This week, I broke the news at Labor Notes of 10,000 workers at John Deere voting to authorize a strike during what is likely to be a contentious UAW contract cycle. If you’re a UAW member (or staffer) I’d love to hear from you as I continue to cover that beat for LN.
New election filings at the NLRB: 48 more Starbucks workers at two locations outside Buffalo (in Cheektowaga and East Amherst, NY) have filed for NLRB elections, as the company tries to put a lid on the union efforts at 18 or so stores in the Buffalo metro area. 47 construction workers for infrastructure contractor Dynamic Concepts in DC are organizing with the Laborers. 26 workers who make brake pads for Brazilian auto parts company Fras-le in Prattville, AL are organizing with RWDSU Mid-South Council (of Bamazon fame). 25 freight mechanics for JB Hunt in South Gate, CA are organizing with Machinists District Lodge 947. 25 mechanics who work for a federal contractor on Navy helicopters in Coronado, CA are unionizing with Machinists District Lodge 725. 23 non-profit staffers at LGBT rights organization Equality California in Los Angeles are joining CWA. 12 skilled maintenance workers for contractor Medxcel at Saint Francis Hospital in Evanston, IL are unionizing with Operating Engineers Local 399. 12 workers for BGSE in Westover, WV, which I think makes HVAC equipment for airplanes (big tubes and stuff) are joining Plumbers Local 152. 12 clerical workers for Sysco in Fremont, CA are joining Teamsters Local 853. 11 transit maintenance workers for Transdev in Chula Vista, CA are joining Teamsters Local 683.
NLRB election wins…: 214 EMTs and field nurses for Tri Med Ambulance based in Kent, WA voted 51-28 to join IAFF Local I-98, the private sector (and usually affiliated with a given industry (thus the “I”), like Boeing or large shipyards, but not in this case) wing of the Fire Fighters.93 workers at Bella Terra nursing home in Wheeling, IL voted 39-27 to join SEIU HCII. 11 concrete truck drivers at the Conco Companies in Kent and Rochester, WA voted unanimously to join Teamsters Local 174. 8 cannabis workers at Ponder in Seattle voted 5-0 to join UFCW Local 21. While the bosses were distracted by the Nabisco strike, two Cake Decorators at a Safeway in Portland, OR are joining BCTGM Local 114 after one of them voted yes and the other didn’t vote.
…and losses: 20 cannabis workers at Haven Dispensary in Long Beach, CA voted 4-8 not to join either Teamsters Local 630 or UFCW Local 324; the Teamsters and UFCW have been competing over cannabis dispensary turf as that industry expands, but rarely do they both get on the same ballot for a shop -- one wonders if these workers would’ve been more likely to go union if there hadn’t been two locals competing for their affections. 11 workers at the Roxana Landfill in Edwardsville, IL voted 4-5 against joining Teamsters Local 50.
Security guards: United Career Professionals, a tiny security guard union, has successfully raided a unit of 66 guards at the EPA in DC from another tiny security union while a third tried to get in on the action. 41 border patrol security guards in El Paso voted 10-5 to join the SPFPA.
Nearly 9 months after filing their petition with PSEA (NEA), workers at HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College in and around Harrisburg, still don’t have an election date. They’re rallying to change that.
STRIKES & BARGAINING
The Nabisco BCTGM strike rolls on in five states, with particularly good stories coming out of Portland, where strike supporters have successfully impeded production by blocking railroad tracks and allegedly puncturing tires. The company lawyers have sent the union a cease and desist letter, but since it’s not the union or its members, but rather union supporters taking these actions, there’s nothing for the union to desist from. Checkmate, Nabisco.
As of this morning, 340 auto parts makers for ZF International in Marysville, MI are on a recognition strike with the UAW.
50 social services workers with AFSCME Council 63 for SERV in Ewing, NJ held a one-day strike as they push for a first contract.
For Labor Notes, I wrote about the 10,000 John Deere workers in Iowa, Illinois, and Kansas who will be taking a strike authorization vote this Sunday across nine UAW locals. The last contract, in 2015, passed by a mere 180 votes, and conditions have gotten considerably worse at the agricultural implements manufacturer.
