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Unions

Burgerville’s Union Racking Up Victories On Shop Floor

Last December, The Industrial Workers of the World’s Burgerville Workers Union signed their first collective bargaining agreement with management, officially becoming the only fast food restaurant in the country covered by a federally recognized contract. This historic win comes as the culmination of three-and-a-half years of heated negotiations with management, seven strikes, and dozens of major picket lines. Over 75% of workers covered by the contract participated in the vote, with 92% in favor. The contract brings major gains to the five Portland-area stores with federal union recognition such as a grievance process, a three-month set schedule, and paid parental leave.

Recent Wins Inspire Organizing At Trader Joe’s, REI, Target, And Apple

“Seven months ago if you asked me about a union I would’ve said, ‘I don’t know, cops have them?’” says Sarah Pappin, a shift supervisor at a Seattle Starbucks. But on June 6, she and her co-workers voted unanimously to join Starbucks Workers United, part of an upsurge of organizing by younger workers with little union experience that is breathing new life into the labor movement. Now they’re dreaming even bigger. “We want to not just open the door for the rest of the food service industry, we want to kick it down,” said Pappin, who’s worked full-time at Starbucks for eight years.

Nonprofit, Human Services Workers Are Starting To Unionize

Makayla Wahaus’ journey to union activism started at Rensselaear Polytechnic Institute where she was a physics major. A course on food systems sparked an interest in social problems like food deserts and poor nutrition and the 2020 graduate ended up working for the non-profit Capital Roots, which works to make fresh produce available to people in neighborhoods where there are no nearby supermarkets or other healthy food sources. She says she loves her job, but wants more say in how the organization is run, and like others, says it’s increasingly  hard to survive on the pay, which for many is under $15-an-hour. “Those are all factors that came together and made us want to organize collectively,” she said of the current drive to have Capital Roots employees join the Service Employees International (SEIU) union.

Union Demands Respect And Dignity For Disciplined Workers

Minneapolis, Minnesota - On June 22 union leaders from AFSCME Local 2822, representing 1300 clerical workers at Hennepin County, crashed the State of the County Address demanding, “Stop retaliation against union activists now! End racism, sexism, ageism at work!” While managers patted each other on the back and reconnected after two years of hiding at home, union leaders confronted public officials with signs and informational flyers. Workers are demanding the bosses stop targeting union stewards and activists. Bosses began targeting three union leaders in January 2022. The first was Irish Gauna, a single African American mother of five who was fired in late January for allegedly violating the county’s COVID testing policy.

Amy’s Kitchen Faces Multiple Unfair Labor Practice Charges

The spirit of unionizing is in the air, from Amazon to Starbucks. Now the workers in two frozen food factories in California are getting in on the action. But they're facing serious union-busting from their employer, Amy's Kitchen, despite its progressive branding. Amy’s Kitchen is the sixth-largest maker of organic frozen meals in the United States and the top U.S. producer of organic vegetarian food, according to the North Bay Business Journal. The company employs more than 2,000 workers, a majority of them Central American immigrants who do not speak English. On June 1, UNITE HERE Local 19, representing the workers of Amy’s Kitchen in San Jose, filed multiple unfair labor practice charges against the food company.

UPS Workers Protest Firing Of Teamsters Steward

Chicago, Illinois - UPS workers represented by Teamsters Local 705 are fired up after Anthony Taylor, a union steward, was terminated this week without just cause. More than 40 drivers and loaders gathered in front of the building entrance at 1400 S Jefferson Street before their shift began on the morning of June 23. The context for the firing and the rally is the beginning of negotiations in August for the contract which expires July 31, 2023. After being sold out by the Hoffa leadership in 2018, followed by a victory with the election of a new Teamsters leadership, members are bent on making gains. After his fellow steward was terminated, Steward Sean Orr spoke out against the company’s forced excessive overtime, ignoring workers’ contractual rights to reduce overtime, as well as more senior drivers being denied the routes they choose.

Union Kitchen Workers Declare Victory In Their Efforts To Unionize

The National Labor Relations Board determined Tuesday that a majority of Union Kitchen workers voted to unionize, according to the freshly-minted labor union’s collective bargaining agent, United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 400. The NLRB reviewed the results of the formal election, which took place three months ago, after CEO and founder Cullen Gilchrist challenged some ballots — including those of two vocally pro-union workers who cast ballots but were fired before their votes had been counted. NLRB press secretary Kayla Blado confirmed that a majority of valid votes cast had been in favor of the union, 20 to 11. Barring no new objections, Blado says certification will happen by June 29.

A First Contract For Mexican GM Plant’s Independent Union

An independent union at General Motors in Silao, Mexico, has ratified its first contract, with an 8.5 percent wage hike and benefit improvements—outstripping recent wage increases at other Mexican auto plants. The contract comes after workers voted last year by more than 3 to 1 to be represented by the National Independent Union for Workers in the Automotive Industry (SINTTIA) workers, ousting an employer-friendly union affiliated with the Confederation of Mexican Workers. The CTM has long dominated the Mexican labor movement and signed bad contracts behind workers' backs. “We obtained good results for our first negotiations,” said SINTTIA President Alejandra Morales.

