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This Week in Workers’ News

Los Angeles teachers end week-long strike after reaching ‘historic agreement’

The Los Angeles agreement includes class size reductions in all grade levels, 300 additional school nurses, 80 new teacher librarians, one counselor for every 500 students and a 3 percent raise for teachers. Read the full story at USA Today.


End of shutdown: workers left with debts, bad credit and shattered trust

“The thing is when you get back pay, all the fees that you incur by missing payments – you don’t get paid back for those. If you are late for a payment and have a $25 fee, the government doesn’t pay for that.” The threat of another possible shutdown in three weeks means clouds of uncertainty still remain in place for hundreds of thousands of government workers and unknown others whose lives were interrupted or derailed by a shutdown precipitated and prolonged by the president’s demand for a border wall, which he redoubled on Friday. Read the full story in The Guardian.


Google is secretly urging National Labor Relations Board to overturn protection for activist workers

According to Bloomberg, they are quietly requesting National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to undo a 2014 Act that allows employees to organize over workplace email without the fear of punishment. “It demonstrates that Google leadership is not operating in good faith. They can have a town hall and try to say soothing words and get people to not want to quit, but then if in the background they’re not just rejecting carrying out most of the demands of the walkout, but also trying to tamp down our ability to even coordinate and talk to each other about these issues, that’s extremely concerning.” Read the full story on Packt.


Inspired by L.A. Strike, Virginia Teachers to Walkout Jan. 28th

On Monday, January 28th, thousands of teachers marching under the banner of Virginia Educators United are planning to call off from school for only one day in order to march on the state legislature. The teachers are calling on the Virginia legislature, which is considering $573 million for tax breaks for Amazon, to increase teacher pay in Virginia up to the national average, which it lags by $9,000 a year and to restore education funding to pre-recession levels. Read the full story on Payday Report.


Transparency and Equity: Denver Teachers Vote to Strike

“Schools are being run like corporations, with gross amounts of spending on departments and programs that don’t directly benefit students.” It’s little surprise that Denver teachers find themselves on the precipice of a strike after nearly fourteen months of bargaining. DCTA’s vote, just tallied last night with 93% support, authorizes the union to call a strike as soon as January 28th. It comes at the height of nearly twelve months of rebellion in public education. Read the full story at Strikewave. (And while you’re there, subscribe to their bi-weekly email.)


Poll: Nearly Half of Video Game Developers Want Unions

If there’s one positive consequence of our current political / social / economic / cultural hellscape it’s that workers from across all industries are once again realizing the value of a good old-fashioned union. Read the full story on Geek.com.


Two new unions take strides toward forming at St. James Rocky Mountain Clinic

“People reach out to us when they reach a breaking point with their employers,” Foley said. “They’re seeking a way to find a collective voice to get their issues heard, instead of individually trying to get things to change.” Read the full story at KPVI.


Audi workers’ strike over wages gap highlights salary strain in eastern Europe

Audi workers in Hungary began a week-long strike Thursday to protest what they consider an unfair wage gap with colleagues working for Volkswagen Group’s other factories in eastern Europe. Their Czech colleagues also threatened to take action over pay. Read the full article at Automotive News Europe.


Oracle slammed for underpaying women and minorities

Oracle has been accused of paying women and minorities less than other employees for the same work. According to the US Labor Department the company also prioritised hiring workers that it could later discriminate against and pay less than what’s deserving for the work. All of this amounts to some $400 million that the company ‘saved’ on these workers. Read the full story at ITProPortal.


GM Plant Workers Allege Racist Acts Continue Even After Lawsuits

“GM downplays this and says it is a few isolated incidents, but it’s not,” said Michelle Vocht, a Michigan lawyer representing eight employees at the plant who are suing GM, alleging a hostile workplace. “They didn’t take it seriously enough, and it’s still happening.” Read the full story at Bloomberg.


Credit union lays off 11

The employees learned Jan. 18 that their jobs had been eliminated. Director of Communications and Community Relations Jeff Keeling would not discuss the nature of the structural changes or the core credit union activities the layoffs were designed to enable. Read the full story in the Johnson City Press.


Sex Workers Don’t Trust Kamala Harris

“She is absolutely a prosecutor, absolutely a carceral feminist,” D’Adamo said. “I think people are going to make decision on Kamala Harris based on a lot of different things, and take her as a complex composite person—who unfortunately for a lot of the communities who are most impacted by these policies, she does not reflect progressive views for.” Read the full story on Motherboard.


Angolan railway workers strike over better pay, conditions

The railway staff have been on a general strike for several days to demand better working conditions. Among other things, rail workers are demanding an 80 percent wage increase, subsidies for food, transport and maintenance. Read the full story on Africa News.


