Progressives Fold on Railroad Deal – 115,000 British Postal Workers Strike – Literary Agents Back HarperCollins Strikers

(AP)

Folks, 

Greetings from Rio de Janeiro, where I am wrapping up my last week here. I plan to tour a favela, an occupation by homeless renters, and write about the World Cup. (Check out the over 20 dispatches we did from Brasil)


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Progressives Fold on Railroad Deal 

Early today, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted 290 to 137 to pass a bill that would implement a tentative agreement on the railroad workers’ union, which unions representing over half of all railroad union members have voted to reject. 

The House also voted 221 to 207 to pass a separate bill requiring the contract to include seven paid sick days for all railroad workers.

However, with only three Republicans voting for the separate measure in the House, it’s unlikely they’ll have the votes of 10 Republican senators needed to overcome the filibuster once it heads to the Senate. 

Many union leaders hoped that progressives would refuse to implement the tentative agreement unless the original bill was modified into one bill so that the Senate was forced to approve of seven paid sick days. However, Congressional democrats allowed the matter to be split into two separate measures with Senate Republicans likely to filibuster the paid seven days. 

Still, the Congressional Progressive Caucus urged its members to vote for the bill without the measure included. In the end, only eight Democrats wound up voting against implementing the deal: Judy Chu (CA), Mark DeSaulnier (CA), Jared Golden (ME), Donald Norcross (NJ), Mary Peltola (AK), Mark Pocan (WI), Rashida Tlaib (MI), and Norma Torres (CA). 

Many railroad unions said they were furious at the measure passed by the Democratic House, according to released statements.

“The SMART Transportation Division does not support the notion of Congress intervening in our collective bargaining negotiations to prevent a strike,” SMART-TD, the largest union to reject the deal, said in a statement. “We firmly believe in the workers’ right to fight for their own best interests, as well as the best interests of their families. Unfortunately, threats to the economy have caused this Congress to believe that a strike aversion is the best course for this nation.”

For more on the dynamics of the deal, check out Dave Jamieson and Arthur Delaney at HuffPost. 


115,000 British Postal Workers Strike

Today  in the United Kingdom, over 115,000 postal workers employed by the Royal Mail have kicked off their first strike in a series of 48-hour strikes. 

The workers are protesting a measure allowing more of their work to be outsourced to subcontractors with fewer union rights. 

“We’re not prepared to stand by and watch this great public service tuned (sic) into another gig economy service where they want to get rid of the current workforce and replace them with workers on 20% less money and less terms and conditions than we currently have,” Mark Dolan, London divisional representative for the Communication Workers Union, told the BBC. 

The workers have pledged to engage in more strikes throughout the Christmas season. 

For more, check out the BBC. 

150 Literary Agents Refusing Work with HarperCollins
Since November 10, 250 publishing house workers at HarperCollins Publishers have been on strike. 

Now, 150 literary agents from various prestigious literary firms have signed a letter pledging they will not bring new books to these firms until HarperCollins reaches an agreement with the striking workers.

“While many consider publishing to be a labor of love, we agents know how quickly that labor can lead to burnout, tension, missed opportunities for advancement, and mistakes,” the open letter read. 

For more, check out the AP. 

Strikes & News Happening Elsewhere

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Melk 

About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter, who covered everything from the Brazilian labor movement to major league baseball and spent years covering union organizing in the South for The Guardian. In 2015, he used his NLRB settlement from being fired illegally for union organizing at Politico to start the crowd-funded Payday Report. He lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh and speaks Portuguese which he learned in journalism school in Rio de Janerio. Email: [email protected]

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