Mercedes Rollsback Wage & Benefit Gains Following Union Defeat – Teamsters Prez to Speak at RNC Convention – Reggie Jackson Talks Violence in the South

Teamsters President Sean O'Brien (left)plans to speak at Republican National Convention (Teamsters)


Greetings from the Burgh, where I am slowly recovering from a nasty bout with a flu variant. Big thanks to everyone who donated. 

I am on the path to recovery, but I wanted to give folks a quick update on what’s happening there because a lot is happening. 

$916 Raised for Paid Sick Day Fund Through Matching Funds

Big thanks to our readers, who donated $458 to our paid sick day fund when I was out for the past week. The Illumine Service Foundation matched this money dollar-for-dollar. 

Raising $916 when I am sick with the flu really helps me rest and recover. I am struggling with Long Covid; I have gotten ill in the past two years.  

Sometimes, I have rushed back to raise money, but it is important to be able to sleep and recover. Big thanks to everyone. 

Donate today and have your donation matched dollar to dollar until the election. 

Teamsters Prez to Speak RNC Convention

Early today, Teamsters President Sean O’Brien announced he would accept Trump’s invitation to speak at the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee in July. 

“This is truly unprecedented since it will be the very first time a Teamsters General President has addressed the RNC,” the Teamsters said in a statement. “Our 1.3 million members represent every political background, and their message needs to be heard by as wide an audience as possible, and that includes all political candidates running for elected office.”

While continuing to receive significant backing from groups like Labor Notes, whose conference OBrien has generously supported as Teamsters president, O’Brien has disappointed many union reformers. 

Earlier this year, O’Brien even threatened to sue for copyright infringement of the website TeamstersLink, a popular message board for rank-and-file reformers. He threatened to sue the website after it leaked O’Brien’s internal plans to get the union to give money and support the RNC. 

Seth Goldstein, who previously served as counsel to the independent Amazon Labor Union affiliated with the Teamsters, was critical of the Teamsters President’s decision. O’Brien’s flirtation with Trump was well-known before the ALU’s decision to affiliate with the Teamsters, leading Goldstein to call out the union’s politics. 

“I’d rather do anything than speak at a convention sponsored by big tech, Amazon, union busters, and ‘big money’ interests. What happened to ‘eat the rich’?” tweeted Goldstein with a picture of Amazon Labor Union Founder Chris Smalls, wearing a shirt that said, “Eat the Rich.” 

For more, check out Dave Jamieson at HuffPost.

Mercedes Rollsback Wage & Benefit Gains Following Union Defeat 

Last month, the UAW was defeated in a historic upset in its attempt to unionize at Mercedes in Vance, Alabama. The union has filed formal objections with the NLRB, alleging illegal intimidation and asking the NLRB to sit outside the UAW election. 

Now, Mercedes is saying that it can’t give workers the wage and benefits increases it promised to implement because of the union’s current legal action at the NLRB. 

The UAW has protested the change and intends to file legal objections. 

For more, check out the Alabama Political Reporter. 

Reggie Jackson Opens Up About Death Threats in Alabama 

Finally, yesterday, Major League Baseball held a historic game at Rickwood Field, a former Negro Leagues stadium, where Willie Mays got his start. 

Reggie Jackson, who played for the Oakland A’s AA minor league affiliate there in 1968, opened up about the violence he faced as a black player in Alabama in the 1960s. From NBC: 

“I would never want to do it again. I walked into restaurants and they would point at me and say that n—– can’t eat here,” he explained during a Fox Sports pregame show.

Negro League legends prior to the 2024 Rickwood game between the San Francisco Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals on June 20 in Birmingham, Ala.Daniel Shirey / MLB Photos via Getty Images

“We went to (Kansas City A’s owner) Charlie Finley’s country club for a welcome home dinner and they pointed me out with the N-word, ‘He can’t come in here.’ Finley marched the whole team out. Finally, they let me in there. He said, ‘We’re going to go to the diner and eat hamburgers. We’ll go where we’re wanted,'” Jackson said.

Thankfully, he had the support of his manager and teammates.

“Fortunately I had a manager, Johnny McNamara. If I couldn’t eat in a place, nobody would eat. We’d get food to travel. If I couldn’t stay in a hotel, they’d drive to the next hotel and find a place where I could stay,” he said. “Had it not been for Rollie Fingers, Johnny McNamara, Dave Duncan, Joe and Sharon Rudi, I slept on their couch three, four nights a week for about a month and a half. Finally, they were threatened that they would burn our apartment complex down unless I got out.”

For more, check out NBC. 

Alright, folks, I’m hoping to be back for more next week. Keep sending tips, story ideas, comments and complaints to [email protected] 

Donate to help us cover workers organizing around the country. Please, if you can, sign up as one of 778 recurring donors today. Thanks again for all the 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 nearly 2,000 stories from 46 states, Elk traveled with Lula from Sáo Bernando do Campos all the way to the Oval Office in the White House. 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]