Texas National Guard Members Unionizing  – Unpaid Minor Leaguers Forced to Cross Picket Lines – Detroit Coffee Shop Workers Strike 

Texas National Guard members have begun unionizing (AP)

Folks, 

Greetings from the Burgh, where Payday just wrapped up fundraising for our biweekly payroll goal a day early. 

Thanks to all those who donated. 

Texas National Guard Unionizes

On January 25, the Department of Justice granted the right to unionize to National Guard members called to active duty.

Now, nearly a month later, Texas National Guard troops stationed along the U.S.-Mexico Border are the first in the nation to unionize. More from the Army Times: 

The first meeting of the Texas State Employees Union’s Military Caucus, which consists of troops on state active duty orders assigned to the border, is scheduled for next week, according to a soldier leading organizing efforts. The soldier requested anonymity due to fear of retaliation from Texas Military Department leadership ahead of the meeting.

The soldier affiliated with the union, whose identity Army Times has verified, posted about the upcoming meeting in a Reddit community dedicated to sharing news about the border mission.

With National Guard members being used to replacing striking nurses and bus drivers that walk out, it will be interesting to see if unionizing will limit their use to replace striking workers.

For more, check out the Army Times. 

Minor Leaguers Being Forced to Cross Picket Lines Unpaid

This week Major League Baseball players were supposed to report for spring training, but with the MLB lockout of its players’ union dragging on, Major League baseball players have chosen instead not to show up. 

However, minor league players—who are not being covered by the union contract—are being required to report to spring training this week. To add insult to injury, minor league players won’t be paid for their time playing in spring training. 

In a class-action lawsuit against this practice, MLB argued last week in court that it did not need to pay minor leaguers. 

“It is the players that obtain the greater benefit from the training opportunities that they are afforded than the clubs, who actually just incur the cost of having that training,” argued Elise Bloom, the legal representative assisting Major League Baseball, in court filings last week. 

Advocates for Minor Leaguers, which won the right to housing for minor leaguers last year, quickly denounced the move. 

“This system does not make any sense,” said Advocates for Minor Leaguers in a statement. “It’s time for minor leaguers to receive a liveable annual salary.” 

For more, check out Advocates for Minor Leaguers position here.


Coffee Shop Workers Strike in Detroit 

While a bulk of media attention has gone to the 90+ Starbucks that have moved to unionize since last December, coffee shop workers across the nation are also unionizing at smaller coffee shop chains like Colectivo Coffee in Milwaukee and Coffeetree Roasters here in Pittsburgh. 

In Detroit, coffee shop workers at The Great Lakes Roasting Co.’s midtown Detroit location went on strike demanding union recognition. 

“We want to support every barista that wants to seek unionization,” Great Lakes Roasting striker Lex Blom told The Detroit News. “We’ve been in contact with a couple of the people from Ann Arbor (Starbucks location) and we want to establish more contact as more Starbucks start to unionize in Michigan and I think we’re going to start seeing it pick up pretty quick.” 

For more, check out The Detroit News. 


Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Workers Unionize in Austin Flagship Location
With more than 36 locations nationwide and 25 years to their name, the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema’s flagship location in Austin has unionized. 

“Alamo locations in other states are mandated to pay their employees higher wages, but we are consistently one of the most profitable Drafthouses in the company … We pay for the company to open new locations, while ours is falling apart,” server Zach Corpstein said in the release put out by their union the IWW. 


For more, check out KVUE. 

News & Strikes Happening Elsewhere 

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About the Author

Mike Elk
A protege of Bill Greider, Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter who covered Lula & the drug war in Brasil and spent years covering union organizing in the South for The Guardian. In 2016, he used his NLRB settlement from being fired illegally for union organizing at Politico to start the crowd-funded Payday Report. The son of retired United Electrical Workers (UE) Director of Organization Gene Elk, he was once described as an "abrasive gadfly" by the New York Times for his role in exposing sexual misconduct in the labor movement. He lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh. Email: [email protected]

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