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This Week in Workers’ News

ETSU faculty and staff rally for adjunct pay raises

Wednesday’s demonstration was part of ETSU’s third tongue-in-cheek “celebration” commemorating another year (the 21st!) without raises with a birthday cake on Faculty and Staff Appreciation Week. The rally, part of the Adjunct Action campaign organized by ETSU students, was held in conjunction with the United Campus Workers union and Democratic Socialists of America’s Northeast Tennessee chapter. Read the full story at the Johnson City Press.


Chattanooga VW Worker Organizing

Volkswagen Abandons Union Neutrality with Anti-UAW Letter

Employees showing up to work at the country’s sole Volkswagen plant were read a letter from the company’s top management expressing their opposition to unionization. The letter, a copy of which was obtained by Labor Notes, stresses that the company believes it can “achieve more” with workers through “open dialogue” than unionization. The letter also states that ”the company will hold special information sessions and provide additional communication in the coming weeks.” Read the full story at Labor Notes.

As Tenn. Workers Gear Up for Another Union Campaign, Local Media Shows Anti-Union Bias

Again and again, the Chattanooga Times Free Press relies on the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation (NRTWLDF) as a sounding board for anti-union talking points while failing to provide crucial background information on the NRTWLDF’s political agenda, finances or connections to a business-backed network of anti-worker organizations. Read the full story at In These Times.


Stop & Shop Strike

Striking Stop & Shop employees stand firm

“Our community is phenomenal,” O’Neil said. “Whether it is from the shoppers or other unions, more people coming in with their kids and dropping off food, (the support) has been phenomenal.” Read the full story at Newburyport News.

As strike goes on, effect on Stop & Shop is increasing

“In nearly 30 years, we haven’t seen a strike as effective and devastating as this one,” said Burt P. Flickinger III, managing director of Strategic Resource Group, a retail consulting firm that has evaluated grocery store strikes for three decades. Inside stores, shortages are evident. Meat and produce are rapidly disappearing from shelves, and aren’t being replaced because truck drivers in the Teamsters union are refusing to cross the picket line. Workers are blocking other trucks from making deliveries. Read the full story in the Boston Globe.

As Stop & Shop Strike Closes in on a Week, Workers Worry About Pay

During what is now the longest strike in Stop & Shop’s history, workers are going without pay to fight for a fair contract. “I’ve been working paycheck-to-paycheck my entire life. I depend on this job,” Shaunna Beck, who has worked at Stop & Shop for ten years, told WPRI. “I’m so worried right now. I can’t sleep—I’m stressed out.” Read the full story at Splinter.


Connecticut nursing home workers set May 1 strike deadline

“We refuse to be second-class citizens,” said Rob Baril, president of New England Health Care Employees Union, District 1199 SEIU. “Every caregiver knows … their work is a labor of love. But you cannot pay the rent with love.” Caregivers who packed a hearing room at the state’s Legislative Office Building Monday said they’re chronically stressed and underpaid. One worker, a certified nursing assistant at Trinity Hill Care Center in Hartford, described the ordeal of having to take on a second job to cover “basic” necessities. Read the full story at the CT Mirror.


Some Pikesville Target workers go on strike, call for boycott, citing ‘abusive treatment’ by management

Some employees’ hours have been cut significantly without explanation, and in their absence, merchandise has piled up in the back room instead of being displayed on shelves for sale. A group of about a dozen people, including at least three of the store’s workers and members of the Democratic Socialists of America, delivered the notice of a strike and their demands to a store manager in a video posted on Facebook. Read the full story at The Baltimore Sun.


Amazon workers strike at four German warehouses

Trade union Verdi said workers at warehouses in Rheinberg, Werne, Bad Hersfeld and Koblenz had stopped work, with the strike set to last until Thursday in some centers, and others potentially joining over the Easter holiday period. Read the full story at Reuters.


