A First: The Working People Weekly List

A First: 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.

Starbucks Will Have at Least One Unionized Cafe in Buffalo, New York—A U.S. First for the Chain: “After a months-long battle, Starbucks workers in Buffalo, New York, supported efforts to unionize at least one cafe. The result marks the first successful attempt in the U.S. at unionizing within the giant coffee chain since Starbucks went public nearly three decades ago and could send ripples through the restaurant industry. Workers at the Elmwood Avenue location voted 19 to eight in favor of unionizing under Workers United New York, a branch of the Service Employees International Union.”

AFL-CIO’s Redmond Visits Teamsters Picket: “As a group of 330 Teamsters who transport sand/gravel and concrete for six different construction companies remain on strike, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Fred Redmond joined Teamsters Local 174 Secretary-Treasurer Rick Hicks, Washington State Labor Council President Larry Brown and Secretary-Treasurer April Sims, and other Washington labor leaders on the picket line Tuesday outside Stoneway Concrete to express their solidarity. They urged the striking Teamsters to keep fighting ‘one day longer’ than their employers until they get a fair contract.”

Black Women See Unemployment Rate Fall Sharply in November, but Are Still Left Behind in Overall Labor Market Recovery: “The unemployment rate for Black women fell sharply in November, but labor market recovery from pre-pandemic levels remains uneven across race and gender lines. ‘This is the first time where Black labor force participation got rewarded with actual job growth,’ said William Spriggs, chief economist to the AFL-CIO and a Howard University professor. ‘The fact that Black workers are now showing greater success in their searches—that’s good news.’”

U.S. Labor Movement’s Next Frontier Is the Tech Industry, AFL-CIO’s Shuler Says: “The U.S. tech sector is the next frontier for labor organizing, and its workers are starting to understand the collective power unions have, President of the AFL-CIO Liz Shuler said on Friday at the Reuters Next Conference. Shuler said the labor federation—which comprises 56 affiliated unions and 12.5 million workers—wants to enable more organizing in the tech industry under her leadership. ‘What we are seeing in the tech sector is workers rising up. You look at companies like YouTube, Google, Apple. Their workers have been speaking out. They have been staging walkouts on issues like racial justice and sexual harassment,’ Shuler said. ‘You don’t have the collective power that you have when you have a union, and I think tech workers are starting to connect the dots,’ she said.”

Union Leaders Shuler, Henry Join V.P. Harris in Big Push for Build Back Better: “AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler and Service Employees President Mary Kay Henry joined Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris and other progressive leaders in yet another big push to convince a balky Senate to approve Biden’s 10-year Build Back Better plan to repair many holes in the nation’s leaky social safety net. Shuler said the AFL-CIO’s members ‘will not rest’ until the BBB bill passes. They’ll concentrate on the Senate, since the House already approved BBB, technically a ‘reconciliation bill,’ affecting only taxes and spending, on party-line votes.”

Meet the Woman on the Brink of Transforming Labor in America for the Young and Reshuffling Workforce: “When Liz Shuler rides on an airplane, she often has an experience that will be familiar to most travelers: Her seat mate asks, ‘What do you do?’ Five years ago, after saying she worked for a labor union, Shuler said, most people would put their noses back in their books. Today, she’s met with reactions like ‘awesome’ and ‘amazing.’ ‘There’s a genuine excitement out there,’ Shuler said. It’s not just airplane riders who are excited. More than 100,000 American workers at companies like John Deere and Kellogg’s voted to authorize strikes in October and November to demand better pay and working conditions.”

Labor Board Calls for Revote at Amazon Warehouse in Alabama in Major Victory for Union: “Workers at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Ala., are going to get a second shot at unionizing, after a National Labor Relations Board official called for a revote after finding that the e-commerce giant improperly interfered in the first election. The RWDSU, which is working to unionize the staff in Bessemer, applauded the decision. ‘Today’s decision confirms what we were saying all along—that Amazon’s intimidation and interference prevented workers from having a fair say in whether they wanted a union in their workplace—and as the Regional Director has indicated, that is both unacceptable and illegal,’ union president Stuart Appelbaum said in a statement. ‘Amazon workers deserve to have a voice at work, which can only come from a union.’”

Progressive U.S. Lawmakers Mark Black Friday with Calls to Pass the PRO Act: “As workers worldwide took to the streets while shoppers flooded stores for Black Friday, progressive U.S. lawmakers used the event to pressure the Senate to pass sweeping, House-approved labor rights legislation. Without calling out any lawmakers by name, AFL-CIO president Liz Shuler in late August signaled there could be electoral consequences for right-wing Democrats like Sinema who won’t support ending the filibuster or passing the PRO Act. ‘Workers want to hold elected officials accountable on an agenda that they voted for. Right now that agenda is being blocked by arcane rules in the Senate. We believe that voters will take that into consideration for the next election,’ Shuler said. ‘Elected officials, if they’re not listening, that’s when elections end up having consequences.’”

Biden’s Nearly $2 Trillion Social Spending and Climate Bill Is a Boon for Unions: “The newer green-energy industry is largely not unionized, according to Tim Schlittner, a spokesman for the AFL-CIO. ‘We want to make sure that as we fight climate change that good union jobs are at the center of the fight,’ Schlittner said. Schlittner of the AFL-CIO called the new fines ‘the most significant step forward in labor law since the 1935 National Labor Relations Act,’ which gave workers the right to form labor unions and go on strike. ‘It’s a tremendous opportunity to rein in employer behavior that is preventing workers from freely forming unions,’ he said.”

Kenneth Quinnell
Tue, 12/14/2021 – 16:26

Updated: January 6, 2022 — 8:52 am