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Updated: 1 hour 43 min ago

Stickering Up for Paid Sick Days

Mon, 08/21/2017 - 12:56

In July 2016, personal trainers in Toronto at GoodLife Fitness, Canada's largest fitness company, voted to unionize with the Canada Council of Workers United, forming the first fitness sector union in North America. A few months later they were joined by personal trainers at GoodLife in two nearby cities, Ajax and Peterborough, and have since been negotiating a first contract.

Solidarity's No Heavy Lift, Say Fitness Workers

Mon, 08/21/2017 - 12:38
Solidarity's No Heavy Lift, Say Fitness Workers August 21, 2017 / Sonia Singh<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

Last year personal trainers at Canada’s largest chain of gyms became the first fitness workers in North America to unionize, joining Workers United.

Since then, 650 trainers at GoodLife Fitness in Toronto and two nearby cities have been fighting for a first contract, and waging fights for better conditions club by club.

In Wake of Charlottesville, How Can Unions Fight for Racial Justice?

Fri, 08/18/2017 - 15:49

How should unions respond to the chilling events in Charlottesville? As believers that “an injury to one is an injury to all,” what's our special responsibility? Can we survive if our own unions are split along racial lines?

Labor Notes looked through our recent coverage to find examples of unions that are proactively working for racial justice. The excerpts below show steps some locals are taking to help members learn from each other and fight discrimination right on the job. Many began after the recent wave of police shootings of unarmed Black men.

Teachers Union Caucuses Gather to Swap Strategies

Thu, 08/17/2017 - 16:42
Teachers Union Caucuses Gather to Swap Strategies August 17, 2017 / Gillian Russom and Samantha Winslow<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

With teachers facing similar attacks in school districts across the country, it makes sense to share strategies for fighting back. That’s the goal of the United Caucuses of Rank-and-File Educators (UCORE), a growing network of locals and caucuses within the teachers unions.

Seventy-five educator activists met in Los Angeles August 4-6, representing school districts from Philadelphia to Oakland and statewide groups from Hawaii, New Jersey, and Massachusetts.

The 1997 UPS Strike: Beating Big Business & Business Unionism

Tue, 08/15/2017 - 11:10
The 1997 UPS Strike: Beating Big Business & Business Unionism August 15, 2017 / David Levin<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

Twenty years ago this month, 185,000 Teamsters shut down UPS and won labor’s biggest victory in decades.

The contract pitted a Fortune 500 company that was accelerating toward a low-wage, part-time future—against a grassroots campaign intent on applying the brakes.

The strike was also a showdown between union reformers and business unionism.

Democracy is power, Labor Notes has always argued. The UPS strike put that proposition to the test.

Why Did Nissan Workers Vote No?

Fri, 08/11/2017 - 15:59
Why Did Nissan Workers Vote No? August 11, 2017 / Chris Brooks<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

There's no sugar-coating a loss this dramatic: 2,244-1,307 against the United Auto Workers, after a 12-year campaign to organize the mile-long Nissan plant in Canton, Mississippi.

Despite multiple attempts, the UAW has yet to win a plant-wide vote at a foreign-owned automaker in the South.

Spectrum Workers Soldier On in Months-Long Strike

Fri, 08/11/2017 - 13:30

Some 1,800 members of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 3 have been on strike at Spectrum/Time Warner Cable in New York and New Jersey since March 28, more than four months ago. Since then, only a fraction of the workforce has crossed picket lines, but the company is working hard to keep up normal operations by using scabs and subcontractors to break the strike.

With Nike Up to Old Tricks, Students and Workers Launch Global Protests

Thu, 08/10/2017 - 13:22
With Nike Up to Old Tricks, Students and Workers Launch Global Protests August 10, 2017 / Kory Stuer<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

In February Nike launched its “Equality” campaign, professing its commitment to diversity and inclusion. On July 29, students and workers held a Global Day of Action in 25 cities across 12 countries to tell Nike: we’re not buying it.

Workers in garment factories producing Nike apparel say the company’s up to its old tricks, by barring independent inspectors and cutting production from unionized plants. Members of garment worker unions and allies demonstrated in India, Bangladesh, El Salvador, Spain, and eight other countries.

Review: In the Fields of the North (En los campos del norte)

Tue, 08/08/2017 - 16:25

Mexican blueberry picker Honesto Silva Ibarra died in Washington state on Sunday after complaining of headaches but being forced by his supervisor to return to work in the blazing sun. He ended up in a coma. When 70 of his co-workers struck Sarbanand Farms to protest Silva's treatment, they were fired the next day and within an hour were thrown out of their company-owned housing.

The Racist Who Pioneered Right-to-Work Laws

Thu, 08/03/2017 - 11:24

As right-to-work laws proliferate, it's worth remembering that they originated as a means to maintain Jim Crow labor relations in the South and to beat back what was seen as a Jewish conspiracy.

