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This Week in Workers News

One of the World’s Most Iconic Craft Breweries Is Unionizing

Workers are organizing with the International Longshoremen & Warehouse Union, with help from the San Francisco chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America. The union drive at Anchor (which began its public phase at 12 p.m. Pacific Time today, when an ILWU organizer presented the company with the union’s letter of declaration) is freighted with significance for both the beer industry and the labor movement nationwide. In May 2018, Splinter reported that none of the country’s 7,000 craft breweries were unionized despite difficult working conditions and low pay. A handful of previous efforts to organize other craft breweries have failed (including one at the Bay Area’s now-defunct Pyramid Brewing Co. outpost). Just by organizing, Anchor workers have nudged the $26 billion US craft brewing industry into uncharted waters. Read the full story at Splinter.


Where Do Good Organizers Come From?

Few people are born organizers. Instead, we have to find and nurture people who show some interest and willingness to become organizers. An experiment in Ithaca, New York, over the last two years has shown surprising results in helping workers become organizers, with a method easy to adapt and reproduce anywhere. Read the full story at Labor Notes.


The Strike as the Ultimate Structure Test

As a result of the production-shuddering education strikes this past spring, and perhaps of the tactical use of the word strike in the mostly symbolic protests of the fast-food efforts, the idea of the strike is garnering more attention in popular discourse than it has since Ronald Reagan smashed the air traffic control workers’ strike in 1981. Read the full article at Catalyst.


How Black Activists Shaped the Labor Movement

In 1941, Randolph joined forces with organizer Bayard Rustin — one of the civil rights movement’s lesser-known but pivotal figures, whose status as a gay man often saw him unjustly relegated to behind-the-scenes roles — and threatened to bring a 100,000-person march to Washington unless President Franklin D. Roosevelt ended racial segregation in the defense industries. Read the full story at Teen Vogue.


5th Circuit rejects Title VII coverage for transgender workers

A U.S. appeals court has ruled that the federal law banning workplace sex discrimination does not cover bias based on gender identity, bucking other courts that have recently expanded legal protections for LGBT workers. Read the article at Reuters.


Supporters of bill to ban workplace discrimination of LGBTQ workers exceed opponents

For 90 minutes on Thursday afternoon, Nebraska’s Legislature’s Judiciary Committee heard people testify — most for three minutes each — on their support for passing a law that would prohibit discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Read the full story at the Lincoln Journal-Star.


‘Don’t be fooled’: JetBlue president warned workers against joining a union

“The company is strongly against organizing. They say if we organize we are going to lose the culture. We are the culture, we make the culture, not the company and their very tight rules.” The warning from JetBlue’s management came in response to organizing drives by the Transport Workers Union (TWU) to unionize about 6,400 airport operation agents and roughly 1,000 mechanics at JetBlue. Read the full story at The Guardian.


Gig economy tech companies like Instacart have been accused of tip theft. But the problem is bigger than that.

Many workers in the new on-demand app economy are not being paid a consistent living wage. Tip theft might be one of the ugliest and most blatant potential cases of gig worker exploitation, but the reality is that even when gig economy workers get their tips in full, many of them are being paid far below what we would consider a decent minimum wage. Read the full story at recode.


Some government workers still unpaid as another shutdown looms

In addition to the pay delays, workers are struggling with issues like navigating the bureaucracy of paying back unemployment benefits and the looming question of whether there would be another shutdown after Feb. 15. The shutdown affected some 2,000 people with disabilities who got their government contract jobs with help from the nonprofit SourceAmerica. These, and other government contract workers, will receive no back pay, and nearly 60 percent still had not been called back to their jobs as of Wednesday. Read the full story at the Santa Fe New Mexican.


N.W.T. power corp. workers join government workers in strike notice

Workers with the Northwest Territories Power Corporation have served notice that they will join Government of the Northwest Territories workers on the picket line Monday if negotiations this week between the Union of Northern Workers (UNW) and the government fail. Read the full story at CBC.ca.


Workers at Lear plant supplying GM Oshawa walk off job

“The message that we’re sending is that it’s not just about General Motors’ workers. All the suppliers, including Lear Whitby, are impacted by a potential closure.” Read the full story at Reuters.


Buzzfeed is Being Accused of Laying Off Mostly POC and LGBT Employees

“Whether you support buzzfeed or not–the facts are that hundreds of people who made/worked on content speaking to marginalized and underrepresented groups are being laid off and that is a problem.” Read the full story at NextShark.


$15 minimum wage compromise may leave NJ’s poorest workers behind

Under pressure from the state’s business lobbyists, the politicians agreed to make a special exception for seasonal workers, people who work for tips, workers for companies with fewer than six employees, and farm workers. Many of these people won’t reach $15 an hour until Jan. 1, 2026. And farm workers might never reach $15 under the bill. Read the full story at northjersey.com.


Former Sparc workers say firings were retaliation for unionizing effort

Four employees of a prominent Springfield charity have filed a federal labor charge, saying they were fired in September because their employer was upset that they took steps to join a union. Read the full story at the State-Journal Register.


American Bible Society targets LGBT employees with new “Affirmation of Biblical Community” Policy

American Bible Society (ABS) employees have until January 31 to sign a precise statement which locks down their promise to attend church and personal compulsion of abstaining from any kind of sex prior to marriage. In the view of ABS, marriage can only happen between a woman and a man. Any non-signee will be unemployed as of February 1. Read the full story at World Religion News.


Port Kembla Coal Terminal workers locked out for another week

“All these workers are asking for is a commitment that their permanent jobs will not be cut and replaced by contractors,” said Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU) representative Bob Timbs. “Casualisation is out of control in our industry and our region. We won’t accept good, local permanent jobs being cut, only for the same work to be carried out by casual contractors.” Read the full story at Illawarra Mercury.

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