The week in US unions, June 10-17

This week’s newsletter is marginally less comprehensive than usual, as we continue to adjust to new parent life over here. Let me know what I missed, and I’ll try to make next week’s dispatch more jam-packed. Thanks for your patience as we figure out this whole baby thing.

NEW ORGANIZING

New election filings at the NLRB:

Big shops: 426 workers who make Department of Defense-contracted boots and shoes for Rocky Brands in Moca, PR are unionizing with the Laborers. 230 warehouse and production workers for Keurig Dr. Pepper in Victorville, CA are unionizing with Teamsters Local 896. 220 tech workers at Mapbox (which makes digital maps and navigation tools) asked for voluntary recognition while also filing for an election through CODE-CWA, continuing the streak of new tech worker organizing. 125 workers in the youth care centers of Fort Bliss, TX are organizing with Machinists Local 2515. 124 educators for online charter school Oregon Virtual Academy based in North Bend, OR are forming a local with AFT. 113 workers who manufacture electronic components (like sensors for building automation and lighting controls) for Functional Devices in Sharpsville, IN are organizing with the UAW

Medium shops: 50 bus drivers for Coach USA in Elko, NV are organizing with, for some reason, Novelty and Production Workers Local 298 which is based in Long Island, New York. 40 drivers for Sysco in St. Cloud, MN are organizing with Teamsters Local 120. 40 security guards at the New York Marriott Marquis in Times Square, NYC are unionizing with LEOS-PBA. 38 bikeshare workers in Culver City, CA are joining TWU. 30 skilled maintenance workers at Northwest Community Healthcare in Arlington Heights, IL are organizing with Operating Engineers Local 399

Small shops: 25 audiovisual workers for MGM Resorts’s Empire City Casino in Yonkers, NY are organizing with IBEW Local 1212. 24 nurses at Bloomfield Healthcare Center in Bloomfield, CT are joining 1199 New England. 22 transit workers for Transdev, which contracts out some of Baltimore, MD’s MTA’s shuttle services, are organizing with ATU Local 1764. 20 grocery workers at the Springfield Food Co-Op in Springfield, VT are joining UFCW Local 1459. 19 stagehands at the weird new artificial island park Little Island in Manhattan, NY are organizing with IATSE Local 1. 18 rail logistics workers for Asphalt Operating Services in Chicago are joining Operating Engineers Local 150. 15 food service workers at Stephens College in Columbia, MO are joining Laborers Local 955. 15 medical clericals at two Dignity Health clinics in San Francisco are organizing with SEIU UHW. 12 workers at the Callaway Power Plant in Steedman, MO are organizing with Operating Engineers Local 148. 11 machinists at mechanical components manufacturer KTR in Michigan City, IN are unionizing with the Machinists. Nine non-security workers for security contractor ISS in Tucson, AZ are joining Machinists Local 2949. Nine drivers for transportation contractor Hallcon in Wichita, KS are organizing with Teamsters Local 795. Seven nurses at Barre Family Health Center in Barre, MA are joining the Massachusetts Nurses Association.

NLRB wins…: 473 insurance salespeople for AAA in Northern and Central California voted 257-174 to join Teamsters Local 665; it’s one of the largest new union wins this year and particularly notable as insurance is one of the least-unionized industries in the country, at just 2.4% density. 205 educators at charter school Hiawatha Academies in Minneapolis won their union with Education Minnesota (NEA/AFT) in a 100-18 landslide. 144 production workers at steel tubing manufacturer Metal-Matic in Bedford Park, IL voted 84-53 to join the UAW. 140 editorial employees at about a dozen newspapers across Southern California voted 64-19 to join the Media Guild of the West (TNG-CWA Local 39213). In three separate votes, 151 workers at Suiza Dairy Corporation in Aguadilla, PR voted 112-0 (yes, zero no votes, per the NLRB) to join the CGT. 37 workers at All Creatures Animal Hospital in Bremerton, WA won their union 26-7 and are joining the fledgling National Veterinary Professionals Union, in a joint unit with ILWU. 30 paratransit dispatchers and clerks for MV Transportation in Oceanside and Escondido, CA voted 17-0 to join ATU Local 1309. 13 workers at a cemetery in Bonita, CA voted 7-5 to join Laborers Local 89. 11 drivers for US Foods in Harrington, DE voted 7-3 to join Teamsters Local 355. Eight technicians at a Toyota dealership in Bourbonnais, IL voted 4-0 to join Machinists District Lodge 8. Eight “rewards representatives” at Caesar’s Casino in Elizabeth, IN joined Teamsters Local 89 after a 5-1 vote. Five medical clericals at Nellis Air Force Base in North Las Vegas, NV, voted 3-0 to join Machinists Local 2515. Five facilities workers at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle are now with IATSE Local 15 after a 4-0 vote. Four mechanics for Parsec at the rail yard in Harvey, IL voted unanimously to join Operating Engineers Local 150

