2022 Labor Notes: ‘A Special Moment for the Labor Movement’

Angela Bunay

Labor Notes | July 21, 2022

“The stage of the Labor Notes conference tonight is arguably the epicenter of the U.S. labor movement,” tweeted New York Times labor reporter Noam Scheiber during the Friday night plenary, which included Chicago Teachers Union President Stacy Davis Gates, Nolan Tabb of the UAW at John Deere, Michelle Eisen from Starbucks Workers United, Teamsters President Sean O’Brien, and Amazon Labor Union President Christian Smalls. Photo: Jim West, jimwestphoto.com

Despite nationwide flight cancellations due to weather conditions and labor shortages, the 2022 Labor Notes Conference drew a huge and diverse crowd of more than 4,000 workers from across the globe.

They heard daring tales of organizing, learned strategies for getting a first contract, and joined a joyous Juneteenth celebration. Many workshops were packed, standing room only.

“We are in many ways living through a very hard time, and yet the outlook for working people is hopeful,” said Alexandra Bradbury, editor of Labor Notes, at the Friday night main session. “The terrain has shifted, and there’s a new spirit of resistance. We all feel it. There’s hope in the air.”

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UK: ‘We’re back,’ unions declare in resounding message to the bosses

‘It is time for the trade union movement to be reborn,’ huge crowd at Durham Miners’ Gala hears

Peter Lazenby

Morning Star | July 10, 2022

RMT members at the Durham Miners’ Gala Photo: Neil Terry Photography / neilterryphotography.co.uk

UNIONS declared “we’re back!” in a resounding message to employers at the Durham Miners’ Gala on Saturday as a crowd of more than 200,000 roared their approval.

The declaration came from RMT general secretary Mick Lynch and was backed by speaker after speaker, including Unite’s Sharon Graham, who told the mass gathering: “It is time for the trade union movement to be reborn.

“We must organise, we must mobilise and, crucially, we must act as one.”

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How Starbucks Workers Won in Mesa

Saurav Sarkar

Labor Notes | March 05, 2022

Starbucks workers from a Mesa, Arizona store celebrated their union win alongside local members of Workers United’s Western States Regional Joint Board. Photo: WSRJB Workers United SEIU

Starbucks Workers United (SWU) won its third store election February 28 in Mesa, Arizona. The vote was an overwhelming 25-3, with three additional contested ballots, despite heavy anti-union pressure from the company and in a state with only 5.4 percent union density.

“We led with kindness and care and just did our jobs in the face of union-busting from upper management,” said shift supervisor Liz Alanna, who helped lead the effort. Shift supervisors coordinate the day-to-day running of a store but are eligible for union membership because they don’t have hiring and firing power.

The Mesa store at Powerline and Baseline Roads became the first U.S. company-run store outside Buffalo to be unionized in the recent organizing wave.

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U.S.: Amazon Warehouse Workers Fight to Form Union

POLITSTURM.COM | October 23, 2021

Amazon Warehouse Workers Fight to Form Union

Amazon workers at the Staten Island, New York Fulfillment Center are preparing to file for a union election with the National Labor Relations Board. As previously reported, workers at this location have already brought a lawsuit against Amazon with respect to working conditions and hazards, which was subsequently dismissed. Now, workers are preparing to unionize at this location. 

Amazon has taken actions to dissuade unionization by reportedly confiscating pro-union literature and distributing anti-union flyers. The company has also slandered an organizer who was fired from the location due to his unionization effort. A leaked memo described organizer and former warehouse employee Christian Smalls as “not smart or articulate”. 

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MAY DAY 2021

Long live International Workers’ Day! Long live socialism: Statement by the European Communist Initiative

Statement by the Initiative of the Communist and Workers’ Parties for the 2021 May Day, the International Worker’s Day:

The Parties of the European Communist Initiative send a warm militant salute to the workers of our Continent, to the working class of the world.

We are inspired by the flame of the workers of Chicago, we honor the men and women of our class who fell on the battlefields of the class struggle.

The struggles of the workers in every period and around the world are the only ones that have made it difficult for the exploiters, who have brought conquests, have questioned their dominance and power. Because the power of the workers can abolish capitalist slavery. This is exactly what the exploiters are afraid of.Read More »

MAY DAY 2021

Tough times are ahead – and every worker will need their union

Frances O’grady

Morning Star | May 01, 2021

Every time key workers put on a uniform they’re putting their health on the line for the rest of us.

That’s why allegations of government sleaze are all the more shocking. While underpaid health care heroes risked their lives, ministers’ mates lined their pockets.Read More »

WORKERS FIGHT AGAINST BIG TECH

‘They track our every move’: why the cards were stacked against a union at Amazon

Michael Walker

The Conversation | April 23, 2021

“Working at an Amazon warehouse is no easy thing. The shifts are long. The pace is super-fast. You are constantly being watched and monitored. They seem to think you are just another machine.”

So testified Jennifer Bates before a US Senate Budget Committee hearing into income and wealth inequality on March 17. Less than a month later her co-workers at Amazon’s fulfilment centre in Bessemer, Alabama, voted 1,798 to 738 against allowing the Retail, Wholesale and Department Stores Union into their workplace to represent them.Read More »

WORKERS OF TECH GIANTS ARE FIGHTING BACK

Google Employees and Other Alphabet Units Form a Union

teleSUR | January 05, 2021

Google Employees and Other Alphabet Units Form a Union

The new labor group focuses not only on wages and benefits like most unions, but also aims to play a role in the tech giant’s ethical decisions and protection against arbitrary firings for activism.

Employees of U.S. tech company Google and other units of its parent company Alphabet announced Monday the creation of a union, intensifying a period of activism targeting the Silicon Valley giants.

According to a statement, the Alphabet Workers Union, affiliated with the Communications Workers of America, aims to represent well-paid workers in the tech sector and temporary employees and contractors.

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WORKERS PROTEST IN SOUTH AFRICA

South African Unions Prepare for Historic Strike on October 7

Pavan Kulkarni

People’s Dispatch | October 07, 2020

The 1.8 million-strong member COSATU will also be joined by other trade unions confederations such as SAFTU and FEDUSA. Photo: Times Live

South Africa is bracing for one of the decade’s most significant general strikes on Wednesday, October 7. Unions are protesting rampant corruption and looting of COVID-19 funds, and the government’s failure to honor a 2018 wage agreement in the public sector.

Unions from across sectors are mobilizing for the strike, called for by the 1.8 million-strong Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU). It is the largest trade union confederation in the country.

COSATU has traditionally been an ally of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), which, it now believes, has openly betrayed the country’s working class. This shift in COSATU’s position raises questions about the future of this alliance. It may also open up possibilities for greater unity in the trade union movement, which has faced divisions over the question of the ANC.Read More »

WORKERS’ PROTEST IN FRANCE

French Unions Hit the Streets Against Anti-worker Policies

Peoples Dispatch | September 18, 2020

On September 17, trade unions in France, including the General Confederation of Labor (CGT) took to the streets of Paris against the anti-worker policies of the Macron government. They marched in opposition to the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the proposed pension reforms.

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