Posted on February 15, 2014 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Bruce Vail
United Airlines attendants still face furloughs and a possible shift to the Continental side of the company, but on the union’s terms. Wikimedia Commons
After United Airlines tried to impose “involuntary furloughs” on nearly 700 members of the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) in January, aggressive pushback from the labor union forced a compromise late last week, according to labor and management representatives.
Open conflict between AFA and United erupted January 15 with news that the airline company aimed to bypass the existing collective bargaining agreement and force as many as 685 attendants off the job—for good, unless they are recalled by the company. United, which is currently laboring to complete its 2010 merger with Continental Airlines, sought to soften the blow by offering the affected United attendants similar jobs at Continental, but AFA leaders were angered by what they saw as an end run around their contract. Continue reading
Filed under: Organizing, Strikes and work action | Tagged: AFA, Association of Flight Attendants, United Airlines | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 9, 2014 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Bruce Vail
Airlines moves to aggressively cut the size of its workforce, labor relations between the company and the Association of Flight Attendants
(AFA) union are taking a turn for the worse.
On January 15, United managers announced their intention to put nearly 700 attendants on “involuntary furlough” starting April 1. It’s a move that circumvents the collective bargaining process and will harm AFA members, union spokesperson Christopher Clarke tells Working In These Times.
Currently, AFA has about 13,000 members at United, with those numbers continuing to fall. In 2010, the company merged with Continental Airlines, which led to a reduction in the total workforce of the combined airlines. But according to Clarke, United began cutting flight attendant numbers even before the merger. In fact, he says, the company has been steadily eliminating attendant jobs for the last five years. Continue reading
Filed under: Strikes and work action | Tagged: AFA, Association of Flight Attendants, United Airlines | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 7, 2014 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Jason Redrup
A group of Boeing workers to vote down a surprise mid-contract concessionary agreement. Photo: Jim Levitt.
Earlier this year, members at District 751 endured a devastating loss to our solidarity and the benefits we had fought decades to secure because of the actions of our International leadership. If what happened at 751 goes unchallenged, it will set a dangerous pattern for other contracts across the country. My goal is to ensure what happened in Seattle, doesn’t happen to another group of Machinists.
Even though we had a contract in place through 2016 and our District strongly objected, our International ordered a vote on a concessionary offer be held on Jan. 3rd knowing thousands of union members would be on vacation and unable to vote. This vote was ordered after many members had already begun their holidays, and the International refused to move the vote just one business day. With nearly 8,000 members not voting, we are now forced to live under a contract that eliminated pensions for all, more than doubles health care costs, slows wage growth by 75 percent and keeps us from returning to the bargaining table until 2024. This came not when Boeing was hurting, but enjoying record profits and backlogs. Continue reading
Filed under: Economy, Strikes and work action | Tagged: Boeing, IAM, IAM 751 | Leave a comment »
Posted on January 30, 2014 by dsalaborblogmoderator
Members of three postal unions and community supporters gathered outside a Bronx post office slated for closure. The laid-off workers may be replaced by Staples workers. Photo: Alexandra Bradbury.
Staples’ latest ad slogan is “What the L?” That sounds like what postal workers said when they found out the retail chain planned to steal their work.
The Long Island, New York, local of the American Postal Workers Union didn’t waste any time after the news broke in November. Members voted to boycott Staples and ask their friends and neighbors to do the same.
“The ball started rolling then,” said President Pete Furgiuele—and APWU soon launched a national campaign.
Across the country, local delegations visited Staples stores in January to threaten a boycott unless the retailer’s new “postal units” are staffed by actual postal employees. Continue reading
Filed under: Strikes and work action | Tagged: APWU, Staples, USPS | 1 Comment »
Posted on January 22, 2014 by dsalaborblogmoderator
Union workers at Kellogg’s Memphis plant say the company is disrespecting its majority-black workforce, locking them out to force lower pay. Photo: Steve Payne
“I went to the ‘Gold Palace,’ Kellogg headquarters, last year,” said Trence Jackson, an officer of BCTGM Local 252G. “They had a nice display in their lobby on what they do for African Americans. They also put African Americans, like Gabby [Douglas], on their cereal boxes each February.”
But this February Jackson and his co-workers at the Memphis Kellogg cereal plant face the prospect of spending Black History Month on the picket line. Three months into a lockout, the company has yet to return to the bargaining table.
During local contract negotiations in October 2013, Kellogg demanded the right to hire more part-time and casual employees, at lower pay rates. When workers voted the proposal down, Kellogg locked them out. Continue reading
Filed under: Strikes and work action | Tagged: BCTGM, BCTGM Local 252G, Kellogg, Kellogg lockout, Memphis | 1 Comment »
Posted on January 13, 2014 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Marc Norton
Carmel, celebrated as an artist colony nestled above a picturesque white-sand beach, is not where you would expect to find a picket line. But there I was, with maybe 40 others, on a Friday evening the week before Christmas, in front of the La Playa Hotel, shaking noisemakers made from plastic bottles, chanting, “WHAT DO WE WANT? OUR JOBS!”
