Category Archives: Unions and Organized Labor

15,000 Minnesota Nurses Launch Historic Strike to Put ‘Patients Before Profits’

“We feel like this is the only thing we can do,” said one nurse. “Hospitals tell us it’s our fault, but we’ve been actively involved and getting nowhere.”

By Jessica Corbett  Published 9-12-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: TakeAction Minnesota/Twitter

About 15,000 nurses in Minnesota walked off the job on Monday for a historic three-day strike after months of failed contract negotiations during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Members of the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) last month voted overwhelmingly in support of what the union says is the “largest private sector nurses strike in U.S. history.”

Nurses with MNA argue that hospital executives who make millions of dollars per year “refuse solutions to short-staffing, retention, and better patient care.” Continue reading

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America is in the middle of a labor mobilization moment – with self-organizers at Starbucks, Amazon, Trader Joe’s and Chipotle behind the union drive

A revised movement on the backs of young workers?
Calla Kessler for The Washington Post via Getty Images

 

John Logan, San Francisco State University

Labor Day 2022 comes smack bang in the middle of what is increasingly looking like a pivotal year in the history of American unions.

The summer has seen a steady stream of workforce mobilizations. Employees at Trader Joe’s locations in Massachusetts and Minneapolis both voted to unionize. Meanwhile, restaurant chain Chipotle saw the first of its stores unionize, following a vote by workers at an outlet in Lansing, Michigan. Continue reading

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‘Largest Private Sector Nurses Strike in US History’ Coming to Minnesota

“Hospital CEOs with million-dollar salaries can afford to put patients before profits in our hospital and to do right by Minnesota nurses,” said Minnesota Nurses Association, which is organizing the strike.

By Brett Wilkins  Published 9-1-2022 by Common Dreams

Members of Minnesota Nurses Association and supporters demonstrate outside St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth on August 19, 2022. Photo: Minnesota Nurses Association/Twitter

After months of fruitless negotiations with their multimillionaire employers over fair contracts, safe staffing, and other issues during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, 15,000 nurses at more than a dozen Minnesota hospitals are set to walk off the job later this month in what their union is calling the “largest private sector nurses strike in U.S. history.”

“Today is a somber day,” Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) president Mary Turner said during a Thursday news conference announcing the three-day strike, which is set to start September 12. “Our healthcare and our profession are in crisis.” Continue reading

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‘A Watershed Moment’: CA Senate Passes Historic Bill to Empower Fast Food Workers

If Gov. Gavin Newsom signs it, one union leader said the measure “will be the most important piece of labor law to pass in decades.”

By Jake Johnson  Published 8-30-2022 by Common Dreams

Fast food workers rally outside California Capitol. Screenshot: KCRA

In the face of fierce corporate opposition, the California Senate on Monday passed a landmark bill aimed at giving the state’s roughly 550,000 fast food workers a say over their working conditions, hours, and wages in an industry rife with abuse.

If Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signs it into law, the Fast Food Recovery Act (AB 257) would make California the first state in the U.S. to establish a council tasked with setting industrywide workplace standards for the fast food sector. The 10-member council would include workers and worker advocates as well as business representatives and state officials. Continue reading

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‘A True Danger to the Public Post Office’: DeJoy Moves to Consolidate USPS Facilities

“How many post offices will be closed?” asked one union official. “How many clerks and drivers will lose jobs?”

By Jake Johnson  Published 8-27-2022 by Common Dreams

Screenshot: C-SPAN

Postal union officials are sounding the alarm about the potentially damaging impacts of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s effort to consolidate post offices across the U.S. as part of his widely condemned 10-year plan to reshape the public mail agency.

Government Executive reported Friday that “more than 200 post offices and other U.S. Postal Service facilities are set to shed some of their operations as soon as this year as the mailing agency seeks to consolidate those functions at larger buildings, according to documents shared by management.” Continue reading

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‘Big Win’: Google Search and Maps Will Now Say If Clinics Provide Abortions

The update is “a big deal for users who’ve been misled by pregnancy crisis centers masquerading as abortion providers,” said Alphabet Workers Union. “But not enough—Google must *remove* these misleading results.”

