Category Archives: Unions and Organized Labor

Record Number of US Cities, Counties, and States to Raise Minimum Wage in 2023

“The monumental impact of the Fight for $15 is clearly visible in this year’s record wage increases,” said one worker advocate. “While it is encouraging to see boosts… we need federal policy.”

By Jessica Corbett  Published 12-22-2022 by Common Dreams

Strike and protest for a $15/hour minimum wage at the University of Minnesota in 2015 Photo: Fibonacci Blue/flickr/CC

After a decade since the launch of the Fight for $15 movement in New York City, a record number of U.S. states and communities are set to raise the minimum wage in the new year.

From New Year’s Eve to New Year’s Day, the minimum wage will increase in 23 states and 41 cities and counties, according to a report released Thursday by the National Employment Law Project (NELP). In 40 of those 64 jurisdictions, it will hit or exceed $15 an hour for at least some workers. Continue reading

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‘A Huge Deal’: Major Rail Union Rejects White House-Brokered Contract Proposal

Maintenance workers voted against the tentative agreement reached last month and said without a fair contract, a work stoppage could begin as early at November 19.

By Julia Conley  Published 10-10-2022 by Common Dreams

Railyard behind the Cincinnati Union Terminal. Photo: David Brossard/Wikimedia Commons/CC

A union representing railroad maintenance and construction workers on Monday announced that its members have rejected the tentative agreement reached last month between unions and rail carriers, putting pressure on the carriers to offer a better deal to workers in order to avoid a nationwide strike in the coming weeks.

Reporting a turnout of 11,845 members, the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division (BMWED) said that 6,646 people had voted against ratifying the agreement and 5,100 had supported the deal, which was brokered last month with the help of the Biden administration’s Presidential Emergency Board. Ninety-nine ballots were returned blank or were voided due to user errors. Continue reading

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‘Time to Take to the Streets’: Working Class Hold ‘Enough Is Enough’ Rallies Across UK

“Does a CEO need an extra zero at the end of their salary—or should nurses, posties, and teachers be able to heat their homes?” said one supporter ahead of the #EnoughIsEnough National Day of Action.

By Julia Conley  Published 9-30-2022 by Common Dreams

From the Enough is Enough rally in Blackpool. Photo: OCS Dispute Lancs & South Cumbria/Twitter

Weeks of economic justice rallies organized by the Enough Is Enough campaign across the United Kingdom over the past six weeks have been building to a National Day of Action, set to take place Saturday in more than four dozen cities and towns as hundreds of thousands of people protest the country’s cost-of-living crisis.

The campaign, whose roots lie in the trade union and tenants’ rights movements, has outlined five specific demands of the U.K. government as renters have seen their average monthly housing costs skyrocket by 11% on average since last year and household energy bills approaching $4,000 (£3,582) per year. Continue reading

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‘Huge Victory’: Starbucks Agrees to Begin Contract Talks With 230+ Union Stores

“We’ve been ready to bargain since day one,” said one union leader, “but now we’re operating together on a national level to make sure all of our voices are heard, together.”

By Jake Johnson  Published 9-26-2022 by Common Dreams

Employees at a Starbucks location in Oak Creek, Wisconsin joined the wave of unionization efforts at the coffee chain on February 11, 2022. (Photo: CMRJB/Twitter)

Starbucks Workers United celebrated a “huge victory” Monday after the coffee giant committed to begin the bargaining process with nearly 240 unionized stores across the United States, progress that organizers attributed to relentless grassroots pressure from employees as the corporation dragged its feet.

Starbucks announced that it “has sent 238 letters” inviting Workers United—the union representing Starbucks employees—to join management “at the table and negotiate in good faith in each location where there is certified Workers United representation.” Continue reading

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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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