Folks, Greetings from the Burgh, where the SEIU is seeking federal anti-trust action against UPMC for suppressing workers’ wages in the state.
SEIU Files Anti-Trust Claim Against UPMC
On Thursday, a coalition of groups led by SEIU filed an anti-trust complaint against UPMC (the largest employer in Pennsylvania). The groups accused UPMC of using their near-monopoly on Healthcare in Western PA to suppress wages for healthcare workers.
For years, SEIU has attempted to unionize UPMC, only to be frustrated by furious union busting. Now, SEIU is putting political and financial pressure on UPMC to agree to neutrality in organizing, hoping it will help them unionize UPMC facilities.
SEIU is pushing with their ally Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey to strip UPMC of its tax-exempt status as a “non-profit.” Now, the union is hoping to apply more pressure by pushing federal anti-trust charges with the Department of Justice against the healthcare giant.
“We believe that if UPMC faced real competitive market pressures, it would not have been able to keep wages this low, keep increasing workloads year after year, or impose restrictions on workers that keep them from improving their working conditions,” SEIU Healthcare President Matt Yarnell said in a statement released today.
For more on the effort, check out the New York Times.
UPMC Says I Owe Them $190 for Healthcare
Speaking of UPMC, I still owe them $190 for my healthcare premium this month.
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Striking Writers Launch Their Own Late-Night Program
This week, Variety is reporting that film permits are down this week in LA by 69% versus pre-strike levels. However, that is not to say that unionized writers aren’t working in LA. Some striking late-night TV comedy writers have even launched their own show online, alternatively titled “Pickets Tonite” or “The Jokes You Love from the Picket Signs but We’re Saying Them Out Loud.”
“As you may know, writers are on strike,” Greg Iwinski, a former writer for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, said on a recent episode. “What you may not know is that according to nine out of ten doctors, if a late-night writer doesn’t do monologue jokes for too many consecutive days, they die.”
For more on the show, check out Deadline.
600 San Diego Bus Drivers Strike
In San Diego, 600 bus drivers, members of the Teamsters employed by Transdev, are out on strike. The workers say that they are on strike over fundamental human rights issues.
“We shouldn’t be negotiating restroom and meal break areas in the labor agreement,” Jose Puga with Teamsters Local 683 told KNSD. “That’s something that every employer has to have for their employees here in California but it seems that this company and MTS, they’ve been doing it for the last decade so they think we are just going to take it, and we’re not.”
Yakima Valley Mushroom Workers Win $3.4 Million Settlement.
In the Yakima Valley of Washington, Payday Report has covered how migrant farmworkers have been organizing at an incredible rate for several years now, organizing that intensified during the pandemic with a series of simultaneous strikes at 13 different farms at one point.
Now, 170 workers have won a $3.4 million settlement over discrimination from Ostrom, a major producer of mushrooms in the Valley. The Yakima Herald-Republic has the story:
Prior to April 2021 at Ostrom, 117 workers were from the local community, and 87% of workers were women, the release said. In April 2022, 50 workers were from Washington, and 65 H-2A workers were employed by Ostrom. Three percent of those H-2A workers were women, and the female workforce had been reduced by 60%, the release said.
One former worker at the news conference said her firing had an emotional impact.
“That affected me emotionally, I was crying and very sad,” said Javita Bustamante.
For more, check out the Yakima Herald-Republic.
After Threatening to Pull $4 Billion, Mayo Clinic Exempted from Staffing Rules
This week, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed a package that expands nine key labor rights provisions that are being widely celebrated, but nurses say that Walz is leaving them behind.
The package mandates every full-time worker receive at least six paid sick days. The measure also bans captive audience anti-union meetings in the state. The package also allows teachers to bargain over class sizes, imposes enhanced workplace safety inspections on Amazon and meatpackers in the state, and the state will create a first of its kinds ergonomics standard, among other measures.
(For a full list of the labor provisions, check out the Minnesota Reformer)
However, a critical provision that would have implemented “safe staffing ratios” was left out of the package. The measure is slated to move forward after the famous Mayo Clinic was granted an exemption from “safe staffing ratio” rules.
The move comes after the Mayo Clinic threatened not to invest $4 billion in the state if they were forced to implement the rule.
“It’s crystal clear that the governor has said that he wants to be sure, and he’s making a judgment from his perspective as the governor, that it is better for Mayo to be carved out of this provision,” State Senator Erin Murphy said at a press conference. “I don’t agree but I want, for the 90 percent of the hospitals that are going to benefit from this legislation, I want us to proceed.”
For more, check out the Minnesota Reformer.
Strikes & News Happening Elsewhere
Nigerian Doctors Begin a 5-Day Nationwide Strike
Ohio’s Miami U Faculty Unionize
With less than 45% of the staff making less than $15-an-hour, Buffalo area-nursing homes workers go on strike
160 technicians go on strike at 6 Ford Assembly plants around the country
Finally, NW Labor Press has a long look at when Vancouver, Washington teachers went to jail for striking in 1973.
Alright, yinz I’m gonna get to bed!
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See yinz tomorrow,