Amazon Unionization Efforts Get A Boost Under A Settlement With NLRB

According to the settlement, the online behemoth Amazon said it would reach out to its warehouse workers — former and current — via email who were on the job anytime from March 22 to now to notify them of their organizing rights. The settlement outlines that Amazon workers, which number 750,000 in the U.S., have more room to organize within the buildings. For example, Amazon pledged it will not threaten workers with discipline or call the police when they are engaging in union activity in exterior non-work areas during non-work time.

According to the terms of the settlement, the labor board will be able to more easily sue Amazon— without going through a laborious process of administrative hearings — if it found that the online company reneged on its agreement.

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Graduate Workers Win Union In Card Count

It’s official: graduate student workers at the University of New Mexico have the right to demand school officials come to the bargaining table. New Mexico’s statewide labor board counted 887 cards signed by UNM graduate students expressing their wishes to join United Graduate Workers (UGW-UE). That represents 57.3% of the 1,547 graduate workers in the bargaining unit. That total is also far beyond the 50% plus one legal majority needed to certify the union as the exclusive representative of graduate workers in negotiations with UNM.

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Who Might Strike In 2022?

2021 saw high-profile strikes and contract battles that put unions in the public spotlight. And 2022 could potentially be more explosive.

Workers are already sensing their increased leverage in a tight labor market. They’ll be feeling the squeeze of record inflation while their employers rake in profits. There’s every reason to hold the line against concessions, or to win back what they gave away before.

A Bloomberg analysis in November found that nearly 200 large union contracts (covering at least 1,000 workers) would expire between then and the end of 2022. Together these contracts cover 1.3 million workers—and there are hundreds of thousands more covered under the hundreds of smaller contracts that are also expiring.

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Low Wages And Exploitative Conditions Are Sparking Graduate Student Strikes

Many graduate students find themselves caught between these multiple fronts: burdened with past student debt, earning sub-living-wage pay in their present work and facing dwindling future opportunities. Universities have grown over-reliant on graduate students and other contingent faculty to maintain a pool of low-cost labor. But an upswell of organizing activity in the last year indicates that graduate students have been emboldened to take a collective stand against the precarity and untenable conditions that mar the academic experience in the U.S.

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UC Recognizes Student Researchers United Union Of 17,000 Workers

California – The university agreed Wednesday to recognize Student Researchers United, or SRU, a union representing 17,000 student researchers employed by the UC system.

The decision came after nearly 11,000 student researchers across the state voted Nov. 19 to authorize a strike. Out of the members who voted, 97.5% voted in favor of a strike, according to a press release from United Auto Workers, the parent union that SRU is joining.

“This is the single biggest new union filing in any industry, definitely this year if not this decade,” said UC Berkeley student researcher Tanzil Chowdhury. “Seventeen thousand new workers just joined the labor movement, which is historic.”

In the coming months, SRU will negotiate with the university to establish a contract, according to campus student researcher Tarini Hardiker.

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Going To Work Shouldn’t Be A Death Sentence

On Friday night, at a candle factory in Mayfield, Kentucky, an alarm sounded with a tornado warning. One employee, Elijah Johnson, approached his manager. “I asked to leave and they told me I’d be fired.” “‘Even with the weather like this, you’re still going to fire me?’” he asked the manager. The manager replied, “Yes.”

Workers who took shelter in hallways and bathrooms were ordered back to work. The bosses took a roll call to see if anyone had left. Three hours after the warning sirens began — more than enough time to send all employees home to seek shelter — the building was leveled by a tornado with 102 employees inside. Eight people were killed at Mayfield Consumer Products.

Workers make $8 an hour.

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Auto Workers Win Direct Democracy In Referendum

The members of the United Auto Workers have voted overwhelmingly to move to a direct voting system for choosing their union leadership—“one member, one vote.” With all votes counted as of December 2, direct elections had the support of 63.6 percent of voters.

It’s a historic win for reformers in one of the nation’s most important unions, where members have pushed for this change for decades.

The referendum is the product of a consent decree between the UAW and the U.S. Department of Justice, after a years-long series of prosecutions of top union officials on corruption charges ranging from embezzling union funds for personal use to accepting bribes from an employer, FCA (formerly Chrysler, now Stellantis), in exchange for accepting contract terms more favorable for the company.

