Greetings from the Burgh, where it’s going to be a very exciting weekend full of baseball and even a garden party in my rapidly gentrifying childhood neighborhood.
17,000 Costco Workers to Strike
One place that Payday won’t be going this weekend is Costco. Currently, the Teamsters are locked in a tough contract battle against the mega-retailers. On June 21st, Teamsters voted to strike with 93% of all Costco workers voting to strike.
“Don’t be fooled by Costco’s ‘worker-friendly’ image in the public. There’s a new executive team running the show now and they want to make Costco like all the other profit-hungry wholesalers,” said Mike Bergen, Local 166 Secretary-Treasurer and Chair of the Teamsters Costco National Negotiating Committee in a statement. “Costco made record profits during the pandemic—billions in 2021 alone—yet they are refusing to share their success with the employees who make them profitable. They don’t seem to care about their workers anymore.”
4,500 Member Columbus Teachers Union Issues 10-day Strike Notice
In Columbus, more than half of Columbus’s 4,500 teachers attended a meeting as they prepare to strike in 10 days. More from the Columbus Dispatch:
On Wednesday, the district announced that it would file an unfair labor practice charge against the union. Columbus City Schools Board president Jennifer Adair said at a media conference that the charge was due to the union spreading misconceptions about the district’s “final” contract offer.
This included the union’s claims that the current final offer does not ensure updated HVAC systems in each building, does not address smaller class sizes and does not ensure working conditions that recruit and retain the best educators for the students.
Niles, Ohio Teachers Could Strike as Well
An hour across the border in Niles, Ohio, teachers also gave the notice to strike at the school district hard hit by closings the plant closing at Lordstown.
“It is with a heavy heart that our membership decided to send a 10-day strike notice to the board. Niles teachers want to be in the classroom doing the work we love, teaching the children of the Niles community,” Niles Education Association President Tracy Ledsome said in a statment. “Our team is ready and willing to resume negotiations as soon as the board’s representatives are ready. We are still hopeful that an agreement can be reached. Niles teachers appreciate the continued support of the Niles community as we work diligently to achieve a fair and equitable contract with the Niles Board of Education.”
Cop Unions Gets Armed Patrol Back at University of Washington
In the wake of the George Floyd protests, armed patrols were ended at the University of Washington as a result of a ruling from the Public Employee Relations Commission (PERC). Now, a police union has used labor law to bring back the patrols unwelcomed by many racial justice activists.
“The employer neither removed CPOs from bid positions nor laid off CPOs. The union did not present evidence that the CPOs suffered any financial impact from the transfer, such as the loss of overtime,” Commissioner Mark Busto wrote in his dissenting opinion. “With respect to their job duties, the CPOs continued to respond to nearly all the calls for service on campus and dispatches to the dormitories. In short, CPOs retained their law enforcement responsibilities and activities and ceded only their patrol and outreach function in the residence halls to the CSRs, who were authorized only to ‘observe and report.’”
Climate Change Increases, as do Strikes Against Heat
Finally, the talented labor reporter Amir Khafagy has a must-read exposé at Documented on heat deaths and worker protests against them. From Documented:
“Sometimes you got to be begging them to get water,” Malabre said. “Sometimes the ice machine is not working. In those types of conditions, you should have all kinds of those things working for us.”
Malabre is forced to keep up with a relentless stream of parcels that weigh up to 150 lbs and that need to be loaded and unloaded onto a fleet of waiting trucks. He says that his uniform would be drenched in sweat halfway through his shift. The Foster Avenue warehouse employs 596 warehouse workers, of which 47 are full-time and 482 are part-time. Many of the employees are Black or Latino immigrants.
Like most of UPS’s warehouses, the Brooklyn facility, which is sandwiched between a Department of Sanitation garage and an FDNY ambulance depot, has no air conditioning on the shop floor.
With most of the country simmering in the extreme summer heat, UPS truck drivers have been forced to work in un-airconditioned trucks that can reach 121 degrees Fahrenheit, with some collapsing and dying due to heat exhaustion. In New York, after reports of several UPS drivers feeling ill due to the heat, Teamsters Local 804, the union that represents UPS workers, has held several rallies demanding air conditioning in the trucks. Yet, UPS warehouse workers at the Foster Avenue warehouse say that they are also forced to work in similar conditions. Several warehouse workers that Documented spoke to, recounted a sweltering work environment at the warehouse that routinely reaches well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Strikes & News Happening Elsewhere
- More than 99% of rail dispatchers vote in favor of walkout
- San Diego Mercedes Benz Technicians are Determined to Win
- University of Wisconsin Health Nurses fight for union recognition following the pandemic
- Austin Restaurant Workers Plan To Unionize Local Pizzerias In New Organizing Effort
- About one-in-six U.S. journalists at news outlets are part of a union; many more would join one if they could
- Finally, Tugboat Unions to Disrupt Australian Ports in Long Contract Disp
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Love & Solidarity,