Several thousand (I don’t know if it’s more like 2,000 or more like 27,000) members of the Northwest Council of Carpenters are voting on a fourth tentative agreement with the Associated General Contractors employers association covering hundreds of job sites in Washington State. The TA vote is doubling as a strike authorization vote, with the union saying that if members authorize, the strike will begin next Thursday, September 16th.
Over 900 UNITE HERE Local 2 members have authorized a strike at the San Francisco Giants’ Oracle Park baseball stadium over COVID safety concerns, after dozens of workers have been infected and management continues to fail to enforce safety protocols.
I haven’t seen any news coverage of it, but a couple dozen IATSE Local 868 members who work at the Strathmore Theatre in Bethesda, MD have unanimously authorized a strike. The customer service workers are facing a final offer from management that would functionally eliminate most of their jobs.
IATSE locals in Los Angeles are talking to their members about the possibility of a film & TV strike; my understanding is that IATSE film and tv contracts follow a sort of pattern bargaining, with LA locals leading the way. It’s unclear to me whether an LA strike (which is only talk, so far) would spread to other film & TV workers, particularly in New York.
The 15,000 American Airlines pilots may picket their employer for overwork and poor conditions (just like Southwest pilots plan to do), says their union, the Allied Pilots Association. Staffing shortages aren’t just hurting pilots, but “groundworkers” as well.
K-12: 100 or so teachers in the Redbank Valley School District of New Bethlehem, PA are set to strike starting Monday. Their last contract expired in June of 2019, and the two sides are still far apart as of this writing. In nearby New Kensington, PA, early contract negotiations aren’t going well, with the union and district over $1 million apart. Detroit educators have a new contract, as do educators in Naperville, ILEverett, WA, Twinsburg, OH, Carroll County, MD. Dozens of school bus drivers in Savannah, GA with Teamsters Local 728 appear to have organized a wildcat sickout in protest of an agreement the union has reached with the school district, but the details are scant and the drivers anonymous, so hard to know what to make of it. In Boston, school bus drivers with Steelworkers Local 8751 either were talking strike or were just so severely understaffed that there was a question of whether school would start according to plan; it seems to have been worked out, at least temporarily. Laborers Local 77 got in trouble with the superintendent of Edison, NJ schools for protesting the use of non-union labor for school construction by placing a casket outside an elementary school (to highlight the increase risk of injury and death on non-union worksites); apparently the superintendent came out and knocked down the display. I don’t know if it was an effective tactic, but come on, you gotta love it.
Higher ed: After two days, AAUP members at Oakland University in Michigan ended their strike with a tentative agreement. AAUP faculty at Northern Michigan University authorized a strike and then got a tentative agreement. AFT Local 6244 (better known as LEO, the Lecturers Employees Organization) at the University of Michigan) has extended their contract to September 15th, delaying a potential strike. At the University of Missouri, 150 maintenance and dining workers with Laborers Local 955 have agreed to a one month contract extension until the end of September. 220 workers at Eastern Illinois University with AFSCME 981 have a new contract.
Leaders of the Delaware County (PA) Prison Employees Independent Union say their 250 members are ready to strike, though no vote is planned. Prison employees have, like many, many other sectors, faced very bad conditions and understaffing issues across the country.
UFCW Local 7 has a new contract for meatpacking workers at JBS in Greeley, CO. At least 300 workers got COVID and at least six died in 2020. Workers at the plant struck last year over pay and safety issues.
Local government workers: After a threatened strike, AFSCME Council 33 has a new agreement with the city of Philadelphia. Apparently members of IBEW Local 77 who work for the city of Seattle were talking a big game about a sickout in protest of the city’s vaccine mandate, but it “didn’t materialize.” I think we should expect to see a lot of this as vax mandates continue to proliferate (some of them may materialize, many won’t). 150 workers for the city of Mansfield, OH with AFSCME Local 3088 have a new contract. The Marin Association of Public Employees in Marin County, CA have a tentative agreement after things got contentious, briefly, last month. Highway workers in Ellery, NY joined Teamsters Local 264 last year but haven’t made much progress on a new contract, leading to frustration and protests at local government meetings. The Youngstown, OH police union is holding an informational picket at city hall to protest stalled bargaining. Decatur, IL cops have a new contract after two years without one. AFSCME Local 2064 workers for Benton County, OR rallied for a fair contract, including hazard backpay and recognition of Juneteenth as a holiday.