… and losses: 58 cannabis dispensary workers at Beyond Hello in Sauget, IL outside St. Louis voted 18-24 against joining UFCW Local 881, breaking a pretty good run. 46 manufacturing workers at the John Deere Regional Distribution Center in Dallas, TX voted against the UAW just barely, in a 22-23 vote.  36 fancy donut workers at Voodoo Doughnuts in Portland, OR lost their NLRB vote after over a year of organizing, in a brutal 9-9 tie (which goes against the union). UFCW Local 1995 got absolutely walloped in an election among 29 meatpacking workers at Keystone Foods (a Tyson subsidiary) in Gadsden, AL, losing 3-25. 13 workers at SSB Manufacturing in Charlotte, NC, which makes mattresses, voted 4-6 against joining Teamsters Local 71.

Decertifications and raids:Union Rights for Security Officers successfully raided a unit of 60 security guards at the Social Security Administration building in Urbana, MD, beating existing representative Governed United Security Professionals in a 13-9 vote. The Pacific Northwest Region of Carpenters is raiding a shop of 18 Machinists-represented workers at paper and packaging manufacturer WestRock in Tacoma, WA. Five HVAC workers for contractor Q-TAB in Kansas unanimously decertified Sheet Metal Workers Local 29.

Outside the NLRB: Through the Florida Public Employment Relations Commission, 1300 adjuncts at Valencia College voted to join SEIU’s Florida Public Services Union after years of organizing, in a close 343-308 tally. K-12 school psychologists in Clovis, CA, one of the last non-union school districts in the state, submitted a supermajority petition for representation to the California labor board; they apparently don’t intend to form a separate bargaining unit from the 2100 other school workers who are unionizing with the NEA, but pulled the trigger to start bargaining over massive federal money for social and emotional learning entering the district this year. 139 preschool educators in Jefferson County, CO, are now union members with the Jeffco Education Support Professionals Association, after a school board vote. So are support staff in Lawrence, KS, after a similar school board vote, bringing bus drivers, custodians, and others into CWA Local 6400. Staff at social policy think tank MDRC are unionizing with AFSCME District Council 57, asking for voluntary recognition. Production staff at Du Nord Craft Spirits in Minneapolis won voluntary recognition through UNITE HERE Local 17, continuing that local’s relatively prolific food and beverage organizing. In Niles, IL, nearly 100 library workers unionized with AFSCME Council 31 after budget cuts and outsourcing threatened their jobs. In Adelanto, CA, 39 cannabis agricultural workers at Tikun Olam, an Israeli weed company, unionized through the Agricultural Labor Relations Board, in the first ALRB cannabis farming election. 150 workers at Oxford University Press in New York City are pushing for voluntary recognition through the New York NewsGuild. Progressive data firm staffers at Catalist won voluntary recognition from management through CODE-CWA. Over 200 editorial workers at MSNBC are making a voluntary recognition push through WGAE, though the network was quick to deny the request.

The Machinists are abandoning a union election at a Nissan plant in Smyrna, TN after the NLRB ruled they had to expand their unit from 87 skilled trades workers to all 4,300 workers at the plant, which is ridiculous and stupid.

STRIKES & BARGAINING

Peter Knowlton has a look into the seemingly endless ATI Steelworkers strike over at Labor Notes. There’s less and less press on the strike as it drags on, and the union’s bargaining update this week was simply that the company hasn’t responded to their messages. The UMWA strike in Alabama is nearing its 90-day mark, and More Perfect Union has updates from the picket line. The St. Vincent Massachusetts Nurses Association strike in Worcester, MA passed 100 days, which the union called a “somber” milestone.

2900 Volvo workers in Dublin, VA remain on strike with UAW 2069 in their on-again off-again fight, with very little movement happening between company and union, though a new bargaining date was just announced for next week.

