Ohio School Hires Strikebreaking Company – 1st Chipotle Unionizes in Michigan – Omaha Workers Forced to Endurse “Surprise Active Shooter Drill”

Teachers in Niles, Ohio prepare to strike next week (WKBN)


Greetings from the Burgh, where we are taking the weekend off before heading back on the road again to cover a teachers’ strike in Niles, Ohio, a community devastated by the closing of the Lordstown GM plant. 

Niles, Ohio Hiring Scab Crisis Response Team

With the strike deadline set for next Thursday, it appears that Niles School Board is digging in for a long strike. The school district has hired Huffmaster Crisis Response, a staffing agency that specializes in providing scab replacement workers during strikes. 

In a text message obtained by Payday Report, a Huffmaster representative named “Toni” wrote, “HuffMaster is currently seeking OH substitute teachers for a strike starting September 1st. The position pays $225/ day”. 

Today, Senator Sherrod Brown and Congressman Tim Ryan wrote to the Niles School Board, denouncing the hiring of a strike-breaking company. 

“It is our understanding that Niles teachers have repeatedly made sacrifices to ensure that the school district is able to emerge from a state-declared fiscal emergency,” wrote the elected officials. “With the sacrifices in mind, we find it troubling that the Board decided to approve a contract with Huffmaster Crisis Response – time and resources that could otherwise be spent investing in students, educators, and school facilities.”

Donate to Help Us Travel to Ohio Again Next Week 

Next week, I’m going up with a cameraperson to film the teachers’ strike in Niles, Ohio strike and union busting at the partially reopened Lordstown GM facility. We will need money for gas, hotel, food, and covering our salaries while on the road. 

Donate to help us cover this important story. Please sign up as one of our 712 recurring donors today if you can. 

American University Students Walkout of Convocation in Solidarity with Striking Staff

Today, many freshman students walked out of convocation at American University to show Solidarity with striking support staff, who had been on strike for nearly a week.

“I’m shocked and upset,” Laurita Wong, who had just arrived from Hong Kong, told Washington Post. “It is not a good way to start.” 

The walkout worked, and the union announced later in the day that the two sides had reached a tentative agreement. 

For more, check out the Washington Post. 

1st Chipotle Unionizes in Michigan 

In a major win for fast food workers, the 1st Chipotle in the US voted to unionize in Lansing, Michigan. 

“We set out to show that our generation can make a substantial change in this world and improve our working conditions by taking action collectively.” Samantha Smith, age 18, a crew member at Chipotle, said in a statement. “What this vote shows is that workers are going to keep taking the fight to big corporations like Chipotle and demand the working conditions we deserve.”

For more on the battle to unionize, check out HuffPost. 

Omaha Catholic Charities Workers Endured Surprise Active Shooter Drill 

In Omaha, several Catholic Charities workers were traumatized after they were forced to endure a surprise active shooter drill. Omaha World-Herald has the wild story

Multiple Catholic Charities employees rushed out of the building — some believing they had seconds to live.

What they knew: A man with a semiautomatic handgun had opened fire. Victims were on the ground, streaked in blood.

What they didn’t know: Their bosses had approved the “drill” — hiring the gunman who, in turn, brought along the “victims” to play dead after he fired off several blank rounds.

For more, check out the Omaha World-Herald. 

MLB Players Union Failed to Honor Pledge to Help Concession Workers 

During the MLB player’s lockout this spring, the MLB Players Association promised to spend $1 million to help any ballpark or concession workers negatively affected by the lockout. From the Arizona Republic: 

When the lockout ended midway through spring training and Stevens told her colleagues the pledged assistance could help offset their three weeks of missed pay, approximately $1,350 plus tips, she was met with cynicism.

“When I mentioned it to my boss, I showed him the clipping from the newspaper and he said, ‘Publicity stunt. You’ll never see that money,'” Stevens said.

Nearly six months later, MLB has disbursed $160,000 among 640 recipients, with each receiving a $250 debit card from MLB Charities, according to April Brown, the nonprofit’s president and league’s vice president of social responsibility.

The MLB Players Association hasn’t given a cent.

It never considered helping spring training workers, has no plans to assist them and ignored their messages seeking information about how to apply for financial help beyond a receptionist’s assurances their queries had been forwarded to executive director Tony Clark, The Arizona Republic has learned.

For more, check out the Arizona Republic. 

News & Strikes Happening Elsewhere

Alright, folks, that’s all for today. Donate to help us travel to Lordstown and cover the teachers’ strikes in Niles, Ohio. 

Keep sending stories, tips, complaints, and ideas to [email protected]. Thanks for all the ideas and suggestions. 

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]

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