Strike action brings ports across Sweden to a standstill

Around 1,000 workers in ports around the country were involved in strike action on Wednesday, affecting the movement of goods in and out of Sweden. The strike affects 15 ports, and was called after the Swedish Dockworkers’ Union was unable to reach an agreement with harbour owners over union representation. Read the full story in The Local.


One-man wrecking crew targets British hotel for allegedly not being paid

Viral video out of Liverpool purportedly shows angry employee in excavator ramming into construction site. The excavator operator claimed that contractors owed him £600, or about $777. Read the full story on NBC News.


Workers protest Oshawa plant closure at General Motors HQ

The decision to close the plant at the end of the year means the company is violating a collective agreement, signed in 2016, that covers a period until September 2020. Read the full story at CBC.


Low wages continue to hamper S.D. workforce

South Dakota has the third-lowest average wage for employed people in the country behind only Arkansas and Mississippi. A News Watch analysis shows that the lowest-paying jobs – in office support, food service and sales – dominate the state workforce. Read the full story at the Brookings Register.


Zimbabwe public workers reject latest wage offer after protests

Zimbabwe’s public workers have rejected a second offer to raise their salaries and demanded to be paid in dollars, days after at least three people died in violent anti-government protests. Read the full story at Reuters.


Museum Workers Draw Up Union Contracts to Combat Low Pay

The curated interiors of cultural institutions may not conjure an image of a unionized workforce. But museum workers increasingly are turning to labor unions as wages stagnate and job security remains tenuous, organizers and workers told Bloomberg Law. Read the full story on Bloomberg.


‘Give us a reason to come home’ – hundreds of Irish nurses in Australia’s message to government

HUNDREDS of Irish nurses in Australia attended a demonstration in Sydney on Saturday to show solidarity with striking nurses in Ireland. The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation and the Psychiatric Nurses Association have both announced industrial action in a row over pay and conditions. Read the full story at Independent.ie.


Union Leaders Skeptical about Omnibus Education Bill

Widely known as an “omnibus” bill, the legislation is set to offer pay raises and address health care, but also offer additional components leaders of teacher and service personnel unions oppose.  Listen on WVPublic.


Tunisia labor union plans general strike next month

The strike comes “after dialogue and negotiations with the government regarding a pay raise for public-sector employees were deadlocked.” Read the full story at Brinkwire.


Without Workers, We Wouldn’t Have Democracy

All around the world, it wasn’t capitalist elites who gave us democracy. It was organized workers. Read the full article in Jacobin.


A few things from before the government re-opened:

FDA head: Agency may call back more food safety staff, currently out due to shutdown

“Most Americans understand that people who are working now going without pay into over a month are going to have other things on my mind like ‘Can I pay my rent?’ and ‘How do I pay for food?'” Marler said. “You don’t have enough FDA inspectors to begin with. Even high-risk plants might never see an FDA inspector but once every couple years.” Read the full story in USA Today.


USDA calls 9,700 workers back from furlough without regular pay amid shutdown

As the shutdown of nine federal agencies enters its second month, the FSA’s temporary reopening marks another government bureau’s attempt to continue providing as many public services as they can in the face of a funding drought with no respite in view. Read the full article at CNBC.


IRS Union Warns Absences May Delay Tax Refunds: ‘The Situation Is Dire’

Hundreds of IRS employees have been granted absences due to financial hardship, and their union said that an organized protest could cause even more workers to stay home. “Federal employees are about to miss their second paycheck and they are growing increasingly desperate.” Read the full story at HuffPost.


Aviation workers issue dire shutdown warning

Pilots, air traffic controllers and flight attendants are warning that aviation safety is “deteriorating by the day” as the shutdown drags on, and suggested that there’s no telling when “the entire system will break.” Read the full story at Politico.


Flight Attendants Are ‘Mobilizing Immediately’ Over Shutdown, Union Says

Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, told New York on Friday afternoon that she “just finished” recording a video message to members urging them to get to the offices of their congressional representatives until the shutdown is resolved. Read the full story at New York Magazine.


More than half of IRS workers recalled to process tax returns stayed home

Around 5,000 of them have sought permission under their union contract to be absent because of financial hardship. The remaining 9,000 couldn’t be reached by IRS managers. The roughly 12,000 employees who have returned to the job are working without pay. Read the full story on CBS News.


Flights delayed at major US airports because of staffing, FAA says

The federal government shutdown was blamed for flight delays Friday at major airports in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Orlando and Atlantadue to staffing shortages at critical air traffic control centers. Read the full story at CNN.

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