Hospitals: Around 2,000 healthcare workers with CWA Local 1133 at the Catholic Health system in and around Buffalo are taking a strike authorization vote tomorrow. 2,100 workers with 1199 SEIU at Falmouth Hospital in Falmouth, MArallied for COVID bonuses to be paid out from money received from the Congressional American Rescue Plan. 960 nurses at Mountain View Hospital in Las Vegas with NNU have a new three-year contract. 1,000 Cabell Hospital support staff with 1199 SEIU WV/KY/OH are starting negotiations in Huntington, WV, with the contract expiring in early November.
Steelworkers at ExxonMobil in Beaumont, TX remain locked out after over four months.
UNITE HERE Local 11 is alleging that the operator of the old Holiday Inn that Los Angeles County bought to house the homeless last year is mistreating its staff, and is calling on the County to act.
CWA has settled a lawsuit with AT&T that has the company hiring 6,000 new customer service workers and protecting (until 2023) 29,000 landline jobs.
San Jose’s Valley Transportation Authority’s work environment continues to be under scrutiny following the mass shooting at an ATU Local 265 meeting earlier this year. I’d encourage you to revisit this interview with the president of that union, on the importance of workers’ mental health.
200 workers at Pasco, WA’s Twin City Foods vegetable processing plant have a first contract after unionizing with UFCW Local 1439 in January following the death of two workers last year.
POLITICS & LEGISLATION
Joe Biden finally pulled the big red lever labeled “STATE ACTION” and basically mandated vaccines and expanded paid time off for private employers with over 100 employees, plus full mandates any facilities taking Medicare or Medicaid money (i.e., healthcare workers). Oh, and also all Federal workers and contractors. And is apparently taking some sort of action on moving school districts to mandate vaccines. As lawyerly folk have pointed out, this shouldn’t change much in terms of “impact bargaining” (which just means bargaining over the impacts of a new policy) but it will mean those private sector unions who had resisted mandates outright, not just demanded to bargain the impacts (of which there haven’t been very many, by my observation), have lost. Unless of course the Supreme Court does some shadow docket type deal, I don’t know. But this is your friendly reminder that the state does, in fact, have a lot of power to impose things on the private sector, and it should impose good things more often.
SEIU is pushing for term limits on the Kern County (CA) Board of Supervisors, as part of a push to get the board to disburse millions in funds its apparently sitting on.
Public sector unions in California have put in half a million dollars into a campaign fund for the CalPERS (state pension fund) board elections; ballots are due September 27th. I’m not sure how many (if any) other states elect their pension boards, but no state has as many public employees or beneficiaries as California, with 2 million pensions at stake.
Federal workers at the Department of Defense might see their probationary period shortened from two years to one, as a bill advances in Congress. TSA workers with AFGE are pushing for higher pay and expanded bargaining rights, also with help from Congress.
Employees of the Missouri Democratic Party say their collective firing, following a unionization campaign in 2020, was intended to bust the union.
INTERNAL UNION POLITICS
The Machinists and TWU teamed up to defeat a raid on American Airline mechanics by the Airline Mechanics Fraternal Association, one of the narrowest of craft unions, widely disliked by the rest of the airline industry, which is already very internally divided across crafts and unions.
Logistics Management has a helpful pretty much just-the-facts writeup of the Teamsters election and the recent presidential debates, if you’re just catching up with that hotly contested race.
Both the Feds and the UAW sought to extend the close date of the one-member one-vote referendum by a few weeks to give members more time to vote (and, presumably, to give the Administration Caucus more time to campaign). Also, you should read this interview with Hamtramck autoworker Chris Viola on his take on the referendum from DSA Detroit.