Greetings from the Burgh, where a major immigrants rights organization stands accused of union busting.
Hello Neighbor Immigrant Rights Group Busts Union Drive
Hello Neighbor has quickly established itself as one of the top non-profit groups helping immigrants in Pittsburgh. However, critics say that Hello Neighbor has emulated many of the anti-union tactics of many of its corporate donors.
Recently, when a union of Hello Neighbor workers sought public recognition, Hello Neighbor responded by firing 3 union activists.
“We’ve seen these types of anti-union tactics before, but it’s even more frustrating to watch an employer, whose supposed mission is to uplift the community, tear down their own workers,” said Steelworkers District 10 Director Bernie Hall in a statement. “Firing employees and taking staff away from refugees and immigrants who need and deserve help and resources does nothing to help anyone.
Hello Neighbor has yet to respond to the criticism.
For more, check out the Steelworkers statement.
Nissan Techs in Tennessee to Vote on Union
In 2017, workers in Nissan’s 3000-worker Canton, Mississippi plant, defeated a move to join the UAW by a 2-1 margin.
Now, a group of 86 skilled technicians at Nissan’s plant in Smyrna, Tennessee is considering joining the machinists union (IAM). On Friday, the National Labor Relations Board granted these 86 workers the right to a union election without the rest of the plant.
With a smaller workforce voting on unionizing at a Nissan plant, union officials feel that they have a better chance of winning.
“The IAM is pleased that the National Labor Relations Board has applied the correct standard in this case, finding that the IAM’s petitioned-for group of tool and die, maintenance technicians, qualify as craft employees, and therefore should properly be considered as a standalone craft unit,” the IAM said in a statement. “This ruling sets a strong precedent going forward that appropriately classifies standalone craft units.
For more on the union election, check out the Tennessean.
YouTube Music Workers Strike
Last week, Google (the parent company of YouTube) announced it was laying off 12,000 workers nationwide. Despite the threat of layoffs, some workers employed by YouTube Music contractor Cognizant, affiliated with CWA, aren’t afraid to strike
Today, a group of 40 workers employed by Cognizant are on strike to protest the company’s insistence that workers work from its offices in Austin; an expensive move for the more than 25% of the workforce that doesn’t live in Austin.
“Workers are paid around $19 an hour and thus, cannot afford the relocation, travel or childcare costs associated with in-person work,” the union said in a statement. “The upcoming return to office date threatens the livelihoods of workers who do not live in the Austin area. Workers demand that Cognizant and Google management meet with workers to establish a new RTO policy that is fair, flexible, and does not threaten the safety and livelihoods of workers.”
For more on the strike, check out VICE.
REI Employees Strike in Cleveland
After REI Workers in the Cleveland suburb of Beachwood went out on strike Friday, the company agreed to stop delaying and allow the union to hold an election. If successful, the union at REI would be the third one in the country and could inspire more organizing at the chain.
“We are basically making demands that we have a livable wage, that we are able to live our lives outdoors, like REI’s mission statement includes,” REI employee John Ginter told Ideastream. “So having a better work/life balance, being able to care for ourselves and to increase benefits for employees across the spectrum, whether or not they are part time, full time, whatever that situation would be.”
For more on organizing efforts at REI, check out Common Dreams.
Woburn Teachers End Strike But Agree to Pay $225,000
In Woburn, Massachusetts, teachers ended a nearly week-long strike after winning a 13% wage increase over 4 years.
As part of the settlement, the union has agreed to pay $225,000 to cover the costs of the strike incurred by the school district.
“We claim victory for a fair contract, and we claim victory for a unified community — one of transparency, integrity and decency,” Woburn Teachers Association President Barbara Locke said at a press conference.
300,000 British Healthcare Workers Take Part in the largest Healthcare Strike in UK History
Finally, in Great Britian, more than 300,000 healthcare workers are staging the biggest healthcare strike in UK History. The Guardian has an op-ed from an NHS nurse, Maxine Wade, describing why she is on strike:
Wards are so drastically understaffed that patient safety is at risk on a daily basis. I look after up to 12 patients on a shift. What that looks like in practice is managing 12 sets of medication, care plans and paperwork, updating 12 different families, and providing tailored care for 12 different people: signing forms for procedures, changing dressings, making sure they don’t become unwell, escalating concerns to the doctor. Making sure 12 different people are eating and drinking and using the toilet.
I do this more or less single-handedly, because every other nurse and healthcare assistant on shift has 12 patients, too. The pressures we are facing are so inhumane that every single day I wonder if it will be the day that I’m going to make a mistake that costs someone their life.
There was no lightbulb moment that pushed me towards strike action – it was more like death by a thousand cuts. I voted to take strike action last year without knowing if I would join the picket lines, but a recent shift convinced me it would be irresponsible not to stand alongside my colleagues. It was a busy day on the ward like any other; we were understaffed and fighting fires. As I looked down the corridor, I saw the only other nurse on shift – recently qualified, like me, with 12 patients on her list. We locked eyes and stood holding each other’s gaze for a second, both of us knowing we were drowning.
At work, I’m somebody I no longer like very much. I focus on getting as much done as possible and freeing up beds. Patient-centred care is a distant memory. We are expected to be robots with no emotion. After a patient dies, within half an hour I am caring for somebody new in the same bed – there is simply no time for processing difficult days.
For more, check out the Guardian.
Strikes & News Happening Elsewhere
German postal workers to strike over plans to raise retirement age
Air traffic controllers strike at 16 Spanish airports
Head of Hollywood’s Teamsters Local 399, urges members to save up for event of strike
1,500 Sharp Grossmont Hospital workers vote to unionize in San Diego
STUDY: Employers are charged with violating federal law in nearly 40% of union elections
Portland city workers declare victory after 12-hour strike
Sonic Drive-In Workers strike in South Carolina
Archer Daniel Midland workers strike in Central Illinois
Finally, Labor Central Asias has a look at if Uzbekistan 1st democratic elected trade union will survive
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