Greetings from the Burgh, where spring is here, and I’m happy to report that Im back out on my bike.
Southern Service Workers Hold 1st Major Strike.
Late last year, the United Southern Service Workers Union was founded to represent low wages workers throughout the South. Now, the union is engaging in its first south-wide strike, with workers striking in over a dozen cities throughout the South to draw attention to poor working conditions.
“Ryder does not give us any safety gear—no safety helmets inside a warehouse where heavy boxes often fall from 60 feet up. We have over 100 pallets stacked the whole length of the warehouse—blocking all the fire exits. If there was a fire, we would not all be able to get out,” Sersie Cobb Jr, a forklift driver at Ryder warehouse in Columbia, SC, told WIS-TV.
“On top of all that, I have experienced workplace violence. In January, I was threatened and physically assaulted by a manager. My coworkers and I have filed complaints but Ryder Corporation has done nothing to protect us,” told the station.
Chicago Teachers Union Celebrates Brandon Johnson’s Win
Yesterday, Brandon Johnson defeated Paul Vallas by 51.4% to 48.6%.
At first, many doubted Johnson’s campaign could get far, but the middle school teacher and union activist were able to build a grassroots campaign that overcame multi-million dollar attacks.
“We have ushered in a new chapter in the history of our city,” Johnson said in his victory speech. “Whether you wake up early to open the doors of your businesses, or teach middle school, or wear a badge to protect our streets, or nurse patients in need, or provide child care services, you have always worked for this city. And now Chicago will begin to work for its people.”
University of Michigan Graduate Employees Face Lawsuit
A strike of nearly 800 University of Michigan graduate employees has entered its second week. Now, the University is suing the union, claiming that the graduate employees are on an illegal strike.
However, the graduate employees say they will continue their strike.
“Grad workers are on strike, because we know our demands are reasonable and just,” Union Bargaining Chair Amir Fleischmann told MLive. “We will continue to fight until we get the contract we deserve.”
Union Pacific Spies on Workers, Who Take Sick Leave
Finally, Union Pacific has won praise recently after it agreed to paid sick leave with 2,000 of its workers. However, a new expose by A.P. raises troubling questions about how Union Pacific spies on workers who take paid sick leave.
From the A.P.:
In the Texas case, Rutledge had worked various jobs at Union Pacific over 11 years leading up to working as a conductor before he was fired last year. According to his lawsuit, Rutledge had to take eight months off work to rehabilitate after the back injury in 2017 but after returning to the job he would occasionally need to take additional time off when his back condition flared up.
But the railroad fired him after a private investigator saw Rutledge drive to the grocery store and gas station near his home in Fresno, Texas, and walk for short periods. And Rutledge said his bosses wouldn’t listen when he tried to explain that even if he was well enough to run a few errands he didn’t feel up to helping operate a train.
“The fact that you’re on FMLA doesn’t mean that you have to lay in bed all day. The fact that you can’t work a 12-hour shift is different than whether you can do other things,” Thompson said.
- Royal Mail apologises after promising staff 11% pay rise as April Fool’s joke at Gloucester branch
- Eastern Illinois University faculty union to go on strike Thursday
- MD Library workers, USM grad students, faculty push for lawmakers to give them right to form union
- Activision threatened, spied on workers amid union drive, U.S. agency alleges
- Bloomberg has a long look at how the practice of “salting” has helped some recent union drives.
- Founder of Senate’ union tracker’ aims to empower staffers
- Finally, the 19th has a long look at how Turkiya Lowe as principal historian of the National Parks is reshaping the way that our stories are told
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Love & Solidarity,