UPDATE ON UNION ACTIVITY
Minneapolis, Minn: Dec. 4th, 6am, More than 100 fast food workers and supporters crowded into a McDonald’s chanting “Hold the burgers, hold the fries, make our wages supersize”.
Minnesota: 27,000 personal care attendants (care for disabled Medicaid recipients in their own homes) won union representation by the Service Employees International Union in August.
Metropolis, Ill: Members of United Steelworkers Local 7-669, (uranium conversion workers who have been locked out of Honeywell since Aug. 2nd), are maintaining picket lines. While picketing on Oct. 26th they observed a six-minute release of toxic uranium hexafluoride gas from the plant and demanded an investigation by the U.S. Regulatory Commission. Honeywell initially denied the gas had left the plant, but has since reversed it’s stance. Members of Women of Steel from northwest Indiana Locals delivered two vanloads of food and were raising money to buy toys and prizes for the locked out workers’ Christmas party on Dec. 13th. On Nov. 10th the Union filed unfair labor practice charges against the company. The company has been operating the plant with scabs, but plans to shut for the first quarter of 2015 for maintenance.
Cambridge, Mass: Housekeepers at the DoubleTree Hotel in Allston, organized a one-day strike on Nov. 20th. They have been trying to win representation by Unite Here, Local 26. Harvard University owns the hotel and made a $22.6 million profit from it in 2012. When the housekeepers began their efforts to unionize, the employer raised their wages from $15./hr. to $18./hr. However, housekeepers for other employers make more money and clean half the number of rooms per shift.
Brooklyn, NY: Members of Transport Workers Union Local 101, approved a contract with the National Grid gas company on Nov. 11th. Previously union members and supporters had rallied on Oct. 9th against the employer’s demands for a wage freeze and increased health care costs. Four days later the members had voted to strike. On Oct. 14th an agreement was reached including a wage increase of 14 to 25% over 5 to 6 years and elimination of the temporary worker classification.
Gainsville, TX: Teamster members at Zodiac Seats US plant went on strike Sept. 23rd. More than 1000 workers make airplane seats there. Issues were work environment, seniority rights, and schedules (10 or 12 hour shifts without overtime pay). The employer wanted to be able to move any worker to any location without regard to seniority, and a worker making four mistakes in a year, was to be automatically terminated. The strike ended and a new contract was approved on Oct. 25th which did not include these changes.
Brooklyn, NY: Nine car wash workers were locked out of the Vegas Auto Spa on Nov. 19th. They were organizing for back wages owed for overtime, wanting recognition from the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union. Working conditions are considered to be unsafe; harsh chemicals, no gloves, no masks and no safety glasses. Supporters rallied on their behalf on Nov. 22nd.