Greetings from the Burgh, where we have been busily working the phones with union sources to track the latest developments in the potential strike of 90,000 railroad workers.
To find out more, read my latest piece in The American Prospect.
5,000 Machinists Vote Down Railroad’s Latest Offer
Earlier today, the Machinists union announced that their 5,000 members would not accept the rail carriers’ most recent proposal, becoming the first union to do so. Other unions continue to weigh their options as some have begun strike preparations.
“The Tentative Agreement has been rejected, and the strike authorization vote was approved by IAM District 19 members,” IAM District 19, which represents rail workers, said in a statement, “Out of respect for other unions in the ratification process, an extension has been agreed to until Sept. 29, 2022 at 12 p.m. ET. This extension will allow us to continue to negotiate changes with the NCCC in the hopes of achieving an agreement our membership would ratify.”
Additionally, the two largest unions — BLET and SMART — have begun distributing information on what union members should do if their unions decide to go on strike this week, signaling that a deal being cut before the deadline expires is unlikely.
However, both major unions were silent on if they would delay any strike while negotiations continued.
Meanwhile, rail carriers pledged to Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh that they would not lock out any workers after the Friday deadline expires while both sides continue to try to work out an agreement.
According to sources in three major rail unions, the Biden administration is heavily pressuring both sides to avoid a work stoppage on the railroads. With less than two months before election day, the administration is worried that headlines about a railroad strike hurting supply chains could hurt Biden and the Democrats at the ballot box this November.
It’s unclear if any workers will walk out on Friday. However, a survey of 3,162 railroad workers released by Railroad Workers United revealed that 96 percent of railroad workers are prepared to strike.
Donate to Help Us Cover the Railroad Strike
Many more big developments in the potential railroad strike are sure to come before the federal “cooling off” period expires at midnight on Thursday.
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1,100 Woodworkers strike at Oregon Weyerhaeuser
For the first time in over 30 years, more than 1,100 Oregon Weyerhaeuser workers are on strike in Washington and Oregon.
Workers say that with inflation at 9%, the company’s latest wage offer, which also demands workers pay more in health care premiums, would amount to a wage cut.
“They want you to give more out of the gate in your premiums, so by the time you take your raise, and take the amount you pay for medical, you’re not getting a raise,” truck driver Joe McDonald told The Register-Guard.
For more, check out The Register-Guard.
Minnesota Hospitals Offering $8,000 a Week for “Scab” Nurses
As 15,000 nurses continue their three-day strike in Minnesota, some hospitals are advertising positions for replacement nurses offering $8,000 a week. CBS Minnesota has the story:
“The striking nurses have asked for a 30% wage increase over three years, with the first year increase at 13%. Abbott nurses say that if they got that pay bump, it would mean base pay for a starting nurse would be $34.99 an hour.
With nurses working an average 12-hour day, [Angela Becchetti, a registered nurse at Abbott Northwestern Hospital] said new nurses would only be making $419.18 a day, or about a quarter of what traveling nurses are making a day during each day of the strike.”
For more, check out CBS Minnesota.
Amazon Safety Head Steps Down as More Organizing Efforts Launch
Finally, as the Amazon Labor Union is set to hold another union election in Albany on October 12, with new organizing efforts announced publicly just this week in California and Missouri, Amazon is feeling the heat.
On Monday, Amazon announced that Heather MacDougall, vice president of global workplace health and safety since 2019, would be stepping down.
When faced with tough union campaigns, union busters often recommend that the company fire some top management. Firing top management is a way for companies to signal to workers that they’re listening to their concerns and there is no need for a union.
However, Jack Casciato, the attorney for the family members of one of the six workers that was killed during a tornado at the Amazon plant in Edwardsville, Missouri, says the move is simply PR. Casciato points to the decision of Amazon to reopen the Edwardsville warehouse without having a tornado shelter.
“It’s very analogous and we’re all familiar with the sinking of the Titanic and not having enough lifeboats, it would be as if the White Starline, the corporation that owned the Titanic, rebuilt the ship knowing it did not have enough lifeboats and then not adding new lifeboats. These are resources that Amazon should have had in place,” Jack Casciato told KMOV.
Strikes & News Happening Elsewhere
- Starbucks Workers United founder Jaz Brisack said her employer had refused to accommodate her scheduling requests.
- Kaiser mental health workers allege state law violations in fifth week of strike.
- Workers at a Detroit-area nursing home who went on strike vote to unionize.
- Employees at Cape Regional Physicians Associates vote ‘Union Yes!’
- Hannaford dropped from Vermont Pride after declining to meet with dairy workers.
- Kosovo teachers’ strike drags on as talks between unions and government fail.
- Finally, Indy Week looks at a Planet Fitness strike in Durham, North Carolina.
Alright folks, that’s it for today. Donate to help us keep tracking this emerging strike wave. And please, if you can, sign up as one of our 725 recurring donors today.
Keep sending ideas, stories, complaints, and links to [email protected]. Thanks again for all the suggestions and support.
Love & Solidarity,
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