Posts tagged union organizing


    August 30, 2023 // The Union of Southern Service Workers began making headlines last fall after formally christening themselves during a rally in Columbia, South Carolina. This union holds some familiar attributes, given that it began as an offshoot of Raise Up, the Southern leg of the SEIU’s Fight for $15 initiative. Yet this is no ordinary effort by the SEIU, for the USSW purports to not only be “built by and for low-wage workers” but also stretches across many industries. A key distinction: The union frames itself as a cross-sector organization, designed to retain members even if they job-hop between industries, i.e., fast food, retail, hotel, nursing home, warehouses, etc.


    August 15, 2023 // Whether these early decertification attempts will gain momentum or fizzle out remains to be seen. Many of the petitions, especially those filed by Starbucks partners, could be blocked by the NLRB due to the high number of ULPs filed by the SBWU union. However, the petitions have generated a lot of publicity indicative of a stirring debate on relevance within newly organized workplaces where little progress has been made in collective bargaining. For now, the prominent backlash from major unions signals they are gearing up to defend their turf aggressively. But if more workers come forward, this could suggest deeper divisions emerging that unions must address.

    Philadelphia Orchestra singers unionize

    August 14, 2023 // With this step, they join the New York Philharmonic Chorus, San Francisco Symphony Chorus, and Chicago Symphony Orchestra Chorus as AGMA members. Next, the Philadelphia singers hope to begin negotiations with orchestra management for their first contract. A Philadelphia Orchestra and Kimmel Center Inc. spokesperson declined to comment, except to say that POKC was looking forward to working with AGMA. The Philadelphia Symphonic Choir — which does not perform concerts on its own beyond appearances with the Philadelphia Orchestra — has about 200 singers on its roster, though about 40 to 90 are generally called upon at a time to perform on specific concerts.

    Who’s on strike and who’s close? Labor unions are flexing

    August 8, 2023 // Recent decades suggest there won’t be a strike at more than one at once. UAW (United Auto Workers) typically picks one “target” at which to focus negotiations and possibly strike and then demand that the other two unionized automakers agree to the same “pattern” deal. That one really has the chance to hurt the Democrats since the union is very upset about the auto industry plans to shift to EVs (electric vehicles). They see EVs as a jobs killer because of so many fewer parts – it takes about one-third fewer jobs to build an EV than an internal combustion engine (ICE) car. And many of the EV jobs are at battery plants being built nationwide right now, but which are joint ventures between the automakers and foreign battery companies, and thus not guaranteed to be unionized. Even if those battery plants end up with a union, it’s not clear the joint venture will agree to UAW-level wages. The one UAW-represented plant in Ohio pays roughly half of what workers are paid at an engine or transmission plant owned by one of the Big Three (US automakers) and represented by the UAW.

    El Milagro workers cite gains, but why is no union involved?

    August 1, 2023 // For around two years, workers at the tortilla manufacturer have waged a brave campaign for higher wages and better treatment. With help from the advocacy group Arise Chicago, they have had news conferences and briefly walked off the production lines to make their case. They also hauled the company before the National Labor Relations Board. And they have cited victories, including a wage increase, an end to illegal seven-day workweeks and other improvements. But it has all happened without the discernible involvement of a labor union. El Milagro would seem a worthy target for a union drive. It has about 450 employees and has been in business for decades. But one union leader, who asked to remain anonymous to discuss sensitive issues, said organizers may see it as a low-margin business with lots of competition.

    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.”


    June 22, 2023 // The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is carefully watching the potential impact of AI on jobs. Despite the pervasive fear that AI could decimate many industries, the experts at BLS approach this potential threat with cautious optimism. They point out that previous predictions about technology wiping out industries have often failed. New technologies take longer than anticipated to impact job markets if they do at all significantly. Simultaneously, we’re witnessing a rise in unionization across tech companies. Traditionally, the tech industry has resisted unions, seen as relics of a bygone era. Yet, the wave of organizing overcame this resistance, breaking decades-old barriers.

    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.

    U.S. workers are filing more unfair labor practice complaints

    April 12, 2023 // The uptick means it’s taking the National Labor Relations Board longer to process charges, said general counsel Jennifer Abruzzo. “We are woefully understaffed,” she said. “And the result of that is that the service to the public does suffer.” That’s even after the NLRB got its first funding boost in nearly a decade last year. If the Biden administration gets its way, the agency could be in line for an even larger increase next year.

    Biden Wants To Restrict Work and Flexibility for Freelancers

    February 20, 2023 // Beyond these misunderstandings, there is a key question that PRO Act proponents have failed to directly answer: Over a dozen surveys—including the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Contingent Worker Supplement—have found that a majority of independent contractors would prefer their current arrangements over an employment arrangement. Workers cite dependent care obligations, personal circumstances, or a strong preference for job flexibility (over job stability) as the primary reasons. Beyond surveys, in a recent study published by the Journal of Political Economy, economists estimated that UberX drivers would require almost twice as much pay to accept the inflexibility that comes from adopting a taxi-style schedule. And for the top 10 percent of DoorDash drivers, losing flexibility is equivalent to a 15 percent pay cut. Sens. Mark Warner (D–Va.), Todd Young (R–Ind.), and Rep. Suzan DelBene (D–Wash.)