1,800 Tyson workers in Camila to benefit from new poultry industry contract

The negotiation team at the RWDSU Southeast Council worked to secure what the union said is the strongest contract workers in the poultry industry have seen in years. The RWDSU represents poultry workers across the southern U.S., including workers at Pilgrim’s Pride, Wayne Farms and Tyson locations in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi. Read the full story at the Albany Herald.


US companies reveal pay gap between bosses and workers

The median chief executive pay ratio for 2018 was 254:1, according to an analysis released last week by Equilar, a compensation consultancy, up from 235:1 in 2017 when only two-thirds of the companies it tracks disclosed such figures. Read the full story in the Financial Times.


What is Venezuela’s Productive Workers’ Army?

Peoples Dispatchtalks to Cira Pascual Marquina from Venezuelalysis.com about the Productive Workers’ Army, a workers’ initiative to moralise and jump start the country’s production system, which is suffering under US-backed economic sanctions. Watch the video at News Click.


Workers Should Be in Charge

Every day, private equity companies snatch up firms and strip them dry. But there’s an alternative: allow workers to buy their workplace and run it themselves. Read the full story in Jacobin.


How Disparities in Benefits Contribute to the Racial Wealth Gap

The lack of access to the same set of benefits – retirement savings products, healthcare insurance, paid time off and family leave – has proven to have long-term toxic effects for families of color in the U.S., particularly if income levels are used a threshold to keep people from participating in benefit schemes. Read the full story in Fortune.


Retired coal miner says company-appointed doctors didn’t detect silicosis

“These poor guys are sitting here dying, not knowing that they’re dying and everyone’s just like, ‘oh yeah, you’re alright, you’ve got bronchitis, you’ve got asthma, you’ve smoked when you were younger.'” Read the full story at ABC.net.


Sexual Orientation Bias at Work Goes Before Eighth Circuit

Mark Horton argues St. Louis-based Midwest Geriatric Management rescinded his job offer after the owners discovered he’s gay. In Illinois, he would have the clear right to sue for sexual orientation discrimination, but in Missouri, he faces a legal hurdle. Read the full story at Bloomberg Law.


Aramark, Food Service Workers Reach Tentative Contract

After months of negotiations, Georgetown University food service workers, represented by the labor union Unite Here, reached a tentative contract agreement with Aramark, the university’s food service provider, on April 15. Read the full story at The Hoya.


M&S food firm workers walk out over ‘poverty pay offer’

Christina Lambie, GMB Scotland organiser, said staff were barely paid enough to make ends meet. “Bakkavor’s refusal to negotiate a decent pay offer means the sites in Bo’ness are the epitome of poverty pay employment – it is a disgrace this company has marooned the majority of staff on the absolute hourly minimum. Read the full story at STV.


Worker exploitation has always been part of the video game industry’s DNA. Executives with multimillion-dollar stock packages often treat their employees like Tetris pieces, to be put into place as efficiently as possible, then promptly disposed of. There’s only one way for these workers to push back against the way they’re exploited while franchises like Call of Duty churn out money for those at the very top: unionization. Read the full story in the New York Times.


Healthcare workers protest outside Vic Fedeli’s North Bay office

The North Bay noon protest was one of the larger ones because of the sheer number of healthcare hospital-related trade unionists the conference attracted with well more than 100 people taking part in the rally which blocked motor vehicle traffic. But even that will pale in comparison to a major rally at Queen’s Park planned for April 30th. Read the full story at My Westnipissing Now.


‘We had no warning’: Friendly’s workers share how they learned they were out of a job

Hundreds of workers across Central New York and the Northeast learned Sunday, April 7 that they were out of work when their Friendly’s restaurants abruptly closed. Read the full story at Syracuse.com.


Union representing 10,000 workers weighs strike after UC imposes contract terms

“Implementation is just another of UC’s tactics to bully and confuse workers into accepting an unfair offer, and it is not the product of good-faith negotiations by UC,” said UPTE-CWA President Jamie McDole. “These workers have been fighting for a fair contract for nearly two years in which UC has made next to no movement on our key demands, which address the crisis in recruitment and retention, and protect UC students, patients, and research.” Read the full story at The Sacramento Bee.


