Labor Today Logo

Top Stories

Click the star next to a story to save your favorite articles.

A new union is born in the South

December 1, 2022 // USSW workers and staff are bullish on their new union, believing that its fusion of labor and human rights organizing will help them secure livable wages, stronger safety protections, control over their work schedules, and new respect for the African Americans and Latinos who make up the majority of their members. They are encouraged by the growing public approval for labor unions and the increase in worker protest during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially among essential or frontline workers. They are also building off of nine years of organizing through Raise Up — the Southern expression of the Fight for $15 and a Union and an affiliate of the sprawling Service Employees International Union. Raise Up veterans like Gas and Smalls, and the Durham, North Carolina-based Ieisha Franceis and Jamila Allen, will be critical to the USSW's success. Beginning in September 2020 and continuing over the next year, Franceis and Allen led three walkouts that forced their employer, Freddy's Frozen Custard and Steakburgers, to agree to their demands for raises, paid leave for employees in quarantine, and new sanitation procedures. Franceis was initially hesitant about striking, but she trusted the much younger and more soft-spoken Allen, who had been meeting with Raise Up organizers for a year and gently prodding her coworkers to take collective action.

‘Fight for $15’? How quaint. Powerful Chicago union now wants $25 per hour minimum wage – Wirepoints

December 1, 2022 // Order employers to pay at least $25 per hour. That’s the new position of Chicago’s powerful chapter of SEIU, the Service Employees International Union, as reported by Crain’s and ABC Chicago. It would be a 60% increase in Chicago’s current wage of $15.40 per hour. SEIU wants candidates for Chicago mayor, alderman and other city offices to take a position on that increase, and “the group appears quite serious about that,” according to Crain’s. So far, no candidate has said no to the increase, SEIU told Crain’s. The union’s full candidate questionnaire is here. It seems like the ink on Fight for 15 posters has barely dried. That movement to push wages up to $15 per hour might appear to be largely successful on the surface. The Fight for $15’s “success is inspirational” to labor activists, as The Guardian reported last week.

Railroad workers aren’t the only Americans without paid sick days

December 2, 2022 // While the vast majority of union members have paid sick days, the freight railroad workers do not. Among other demands, they have been threatening to strike in order to get paid sick days that are not in the current contracts. The railroads say that workers can use personal time if they need a sick day. But the unions argue that with current staffing levels and scheduling rules, it’s difficult for workers to have personal days approved, and they are likely to be penalized or even fired if they call in sick anyway.

United Auto Workers Appear to Rebuke Leaders in First Vote by Members

December 5, 2022 // Insurgent candidates showed strength, citing corruption scandals and calling for a tougher bargaining approach. The union president seems headed for a runoff. The first United Auto Workers election open to all members appears to have produced a wave of opposition to the established leadership, signaling the prospect of sweeping changes for a union tarnished by a series of corruption scandals. As the count neared completion on Friday, the current president, Ray Curry, was in a close contest with an insurgent challenger, Shawn Fain, with each getting slightly under 40 percent. The remaining votes were scattered among three dark-horse candidates. If those results are confirmed by a court-appointed monitor overseeing the count, Mr. Fain and Mr. Curry will head for a runoff election in January.

The National Labor Relations Board is trying to silence employer speech

December 5, 2022 // The NLRB recently filed a complaint against Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon, claiming a statement he made on CNBC constituted an unfair labor practice. When asked about the ongoing campaign to unionize Amazon, Jassy said: “It’s employees’ choice whether or not they want to join a union. We happen to think they’re better off not doing so, for a couple of reasons at least. You know, first, at a place like Amazon that empowers employees, if they see something they can do better for customers or for themselves, they can go meet in a room, decide how [to] change it — and change it. That type of empowerment doesn’t happen when you have unions. It’s much more bureaucratic, it’s much slower. I also think people are better off having direct connections with their managers.”

Former union leader found guilty of fraud, other crimes

December 5, 2022 // Hawaii is the Aloha State, but union members of IBEW Local 1260 are not singing a happy tune: A jury found a former union leader guilty of fraud, money laundering, and embezzlement by misusing union dues. Brian Ahakuelo, a former union business manager and financial secretary, was found guilty of 68 charges to fund an extravagant and lavish lifestyle for himself and his family members. Marilyn Ahakuelo, Brian’s wife, was found guilty of 46 similar charges. Brian Ahakuelo placed five of his family members on union payroll, where each earned a six-figure salary, and used $80,000 in union dues to fund travel to Japan.

Featured Research

Brandon Vigliarolo

Judge tells Amazon: Stop retaliating against employees

Kerry Taylor

A new union is born in the South

What Home-Based Care Agencies Should Know About The Independent Contractor Proposed Rul

Margaret Kates

Longshoremen strike CSA operations at the Port of Mobile after mediation falls apart

Americans for Prosperity Americans for Tax Reform Freedom Works Institute for the American Worker

Sen. Braun Introduce Bill To Maximize Americans’ Retirement Funds

Sarah Montalbano

Most NEA-Alaska Spending Goes to Its Staff, Not Members

Rep. Virginia Foxx

Foxx Op-Ed: For apprenticeship programs to thrive—get employers back to the table

LARRY SAND

California Policy Center

THE SYSTEMIC RACISM OF TEACHERS UNIONS