Today's AFL-CIO press clips

WORKPLACE SAFETY AND HEALTH

Can OSHA Keep Workers Safe? The Court Hears the Case Tomorrow.

The American Prospect

By Debbie Berkowitz

Jan. 6, 2022

As COVID-19 cases surge to record highs and workplace outbreaks continue to endanger workers and cause labor market disruptions, the Supreme Court has decided to hear its first case in 30 years involving the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). On Friday, the Court will hear arguments on whether a stay should suspend OSHA’s standard requiring large employers to mitigate worker exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19 by ensuring that their workers are either vaccinated or masked and tested weekly. The case comes after the Sixth Circuit, in a bipartisan decision in late December, supported the OSHA rule, and lifted a stay imposed earlier by the Fifth Circuit.

JOINING  TOGETHER

Why Alabama Coal Miners Are Still on Strike

The Nation

By Kim Kelly

Jan. 7, 2022

Take the owners of Warrior Met Coal in Brookwood, Ala.; instead of sitting down at the bargaining table and hammering out a mutually satisfactory contract with the union negotiators who represent the will of their workforce, they have chosen to stall and, as an unfair labor practices charge filed by the the United Mine Workers of America alleges, to operate in bad faith. This kind of stubborn cruelty is bad for workers, but it’s also bad for business. The strike has cost Warrior Met nearly $7 million and counting. The strike’s circumstances have shifted over the past 10 months, but the root of the conflict remains the same: The coal miners want a better union contract, and the company does not want to give it to them.

Google Fiber retail staff in Kansas City begin unionizing efforts

KSHB

By Charlie Keegan

Jan. 7, 2022

Staff members who operate retail stores for Google Fiber internet in Kansas City, Missouri, have begun the formal process to form a union. This week, 10 of the 11 eligible employees filed a request to hold a union vote with the National Labor Relations Board. The group is organizing under the Alphabet Workers Union which formed one year ago under the Communications Workers of America. Alphabet owns Google.

Baltimore County library staff votes to form union

The Baltimore Sun

By Taylor Deville

Jan. 7, 2022

A majority of Baltimore County Public Library employees have voted to unionize and join the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. The election tees up employees’ collective bargaining negotiations with library management, which must be resolved by March 1 under county law. About 65% of the library system’s 460 staffers submitted mail-in ballots that were tallied last week; more than three-fourths of part-time and full-time staffers across the county’s 19 library branches voted in favor of organizing a labor union, citing a lack of communication from library management and weak health care benefits for part-time employees, who make up half the library’s staff.

Student Workers at Columbia End 10-Week Strike After Reaching a Deal

The New York Times

By Ashley Wong

Jan. 7, 2022

Student workers at Columbia University gave their tentative blessing on Friday to a new contract that raises their wages and improves their health benefits, ending a 10-week strike that disrupted some classes and strained relations with administrators. Those on both sides of the bargaining said they were pleased that the standoff had ended.

Carnegie Library Of Pittsburgh Workers Ratify First Union Contract

CBS Pittsburgh

By Patrick Damp

Jan. 8, 2022

 Friday was a historic day for the workers of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. Those workers joined with the United Steelworkers union in August of 2019 and form a union. On Friday, a collective bargaining agreement that covers approximately 300 workers across 19 branches and the library support center was ratified.

LABOR AND ECONOMY

More Black workers lost jobs in December, despite a sharp decline in overall unemployment

Business Insider

By Juliana Kaplan , Madison Hoff , and Jason Lalljee 

Jan. 7, 2022

Black unemployment went up for "all the wrong reasons," according to Dr. William Spriggs, the chief economist of the AFL-CIO and economics professor at Howard University. The disparity between Black workers looking for jobs and their unemployment rate could disprove the narrative of a labor shortage, Spriggs said. 

LABOR AND COMMUNITY

IBEW honors life savers

NW Labor Press

By Mike Gutwig

Jan. 7, 2022

IBEW Local 48 recognized three members for heroic actions—for saving the lives of two ironworkers after a roof collapse on a construction project in summer 2020. At the union’s Dec. 15 meeting, members Kevin Jorgenson and Keoki Hookano each received the IBEW Life Saving Award, and Sergey Elikh received the IBEW Certificate of Recognition. The Life Saving Award is presented by the international union to any member who, by direct personal involvement, saves the life of a fellow human being. The Certificate of Recognition is awarded when a member did not meet the criteria for the Life Saving Award but deserves special recognition for their presence of mind, prompt action and genuine concern for a fellow human being.