The war on workers is waged at all levels, from seemingly individual intimidation in the workplace to corporations stiffing pensions and laying off thousands of workers to Republicans writing anti-union legislation at the federal and state levels. Most of the time, by contrast, the ways workers have to fight back are relatively low-profile. But fight they do, from small individual acts of defiance to informal organizing to solid victories that few people outside the immediate workplace notice to the occasional action that cracks into the public eye.
The press isn’t reporting it, but the Coalition for Clean and Safe Ports says that truck drivers at the Port of Seattle parked their trucks and stopped work this week to protest unsafe working conditions. Late last week, meanwhile, Los Angeles port truck drivers working for the Toll Group, an Australian company, filed for a union representation election. The Toll Group’s Australian workforce is unionized, but in the United States the company has taken advantage of lax labor laws to keep down wages and working conditions and try to stifle organizing attempts.
At a Kansas City plant, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers had the first union win at GE in 10 years.
Thousands of workers waged a one-day strike at Kaiser Permanente in California over contract negotiations between Kaiser and mental health and optical workers represented by the National Union of Healthcare Workers. And in New York, inspired by last week’s union victory for Cablevision technicians, 120 more technicians at a Cablevision contractor engaged in a wildcat strike that won them a raise. They hope to follow up by unionizing.
Taking another approach, a former unpaid intern at Harper’s Bazaar is suing Hearst Corporation for violating labor laws by essentially treating her as a full-time employee though she wasn’t paid. She and her lawyers are trying to make the case a class action suit.
- How to throw a worker-friendly Super Bowl party.
- Here’s a great way to keep your workers desperate and your workforce young: A new Atlantic City casino is going to hire workers for set terms of four to six years, then make them reapply for their jobs—no matter how good their performance has been.
- Project Labor Agreements (explanation of what a PLA is) that the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority recently signed will require that 40 percent of work hours on the projects will go to people from economically disadvantaged communities, while 10 percent of work hours will go to homeless or chronically unemployed people, among other challenges.
- Yet another reason more workers need unions:
…government workers who were not represented by unions were about four times as likely to lose their jobs last year as unionized public sector workers were. (The trends are similar even if you strip out workers who were represented by unions but were not members themselves.)