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People In Prison Organize Collectively For Survival

On this show, we talk about how to build the relationships and analysis we need to create movements that can win. When we have talked about the rise of fascism, and how to fight it, I have often made the point that we have a lot to learn from prison organizers, who operate under the most fascistic conditions in the United States. But amid this pandemic rollercoaster of hope, disappointment and uncertainty, I feel like we also have a lot to learn from imprisoned and formerly incarcerated organizers about how to sustain ourselves and each other psychologically during hard times. So, today we are going to hear from Monica Cosby, a formerly incarcerated Chicago organizer whose insights about mutual aid as a form of social life support are invaluable right now. We are also going to hear from Alan Mills, the executive director of the Uptown People’s Law Center about the fight for mental health care in Illinois prisons, how COVID has affected the situation, and what we can do about it.

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Starbucks Workers Agree To A Union In Buffalo

Buffalo, NY – Starbucks workers at a store in Buffalo, New York, voted to unionize on Thursday, a first for the 50-year-old coffee retailer in the U.S. and the latest sign that the labor movement is stirring after decades of decline.

The National Labor Relations Board said Thursday that workers voted 19-8 in favor of a union at the Elmwood Avenue location, one of three stores in Buffalo where elections were being held. A second store rejected the union in a vote of 12-8, but the union said it might challenge that result because it wasn’t confident all of the eligible votes had been counted. The results of a third store could not be determined because both sides challenged seven separate votes.

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A New Campaign Fights To Stop The Criminalization Of Poverty

Anew campaign, Housing Not Handcuffs, is attempting to stop the criminalization of homelessness and poverty in the United States. Led by the National Homelessness Law Center, the effort builds on research the Law Center has been conducting since 2006. The Law Center’s latest report, issued in late November, tracks laws in all fifty states—plus Washington, D.C.—that make it a criminal offense to sleep, lie down, ask for money, loiter, erect a tent, put down a bedroll, “loaf,” or feed unhoused people in public.

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We Need A Peoples’ Movement And Not The World Economic Forum

Detroit, which remains a major industrial center in the sectors of automotive and other sources of production and services, is a focal point for the economic and social transformations of urban areas in the United States and internationally.

Since the 19th century, the city has been a location for various forms of manufacturing, mining and shipping.

Initially there was the strategic location linked to the Great Lakes and rivers which flow into them. The mining of copper during the mid-to-late 19th century which fueled migration eventually gave way to steam engine manufacturing for shipping and the timber trade.

By the early decades of the 20th century, the first assembly line within auto production was established by Henry Ford. The production of millions of automobiles within a matter of years, created the demand for jobs and the consequent suppression and division of labor.

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Why Unionizing Efforts Terrify Amazon

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has just ruled that a historic union vote held earlier this year among Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama, by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) was not valid. The highly publicized vote, which took place over several weeks in February and March 2021, resulted in a resounding defeat for the union, with more than 70 percent of those voting choosing against union membership. Stuart Appelbaum, president of RWDSU, accused Amazon of engaging in “efforts to gaslight its own employees,” and filed a petition in April to nullify the vote. After investigating the union’s assertion, the NLRB decided that Amazon interfered so blatantly in its workers’ ability to vote that a second election is now in order.

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What Can Organizers At Amazon Learn From Walmart? Part 2

“Amazon is the epoch-defining corporation of the moment in a way that Walmart was two decades ago,” said Howard W, an Amazon warehouse worker and organizer with Amazonians United, a grassroots movement of Amazon workers building shop-floor power. What can organizers at Amazon learn from the Walmart campaigns in the 2000s? And what can these two efforts teach us about organizing at scale? Unions haven’t successfully organized an employer with more than 10,000 workers in decades, so getting to scale is one of the most pressing challenges for the social justice movements.

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What Can Organizers At Amazon Learn From Walmart?

Amazon is the epoch-defining corporation of the moment in a way that Walmart was two decades ago,” said Howard W, an Amazon warehouse worker and organizer with Amazonians United, a grassroots movement of Amazon workers building shop-floor power. What can organizers at Amazon learn from the Walmart campaigns in the 2000s? And what can these two efforts teach us about organizing at scale? Unions haven’t successfully organized an employer with more than 10,000 workers in decades, so getting to scale is one of the most pressing challenges for the social justice movements.

To explore these questions, Howard was joined by Wade Rathke, who, as chief organizer of ACORN in the U.S. from 1970 – 2008, anchored a collaboration among ACORN, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) that aimed to organize Walmart.

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Win For Alabama Amazon Workers

In a victory for employees at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, a federal labor official on Monday formally directed a new union election following allegations that the company engaged in illegal misconduct leading up to an unsuccessful vote in April.

Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU), celebrated the order from National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region 10 Director Lisa Henderson, which a spokesperson for the agency confirmed to multiple media outlets.

“Today’s decision confirms what we were saying all along—that Amazon’s intimidation and interference prevented workers from having a fair say in whether they wanted a union in their workplace—and as the regional director has indicated, that is both unacceptable and illegal,” Appelbaum said.

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