New election filings at the NLRB: 386 food processing workers who make prepared meals for Hello Fresh/Green Chef in Aurora, CO are organizing with UNITE HERE Local 23; I believe this would be the largest non-healthcare private sector win of the year, if they pull it off, and that doesn’t include the 900 workers hot on their heels in Richmond, CA, as Lauren Kaori Gurley reports at VICE. Novelty and Production Workers Local 298 are organizing 107 workers for “Frangrancenet.com” based in Deer Park, NY. 100 workers for industrial gas supplier Matheson in Waverly, TN are organizing with Operating Engineers Local 369. 65 school bus drivers and mechanics for First Student in Memphis are joining Teamsters Local 667. 60 more nursing home workers at the McAuley in West Hartford, CT are joining 1199 New England. 55 workers for equipment dealer Alta Material Handling in Ronkonkoma, NY are organizing with Teamsters Local 282. 53 legal services workers for Appellate Advocates in NYC are unionizing with UAW Local 2325. 48 workers at RTS/WestRock in Stockton, CA, which makes paper packaging, are unionizing with Teamsters Local 439. 29 weed workers at “Cannaseur’s Choice” in Renton, WA are organizing with UFCW Local 21. 14 workers at Foundation Building Materials in Honolulu are joining ILWU Local 100. Seven workers at Stoneway Concrete in Seattle are joining Teamsters Local 174. Five dispatchers at energy utility Unitil in Hampton, NH are joining the Utility Workers. Three skilled maintenance workers at the AC Hotel in Chicago are joining Operating Engineers Local 399.
NLRB election wins…: 70 drywall finishers for contractor Raymond based in Orange, CA voted a whopping 56-0 to join the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters. 43 Genesis-owned nursing home workers in Windsor, CT voted in two elections a collective 34-1 to join 1199 New England. 39 workers for fancy chocolate maker Dandelion in San Francisco squeaked out a win, voting 20-19 to join the ILWU in what I believe is a rerun of an election the ILWU already won in April. 22 workers who make metal fasteners for Cooper & Turner in Pueblo, CO voted 21-1 to join Steelworkers Local 2102. 4 editorial employees for Gannett at New Castle, DE’s The News Journal voted 3-1 to join the NewsGuild of Greater Philadelphia.
...and losses: Only one of the four mechanics at Manhattan’s New York Water Taxi bothered to vote in the Masters, Mates, & Pilots union election, and they voted against it.
Starbucks is ramping up their anti-union campaign against Workers United in the Buffalo area, sending in execs to sweep floors as some kind of ridiculous performance for the employees, and arguing that they want the union vote to be expanded to all Buffalo-area stores, not store by store. This argument is transparent bullshit and they’d just as soon argue the opposite if they thought it would keep the workers non-union.
After years of organizing, over 1,000 janitorial workers in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties (FL) have won union recognition with 32BJ SEIU from 12 building contractors at over 100 buildings.
School bus drivers in Kokomo, IN are still pushing for the school board to recognize their union through AFSCME; already their organizing efforts have yielded a $2/hour raise and a better pay schedule, though they’re holding out (as they should) for a union contract. The school bus driver shortage is having ramifications across the country, with dispatches from Minnesota and Massachusetts giving a flavor of the crisis.
3500 educators at the University of Pittsburghare currently voting on whether or not to join the Steelworkers, as Alex Press reports for Jacobin.
STRIKES & NEGOTIATIONS
The Massachusetts Nurses Association strike at St Vincent Hospital in Worcester is now the longest in state history.
Hundreds or thousands, depending on who you ask, of members of the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters in western Washington state went on strike today in what is a really remarkable example of rank and file organizing. Luis Feliz Leon has the story for Labor Notes, and it’s really worth the read. After three consecutive tentative agreements were voted down, the union coupled a fourth vote with a strike authorization, apparently hoping the prospect would spook members out of a “no” vote. It backfired, and the “no” vote won out, forcing a strike. But since the vast majority of worksites are covered by Project Labor Agreements which legally preclude strike action, only a small minority of work will be stopped; for good measure, the union has made sure to threaten members with legal action and expulsion for advocating any wildcat action, which is somewhat pro forma, but is also not the message of a union that’s trying to win its biggest strike in almost 20 years.
