Don't Call It a Comeback: The Working People Weekly List

Don’t Call It a Comeback: The Working People Weekly List

Working People Weekly List

Every week, we bring you a roundup of the top news and commentary about issues and events important to working families. Here’s the latest edition of the Working People Weekly List.

Union Rebound? AFL-CIO’s Shuler Sees Promise, Long Road Ahead: “A newly released poll heading into Labor Day weekend shows a near-record 71% of Americans approve of labor unions, up from 64% just before the pandemic. Yet that Gallup poll stands in contrast to some raw math: Just 1 in 10 workers on U.S. payrolls are union members, half the level seen four decades ago. Liz Shuler, president of the AFL-CIO labor federation, wants to bridge that gap—starting by adding a million new people to union ranks over the next 10 years. As she spoke at a Monitor Breakfast for reporters on Thursday, it was clear that for her, it is personal. It’s about her own story, and the life stories of people she has met, some of whom leave memories that make her voice quake with emotion. ‘We would say that unions are a pillar of a healthy democracy, and we see it around the world that unions have always been sort of bedrock to the foundation of a healthy economy and a healthy society,’ Shuler told reporters.”

Fill-the-Boot Drive Returns in Labor Day Tradition: “This Labor Day weekend, some first responders will be looking for some help as they seek to ‘fill the boot to raise money for local families affected by a number of neuromuscular diseases. According to a release, members of the Loudoun County Combined Fire and Rescue System (LC-CFRS) and the Loudoun Career Fire Fighters Association (LCFFA) Local 3756 will be on the streets at a number of locations throughout the county between Sept. 3 and 5, collecting money in association with the Muscular Dystrophy Association. The Fill-the-Boot Drive grew out of a partnership between the International Association of Fire Fighters and the MDA, the release said, with member organizations of the IAFF having participated in the drive for over 60 years.”

Philadelphia Museum Workers Vote for Strike as Union Talks Stall: “The Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA) Union voted last night, August 30, in favor of a strike authorization by a 99% margin during the most well-attended meeting in its history. The vote came just days after the union filed an unfair labor practice complaint against the museum. The strike authorization raises the stakes of ongoing negotiations between the union and management, which have been underway since October 2020. In August 2020, the PMA unionized with the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees District Council 47 union (AFSCME DC 47), becoming the first wall-to-wall union at a major American museum.”

Inside the Drive to Bring ‘Cultural Workers’ into the Labor Movement: “It’s mid-June, and Lee Saunders, president of the AFSCME union, is speaking so loud into the microphone that it’s slightly distorted, and someone has to go over and tweak the dials on the PA system so his booming voice comes out clearer. Sitting down for an interview the following day, Saunders noted that the union support those workers felt at that event was ‘what the labor movement was all about—coming together, all of us supporting one another who have the desire to organize.’ [Philadelphia Museum of Art] is just one example of a surge in cultural institutions that have been unionizing with increasing fervor in the last few years, part of a campaign by AFSCME to offer support for these sectors to join their ranks.”

Labor Unions See Their Highest Approval Rating In Nearly Six Decades: “Americans have taken an increasingly positive view of labor unions over the past decade, with 71% now saying they approve of them in a new Gallup poll. That’s the highest favorability rating Gallup has seen for organized labor since 1965. Liz Shuler, president of the AFL-CIO labor federation, which includes 5[8] unions, cheered the new findings. ‘After a year of victorious strikes, record union election filings, and relentless efforts from corporate billionaires to silence workers, today comes as no surprise,’ Shuler wrote.”

MLBPA Sends Out Union Authorization Cards in First Step Toward Unionizing Minor Leaguers: “The Major League Baseball Players Association took an initial step toward unionizing the minor leagues Sunday night, sending out authorization cards that will allow minor league players to vote for an election that could make them MLBPA members. ‘Minor leaguers represent our game’s future and deserve wages and working conditions that befit elite athletes who entertain millions of baseball fans nationwide,’ players’ association executive director Tony Clark said Monday in a statement. ‘They’re an important part of our fraternity and we want to help them achieve their goals both on and off the field.’”

BUD Program Graduates 25th Class of Pre-Apprentices: “The future is bright for eight pre-apprentices who recently graduated from the Building Union Diversity (BUD) program, opening doors to good-paying union construction careers in the St. Louis area. Taking part in the June 3 ceremony held at Iron Workers Local 396 Hall in St. Louis were Missouri Works Initiative director Greta Bax, BUD Program Coordinator Aurora Bihler, BUD graduates Kyle Benson, Carl Meriwether, TeAndre Hope-Shotwell, David Conley, Victoria Chapman, Stephanie McClure, Demonte Moorehead and Christopher Martin. The six-week program was created eight years ago as a recruitment tool to encourage more minorities and women to get into the union-building trades. Today, the program is run by the Missouri AFL-CIO’s Missouri Works Initiative.”

REI Employees Vote to Unionize, Becoming Chain’s Second Union Store: “REI employees in Berkeley [California] made history Thursday as a majority voted in favor of unionizing, becoming the second store in REI’s nationwide chain to organize. ‘When we got the results, I was jumping for joy in my kitchen, and then I ran out the door cause I had to be at work,’ said Freddi Farias, an REI employee at the Berkeley store and one of the co-organizers who helped launched the organizing effort. The workers will join the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5. Union staff say they think other stores could follow. The UFCW staff say they saw a big increase in interest unionizing during the pandemic.”

Kenneth Quinnell
Tue, 09/06/2022 – 10:25

Updated: September 15, 2022 — 4:01 am