'We Have to Move Now': The Working People Weekly List

‘We Have to Move Now’: 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.

‘We Have to Move Now’: Biden Details His $2 Trillion Infrastructure Plan: “Mr. Biden was introduced by a union worker who deals with the electrical grid. Mike Fiore, a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 29 and an employee of Duquesne Light, said the plan would mean a lot to workers who are ready to retool plants and revitalize the middle class. ‘The [plan] is directed at communities like mine. It is about opening up opportunities, revitalizing local businesses and saving jobs,’ Mr. Fiore said. ‘For decades, Pennsylvania was a global leader in manufacturing and good union jobs. It can be that way again.’”

ATI Workers Go on Strike After Negotiations Break Down: “Roughly 1,300 workers at Pittsburgh-based Allegheny Technologies Inc. (ATI) represented by the United Steelworkers (USW) union went on strike at 7 a.m. Tuesday after negotiators failed to reach a contract settlement. USW International Vice President David McCall, who chairs the talks, accused the metals giant of unfair labor practices and trying to force workers into accepting unnecessary concessions. ‘After years of loyalty, hard work and sacrifice, workers deserve more respect and consideration than ATI has shown at the table,’ Mr. McCall said in a statement Friday. ‘We will continue to bargain in good faith, and we strongly urge ATI to start doing the same.’”

Why Big Tech Shouldn’t Be Scared of Unions: “At a time when so many divisions rip Americans apart, from income inequality and wealth disparities to opportunity gaps and ethnic, religious and cultural differences, increased union membership would help to heal America by raising incomes, uniting workers and building trust just as it did in the decades following World War II, when the U.S. boasted the biggest per-capita middle class in the world. What better place to start than in the heart of America’s tech industry? It would help workers, industry and American society itself.”

I Was Fired for Trying to Unionize My Workplace. I Want Congress to Pass the PRO Act So That Never Happens Again: “For around two years, my colleagues and I had been advocating together for better benefits—like health care and child care—and reasonable sales goals. We weren’t asking for the moon—we were asking for basic respect and fair treatment as we supported the military members and veterans who bank with PenFed. We felt that unless we did this organizing, there would be no reason for PenFed CEO James Schenck to improve working conditions and make real changes to how he ran his business.”

EXPLAINER: What to Know About the Amazon Union Vote: “Nearly 6,000 Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama, are deciding whether they want to form a union, the biggest labor push in the online shopping giant’s history. The stakes are high for Amazon. The organizing in Bessemer could set off a chain reaction across its operations nationwide, with more workers rising up and demanding better working conditions. Meanwhile, labor advocates hope what’s happening in Bessemer could inspire workers beyond Amazon to form a union. But organizers face an uphill battle. Amazon, the second-largest private employer in the country, has a history of crushing unionizing efforts at its warehouses and its Whole Foods grocery stores.”

Walsh Heads Already Active Labor Department: “‘Millions of workers still do not have the strong COVID-19 protections they need to be safe at work,’ declared Rebecca Reindel, AFL-CIO safety and health director. ‘Marty Walsh’s strong leadership will be needed to urgently issue a strong, comprehensive OSHA COVID-19 emergency temporary standard to set workplace safety rules, accompanied by strong enforcement to ensure workers are protected.’”

‘It Rescued Our Entire Plan Overnight.’ How Joe Biden Will Help Rockers Retire: “President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan will benefit, among other things, state and local governments, small businesses, people living in poverty and, it turns out, professional musicians hoping to retire at some point in their lives. Since musicians often work for many bosses, they fall under the purview of multi-employer pension plans—a pet cause of Ohio senator Sherrod Brown, who has been pushing to fix those types of pension plans for years. After years of introducing what was first called the Butch Lewis Act (named after an Ohio teamster), Brown worked to get his pension-salvaging plan into the American Rescue Plan.”

What the ‘Invisible’ People Cleaning the Subway Want Riders to Know: “Cleaning the New York City subway has always been a dirty job. But when the pandemic hit last spring, it became even more challenging. When Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo ordered that trains be shut down overnight for cleaning, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) turned to contractors to help undertake the monumental task of scouring the trains in the nation’s largest transit system. The thousands of workers the contractors hired—largely low-income immigrants from Latin America—were envisioned as a stopgap measure, as MTA workers were falling ill and dying of the virus. At the same time, ridership and revenue had plummeted, and the agency found itself in an intense budget crunch.”

Facing Backlash from Orlando Workers, HMSHost Is Rehiring Employees Laid Off During Pandemic: “After nine months waging an emotional campaign to get their jobs back, displaced restaurant workers from the Orlando International Airport celebrated a triumph: They’re being rehired. HMSHost, one of the country’s largest airport concessionaires, emailed former employees on Friday inviting them back, according to copies reviewed by the Orlando Sentinel. In the email, the company’s human resources department also announced a $2-per-hour wage increase and free monthly Lynx bus passes for returning employees.”

Kenneth Quinnell
Tue, 04/06/2021 – 10:40

Updated: April 13, 2021 — 9:50 am