Starbucks Workers Strike at 100 Stores Nationwide – UK Strike Wave Spreads – Hyundai & Kia Used Child Labor in 10 Alabama Plants

Starbucks workers strike at 100 locations nationwide (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Greetings from the Burgh, where I’m getting ready to go to a bossa nova happy hour at Casa Brasil, a local Brazilian restaurant, and club in Pittsburgh. (Check them out)

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Starbucks Workers Strike at 100 Stores Nationwide 

Nationwide, workers at over 100 Starbucks stores are on a three-day long strike. The strike comes as Starbucks has been cited multiple times by NLRB for refusing to bargain a first union contract with the workers

“Starbucks sent a clear message when they closed the Broadway and Denny store,” Michelle Eisen, a Buffalo-based barista who has been a leader of the union campaign, said in a statement. “They’re doubling down on their union-busting, so we’re doubling down, too. We’re demanding fair staffing, an end to store closures, and that Starbucks bargain with us in good faith.”

To see a map of where Starbucks workers are striking, go here. 

Hyundai-Kia Used Migrant Child Labor in Alabama Plants

A new expose from Reuters reveals that Hyundai-Kia routinely used migrant child labor to work in plants, where it was expressively forbidden. From Reuters: 

At a plant owned by Hwashin America Corp, a supplier to the two car brands in the south Alabama town of Greenville, a 14-year-old Guatemalan girl worked this May assembling auto body components, according to interviews with her father and law enforcement officials. At plants owned by Korean auto-parts maker Ajin Industrial Co, in the east Alabama town of Cusseta, a former production engineer told Reuters he worked with at least 10 minors. And six other ex-employees of Ajin said they, too, worked alongside multiple underage laborers.

In two separate statements sent by the same public relations firm, Hwashin and Ajin said their policies forbid the hiring of any worker not of legally employable age. Using identical language, both companies said they hadn’t, “to the best of our knowledge,” hired underage workers.

The employment of children at Hwashin and Ajin hasn’t been previously reported. The news follows a Reuters report in July that revealed the use of child workers, one as young as 12, by SMART Alabama LLC, a Hyundai subsidiary in the south Alabama town of Luverne. In August, the U.S. Department of Labor said that SL Alabama LLC, another Hyundai supplier and a unit of South Korea’s SL Corp, employed underage workers, including a 13-year-old, at its factory in Alexander City.

Since then, as many as 10 Alabama plants that supply parts to Hyundai or Kia have been investigated for child labor by various state and federal law enforcement or regulatory agencies, according to two people familiar with the probes.

For more, check out Reuters. 

400 Healthcare Workers Unionize in Scranton 

Finally, nearly 400 healthcare workers have unionized in Scranton at Geisinger Community Medical Center. The workers unionized in response to demands placed on them during the pandemic. They join a group of 300 workers, who had previously unionized at the hospital system. 

“In my five years with the pharmacy department here at GCMC, I’ve been subjected to understaffing, withheld raises, loss of benefits, and restrictive paid time off policies I was even denied paid time off for my own wedding day,” inpatient pharmacist Anthony Possanza told WBRE. “Enough is enough! It‘s time Geisinger starts investing more in its employees than infrastructure. That`s why I voted yes.”

For more, check out WBRE. 

Strike Wave Spreads in UK in “Winter of Discontent” 

Across the United Kingdom, postal workers, rail workers, nurses, and educators are striking in an enormous strike wave being labeled “The Winter of Discontent”. (See the BBC’s calendar of strikes to understand the magnitude of the strike wave). 

The strikes have been heavily concentrated in the public sector and our seen as a challenge to the Tory government of Sunka. 

“There is, historically, an unusual level of support for the unions,” Steven Fielding, an emeritus professor of political history at the University of Nottingham told the New York Times. “And there are some groups, like the nurses, who are seen as secular saints. This is the first time they have ever gone on strike.”

For more, check out the New York Times. 

Strikes & News Happening Elsewhere

Alright folks, that’s for today. Donate to help a broke labor reporter enjoy the holidays. Please, if you can, sign up as one of our 738 recurring donors today. 

Keep sending tips, story ideas, complaints and comments to [email protected]. Thanks for all the suggestions and support. 

Love & Solidarity, 

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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