900 Strikes since March 1st – Rubber Bullet Workers Make Only $10 an Hour – New Strike Board Game Launched

Alex Palma, a member of the independent union Familias Unidas por la Justicia waves his union flag outside of his plant in Yakima Valley, Wash. State (Evan Abell/ Yakima Herald-Republic)

Greetings from the Burgh, where Payday is preparing for #StrikeForBlackLives. 

With tomorrow’s strike, Payday Report’s Strike Tracker will surpass the 900 mark for strikes recorded since March 1st. 

Today, we recorded a strike by 12 Operating Engineers in Michigan

Heard or read about a strike? Use our tip sheet here to report it, and please donate today so we can keep up tracking strikes nationwide.

Strike for Black Lives in over 25 Cities on Monday July 20th

On Monday July 20, SEIU-led workers plan to strike in at least 25 cities across the U.S. for Black Lives. 

Nearly 50 companies and organizations plan to strike in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, including the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the American Federation of Teachers, and the United Farm Workers.

(For a map of their actions, see the Strike! for Black Lives Map here.)

Illinois Hospital Workers Intend to Strike for Black Lives on July 20

In Loretto, Illinois, 180 hospital workers at Loretto Hospital also plan to strike as part of #StrikeForBlackLives. The workers, who are in the midst of bargaining a contract, say they are fed up with treatment at the facility. 

“A human body can only take working so many hours without rest. Can only take so much stress, can only take so much work. And if you don’t get paid enough for the work you do, you have to work more than one job,” ER Technician Wellington Thomas told Austin Weekly News. “If you’re always short staffed, you have to do the work of more than one person.”

Target’s Shipt Delivery Drivers Strike as Target Slashes Rate by One-Third

During the pandemic, Target hired more than 10,000 drivers as independent contractors through its app service, Shipt.  Despite the boom in business, Shipt recently released a new revenue model that has decreased take-home pay for some drivers by 30 to 40%. 

Yesterday, scores of Target SHIPT delivery workers across the U.S.went on strike to protest the wage cuts. 

“Suddenly, I was out $500-700 a week,” one driver told Vice. “The change was so discouraging. Shoppers in San Antonio took a big hit, and I had to find a new job at a call center.”

Workers Making Rubber Bullets Paid Only $10 an Hour

Over the summer of protests, police have fired “rubber bullets” at demonstrators on scores of occasions, leading manufacturers struggling to keep up with demand for rubber bullets.

Behind that demand is a workforce of low-wage workers with no benefits, working up to 12 hours a day. From NBC News: 

Safariland, a $450 million company run by the investor Warren Kanders, relies on a rotation of low-wage temporary employees, according to NBC News interviews with eight workers. Six workers with Safariland said that they were paid between $10 and $12 an hour with no benefits, and sometimes were expected to work up to 12 hours a day, six days a week, to meet the company’s production orders for less lethal weapons.

“They were always pushing employees past their limits,” one Safariland worker said, adding he resigned in June.

For more, go to NBC News.

Senate Moving Slow to Expand Enhanced Unemployment Benefits 

At the end of this month, over 40 million Americans stand to lose an extra $600 a week in enhanced unemployment benefits. 

However, Republicans in Congress don’t appear to be moving quickly to expand them any time soon. HuffPost’s Arthur Delaney and Matt Fuller have the latest: 

Despite some new consensus that the additional $600 in federal unemployment benefits shouldn’t disappear entirely, Republicans and Democrats are still far apart on an actual deal. Republicans are looking at a number closer to $200, and Democrats are pushing for benefits closer to $500. 

The benefits end on July 31, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Monday that senators won’t start negotiating in earnest until next week, when lawmakers return to the Capitol from recess. McConnell’s top priority for the legislation is protecting schools and businesses from coronavirus-related lawsuits — an idea Democratic leaders strongly oppose. 

The timing all but guarantees that even if Congress agrees to preserve benefits, it won’t do so quickly enough to prevent a lapse in the higher payments. July 31 is a Friday, and since many states pay unemployment compensation on Saturday or Sunday, some claimants may actually receive their final $600 weekly payment on July 25 or 26, according to Michele Evermore of the National Employment Law Project

For more, go to HuffPost. 

“STRIKE! The Game of Worker Rebellion” Launches 

With the strike wave continuing to grow, board game makers TESA Collective teamed up to make “Strike! The Game of Worker Rebellion.” 

“In STRIKE!, players lead a city-wide rebellion of workers against a mega-corporation’s attempt to take over their community,” said the TESA Collective in a statement. 

“Players must grow their ranks, mobilize their workers, and organize strikes around their city. As the Strike Council scores victories for workers, they gain the support of more allies, from the dockworkers to the teachers, and build new bases of support from the manufacturing district to the university. It is a cooperative game – meaning all players win or lose together,” said the TESA Collective. 

The TESA Collective worked closely with Jobs with Justice to develop the game. 

Bringing people together to strategize on building a worker rebellion is critical for our time,” said Jobs with Justice Executive Director Erica Smiley in a statement. “We can’t wait to hear how players are inspired by the game, and we want all the players to know Jobs With Justice will always have a place for them at our table.”

Fore more, go to TESA Collective

That’s it folks. 

We’ll be back next week for #StrikeForBlackLives. If you have any stories or ideas, send an email to [email protected].

Donate so we can keep covering the fightback against racial injustice and COVID

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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