Happy holidays, indeed.
Two years ago, in November 2011, a new owner took over the La Playa Hotel, closed it down, and put a hundred workers on the street. When the hotel reopened after a $3.5 million remodel, it was with a whole new staff. The new owner “tossed us out with the old carpets” reads a workers’ leaflet. Workers like Noe Hinojosa, who had been at the hotel 33 years, like Suong Edwards, who had worked there 31 years, like Sherrie Watkins, who had served guests for 28 years. Continue reading
Filed under: Organizing, Strikes and work action | Tagged: Carmel, La Playa Hotel, UniteHere, UniteHere Local 2 | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 31, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Carl Finamore
Local IAM District 751 union leaders in the state of Washington are feeling the fallout of Boeing’s extremely well-orchestrated counteroffensive begun immediately after Nov. 13 when 67% of union members rejected the company’s concessionary contract extension through 2024 of an existing agreement that does not actually expire until 2016.
Everyone expected Boeing would turn up the heat by threatening economic catastrophe for the Puget Sound area and thousands of lost jobs but these unionists were blindsided from a most unexpected source.
The IAM international, overruling local leadership, abruptly announced a Jan. 3 vote of another extension agreement eerily similar to the one that had just been rejected.
District 751’s website reported “International President R. Thomas Buffenbarger ordered the vote over objections of 751’s elected officials… and announced the Jan. 3rd vote to the Seattle Times on Saturday, Dec. 21.” Continue reading
Filed under: Organizing, Politics, Strikes and work action | Tagged: Boeing, concessionary bargaining, IAM, IAM 751, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, race to bottom, Thomas Buffenbarger | 4 Comments »
Posted on December 20, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Wade Rathke
New Orleans We are now several weeks past Black Friday, the annual shopping extravaganza that seems to defy logic, but one hardcore, working mother desperate for Christmas bargains defined it as her annual “Super Bowl of shopping.” Walmart company representatives have described this year’s day after Thanksgiving shopping blowout as their best ever.
OUR Walmart, the UFCW’s Walmart workers organizing campaign, had declared that there would be more than a 1000 protests around the country with thousands of Walmart workers striking to protest abysmal wages and working conditions. The company claims that there were no more strikers in 2013 than they had seen in 2012. Yet, clearly giving the rollup it has to be unquestionable that there were more actions in 2013, whether rallies or demonstrations or witnessing or whatever, but were there more strikers and under any circumstances how do we prove the point and move forward?
And, that’s the organizing dilemma. What happens when you issue the call for these kind of publicity strikes and people come, but no one knows? Does it have any effect? Is this a tree falling in the forest that is heard or ignored? Continue reading
Filed under: Low wage workers, Organizing, Strikes and work action | Tagged: BlackFriday, United Food & Commercial Workers, Walmart | 1 Comment »
Posted on December 18, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Marc Norton
In 1937, Woolworth’s was the Walmart of its day. The company had transformed the retail marketplace by creating a national chain of stores staffed by low-wage workers, mostly young women. The lunch counters in these stores, serving inexpensive food, were in some ways a precursor to today’s fast food mega-corporations.
So the story of a successful sit-down strike at a Woolworth’s in Detroit gives us some useful parallels for low-wage workers today. In the wake of the Walmart and fast food strikes on Black Friday and December 5, it’s worth asking where the movement is going. What are its goals? How can they be achieved? Are workers getting organized for the long haul? Are we on a path to victory?
The Detroit sit-down electrified the nation at the time, but has been relegated to a footnote in mainstream history, even among labor historians. A recent pamphlet by history professor Dana Frank at the University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC) should resurrect this history and its lessons. Continue reading
Filed under: Labor History, Low wage workers, Strikes and work action | Tagged: 1937 Woolworth Sit-down strike, CIO, United Auto Workers, Walmart | 2 Comments »
Posted on December 10, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Laura Clawson
New York City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez rallies with fired Domino’s workers.
In response to last week’s strike by fast food workers, Manhattan Domino’s Pizza provided a crystal-clear example of why fast food workers are striking and organizing for better wages and working conditions:
Employees of a Washington Heights Domino’s claim they were fired from their delivery jobs after complaining to management about unfair wages. Workers at the 181st street chain participated in last Thursday’s nationwide walkout in solidarity with the country’s underpaid fast food workers, which included strong numbers of workers and supporters in New York City. Following the walkout, delivery workers—who are paid under $6 an hour and rely on tips to make a living wage—were asked to work extended hours inside the restaurant but were not offered increased hourly pay for their time inside the store. After bringing the issue to management’s attention, the 24 employees were fired. Continue reading
Filed under: Low wage workers, Strikes and work action | Tagged: Domino's Pizza, fast food, wage theft | 2 Comments »