Workers Strike Back: The Working People Weekly List

Workers Strike Back: 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.

Workers Strike Back: “The pace of strikes slowed when the pandemic hit. Now there are signs picket lines are bouncing back amid fresh worker angst. What’s new: Production has been halted at Kellogg cereal plants across America after 1,400 workers walked off the job in a bid for better benefits (and worries about job outsourcing). The last time a cereal workers strike hit the company was nearly 50 years ago.”

Moms Are Back to Work, but Child Care Resources Are ‘Laughable’: “While many of these mothers have returned to the work force, somewhere between 900,000 and one million have stopped working to support their families, and according to Heggeness, these mothers tend to be in dual-income households where their families could survive on one salary. In single-parent families and families that need two incomes to keep the lights on, mothers have returned to their jobs—but they have done so while day care and aftercare options are scarcer than they were pre-pandemic.”

Kennedy Center Stagehands Authorize Strike, Putting ‘Hadestown’ and Other Scheduled Shows in Jeopardy: “The stagehands who work behind the scenes at the Kennedy Center authorized a strike Thursday morning, more than a year after their contract expired, saying that ongoing talks seem unlikely to result in a new deal. The two sides remain at odds over several key issues, including staffing levels, wages and overtime pay, according to the union. The unanimous vote by members of Local 22 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) comes days before the Broadway hit ‘Hadestown’—the first major touring show to play at the Kennedy Center since the pandemic—arrives in Washington for a three-week engagement.”

Kellogg’s Workers Strike Isn’t About ‘Me’, It’s About ‘We’: BCTGM Local Union President: “Trevor Bidelman, BCTGM Local Union President, joins Yahoo Finance to discuss Kellogg’s workers strike. Bidelman: ‘Well, this fight is really about the future. They want to make a two-tier benefited system that does not include the premium health care that we have, nor the pensions that we have. They want to take that away from a portion of our current workforce that already has that coming, and they want to make sure that any future workforce does not have that.’”

Fed Up by Pandemic, U.S. Food Workers Launch Rare Strikes: “A summer of labor unrest at U.S. food manufacturers has stretched into fall, as pandemic-weary workers continue to strike for better pay. Around 1,400 workers at Kellogg Co.’s U.S. cereal plants walked off the job this week, saying negotiations with the company over pay and benefits are at an impasse. Meanwhile, in Kentucky, a strike by 420 workers against Heaven Hill Distillery is in its fourth week.”

Taking the Lead at the AFL-CIO: “Liz Shuler’s ascension to AFL-CIO chief comes at a critical time for the nation’s largest labor group, which is grappling with declining union membership, union-busting corporate giants and a Democratic Congress that is struggling to pass pro-worker priorities. Part of Shuler’s mission is to redefine the labor movement as being for workers of all backgrounds and in every industry. She often notes that of the federation’s roughly 12.5 million workers, nearly half are women. ‘I think it’s important to have a woman in this role so that women in the workforce see the labor movement as the movement for them,’ Shuler said. ‘We’re the largest organization in the country of working women, and I don’t think a lot of people see us that way.’ Shuler aims to expand the labor movement to growing parts of the economy that remain largely nonunionized such as the tech sector, including gig economy firms that are circumventing the traditional employment structure.”

Baltimore Museum Employees Are Planning to Unionize as a Nationwide Labor Movement Takes Hold in U.S. Art Institutions: “Workers at the Baltimore Museum of Art have announced plans to form a union, making the employees the latest in a nationwide push for better working conditions and higher pay at art museums, a field that suffers from drastic inequities. In a statement, the Baltimore Museum organizers noted that the museum’s mission is to provide ‘artistic excellence and social equity,’ and that the members were now ‘channeling this passion and energy to form a union.’ Among the changes the union is seeking is better job security, fairer wages, and a say in decisions that affect them, according to the union’s website. The organizers of the union announced their intention to join the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) local council 67 in a blog post. AFSCME represents around 10,000 museum employees across the U.S.”

New NPR SAG-AFTRA Contract Expands Parental Leave, Includes DEI Provisions: “Members of NPR’s Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists union voted overwhelmingly Thursday to approve a new three-year contract. The contract increases paid parental leave from eight to 20 weeks and provides an annual 2.5% pay raise. It awaits final approval from the SAG-AFTRA executive committee and would retroactively go into effect Oct. 1 upon approval. The contract covers 521 employees at NPR, including hosts, reporters, newscasters and other audio and digital staffers. The unit’s members voted 324-4 in favor of the contract.”

IATSE Members Vote to Authorize a Strike with Over 98% Support: “Signaling overwhelming support for its union’s battle with studios over two expiring contracts, as widely expected, IATSE members have voted to authorize an industry-wide strike. This marks the first authorization of a nationwide strike in the union’s history. Over 98% of eligible members from 36 Locals voted to authorize a strike in the momentous contest for the union—which bargains on behalf of over 150,000 crew members internationally, including cinematographers, operators, grips, editors, costumers and writers assistants, among others. This strike authorization vote concerns around 60,000, or about 40%, of those workers. Meanwhile, about 90% of eligible voters cast a ballot.”

Is a New Labor Movement Brewing?: “Liz Shuler, president of the AFL-CIO, argues that we are in the beginning stages of a modern labor movement. In an op-ed in the Chicago Sun-Times, she wrote that ‘a modern labor movement begins by putting good jobs and working people at the center of our national conversation—back where it used to be, when work was respected culturally and rewarded economically.’ ‘Marketplace’ host Kai Ryssdal spoke to Shuler about labor policy and the makings of a modern labor movement. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation.”

‘Too Little, Too Late’: Union Workers at Mercy Hospital Go on Strike as Talks Fail to Yield Deal: “About 2,000 nurses, technical and clerical employees at Mercy Hospital in South Buffalo went on strike this morning after Catholic Health System and the workers’ union failed to reach an agreement overnight. Hundreds of workers, members of the Communications Workers of America Local 1133, gathered outside the hospital this morning, carrying picket signs, as the strike began at 6 a.m.”

Kenneth Quinnell
Thu, 10/14/2021 – 11:01

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Updated: October 20, 2021 — 7:49 pm