A Dramatic Labor Resurgence: The Working People Weekly List

A Dramatic Labor Resurgence: The Working People Weekly List

Working People Weekly List

Every week, we bring you a roundup of the top news and commentary about issues and events important to working families. Here’s the latest edition of the Working People Weekly List.

America Is in the Midst of a Dramatic Labor Resurgence: “Our nation is in the midst of a labor revolution. It’s a wonderful thing, and you may not be aware of it. After an emotionally, physically, and mentally taxing year dealing with ramifications of Covid-19, workers across the country are standing up for basic dignity and respect on the job in a historic way. And through the pandemic, the nation was reminded of the essentialness of labor—not the labor of Wall Street; rather, the labor that drives our hospitals, our groceries, our mail, our livelihoods. They are striking; they are picketing; they are demanding fair contracts. They are forming new unions on campuses and coffeehouses, and they are walking out on low-wage jobs at Burger King, Dollar General, and elsewhere. In short, laborers are demanding their due. And it is infectiously spreading from workplace to workplace.”

Workers at One of the Country’s Biggest Bourbon Producers Have Been on Strike for a Month: “The workers are members of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 23D. In a statement on the strike, the UFCW said the company’s proposed contract ‘removes a cap on health insurance premium increases that reduce take-home pay, cuts overtime, and drastically changes work schedules which makes it harder for employees to support and care for their families.’ The UFCW also represents other bourbon-industry workers in Kentucky, including those at Jim Beam.”

More Than 10,000 John Deere Workers Go on Strike After Failing to Reach a Contract: “More than 10,000 workers at 14 different John Deere locations went on strike at the stroke of midnight after the United Auto Workers union said it was unable to reach a new contract with the tractor company. ‘Our members at John Deere strike for the ability to earn a decent living, retire with dignity and establish fair work rules,’ Chuck Browning, vice president and director of the UAW’s Agricultural Implement Department, said in a statement.”

More Than 100K Workers Threaten Strikes as Unions Flex Muscles: “Workers in various industries nationwide are threatening to go on strike in a sweeping effort to secure higher pay and better working conditions. More than 100,000 unionized employees—between Hollywood production crew members, John Deere factory workers and Kaiser Permanente nurses—have overwhelmingly voted to authorize strikes and are preparing to join the picket line unless they get stronger collective bargaining agreements.”

The National Women’s Soccer League, Institutional Failures and Allegations of Harassment: “This week marks four years since the #Metoo movement took off across industries, exposing toxic behavior and rampant sexual harassment and ousting those in power who caused or condoned it. Now, it’s soccer’s turn. A major investigation by The Athletic has brought accusations of sexual and verbal harassment by coaches in the National Women’s Soccer League to light. It prompted a weekend of game cancellations and calls for change. And when players returned to the field again last week, it was not to play as usual. How was this allowed to happen? And where does the league go from here?”

New Jersey Transit Settles Labor Contracts with More Than Half Its Rail Unions: “New Jersey Transit has settled contracts with roughly 60% of the rail unions representing employees who keep the trains rolling, after approving new labor agreements with six railroad unions Tuesday. Unions included in the settlement are the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation SMART-TD Local 60, representing conductors and assistant conductors, the National Conference of Fireman and Oilers, representing laborers, power plant employees, motor equipment operators and rail equipment helpers, the Transportation Communication Union, the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, the Brotherhood of Railway Carmen, representing rail car maintainers, and the International Association of Machinists.”

A Record Number of Workers Are Quitting Their Jobs, Empowered by New Leverage: “The number of people quitting their jobs has surged to record highs, pushed by a combination of factors that include Americans sensing ample opportunity and better pay elsewhere.”

U.S. Workers Are Realizing It’s the Perfect Time to Go on Strike: “Thousands of workers have gone on strike across the country, showing their growing power in a tightening economy. The leverage U.S. employees have over the people signing their paychecks was amplified in Friday’s jobs report, which showed that employers added workers at a much slower-than-expected pace in September. The unemployment rate fell 0.4 percentage points during the month, to 4.8%, the government said Friday, and wages are continuing to tick up across industries as employers become more desperate to hire and retain workers. In the first five days of October alone, there were 10 strikes in the U.S., including workers at Kellogg plants in Nebraska, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Tennessee; school bus drivers in Annapolis, Maryland; and janitors at the Denver airport. That doesn’t include the nearly 60,000 union members in film and television production who nearly unanimously voted to grant their union’s president the authority to call a strike.”

Memphis Kellogg’s Workers Continue Strike: “Kellogg’s workers in several U.S. cities, including Memphis, are on strike. The strike began on Tuesday, October 5, when the master contract between the Kellogg Company and the local Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International unions expired, after a one-year extension that was put in place in 2020.”

Kaiser Permanente Health Care Workers Vote to Approve Strike: “Nearly 3,400 Kaiser Permanente nurses and other health care professionals have voted to authorize a strike, according to the union that represents those workers. Over the past week, members of Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals voted digitally on the strike. Voting finished on Sunday night, and OFNHP says there was a 90% participation rate, with 96% voting yes. ‘Our members turned out in record numbers to say that they are willing to do what it takes to save patient care in Oregon,’ says Jodi Barschow, a Kaiser Sunnyside RN and President of the Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals, AFT, AFL-CIO. ‘Kaiser’s proposals would be a disaster for Oregon’s entire care system and show a profound disrespect for the frontline healthcare workers who are risking their lives during COVID.’ The two sides were at odds over what each side considers ‘safe staffing.”

Kenneth Quinnell
Tue, 10/19/2021 – 10:35

Updated: October 25, 2021 — 8:43 pm