1750 Strikes Since March of 2020 – Following Student’s Death, Philly Charter School Strikes – Garbage Workers’ Strike Spreading – St Vincent’s Strike Ends

Students, teachers, and staff hold a vigil to pay respects to honor student Alyana Thach (HEATHER KHALIFA / Staff Photographer)

Folks, 

Greetings from the Burgh, where Payday is getting ready to go on holiday vacation in three days, but the strikes don’t seem to be stopping as Payday Report’s Strike Tracker has recorded its 1,750th strike since the beginning of the pandemic. 

Keep reading about the 1750th strike where 41 teachers at Olney Charter High School in Philadelphia walked off the job. 

(Donate to our fund to keep covering workers striking during the holiday season.)

Following Student’s Death, Philly Charter School Teachers Walk Off the Job

At Olney Charter High School in Philadelphia, owned by Aspira, teachers have walked off the job following the death of 17-year-old honor student Alayna Thach who died from COVID-19. 

Teachers at the school are now demanding penalties for those that don’t wear masks and social distancing in the school’s cafeteria, where students eat without masks. 

“There isn’t really a good protocol for how it all works,” Sarah Kenney, an Olney Charter teacher and head of the school’s union, told the Philly Inquirer. “We think it’s safest to be virtual until they can come up with a plan for increased safety, just to ensure that something like this never happens again at our school.”

Teachers say that Thach was the kind of student who would have likely organized to fight back. 

“Alayna was the type of student who would be — with us — right now, writing petitions and speaking out on how to keep our community safe,” one of Thach’s teachers, La’Shante Cox, told The Philadelphia Inquirer. 

For more, check out The Philadelphia Inquirer. 

Pharmacists Association Blasts Walkout 

Today pharmacists across the country went on strike to draw attention to poor work conditions. (Check out our article done in conjunction with the American Prospect on an unprecedented walkout of pharmacists.)

The walkout won praise from some groups, including the American Economic Liberties Project, writing: 

“We applaud the pharmacists who are walking out in protest of sweatshop working conditions and dangerous business practices,” said Matt Stoller, Director of Research at the American Economic Liberties Project. “Large chain pharmacies are designed to work pharmacists and technicians to the bone while nickel-and-diming consumers, cheating independent competitors, and harming the health and safety of patients. The only winners from that toxic business model are corporate executives. To protect pharmacists and patients alike, we need to stand with the pharmacists organizing for better working conditions at large chains like CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart. We need to break up health conglomerates like CVS, and reform pharmacy benefit management firms so they are dedicating to lowering costs instead of cheating independent pharmacies and patients.”

However, the idea of a pharmacist walkout is not without controversy. The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) came out against today’s walkout with this statement issued late on Friday

“APhA unwaveringly supports our pharmacists and the work of pharmacy teams as they seek overdue action from employers to improve eroding workplace conditions. However, we strongly believe that actions such as a sickout where pharmacists would walk away from direct patient care is not an appropriate action. A profession that is rightly demanding action to keep themselves and their patients safe should not compromise public welfare by abandoning patients who rely on them.”


250 San Diego Garbage Workers Strike 

This week 250 garbage truck workers are striking against Republic Services in San Diego. 

The Teamsters warned in a press statement that the strike could spread to even more cities where Republic Services have contracts with the union. 

“It took a seven-day strike with two extensions to get the company to promise to stop breaking the law and bargain fair contracts in Orange County,” said Chuck Stiles, Director of the Teamsters Solid Waste & Recycling Division, in a statement released by the union. “If Republic keeps violating the law and abusing its workers, I expect we’ll see more labor actions in other locations, as we saw this morning in San Diego.”

Last week, over 400 Teamsters in Orange County went on strike against Republic Services, leading Huntington Beach to declare a “state of emergency” because of garbage pile-up. 

After an eight-day strike, the Teamsters declared victory in Orange County when they agreed to a new tentative agreement that included wage increases and other increases in benefits. 

For more on the strike in San Diego, check out the San Diego Tribune. 

After 8 Months of Striking, St. Vincent Hospital Nurses Reach Tentative Agreement 

After 285 days of striking by over 700 nurses, both the union and St. Vincent Hospital announced a tentative agreement brokered with the help of Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. 

The agreement would allow all striking nurses the right to return to their jobs. 

“It’s very hard to absorb what we’ve gone through for nine months, but actually looking back, it changes you as a person. It makes you a better person, makes you a better nurse, makes you a better colleague,” Marlena Pellegrino, a longtime nurse at St. Vincent and co-chair of the nurse’s local bargaining unit with the Massachusetts Nurses Association, told the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. “We challenged ourselves to pretty much the core of our being.”

For more, check out the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. 

Carrboro, North Carolina Restaurant Workers Strike 

In Carrboro, North Carolina, Acme restaurant workers went on strike on Sunday. 

The workers say that management has failed to resolve sexual misconduct and racial discrimination complaints. 

To help prolong the strike, the workers have raised more than $7,000 online and are soliciting donations online. 

“After numerous attempts by management to suppress our demands and unjustly prolong the strike litigation process, we have decided to ask the community for financial support,” Anna Batty, an Acme staff member and fundraiser organizer, wrote in a GoFundMe post.

For more on the strike, check out Chapelboro. 

Strikes & News Happening Elsewhere

Alright folks, that’s all for today! 

Keep on donating so we can cover key strikes during the holiday season. 

And, if you can, sign up as one of our 643 recurring donors today. Thank you to everyone who’s donated.

Please keep sending tips, story ideas, comments, and links to [email protected] 

Love & Solidarity, 

Melk

About the Author

Mike Elk
A protege of Bill Greider, Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter who covered Lula & the drug war in Brasil, and spent years covering union organizing in the South for The Guardian. In 2015, he used his NLRB settlement from being fired illegally for union organizing at Politico to start the crowd-funded Payday Report. He lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh, where he grew up in a UE union household. Email: [email protected]

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