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In the News
Philadelphia Starbucks Workers File Petition Demanding Vote to Remove SBWU Union
November 9, 2023 // Simonelli and his colleagues join Starbucks workers and other coffee employees across the country in banding together to vote out SBWU union officials. This year, Starbucks employees in Manhattan, NY; two Buffalo, NY locations; Pittsburgh, PA; Bloomington, MN; Salt Lake City, UT; Greenville, SC; and Oklahoma City, OK, have all sought free Foundation legal aid in filing or defending decertification petitions at the NLRB. In Philadelphia, workers at Good Karma Café, an independent coffee shop in Philadelphia, successfully voted out the SBWU union in September with Foundation help. This growing wave of decertification attempts is occurring after SBWU union agents engaged in a multi-year, aggressive unionization campaign against Starbucks employees. As part of the campaign, SBWU spent over $2 million to target the coffee chain with paid union agents – including “salts” who obtained jobs at Starbucks locations with the covert mission of installing union power. After achieving this goal, many “salts” abandoned the stores. Many workers targeted by this campaign are demanding decertification votes roughly one year after an SBWU union was installed at their store, which is the earliest possible opportunity afforded by federal law to do so.
Las Vegas hotel workers union, MGM agree to tentative contract after deal with Caesars
November 9, 2023 // The Culinary Workers Union announced the tentative 5-year agreement Thursday that it said covers about 25,000 workers at the Aria, Bellagio, Excalibur, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, New York-New York and Park MGM. The union said on X, formerly known as Twitter, that the agreement followed nearly 20 hours of negotiating. MGM didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press. The union had threatened to begin a strike in the pre-dawn hours Friday at properties along the Strip if negotiations failed. Experts said that move would have been catastrophic for the Las Vegas Strip.
General Motors workers in Michigan reject United Auto Workers’ deal
November 9, 2023 // The union’s historic concessions from the automakers are a far cry from the UAW’s stated goals during the strike. UAW President Shawn Fain had repeatedly demanded 40% pay raises, the reintroduction of pension plans and a reduced four-day workweek. The union did not secure pension plans or a reduced work week, and the pay increases top out at just over 20%.
Op-Ed: Biden’s joint-employer rule is bad for workers
November 9, 2023 // Included in the Employee Rights Act are the commonsense provisions of the Save Local Business Act, which would provide much-needed clarity in determining joint-employer status and prevent franchise owners from becoming corporate middle managers. More specifically, the bills amend the National Labor Relations Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act to clarify that two or more employers must have “actual, direct, and immediate” control over employees to be considered joint employers. It rolls back a convoluted joint-employer scheme that threatens job creation and undermines the American dream, and it restores a commonsense definition of employer to provide certainty and stability for workers and job creators. Simply put, the Employee Rights Act seeks to update our nation’s labor policies to match the needs of the 21st-century worker and workforce.
Starbucks increases US hourly wages and adds other benefits for non-union workers
November 9, 2023 // Starbucks said it is also shortening the time hourly employees must work before accruing vacation days from one year to 90 days. That benefit is also only available to workers at non-unionized stores. The company also announced a new North American barista championship open to employees in the U.S. and Canada. The company said program also won't be available to employees at unionized stores since it involves prize money and travel. Starbucks’ actions go against a September ruling by an administrative law judge for the NLRB, who ruled that the company acted illegally last fall when it raised pay only for non-union workers. Starbucks has appealed that ruling, saying NLRB’s standards don’t allow employers to make unilateral changes in the wages or benefits of unionized employees.
Graduate Student Workers Vote “Yes” To Unionize
November 9, 2023 // More than 72% of all UA graduate workers participated in the vote. The final tally was 314 to 11 in favor: over 96% “yes” votes. The next step will be to begin negotiating a contract between AGWA and UAF administration. Hopefully this will be quick, but contract negotiations are not known to be a speedy process.
At Dartmouth, the focus turns to winning basketball games amid its unionization push
November 9, 2023 // Their unionization effort lingers in the background, another challenge to the norms of college athletics in a time with athletes transferring freely through the portal and making endorsement money through the use of their name, image and likeness (NIL). "I feel like NIL's been moving on a lot and changing the landscape of college basketball," Myrthil told The Associated Press after the Duke game. "This could be a step that changes it even further, to make the students earn what they're worth."
Google contractors objected to reading obscene Bard prompts — now they’re unionizing
November 9, 2023 // They first started unionization efforts in June after they were directed to work on the then-unannounced Bard chatbot. As part of their efforts to help train the bot, they were asked to “handle obscene, graphic and offensive prompts,” according to a report from Bloomberg. When one of the contractors filed a complaint with Accenture’s human resources department about the content, Bloomberg reports their work was outsourced to Accenture workers in Manila. Just weeks after the contract actors announced their unionization campaign, dozens of contractors were laid off, leaving only about 40 out of 120 workers with their jobs.
