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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When Scabs Are A Danger To Public Health

A dozen oil workers rally in front of the United Metro Energy (UMEC) terminal in Brooklyn on their 113th day on strike August 10. They’re fighting one of the largest suppliers of heating oil and motor fuels in New York. The strike began months prior, on April 19. After workers spent one of the hottest summers in decades on the picket line, the rally provided a much-needed morale boost. The workers were joined by dozens of supporters, including fellow Teamsters and some perhaps unexpected allies — four of New York City’s elected democratic socialists, all of whom campaigned for the drastic reduction of fossil fuel use.

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First Farmworker Union Forms In New York State

Twelve workers at a Long Island vineyard became the first agricultural workers to form part of a labor union in New York State. On Sept. 27, the New York State Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) certified Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW, to represent these workers, who are employed at Pindar Vineyards in Peconic, New York.

“My coworkers at Pindar and I joined Local 338 because we want dignity and respect. Our work should be valued and only by receiving equal treatment and things like sick days and paid time off to spend with our loved ones will it be,” Rodolfo M., Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW member and worker at Pindar Vineyards, said in a statement. “We know that being a union member will help us get the recognition we deserve for all of our efforts.”

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More Than 2,000 Nurses And Health Care Workers Strike In Buffalo

Roughly 2,200 nurses, aides and health care staff walked off the job Friday morning in Buffalo, New York, to fight for better wages, staffing and working conditions at Mercy Hospital of Buffalo.

Workers on the picket line describe horrific conditions at the hospital. Patients’ rooms, hallways, cafeterias and even medical equipment are filthy because the hospital refuses to hire enough workers.

“Very poor conditions,” Carrie Dilbert, a registered nurse, told cable news station Spectrum News. “The hospital is not kept up the way it needs to be. It’s very dirty. Very low staffed. The morale is terrible. The culture there is terrible.”

“It’s heartbreaking when I have to decide which critical patient I really need to take care of,” Maureen Kryszak from the Emergency Department told Spectrum News.

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Walmart Salon Closed After All Hairstylists Walk Out

Allegany, New York — The salon at Walmart was closed Tuesday after the entire staff quit at the same time.

The SmartStyle Hair Salon’s doors were locked Tuesday morning with the message “We Out” on a poster hanging in the window. The poster also included the note, “We love our people,” and listed where each of the stylists had moved to.

Staff member Dana Roth said the mass exit was inevitable with the way the site’s upper management had disregarded any concerns voiced to them.

“The last nine months especially has been fairly taxing with us having had a limited staff and no support from the higher-ups,” Roth told the Times Herald.

A manager at Allegany Walmart said there was nothing they could comment on at the store level and to contact the corporate office.

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Andrew Cuomo Is One Of Many Bad Apples In A Rotten System

Andrew Cuomo has resigned as governor of New York one week after a damning report confirmed that he had sexually assaulted multiple women.

The report that came out August 3 highlights that Cuomo sexually assaulted 11 women, and describes efforts by his staff to discredit the accusers. He is now facing criminal charges in relation to one of these assaults. He responded with a bizarre video of him kissing people on the cheek, denying any wrongdoing. But the official report was too much to be ignored — the Democratic Party, including President Joe Biden, quickly turned against him and he was forced to resign. Even now, Cuomo has refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing. He said, “In my mind, I’ve never crossed the line with anyone but I didn’t realize the extent to which the line has been redrawn.”

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New Yorkers Rally For Drone Whistleblower Daniel Hale

A press conference was held on Saturday, July 17th on the High Line in New York City to support former Air Force “intelligence” analyst Daniel E. Hale, who faces 10 years in prison on July 27 after releasing government documents revealing atrocities of the U.S. drone program and details of its inner workings, such as the creation of “kill” lists. The event was organized by and held at an art installation by Sam Durant called “Untitled (drone).”

On Tuesday, July 27th, truth-teller Daniel Hale is scheduled to be sentenced in federal court, possibly up to 10 years in prison, after pleading guilty to one count of violating the 1917 Espionage Act. He is accused of providing government documents to The Intercept and of anonymously writing a chapter for the 2016 book, The Assassination Complex: Inside the Government’s Secret Drone Warfare Program.

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After Blocking Israeli Ship From Unloading…

After their success blocking an Israeli ZIM cargo ship from unloading at the Port of Oakland on Friday, pro-Palestine activists held the first-ever pro-Palestine protest in the Port of NY-NJ.

The newly formed Block the Boat NY coalition organized a protest against the ZIM Tarragona, which was scheduled to arrive at the port Sunday morning.

The protest has been organized as part of the International Week-of-Action called by the Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC) of San Francisco.

