In early October, thousands of bartenders, culinary workers, and hotel attendants formed a picket line outside eight casino resorts on the Las Vegas Strip. It was the largest union demonstration on Las Vegas Boulevard in 20 years. Since April, the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and the Bartenders Union Local 165have been negotiating with the city’s three largest companies—MGM Resorts, Caesars Entertainment, and Wynn Resorts—for a new five-year contract. To no avail, says Ted Pappageorge, who has served as the culinary union’s secretary-treasurer since 2022 and was its president for more than a decade before that.
One of the largest non-nurse health care strikes in Pacific Northwest history began at 6:30 a.m. this morning, shedding light on skilled workers who often get overlooked. We’re demanding that PeaceHealth, a Jesuit-run health system, raise wages and fix critically short staffing—two issues that are closely related. The strikers are 1,300 workers at two hospitals in southwest Washington: PeaceHealth Southwest in Vancouver, and PeaceHealth St. John in nearby Longview. The strike will last five days; workers will return to work October 28. PeaceHealth had announced that it would cut off health insurance if the strike continued into November.
In the realm of burgers and fries, California’s hot labor summer is sizzling. In a remarkable reversal of fortune, the state’s fast-food worker movement, created and steered by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), has compelled the giants of the fast-food industry (both national stalwarts like McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, and Starbucks and local legends like In-N-Out) to withdraw their opposition to raising their workers’ wages and establishing a statewide labor-business board to deal with industry issues. Last year, after the legislature and Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law a bill that established such a council to raise those wages, the industry announced it would put $200 million behind a ballot measure it had devised to overturn that law.
Oak Park Heights, MN — Just days after prisoners at the Stillwater prison staged civil disobedience actions by refusing a staff lockdown, incarcerated workers at the nearby ‘level 5’ MCF-Oak Park Heights prison canteen have staged a work strike, according to activists who regularly stay in touch with prisoners. The use of segregation, or sending prisoners to ‘the hole,’ has increased in recent years. Oak Park Heights administrators sent prisoners there 694 times in 2018, according to state Department of Corrections (DOC) data. The Twin Cities branch of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) sent out a press release on the Oak Park Heights work stoppage.
For years, Truckers Movement for Justice (TMJ) has worked to contribute to fixing issues within the trucking industry by informing the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) and the US Department of Labor (USDOL) that truckers need ALL HOURS WORKED ALL HOURS PAID, OVERTIME FOR ALL, and ENFORCEMENT OF THE RIGHT TO SEE THE FREIGHT BILL. Without movement on these three simple demands, TMJ picketed on 1 May 2023 in front of the USDOT and American Truckers Association (ATA) buildings to remind and warn them to act immediately. Dirt was dumped onto the sidewalk and TMJ President Billy Randel drew a line through it before declaring, “We are drawing a line in the sand!”
Amazon warehouse worker Paul Blundell has spent the past year talking to his co-workers about how UPS Teamsters were getting organized to strike. So recently, he had big news to share: “A few days before the strike deadline, UPS caved.” “Everybody’s jaw dropped” when they heard that night shift workers at the Philly UPS air hub will get an immediate raise to $24.75, Blundell said. “We top out around $20.90 after three years, so UPS is now starting well above that—with raises for the rest of the contract.” UPS part-timers also have low-deductible health insurance coverage with no premiums, and pensions.
Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu met union leaders on the first day of a nationwide strike called by unions to protest against a fuel subsidy removal that has led to higher pump price of petrol, the head of the main labour federation has said. Since being sworn into office on May 29, President Tinubu has embarked on a series of economic reforms, scrapping the popular but expensive subsidy, which cost $10bn last year, and relaxing the foreign exchange regime. While the reforms have been welcomed by investors, unions say they have led to soaring costs at a time when Nigerians are already grappling with the highest inflation in nearly two decades.