By Jessica Corbett  Published 8-25-2022 by Common Dreams

Hundreds of Google workers have endorsed a petition urging Alphabet to stop supporting right-wing politicians and groups attacking reproductive freedom. (Photo: Democracy Now!/screenshot)

Pro-choice U.S. lawmakers and other critics of Google’s abortion-related search results welcomed the tech giant’s Thursday announcement of changes to better serve users seeking healthcare in a post-Roe v. Wade world.

In a letter to congressional Democrats and a statement to media outlets, Alphabet-owned Google reiterated its efforts to combat misleading advertisements and search results along with confirming that the company will clearly label whether medical facilities provide abortions. Continue reading

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‘Five-Alarm Crisis’: US Has Shortage of 300K Teachers, School Staff

To stay in their profession, said a union leader, educators need “professional respect” including fair pay and the right “to make teaching and learning decisions for their students.”

By Julia Conley  Published 8-12-2022 by Common Dreams

National Education Association president Becky Pringle on Thursday warned that the U.S. teacher shortage has spiraled into a “five-alarm crisis,” with nearly 300,000 teaching and support positions left unfilled and policymakers taking desperate—and in some cases, questionable—measures to staff classrooms.

Pringle told ABC News that teachers unions have been warning for years that chronic disinvestment in schools has placed untenable pressure on educators as they face low pay and overcrowded classrooms. Continue reading

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‘Madness’: Ohio GOP Passes Bill to Arm Teachers

“We aren’t trusted with the books we choose, but somehow we’re supposed to be trusted with a gun in school?” asked one teachers’ union leader.

By Julia Conley  Published 6-2-2022 by Common Dreams

Minnesota March for Our Lives in St. Paul, Minnesota on March 24, 2018. Photo: Fibonacci Blue/flickr/CC

With Democrats decrying the proposal as “madness,” Republican state lawmakers on Thursday pushed through House Bill 99, which would allow school districts to send teachers and other staff to school with firearms.

The legislation, which Republican Gov. Mike DeWine said he “looks forward to signing,” would let school employees carry guns to school after undergoing just 24 hours of training. Continue reading

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Workers Mark May Day With Pro-Labor Protests Worldwide

“It’s a May Day of social and civil commitment for peace and labor,” said Daniela Fumarola, head of Italy’s CISL union.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 5-1-2022 by Common Dreams

Immigrants and allies marching in Washington DC on May 1, 2022. Photo: United We Dream/Twitter

Workers and labor rights advocates across the globe came together Sunday for demonstrations marking International Workers’ Day, or May Day.

Organizers held about 250 actions across France, many pressuring newly reelected French President Emmanuel Macron to ditch his plan to raise the retirement age from 62 to 65. Reuters reported that “marchers carried banners reading ‘Retirement Before Arthritis,’ ‘Retirement at 60, Freeze Prices,’ and ‘Macron, Get Out.'” Continue reading

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After Amazon and Starbucks, what’s next for revamped US labor movement?

Workers across the country are beginning to reverse a 40-year decline of labor organising. But deeper problems remain

By Aaron White  Published 4-29-2022 by openDemocracy

Starbucks employees protesting outside the Magnolia Dr. location in Tallahassee, FL. Photo: Ethan B./Wikimedia Commons/CC

“Starbucks has this image of being a progressive company that takes care of its employees. But really that hasn’t been the case,” Will Westlake, a barista at a Starbucks in Buffalo, tells openDemocracy.

Will got a job at Starbucks nearly a year ago, and was one of nearly 50 people from the Buffalo New York region – as part of Starbucks Workers United – to sign a letter in August asking then-CEO Kevin Johnson to support a fair union election. Continue reading

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