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Unions Representing the Majority of the U.S. Labor Movement Have Called for Ceasefire
Earlier today, the 1.7 million-member American Federation of Teachers (AFT) called for a ceasefire.
“The time for war is over, and the time for diplomacy must begin. We believe wholeheartedly that the path forward in the Middle East must end the decades of conflict and bloodshed by recognizing the rights of both peoples and affirming a two-state solution,” said Jewish AFT President Randi Weingarten in a statement. “Our work does not stop with a resolution: We will not shy away from continuing to listen to our members and our communities and endeavoring to move toward a lasting peace.”
With the AFT joining the call for a ceasefire in Gaza, unions representing the majority of union members in the U.S. have now called for a ceasefire.
Back in October, the 35,000-member United Electrical Workers (UE) was the first union in the U.S. to call for a ceasefire in Gaza and helped lead a movement to get other unions on board with a ceasefire.
“This is the biggest expression for peace by the labor movement in a full generation,” said U.E. President Carl Rosen at a gathering of Chicago unions today.
CWA Calls for Ceasefire, But its Affiliate NewsGuild Stays Deadly Silent
This week, the 700,000-member Communication Workers of America (CWA) called for a ceasefire in Gaza.
“As always, it is working people who are most unable to escape the violence of war and who are bearing the brunt of the suffering,” said the CWA Executive Board in a statement. “Those who wish to divide us have taken advantage of heightened tensions to fan the flame of hatred, putting CWA members, retirees, and members of our families and communities at risk from antisemitic and Islamophobic attacks.”
However, its affiliate, the NewsGuild, and its politically cautious president, Jon Schleuss, have refused to take a position on Gaza.
While more than 100 journalists have been killed in Gaza, some members of the union feel that it would be sacrificing journalists’ “balance” by calling for a ceasefire.
Journalists at the New York Times, who have been exploring leaving the NewsGuild, have been vocal against adopting a Gaza ceasefire resolution.
“I wish we lived at a time where we could let our work speak for ourselves,” wrote New York Times reporter Matthew Rosenberg, who has been covering the war, in an email to colleagues. “We don’t, and all too often we sit in silence while colleagues in the media (mostly outside the NYT) take overtly political stances.”
The position of the New York Times reporters stands in sharp contrast to the International Federation of Journalists, which has called for a ceasefire in Gaza.
For a list and biography of all the Palestinian journalists killed covering the attack on Gaza, check out the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Help Payday Cover Labor’s Fight for a Ceasefire
When Payday first started covering labor’s call for a ceasefire, we faced many nasty emails and even donor boycotts due to our coverage. Many told us that this was not a labor issue.
However, now, the majority of the U.S. labor movement has called for a ceasefire in Gaza.
UPS Cuts 12,000 Jobs Following Tough Contract Talks
Today, UPS announced that they were laying off 12,000 workers, making many wonder if the threat of layoffs forced the Teamsters into settling their contract much earlier than expected.
However, none of the layoffs will affect union members. Only management and contract employees will be affected by the layoffs.
Teamsters to Meet with Trump to Weigh Endorsement in Republican Primary
Unions like the Teamsters, with both Republican and Democratic members, have sometimes endorsed candidates in both primaries. Now, the Teamsters are set to meet with Donald Trump this week to weigh an endorsement in the Republican primary.
The decision to meet with Trump has some within the union howling. From the Washington Post:
John Palmer, a Teamsters executive board member who received an invitation to the meeting, wrote a scathing letter Thursday to the union’s president, saying that he refused to attend and calling Trump a “known union buster, scab, and insurrectionist.”
“This private back door decision will divide the union and weaken it at a time when we need to fight corporate America,” Palmer wrote.
Reached by phone, Palmer said that in past internal surveys about half of Teamsters members identify as Republicans, and that O’Brien “is appeasing them and convincing them he’s a viable choice. As a leader, your job is to tell members this person isn’t in their interest. … The idea that we would even talk to this man is offensive and repulsive.”
Chris Silvera, a leader of Teamsters Local 808 in New York City, said of the invitation to meet with Trump that he “does not support it because it is a meeting with the Confederates.”
Amazon Labor Union Documentary Wins Praise Despite Showing Leader’s Flaws
Since then, many outlets, including the New York Times, have written similar pieces criticizing Smalls’s refusal to hold union elections and Machiavellian tactics.
Now, a new documentary, “Union, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this weekend, has won similar praise for depicting Small’s pioneering union leadership as well as his flaws. From Variety:
“The more roadblocks Amazon tosses their way, the more their collective sense of purpose weakens, not helped by Smalls’ brashly assertive leadership style, which isn’t always sensitive to the demands of those still working at JFK8. The gradually widening rift between him and Natalie, who would increasingly rather forgo their own campaign and wait for a national union to ally with them, is closely and compellingly mapped, and the film’s sympathies feel evenly split between them.
Smalls remains the documentary’s focal point, only growing more interesting as his personal and strategic flaws are exposed — it hardly seems possible to remain an unambiguous hero in the face of such wearying institutional machine, not to mention so many human nerves fraying at different paces. But there’s an admirably doughty resilience to the way he pushes through the election campaign regardless, toward an outcome in which even numerical victory can’t guarantee any concession from the enemy. At its close, as “Union” notes the variably rippling impact of the ALU’s efforts on other Amazon sites across America, its elegant observational approach veers into overt editorializing. But even the film’s most rousing takeaway is dimmed by a daunting awareness of scale, as the cargo ship slides back into port, and disempowered thousands — without the time, energy or money to fight another battle — trudge back to work.”
Strikes & News Happening Elsewhere
- Amazon fires lead union organizer at Northern Kentucky air hub
- Oklahoma asks teachers to return up to $50,000 retention bonuses
- Finish Airlines cancels over 500 flights over union strike
- 90,000 German transit workers to strike
- 1,000 Resident Doctors at Northwestern vote to unionize
- Maintenance workers at Duke Raleigh Hospital vote to unionize
- How local labor unions are helping members buy homes
- Ballet teachers unionize for the first time
- Finally, MLB is asking Arizona to exempt minor leaguers from the state’s minimum wage
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Love & Solidarity,