Greetings from the Burgh, where Payday just returned from a 1,200-mile car journey through the Mountain West.
We will have several stories from the trip coming out in the next few weeks.
Minneapolis Teachers Strike for 1st Time in 50 Years
In Minneapolis, over 4,000 teachers and school staff are on strike for the first time in 50 years.
Union leaders are asking for a 12% pay raise for first-year teachers, and they want to raise the minimum salary for the 1,500 support staff from $24,000 to $35,000.
“We’re on strike for safe and stable schools and systemic change,” Greta Callahan, president of the teacher chapter of the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers, said at a Tuesday morning news conference.
For more on the latest state of negotiations as the strike enters its second day, check out the Star Tribune.
Also, be sure to follow author Eric Blanc who’s on the ground in Minneapolis. Blanc is the author of Red State Revolt, a book on the 2018 #RedforEd teachers’ strikes.
Postal Workers Win 15-Year Legislative Fight
For years, a requirement that made the Postal System pre-fund its pension 75 years in advance hurt the union. No other pension system in the U.S. has been subjected to such an agreement, and money that would routinely go toward wages or healthcare was instead spent meeting these pension requirements.
But yesterday, the United States Senate passed the Postal Service Reform Act, eliminating the pre-funding requirement.
The Act also protects many union jobs while achieving healthcare savings through integrating the Postal Service healthcare services more closely with Medicare.
“It is not an exaggeration to say that this bill is one of the most critical pieces of postal legislation in modern history — the struggle to win Postal Reform has been 15 years in the making,” American Postal Workers Union Legislative and Political Director Judy Beard said in a statement.
Poll: Fans Side 2-1 with Players Over Owners
Yesterday MLB announced it was canceling the second season of baseball because the players’ union refused to bend to the owners’ demands and end the lockout.
However, a new poll by Morning Consult shows 45% of baseball fans blame the owners for the MLB lockout, while only 21% of fans blame the players. Another 34% of fans have no opinion on the lockout.
In past baseball labor struggles over the last 40 years, polls showed fans were against the players. But this new polling perhaps signals a new shift in the fans’ opinions of the players’ union and perhaps unions in general.
Union Print Shop Busted for Wage Theft
Finally, many unions and Democratic candidates get all their material made at unionized print shops, thinking that they are contributing to better pay for print workers.
However, one union print shop in Akron, American Made Bags, got busted yesterday by the Department of Labor for wage theft.
Following two separate DOL investigations, a federal judge ordered American Made Bags to pay $189,765 in back wages and damages to 48 different employees.
“After our first investigation at American Made Bags LLC, the company agreed to change their pay practices and comply with the law,” Wage and Hour Division Acting District Director Dieera Fitzgerald in Columbus, Ohio, said in a statement. “We discovered, however, they failed to live up to that agreement, stopped paying overtime and once again shortchanged their workers. The Wage and Hour Division will not tolerate disregard for the law and attempts to cheat workers out of their hard-earned wages.”
News & Strikes Happening Elsewhere
- Saratoga, California McDonald’s workers strike for International Women’s Day; one cancer survivor talked about her discrimination while working there.
- Riverdale, Illinois teachers strike for higher raises, more funding for student programs, and ending dress code.
- Janitors subcontracted at Coors flagship brewery in Golden, CO, win union with SEIU.
- University of Vermont Medical Center residents form a union.
- Seattle MLB stadium workers are mobilizing to meet some of their workplace demands.
- Bozeman Daily Chronicle in Montana staff push to unionize.
- Finally, Buzzfeed takes a long look at why many Alabama Amazon workers are skeptical of unionizing the second time around.
Alright folks, that’s all for today. Donate to help us pay off our health insurance for the month and support our work on union busting in national parks.
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Thanks again so much for all of your support.
Love & Solidarity,