Disturbing New Report Shows Dire Conditions For Grocery Workers

An alarming new survey of thousands of grocery workers across three western U.S. states reveals that they suffer from shockingly high rates of poverty. More than three-quarters of the workers meet the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s definition of ​“food insecure,” and 14% say they have been homeless within the past year. 

The survey, which was funded by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) and performed by the nonprofit research group the Economic Roundtable, drew responses from more than 10,000 workers at Kroger, the largest all-grocery chain in the United States. (Kroger also owns other grocery brands including Fred Meyer, Harris Teeter, and City Market.) The workers surveyed live in Southern California, Washington state, and Colorado, and all of them are UFCW members…

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Tudor’s Biscuit World Workers Seek A Rare Fast Food Union

Despite the political successes of the “Fight For $15” movement, actual unionized fast food restaurants are rare. Burgerville workers in Portland, Oregon recently reached an agreement on a union contract after a years-long effort, and Starbucks workers in Buffalo and elsewhere have scheduled union elections at a number of stores. Now, 25 employees of a Tudor’s in tiny Elkview, West Virginia are joining them in the vanguard of fast food organizing by seeking to unionize with UFCW Local 400. Yesterday, they filed for a union election with the NLRB.

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The Only Legally Recognized Fast Food Union Reaches Tentative Agreement

Portland, OR — The Burgerville Workers Union – Industrial Workers of the World (BVWU) has reached a tentative agreement with Burgerville on a historic contract to be ratified by a vote of workers in represented shops. Upon ratification, workers at Burgerville will become the only fast food workforce in the U.S. covered by a Collective Agreement. A milestone in one of the longest standing labor disputes in the Portland, OR area, this Agreement will set out a range of improvements in wages and working conditions for approximately 100 workers across five Burgerville locations. Burgerville and the BVWU have been in contract negotiations since June of 2018.

“A union and a contract give workers more power at work” said Mark Medina, a member of the BVWU bargaining team.

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Fast-Food Workers Strike Across California

Fast-food workers say they are fed up with their working conditions, and on Tuesday morning, they’re walking out.

Thousands of employees in the fast-food industry are going on strike across California, walking out for better working conditions, wages and hours and calling on lawmakers to offer them a bigger say in their futures.

A McDonald’s location on Floral Drive in Monterey Park, where workers allege sewers recently flooded the kitchen, is the SoCal site of the rally employees planned for 9 a.m.

Other rallies in the area are planned for 12 p.m. and 3 p.m.

By and large, fast-food employees are not represented by a union. But they’ve found ways to band together, pushing for change within the industry with previous rallies.

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Dollar General Workers Stare Down Historic Union Vote

In less than two weeks, a tiny group of a half dozen workers in Barkhamsted, Connecticut will vote on whether to become the only unionized Dollar General store employees in America. These six people in a small town about 20 miles northwest of Hartford now find themselves positioned to gain a historic toehold for organized labor inside a booming, low-wage industry. But it will not be easy.

Few companies have prospered since the beginning of the pandemic as much as Dollar General. The company boasts that three quarters of all Americans now live within five miles of one of its nearly 18,000 stores. The Washington Post reported that foot traffic at those stores has risen by a third in the past two years. Dollar General’s stock price has boomed during the pandemic, and the company is now worth almost $50 billion.

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Nationwide McDonald’s Strike Rejects ‘PR Stunt’ Wage Hike Plan

Thousands of workers of McDonald’s chain in 15 cities across the United States went on strike for wage hikes. On Wednesday, May 19, workers organized in the “Fight for 15” campaign participated in the one-day strike action across the country demanding that the minimum wages for workers at the McDonald’s chains be hiked to USD 15 per hour and the right to unionize.

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How Artificial Intelligence Depends on Low-Paid Workers

When thinking of AI futures, the classic sci-fi tropes tell us that machines will one day take over and replace humans, with robots rendering work as we know it obsolete: the outcome will either be a post-work utopia or robot-human war.

But that future is here, and the reality is far more mundane. Instead of eliminating human work, the AI industry is creating new ways of exploiting and obscuring workers.

Lurking behind the amorphous and often abstract notion of ‘AI’ are material realities. 80 percent of machine learning development consists of repetitive data preparation tasks and ‘janitorial’ work such as collecting data, labelling data to feed algorithms, and data cleaning – tasks that are a far cry from the high glamour of the tech CEOs who parade their products on stage.

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The End Of Development

When I was in high school, my economics class read The End of Poverty by Jeffrey Sachs. The book is a passionate appeal to help those living in the worst poverty in the world. Sachs writes that we should not worry too much about the people in second-to-last place, such as the poorly paid workers in labor-intensive industries who were then the focus of considerable debate and activism on U.S. college campuses. Sweatshop workers, Sachs conceded, were on the bottom rung of the ladder. But subsistence farmers were not on the ladder at all. Once we helped them get a foothold, they could begin ascending from textiles all the way up to high tech. I internalized Sachs’s argument, sensing it would help me feel better about the world we live in.

