6,000 Seattle Teachers Strike as Strike Wave Grows – Outside of Seattle, Surburban Teachers Strike – Lordstown Battery Workers to Vote on Strike 

6,000 Seattle Teachers Go on Strike (Seattle Education Association)

Folks, 

Greetings from the Burgh, where an important three-game series in baseball playoffs is heating up with the series all tied up between the National League East first-place New York Mets and the last-place NL Central Pirates. 

Two-time NL Cy Young winner Jacob DeGrom is taking the mound for the Mets as they try to clinch Game 3 of the series in Pittsburgh with the Atlanta Braves closely trailing the Mets. 

MLB Players union joins the AFL-CIO 

In big baseball news, the MLB Players Association (MLBPA) has decided to join the AFL-CIO. The move comes as the union, which has approximately 1,200 members in Major League baseball and has been criticized for being a “millionaires club” of pro ballplayers, has begun a massive election to represent over 5,000 minor league players, some who are paid $500 a week. 

Players’ Union President Tony Clark, a former All-Star with the Detroit Tigers and the first Black president of the Players’ Union, said it was a mistake for major league ballplayers to become more involved in helping the broader labor movement. 

The recent lockout of Major League players this past winter and efforts to organize minor leaguers by groups like Advocates for Minor Leaguers, helped make the union realize it needed to do more to help workers outside of Major League Baseball, he said. 

“The truth is we reflected on where our organization was and the things we could potentially do moving forward as part of the broader labor discussion,” Clark told a press conference at the National Press Club today.

For more on what the announcement means, check out Dave Jamieson’s coverage of the event for HuffPost. 


6,000 Seattle Teachers Strike as Strike Wave Fall Grows This Fall


In Seattle, more than 6,000 teachers and members of the Seattle Education Association went on strike today as they continue to negotiate a contract with the Seattle Public Schools.

The teachers are calling for lighter caseloads, more pay for extra work, and more respect in work environments that they say can often be toxic. 

“More than half of SEA members have or have considered switching buildings, districts, or careers because of racism, discrimination, harassment, intimidation, bullying, or lack of respect,” the union said in a statement. “SPS and SEA must together develop a process to improve accountability for administrators and incentivize healthy and positive working environments. SEA members need increased power to address hostility in our buildings and programs.”

For more on the union’s bargaining priorities, check out their website. 

Another Suruban Seattle School District Strikes


Teacher strikes have been spreading in Seattle’s suburbs, with more than 300 teachers at 42 schools in the Kent School District going on strike last week before reaching a tentative agreement this week. 

Now, teachers in the Seattle school district of Eatonville are also on strike. The over 100 Eatonville teachers say that they’ve been trying to reach a deal for months. 

“Sadly, the district and their outside attorney have chosen to stonewall these negotiations rather than seeking to reach a fair deal,” Eatonville United said in a statement released by the union. “We reached out to the district in March to begin negotiations hoping to get a deal done well before the last minute but did not receive a response from them until June. By the time we finally sat down in July, we were met with rejection of our offers and proposals that would erode fair compensation. For the last month and a half, the district has failed to engage with our proposals.”

For more, check out Eatonville United. 

Lordstown Battery Workers Take Strike Vote 


In December of 2019, Payday Report warned that a new joint venture between GM and LG Energy to produce electric batteries in the closed Lordstown plant in Ohio was simply an attempt to union bust.
Now those fears have come to fruition. 

Over 800 workers at Ultium Cells Battery (the name of the new joint venture) in the old Lordstown GM plant will take a strike vote this weekend if the company doesn’t recognize the union. Previously, the Lordstown GM plant was shuttered in 2019, but now it’s partially reopened.

But the GM-driven leadership of Ultium Battery is refusing to agree to union neutrality provisions and won’t agree to automatically recognize a union if a majority of the workers sign union cards. 

Often, companies demand that workers go through long, costly NLRB union elections, where doubts can be sowed into workers’ minds against the union. However, the UAW is asking the GM joint venture to agree to the same union neutrality provisions that are in GM contracts for newly opened GM plants to determine if they want to go union or not.  

“This process has been agreed to by many employers for a smooth and peaceful recognition of the UAW,” UAW Vice President Terry Dittes wrote in a letter to union leaders in a letter last summer. “Ultium flat out rejected those simple basic features of a card check recognition we proposed.”

For more, check out Youngstown TV station WKBN. 

Donate to Help us Cover the Gr0wing Strike Wave
Across the US, we are seeing an uptick in workers striking this fall. Donate to help us cover this growing strike wave. 

Please, if you can, sign up as one of our 721 recurring donors today. Thank you to everyone who has supported our work covering this story.

Mercedes Benz Strike in San Diego Enters its 4th Month 

Finally, in San Diego, a group of nearly 35 auto technicians for Mercedes Benz of San Diego is entering its fourth month. Despite 20 auto technicians being fired by the company while striking this summer, the group of largely Latino auto technicians say that they are going to continue their strike, which has won passionate outpourings of community support from the unions in San Diego.
 

“We are in this fight to protect our industry and to grow the union density in the San Diego area,” said IAM Local 1484 Chief Shop Steward and Master Technician Pedro Gomez in a statement. “We will either be heroes or martyrs with this strike, but either way, we are winning.”

For more background on the strike, check out the San Diego Union-Tribune. 

News & Strikes Happening Elsewhere

Alright, folks that’s all for today. Donate to help us continue to cover the growing strike wave this September. 

Please, if you can, sign up as one of our 721 recurring donors today. 

Keep sending tips, story ideas, complaints, and comments to [email protected] Thanks for all the ideas, suggestions and comments.

Love & Solidariiyty,

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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