Yet another wave of media layoffs is putting hundreds of journalists out of work across some of the largest major news outlets in the US, including CNN, the LA Times, Vox, Business Insider, CNBC, Garnett, and others. In an already-grim media landscape that’s been decimated by decades of tanking revenues, this latest round of cuts raises serious questions about how the loss of so much journalism will impact our society. Newspapers closed at a rate of 2.5 per week in 2023, up from 2 per week in 2022. 3,000 of the US’s 9,000 newspapers have permanently closed, and since 2005, two thirds of all journalists have lost their jobs.
Fans of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade may have noticed one glaring omission in its cast of charismatic balloons and floats: Scabby the Rat, who for some reason, has never been invited. But what employer wouldn’t want a reminder from Scabby—“an imposing 12-foot inflatable rat, replete with red eyes, fangs, and claws,” as the National Labor Relations Board puts it—to stay on its best behavior? Macy’s workers in northwest Washington rectified this last year by prominently featuring Scabby when they launched a strike and boycott campaign against the retailer over low wages and safety issues. Scabby was also the star of their own mock Thanksgiving Parade.
In St. Johns County, on the Atlantic shore of Northeast Florida, more than 55% of public school teachers paid their union dues this last year. Despite that, nearly 3,500 teachers are facing the threat of having their union representation revoked. At the same time, in Southwest Florida, only 16% of law enforcement officers of the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office paid union dues last year. Their union is under absolutely no threat of being decertified. A year after Governor DeSantis signed into law a sweeping anti-union bill requiring most public sector unions to boost the rate of members paying dues or be disbanded, the full effects of the new union rules are coming into clear view — double standards and all.
Unions added 139,000 more workers in historic gains in 2023, but union density remains stubbornly low, with only 10 percent of American workers represented by a union as of the end of the year, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. This is an all-time low and a big surprise to many, given the historic strikes by auto workers, Hollywood creatives and Kaiser healthcare workers, according to a Washington Post analysis. Union density vs. union membership is a frustrating comparison. Even with the historic membership growth, the country added 2.7 million jobs in 2023, many of them non-union, meaning the membership growth couldn’t keep up with the overall jobs numbers.
Angola, LA - A hidden path to America’s dinner tables begins here, at an unlikely source – a former Southern slave plantation that is now the country’s largest maximum-security prison. Unmarked trucks packed with prison-raised cattle roll out of the Louisiana State Penitentiary, where men are sentenced to hard labor and forced to work, for pennies an hour or sometimes nothing at all. After rumbling down a country road to an auction house, the cows are bought by a local rancher and then followed by The Associated Press another 600 miles to a Texas slaughterhouse that feeds into the supply chains of giants like McDonald’s, Walmart and Cargill.
Washington - Fed up with the big Class I freight railroads’ incessant drive to put profits over people, and safety, and with federal regulators’ piecemeal and often pro-corporate responses, a coalition of rail freight unions issued a comprehensive analysis of the problem, with key recommendations to the government to force the carriers to put people first. The study, including pages of internal railroad documents and e-mails, reveals the horrible impacts of the railroads’ system, Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR). It’s designed to cut costs and workers, including safety workers who inspect freight cars and locomotives.
Igalia is an open source tech co-op success story. We have been around for 22 years; we have 140 members. We play an essential role in several open web platform projects such as Chromium/Blink, WebKit (WPE & WebKitGTK), Firefox and Servo. We have contributed to GNOME / GTK+ / Maemo, WebKit / WebKitGtk+ / JSC, Blink / V8, Gecko / SpiderMonkey projects, amongst others. The reason we started as a co-op and the reason the focus of our work is Free and Open Source software are one and the same. Both are implementations of our values, in a word: egalitarianism. In this talk you will hear a bit about our history.
