By Mike Elk
Greetings from the Burgh, where today’s rain has finally ended yet another week of “unhealthy” air warnings here.
Frito Lay Seeks Scab Workers as Kansas Labor Launches Boycott
With more than 500 Frito Lay workers on strike since Monday in Topeka, Kansas, the company has now begun to advertise that they’ll hire scabs to replace workers out on strike.
“Frito-Lay will be focused on continuing to run the operations of our plant in Topeka and has a contingency plan in place to ensure employee safety,” the company said in a statement to KSNT. “We will continue to be attentive to the situation and welcome any employees who wish to continue to work as they are legally entitled to do so.”
(Note: Given the difficulty low-wage employers are currently facing in hiring workers at all, it’ll be interesting to see how many scabs Frito-Lay will be able to hire to cross a contentious picket line.)
In response to Frito-Lay, local unions in Kansas have called for a boycott of PepsiCo Products (who owns Frito-Lay) until the strike is settled. From the Wichita Eagle:
Monica Marks, a Wichita resident, took a list of Frito-Lay and PepsiCo brands with her to the grocery store this week. She said she hopes that if more consumers avoid the company’s products, it will impact Frito-Lay and convince it to negotiate a better contract with the union.
“If we can avoid it, even with some adjustments, we won’t cross a picket line,” Marks said. “It’s not difficult to just buy a different brand of chips and soda.”
Barbers at Fort Lee Go On Strike
At Fort Lee military base in Virginia, over 20 barbers employed as contractors at the base have gone on strike this week over changes in their pay structure, resulting in some barbers making $1,000 less a month.
“I love my job and I love cutting hair at Fort Lee. I wanted to stay until I retire,” [barber Mike] Kates said. “When I got there 15 years ago, there were other people who had been there for 20 or 30 years. It’s not like people come and go. Once you’re there, you’re there. I don’t want to have to leave.”
When Sheffield Barbers first took over, employees were earning 55% of the per haircut fee of $12.15. According to the barbers’ union representative, Sheffield reduced that fee to 55% of $11.25, the haircut price charged in 2017. That means stylists are seeing almost one dollar less profit per haircut.
Since taking over, Sheffield has increased the price per haircut to $13. Kates says he is still earning 55% on a per cut price of $11.25 and that all of the profit is going toward the contractor.
USC Nurses to Go on Strike
This July 13 and 14, nurses at Keck Hospital of USC and USC Norris Cancer Hospital in Los Angeles, California are slated to go on strike.
“Cancer patients need safe staffing and specialized care,” said Michael Simonton, RN in the Intensive Care Unit at USC Norris Cancer Hospital. “USC claims they have no problems hiring nurses, so I have to ask myself why our hospital is chronically short-staffed.”
News Happening Elsewhere
- As the Warrior Met coal strike in Northern Alabama enters its fourth month, a coal miner’s wife has been hit by a car on the picket line, adding to the increasing incidents of workers being struck by scabs’ cars on the picket line.
- TV news crews are increasingly threatened with violence on the job.
- El Salvador has expelled crusading journalist Daniel Lizárraga as the authoritarian president Nayib Bukele.
- Pittsburgh City Councilman Bobby Wilson seeks to extend pandemic-era paid sick leave to all workers in Pittsburgh.
- Today, President Joe Biden issued an antitrust executive order that many analysts say would help workers particularly in industries with anti-compete clauses.
Hear about a strike or walkout or just want to share some comments? Drop us a line at [email protected].
See yinz. Have a good weekend.
Love & Solidarity,