up the right to go on strike ever again. The 1,023 members of the limited energy unit—mostly specialty electricians, and a few installers—have been on strike since April 11, in an unexpected shake-up of standard-practice contract negotiations.

UAW Local 4811’s Stand-Up Strike Grows By 12,000

Twelve thousand academic workers at UCLA and UC Davis are poised to walk off the job Tuesday morning as part of an historic strike in solidarity with Palestine. The workers — 6,400 at the University of California, Los Angeles and 5,700 at the University of California, Davis — are members of United Auto Workers Local 4811, which represents 48,000 academic workers across the University of California (UC) system. “We’re taking this … unprecedented action because of the university’s serious, unfair labor practices (ULP), which really go to the heart of our rights for freedom of speech and protest, and the ability to take collective action,” Local 4811 President Rafael Jaime told In These Times ahead of Tuesday’s walkout.

University Of California Workers On Strike For Right To Protest For Gaza

On May 28, 12,000 student workers organized under United Auto Workers Local 4811, working at the University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA) and UC Davis joined 2,000 union members already on strike at UC Santa Cruz. Workers representing United Auto Workers Local 4811 received a standing ovation at the People’s Conference for Palestine this past weekend, in honor of the union local taking the bold step in leading the first ever strike in US history in relation to Palestine solidarity. At the panel entitled “The Role of Labor Unions in the Palestinian Struggle,” workers received a standing ovation and chants of “UC, UC hear our call! 4811 will strike you all!”

Union Power Can Change Campus Protests Forever

Strikes are different from protests. Though protesters frequently say that they are making ​“demands,” it is more accurate to say they are making requests. Protests rely on persuasion. Their persuasion may be gentle, or it may be aggressive. It may rely on moral shaming to get its point across, or it may rely on the elevation of awareness, or it may rely on the pure intimidation of numbers. But protests, for all of their righteous fury and necessity, lack the legal ability to shut things down until change is achieved. Strikers, on the other hand, can truly make demands. Their proposition is simple: No work will get done until a change is made.

University Of California Student Workers Begin Historic Political Strike

On May 20, University of California (UC) student and postdoc workers at the Santa Cruz campus began a historic strike against the repression of the student movement. UAW 4811, which represents over 48,000 workers, voted last week to authorize a strike in response to intense repression unleashed against students and faculty protesting for Palestine. Administrators at several University of California campuses invited in the police, who violently arrested and injured students, faculty, and staff. Many workers and students across the UC system also face disciplinary action from their universities, including suspension.

How UC Researchers Began Saying No To Military Work

Our union of 48,000 academic workers has just authorized a strike over the University of California’s unfair labor practices in repressing peaceful protest, retaliating against members for protesting, and prohibiting pro-Palestine speech at the worksite. United Auto Workers Local 4811 announced the results yesterday: with nearly 20,000 members voting, 79 percent voted yes. Part of the groundwork behind this vote and informing the potential strike is the organizing we have done over the past several months in our science departments—as researchers who are no longer willing to support genocide with our labor.

Daimler Truck Workers Use Strike Threat To Win Big

North Carolina heavy truck and school bus manufacturing workers won 25 percent pay increases and ended wage tiers after an energetic contract campaign and strike threat against Daimler Truck. The United Auto Workers unionized these plants in the 1990s and early 2000s—but since then, wages had stagnated. Starting pay was low, and the plants were stuck on different wage scales. At Thomas Built Buses, the largest school bus manufacturing site in the U.S., assembly workers topped out at $24, $5 less than their counterparts at Daimler’s Mount Holly truck plant. The new contract establishes a common wage grid across all 7,400 workers at the four North Carolina plants, as well as parts distribution centers in Atlanta and Memphis.

University Of California Workers Vote To Authorize A Strike

On May 15, United Auto Workers Local 4811, which represents 48,000 student workers across the University of California campuses, voted to authorize a strike following police and administrative repression of pro-Palestine students staging Gaza Solidarity Encampments.  Strike authorization votes took place from May 13 to May 15. Workers voted in favor of striking by a landslide of 79%. There is currently no fixed date for a strike, but the vote empowers the union’s executive board to call a strike at any time.  Were Local 4811 to strike, it would be the first strike in history to be called for Palestinian liberation.

French Rail Workers Share Their Struggle For Better Conditions

The French railway workers have been under constant all-round attack for the past two decades, as has the entire French working class. The ruling class has been on the offensive to try to destroy everything French labour has fought to win with the CGT union since the aftermath of the Second World War. In the crosshairs of our class enemies is our social security system, our right to benefit from pensions at a decent age, our right to job security and protection against unfair dismissal, and our capacity to forge collective agreements that currently cover 95% of the workforce, both in the private and public sector.

Workers At A Maryland Apple Store Authorize Strike

It’s been a busy weekend for union organizing efforts at U.S. Apple stores, with the union at one store voting to authorize a strike, while workers at another store voted against forming a union. Back in 2022, workers in Towson, Maryland, became the first formally recognized union at an Apple retail store. That union, which is part of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, voted Saturday to authorize a strike. The date of this potential strike has yet to be determined. “This vote today is the first step in demonstrating our solidarity and sends a clear message to Apple,” said the IAM CORE Negotiating Committee in a statement.

University Workers Could Strike To Reject Repression Of Student Protests

From May 13 to May 15, members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 4811 will be holding a strike authorization vote for a potential strike, in response to the University of California’s crackdown on peaceful pro-Palestine student protesters. On May 3, the union local filed Unfair Labor Practices (ULP) charges against the University of California (UC) system, in response to various UC campuses sending police officers to brutalize student protesters staging Gaza Solidarity Encampments. Last week, administration at the University of Los Angeles- California sent in the Los Angeles Police Department to clear out the Gaza Solidarity encampment staged by student protesters, peacefully demanding that their university divest from Israel.
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