“The bosses wear Prada, and the workers get nada!” chanted hundreds of News Guild CWA workers out on a one-day strike against Condé Nast, the publishing juggernaut that owns iconic titles like Vogue, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, and Bon Appetite. The boisterous picket line at the base of One World Trade Center in lower Manhattan on a damp day January 24, drew a cacophony of honking horns whizzing by on West Street. After a widely lauded voluntary recognition of the union back in 2022 by the privately-held global media conglomerate, the union has run into what it told Work-Bites is hardball union-busting tactics that have really intensified with the New Year. Back in October, Condé Nast CEO Roger Lynch announced the company would be shrinking its global workforce of 5,400 by 270 while also predicting the publisher would see the “third straight year of overall revenue growth.”
AI is a labor issue. Maybe we’ll get lucky and it will prove to be a marginal labor issue. Or maybe it will prove to be an existential, epochal labor issue on par with industrialization or globalization, each of which revolutionized their own eras of work. Before we get completely immersed in the battle over how AI will affect workers, though, it is important to frame the playing field correctly. This is not a fight between a backwards-looking labor movement on one side, and technological progress on the other. Rather, this is a question of where the wealth and efficiency gains created by AI will flow. Want to change the world? Share.
The New Year blew in with higher wages for workers in dozens of jurisdictions across the country. Twenty-five states and 60 localities will raise their minimum wages in 2024. What is clear from even a cursory scan of these increases is that while a $15 minimum wage is the floor, many localities and some states have already passed wage increases that are higher than what the Fight for $15 movement coalesced around more than a decade ago. A number have landed on a $17 minimum wage for some or all employees, an encouraging development in the ongoing struggle to establish living wages nationwide.
Since its first proposal in 2014, Platform Cooperativism has evolved into a global movement as an alternative to Platform Capitalism. The concept has been adopted in over 546 known projects across 50 countries. The establishment of the Platform Cooperativism Consortium (PCC), serving as a knowledge hub for the global community, marked a significant milestone. PCC fosters inspiration, knowledge, outcomes, and impacts—I am a testament to this, considering myself a small yet integral piece of the evidence. During the COVID-19 pandemic, I enrolled in the online course ‘Platform Co-op Now!’
Like its alleged intimidation tactics and firing of workers who have led unionization efforts, Starbucks' closure of at least 23 stores amid a nationwide workers' rights push last year did not go unnoticed by federal regulators, who ordered the global coffee chain to reopen the locations on Wednesday. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a complaint saying that eight of the shuttered stores were among the more than 360 Starbucks locations that have voted to unionize, and that executives did not notify the union, Starbucks Workers United, about the closures ahead of time—robbing organizers of an opportunity to bargain over the decision.
Hundreds of early-career researchers at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) have voted overwhelmingly to form a union, nearly completing the official process required to do so. They plan to call on the agency — the world’s largest public funder of biomedical research — to improve pay and working conditions, and to bolster its policies and procedures for dealing with harassment and excessive workloads. About 98% of the research fellows who participated in the ballot voted on 6 December to form the union, with 1,601 voting in favour and just 36 against. Barring any objections, the result will be certified by the US Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) after five business days, and the union will become the first ever to represent fellows at a federal research agency and the largest union to form in the US government in more than a decade.
Today workers at Volkswagen's Chattanooga, Tennessee, assembly plant announced their third bid to unionize plant-wide with the Auto Workers (UAW). Riding the momentum of its strike of the Big 3 automakers, the UAW now wants to double its numbers in the auto industry by adding 150,000 workers at companies that have long avoided unionization. Thirteen non-union automakers are on notice: Honda, Toyota, Hyundai, Nissan, Subaru, Mazda, Mercedes, Volvo, BMW, Volkswagen, and electric vehicle producers Rivian, Tesla, and Lucid. The union says it has been inundated with calls and online sign-ups by workers at these firms. The Volkswagen drive is the first to go public, after 1,000 workers signed union cards.
Ahead of COP28 the UN warns that the world is facing ‘hellish’3C of climate heating, and with European lawmakers urging COP28 climate summit to take aim at fossil fuels, a new report published today from the Centre for Climate Crime and Climate Justice and Institute of Employment Rights, reveals why trade unions need to put climate bargaining at the centre of everything they do and maps out the steps that must be taken to achieve this. The report, ‘Working for Climate Justice: Trade unions in the front line against climate change’ asserts that until now, the trade union movement has failed to make climate change a core concern of their bargaining agendas.