Greetings from Erie, where I’ve been out in the field interviewing local labor activists as we prepare to cover what’s increasingly looking like a strike of 1,500 locomotive workers, members of UE, on June 9th.
Help Us Cover June 9th Strike in Erie at WABTEC.
GE Transportation, which owned the locomotive factory here in Erie, had been cutting back on staff for years. Nearly 5,000 UE members were employed there almost a decade ago. Only 700 UE members were employed at the plant a few years ago.
However, in 2019, the plant was sold to WABTEC and has expanded to 1,500 workers as new contracts have been secured. Now, workers are threatening to strike to regain rights they gave up when the plan was closing. The contract expires on June 9th, and workers appear close to a strike.
Insurance Companies Worried about TV & Film Strikes
The “Summer of Strikes” appears to be intensifying.
Already, 11,000 TV & Film workers are on strike. Now, 19,000 members of the Directors’ Guild, whose contract expires on June 30th, appear to be moving towards a strike. Both sides have stated that they are still far apart and likely to strike.
Last week, the leadership of 160,000 members of SAG-AFTRA recommended that they vote to authorize a strike when their contract expires on June 30th. The growing strike is making some insurance companies anxious, and are beginning to pull financial backing for strikes. From Deadline:
In a seismic development for the indie film sector, which could have ripple effects across the whole film and TV ecosystem, bond companies are refusing to insure movies ahead of a potential SAG-AFTRA strike on July 1.
This eventuality has been bubbling behind the scenes for a little while, but its first known casualty is a high-profile case. Oscar winner Pawel Pawlikowski’s The Island, set to star Oscar winner Joaquin Phoenix (Joker) and Oscar nominee Rooney Mara (Carol), was due to get underway this month with the actors on location in Spain and ready to roll.
Resident Physicians End Historic Strike
At Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, over 150 resident physicians went on strike this week, the first strike of resident physicians in New York City in 31 years. The residents protested that they made dramatically less than their colleagues at Manhattan hospitals owned by the same company.
After three days on strike, the physicians ended it as the union won its first contract. The contract gives all residents an 18% pay raise and an agreement over hazard pay. The union says it still has to push for more but declared a partial victory in reaching a tentative agreement.
“We got more than we would have gotten otherwise,” Dr. Kajornsakchai, one of the organizers, told the New York Times. “It’s a big fight that this small group of residents has taken on.”
1,700 Group Home Workers Strike in Connecticut
At nine different facilities across Connecticut, more than 1,700 group home workers went on strike yesterday. Workers, many of whom make below $ 15 an hour, are demanding a living wage, but so far, management has only offered to give a two-cent-an-hour raise.
“What is a two-cent raise going to do for me? It’s not that I don’t want to be there for my individuals, but what is two-cent raise going to do for and the predicament I find myself in,” Michelle Palmer, a group home employee for New England Health Care, told WTNH.
UFCW Moves to Recall Top Dem State House Leader
In Oregon, the state’s largest private sector union, UFCW Local 555, is backing an effort to recall Democratic House Speaker Pro Tempore Paul Holvey (the #2 Democrat in the state legislature).
Holvey, who was previously a carpenters’ union leader, had angered the union by refusing to back “hazard pay” during the pandemic, refusing to back union rights for cannabis workers, and supporting a 2019 measure that cut pensions for public employees in the state.
“Oregon workers are calling for the removal of Representative Holvey after his repeated attacks on their livelihoods,” union President Dan Clay said in a statement. “He has shown that his allegiance lies with large corporations, not with Oregonians. Voters in Holvey’s district deserve a representative who will prioritize their well-being, and they will have an opportunity to express their dissatisfaction with Holvey’s representation.”
Italians May Strike Over Pasta Prices
Finally, in Italy, pasta prices have soared by 17%. Now, some people are threatening to strike over the soaring cost of pasta. From CNBC:
In March 2022, the price of wheat peaked at its highest level in more than a decade as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine advanced. Both nations are huge suppliers of agricultural products to the global market.
However, Truzzi noted that the input costs have since dropped since that time, and higher pasta prices are now driven by other factors.
“High prices are maintained in order to have greater profits. Prices will fall only in the face of a significant drop in consumption,” said Assoutent, proposing plans to reduce pasta consumption with a “pasta strike” of at least 15 days. In 2007, Italians staged a one-day strike against buying pasta when prices rose by almost 20%.
News & Strikes Elsewhere
- 1,000 Amazon office workers plan to strike in Seattle to protest the “return-to-office” policy.
- Nurses inch toward union vote amid GW Hospital’s alleged anti-union efforts
- Georgia school bus drivers strike ends in Georgia as union members ratify new contract
- Train derailments in Washington have more than doubled in the last ten years
- Samsung faces its first-ever strike in Korea
- As Teachers Strike grips Romania, they’re not the only professionals feeling ‘humiliated’ and unhappy
- Finally, St. Louis Public Radio has a look at a strike of Black women at a nut factory in 1933
Alright, yinz, that’s all for today. We will have more tomorrow.
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See yinz tomorrow,