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This Week in Workers News

Workers Are Striking Again

New figures show that the strike is back: 485,000 workers participated in major work stoppages last year, the most in decades. Labor has to use that momentum to fight for the entire working class. Read the full story in Jacobin.

For Some Food-Service Workers, Unions Are Finally Gaining Steam

The unionization at Mighty Good highlights a snowball effect that is increasingly associated with organizing. In private sectors like digital media and in public sectors like education, union drives and strikes quickly developed from flash-in-pan anomalies to a growing norm. Read the full story on

Garment Workers Have Organized Strikes for Over 100 Years As They Pay the Human Cost of Fashion

For nearly two weeks in January 2019, 50,000 women garment workers in and around Dhaka, Bangladesh, engaged in a series of militant work stoppages, protests, and strikes to demand higher wages, facing down police and causing over 50 factories to shut down. It was essentially a general strike, a show of force from a long-undervalued workforce. Read the full story in Teen Vogue.

The White House quietly rolled back workplace safety rules during the shutdown

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) rushed the amendment through the three-month review process in just six weeks — even though the office was closed during the shutdown and two-thirds of the office’s employees were furloughed. By Friday, the changes were finalized and published. Read the full story at Vox.

West Virginia right-to-work law overturned

The controversial labor law was approved by the Legislature just over three years ago. It said that employees in a union workplace should not have to pay dues if they chose not to become union members. Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey tossed out the law saying it amounted to the taking of union resources. Read the full story on WTRF.

XPO workers needed power of union to fight pregnancy discrimination

Workers at XPO’s Memphis warehouse spoke out against pregnancy discrimination and harassment. In response, the company shuttered the warehouse. Read the full story on Knox News.

Nashville council: No Amazon incentives if Metro workers don’t get pay increases

The Metro Council voted Tuesday to request Nashville refrain from providing incentives to Amazon, AllianceBernstein or other companies without following through on a promise to provide pay increases to city workers. Read the full story at

Elizabethton City Council plans to bring all employees up to market value for pay compensation this year

The council voted in a 3 percent pay increase for all employees. For a lot of employees, that was sufficient to bring their pay up to current market amounts. There were some employees, many of them newer and underpaid employees, who were still below the market trend. It was to these employees that the council plans to keep its promise in the next fiscal year. Read the full story in the Johnson City Press.

Arizona Republicans Are Doing Their Damnedest to Exploit Young Workers

Under HB 2523, employers would not have to pay workers between the ages of 16 and 22 working 20 or fewer hours a week the current state minimum wage of $11 and would only need to meet the federal minimum of $7.25. Read the full story at Splinter.

Board that handles federal worker disputes vacant for first time in 40 years

Senate delay and inaction in approving nominees has created the unprecedented situation for a panel that faces years of backlogged cases. Read the full story on NBC.

More than 1,000 TSA employees still owed back pay from shutdown

According to a source with knowledge of the situation who was not authorized to speak to the media, more than 1,000 TSA employees are still waiting to be paid in full. The exact number is unclear as employees continue to come forward with complaints that they are still owed money from the shutdown. Read the full story on CNN.

Kamala Harris Is Singing a New Tune, But Sex Workers Aren’t Buying It

“In 2018 the numbers since SESTA/FOSTA came out, the numbers in trans deaths—they’re unlike ever before. The numbers have reached—and this was right up until the end of the year, the numbers of deaths and suicides within our community. They’re staggering. I want to know when’s the last time Kamala Harris went to a goddamn jail to talk to a female sex worker?” Doroshow asked. “When she incarcerated her,” @SXNOIR interjected. Read the full story on The Daily Beast.

Erratic hours are the norm for workers in retailing. Can Los Angeles buck the trend?

A national movement to mandate stable hourly schedules for low-wage workers expanded to Los Angeles on Friday, as City Council members introduced a “Fair Workweek” measure that could affect some 70,000 retail employees in the city. Read the full story at the Los Angeles Times.

Strike over: Wabtec, Erie locomotive workers reach 90-day deal

More than 1,700 workers at a locomotive manufacturing plant in Erie have agreed to head back to work on Monday, ending what will be a nearly two-week strike that garnered national attention right as Wabtec Corp. celebrated an historic merger with GE Transportation. Read the full story at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Contract talks break down between King Soopers workers, Kroger

The union representing King Soopers and City Market employees in Colorado said members will “likely” vote to strike after contract negotiations broke down Thursday night. Read the full story at KOAA News 5.

Flights disrupted at Kenya’s main airport following workers strike

“While we were gathered police were sent and they arrested me. The government and those with vested interest are using the police as an instrument to silence workers. They have resorted to hard tactics to arrest and mishandle innocent workers. We have the right to assembly.” Ndiea said about 2,000 workers assembled to strike on Wednesday morning including cabin crew, ground operations, customer care, check in staff and security staff. Read the full story on CNN.

40 Years Ago, Norma Rae Understood How Corporations Weaponized Race

Intended or not, the film has as much to say about the forces that threatened to destroy the U.S. labor movement through racial division as it does the individuals who helped make the movement possible. Read the full story at The Atlantic.

PTSD symptoms showing up in more than half of Children’s Services workers

A recent study shows that 53 percent of Ohio’s children’s services caseworkers have symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. That compares with national incidences that range from 35 percent to 75 percent of child-welfare staff. Read the full story at

Fired state workers demand Murphy official step down from agency they say is a patronage pit

A half-dozen former state workers who have accused a Gov. Phil Murphy appointee of unceremoniously firing them to help make room for patronage hires called on the agency’s CEO to resign Wednesday. Read the full story at

Moving worker severance to front line in corporate bankruptcies

A protest that began with Toys R Us workers left empty-handed in the retailer’s bankruptcy is now being heard on Capitol Hill and the 2020 campaign trail. Read the full story at CBS News.

Amsterdam Public Transit Workers to Strike on March 18

Public transit workers in Amsterdam will strike for part of Monday, March 18th, as part of a national action day for better pensions, trade unions CNV, VCP and FNV announced. Amsterdam public transit company GVB confirmed the strike to Het Parool. Read the full story at

Proposed LGBT job discrimination ban falls short in Nebraska Legislature after 3-hour debate

The latest attempt to ban job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in Nebraska hit a dead end Tuesday. LB 627 stalled after backers fell short on an attempt to force a vote on the measure after nearly three hours of debate. The failure of that effort means that, under a policy of Speaker of the Legislature Jim Scheer, the bill was pulled from the legislative agenda. Backers would have to find 33 votes for the bill to be brought back. LB 627 would have given lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers the same protection against job discrimination that current law provides for people based on race, color, religion, sex, disability, marital status and national origin. Read the full story at the Omaha World-Herald.

Charles White’s Intimate and Dignified Portraits of Labor and Black Oppression

Surveying a career that spans from the Great Depression to the age of Black Power, Charles White: A Retrospective at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) tracks the artist’s development, his relationships with other political radicals and fellow travelers, as well as his mastery of art forms in service of elevating the lives of everyday African Americans and working people. Read the full story at Hyperallergic.

Kentucky teachers are calling out sick to protest bills in Legislature

Several Kentucky school districts were closed Thursday after teachers called out sick to voice their opposition to a bill they believe will benefit private schools at the expense of underfunded public schools. Read the full story at CNN.

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