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Today's AFL-CIO Press Clips

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‘My name is cleared’: the US workers fighting back against union busting

The Guardian

By Michael Sainato

March 22, 2023

Last year, public support for labor unions hit a high unseen since 1965 amid high-profile union campaigns at major corporations including Apple, Amazon, Starbucks, Chipotle, REI and Trader Joe’s. This renewed interest has been accompanied by aggressive opposition from employers: threats, intimidation and what workers allege are retaliatory firings. The backlash seems to be working, but workers and their supporters are fighting back. The tension between popularity and pushback has prompted Senator Bernie Sanders and the US Senate’s health, education, labor and pensions (Help) committee to hold recent hearings on union busting, including what is expected to be a heated hearing with the recently departed Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz next Wednesday. The Help committee hearing comes as the number of petitions for union elections at Starbucks stores has dropped from 71 a month last spring to about 10 a month recently. And, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, last year the national union membership rate fell by 0.2 percentage points, to 10.1% – the lowest on record and down from nearly one in three workers during the heyday of unions back in the 1950s.



Local apprenticeship programs look to help more students as enrollment rises

Local 12

By Brad Underwood

March 22, 2023

College enrollment is dropping across the country, a trend that has been in the works for more than a decade. During that time span, apprenticeship program enrollment is on the rise by more than 60%. Inside the old Circuit City off Glenway Avenue, Wednesday night's instruction involves circuits and electric panels. The location is the training center for the IBEW Electrical Apprenticeship Program. "Apprenticeships are the lifeblood of the building trades,” said assistant director of the apprenticeship program, Chris Fridel.



Why There Is Talk of a Writers’ Strike in Hollywood

The New York Times

By John Koblin and Brooks Barnes

March 21, 2023

Unions representing more than 11,000 television and movie writers and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which bargains on behalf of Hollywood’s nine largest studios, including Amazon and Apple, began talks on March 20 for a new three-year contract. The current agreement expires on May 1.


Strikes Fuel Biggest Pay Raises in Labor Contracts Since 1990

Bloomberg Law

By Robert Iafolla

March 21, 2023

Contracts ratified last year called for first-year wage raises averaging 5.7%, the review of 817 deals showed. That marks a significant jump over the 3.7% average first-year increase in agreements ratified in 2021, and the highest average rate in more than 30 years. The recent union wins at the bargaining table reflect increased worker militancy, labor relations observers said. Last year saw the most worker strikes in nearly 20 years.


Bobcat Employees Vote to Join United Steelworkers

Manufacturing Business Technology

By IEN Staff

March 22, 2023

The United Steelworkers (USW) today announced that workers at Bobcat's Rogers, Minnesota production facility have voted for union representation in a secret ballot election overseen by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on Tuesday, March 21, 2023. After the election, USW International President Thomas M. Conway welcomed nearly 200 Bobcat employees into the union. "A fair union contract will improve the standard of living for workers now without sacrificing the security of their jobs, earnings or benefits in the future," Conway said in a statement.


Hearst Magazines employees in Easton planning walkout Thursday as negotiations continue over contract


By Staff

March 22, 2023

Employees at Hearst Magazines in Easton and three other cities are planning a walkout Thursday afternoon, as union members and business leaders continue to negotiate a new contract. It is set to take place Thursday at 1 p.m., according to a Twitter post from the Hearst Magazines Media Union. Walkouts are also planned in New York City, Ann Arbor in Michigan, and Birmingham in Alabama. The union says among the issues in the negotiations include severance, guaranteed annual increases, and wages.


Wexner Center for the Arts employees win union election unanimously

The Columbus Dispatch

By Belinda M. Paschal

March 22, 2023

A year after they organized to form Wex Workers United, employees of the Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University won their union election in a unanimous vote, it was announced on Wednesday. According to a press release, the union was legally recognized by the State Employee Relations Board and with AFSCME Ohio Council 8, a leader in helping museum and cultural workers statewide organize workplace unions. On March 4, 2022, Wexner employees began a union campaign to make changes, advocating for a fair and equitable workplace, the right to negotiate for wages and benefits, and to have a voice in workplace issues like safety.


Graduate Unions: Why Student Workers at University of California, Temple, More Are Striking

Teen Vogue

By Indigo Olivier

March 22, 2023

Academic workers are having a moment. This past year,2,500 NLRB petitions were filed for union elections and graduate workers at MIT, Yale, Northwestern, Johns Hopkins, Boston University, and the University of Chicago represented the six largest. And graduate workers weren’t the only ones organizing: Non-tenure contingent faculty mobilized at Howard, NYU, The New School, Fordham, and Rutgers. Union organizing has also spread to the University of Southern California, Syracuse University, the University of Illinois Chicago, Washington State, Barnard, Dartmouth, Wesleyan, and the University of Alaska, among other campuses. 


Seven Stars Bakery workers get pay raises through first union contract


By Steven Matregrano and Britney Trumpy

March 22, 2023

Seven Stars Bakery has made its first notable charge since its employees unionized last summer. The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local Union 328 announced that employees at all five Seven Stars locations voted unanimously to approve their first contract. The contract includes significant pay raises and guaranteed minimum hours for both full- and part-time employees.



Michigan Legislature sends right-to-work repeal to governor's desk

Michigan Radio

By Rick Pluta

March 21, 2023

“It’s huge,” Michigan AFL-CIO President Ron Bieber said of the repeal legislation. “It’s huge for the entire labor movement nationally to have a victory for working people and make progress for a change.”

People cheered from the galleries as bills cleared the state House and Senate on their way to Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who has said she will sign them. The Legislature also adopted bills to require state contractors to pay union-level wages.



A surprising (and growing) gender gap in the most dangerous jobs

The Washington Post

By Andrew Van Dam

March 17, 2023

By almost every measure, the American workplace is getting safer. But one troubling type of injury is on the rise: violent attacks that cause injuries so severe that the victim misses a day of work. And the increase has come almost entirely in attacks against women. That’s a deadly serious finding, and one we did not expect. After all, our analysis began with the intriguing discovery that the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses includes a category called “self-tasered — unintentional.” This database of workplace injuries is incredibly detailed, offering a concise but wide-ranging portrait of tragedy and mishap in the American workplace. It tells us how often workers are strangled by another person and how often they are caught in running machinery.



The minimum wage fight that will define the decade


By Nick Niedzwiadek

March 22, 2023

“When this legislation was originally proposed, we would be well on our way to the $15 minimum wage,” said William Spriggs, chief economist for the AFL-CIO and a Howard University professor. “I think all of us are reevaluating what we think that number should be.”