Today's AFL-CIO press clips

JOINING  TOGETHER

Portland Museum of Art and new employee union reach first contract agreement

Portland Press Herald

By Bob Keyes

November 23, 2021

The Portland Museum of Art and the newly formed union representing just under half of its employees have ratified their first three-year contract. Despite previous clashes with museum management over the formation of the union and who would be included, the union president praised the museum for swift and cordial negotiations. “Both parties worked hard to try to productively communicate and reach an agreement,” said Maida Rosenstein, president of United Auto Workers Local 2110, which organizes professionals and office staff, and represents about 40 full-time, regular part-time and on-call positions at the Portland museum. “We reached a first contract I would say in record time … and there was a real effort to try to reach an agreement without escalating any hostilities.”

Northbrook Teachers Union: District 28 Educators Begin Organizing

Patch.com

By Gabby DeBenedictis,

November 23, 2021

Northbrook School District 28 educators have begun labor organizing, and on Friday "a strong majority of employees" filed cards to form a union. Teachers and certified staff at three elementary schools and one junior high school filed the authorization cards. Officials said the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board is expected to certify the new union, which would be called the Northbrook Federation of Teachers District 28. If approved, 230 District 28 employees would become a council of the North Suburban Teachers Union Local 1274, which represents roughly 2,000 teachers, certified staff, paraprofessionals and school-related personnel. The North Suburban Teachers Union is part of the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT), which is a state affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers/AFL-CIO.

Houston Kroger Workers Could Strike During This Thanksgiving Season

Eater Houston

By Adele Chapin 

November 23, 2021

Kroger workers in Houston could possibly strike during this Thanksgiving season, the Houston Chronicle reports. On November 16, the United Food and Commercial Workers announced that workers voted to authorize a strike amidst negotiations with Kroger over issues like pay and healthcare. The grocery giant told the paper that it is working on reaching an agreement with the union. The contract between Kroger and the United Food and Commercial Workers, who represent Kroger employees in Houston, expired in April 2020. Kroger canceled its hazard pay, which was put in place at the start of the pandemic, in May 2020, and in a widely-criticized move, also asked employees to return extra emergency pay that the company accidentally doled out. In September 2020, West Houston Kroger stores rallied for a continuation of hazard pay during the pandemic.

IN THE STATES

A union-backed trust is funding housing projects throughout the Twin Cities

Twin Cities Pioneer Press

By Frederick Melo

November 21, 2021

For more than 35 years, a labor-supported mutual fund has pooled union pension dollars, institutional investments and other assets to back new real estate construction across the country, with a general focus on housing — nearly half of it affordable housing. Chaired by former St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust, or HIT, is propping up new development by providing construction financing and buying mortgage-backed securities in 21 cities, including Boston, Chicago, Detroit, San Francisco and Milwaukee, but it holds a special place in its heart for Minnesota, where more than a fourth of its active projects have resided during the pandemic.

UNION BUSTING

Starbucks: Purveyor of Fresh Coffee and Stale Union-Busting

The American Prospect

By Terri Gerstein

November 23, 2021

Starbucks’s response to the union campaign has been mostly predictable: They closed at least one location (finally clearing out the bees) and converted it into a training center; they’ve also held countless meetings to push pro-company and anti-union propaganda. The coffee giant’s efforts have on occasion veered into the comic and bizarre: In October, corporate executives descended on Buffalo stores, sweeping floors while asking about workers’ concerns, and a few weeks ago, founder and ex-CEO Howard Schultz touched down to speak directly to Buffalo workers. Schultz’s messaging was, at minimum, idiosyncratic: In his talk, he jarringly shared a story about the Holocaust, and he later penned a Splenda-filled missive to the team in which the word “love” appears five times.

 

RIGHT TO WORK

Gov. Lee pushes ‘Right to Work’ amendment while labor leaders say its a move to keep cheap labor

WKRN

By Gerald Harris

November 23, 2021

The so-called “Right to Work” amendment will be on the ballot come next November. The push led by leading Republicans will take what is already state law and put it in the state constitution if voters approve. Labor leaders say this is another attempt to keep wages low and solidify Tennessee as an at-will state allowing people to be fired for any reason at any time. “We all got a right to go to work and earn money but what most people don’t understand and it’s because of the lack of education— is that they’re just at will employees— you can be terminated at any time without reason and that’s what the state really wants,” Billy Dycus, President of TN AFL-CIO said. Dycus said this constitutional amendment is another attempt to use government and big business to control people. “If you go back and look at the south in general — you know you can go way on back it’s always been about cheap labor and that has always been a way to control working people and it scares people with money and influence.”