SEIU Leads #StrikesForBlackLives in 25 Cities – Oregon Natural Gas Workers Strike – Kansas Sheetmetal Workers

Greetings from the Burgh, where we are still collecting data on #StrikeForBlackLives demonstrations held today across the country. 

$3,543 Raised Towards Our Monthly Goal of $6,000 Raised 

First, we are coming to the end of the month, and are asking for your donations to keep the doors open. 

Help us keep tracking the strike wave hitting the country, including the latest numbers coming in from #StrikeForBlackLives. 

So far, we have raised $3,543 towards our monthly goal of $6,000 raised. Thank you to the over 500 recurring donors who give us a base of support. 

Donate today to help us keep covering the fightback against racial injustice and COVID. 

SEIU Hosts #StrikeForBlackLives in 25 Cities 

Today, SEIU in conjunction with the Teamsters, United Farm Workers, and others hosted #StrikeForBlackLives events across the United States. 

It’s unclear how many workers participated or where workers walked out. However, initial reports show that thousands of workers held actions in at least 25 cities from across the U.S. (some reports cite at least 100 cities), including Durham, North Carolina, Rochester, New York, Seattle, Washington, Oxnard, California, and more. 

The actions were a non-traditional type, with many workers walking out en-masse or simply calling in sick as a form of protest. 

SEIU Faces Criticism Over Top-Down Organizing

We do knowt that the #Strike4BlackLives events organized by SEIU, a notoriously top-down union, are much smaller than strike events being organized organically by the Black Lives Matter groups. 

(See Payday’s story “How Black & Brown Workers Are Redefining Strikes in the Digital COVID Age”)

Some critics like Dr. Mike Pappas, a member of SEIU’s Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR) argue that SEIU’s attempt to harness the strike wave is a reaction to growing militancy in its ranks.

Despite the growth in militancy, certain locals do all they can to deflect around the question, as they are hesitant to disagree with SEIU nationally,” wrote Pappas in the Left Voice. “This makes a release in the form of this ‘strike’ even more necessary as rank and file are becoming more and more mobilized.  That said, if leadership is feeling the pressure of the rank and file to do something, all the better. Now, we must push them to commit greater resources to this fight.”

Read Pappas’ op-ed at the Left Voice.

Natural Gas Workers in Oregon on Strike

This week natural gas workers, members of the Utility Workers of America in Oregon employed by NPL, are entering the second week of their strike. 

The workers said they are forced to work in dangerous conditions and many workers make as little as $15 an hour. 

“Because of the nature of the strenuous out in the weather in the elements, and the danger involved, or the potential for the danger involved with working for natural gas, we strongly believe that our employees deserve much better pay,” union leader Chauffe Schirmer told KTVL. 

For more, head to KTVL.

Sheetmetal Workers in Kansas Strike 

Finally, in Topeka, Kansas, 80 members of SMART union, have gone on strike demanding that they receive better pay for being employed as essential workers. 

“We’re just trying to get our contract right and go to work,” union leader Jake Russell told WIBW. “We’re not asking for the world, but for a decent contract. That’s it.”

For more, head to WIBW

That’s all for today folks. Thanks for reading and donate today so we can keep covering the story of the fightback against racial injustice and COVID. 

If you have any stories or suggestions for our next newsletter, send an email to [email protected].

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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