Marco Rubio Backs Amazon Union – Georgia Firefighters “Sickout” Strike – 1,500 Pittsburgh Steelworkers Move to Strike

Alabama Union activists campaigns in the cold (AFT)

Folks, 

Greetings from the Burgh, where it’s a beautiful 60-degree day (finally)! 

Marco Rubio Endorses Amazon Union Election

Down south, there have been a handful of big developments as Florida Senator Marco Rubio has endorsed the Amazon union effort. Writing for USA Today, he said: 

Here’s my standard: When the conflict is between working Americans and a company whose leadership has decided to wage culture war against working-class values, the choice is easy — I support the workers. And that’s why I stand with those at Amazon’s Bessemer warehouse today.

Uniquely malicious corporate behavior like Amazon’s justifies a more adversarial approach to labor relations. It is no fault of Amazon’s workers if they feel the only option available to protect themselves against bad faith is to form a union. Today it might be workplace conditions, but tomorrow it might be a requirement that the workers embrace management’s latest “woke” human resources fad.

The union welcomed the move.

“We welcome support from all quarters. Senator Rubio’s support demonstrates that the best way for working people to achieve dignity and respect in the workplace is through unionization,” said RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum. “This should not be a partisan issue.”

With Rubio expected to run for president again, his op-ed may prompt other Republicans to come out in support of the Amazon union vote. 

The endorsement of the union effort by Rubio effectively refutes Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), a former Auburn football coach, and the lead anti-union spokesperson in the community.

Richard Shelby, Alabama’s senior senator (and former Democrat who has enjoyed the support of unions in the past), is unlikely to become involved. 

Organizers say that with another prominent Republican senator supporting the Amazon union effort, there is now bipartisan support, and it will only add more momentum to their cause. 

For Rubio’s full op-ed, head to USA Today. 

Amazon Paying 3 Anti-Union Consultants $10,000-a-Day

In addition to hiring the Morgan Lewis law firm to bust the union drive, Amazon has hired three anti-union consultants and is paying them roughly $10,000-a-day, according to federal Department of Labor public disclosures and as reported by The Intercept.

The three “union avoidance” consultants include Russell Brown, Bill Monroe, and Rebecca Smith, a former Teamsters union organizer in Nevada. 

Brown and Smith recently worked against union efforts on the Mission Hospital campaign in Asheville, North Carolina where the union prevailed by a vote of 965-to-411 in 2020, making it the largest hospital union victory in the South since 1975. 

Brown and Smith also worked on the anti-union effort at Kumho Tire in Macon, Georgia, where in 2017 the union lost narrowly by only 28 votes in a campaign where supervisors fired people and threatened to call the parole officers of some workers that were formerly incarcerated. 

In 2019, on the Steelworkers’ second attempt, the union-busting duo was once again defeated as the union prevailed in the election. 

For more on the union busters’ work, check out The Intercept. 

Help Us Reach $10,000 for Our Amazon Union Coverage

So far, we have raised $6,487 for our nearly two months of Amazon Union Election Coverage. 

We’re making plans to expand our staff and extend our stay in Alabama to cover this, so please donate what you can. We appreciate all those who have come forward to chip in.

The best way to support us is to sign up as a recurring donor today. 

Northwest Georgia Firefights “Sickout” Strike 

In rural northwest Georgia, firefighters went on a second strike to protest low pay as some firefighters make as little as $11.67-an-hour. 

“We all love working for the city, it’s a great place to work but times have changed it’s a little harder to live off the money we’re making,” Zack Petty told WAGA. 

For more, check out WAGA

1,500 Steelworkers Vote to Strike in Pittsburgh 

In 2016, ATI (Allegheny Technologies Inc.) locked out the steelworkers for more than six months. Now with working conditions getting worse at the plant, more than 1,500 Steelworkers voted by 95% margin to strike at ATI. 

“I’ve never seen unity like this in my whole working career,” Todd Barbiaux, president of Local 1196 told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “The hands-on steel people, we’ve had enough. It’s full throttle.”

For more, check out the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Alright folks, that’s all for today. Keep sending story ideas, tips, comments, and complaints to [email protected]

Keep the donations coming for our fund to cover the union election at Amazon.Remember, the best way to support us is by joining our 567 recurring donors. Sign up as a recurring donor today.

About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is a yinzer 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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