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)

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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.  

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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
A protege of the late Bill Greider, Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter who covered the drug war in Brasil and spent years covering union organizing in the South for The Guardian. In 2016, he used his $70,000 NLRB settlement from being fired in the union drive at Politico to start the crowd-funded Payday Report. The son of United Electrical Workers (UE) Director of Organization Gene Elk, he lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh. Email: [email protected]

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