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Today's AFL-CIO Press Clips

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SAG-AFTRA board asks members to authorize strike ahead of AMPTP negotiations


By Christine Samra

May 18, 2023

SAG-AFTRA’s National Board unanimously voted on Thursday to ask members to authorize a strike, ahead of negotiation talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. Those negotiations are set to begin on June 7. “An affirmative vote does not mean a strike would necessarily happen, but it would allow the National Board to call one if deemed necessary during the negotiations process,” the board announced in a statement on the SAG-AFTRA website. “The action comes following a unanimous agreement by the TV/Theatrical negotiating committee that the strike authorization would give the union maximum bargaining leverage as it enters this round of negotiations with the AMPTP.”


Kaiser Aluminum reaches labor agreement in Indiana

Recycling Today

By Brian Taylor

May 18, 2023

Tennessee-based Kaiser Aluminum Corp. has announced that a United Steelworkers (USW) local has ratified a new four-year labor agreement at its Warrick Rolling Mill in Indiana. That facility includes a melt shop for used beverage cans (UBCs). The aluminum producer says USW Local 104 members at the mill in Evansville, Indiana, affects approximately 850 employees. The new contract took effect May 15 and extends through May 15, 2027.


Painters win $9.66 over three years in new contract

Northwest Labor Press

By Mallory Gruben

May 17, 2023

On May 4, union members approved an agreement with Oregon Signatory Painting Contractors Organization (SPCO) that raises total compensation $9.66 over three years. Painters District Council 5 representative Scott Oldham said that’s the largest pay bump the local has ever seen. “A great portion of our members are extremely excited,” Oldham said. “We were used to getting $3.16 over three years, and we got $3.66 in year one.” 


In Georgia, 1,400 Electric Bus Manufacturing Workers Have Just Won a Union


By Luis Feliz Leon

May 17, 2023

After a bruising three-year fight, workers at school bus manufacturer Blue Bird in Fort Valley, Georgia, voted May 12 to join United Steelworkers (USW) Local 697. “It’s been a long time since a manufacturing site with fourteen hundred people has been organized, let alone organized in the South, let alone organized with predominantly African American workers, and let alone in the auto industry,” said Maria Somma, organizing director with the USW. “It’s not a single important win. It’s an example of what’s possible — workers wanting to organize and us being able to take advantage of a time and a policy that allowed them to clear a path to do so.” The high-turnout vote was 697 to 435.


Union approves tentative contract with Alcoa


By 7 News Staff

May 18, 2023

The United Steelworkers union has approved a tentative agreement it reached with Alcoa last week. That’s according to union representatives. The three-year deal includes a 13.5% total wage increase and no increases to health care. United Steelworkers represents 800 Alcoa workers, including 375 in Massena. Most of the rest are in a plant in Indiana. The agreement avoids a strike, which members authorized at the end of April if negotiations didn’t improve.


Changing institutional culture from the inside out: why more and more US museum workers are forming unions

The Art Newspaper

By Anni Irish

May 18, 2023

Over the course of the past two months workers at the Hispanic Society Museum & Library—a jewel box institution in New York's Washington Heights devoted to the art of Spain, Portugal and former Latin American colonies—have been on strike. It is the first strike of this magnitude at a New York museum in more than 20 years, since unionised employees at the Museum of Modern Art walked off the job in 2000 for 134 days. Museum administrators “have everything to lose by the continuation of strike. It makes no sense other than pure stubbornness and intransigence,” says Maida Rosenstein, the director for organising with United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 2110, which represents staff at the Hispanic Society and many other art institutions throughout the north-east. “It’s a very, very particular collection, with people who have incredible expertise in this area.” The museum had been due to reopen in early April following a six-year renovation—that reopening has now been postponed indefinitely.


