UAW Calls for All U.S. Contracts to Expire on May 1st – American Pharmacist Association Supports Pharmacy Walkout – Belgian Unions Refuse to Unload Israeli Arms

UAW President Shawn Fain has embraced calls for a ceasefire in Palestine (UAW)


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UAW Calls for All U.S. Contracts to Expire on May 1st 

This week, the UAW reached tentative agreements at GM, Stellantis, and Ford, likely ending the 6-week “Stand Up Strike”. 

In announcing that the strike is ending, UAW President Shawn Fain announced that all three contracts would end on May Day. Fain encouraged other unions to follow suit and set their contract expiration for May Day. 

“It allows us to strike on May Day or International Workers Day,” Fain said in remarks yesterday. “That day was won on an intense struggle in 1889 for an 8-hour work day. We invite unions around the country to align their contract expiration dates with our own.”

For more, check out the Detroit Free Press. 

American Pharmacist Association Backs Nationwide Strike 

Today, thousands of pharmacists nationwide have walked out in protest of understaffing and low pay. The pharmacists, organized through non-traditional labor networks, received a significant support boost when the American Pharmacists Association threw their support behind the strike. 

“APhA stands with every pharmacist who participated in the walkout today. The bottom line is that we support every pharmacist’s right to work in an environment with staffing that supports your ability to provide patient care,” the American Pharmacists Association said in a statement. “We know that these are steps you deem necessary in order to be heard by your employer.

For more on the strikes, check out CBS News. 

5,000 Portland Teachers to Strike 

It appears imminent that 5,000 teachers in Portland will go out on strike beginning tomorrow. 

“We made clear that the only way to avoid a work stoppage is for management to put an offer on the table that includes a Cost of Living Adjustment equal to inflation, class size/caseload limits, adequate planning time, commitments to healthy and safe school environments, and wraparound services for students,” said the union in a statement.  “We communicated this early in the day and as of 9pm, we have received nothing.”

For more, check out Oregon Public Broadcasting. 

Belgian Union Refuses to Load Israeli Arm Shipments 

In Belgium, workers are refusing to unload Israeli arms shipments. 

“We, several unions active in ground logistics, call on our members not to handle any flights that ship military equipment to Palestine/Israel, like there were clear agreements and rules at the start of the conflict with Russia and Ukraine,” a coalition of Belgian trade unions said in a statement. “As unions, we stand with those who campaign for peace.” 

For more, check out Reuters. 

Bella Lugosi: When HUAC Blacklisted Dracula 

Finally, Bela Lugosi was famous for his role-playing Dracula, but his role as a militant trade unionist is often overlooked. From Cosmonaut Magazine:

One of Lugosi’s earliest supporters was the Communist press. The Daily Worker advertised the play Dracula in its October 1, 1927 issue. The February 2, 1928 Daily Worker praised his “impressive performance” as Count Dracula. The New York edition of the paper advertised the play regularly in its Amusements section, hailing it as “Better than the Bat [a mystery play later adapted for film].” The bourgeois papers could be much less supportive. From the New York Post: “Mr. Lugosi performs Dracula with funereal decorations suggesting … an operatically inclined but cheerless mortician.” The New York Herald-Tribune was of a similar bent, reporting that “the torments of the first American performance might have been more alarming had the demon been illustrated less stiffly. … It was a rigid hobgoblin presented by Mr. Lugosi, resembling a wax man in a shop window more than a suave ogre bent on nocturnal mischief-making.”1 It makes one wonder if the Communist Party press ran favorable notices for the star as a way to support him due to him being a socialist political refugee. Lugosi’s charismatic stage performance and his persistent lobbying of Universal Studios got him the role in the film version.

After his star-making film role in Dracula, Lugosi became a founding member of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), who are on strike as of this writing. Another founding member was Frankenstein star, and frequent Lugosi costar, Boris Karloff. Lugosi additionally served on the advisory board of SAG from 1934-1936. The two actors worked to sign up the casts of their films, such as the Bride of Frankensteinthe Raven, and the Invisible Ray. Their efforts paid off when SAG signed its first contract with the Hollywood studios in 1937. Lugosi’s solidarity extended beyond his fellow actors. In 1945 he signed a petition protesting the deportation proceedings against longshore union leader Harry Bridges.2 At this time, Lugosi expressed a more moderate politics from his previous revolutionary socialism. He said he was an “extremely liberal Democrat” and “an avowed Roosevelt disciple.”3 During World War II, Bela Lugosi headed the Hungarian American Council for Democracy. On August 28, 1944, he gave the keynote speech at a 2,000 strong rally in Los Angeles, calling on President Roosevelt to loosen immigration restrictions and allow in 2,000 Hungarian refugees. Unfortunately, Roosevelt showed his usual timidity on refugee matters and only allowed in 1,000. To further aid the war effort, Lugosi (ironically given his roles as blood suckers), donated blood to the Red Cross to publicize blood donations. 

Lugosi’s political activities caught the attention of J. Edgar Hoover’s Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI and the Central Intelligence Agency both opened files on the actor. The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) appointed a “Dracula council” to keep tabs on the star. INS even looked into deporting him, despite the fact that he had held American citizenship since 1931. Lugosi probably did himself no favors in the eyes of Red hunters when he contributed a favorable piece to the Communist-affiliated New Masses on the Soviet Union. His work on the Hungarian American Council for Democracy was cited positively in a 1944 issue of that same publication. The Council was later listed as a “subversive” group by the United States Attorney General, along with the Communist Party, the Industrial Workers of the World, and the Socialist Workers Party.

For more, check out Cosmonaut. 

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About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter and alumni of the Guardian. In addition to filing nearly 2,000 stories from 46 states, Elk traveled with Lula from Sáo Bernando do Campos all the way to the Oval Office in the White House. Credited by the Washington Post for being the first reporter to track the strike wave systematically, Elk started Payday Report using his NLRB settlement from being illegally fired for union organizing in 2015. He lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh and works frequently in Rio de Janeiro, where he attended college at PUC-Rio. He speaks both Portuguese and Pittsburghese fluently. His email is [email protected]