DC Transit Workers Strike – Hip Hop Workers Alliance Launched – New Mexico State Calls Police on Graduate Workers During Contract Talks 

DC transit worker strike (ATU Local 689)

Folks, Greetings from the Burgh, where it’s a beautiful 80-degree day. 

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DC Transit Workers Strike 

In the suburbs of Washington, D.C., over 200 transit workers are on strike against MetroAccess contractor Transdev. 

“It’s really sad to watch your co-workers struggle to come here to run these routes like they do because they can’t afford to take off,” striking driver Valerie Thomas told WJLA. “We want better healthcare, we want more money, we would like to have a pension.” 

For more, check out WJLA 

Hip Hop Workers Alliance Launched 

A group of hip hop veterans including Chuck D, Kurtis Blow, Doug E. Fresh, Slick Rick and KRS-One have launched the Hip Hop Alliance, which bills itself as the first-ever union in the hip hop industry.  (Check out the video of the launch here)

“Shout out to those who work behind the scenes to make Hip Hop Happen,” the group’s chairman KRS-One wrote in a message announcing the Hip Hop Alliance. “Managers, Artists, Agents, Engineers and Producers, what is the retirement plan, healthcare plan, and fare commission standards for us? What is a fare wage for what we do within ‘hip-hop’ as an industry? Those that drive and assist artists, those that protect artists, those that promote the show, and those that sell merchandise, among other roles and responsibilities that make hip hop happen; Who speaks for us?”

For more on the effort, check out Vibe

PetSmart Dog Groomers Trapped in Debt 

A new lawsuit alleges that PetSmart is forcing groomers to assume $5,000 in debt for training in order to work at their store. If a worker leaves after less than two years, they have to repay the training fee in full. 

“PetSmart is just another company cynically engineering new forms of student debt as a tool to trap workers,” Mike Pierce, a lawyer suing PetSmart, told CBS. 

For more, check out PetSmart 

New Mexico State Calls Police on Graduate Workers During Contract Talks 

At New Mexico State University, the police were called on UE union members negotiating a contract after a graduate worker tore up a contract proposal made by the administration. An administrator claimed that a piece of paper had been hit in the face. 

Las Cruce Sun News has the story: 

An NMSU police report written by Sgt. John Lovelace stated that officers were first dispatched to the scene because a caller claimed students were throwing staplers. Lovelace said officers found no evidence to support that claim.

NMSUPD made contact with the students gathered outside the meeting room and established the party was not doing anything illegal. Lovelace proceeded to talk with the NMSU administrators inside the meeting room when he was made aware of Jackson’s throwing of the pieces of paper into the room.

“While speaking with Jones, I asked if she wished to pursue charges against Jackson. Originally, she said she did, but then changed her mind,” Lovelace wrote in the report.

For more, check out the Las Cruce Sun News 

Inside Look at how NewsGuild Campaign Failed 

Finally, Poytner has a look at how a union campaign by the NewsGuild at Outside Magazine failed: 

Immediately after the staff asked Outside to voluntarily recognize the union, the company launched an unusually aggressive anti-union campaign. The Denver Newspaper Guild had prepared the staff for most of the company’s talking points, but one argument caught everyone off guard.

A union, Outside argued, would jeopardize the company’s ability to attract funding from venture capital firms. At stake was not just the jobs of the editorial staff, but the entire company. In addition to Outside Magazine, the company — which is headquartered in Santa Fe, New Mexico — had more than 20 other publications, encompassing roughly 580 employees.

Not wanting to be responsible for the potential loss of hundreds of jobs, the magazine staff withdrew their petition for an NLRB election.

For more, check out Poynter 

News & Strikes Happening Elsewhere 

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About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter and alumni of the Guardian. In addition to filing nearly 2,000 stories from 46 states, Elk traveled with Lula from Sáo Bernando do Campos all the way to the Oval Office in the White House. Credited by the Washington Post for being the first reporter to track the strike wave systematically, Elk started Payday Report using his NLRB settlement from being illegally fired for union organizing in 2015. He lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh and works frequently in Rio de Janeiro, where he attended college at PUC-Rio. He speaks both Portuguese and Pittsburghese fluently. His email is [email protected]

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