Unions Mobilize for General Strike Against Trump – UFCW Criticized for Inaction at Waterloo Tyson Plant – 600 Mass Nurses Unionize

A nursing home worker strikes in Detroit (Detroit Fight for $15)

Folks, 

Greetings from the Burgh, where we’re getting ready for a historic 12 days head of us. 

Vermont AFL-CIO Pledges General Strike if Trump Doesn’t Leave Office

Following this week’s riot at the Capitol, many have worried that Trump may resist efforts to leave the office. 

In response, some unions have mobilized and pledged to engage in General Strikes if Trump refuses to leave. Last October, several unions and union federations, representing over 600,000 union members, called for a general strike if Trump did not respect the peaceful transfer of power. 

This week, the Vermont AFL-CIO joined the call for a General Strike this week if Trump doesn’t leave office on Inauguration Day. 

“We simply state that the blood spilled by our Green Mountain Boy ancestors, by those that gave all combating slavery in the Civil War, by those that died on the beaches of Normandy fighting Nazi Germany, and those that faced firehoses and attack dogs during the Civil Rights Movement must be honored by the honest act of doing whatever it takes to defend the democratic rights that their sacrifices made possible,” wrote the Vermont AFL-CIO in a statement. 

Help Us Cover Labor’s Response to Trump

In the next two weeks, many in organized labor will be mobilizing for a potential General Strike if Trump does not leave office quickly. Payday Report expects to be center stage for this coverage. 

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Labor Secretary Nominee Marty Walsh Has a Strong Record on Immigration

This week, Joe Biden announced his intent to appoint Boston Mayor Marty Walsh as Secretary of Labor. Many on the left had hoped that a person of color would be appointed to head the Labor Department and some were disappointed to see Walsh, a former construction union leader, appointed. 

However, Walsh, the son of Irish immigrants, does have a strong record on immigration. As Mayor of Boston, Walsh offered to use Boston City Hall as a sanctuary space for any immigrants avoiding deportation from ICE.  In December, Walsh signed the Trust Act which prohibits Boston Police from cooperating with ICE. 

UFCW Faulted for Inaction in Tyson Waterloo Plant Outbreak 

A stir was caused recently by revelations that managers at Tyson’s in Waterloo, Iowa had a pool where they took bets on how many workers in the plant would get COVID. 

The final count? More than 1,000 workers at the plant contracted COVID. 

Local officials in Waterloo say that not only did Tyson fail to prevent an outbreak, but the union, the UFCW, did little as well. 

The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier has the story: 

“I feel like it’s a waste of money,” one worker, 44, said of his $12 union dues. 

“I’m not expecting them to go fight for me if I did something wrong … but the things that they should do, it’s like they don’t want to do.”

The union represents workers in the production and maintenance departments who choose to be members, according to the contract. Its members do not include supervisors, managers, guards, office janitors, nurses, clerical or storeroom employees, and others in the plant.

Dozens of phone calls and voicemails over two months to UFCW Local 431 representatives from The Courier went unanswered. Bob Waters, union president, answered the phone Dec. 22 and said he was “in the middle of something” but would be available later that day. He never answered subsequent calls.

For more, go to the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier. 

600 Milford, Mass Nurses Unionize to Fight COVID

In Massachusetts, nearly 600 nurses are unionized to fight back against what they claim is an unsafe workplace. Already, 21 different nurses have tested positive for COVID-19 while working there. 

Nurses say that low staffing combined with the surge of new cases caused by the pandemic has led to unsafe conditions there. 

“We’ve all nearly fallen asleep driving home,” nurse Christina Buxton told the Milford Daily News. “It’s so draining to work on your day off and then to work longer when you come in. …. Staying 7 a.m to 11 a.m. (after working a 7 p.m.-to-7 a.m. shift) is brutal, because you’re at your busiest part of the morning when you’re at your most exhausted.”

For more, head to the Milford Daily News. 

Psychological Profiling Used to Bust Nurses Union Drive

A recent story by Lauren Kaori Gurley of Vice revealed that a hospital in Seattle used intensive psychological profiling in their unsuccessful attempt to bust a nurse’s union drive at two Conifer Health Solutions hospitals in Seattle: 

According to documents obtained by Motherboard, IRI union avoidance consultants regularly gathered information about 83 rank-and-file hospital employees’ personality, temperament, motivations, ethnicity, family background, spouses’ employment, finances, health issues, work ethic, job performance, disciplinary history, and involvement in union activity in the lead-up to a union election. Each employee was then given a rating for how likely the company believed they were to vote for the union. 

In the notes for one employee, IRI consultants wrote that they were “lazy,” “money-oriented,” “aloof,” “from Samoa,” “tired of people on team and doesn’t want to assist them,” and told managers that “‘the union is full of crap.'”

Notes described another employee as a “follower,” “impressionable,” “a single mother,” adding that their “rent [had] increased” and they couldn’t “afford [union] dues” and “will do whatever friends do.” 

A source familiar with IRI’s practices told Motherboard that collecting detailed personal information on each rank-and-file employee in order to assess their union sympathies is standard practice for how IRI Consultants and other union avoidance firms conduct work for all of their clients.

For more, go to Vice. 

Alright folks that’s all for this week. Keep sending tips, stories ideas, and feedback to [email protected]

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Love & Solidarity,

Melk

About the Author

Mike Elk
A protege of the late Bill Greider, Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter who covered 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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