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.
Discover Washington State labor news (and other places) from the October 9, 2021 edition of Who Gets The Bird, below.
Recent NLRB election wins…
89 aircraft mechanics and clerks on Fort Hood Army Base voted 37-26 to join the Machinists. 52 construction workers for Omni Excavators in DC joined Laborers Local 11 in a 16-0 vote. 33 nursing home workers at the Mark Twain Caring Center in Poplar Bluff, MO unionized with UFCW Local 655, 18-3. 27 workers at medical waste processing company Stericycle in Elizabeth, NJ voted 12-10 to join Teamsters Local 813. 25 union staffers for the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters, whose members are currently voting on a fifth tentative agreement after weeks on a contentious strike, have unionized with UFCW Local 367 in a 16-1 vote. 25 doctors and 21 drivers for Tri-State Asphalt in Morris, IL voted 13-5 to join Teamsters Local 179. 21 early childhood workers at Wild Lilac in Portland, OR voted 13-2 to join ILWU Local 5. 20 housekeeping staff at a Genesis-owned nursing home in Wallingford, CT voted 13-0 to join 1199 New England. 16 doctors and healthcare workers at Indigo Urgent Care in Tacoma, WA joined the Union of American Physicians and Dentists Local 206 (AFSCME) in a 9-2 vote. All six RNs at the Gabert Medical Clinic in Glendive, MT voted to join Montana Nurses Association Local 21 (AFT). Four clerical transit workers in Bridgeport, CT voted 2-1 to join ATU Local 1336. One of two workers at Flight Safety International Defense Corporation voted to join the Machinists, the other didn’t vote, so now they’re union.
STRIKES & NEGOTIATIONS
1,400 workers at Kellogg’s four “ready to eat cereal” plants in Battle Creek, MI, Omaha, Memphis, and Lancaster, PA struck early Tuesday morning, and I spoke to two leaders of the Michigan local for Labor Notes. Kellogg’s has a two-tier workforce, with the lower tier workers getting to transition to the top tier once a more senior worker retires. Now the company wants to foreclose that transition program, meaning no new hires, and none of the current lower-tier employees, will ever get a pension or the decent wages that current more senior employees get. Plus people are working 80-hour weeks, and the company wants to cut hundreds more jobs. This is the third big household name brand strike by BCTGM workers since July, and Harold Meyerson wrote about what that might mean for the labor movement.
The biggest strike in the country remains that of 2,000 CWA Local 1133 hospital workers at Mercy Hospital in Buffalo, NY. C.M. Lewis wrote it up for The Nation. If you’re looking to support these strikers online, they’re distributing a social media toolkit you can use to show your support.
2,000 telecom workers at Frontier Communications across seven CWA locals in California went on an unfair labor practice strike for one day after the company failed to show at a scheduled meeting. The bigger context here is these workers have authorized a strike and are fighting for a contract, after extending their last one for a year due to the company filing for bankruptcy (and then immediately paying their executives over $30 million in bonuses). I wrote it up for Labor Notes.
The 2,000-member strike (well, the number actually on strike seems to have fluctuated quite a bit) of Washington state Carpenters could be near its conclusion, as workers vote on a tentative agreement, with ratification vote results expected Monday evening.
INTERNAL UNION POLITICS
At Labor Notes, I wrote about the 2700 K-12 therapists in NYC who organized a “vote no” campaign on their last contract, then turned the “vote no” campaign into basically a caucus in the union, and then won union leadership. This is, in miniature, what a broader challenge to the sleepy (or worse) status quo in many unions would look like, and I think is a valuable lesson for union members everywhere.
A group of IBEW members, motivated by a very, very bad contract in Orlando’s Local 606 and other concessions being imposed primarily in the South, are headed to Nashville this weekend to protest the National Electrical Contractors Association conference at with IBEW President Lonnie Stephenson will be speaking. Will hopefully cover what’s happening in that union in the next week or so for Labor Notes. Would love to hear from any southern IBEW members who have thoughts on the matter.
The head of the New York Sergeants Benevolent Association has resigned after the FBI raided his home and office, and everybody in NYC politics seems very happy to see him go.
WHYY is doing blow-by-blow coverage of IBEW Local 98 president Johnny “Doc” Dougherty’s trial, if you like court dramas.
The UAW held its member forum on moving to a direct elections system, and it was great to hear from working members on how they think their union should be run. On Rising, autoworker and UAWD (the proto-TDU-style caucus in the UAW) leader Scott Houldieson laid out what’s at stake in the referendum and beyond.
Ballots have started hitting mailboxes in the Teamsters election. Meanwhile, a former top Teamsters official closely associated with the Vairma slate has been found guilty, again, by the judge who oversees internal Teamsters malfeasance. Jacobin headed to the Teamsters for a Democratic Union convention last weekend and reported back. Ballots are due back on November 15.
Read Jonah Furman’s full newsletter here to read more labor news on all the following topics (Don’t forget to subscribe and support!)
- NEW ORGANIZING (ie, New election filings at the NLRB, Smaller shops, NLRB election wins…and losses, and Decertifications & raids, Security guards, Outside the NLRB)
- STRIKES & BARGAINING (Active strikes, Transit, Strike watch, Protests and info pickets, Contract settlements, Cops and jail workers)
- POLITICS & LEGISLATION
- INTERNAL UNION POLITICS
Get Even More Up-To-Date News On Labor Strikes & Protests
Check out an always up-to-date Twitter feed on Labor strikes & protests here. This Labor Action Tracker feed (@ILRLaborAction) is maintained by Cornell University’s Industrial and Labor Relations Labor school.