On Wednesday, BCTGM announced they had reached a tentative agreement with Nabisco. Talks had resumed on Monday and Tuesday, bringing the two sides together for the first time since July, to discuss the company’s latest offer which apparently includes a one-time $5,000 bonus and keeps at least some chunk of the scheduling changes which sparked the whole thing in Portland. Meanwhile, on the ground, things got a bit rough, with a security company assaulting a supporter, who is now suing. Ratification votes are rolling at each of the five locals (Portland, Denver, Richmond, Chicago, and Atlanta), with Portland workers rejecting the TA there and calling on other locals to do the same. Since it’s a master agreement, presumably votes will be tallied in aggregate, not local by local, but I wouldn’t call this one over yet.
Around 600 auto mechanics who work at car dealerships in the Chicagoland area are reaching the six week mark of their strike with Machinists Local 701. South Side Weekly had a great on-the-ground dispatch from that strike that is worth a read.
On Thursday, the 420 workers at Heaven Hill whiskey’s distillery in Bardstown, KY (about 40 miles outside Louisville) voted to strike; by Saturday, UFCW Local 23-D was on strike, as soon as their contract expired. The company wants to force Saturday and Sunday work, which workers are resisting. The strike kept Heaven Hill out of this week’s Kentucky Bourbon Festival, so hopefully the company is feeling the pain.
80 educators with the Redbank Valley Education Association in New Bethlehem, PA began a strike on Monday after 2 years without a contract. Negotiations are set to resume on Monday, but that doesn’t mean the strike will be over.
Phoenix airport concessions workers with UNITE HERE Local 11 organized a one-day strike yesterday over -- you guessed it -- understaffing. Elsewhere in airport concessions, Orlando workers with mega-contractor HMSHost are apparently close to a deal. Elsewhere in UNITE HERE, workers at Boston-area cafe chain Darwin’s (love that place) are unionizing with UNITE HERE’s New England Joint Board, following in the footsteps of Boston-area cafe chain Pavement.
10,000 workers at John Deere across 9 UAW locals in Iowa, Illinois, and one in Kansas, have overwhelmingly authorized a strike. And when I say overwhelmingly, I mean something like 99%. The company’s first offer was presented at the strike authorization meetings and was totally insulting, ending a plant closure moratorium, introducing paid healthcare premiums, and drastically cutting overtime pay, which is a cynical way to lower workers’ expectations but also pisses people off. My understanding is the earliest they’d go out, if they do, is October 10th.
UNITE HERE Local 2’s strike authorization at Oracle Park (against operator Bon Appetit, technically) brought management to the bargaining table, but there’s not yet a tentative agreement or a strike date, so keep watching for these 930 workers’ next move.
New York City forced 80,000 municipal employees (primarily with AFSCME DC37) back to in-person work because COVID is over! Wait, I mean because these people can’t work from home, as the past 18 months have shown! Wait, that can’t be it… Actually, no one really knows why the City did this, which was part of the impetus behind a rally held by city workers, as Joe DeManuelle-Hall reported for Labor Notes.
97% of CWA Local 1133 members who voted in last week’s strike authorization vote voted to strike Mercy Hospital. No date has been set, but the contract expires September 30th.
500 healthcare workers with SEIU-UHW at two facilities in Antioch and Concord, CA have voted to strike in October, primarily over staffing issues.
Amid strike talk about west coast IATSE locals, the union and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) has been extended for a second time to an unknown date. Yesterday, IATSE’s General Executive Board “unanimously elected to stand alongside the bargaining committees, and committed to resourcing necessary efforts and actions to win agreements.” What this actually means is fuzzy, but it’s a pretty clear reference to job actions among the 60,000 members covered under the AMPTP agreement, which represents 40% of the union’s membership. Elsewhere in that union, IATSE Local 868 at the Strathmore in Bethesda, MDgot a boost from the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra refusing to play at the venue while management tries to eliminate full-time union jobs.
