Teamsters Threaten to Strike Amazon – 2,500 Cook County Workers Strike – Black Tik Tock Creators Strike

Workers protest in support of Amazon workers this winter (Getty Images)

Greetings from the Burgh, where it looks like a wonderful weekend ahead.

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Teamsters Threaten Strikes to Unionize Amazon 

After the defeat of the Amazon union drive in Alabama in April, many thought it would put a damper on future union organizing efforts. However, it may have inspired a new national movement to unionize Amazon. 

Yesterday, over 1,500 local union Teamsters officers voted for the 1.3 million-member Teamsters union to spend tens of millions of dollars into an unprecedented project to organize Amazon. 

The Teamsters said they intend to launch a national campaign against Amazon and have pledged to help organize non-traditional strikes even in workplaces without unions to force the company to do better by its workers. 

The struggle to organize workers is a crucial struggle for the Teamsters. In Southern California, drivers for UPS earn $39-an-hour as well as pensions, health care, and other benefits whereas Amazon drivers, employed as independent contractors, earn only $16-an-hour. 

“Truth be told, Amazon’s impact on this industry is driving wages, working conditions and safety and health conditions downward,” Teamsters Amazon Director Randy Korgan told The Guardian.

For more, check out The Guardian. 

2,500 Cook County Workers Strike

Today, over 2,500 workers, employed by Cook County in Chicago are protesting cuts that the county government has proposed.

The workers, who worked through the pandemic, include those employees who work for the Cook County president as well as civilian positions in the sheriff’s office, Cook County Health, and the county clerk.

“Our biggest concerns are around wages, but more than that, health care premiums, which they’re trying to double for many workers here at the county who have worked throughout the entire pandemic,” Joyce Klein, Stroger Hospital social worker, told WLS. 

Black Content Creators Strike 

With many folks supporting their livelihoods by creating projects and producing viral videos, creators are beginning to demand more from the platforms where they create and publish their content. A social media follower growth service like Growthsilo.com can bring the audience in, but without support from the platform itself, creators can feel left out.

This week, Black Tik Tock content creators went on strike to protest their content being appropriated without proper attribution or compensation. With aftershocks being felt in other Black communities on social media like Twitter. Madame Noire has the story: 

Still, for all of our contributions we rarely reap the rewards or even recognition for our brilliance. This is extremely apparent on the social media app Tik Tok. Black content creators have created not only the soundtrack but even the dance moves to some of the most popular social media content that exists today. But when it’s time for brands to pay up or for talk shows to feature these creatives, the Black folk get overlooked.

We saw it earlier this year when Jimmy Fallon used a white TikToker to underperform all the dances Black kids had created. He later attempted to correct the mistake by inviting the originators of the dances to perform via Zoom. Several Black infulencers have complained about being offered pennies or nothing at all while their white counterparts – who utilize Black culture – are making thousands.

For more, check out Madame Noire. 

Payday Reader Jim Hughes’ relationship with his daughter profiled in Louisville Courier-Journal 

Finally, the Louisville Courier-Journal had a moving profile of Teamsters union activist and beer delivery driver Jim Hughes’ relationship with his daughter Leah. When I first moved to Louisville, I got to know Jim and his daughter Leah and their profile is extraordinarily touching. 

From the Louisville Courier-Journal, a very special Fathers’ Day piece on how Jim used his connections as a blue-collar union leader and beer delivery driver used his connections to help his daughter be the first in their family to go to college: 

A nearby convenience store even announced her birth in lights next to a large beer advertisement. The now-closed Dairy Mart on New Cut Road near the Outer Loop had been one of her dad’s clients, and so they lit up the happy moment for everyone driving by to see.

The Hugheses hadn’t necessarily wanted to have children, but they were both incredible parents. Her mom and dad just figured it out, Leah told me, and they pushed her hard in school and gave her every opportunity they could.

As she got older, Jim Hughes used his superpower of seemingly knowing everyone to set her up with career opportunities while she was still a child. He was a master of networking, and so when she expressed an interest in something, he found people in those professions that she could shadow. It didn’t matter that she was only in elementary school or middle school, if she wanted to learn, he would find someone to teach her in a way that he couldn’t. Once he tracked down a lawyer for her to spend time with, and another time he introduced her to a prison psychologist.

Read the full story at the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Here are some other news stories you may have missed.

Dozens protest as Paulo Freire Social Justice charter school axes half its teachers
U.S. Unemployment Rescue Left at Least 9 Million Without Help”
University of Cincinnati nurses vote for potential strike

IUPAT 10 to launched “Summer of Chaos” series of short strikes over new collective bargaining agreement demands

Atlanta IKEA workers call out of work in a strike/protest over a racist Juneteenth menu

Tobacco farm workers fight British American Tobacco’s union busting in North Carolina

Alright, folks that’s all for today. Keep sending along story ideas, tips, complaints, and links to [email protected] 

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About the Author

Mike Elk
A protege of the late Bill Greider, Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter who covered the labor movement & the drug war in Brasil and spent years covering union organizing in the South for The Guardian. In 2016, he used his $70,000 NLRB settlement from being fired in the union drive at Politico to start the crowd-funded Payday Report. The son of United Electrical Workers (UE) Director of Organization Gene Elk, he lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh. Email: [email protected]

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