Bolsonaro to Face Trial June 22nd – 340,000 Teamsters to Vote on Striking – Rochester Newspaper Workers Walkout

Bolsonaro petitioned to stay in the US (AP)

Folks, 

Greetings from the Burgh, where the air quality, like most of the East Coast, is unhealthy for people with weak lungs like myself. 

$435 Healthcare Premiums Due Again this Month

On days like today, when the air quality is bad, it’s difficult for me to breathe, making it very difficult to find energy from a Long Covid perspective to work. Thankfully, I am undergoing treatment – that’s costing me nearly $ 700 a month, including premiums and co-pay and am starting to get better.

Donate to help me continue to pay for Long Covid treatment. Please sign up as one of our 751 recurring donors today. 

Bolsonaro to Face Trial June 22nd 

On June 22nd, hearings are set to begin in front of the independent Supreme Electoral Tribunal in Brasilia. 

Bolsonaro is charged with attempting to spread disinformation about the integrity of the electoral system in Brazil. Bolsonaro could be blocked from running for office again in Brazil if convicted. 

The charge is the first of 15 charges that Boslonao faces in front of the Electoral Tribunal for electoral crimes committed during the election. President Lula, who defeated Bolsonaro by 2 million votes, has pushed Bolsonaro to be permanently barred from running for office again. 

For more, check out Telesur. 

340,000 Teamsters to Vote to Authorize Strike 

Today, over 340,000 Teamsters are set to begin voting to authorize a strike against UPS. If successful, the Teamsters would be authorized to strike nationwide against UPS on August 1st. 

While a strike hasn’t been held nationwide at UPS since 1997, Union insiders tell Payday Report that the strike authorization vote is expected to pass by wide margins. Teamsters President Sean O’Brien, who was recently elected in 2021, is eager to show that the new leadership of the Teamsters is willing to fight. 

“The time has come to use our strongest leverage and officially remind UPS that hundreds of thousands of Teamsters are ready to withhold our labor to ensure UPS acts accordingly,” Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien said in a statement. “The National Committee strongly urges all UPS Teamsters to vote YES to authorize a strike. This is how we win.”

For more on what’s driving the strike, check out this op-ed by a UPS worker in Salon. 

Part of Nationwide Strikes, Rochester Journalists Walkout 

In September of 2019, Payday Report was the only print outlet that was there when 840 General Motors workers were in Rochester, New York. For two days, the local daily, the Rochester Democrat-Chronicle, didn’t even run a story on the strike’s effects on local workers, 1,000 of whom work at the Rochester plant and 840 of whom are members of the United Automobile Workers union.

(See Melk’s 2019 Columbia Journalism Review piece on the failure of the Rochester, as well as national media, to cover the strike)

Yesterday, workers at the Gannett-owned Rochester Democrat-Chronicle, are out on strike, calling the company out for failing to invest in adequately covering communities. 

“People across the Rochester area count on news organizations like the Democrat & Chronicle to let them know what’s happening in their community, to inform them of what’s happening with the institutions that control huge amounts of money,” Justin Murphy, vice-chair of the union, told WHAM. “If there’s fewer and fewer reporters and photographers to do that, the community suffers for it.”

For more, check out WHAM. 

Immigrant Healthcare Workers Face $100,000 Lawsuit for Leaving Jobs 

Finally, as hospitals face staffing shortages, more and more healthcare providers are looking to immigrant healthcare workers to meet their staffing needs. 

However, when some immigrant healthcare workers have tried to leave their jobs, they have been faced with lawsuits saying that they face heavy fines and lawsuit threats for leaving their contacts early. From NBC News

When the workers tried to leave their jobs before the expiration of multi-year contracts, they were faced with paying tens of thousands of dollars in penalties to their employers, forced into arbitration, or sued, in some cases, for more than $100,000, according to a review of employment contracts, lawsuits and other documentation obtained by NBC News. As a result, the workers said they felt trapped between continuing in untenable jobs or risking financial ruin.

“These unconscionable contracts effectively trap these workers in debt bondage, making it impossible for them to leave their jobs,” said Martina Vandenberg, president of the Human Trafficking Legal Center, in congressional testimony last month about what she sees as a wider problem. “The workers are handcuffed by debt, unable to flee.”

Some of the tactics used to keep nurses in their jobs have been alleged to be illegal by the Labor Department, which in March sued one nurse staffing agency, saying its penalties imposed on workers for leaving their jobs early amounted to kickbacks that violated fair wage laws. A federal court ruled in 2019 that contract penalties of $25,000 by a New York nursing home operator violated human trafficking laws. But the employment practices have continued, falling into a regulatory gray area, and stand to become even more prevalent given the shortage of Americans willing to work in a growing number of healthcare jobs with harsh conditions and relatively low pay, said labor and nursing advocates. 

“It is as shocking to me as children working the overnight shift in slaughterhouses and states rolling back child labor laws,” Vandenberg told NBC News.

For more, check out NBC News. 

Strikes & News Happening Elsewhere 

Alright, yinz, that’s all for today. Keep sending emails, links & ideas to [email protected] 

Donate to help us cover the “Summer of Strikes.” Please, if you can, sign up as one of our 751 recurring donors today. 

Thanks again for all the support. 

Love & Solidarity, 

Melk 

About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter and alumni of the Guardian. A native of Pittsburgh, Elk grew up in a UE union family. Elk was the only American reporter in the room with Lula on the morning of the election & traveled with him to the Oval Office. 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 attended journalism school at PUC-Rio de Janeiro. He speaks both Portuguese and Pittsburgh fluently. His email is [email protected]