Jonah Furman is a labor movement organizer and writer. One of his many writing projects is his Newsletter, Who Gets The Bird. Jonah has graciously allowed PPOW to publish excerpts from his newsletter.
This week I went on The Dig with Gabe Winant, Alex Press, and IATSE activist Victor Bouzi. If you’re sick of me talking about labor, you should absolutely still check out the last 30 minutes, where Vick talks about the experience of being a union activist in this moment; one of the best interviews I’ve heard on the topic. Also, if you’re anywhere near either Detroit or Philadelphia, you should absolutely be attending the upcoming Troublemakers School In those cities; these day-long Labor Notes workshops for newbies and veteran union activists are incredibly useful, and you can meet tons of union members in your area, across all kinds of industries. If you’re not in Detroit or Philly, check out Labor Notes’s other events, many of which are online.
STRIKES & NEGOTIATIONS
WA state strikes & negotiation news (details below): WFCW in WA state are picketing and the end to the SEIU 1199NW strike in Tukwila, WA. Plus the latest on the John Deere strike and other non-WA labor news.
The 10,000 John Deere strikers once again shocked the company and their UAW leadership by rejecting a second tentative agreement, this time by a more narrow 55%, thus continuing the strike. The company then announced that that had been their “best and final” offer, which at least some of the bargaining team says they never said before the ratification vote, which would be a big no-no on the company’s part. Deere is now saying they’ll go directly to the members to sell the old deal, but I think the most likely outcome is that they’ll move some money and language around and pick up a majority ratification vote before Thanksgiving, when the company is set to announce its projections for its new fiscal year. They are apparently using some replacement workers and importing some products from overseas Deere plants, but that’s simply not going to make up for the 10,000 strikers, impending planting season, and the already-existing massive paid-for backlog of tractors that were supposed to be delivered months ago. Deere equipment dealers are reporting massive delays and shortages, and frankly the ratification vote was close enough that it’ll be easier for Deere to sell a tweaked deal than to hold out for months and months, unless of course they want to teach the union a very expensive (for Deere) lesson. The company is estimated to be losing $17 million in profits per day.
The Kaiser strike is becoming realer by the minute. Three big unions: UNAC/UHCP, Steelworkers Local 7600, and OFNHP, announced they’d delivered a 10-day strike notice, with a strike slated for November 15th among their combined 32,000 members in Oregon and Southern California. In addition, UFCW pharmacists in Southern California announced their 10-day notice, with a strike date of November 18th, as did the Guild of Professional Pharmacists, an independent union of Northern California Kaiser workers, with their strike slated to last a week. We’ll see what the rest of UFCW (in Washington, where they are info picketing, and Georgia, where they’ve authorized a strike; I don’t believe the DC or Baltimore locals are participating) does, as well as UNITE HERE Local 5 in Hawaii, all of whom have authorized or are authorizing strikes. If that weren’t enough, 40,000 additional Kaiser workers who aren’t currently in negotiations (SEIU UHW, OPEIU Local 29, and IFPTE Local 20) have announced a one-day sympathy strike on November 18th with Operating Engineers Local 39, whose 700 members have been on the picket line since mid-September.
The SEIU 1199NW strike at Cascade Behavioral Health has ended after something like three months on the picket line in Tukwila, WA. My Labor Notes coworker Sarah Hughes has details.
INTERNAL UNION POLITICS
WA state internal union politics news (details below):: Interesting development regarding Pacific NW Regional Carpenters and the strike in Washington state. Plus a bit on non-WA state labor news.
Evelyn Shapiro, head of the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters, has resigned, along with other leaders, while the council goes into trusteeship over apparent “vote rigging” during the fifth tentative agreement vote that ended the Carpenters strike in Washington state. For a strike that was all about the disconnect between the membership and the leadership, and for the vitriol that was directed at people who made that observation, including members being targeted for organizing for a “no” vote, this is a pretty astounding development.
For Labor Notes, Trent McDonald and I wrote about the academic workers side of the UAW, and the role they’re playing in the movement to reform the union as they organize around the historic referendum. Academic workers are now fully one-fifth of the active membership of the UAW, and have been one of the most active sectors for both new organizing and strike activity. Also be sure to check out More Perfect Union’s video explaining what’s at stake in this referendum.