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Over 200 Small Business Restaurant Owners And Employers Endorse Raise The Wage Act

As the small restaurant sector reels from the devastating economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic, a report published Thursday by advocates for tipped workers and a $15 minimum wage revealed that phasing out subminimum wages for such workers—which can be as low as a little over $2 an hour—does not cause businesses to close. 

In fact, the report—published by the Food Labor Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley and One Fair Wage—found that the five states with the greatest rate of decline in open hospitality businesses during the pandemic are all states with a subminimum wage. 

That wage was set at $2.13 under a 1996 federal law resulting largely from lobbying by then-National Restaurant Association president Herman Cain.

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Fast Food Workers Went On Strike For $15 An Hour In 15 Cities

Fast food workers in 15 cities across the country went on a one-day strike on February 16, to demand that their employers—including McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s—pay them $15 an hour and give them union rights.

The effort, which is part of the nationwide Fight for 15 movement, comes as lawmakers in Washington debate enacting a $15-an-hour federal minimum wage as part of President Biden’s first COVID-19 relief package.

The strikes also honor Black History Month by emphasizing the generations of low pay and lacking workplace protections among Black workers, historical inequities that have been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic, and which have left Black Americans particularly vulnerable to both the virus and its economic devastation.

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The Trade Union Movement Must Organise Minimum Wage Workers

The twenty-first century has seen the Trade Union Movement in Trinidad and Tobago consistently under attack, severely criticized and victimized by the ruling economic and political elites.

The thousands of sugar workers were the first group of organised workers this century to suffer mass retrenchment. This, of course, has had the effect of severely weakening a once powerful union.

The Unions in petroleum and petrochemical industries have seen a steady decline in their workforce Thousands of direct and indirect Petrotrin workers have been thrown on the breadline as have hundreds of workers at Arcelor Mittal and hundreds at TSTT.

Jobs are disappearing at an accelerated rate in the light and heavy manufacturing industry.

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NYC Will Prohibit Major Fast Food Employers From Firing Workers Without ‘Just Cause’

NYC fast food workers would get increased protections under two bills that passed in the City Council on Thursday.

The two bills would increase protections for workers at large fast food companies, expanding upon worker protection laws passed in 2017.

One measure would prohibit fast food employers from firing workers without “just cause,” meaning showing the employee failed to meet job duties or has harmed the employer’s business interests.

Another would require that any layoffs occur by seniority, protecting workers who have been with a given company longer.

Arbitration guidelines are laid out in the bills as well.

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Fast-Food Workers Demanded — And Won — COVID Protections

Durham, NC – In early September, Jamila Allen led a group of 18 co-workers out the front doors of Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers to protest the lack of safety measures taken by management in dealing with COVID-19. A coworker had tested positive for COVID-19, but the restaurant had refused to pay workers for time to quarantine. The strikers demanded a professional deep cleaning of the store, two weeks paid leave to self-quarantine, and $15 per hour hazard pay.

Outside the eatery in West Durham, workers at the national fast-food chain were joined by dozens of supporters from the Fight for $15, the Poor People’s Campaign, and other local groups, who joined in chants of “I believe that we will win” and “Put some respect on my check.” 

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Unemployment Skyrocketing? An Evolved Society Would Celebrate

Leaf blowers are everything wrong with capitalism. . . . I’ll explain that in a minute.

We all know times are irredeemably grim, and they’re only getting worse. The unemployment level in America seems to be setting the record books aflame, and for some bizarre reason those numbers correlate nicely with the number of Americans under 40 living with their parents again. Understandably, the entire country is a little on edge. If I spend more than 30 minutes around my parents, one eye starts twitching, a dull ringing settles into my inner ear canal, and I start to think Rachel Maddow (which they leave on 24/7 as if she’s Christmas music at Macy’s) makes some logical sense.

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The Daily Life Of Those Fighting For $15 And A Union

The rank and file workers that came before us said a union was not the union hall nor the labor temple, nor was it the elected union officials that come and go. The union was its people—the honest, hardworking membership.

Comrades of sweat and toil pushed and prodded too far for the sake of an industrial tyrant’s profits. Workers who reached a point and said, “enough is enough,” who joined together, demanded change, and organized.

And in the current moment of economic turmoil and political upheaval, workers are experiencing quaint evocations of moments gone by—as if looking through an open window and scanning through the decades of militant union history, scouring the past to understand and confront today’s clear and present danger.

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