Heat Dome Inspires Workers Walkout – Amazon Workers Forced to Work with No A/C – Farmworkers Forced Into 117 Degree Heat

Farmworker Julio Luque picks Rainier cherries at Ogden farms outside of Wenatchee near the Columbia River as a heat wave rocked Oregon in July (Daisy Zavala / The Seattle Times)


Greetings from the Burgh, where it’s been wonderful receiving so many messages of support after I filed a whistleblower lawsuit yesterday against the NewsGuild who had retaliated against me for exposing a sexual misconduct cover-up.  

Thank you for all the support — together, we can build a union that values the transparency and accountability that we practice every day as journalists. 

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Heat Dome Inspires Voodoo Doughnut Worker Walk-Off

As yesterday’s heat dome in the Pacific Northwest led to temperatures reaching 117 degrees, some workers at the Voodoo Doughnut shop decided to walk off the job rather than work in record heat. 

“We, Doughnut Workers United, decided the strike was necessary given the extreme heat making it unsafe to continue to work, especially during swing shift. No person should work in temperatures in excess of 90 degrees,” a group of workers told Willamette Week in a statement. 

For more, check out Willamette Week.

Yakima Valley Farmworkers Forced to Work in 117-Degree Heat 

In the Yakima Valley of Washington State, there has been a good deal of organizing with more than a dozen work stoppages last year alone. 

However, yesterday farmworkers were still being forced to work in the Valley. 

Because there are no existing federal regulations that dictate when it’s safe to work, workers there say they have been forced to endure brutal temperatures. 

“There’s no shade where I work,” a cherry picker in Yakima County told Vice. “A lot of people who don’t feel well keep working so as not to lose money for lunch or rent. People endure a lot to finish. They give more than they are able to.” 

For more, check out Vice. 

Amazon Warehouse Kept Working Without Working Air Conditioning 

At one Amazon warehouse in Kent, Wash., workers were forced to work in heavy heat despite there being no working air conditioning system. The Seattle Times has the story

Heat precautions were less evident at another of Amazon’s Kent facilities, where interior temperatures neared 90 degrees by midday, a second worker estimated. Not every workstation had functioning fans, that worker said. And some departments were running “power hours,” in which workers are asked to move as quickly as they can for an hour to boost productivity.

“I was sweating immediately,” said the second worker. “I’m really surprised at how ill-prepared they are, given we have known it would be this hot for a little bit now.” Some workers went home early because they couldn’t stand the heat, the worker said.  

For more, check out The Seattle Times. 

Michigan Health Techs Vote to Unionize 159-13

Finally, in the upper peninsula of Michigan, health technologists at the U.P. Health System Marquette voted to unionize by a margin of 159 to 13

“The past year of COVID crisis has really brought us together and shown us how much stronger we are when we are united,” Kerri Beckman, a medical technologist, told UP Matters. “We all need each other to keep moving forward. With a union, we will be able to retain quality employees to make sure that we can always provide the kind of patient care our community deserves.”   

For more, check out UPMatters.com. 

News Happening Elsewhere 

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About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter and alumni of the Guardian. In addition to filing over 1,800 stories from 46 states, 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 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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