Hundreds of pro-Palestine protesters had prevented the unloading of the Israeli container ship from Asia at the Port of Oakland on Friday, with the cooperation of the local longshoremen’s union, which refused to unload the vessel.

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Draft Legislation Would Put Gig Workers Into Toothless ‘Unions’

New York – An effort backed by the New York State AFL-CIO would create a new bargaining scheme for app-based workers without addressing the question of whether or not these workers are legally “employees.”

Labor Notes obtained a draft version of the legislation that is being negotiated by unions and app employers.

Workers for apps like Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash are currently considered independent contractors; most in the labor movement consider them misclassified, a tactic the companies use to avoid paying the full cost of benefits. These workers are blocked from unionizing by antitrust laws, and don’t have the protection of the National Labor Relations Board (or many other protections).

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Unresolved Questions About NY’s Excluded Workers Fund

It has been just over two weeks since the $2.1 billion Excluded Workers Fund was approved as part of New York’s State budget deal and the state Department of Labor, charged with running the program and coming up with the application form, has yet to provide answers to basic questions about the initiative—such as when can the process will begin or what will happen if the number of applicants exceeds the estimated 290,000 people the state expects will be eligible.

The Excluded Workers Fund would divide the target population into two groups: the first, known as tier 1, would include those who can demonstrate both New York residency (before March 27, 2020) and lost income due to the pandemic (by showing taxes from previous years; W-2s or 1099s; letters from former employers with dates of employment; or pay stubs).

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‘We’re Reversing 90 Years Of Prohibition’

On Tuesday night, New York went from being the marijuana arrest capital of the world to passing one of the most progressive legalized cannabis laws in the country. Update: Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill on Wednesday morning [more details below].

As expected, the State Assembly and the State Senate both overwhelmingly passed the Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act, which permits adults 21 and over to purchase marijuana and grow the plant in their home. The legislation’s two main sponsors, Assemblymember Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Senator Liz Krueger, had fought for the bill’s passage for more than seven years. Governor Andrew Cuomo, who had repeatedly tried to impose his own legalization plan on the legislation, agreed to sign the MRTA last week, as he continues to govern amid multiple scandals and investigations.

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Support Grows For Striking Columbia University Graduate Students

Today marks the beginning of the third week of the Columbia University graduate workers strike. The courageous struggle by over 3,000 graduate student-workers for improved wages, benefits and working conditions continues to receive support from workers at Columbia and more broadly throughout the US.

Last Thursday, rank-and-file members of the Graduate Workers of Columbia (GWC), which is affiliated with the UAW, defied an attempt by the union bargaining committee to shut down the strike with a deal that would have signified a de facto pay cut for the graduate students, taking into account inflation and union dues. Now, the university, whose president Lee Bollinger takes home $4 million every year, is significantly ramping up pressure on the graduate students to force them to give in.

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Cuomo’s Nursing Home Scandal Vindicates His Critics In The Press

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s moment as the “hero” of the Covid-19 crisis is fading, with revelations (New York Times, 2/12/21) that his administration covered up the scope of the coronavirus death toll in the state’s nursing homes, as one Cuomo aide “admitted that the state had withheld data because it feared an investigation by the Trump Justice Department.” The anger at the governor is bipartisan; legislators on both sides of the aisle are discussing curtailing his powers, and even impeachment (City and State, 2/12/21).

It seems like yesterday when Cuomo, the son of legendary New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, was in the spotlight as the leader who rose to the occasion in cinematic fashion. 

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In A Six-Day Strike, Bronx Produce Workers Inspired New York

New York City – Drivers and warehouse workers who feed New York City have won their strike. After six days off the job, the strikers at Hunts Point Produce Market in the Bronx ratified a contract that doubled management’s wage offer and defeated a health care cost increase.

The 1,400 workers at the world’s largest wholesale produce market, members of Teamsters Local 202, are responsible for packing and delivering 60 percent of the fruits and vegetables that go to restaurants and grocery stores in New York City.

The unit is comprised of 14 different companies that bargain a contract together. Before the strike, the employers were offering a raise of just 32 cents an hour, and wanted to pass on to workers an increase in health care costs.

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‘What I Want For Me, I Want For You’

The 1,400 workers at Hunts Point Market, the largest produce distribution market in the country, went on strike the night of Sunday, January 17. They walked out of the warehouse to win a better contract after risking their lives as essential workers since the beginning of the pandemic. 

Management offered them a minimal $0.32 per hour raise. Their demands? Bring members who are making $18.75 an hour up to $20 an hour, give everyone else a $1 an hour raise, and maintain their healthcare coverage at no additional costs to the workers. This was the first time the union, Teamsters Local 202, went on strike since at Hunts Point 1986. 

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