Southwest Airlines Pilots Rally: ‘Our Passengers And Pilots Deserve Better’

More than 1,300 Southwest Airlines pilots protested the carrier at Dallas Love Field on Tuesday amid tense contract negotiations, holding signs that read “Our passengers and pilots deserve better” and “Southwest’s operation: From first to worst.” The union representing 8,300 pilots at Dallas-based Southwest Airlines said the company’s antiquated and inefficient scheduling practices are making life hard on aviators and creating more delays and cancellations. There were enough Southwest pilots to make a line of sign-holders in front of the entire terminal, with another group inside near ticketing, one on the road leading into the airport and another along Mockingbird Lane outside the airport. “Our point is that you have enough pilots today to operate the airline,” said Southwest Airlines Pilots Association president Casey Murray.

Workers At US Abortion Rights Groups Seek Unions

As reproductive rights groups brace for an anticipated US supreme court decision to overturn Roe v Wade and strike down federal abortion rights in America, workers at these groups are organizing to unionize ahead of the expected legal changes. About 400 workers at 28 clinics in five states in the midwest – Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota, announced in late May 2022 their intent to unionize with SEIU Healthcare Minnesota and Iowa. They have filed for a union election with the National Labor Relations Board after a majority of workers signed authorization cards and their request for voluntary recognition was turned down by management.

Juneteenth Is About Black Liberation — Not Union Busting

For corporations, June has long been a time to adopt a facade of progressiveness while profiting from performing inclusivity of LGBTQ+ people. But in the past two years, a new occasion has fallen prey to this co-optation: Juneteenth. June 19 — or Juneteenth — commemorates the day that the final enslaved people in the U.S. were emancipated. On this day in 1865, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued, a union general announced in Galveston, Texas that “in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.” At the time, 250,000 Black people were still enslaved in the state. While Juneteenth has been celebrated every year since then — Texas was, in 1979, the first state to make it an official holiday — President Biden designated the date a federal holiday in June 2021.

The AFL-CIO’s Official New Goal: Continued Decline

The single best measurement of the strength of labor unions is union density — the percentage of the total workforce that is unionized. Nothing makes the crushing decline of unions in America more intelligible than the fact that at their height in the mid-20th century, one in three workers was a union member, and today, scarcely one in 10 is. All of the downstream damages to the working class — lower relative wages, higher economic inequality, less political power — flow from this decline. We know, therefore, that increasing union density is the labor movement’s most pressing task. Thus, the AFL-CIO — America’s largest union coalition, representing the vast majority of our nation’s union members — unveiled, at its convention in Philadelphia, with much fanfare, a brand new formal goal: to see to it that union density keeps declining for the next decade.

March Protests Union-Busters

The June 7 Starbucks union win in Memphis, Tennessee, showed that the bosses’ tried-and-true, union-busting tactics aren’t working like they used to. In the face of the February racist firing of the Memphis 7, election tampering by the bosses and constant anti-union interference, workers at that store still voted 11-3 for the union. Workers’ victories at Starbucks, Amazon and other workplaces are happening in the face of anti-union retaliation campaigns, with more firings and cuts in workers’ hours and benefits. That’s why activists with Workers Assembly Against Racism (WAAR) hit the streets June 9 with a ‘March on Union-Busting Billionaires.’ The raucous, militant protest — accompanied by the steady, pro-worker beat of the Rude Mechanical Orchestra — started at the penthouse of Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and ended at the luxury apartments of Amazon boss Jeff Bezos.

Apple Retail Workers Vote To Unionize A Store In Maryland

Workers at Apple’s Towson Town Center store in Maryland have voted to unionize, with 65 yeses and 33 nos. Around 110 employees were eligible to vote in the election. The store is the first Apple retail location in the US to hold a union election, after organizers in Atlanta withdrew their petition to hold a union vote, which had been scheduled to take place in early May. Organizing at the Towson store has been done by a group of employees that called themselves AppleCORE (an acronym for Coalition of Organized Retail Employees). The workers have said they want to expand their rights, specifically asking for a say when it came to pay, hours, and safety. AppleCORE is associated with a larger, established union, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

Ecuador: CONAIE And Unions To Maintain National Strike

The government’s attempt to quell protests by sweeping up alleged leaders not only failed, it backfired. News of the arrest of Leonidas Iza, president of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE), mobilized thousands of people to the Latacunga prison where he was taken and prompted a sea of condemnation of the government from a broad range of organizations, human rights groups and prominent figures. Lawmakers of the **left-wing Revolución Ciudadana were among those who denounced Lasso’s politically-motivated arrest and persecution of the indigenous leader. Iza’s 24 hours in custody ended when a judge accepted his request for alternative measures while the prosecutor initiates an investigation into the ‘paralysis of public services’ due to the national strike.
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