80-some manufacturing workers who make food display cases for Federal Industries in Belleville, WI went out on strike Monday with Machinists Local 1406.

About 70 manufacturing workers with Steelworkers Local 7008 who make hydraulic cylinders at Custom Hoists in Hayesville, OH also struck on Monday over wages, working conditions, and healthcare costs.

Dozens of educators with the Asbury Park Education Association in Asbury Park, NJ shut down the entire school district on Friday after a sick out in protest of the naming of a new interim superintendent; I actually can’t really figure out what in particular educators find so objectionable, though an internal union survey had members ranking him as their last choice. I guess they weren’t kidding.

Janitors with 32BJ SEIU in Miami, FL struck building maintenance company CBM.

About 2500 workers for Cook County, IL with SEIU Local 73 are set to begin an open-ended strike on June 24th, along with another 1250 or so nurses with NNU, who will strike for one day, as hospital, jail, and transportation workers all await a new contract after 9 months of negotiations.

In a pretty rare move, the national staff of the National Education Association have authorized a strike against the union, through the NEA Staff Organization, accusing management (i.e., NEA leadership) of anti-union negotiation tactics.

1700 nurses with UFCW Local 21 in Everett, WA have authorized a strike, though they haven’t yet given their required 10-day notice to strike.

Transit workers in Beaumont, TX with ATU Local 1031authorized a strike over the allocation of CARES Act funding as well as safety concerns with outdated buses and equipment. Bus drivers with Teamsters Local 533 in Reno, NV have two weeks left until their contract expires and are making noise about a possible strike.

NNU contracts covering 65,000 nurses are set to expire this summer, and industry analysts are anticipating labor unrest across several healthcare corporations. In Asheville, NC, NNU nurses picketed over safe staffing concerns on the heels of their massive union win last September. In Orange County, CA, technicians and support staff with NUHW picketed Tenet hospitals for their spending relief funds on anything but the workers.

The 4,000 or so electrical workers in Seattle with IBEW Local 46 reached a tentative agreement an hour past a midnight deadline, averting what would’ve been 2021’s largest strike.

After a credible strike threat, the New York NewsGuild reached an agreement with Conde Nast, covering workers at Pitchfork, Ars Technica, and The New Yorker, in a deal that raises starting salaries for some workers by as much as 80%, per reports. 

The 100 members of Steelworkers Local 759L who were locked out at Mississippi Polymers in Corinth, MS reached a new agreement, ending the lockout/strike on Monday.

IATSE West Coast film & TV negotiations are going worse than expected (but have until July 31 to reach a settlement).

The Salem, MA school district is eliminating 22 union jobs by privatizing school bus services, over the protests of AFSCME Council 93. 60-some K-12 union support staff in small town Pennsylvania (specifically the Shikellamy School District) are still at impasse after a strike as the district seeks to subcontract their jobs out to a staffing agency.

600 workers at Vanderbilt University with Laborers Local 386 are organizing for raises as their one-year pandemic-induced contract extension expires in November.

The National Domestic Workers Alliance announced a pilot agreement for a sort of collective bargaining agreement with Handy, a housecleaning gig app, in three states: Kentucky, Florida, and Indiana. As experimentation with app-based worker labor agreements ramps up, it’s something to watch.

POLITICS & LEGISLATION

Nineteen California unions endorsed a report put out on a transition to a clean energy economy, including, notably, Steelworkers Locals 5 and 675, which each represent thousands of refinery workers. 

UNITE HERE has announced a “Freedom Ride for Voting Rights” in which 1500 members and allies will travel from 15 cities to Washington, DC to pressure for action on voting rights.

INTERNAL UNION POLITICS

The backlash to the dues campaign within the New York NewsGuild now has its own backlash, with 100+ members signing on to a letter to support the campaign to raise dues to fund the massive amount of new organizing the local has been doing. Maybe the victory at Conde Nast will be a shot in the arm for the local; certainly should be a small boon to their budget, at least.

The SEIU Local 1000 election has not let up in its strangeness, as Hamilton Nolan and CM Lewis have done a great job reporting. At least one position is set for a rerun, but I doubt we’ve seen the end of this saga. It’s simply hard to imagine SEIU in particular, an international union known for its heavy hand with its locals, letting a massive public sector California local go this rogue.