The head of the Support Personnel Association of Lee County has abruptly announced her early retirement, after school bus drivers organized their own sickouts. I guess that’s one way to deal with your members getting out in front of you. “You’re on strike? Well I quit!”
WA state new organizing news (details below):: Stoneway Concrete workers in Seattle voted against joining Teamsters, Landscapers for Garden Cycles in Seattle are unionizing with Laborers Local 242, and some workers at Chemtrade in Mount Vernon, WA are joining the Steelworkers. Plus labor news outside of WA State.
New election fillings at the NLRB: 290 workers at the Art Institute of Chicago and 275 more workers at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago are organizing with AFSCME Council 31. I don’t usually cover “Armour-Globe elections” (which are basically adding new job titles to existing unions) because it’s more like union expansion than new organizing exactly, but SEIU Healthcare Minnesota is adding over 200 new members to their union at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis. 110 workers at Start Elevator in NYC are organizing with Elevator Constructors Local 1.
Small shops: 76 non-profit staffers at Care for the Homeless in NYC are organizing with AFSCME Local 205, presumably under the new neutrality framework won by DC 37 that I mentioned last week. 70 freight truck drivers at Lineage Logistics in Richland, WA are unionizing with Teamsters Local 839. 58 drivers for Sysco in Modesto, CA are organizing with Teamsters Local 853, as are 47 workers in shipping and receiving at Canon in Menlo Park, CA. 45 nurses at Glenbeigh Hospital in Rock Creek, OH are unionizing with the Ohio Nurses Association. 34 non-profit staffers at Common Sense Media in San Francisco are joining CWA. 33 rehab workers at Avantara in Aurora, IL are joining SEIU Healthcare Illinois & Indiana, as are 30 workers at Bella Terra nursing home in La Grange, IL. 26 weed dispensary workers at Curaleaf in Philadelphia are organizing with UFCW Local 1776.
Tiny shops: 22 power plant workers for Exelon in Fort Worth, TX are unionizing with IBEW Local 220. 21 elevator repair workers at Princeton University are joining SEIU Local 175. 19 staffers for Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy in El Paso, TX are joining CWA. 19 concrete truck drivers for LeGrand Johnson Construction in three locations in Utah are joining Teamsters Local 222. 18 landscapers for Garden Cycles in Seattle are unionizing with Laborers Local 242. 12 mechanics at Cherokee Freight in Madera, CA are unionizing with Teamsters Local 431. 12 workers at comics publisher Image Comics in Portland, OR are joining CWA. 11 construction workers for gas utility Eversource in Waterbury, CT are joining IBEW Local 420. 11 HVAC techs at Daikin in Phoenix are joining Plumbers Local 469. Ten workers at Leisure Pools in Burlington, IA (why is there an in-ground pools company in Iowa) are joining the Machinists. Seven security guards who contract for a trucking company in Avenel and Carteret, NJ are joining Federal Contract Guards of America. Seven workers at industrial chemical supplier Chemtrade in Mount Vernon, WA are joining the Steelworkers. Five flight simulator techs for General Dynamics in Milton, FL are also joining the Machinists. Five workers at Lego Land in Goshen, NY are joining Operating Engineers Local 30. Two workers at the US Coast Guard headquarters in DC are joining Operating Engineers Local 99.
NLRB election losses: 30 EMTs at Hudson Regional Hospital in Secaucus, NJ narrowly voted (and with very low turnout), 6-7, against joining the International Association of EMTs and Paramedics, NAGE Local 5000 (SEIU). Nine quality control techs for Stoneway Concrete in Seattle voted against joining Teamsters Local 174, 2-5.
Read Jonah Furman’s full newsletter here to read more labor news on all the following topics (Don’t forget to subscribe and support Who Gets The Bird!)
- STRIKES & NEOGIATIONS
- POLITICS & LEGISLATION
- INTERNAL UNION POLITICS
- NEW ORGANIZING
Get Even More Up-To-Date News On Labor Strikes & Protests
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