Greetings from an Amtrak train somewhere in the Allegheny Mountains. Donate to help us cover our food and travel costs on our return trip from covering the AFL-CIO Convention.
Starbucks Threatens to Cut Trans Gender Affirming Care to Bust Unions
Earlier this week, Starbucks Workers United celebrated successfully unionizing their 150th store. However, the union has lost elections at 25 stores according to NLRB data, and several stores decided not to move forward with an election after being exposed to Starbucks’ union-busting.
Now, according to an NLRB complaint filed by a Starbucks worker in Oklahoma City, Starbucks is warning trans workers that unionizing could jeopardize gender-affirming transition care currently provided by the company’s healthcare plan.
“I think the company realizes that we as trans partners feel particularly vulnerable at this time,” Oklahoma Starbucks employee Neha Cremin told Bloomberg. “I think that in some cases they are willing to take advantage of that.”
112,000 Railroad Workers Could Strike in 90 Days
Twelve rail unions representing more than 115,000 railroad workers have given legal notice that they will strike in 90 days. This comes after two years of negotiations and six months of federally supervised meditation.
The only way that their strike could be avoided is if President Joe Biden uses federal authority to block the strike; a tricky proposition for Biden in a Congressional election year.
Workers, though, seemed determined to take a stand against overwork and concessions to the railways.
“Our members are the essential workers who keep the supply chain moving safely every day,” National President of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen Dennis Pierce said in a statement. “But despite record profits by the Class I railroads, our people have failed to get an extra dime in contract raises during the pandemic and struggle to get any time off.”
Lordstown GM Joint Venture Accused of Union Busting
Those fears seem to have come to fruition.
A new joint venture between GM and LG Energy called Utlium is refusing to agree to union neutrality provisions and a card check union recognition agreement.
“This process has been agreed to by many employers for a smooth and peaceful recognition of the UAW,” UAW Vice President Terry Dittes wrote in a letter to union leaders earlier this month. “Ultium flat out rejected those simple basic features of a card check recognition we proposed.”
Port Truck Drivers Declared Employees, Opening Door for Union Drives
For decades, thousands of port truck drivers have been unable to unionize since they are classified as independent contractors. This week, however, the NLRB ruled that port truck drivers are employees and not contractors, making them eligible to unionize.
The NLRB also ordered an election for 250 port truck drivers employed by XPO/STG in Southern California. The news was quickly celebrated by the Teamsters Union, which has been attempting to organize port truck drivers for decades.
“Corrupt companies like XPO/STG have long hidden behind the independent contractor model so they can rob workers in the shadows. This has to be called out and it must end on a global scale. This ruling may finally be the light that exposes such corruption and puts a stop to it,” said Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien in a statement.
News & Strikes Happening Elsewhere
- Union effort fails at Marin County Starbucks
- More than 7,000 tech workers lost their job so far this month as the sector takes a beating
- Despite the cryptocurrency crash, IBEW is fighting to expand fossil fuel-intensive cryptocurrency mining in NY
- A huge number of employees are rebelling against in-office mandates
- Massachusetts court rejects ballot initiative to define gig workers as contractors
- Finally, Steven Greenhouse has a look at why Starbucks union drives are succeeding while Amazon unionizing efforts are stumbling
Alright folks, that’s all for now. We will have more stories from the AFL-CIO convention in the coming days.
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Love & Solidarity,