Posts tagged union elections

    On the Matter of Card Check, the Losers Are the Workers

    July 31, 2023 // Neutrality agreements and the card check process they enable deprive employees of information necessary for making informed decisions about unionization and worse, it opens the door to intimidation by taking away workers’ right to a secret ballot in union organizing elections. Neutrality agreements often require employers to accept a process called card check, which replaces NLRB-supervised secret ballot elections. Card check is an open petition process which leaves employees vulnerable to organizing campaigns that are rife with coercion and deception. Card check can fail to reflect employees' true wishes, undermining the democratic principles on which fair representation should be built. Examples of problems with card check include employees being told to sign a card simply to say they attended a union meeting or to get a free t-shirt. Worse, the study documented testimony from a February 8, 2007 U.S. House of Representatives Committee hearing which detailed that the United Auto Workers had “union employees from other facilities actually visit … employees at their homes. The union’s organizers refuse to take ‘no’ for an answer. ... Some employees have had 5 or more harassing visits from these union organizers.”

    BACKGROUNDER: Employee Rights Act

    April 21, 2023 // The Employee Rights (ERA) Act was introduced this week by Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC). The legislation allows employees to receive merit-based pay raises outside of the wage scales set by their union’s collective bargaining agreement, guarantees the right to a secret ballot in union elections, provides new privacy protections, allows workers to decertify a union more easily, provides legal clarity for small business owners and gig workers, and more.

    The Undercover Organizers Behind America’s Union Wins

    April 5, 2023 // The practice of joining a workplace with the secret aim of organizing it is called “salting.” Westlake was addressing recruits at the Inside Organizer School, a workshop held a couple times a year by a loose confederation of labor organizers. At these meetups, experienced activists train other attendees in the art of going undercover. Speakers lecture and lead discussions on how to pass employer screenings, forge relationships with co-workers and process the complicated feelings that can accompany a double life. Most salts are volunteers, not paid union officials, but unions sometimes fund their housing or, later, tap them for full-time jobs. Workers United, the Service Employees International Union affiliate that’s home to the new Starbucks union, hired Westlake as an organizer around the time the coffee chain fired him last fall.

    Tennessee Senate Committee Tackles Union Coercion Commerce and Labor Committee Passes SB 650 to Secure Workers’ Right to a Secret-Ballot Union Election

    March 22, 2023 // Even with the constitutional right-to-work, Tennessee employees can still face union coercion. Card check organizing takes away employees' right to a secret ballot in unionization elections and subjects workers to intimidation, coercion and deception by union leaders. To get these cards, unions can visit workers at their homes or repeatedly call their personal cell phones. Tennessee taxpayers should never have to fund union coercion, nor should companies getting economic incentives need to worry about unions strong-arming them or their employees. Just like Tennessee voters enjoy the right to privacy at the ballot box, Tennessee workers deserve the right to decide union representation through a private, protected ballot. The passage of SB 650 would ensure that, in workplaces that accept state economic incentives in the future, workers have that opportunity.

    La Colombe baristas at Gold Coast coffee shop vote to unionize in unanimous election

    January 25, 2023 // Baristas at La Colombe’s 955 W. Randolph St. location in the West Loop were scheduled to vote on unionization Tuesday, but the election was postponed due to COVID-19, Blado confirmed. The count will be rescheduled as soon as possible, she said. Elections for two more locations, at 858 Armitage Ave. and at 5158 N. Clark St. are scheduled to take place next week. Baristas at the company’s Wicker Park location have not moved to unionize. La Colombe baristas said Monday they were inspired by union efforts at other coffee shops. Workers at about 10 area Starbucks have voted to unionize since last January. Colectivo Coffee and Intelligentsia Coffee workers in Chicago are unionized with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; Intelligentsia baristas ratified their first collective bargaining agreement at the end of last year.

    Worker strikes and union elections surged in 2022 – could it mark a turning point for organized labor?

    January 10, 2023 // The increase in strike activity is also important. And while the major strikes that involve 1,000 or more employees and are tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics arouse the greatest attention, they represent only the tip of the iceberg. The bureau recorded 20 major strikes in 2022, which is about 25% more than the average of 16 a year over the past two decades.

    Union wins made big news this year. Here are 5 reasons why it’s not the full story

    December 29, 2022 // Spirited union campaigns at coffeehouses, on university campuses and at companies such as Starbucks and REI that have long positioned themselves as progressive have brought a new generation of workers into labor's fold. Whether they stay will likely depend on their career prospects in other fields and how they fare in collective bargaining.

    The Standoff Between Workers and Their Bosses Is Set To Heat Up in 2023

    December 15, 2022 // Now, the strong labor market that emboldened workers is softening. The unemployment rate ticked up to 3.7% in November—it had gone as low as 3.5%—–and high-profile tech and media companies have recently cut their payrolls through steep layoffs. But that doesn’t mean workers are losing the upper hand, says Thomas Kochan, a professor of employment research at the MIT Sloan School for Management. If anything, the current economic conditions mean labor strife may accelerate next year. “I expect what we’ll see is more conflict, more strikes, and more contract rejections,” Kochan says. Workers are still focused on companies’ profits during boom years, he notes, while companies are starting to trim costs to prepare for an economic downturn. “It’s that difference in expectations,” he says, “that creates a higher probability of conflicts and strikes.”

    Starbucks union organizing gave labor a jolt of energy in 2022

    December 9, 2022 // But unionized stores still represent only about 3% of all company-operated locations across the country. And the number of stores filing to hold union votes has dropped since peaking this March.