Called To Strike, Union Of Cal State Trade Workers Urge Trustees To Raise Pay
November 9, 2023 //
The Actors Strike Is Over, Ending Hollywood’s Long Limbo
November 9, 2023 //
AB5 needlessly reclassifies genuine independent contractors, OOIDA says
November 8, 2023 // OOIDA, which is serving as an intervenor in a case against the state’s worker classification law, told the court in its Oct. 27 reply brief that AB5 needlessly causes genuine independent contractors to be reclassified as employees. “AB5 discriminates against and imposes undue burdens on interstate commerce in violation of the dormant Commerce Clause, and the disparate treatment of AB5’s business-to-business and construction exemptions violates the U.S. and California constitutions’ equal protection clauses,” OOIDA wrote.
Hollywood actors strike: SAG-AFTRA says studios’ latest offer ‘isn’t enough’
November 8, 2023 //
Op-Ed: Will Miami Teachers Free Themselves from Union Shackles?
November 8, 2023 // UTD claims that its current membership stands at 57 percent of the Miami-Dade educator workforce, up from 52 percent this summer. However, this increase in membership — assuming there really is one — doesn’t indicate the union has successfully recruited new members or won recommitments from old ones. Instead, UTD has been expelling substitute teachers from the bargaining unit in an attempt to swing the percentages back in its favor. The union’s membership numbers have been trending in the opposite direction for years, which presented an opportunity for the Freedom Foundation. But any disenchantment the teachers have with the union is its own fault. If UTD ultimately dies, its wounds will be self-inflicted.
U.S. Supreme Court will consider taking up Alaska union dues case no sooner than December
November 8, 2023 // Politically conservative organizations, including the Buckeye Institute, National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, and the Goldwater Institute, have submitted documents in support of the state’s case. Those organizations, plus the state of Kansas (which also submitted documents in support of Alaska) are hoping that the Supreme Court will reinterpret its 2018 case and effectively put new restrictions on public employee unions. In 2018, the Supreme Court ruled that unions could not automatically collect so-called “fair share” fees from workers who benefited from union contracts but declined to formally join a union.
CSU Teamsters will strike next week
November 8, 2023 // Teamsters Local 2010, which represents about 1,100 skilled trades workers for the California State University system, announced they will hold a strike on Nov. 14 across 22 campuses. Last month, nearly 95% of the union’s members voted for a strike. “After months of bad-faith bargaining, stalled negotiations, and clear violations of state law by the CSU, our members have had enough and are taking to the picket line to strike,” said Jason Rabinowitz, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 2010.
The UAW is already looking ahead to its next auto strike
November 8, 2023 // Fain has not shied away from rhetoric that critics accuse of being “radical” or “class warfare.” In one of the videos he recorded during the auto strike, the UAW president wore a t-shirt that read “Eat the Rich.” And he’s not shy about complaining about the “billionaire class” when making a call to action for members. Any criticism of May Day is not likely to scare him away from embracing it.
‘A historic moment’: Oregon teachers launch first-ever strike
November 8, 2023 //
The Next Target for Protests Against Israel: Ports
November 8, 2023 // “Workers have committed to not load, unload, or facilitate the tasks of any boat containing weapons,” the Spanish publication El Diario reported. The announcement in Barcelona follows a group of transport unions in Belgium — which included some port workers — that about a week ago “called on their members to refuse to handle military equipment being sent to Israel,” according to Reuters. The effort to stop the Cape Orlando, a military ship with a long wartime resume, started Friday at the Port of Oakland when a wave of people descended on the docks early that morning, armed with megaphones, banners and Palestinian flags. Operating on a tip that the ship was allegedly bound for Israel and hundreds of protesters organized by the Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC) in the Bay Area showed up early in the morning determined not to let the Cape Orlando leave.
Reps. Foxx, Kiley to Su: Withdraw Proposed Overtime Rule
November 8, 2023 // Several other GOP lawmakers also signed onto the letter, including Glenn "GT" Thompson, Pennsylvania; Tim Walberg, Michigan: Elise Stefanik, New York; Rick Allen, Georgia; James Comer, Kentucky; Lloyd Smucker, Pennsylvania; Burgess Owens, Utah; Bob Good, Virginia; Mary Miller, Illinois: Michelle Steel, California; Julia Letlow, Louisiana; Aaron Bean, Florida; Eric Burlison, Missouri, and Erin Houchin, Indiana. "DOL under President Trump published a rule that responsibly updated the salary threshold and considered extensive stakeholder feedback before issuing the final rule," the letter states. "The same cannot be said about the rushed efforts of the current DOL to push through a rule which makes changes as extreme as they are unnecessary."
What the UAW and Big 3 really thought of Biden’s picket line visit
November 8, 2023 // “This is the first time in American history a president has taken a side, walking a picket line,” said Chris Spear, head of the American Trucking Associations. “It’s not only anti-business, it kicks 90 years of impartial mediation by a president to the curb.” Biden’s decision to walk the picket line, he added, was “a new low as to what one will do to curry political endorsements.”