“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.
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.
Gustavo Petro To Be First Left-Wing President And Francia Márquez The First Afro-Descendant Woman VP
Celebrations took place this evening as people took to the streets of Colombia after left-wing presidential candidate Gustavo Petro was deemed the winner of the second-round election. This victory makes his running mate, Francia Márquez, the first Afro-descendant woman who will serve as vice president once the term begins in August. The Pacto Histórico coalition candidates won more than 50 percent of votes. Petro’s competitor, Rodolfo Hernández, conceded the election, congratulating Petro. “I called Gustavo to congratulate him on his victory and offer him my support to fulfill the promises of change for which Colombia voted today,” Hernández tweeted. The millionaire ran on the League of Anti-Corruption Governors ticket and had been likened to a “Colombian Trump” for his brash manner. “Colombia will always count on me.”
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.
The formidable truckers’ strike in South Korea came to an end after a tentative agreement was struck after late-night negotiations on Tuesday, June 14. Truck drivers returned to work on Wednesday after the deal approving the key demands put forward by the union was approved by the nation’s transport ministry. Organized by Cargo Truckers Solidarity Union, thousands of truck drivers were on an indefinite strike from June 7, bringing all ports and movement of crucial industrial goods and major exports to a standstill. Truckers were demanding government intervention to arrest the rising fuel prices and inflation. They had also demanded a significant pay hike and a guarantee towards continuance of the minimum wage rule that was introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On June 6 on the steps of Queens Criminal Courthouse, community members celebrated a hard-fought victory after nearly eight years of struggle: the dismissal of all murder charges against 22-year-old Prakash Churaman. Those celebrating with Churaman included his attorney, family members, members of the press as well as community organizations that have worked closely with Churaman over the years he had been fighting the charges, including Desis Rising Up and Moving, the Party for Socialism and Liberation, How Our Lives Link Altogether, Voices of Community Activists and Leaders New York, and the Free Prakash Alliance. In 2014 a then-15-year-old Churaman was arrested and coerced by New York Police Department into a false confession for the murder of his friend Taquane Clark during a robbery.
This week, former students of Corinthian Colleges — a predatory for-profit school that once boasted more than 100 campuses across the country — received news that their student loans will be canceled. In an announcement, a Department of Education (DOE) press release called the move “the largest single loan discharge the Department has made in history.” As a former student of Everest College, which is a branch of Corinthian, I am overjoyed that everyone who attended the scam school will finally be made whole. The action, announced on June 2, will impact 560,000 former Corinthian students and $5.8 in total student debt will be cancelled. This amounts to a stunning victory for debtors who took collective action to win relief.
Los Angeles, California - In a historic move, the Civilian Oversight Commission voted in favor of a resolution to support a charter amendment giving the LA Board of Supervisors, the Civilian Oversight Commission (COC) and Office of Inspector General stronger oversight of the LA County Sheriff's Department. The vote also included the ability of the Board of Supervisors to remove a Sheriff for misconduct. Members of Centro CSO, impacted families of police killings, Black Lives Matter-LA, the ACLU, and Check the Sheriffs Coalition joined the meeting and spoke in favor of the Board of Supervisors placing a November 2022 ballot measure to win community control over the LA County Sheriff's Department and Sheriff Villanueva.
On May 31 General Mills announced that it divested its 60% stake in its Israeli subsidiary. For the last two years the company has been targeted by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) over the fact that some of its Pillsbury products are manufactured in an illegal Israeli settlement. General Mills’s statement doesn’t reference the BDS campaign and claims that the move simply reflects the company’s “strategic choices about where to prioritize our resources to drive superior returns.” Bodan Holdings, an Israel-based company who previously owned the other 40% of the business, will take over the entire operation. As AFSC points out on Twitter, it remains unclear whether Pillsbury products can still be made in the factory under General Mills’s license agreement.
Substitute teachers in District of Columbia Public Schools have won their first raise in 14 years. This comes after five months of picketing outside D.C. government offices under the banner of Washington Substitute Teachers United, demanding higher wages and benefits amid rapidly rising costs of living in the city caused by gentrification. Although having promised wage increases since February 2022, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Chairman of the D.C. Council Phil Mendelson blamed the delay on computer issues, which resulted in only a few substitute teachers receiving a raise. During the bureaucratic mess, Washington Substitute Teachers United decided the only way to win was to struggle and launched their weekly pickets outside the John A. Wilson Building, D.C.’s city hall.
Downingtown, Upper Uwchlan, PA - Today, two local residents, Christine “PK” DiGiulio, Analytical Chemist and community watchdog from Downingtown, Upper Uwchlan, and Connor Orion Tripp Young, Registered Nurse and concerned citizen from Lionville, Uwchlan, were found not guilty by Magisterial District Judge Ann Feldman on disorderly conduct charges for halting construction of Sunoco|Energy Transfer’s widely opposed Mariner East Pipelines by locking their bodies to construction equipment on on January 6, 2022. They were represented in court by attorney Ronald Read. Former Public Health Commissioner of Philadelphia, Dr. Walter Tsou, said, “Christina and Connor asked every politician to help protect their families from contaminated water or the threat of a pipeline blast to no avail.
It’s the magical stuff of Disney movies. But yesterday, the improbable became the most probable when the scrappy band of workers who make up the Amazon Labor Union took the lead in a union election at a warehouse in Staten Island, New York, putting within reach a historic labor win at the corporate behemoth. Before the vote count most reporters had dismissed the independent union’s chances, treating the organizing as a curiosity at best. “I think we have been overlooked,” said ALU Treasurer Madeline Wesley Thursday night. “And I think that that ends tomorrow when we are victorious.” The ALU clinched a decisive victory today, winning by a wide margin to create the first unionized workplace in Amazon’s extensive network of fulfillment, delivery, and sortation centers across the U.S.
Aurora, CO - On March 22, residents of the Sable Altura Chambers community in Aurora, Colo., won a four-month-long struggle to keep Sable Elementary School from being shut down by the Aurora Public Schools Board of Education. This grassroots struggle, its members made up primarily of parents and teachers, has called into question the true motives behind the BOE’s “Blueprint APS initiative” and the decision to close Sable Elementary. Blueprint APS is a plan created by Aurora Public Schools Superintendent Rico Munn that aims to consolidate and repurpose multiple public schools in Aurora due to what Munn refers to as “changing enrollment trends.” Blueprint APS divides Aurora into seven geographical regions.
Since full-time lecturers at Howard University originally voted to unionize, they have spent nearly four years bargaining with the university administration to get their first contract. On March 23, just hours before lecturers and nearly 200 adjunct professors, who have been fighting for their second contract, were set to strike, the union secured a historic tentative agreement with the university and called it off. Union members will be voting on whether or not to ratify the tentative agreement in the coming weeks. Even though the strike was narrowly averted, Howard has a long way to go to adequately address the long-running systemic problems that brought non-tenure-track faculty to the point of hitting the picket line.
In late November, military families were sickened by fuel ingestion, including babies with rashes, after the tap water source for some 93,000 people in the Pearl Harbor area was contaminated. The military initially denied any problems, then confirmed that recent leaks at the Navy’s underground Red Hill fuel storage facility were to blame and promised to clean up the mess. It suspended operations at the World War II-era tank farm but spent months fighting efforts to close the facility altogether, fending off criticism during public hearings and arguing the state lacked the power to enforce an order to drain the fuel. Then last week, the Department of Defense reversed itself and agreed to shut it all down.