With UE & Wabtec Still Far Apart, Summer Lee Rallies the Troops – Videos of UPS Practice Picket Lines – Traders Joe Threatens to Sue Union over Copyright

UPS Teamsters at a practice picket in Manhattan, New York (Photo: Wyatt Souers/Party for Socialism and Liberation)


Greetings from Carrboro, North Carolina, where I am wrapping up a week of exciting conversations and holiday festivities. 

We will have a story from North Carolina late next week. Also, we will have a long-form on the strike of 1,400 UE members at Wabtec early next week. 

With UE & Wabtec Still Far Apart, Summer Lee Rallies the Troops

According to a statement released by Wabtec on its website, UE’s 1,400 locomotive workers and the company still need to be closer. The next bargaining date between the two sides is next Tuesday, June 11. 

To put pressure on the company, the UE held a rally at the company’s high-end headquarters on Pittsburgh North Shore, just a block down from PNC Park.

Attending the rally was US Congresswoman Summer Lee. When Lee first ran for state representative against an incumbent in 2018, the UE was the only union that backed her, and Lee made her support for the union known. 

“We are sending a message to Wabtec and every other company & corporation in western PA that Pittsburgh is a union town,” said Lee at the rally. “We’re going to let them know how strong our movement really is — this is how we’re going to win the green jobs of the future.”

For the latest on the state of negotiations, check out UE Local 506 webpage. 

UPS Practice Picket Lines Across the U.S. Yesterday 

Across the U.S. yesterday, UPS workers held practice picket lines as their strike deadline of July 31 approaches in less than three weeks. 

Teamsters for Democratic Union have a thread of videos from practice picket lines around the country.  

The picket lines also generated a lot of publicity for striking workers across the US. Check articles from LouisvilleFort WorthNevadaOregonArizona, and New York City

Trader Joes Threatens to Sue for Profits from Union Swag 

Finally, Trades Joe’s workers have begun selling t-shirts, cups, and shopping bags with the logo of Trader Joes United. From Dave Jamieson at HuffPost: 

The California-based grocer recently sent a letter to the union’s president, store worker Jamie Edwards, arguing that Trader Joe’s United’s T-shirtsmugs, and tote bags are “likely to cause consumer confusion” and “dilute” the company’s brand. The letter, dated June 27 and obtained by HuffPost, referred specifically to items that say “Trader Joe’s United” and show the union’s logo, a fist clenching a box cutter.

Trader Joe’s claims that the items infringe on its trademarks, design, and “trade dress” — a legal term that basically refers to a product’s general look and feel. The company said that if the union didn’t stop selling the merch, it might seek an injunction and monetary damages, including “all profits” the union has made from the items’ sale.

The union’s lawyers fired back a letter of their own, accusing the company of bullying workers and trying to muzzle them through the threat of litigation. They said it was “disappointing, but not surprising” that the company would “seek to weaponize” trademark law against employees.

“This latest threat to the Union is just another in your continuing attack against labor,” the union’s attorneys wrote.

For more, check out HuffPost. 

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

Donate to help us keep covering the “Summer of Strikes.” Please, if you can, sign up as one of our 751 recurring donors tonite. 

See yinz next week, 


About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter and alumni of the Guardian. In addition to filing over 1,800 stories from 46 states, Elk was the only American reporter in the room with Lula on the morning of the election & traveled with him to the Oval Office. 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]