In Griffin, Georgia, UPS warehouse worker Jess Leigh exemplifies the struggles of part-time workers. As a single mother of two, she has spent nearly six years on the preload shift making poverty wages and has worked in multiple positions from loading trucks to being a hazmat responder. Jess has been a firm advocate for part timers’ rights in these contract negotiations. She is a member of Teamsters Mobilize, a coalition of UPS rank-and-file workers whose main demand has been “a base wage of $25/hour, $0.75 in catch up raises for each year of service, and 5% raises over the life of the contract.” She has also earned a lot of recognition from workers across the States due to her role in organizing “Red Solidarity Fridays,“ a day where inside workers wear red as a show of unity in this fight.
Hospital doctors in England staged the biggest walkout in the history of the NHS on Thursday 13 July. The strike action over pay and staff retention involves an unprecedented five-day stoppage. Moreover, this is the latest in eight months of industrial action across the NHS, which has been reeling from over a decade of Tory cuts. On a picket line outside London’s University College Hospital, junior doctor Arjan Singh said: The NHS has been running on goodwill and now this is the last chance to change that. Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Singh described the demand of £20 per hour for junior doctors’ pay as “very reasonable.”
Jersey City, NJ - It was a rare scene when an estimated 100 people rallied at the Journal Square, Jersey City transportation station in front of Jollibee, a popular fast food restaurant. The rally took place on July 6, National Fried Chicken Day, which was promoted on social media. The protesters demanded that nine Filipino workers be reinstated after Jollibee management fired them for attempting to organize workers in the restaurant for their rights. Jollibee is a fast-growing food chain, which originated in the Philippines, but has recently expanded in other countries, including the U.S. The chain made over $30 million in profits in 2022, with 40% of their total revenue coming in from around the world.
After years of passivity in the face of upper class greed workers have begun to fight back. Recent walkouts in Canada and around the world reflect a pattern of rising participation of workers in strike activity, evident since 2020 as a belated response to years of wage suppression and recent spectacular increases in consumer prices. A wave of strikes in construction in Ontario in the opening months of 2022 reflected increased worker militancy over wages particularly among carpenters, drywallers and engineers. Tentative agreements reached by union officials were sometimes rejected by members, prolonging the strikes.
Solidarity at Swat started after a Swarthmore College alum, John Braxton ‘70, spoke on campus at an event organized by members of Swarthmore’s Young Democratic Socialists of America and suggested that we find a material issue that unites people on campus. Staff wages were previously raised to a $15 minimum, but student wages were not raised alongside this and remained quite low. We started advocating for a student-worker minimum wage of $15. At that time, we rhetorically showed support for staff wage increases and made the case that a raise in student wages would also induce an increase in staff wages.
App-based food delivery workers in New York City will earn $17.96 an hour before tips beginning July 12, an amount that takes into account their costs of operating, Mayor Eric Adams announced Sunday afternoon. With the rate, New York will become the first major U.S. city to establish and implement pay requirements for delivery workers toiling in the gig economy. The hourly rate will increase to $19.96 before tips by April 1, 2025, the mayor said. The standard is a significant increase from the estimated $11 hourly workers currently earn after tips.
Inflation was slow throughout the second half of 2022. Yet you wouldn’t know this from newspaper headlines, statements from “experts,” or the statements and actions of the Federal Reserve. It was only in January of 2023, when the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for December 2022 was released showing an actual (very small) decline in prices for the month, that there began to be a general recognition that the relatively high rate of inflation of late 2021 and the first half of 2022 had abated. The December 2022 decline of one-tenth of 1% was later revised upward to an increase of one-tenth of 1%, but this tiny increase still brought attention to the easing of inflation.
The European Union heavily sanctioned Russia and pledged to boycott its oil, yet continues to buy it, and at an even higher price, albeit indirectly. India is importing record levels of discounted Russian crude, purchasing it in currencies other than the dollar. India then refines the Russian oil and exports fuel to Europe at a profit. Meanwhile, increasing energy costs in Europe have stoked inflation, causing workers’ wages to significantly decline. The real wages of workers in the Eurozone fell by 6.5% between 2020 and 2022. As of April, Bloomberg reported, European imports of refined fuel from India are approaching 360,000 barrels per day.