Major Railroad Union Votes Down Deal – Afro-Brazilian Teachers’ Union Leader Elected in Bolsonaro Stronghold – Amazon Workers Walk Out at 4 Facilities



Greetings from Rio, where I am very thankful to all our readers who donated to help me replace my iPhone.  

Help Accessing WhatsApp & Facebook Contacts

Because two-factor security verification requires I use a code sent to my cell phone, I’m unable to access my contacts on either Facebook or WhatsApp. I tried backup ways to access them, but I find myself frustrated. I won’t have access to my new iPhone until it arrives in the mail in a day or two. 

If anyone has any connections with WhatsApp or Facebook, or knowledge of how to fix this problem, please email me at [email protected]. 

Amazon Workers to Walk Out at 5 Facilities During Prime Week

As Payday Report went to press, we received news Amazon workers in at least four different facilities planned to walk out during this week Amazon’s Prime Week. 

Reports from More Perfect Union have confirmed that workers in Joliet, Illinois, the Inland Empire in Southern California, and Stone Mountain, Georgia, walked out today. Workers in Buford, Georgia, also plan to walk out later this week. 

In Joliet, Illinois, Black workers said they faced death threats after filing a complaint with the EEOC over racist management, and felt they had no other choice but to walk out. 

“After death threats were made in the warehouse, Amazon installed metal detectors but they only scan people walking out, not anyone walking in,” Destiny Collins, a worker at the Joliet warehouse, said in a statement. “Even when we’re being threatened, Amazon is only worried about us stealing a few dollars worth of merchandise, not our lives. To them the only thing that’s disposable in the warehouse is us.”

This is developing a news story and Payday Report will have more as this story develops. Check out More Perfect Union’s Twitter feed, which has been keeping track of the walkouts. 

Major Railroad Union Rejects Railroad Deal 

The nation’s third-largest railroad union, the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Employees Division of the Teamsters Union (BMWED), announced yesterday that they voted 57% to 43% to reject the latest contract offer. 

While the deal included some wage increases, railroad workers said the biggest issue is the lack of paid time off. (See my story from September with The American Prospect on erratic scheduling on the railroads.)

“Railroaders are discouraged and upset with working conditions and compensation and hold their employer in low regard. Railroaders do not feel valued,” BMWED President Tony D. Cardwell said in a statement. “They resent the fact that management holds no regard for their quality of life, illustrated by their stubborn reluctance to provide a higher quantity of paid time off, especially for sickness.”

It’s unclear if BMWED rejecting the contract means they will strike. Typically when unions strike, it occurs after members overwhelmingly reject contracts with 70-80% of union members often voting to reject contract proposals from companies.

However, 57% of members voting against a contract may mean there is not quite enough support for a strike. With 43% of members voting in favor of a contract, union leaders would be worried about the possibility of some of those union members crossing picket lines during any potential railroad strike. 

More likely this means that BMWED and the railroads will continue to negotiate. 

In September, the Machinists union initially rejected a tentative agreement, but then returned and were able to improve the terms of their deal in a later agreement. With pressure from the Biden Administration to avoid a railroad strike, there is also a high chance that a railroad strike will be averted. 

Already, BMWED has publicly stated they would delay any decision on whether to strike until after the fall midterm election this fall. 

For more on what this means for railroads, check out this in-depth piece from Railway Age. 

LA Labor Federation President Resigns over Racist Remarks 

LA Labor Federation President Ron Herrera, former President of Teamsters Local 396, who was elected as president of the 800,000-member LA Labor Federation in 2019, was once considered a rising star in the labor movement. 

Last year, Herrera ran to be Secretary-Treasurer on a slate with Steve Vairma, which was backed by the Hoffa Administration.  Herrera was the first Latino to ever run for a major leadership position for the Teamsters in 2021.

However, Herrera resigned yesterday as LA Labor Federation President after a leaked audio tape leaked to the LA Times revealed a group of three LA City Council members laughing while racist remarks were made, which Herrera failed to correct. 

Thom Davis, chair of the LA County Labor Federation’s executive board, apologized on behalf of the federation for the remarks. 

 “It is unconscionable that those elected to fight for our communities of color would engage in repulsive and vile anti-Black, anti-LGBTQ, anti-Asian and anti-Oaxacan remarks that pit our working communities against each other,” Davis said in a statement. “These sentiments will not be tolerated by our organization or those who we represent.”

For more on Herrera’s resignation, check out the LA Times. 

Black Teachers’ Union Leader Elected in Paraná

Finally, early next week, Payday plans to go to the Bolsonaro stronghold of Paraná, which Bolsonaro won by 19 points. Despite the region’s conservative leanings, there has been some wrinkle of hope for the left. 

Last week, Carol Dartora, a teachers’ union leader, was elected as the first Black Congresswoman from Paraná. Brasil de Fato Paraná has a profile of her efforts, which was translated by Brasilwire:

“Dartora was elected in the state-wide race by 130,654 people, making her the second most voted for progressive candidate. ‘We proposed a new political culture and representation,’ she said, ‘and the people embraced my candidacy.’

‘We have been fighting for the inclusion of the black population in Brazilian society since the end of slavery. Paraná, unfortunately, has lagged behind the rest of the country due to large-scale institutional racism which has blocked opportunities for the black population for a long time,’ she said. ‘I believe that this victory is a  result of this historical struggle, this ancestral resistance.’

Dartora, who will take office in 2023, says that it is time to take progressive agendas to the center of power in Brazil. ‘This is the moment when the diverse working class, made of men, women, Afro-Brazilians and the poor, feels the need to move forwards. We have to advance in terms of living conditions and basic rights. The population of Paraná understands this need and how our plan for office will work towards achieving it, and this is why I was elected,’ she said.’ ”

For more, check out Brasil de Fato Paraná

News & Strikes Happening Elsewhere

Folks, that’s all for today. Donate to help us cover our travel costs to Curitiba this week. Please, if you can, sign up as one of our 735 recurring donors today. 

Keep sending tips, story ideas, comments, and complaints to [email protected]. Thanks again for all the suggestions and support. 

Love & Solidarity, 


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]

Be the first to comment on "Major Railroad Union Votes Down Deal – Afro-Brazilian Teachers’ Union Leader Elected in Bolsonaro Stronghold – Amazon Workers Walk Out at 4 Facilities"

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.