America Is Unionizing: The Working People Weekly List

America Is Unionizing: The 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.

Amazon Faces New Activism From Pension Funds in New York Over Worker Safety: “A group of New York city and state pension funds that collectively own more than $5 billion of Inc. stock are urging fellow shareholders to vote against re-election of two board members for what the institutions say are failures to adequately protect worker safety. New York City’s pension fund, which represents the teachers, police department, fire department and other unions, has paired up with New York state’s pension fund and the office of the Illinois state treasurer to vote against the re-election of Amazon directors Daniel Huttenlocher and Judith McGrath. The two directors sit on a committee on Amazon’s board that oversees leadership development.”

The What, When and Why of Workers’ Memorial Day: Things to Know and Remember This April 28: “In 2019, 5,333 workers lost their lives on the job as a result of traumatic injuries, an increase from 2018, according to fatality data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That number dropped in 2020 by 10.7%, likely a direct correlation to the pandemic, in which fewer workers were on a physical job site. ‘Employers have made incredible strides in creating safer workplaces, investing and innovating to protect their people. But the zero injury goal remains elusive, especially for high-risk industries,’ said Michelle Kerr, national workers’ compensation editor for Risk & Insurance and National Comp conference chair.”

From Amazon to Starbucks, America Is Unionizing. Will Politics Catch Up?: “‘This is about being able to control your own destiny, to be able to shape the workplace that you would like to see, to be able to come together and leverage and have more power. And in fact, this is a watershed moment. The system, as we know, isn’t working for people. And it’s been broken for a long time well before the pandemic. But the pandemic shone a light on just how many things are broken and the fact that people did make sacrifices to get us through and worked on the front lines and put their health at risk. And now they’re fed up, and they’re fired up.’ said AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler.”

AFL-CIO Data Finds Young Workers Support Collective Action: “‘Young people are taking risks, are saying enough is enough because they’ve borne the brunt of what’s been happening in the economy,’ AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler said at an event announcing the survey. ‘As they’ve grown into the workforce, they’ve experienced nothing but wage depression, wage stagnation.’”

Democratic Party Weighs Banning its Consultants from Anti-Union Activity: “‘We appreciate the Democratic Party committees’ decision to amend their contract and RFP processes in light of reporting that GSG had been working for Amazon as they sought to defeat the recent organizing drive,’ AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler said in a statement. ‘By amending their contracts and RFP processes to exclude firms actively working with clients who seek to prevent or limit working people’s basic rights to act collectively or otherwise act against their interests as union members, the committees demonstrate their commitment to democracy and shared prosperity.’”

Madison County Federation Will Host Workers Memorial Day Program April 28: “The Greater Madison County Federation of Labor will hold its annual Workers Memorial Day ceremony on Thursday, April 28, at Gordon Moore Park in Alton. The event will begin at 7 p.m. April 28 is recognized nationally by the AFL-CIO to honor workers killed or injured on the job. As in past years, weather will determine if the event will be at the landscaped, outdoor memorial site along the park road or at the indoor pavilion just up the road. “Hopefully we’ll have some good weather and we can actually do it at the memorial site, where the wall and the statue are,’ Federation President B. Dean Webb said.”

Hospitality Worker Union Wants Hotels to Bring Back More Employees Full Time: “As tourism continues to recover in Hawaiʻi, the state’s largest hospitality worker union is demanding hotels bring more of their employees back full time. Unite Here! Local 5 members rallied in Waikiki last week calling for hotels to bring back employees to their former positions. The union argues that hotel occupancy and the average daily room rates have risen dramatically in recent months. However, amenities, such as daily room cleanings and room service, haven’t returned. Local 5 treasurer Eric Gill says this is preventing thousands of workers from returning full time.”

Actors’ Equity Association Calls on Congress to Restore Tax Fairness for Performing Artists: “‘I am grateful for the leadership of Representatives Chu and Buchanan who have helped us build a strong coalition in the House, and Senators Warner and Hagerty, who are building support in the Senate,’ said Kate Shindle, president of Actors’ Equity Association. ‘Actors, stage managers and our colleagues are still hurting from COVID. Although unemployment in the live performing arts is still more than double pre-pandemic levels, the cost of looking for work has not gone away; in many cases, it has increased. With a record number of supporters and cosponsors for PATPA, there is no better time for Congress to pass this legislation and restore tax fairness for middle-class arts workers across the country.’”

Biden, Harris Pro-Worker Actions: Federal Neutrality, OSHA to Tackle High Heat Threat: “That cheered Everett Kelley, president of the Government Employees, the largest union for federal workers. It represents some 700,000 workers, including free-loaders. ‘Working people everywhere should have the right to join together in a union and advocate for better working conditions at their place of employment without fear of retaliation or reprisal–and this White House gets it,’ Kelley said in a statement. ‘Today’s action by the Biden administration will further the federal government’s goal of being a model employer,’ Kelley continued. Through the moves Biden announced, ‘The White House is sending a powerful message to employers everywhere that efforts to interfere with union elections and workers’ union rights should not be tolerated.’ Harris announced a major Occupational Safety and Health Administration initiative. Speaking in Philadelphia’s Sheet Metal Workers Local 19 hall, she said OSHA would target 70 high heat hazard industries both outdoors and indoors for its National Emphasis Program. That program of nationwide workplace inspections concentrates on the worst industries and highest hazards. Her announcement drew applause.”

Kenneth Quinnell
Tue, 04/26/2022 – 09:40

Updated: May 3, 2022 — 5:40 am