GrowNYC Workers Secure Historic Union Victory, Paving the Way for Better Conditions in the Food Supply Chain

Food Tank

By Staff

May 18, 2023

Workers at GrowNYC recently announced that their employer will recognize the workers’ union formed with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). The victory comes three weeks after a delegation of nearly 200 GrowNYC employees demanded voluntary recognition of their union from the large-scale nonprofit.“Workers at GrowNYC wanted and needed to form their union, as do countless workers across the food supply chain from farm to point-of-sale,” Stuart Appelbaum, President of the RWDSU, tells Food Tank. GrowNYC is an environmental organization based in New York City. The nonprofit aims to improve New Yorkers’ quality of life through food access and agriculture programs, such as fresh pantry projects and farmer assistance. The employees advocating for union recognition represent around 70 GrowNYC Greenmarkets, farm stands, community supported agriculture (CSA) pick-up locations, and school operations. “Essential food processing, farming and food retail workers are rising up and winning their unions and strong contracts that will forever change how they’re treated at work,” says Applebaum.


Hearst Magazine Employees Ratify Union Contract With WGA East

The Wrap

By Jeremy Fuster

May 18, 2023

Writers Guild of America East announced on Thursday that its members at Hearst Magazines have voted to ratify its first labor contract, ending a two-year struggle to unionize staffers at the media conglomerate in the face of management resistance that was met with writer walkouts and formal charges of unfair labor practice.


CUNA Mutual workers will head to picket lines Friday in first strike ever

The Cap Times

By Natalie Yahr

May 19, 2023

After failing to reach an agreement with management ahead of the union’s deadline, more than 400 workers at Madison’s CUNA Mutual Group plan to strike for a week starting Friday. It’s the first strike in the union’s 80-year history. Around 450 of those workers are unionized with the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) Local 39. In April, they voted to authorize a strike lasting up to a week, with 92% of ballots in favor of allowing the strike. 



Minnesota lawmakers on verge of banning captive audience meetings

People’s World

By Michael Moore

May 18, 2023

Minnesota lawmakers appear on the verge of banning one of employers’ most notorious anti-union tactics, so-called “captive audience meetings.” “Many workers describe them”–captive audience meetings—“as raw intimidation,” Minnesota AFL-CIO President  Bernie Burnham told lawmakers earlier this year. A typical captive audience meeting, which Burnham said now occurs there in more than 90% of organizing campaigns in Minnesota, features bosses and supervisors haranguing workers against the union, behind closed doors. And that’s a small part of the intimidation.


Why NJ needs more women in the construction trades

New Jersey Herald

By Greg Lalevee and Kate Gibbs

May 18, 2023

Too few of our political leaders have touted the importance of pursuing a career in a skilled construction trade. As a result, we don’t have anywhere near the skilled trade workers we need to meet the construction demands of building enough housing, among other needs. Coupled with the fact that New Jersey is a huge exporter of college students to the other 49 states, we feel the shortage here more than other states. What’s more, the shortage of skilled trade workers is further exacerbated because the professions are dominated by men. We are essentially missing half of the potential workforce that could be recruited into the field. It’s even more acute as women now account for 46% of the U.S. workforce.  



California performing arts fell a decade behind in job growth, study finds

Los Angeles Times

By Jessica Gelt

May 18, 2023

California’s performing arts sector lost a decade’s worth of jobs within a two-year period, with 2021 employment dropping to 2010 levels, according to a new study. More than 59,000 jobs disappeared during the COVID-19 pandemic that arts leaders say are unlikely to return if drastic action is not immediately taken. The groups that commissioned the report hope to use it to persuade the state government to allot $50 million for the Equitable Payroll Fund, otherwise known as Senate Bill 1116, which was passed last year but remains unfunded. The bill, written by Sens Anthony J. Portantino and Susan Rubio, would provide crucial support to struggling performing arts organizations with budgets less than $2 million through the reimbursement of some payroll expenses. Actors’ Equity President Kate Shindle said getting funding for the bill is crucial to her organization‘s mission to ensure members have access to employment protection, disability coverage and pay. “These are employers who are trying to do the right thing. They want to comply, they want to be able to pay people, they want to sustain themselves and they just need a little help in getting there. Especially the smaller-size organizations,” said Shindle of the bill’s target demographic.