No one was more important in placing right-to-work on the conservative political agenda than Vance Muse of the Christian American Association, a larger-than-life Texan whose own grandson described him as “a white supremacist, an anti-Semite, and a Communist-baiter, a man who beat on labor unions not on behalf of working people, as he said, but because he was paid to do so.”

Irish Retail Workers Strike for Secure Hours

Wed, 08/02/2017 - 14:52
Irish Retail Workers Strike for Secure Hours August 02, 2017 / Moira Murphy<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

In Ireland the retail sector employs 1 in 7 workers—and their fight for a living wage, secure hours, and union rights is heating up. Recent strikes at the country’s largest private sector employers, Tesco and Dunnes, have grabbed headlines and working-class support.

Making Buses Safer

Tue, 08/01/2017 - 11:11

After two passengers died in a horrific stabbing on a train in Portland, Oregon, the transit agency upped police presence. But the union is pushing for a different solution.

The May 26 incident began with a man yelling racist slurs at two young women of color. When three passengers defended the women, the man stabbed them.

Four Months into Strike, Idaho Miners Stand Strong

Fri, 07/28/2017 - 13:13

A beloved 53-year old miner named Larry Marek was killed on the job at the Lucky Friday mine in Mullan, Idaho just a few years back. Steelworkers Local 5114 had been warning the company about the stability of a certain area called a stope. Management had Marek mine out the last piece of earth supporting the cavern for the ore it contained and the roof collapsed.

The consensus is that company greed for profit killed Larry Marek when the ceiling caved in. Now his picture stands on the 24-hour picket line in front of the mine, as 250 miners enter their fifth month on strike.

Ohio Teachers Win Back Regular Raises

Thu, 07/27/2017 - 11:41
Ohio Teachers Win Back Regular Raises July 27, 2017 / Myra Warne<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

In 2014, members of the Maysville Education Association voted to accept a deal that would end our pay freeze, which dated back to 2011, in exchange for replacing our traditional pay scale with a new merit-pay system.

Local union leaders were warned by Ohio Education Association staff that a return to the step-and-ladder system of regular raises might be impossible—or require a strike. But this year, as the money for sweeteners and incentives dried up, a group of members committed to winning back our old pay scale.

How D.C. Grocery Workers Got Their Groove Back

Tue, 07/25/2017 - 11:19
How D.C. Grocery Workers Got Their Groove Back July 25, 2017 / Alan Hanson<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

Grocery workers in the Washington, D.C., area have reversed concessionary bargaining in the industry for the first time in a generation. Last November 17,000 workers at Giant Food and Safeway stores ratified a contract that:

Argentine PepsiCo Workers Fought Shutdown with Factory Occupation

Thu, 07/20/2017 - 13:07

On the night of July 13 Katy Balaguer thought she was ready for what was coming next. She was no stranger to protests, to tear gas, to the cops’ batons and the sound they make when they hit the body of your co-workers. That day, from the roof of the PepsiCo factory in Buenos Aires, Argentina, she watched as her co-workers and their supporters were brutally beaten.

New Jersey Public Employees Stop State Shutdown

Thu, 07/20/2017 - 10:59
New Jersey Public Employees Stop State Shutdown July 20, 2017 / Jim McAsey<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

Lea Chilelli, a steward in the Division of Developmental Disabilities in New Jersey, felt blindsided when Governor Chris Christie ordered the state shut down July 2. “There was chaos,” she said. “All my members were texting me finding out what was going on and what they should do. Management was clueless and they were telling people all different things.”

Creative Actions on Hot Issues Can Fuel a Contract Fight

Mon, 07/17/2017 - 12:02
Creative Actions on Hot Issues Can Fuel a Contract Fight July 17, 2017 / Dennis Albers<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?> Organizing Principles

Trabajadores de B&H luchan en defensa de los trabajos de almacén

Fri, 07/14/2017 - 12:57
Trabajadores de B&H luchan en defensa de los trabajos de almacén July 14, 2017 / Jorge Lora<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

Tengo cuatro años trabajando para B&H Photo and Video, la compañía electrónica—no cadena—más grande de la ciudad de Nueva York, con una amplia historia en violaciones laborales, violaciones de seguridad y salud y abuso hacia los trabajadores. La fuerza laboral de los almacenes está compuesta por trabajadores latinos, en su mayoría mexicanos, guatemaltecos y dominicanos. Mi función es hacer envío de las órdenes y empacar la mercancía que llega al almacén.

B&H Workers Fight to Save Camera Warehouse Jobs

Fri, 07/14/2017 - 12:29
B&H Workers Fight to Save Camera Warehouse Jobs July 14, 2017 / Jorge Lora<? if(isset($entity->premium) and $entity->premium == 1) { echo "Print Only"; } ?>

Read this article in Spanish here.

For the last four years I’ve been working at B&H Photo and Video, the largest non-chain electronics company in New York City, with a long history of health and safety violations and abuse of workers. The workforce in the company’s warehouses is made up predominantly of Latino workers, the majority of them Mexicans, Guatemalans, and Dominicans. My job is to ship orders and box up merchandise that arrives at the warehouse.

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