Greetings from the ‘Burgh, where it’s a sunny beautiful day.
$55 Needed for Train Ticket to DC to Cover Lula State Visit
Tomorrow I am hoping to go to Washington. D.C. to cover Lula’s state visit as well as striking transit workers in the suburbs there. However, I’m still $75 short of what I need to cover the train ticket to D.C.
5,000 CSX Workers Reach Paid Sick Leave Deal
Last year, railroad workers were disappointed when the federal government, with support from Congressional Democrats, unilaterally imposed a union contract that union members had previously rejected. The contract didn’t contain paid sick days.
The move drew massive public outrage from many activists, who continued to pressure railroad companies for paid sick days.
Now, 5,000 railroad members of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division (BMWED) and the Brotherhood of Railway Carmen, employed by CSX, have won the right to 7 paid sick days.
“The other Class I railroads just reported extremely healthy earnings for 2022, many of which were record setting, and the Workers are the people responsible for those profits,” Tony D. Cardwell, president of BMWED told CNN. “Other than absolute greed, there is no reason why the other Class I railroads cannot enter into an identical paid sick leave agreement with BMWED, or any other rail union for that matter, especially in light of what CSX and the BMWED have done today.”
For more, check out CNN.
Marty Walsh Financial Conflict of Interest in New Job
In November, Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh received criticism for seeking
to impose a contract on railroad unions that their members rejected.
Now, Walsh, the former Mayor of Boston, is leaving as Secretary of Labor to become the president of NHL Players’ Association. The job pays $3 million dollars a year.
As head of the NHL players union, Walsh may be forced to do battle with Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, who donated heavily to Walsh during his campaigns to be Mayor of Boston.
During the 2012-2013 NHL lockout, Jacobs was viewed by many players as one of the hard-liners attacking the union — a role he played during the 2004-2005 and 1994-1995 lockouts as well. “Jeremy Jacobs is widely known as being the guy who makes lockouts happen,” wrote sportswriter Ryan Lambert in 2013.
Robert Kuttner at the American Prospect says that Walsh’s sudden departure raises serious questions about financial conflicts of interest that could hurt the players union:
Walsh’s career move blindsided the White House, senior Labor Department officials, and his close allies in the labor movement. According to the hockey magazine Daily Faceoff, Walsh introduced himself to the NHLPA’s executive board only last Friday, ahead of the league’s all-star weekend in Florida, with final contract negotiations still to come. Reportedly, there is some pushback from players.
To put it mildly, something about this story doesn’t smell right. For starters, to do this to Biden, on the eve of his State of the Union address, as one source puts it, is “unconscionable.” Walsh is both one of Biden’s closest personal friends in the Cabinet, as well as the symbol of Biden’s cultivation of the working class. When you are interviewed for a Cabinet job, you are explicitly asked to commit to stay for the entire term.
Walsh’s abrupt move also raises the serious question: What kind of representative of a union gets the job partly because the match was brokered by management? That has all the appearances of a sweetheart deal—a union rep who will be easy to deal with. It may be just a coincidence that Walsh has close ties with the board chair of the owners’ association, but it sure looks like hell.
100,000 Civil Servants to Strike in UK
Over in the UK, the massive strike wave known as “the Winter of Discontent” has not yet hit its crest.
Last week, more than 500,000 public employees went on strike. Earlier this week, 300,000 healthcare workers walked out. Now, over 100,000 civil servants have struck to protest budget cuts.
“Rishi Sunak doesn’t seem to understand that the more he ignores our members’ demands for a pay rise to get them through the cost-of-living crisis, the more angry and more determined he makes them,” Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union general secretary, Mark Serwotka told the Guardian.
Massachusettes Teacher Find Illegal Strikes Work
Finally, an “illegal strike” by teachers in Woburn, Massachusetts has drawn attention to how teachers are continuing to break the law in the state of Massachusetts, which is entirely governed by Democrats.
WBUR has a look at why a teachers union in Massachusetts is continuing to strike:
Educators in Woburn spent five school days on strike before they cut a deal with the district Sunday night, the latest in a series of such labor actions in the past year that have generated massive attention, some fines for unions and, in each case, a contract agreement.
In May, Brookline educators struck for one day before reaching a contract agreement. Teachers were on strike in Malden for a single day October, the same month that Haverhill teachers went on strike for four days. And last month, Melrose teachers voted to strike, then quickly agreed to a deal with the city to avert actually shuttering schools.
Massachusetts is one of dozens of states where public employees and public employee organizations are prohibited from striking, and advocates for years have been unsuccessful at convincing a critical mass of lawmakers to support changing the status quo.
The Massachusetts Teachers Association targeted an end to that ban as one of its priorities for the 2023-2024 session, arguing that a lack of ability to strike legally puts educators at a disadvantage in contract negotiations with districts that are able to stall talks.
News & Strikes Happening Elsewhere
- UAW election mailing was actually campaign letter, federal monitor says
- Idaho Teamsters Prevent Amazon From Destroying Public Land
- Over 90% of ‘Authorized Retail’ Workers at Leading Telecom Carriers Report Wage Theft; Nearly Three Quarters Make Less Than $16 an Hour
- St. Paul suburban school cafeteria workers strike
- Australian Rugby League stars consider radical strike as pay crisis deepens
- Finally, Actor’s Equity has dramatically increased their diversity through a new organizing initiative
Keep sending story ideas, tips, comments, and ideas to [email protected]. Thanks again for all the support & suggestions.
Love & Solidarity,