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New Orleans Public Works Employees Strike
Last week, the New Orleans City Council voted to raise the wage for city contractors to $15 an hour. However, under city law, the city council lacks the authority to raise wages for city employees, some of whom make as little as $11.21 an hour. Those changes must be made by the independent City Service Commission.
To draw attention to their plight, two-thirds of the workers, some of whom are employed by the city fixing potholes and making only $11.21 an hour, decided to go on a wildcat strike.
The workers say they aren’t just protesting low wages, but also unsafe working conditions, including a lack of protection from the summer heat.
“It’s a safety issue,” city worker Eric Gardner told The Lens. “It’s so hot out there. We’re dealing with asphalt that will burn your skin off. We gotta get in the hot truck, get in the hot sun and work and get back in the hot truck.”
Marijuana Workers Strike in Rhode Island
In April, cannabis workers employed by Greenleaf in Rhode Island voted to unionize with UFCW Local 328 by a margin of 21 to 1.
However, since voting to unionize, the company has dragged its feet on bargaining a contract. Now, the company has even fired a worker who served on the negotiating committee; a move that the union saw as retaliatory. Perhaps the fired employee should now look at how to start a dispensary himself with the potential contacts he could have made during the unionization.
To protest the firing and show the company that the new union meant business, the workers went on a one-day strike to protest it.
“The Greenleaf workers saw an injustice and responded with an incredible display of solidarity,” said the union in a statement. “Throughout the day, patients offered their support and commitment to demanding CEO Seth Bock stop the pattern of retaliation and to reinstate a valued member of their team who was unjustly terminated.”
Frito Lay Workers to Strike in Topeka
In Topeka, Kansas, members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers, and Grain Millers union employed at a Frito-Lay factory voted to strike by a margin of 353 to 30.
The strike slated to begin on July 5 would be the first time that workers went on strike at the factory since 1973.
“It’s the first time in many, many decades that the members of Frito-Lay, the union members, have had to do this,” Kansas AFL-CIO Executive Vice President John Nave told the Topeka Capital-Journal. “It’s been eight to 10 years since they’ve had a wage increase – so something’s wrong here. … Workers are tired of it.”
Colorado Farmworkers Win Right to Unionize
On Friday, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed a bill granting farm workers the right to unionize and collectively bargain.
Colorado is now one of only a handful of states allowing farmworkers the right to unionize as the largely Latino workforce of farmworkers is exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act and the National Labor Relations Act.
“We stand here to change almost a hundred years of racially motivated exclusion for ag workers from basic labor protections, many of whom are still Black and brown,” Fatuma Emmad of Frontline Farming and Project Protect Food Systems, celebrating the legislation, told Colorado Springs Gazette.
News Happening Elsewhere
- A nurse’s strike at St. Vincent Hospital in Massachusetts is entering its fourth month as more than 30% of all nurses have crossed the picket line.
- Biden has nominated a former union-busting lawyer for a federal judgeship in New Jersey.
- KJZZ has a look at how unions are growing in the “right-to-work” state of Arizona.
- The Coalition of Black Trade Unionists is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a look at what it has achieved in the labor movement.
- Finally, LebTown has a long look at how the 520-acre estate of the Coleman Family was turned into “Union Center,” a retreat and labor center that trained over 20,000 union members.
Alright, folks that’s all for today. Keep sending along story ideas, tips, complaints, and links to [email protected]
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