Members and supporters of SEIU Local 49 picketed Aug. 21 at Kaiser Permanente Westside Medical Center in Hillsboro. Two days later Local 49 wrapped up strike balloting: The result was a 98% vote to authorize a strike. (Photo courtesy SEIU Local 49)
Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich observed Wednesday that with employees in industries across the spectrum set to strike in the coming days following corporate leaders’ failure to meet their demands for fair pay and working conditions, the U.S. is closer than it has been in decades to experiencing a general strike.
“You might say workers have declared a national general strike until they get better pay and improved working conditions,” wrote Reich in The Guardian. “No one calls it a general strike. But in its own disorganized way it’s related to the organized strikes breaking out across the land—Hollywood TV and film crews, John Deere workers, Alabama coal miners, Nabisco workers, Kellogg workers, nurses in California, healthcare workers in Buffalo.” Continue reading →
Supporters at IATSE solidarity rally in Hollywood Photo: IATSE Local 700 Organizing Department
Close to 100% of the 60,000-member film and television production employees union voted Monday to approve a strike in the coming days if studios don’t agree to a fair deal for the lowest-paid workers who make movies and television shows possible.
The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) announced that with nearly nine in 10 members taking part in the vote, 98.68% of workers approved a strike authorization amid negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which represents hundreds of TV and film production companies. Continue reading →
Nabisco workers on strike (Photo: BCTGM/bctgm.org)
A strike that started last month in Portland, Oregon and spread to other Nabisco bakeries and distribution centers across the United States ended Saturday after unionized workers voted “overwhelmingly” in favor of a new collective bargaining agreement.
Why is Thursday’s ruling bad news for McDonald’s? “If a fast-food brand or a hotel chain can be deemed a ‘joint employer’ along with the smaller company, it can be dragged into labor disputes and negotiations that it conveniently wouldn’t have to worry about otherwise,” one journalist explained. (Photo: Fibonacci Blue/flickr/cc)
In what is being described as “one of the biggest labor decisions of the Obama administration,” the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on Thursday expanded its “joint-employer” standard, paving the way for unions to organize on a much broader scale—and striking fear into the hearts of corporations that have used previous labor laws to shift workplace responsibilities elsewhere.
While the ruling dealt specifically with a California waste-management company, observers said its implications could go much further. “McDonald’s, Burger King and every other company that relies on a franchise business model just suffered the legal setback they’ve been fearing for years,” wroteHuffington Post labor reporter Dave Jamieson on Thursday afternoon.
In a story published by Reuters on January 15th, more than 60 Wal-Mart supervisors and one corporate officer were named in a National Labor Relations Board complaint. The complaint states that Wal-Mart violated labor laws in 14 states in May and June of 2013. Dozens of employees received verbal and written warnings as well as formal reprimands and other disciplinary action for striking for improved wages and working conditions.
Since May 2013 Wal-Mart has improperly categorized workers’ time spent participating in these legally protected strikes as “unexcused absences.”
If the administrative law judge assigned to this case finds Wal-Mart guilty AND the NLRB panel upholds the judges’ finding, will Wal-Mart bargain in good faith with its’ employees, or will it simply eliminate the positions of the workers it reprimanded, just like it did to the meat cutters who voted to unionize in Tyler, Texas?
Wal-Mart officials seem to believe that no one deserves a living wage except for the thirteen folks who meet in the corporate boardroom in Bentonville and the members of the Walton family, who held five spots in the top ten richest people in the United states until 2005. The fact that these billionaires refuse to pay their employees living wages speaks to an inequality of wealth model that is unsustainable.
Occupy World Writes stands in solidarity with the Wal-Mart employees in their fight for a living wage and just working conditions.
Come on, Wal-Mart! Live up to your corporate slogan and ensure your employees can “Save Money” and “Live Better.” They deserve it.