750 members of Steelworkers Local 183 who work at Providence St. Mary Medical Center in Apple Valley, CA are rallying for a contract, after the NLRB found their employer to be bargaining in bad faith, while also working under a COVID-induced extension for over a year.
After Hurricane Ida swept through New Orleans, the Regional Transit Authority was tasked with evacuating people and serving as makeshift cooling centers, which meant ATU Local 1560 members working a lot. The union made a deal with the city that workers would get hazard pay for this extra strenuous and extra hazardous work. Then, last Friday, the pay didn’t materialize, and after pushing for answers, the RTA fired the union president.
K-12: Educators in Allentown, PAoverwhelmingly rejected a mediator’s recommended contract settlement that included a one-time $2,855 bonus and a high deductible health plan. Zanesville, OH teachers are rallying at school board meetings over a contract “deadlock” caused by proposed increases in healthcare costs. On the other side of the state, the union of 118 educators in Paulding, OH is showing up at school board meetings to protest the impasse they’re at since their last contract expired in June. The teachers union on Mount Desert Island, ME filed state labor board charges against the district, which caused the district’s lead negotiator to resign in protest, which is to say that negotiations aren’t going smoothly, but sounds kind of like a W to me… Frederick County (MD) teachers have a tentative agreement after working for a month without a contract.
Higher Ed: University of Michigan lecturers have a tentative agreement that secures a major priority, pay parity across campuses, after the union threatened to let the contract expire, paving the way for a possible strike. AAUP-AFT Local 6075, representing Wayne State University faculty, also have a tentative agreement. So do faculty (and part-time instructors and IATSE members) at Western Michigan University with AAUP, after contentious negotiations. The University of Arkansas-Fayetteville Education Association is pushing for remote work, and has gotten the sign-on of the Faculty Senate.
Workers at Philadelphia radio station WHYY have their first union contract through SAG-AFTRA.
The Metropolitan Opera in New York finally settled its final union contract with AFM Local 802, after many months of contentious negotiations with the many craft unions represented.
After long and apparently contentious talks, Topekahas settled both its cop and firefighter union contracts. IAFF Local 964 firefighters in Baltimore have settled a contract which gives them their first raises in three years. New York City Fire Department EMTs with AFSCME Local 2507 have overwhelmingly ratified a new contract which raises wages though the starting salary for an EMT remains below $40,000. Tulsa’s IAFF Local 176 has declared an impasse over wages and is heading to arbitration.
Chicago and Philadelphia police have new union contracts. Connecticut’s AFSCME Council 4 is raising the alarm about understaffing among prison guards in state prisons, as have guards in Maryland, Montana, Pennsylvania, New York, and elsewhere. The obvious flipside of prison understaffing is over-incarceration, if you’re looking for a policy fix.
POLITICS & LEGISLATION
Newly-appointed NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo (formerly of CWA) has been issuing some memos which would be a huge deal if implemented to their full effect. I know that sounds dry, but we’re talking massive damages paid to workers who get screwed over during new organizing, orders to bargain with a union, and other administrative changes that would change the terrain of new organizing and strike fear into the hearts of union-busters. You can review them here (click around on this link, you’ll see).
INTERNAL UNION POLITICS
A group of members of the New Haven (CT) Federation of Teachers are challenging their 15-year-incumbent local president for union leadership.
The Hill took a look at the relatively new Adult Performance Artist Guild and how they came to be, and grow, over the past few years.
John Samuelsen was re-elected as the first unopposed head of TWU, which is not a super healthy sign for the internal political life of a union like TWU which has always had contested elections. Or as the TWU Facebook page put it, “For the first time in TWU history, the Samuelsen slate was re-elected, totally unopposed. Fight the bosses, don't fight each other.”