The “Make Amazon Pay” strikes and rallies coincided with Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year and one of Amazon’s most profitable. Amazon workers across the globe—in ever-larger numbers—have been walking off the job on Black Friday for years to demand better treatment from the $1.5 trillion company.
More than 200 civil society groups on Thursday called on the Biden administration to protect climate, health, and other public interest policies across the Americas by dismantling a trade regime that the United States spearheaded nearly three decades ago—giving corporations broad authority to sue governments if they claim their profit margins are harmed by public programs.
Public Citizen, Sierra Club, and the AFL-CIO led hundreds of organizations in sending the letter to President Joe Biden, urging him to take legal action to terminate the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system within the Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity (APEP), a trade framework between the U.S. and 11 countries in Central and South America and the Caribbean.
Schools, health systems, and television broadcasters in Iceland were among the businesses that said they would have to close or reduce services on Tuesday due to the country’s first full-day women’s strike in nearly 50 years—potentially helping to prove the point that tens of thousands of women and non-binary workers are hoping to make by demonstrating that their labor is vital and must be paid accordingly.
Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir is among the women taking part in the “kvennafrí,” or “women’s day off,” and told reporters she expects women in her cabinet to strike as well, as organizers push to close Iceland’s gender pay gap and end gender-based violence.
While Republican-controlled state legislatures have rolled back child labor protections this year, Democratic lawmakers and rights advocates in California on Monday celebrated Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signing of a first-of-its-kind law that they say will make young people less vulnerable to workplace abuses by teaching them about labor protections.
Assemblymember Liz Ortega (D-20) told the Contra Costa News that Assembly Bill 800 is aimed at “giving kids the tools to stand up for themselves” as Republican lawmakers attack unions as well as making it easier for companies to employ children as young as 14 to work in industrial facilities.
“We’re burning ourselves out trying to do the jobs of two or three people, and our patients suffer when they can’t get the care they need due to Kaiser’s short-staffing,” said one Kaiser Permanente worker.
In what’s expected to be the largest-ever U.S. healthcare worker strike, more than 75,000 Kaiser Permanente employees in six states and Washington, D.C. are set to stop working for three days starting Wednesday to protest what they say are unfair working conditions and unsafe staffing levels at hundreds of hospitals and clinics across the country.
The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions—which represents 85,000 KP workers in eight unions—began its national bargaining process in April in anticipation of worker contracts expiring at the end of September. Union members are seeking across-the-board raises of between 5.75%-6.5%; KP is offering 3%. Additionally, workers want protections against subcontracting and outsourcing, better performance-sharing bonuses, an improved retiree medical plan, and unionization rights for employees of nonunion entities acquired by the KP.
“The Cemex decision reaffirms that elections are not the only appropriate path for seeking union representation, while also ensuring that, when elections take place, they occur in a fair election environment,” said the NLRB chair.
The National Labor Relations Board on Friday announced a new framework for determining when companies must bargain with unions without an election—a policy that supporters said will make union-busting much more difficult.
Following the NLRB’s decision in Cemex Construction Materials Pacific, when workers ask an employer to voluntarily recognize a union as their bargaining representative, the company can voluntarily do so and begin good-faith negotiations.
United Parcel Service workers in the International Brotherhood of Teamsters on Tuesday overwhelmingly ratified what the union called “the most historic collective bargaining agreement in the history of UPS,” avoiding what experts said would have been a crippling strike.
Teamsters members voted by 86.3% to approve the new tentative contract, which raises wages for full- and part-time workers, creates more full-time jobs, and secures “important workplace protections, including air conditioning.”
“I’m proud to introduce this bill that will eliminate the need for workers to choose between fighting for fair working conditions and putting food on the table for their families,” said the Pennsylvania Democrat.
As multiple work stoppages continued across the United States, Democratic Sen. John Fetterman of Pennsylvania on Thursday introduced legislation that would enable striking workers to qualify for federal food aid.
Called the Food Secure Strikers Act of 2023, Fetterman’s bill would amend the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 to ensure that striking workers aren’t excluded from receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. In addition, the bill would preserve food stamp eligibility for public sector workers who are fired for striking and clarify that any income-eligible household is entitled to SNAP benefits even if a member of that household is on strike.
A union representing more than 750,000 federal employees warned Wednesday that the House GOP’s proposed cuts to the Social Security Administration for the coming fiscal year would deeply harm the already strained and understaffed agency, potentially forcing it to close offices and slash service hours.
Such impacts would “devastate the agency’s ability to serve the American public,” Julie Tippens, legislative director of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), wrote in a letter to the top members of the House Appropriations Committee.
House Democrats warned that hundreds of thousands of teachers could lose their jobs if legislation advanced Friday by a Republican-controlled appropriations subcommittee becomes law.
The panel’s draft Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies funding bill for the coming fiscal year calls for nearly $64 billion in total cuts, a proposal that Democrats said “decimates support for children in K-12 elementary schools and early childhood education” and “abandons college students and low-income workers trying to improve their lives through higher education or job training.”