Unions Give People an Opportunity: The Working People Weekly List

Unions Give People an Opportunity: 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.

Union Nurses Announce Strike Vote as Negotiations with 15 Hospitals Stall: “Unionized nurses at 15 hospitals across the Twin Cities and the Duluth area will vote on Monday on whether to authorize a strike, as negotiations remain stalled over staffing levels and wages. A vote to strike wouldn’t lead to nurses immediately walking off the job but would allow the Minnesota Nurses Association to call some 15,000 away from bedsides to picket lines for any duration with 10 days notice. ‘We don’t take this lightly,’ said Mary Turner, president of the Minnesota Nurses Association and an intensive care nurse at North Memorial Health Hospital.”

MetroAccess Workers Reach Tentative Union Agreement with Private Contractor, End Strike: “Workers who run some of Metro’s paratransit service have reached a tentative agreement with a private contractor, ending a nine-day strike. The over 200 MetroAccess workers walked off the job on August 1, after negotiations for a new three-year contract with employer Transdev stalled. The main sticking points were wages—workers said the company was offering less than what similar workers in Baltimore currently make—and the company’s original unwillingness to sign on to a three-year contract, workers say. The employees perform a range of MetroAccess functions, working in utilities, maintenance, dispatch, and supervisory roles. They are expected to ratify the tentative agreement soon, according to Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 689 organizers. The agreement came after workers rallied and attended a contract negotiation en masse. ‘Our members stood strong and united throughout this process. They braved the heat and the company’s tactics to try and divide us,’ said Local 689 President Raymond Jackson, in a statement announcing the tentative agreement. ‘This strike shows that our members are willing to lay it all on the line for justice.’”

IUOE Local 150 Wins Big After Seven Week Strike: “After walking the picket lines for seven weeks, 300 members of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 voted unanimously to adopt their new contract. Among the contract improvements IUOE members won from their strike are a minimum wage increase of 16% throughout the life of the three year contract, stronger layoff language, stronger seniority language, and 100% employer paid healthcare. The contract victory was achieved through immense struggle and unwavering solidarity between IUOE members, the local labor movement and the broader Chicago community. On June 7, 300 IUOE members walked off the job to protest unresolved Unfair Labor Practices that the union filed against the three employers it was bargaining with—Lehigh Hanson, Vulcan Materials and Lafarge Holcim.”

Disney Unions Negotiate New Contract as Workers Share Financial Struggles: “Unite Here 737 held the event that was attended by Orange County Commissioner Maribel Gomez Cordero, a union-endorsed candidate running for re-election, who said she was there to listen and pledged to help. The local represents about 18,000 hospitality workers at Disney World, the Orange County Convention Center and a few other hotels and restaurants.”

Workers Strike at Medicare, ACA Call Centers: “Federally contracted call center workers who provide customer service for Medicare and Affordable Care Act health plans went on strike on Monday over poor working conditions, including insufficient sick leave and limited bathroom breaks. Employees of Maximus, the nation’s largest federal call center contractor, held a two-hour picket and a day-long strike Monday at four locations: Bogalusa, Louisiana; Hattiesburg, Mississippi; Chester, Virginia; and London, Kentucky. Workers partnered with the AFL-CIO and the Communications Workers of America (CWA) to negotiate with Maximus.”

Knights, Queens and Strippers Are Helping Fuel the Spike in U.S. Unionizing Efforts: “Christian Sweeney, deputy director at the AFL-CIO, says it’s notable that more white-collar professions—like the museum curators and video-game developers—are forming unions. And the Starbucks and Amazon efforts show employees aren’t just organizing at workplaces that pay the least, but also at leading companies. ‘What a union does is give people an opportunity…to come together, to negotiate with management, to have some say over wages, benefits, working conditions,’ Sweeney said. ‘There’s really nothing that can replace that.’”

SAG-AFTRA’s Board Overwhelmingly Approves New Netflix Contract, Which Fran Drescher Calls “A Darn Good Deal”: “SAG-AFTRA’s national board has voted overwhelmingly to approve a new three-year contract with Netflix. The contract now goes to the guild’s membership for ratification. ‘We got a darn good deal,’ said SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher, who chaired the guild’s negotiating committee. ‘We advanced significant improvements to exclusivity terms, allowing actors with short pickups to have more freedom to work other jobs and ensuring shorter hold periods between pickups.’”

Amtrak Rewarded Executives with Six-Figure Bonuses as Rail Service Struggled: “Amtrak’s top executives received six-figure incentive bonuses in 2021, their biggest payouts in years, despite the service’s lackluster financial performance and weak ridership caused by the pandemic, according to data obtained by the New York Times. John Samuelsen, the president of the Transport Workers Union, whose members include nearly 1,500 service workers, mechanics and inspectors at Amtrak, said he was disgusted by the payouts. ‘They gave themselves nice fat bonuses off the backs of workers that were exposed to harm’s way,’ he said. ‘It just underscores the reason why there should be worker representatives on the Amtrak board.’”

Despite a Strong Jobs Report, Unemployment Inched Higher for Black Workers in July: “The U.S. job market posted strong growth and a decline in unemployment in July, but unemployment ticked higher among Black workers, further underscoring the ongoing discrepancies within the job market. The continuation of strong job growth from last month among women indicates that the gain may be more than ‘just a blip,’ said William Spriggs, chief economist to the AFL-CIO.”

Kenneth Quinnell
Tue, 08/16/2022 – 15:06

Updated: August 23, 2022 — 12:18 am