Kaiser Permanente resumes bargaining with thousands of healthcare workers

More than 85,000 healthcare workers across the U.S. are mobilizing as contract negotiations get under way with Kaiser Permanente, after the healthcare giant recently agreed to drop a ban on employees’ speaking out on patient care issues and engaging in political activity as a condition to start bargaining. Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Union (CKPU) workers from across the country are eager to resume contract negotiations. Read the full story at The California Aggie.


‘You ignored us, now we will ignore you’: Songachi’s sex workers on why they’ll vote NOTA

For decades workers have been campaigning to get their trade legalised. “Our line of work is like any other jobs, why should we be harassed every time. We have appealed to all Netas, across party lines on numerous occasions. They all make the same promises, but once voted to power never think about us, or talk about us in Parliament. Why should we think about them when they so conveniently ignore us?” Read the full story at The Indian Express.


UC workers union calls for speakers to boycott UC commencements

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME, Local 3299 has called for speakers to boycott their UC speaking engagements amid ongoing labor disputes over outsourcing and “illegal labor practice.” Read the full story at The Daily Californian.


Boardwalk workers in protest

The workers of the Sun International entity, as members of the South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union (Saccawu) demanded that current bargaining units (units that negotiate wages on behalf of employees) be extended to include staff who are employed part-time, as well as the conversion of all part-time positions to full-time positions. Read the full story at Herald Live.


Strike Action Over Unpaid Salaries by Zambia Postal Service Workers Enters Second Month

With most of them evicted from their houses due to failure to pay rentals and others struggling to pay school fees according to Union Leaders, the workers vowed never to resume work until they are paid their salaries. Read the full story at Lusakatimes.com.


‘Ethical’ Rainforest Café Claws-back Tips, Attacks Unions, Workers Say

Workers United Canada spokesperson, Ryan Hayes, told PressProgress that “salaried managers were added to the tip-out pool, effectively forcing these workers to subsidize their employer’s payroll costs.” Read the full story at PressProgress.


Students rally for Bennington College workers

About a dozen employees of the Dining Services, Buildings and Grounds and Housekeeping departments spoke during the meeting, describing working conditions at the elite private college and their experiences trying to make ends meet, especially when hit by thousands in medical costs that are not covered by insurance. Read the full story at the Bennington Banner.


Placentia Municipal Workers Vote In Favour Of Strike Action

It’s been about 46 weeks since collective bargaining began. Local 1761 president Gerry Quilty says members are frustrated by what they feel are unnecessary delays by the employer. The union says the town’s use of outside consultants to do their bargaining has been a “waste of time and money.” Read the full story at VOCM.


Industrial and Commercial Workers Union wades into brouhaha at Mövenpick

The Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU), a member of the Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC), wants the management of Mövenpick to quickly tackle allegations by their Ghanaian employees of racial discrimination. Some services at the plush hotel in Accra were suspended after about 100 workers laid down their tools and converged at the hotel’s foyer to protest Wednesday. Read the full story at GhanaWeb.


Ann Arbor Coffee Chain Baristas Say They’re Being Laid Off After Unionizing

Employees at the cafes organized protests on Tuesday. They alleged that non-union members will be allowed to continue Mighty Good Coffee’s roasting business, while union workers will be left without jobs. Read the full story at Eater.


Will workers bring Little Big Burger’s Little Big Union to Capitol Hill?

Crowell, who serves, cooks, and washes dishes, says that the company has acted pro-employee in public, but behind the scenes is a different story. People have been written up for small infractions and union posters were torn down in one shop’s break area due to an anti-solicitation policy, according to Crowell. The company is now allowing the posters to go up. Read the full story at Capitol Hill Seattle.

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