Minnesota Sports Canceled in Solidarity with BLM – East Baton Rouge Teachers Strike – Alabama Coal Miners Get Backing to Continue Strike

Black Lives Matter Protestors Pack the Streets in Brooklyn Center (KTSP)

Folks, 

Greetings the Burgh, where I am recovering from the fatigue caused by the second dose of Moderna, but I am excited by all the strikes happening across the country. 

Minnesota Twins & Timberwolves Won’t Play in Solidarity with BLM Tonight 

As Payday Report went to press today, we learned from media reports that both the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Minnesota Twins’ baseball games have been canceled as protests swarm Minneapolis and the surrounding areas. 

“Yesterday’s tragic event, involving the life of Daunte Wright, once again leaves our community mourning,” the Timberwolves said in a statement. “After consultation with the League, and local and state officials, we believe postponing tonight’s game versus the Brooklyn Nets is the best decision … The Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx extend our sincere sympathies to the family of Daunte Wright.”

It’s still unclear as of press time if the games were canceled in response to players’ demands or if the decisions were made by the owners. 

However, last summer following the shooting of Jacob Blake, sports teams in all major professional sports canceled their games, often after players refused to play games in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter protesters. 

The protests last summer may have created a precedent where sports owners and players may be willing to forgo playing to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. 

For more, go to ESPN. 

600 Teachers “Sickout” Strike in East Baton Rouge

In the East Baton Rouge Parish, more than 600 teachers (or one-sixth of the total workforce) participated in a “sickout strike” to protest a proposed school reopening plan.

The move comes as the union is urging educators and community activists to pack a Thursday night school board meeting to show they’re opposed to the reopening plan. 

As a result of the “sickout” strike and the refusal of the school district to close, many students were packed into classrooms on Monday that did not meet social distancing requirements. 

“We have a report of 60 students being merged into one room,” East Baton Rouge Association of Educators President Valencia Johnson told The Advocate. 

For more, check out The Advocate. 

UMWA to Pump Money into Coal Miners’ Strike in Northern Alabama

For almost two weeks, more than 1,100 coal miners have been on strike at Warrior Met Coal in Brookwood, Alabama. (See Payday’s story from the picket line on the strike.)

Last week, coal miners there overwhelmingly voted down a proposed tentative agreement and continued their strike. 

Now, the union is promising to pump in resources to organize rallies and has contributed more than $600,000 to pay out bi-weekly strike benefit pay to more than 1,100 dues-paying workers out on the picket line. 

“The Warrior Met miners have overwhelmingly voted to continue this strike,” UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts said in a statement. “The union is mobilizing its entire resources to support them.”

For more, go to the UMWA’s website. 

Donate to Help Us Cover Warrior Met Strike

Folks, the first Bill Greider Grant recipient, Alexander Richey, was out on the picket line at Warrior Met Coal this weekend, talking to workers and gathering quotes. 

We are working to release a story on what looks like a long struggle. 

We’re asking for your donations to keep covering the struggle at Warrior Met Coal. 

Donate today to help us keep Alexander Richey covering this struggle on the ground in Alabama. 

Remember, the best way to support us is to sign up as a recurring donor today. 

RWDSU Say High Turnover Forced Them to Call Election Without Firm Support

Last week, Payday Report revealed how support at Amazon collapsed as the RWDSU was unable to build a strong organizing committee. 

Now, in an interview with Dave Jamieson of HuffPost, RWDSU lead union organizer Josh Brewer admitted that because of high turnover, RWDSU felt they had to gamble: 

Amazon does not disclose how many workers pass through its warehouses in a year, but the union operated under the assumption that Bessemer had an annual turnover rate of at least 100%. That doesn’t mean literally every worker leaves within a year. It means the number of workers who quit or get fired in a year is greater than the average number of workers in the facility. (An Amazon spokesperson declined to share how many workers have passed through the Bessemer warehouse since it opened.)

High turnover can be costly for employers because they’re constantly training new workers. But turnover is invaluable when it comes to fighting organizing drives. The union must constantly generate new supporters to account for those it loses daily to churn. 

RWDSU’s Mid-South Council president, Randy Hadley, told me organizers assumed they were losing at least 60 signed union cards per week. 

Brewer doubted they would ever get an election if they backed off.

“You’ll never deep-organize a workplace that has 100% turnover,” he said. “You’ll just chase your tail.”

For more, head to HuffPost. 

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

Please donate so we can do the hard-hitting reporting that no one else does. 

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Love & Solidarity,

Melk

About the Author

Mike Elk
A protege of the late Bill Greider, Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated 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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