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In Brief: Railroad Strike, Warehouse Worker Ordinance, Nurses Strike, Supreme Court Ruling on Right to Strike

Feb 2, 2023

In Brief

Unions Unhappy with Biden Imposition of Settlement Preventing Railroad Strike

“Union leaders are unhappy that Biden’s solution appears to be the imposition of a settlement reached in September that has already been rejected by many for failing to address members’ concerns about pay, sick days, staff shortages and time off.

“Joe Biden blew it,” said Hugh Sawyer, treasurer of Railroad Workers United, a group representing workers from a variety of rail unions and carriers. “He had the opportunity to prove his labor-friendly pedigree to millions of workers by simply asking Congress for legislation to end the threat of a national strike on terms more favorable to workers. Sadly, he could not bring himself to advocate for a lousy handful of sick days. The Democrats and Republicans are both pawns of big business and the corporations.”

The Guardian, 11/30/22

San Diego Needs a Warehouse Worker Ordinance

“Recently, labor and community activists gathered at the United Food and Commercial Workers’ Hall in Mission Valley to hear about the plight of San Diego Warehouse workers and a policy solution being proposed by the County that might serve as both a local fix and a model for the rest of the state.  The panel included testimony from warehouse employees about how the strategy employed by Amazon and others following their lead churns workers in and out for low pay in terrible conditions until “their bodies are broken” by speed-up and repetitive motion injuries that are pervasive among their ranks.

Sal Abricia of Teamsters Local 542 and Sheheryar Kaoosji of the Warehouse Workers Resource Center explained how despite the union-busting tactics of employers and the brutal conditions that the workers endure such as broiling summer temperatures, they were still organizing and making their voices heard against all odds.  These workers experience work-related injuries at twice the rate of others in private industry, suffer from exposure to high levels of diesel fumes, and are paid at a substandard rate . . .

The solution being crafted by the Center on Policy Initiatives, Teamsters Local 542, the Environmental Health Coalition along with San Diego Country Board of Supervisors Chair Nathan Fletcher and Vice Chair Nora Vargas is a Warehouse Worker Ordinance that would improve wages and job quality by providing a living wage of up to $25 an hour while establishing reliable work schedules.  It would also increase worker safety by requiring zero emissions vehicles inside warehouses, monitoring air quality, and strengthening workers’ ability to fight abusive work quotas.”

Words and Deeds, 9/21/22

Nurses Win Historic Victory in New York Strike

“According to the New York Nurses Association, the NYC nurse strike has ended. After picketing for three days, NYC nurses striking at Mount Sinai Health, Montefiore Health System, and Wyckoff hospital have reached tentative agreements and are now back to work.

“This is a historic victory for New York City nurses and for nurses across the country. NYSNA nurses have done the impossible, saving lives night and day, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and now we’ve again shown that nothing is impossible for nurse heroes. Through our unity and by putting it all on the line, we won enforceable safe staffing ratios at both Montefiore and Mount Sinai where nurses went on strike for patient care. Today, we can return to work with our heads held high, knowing that our victory means safer care for our patients and more sustainable jobs for our profession,” NYSNA President Nancy Hagans., 1/12/23

Supreme Court to Rule on the Right to Strike

“The right to vote and the right to collectively bargain and strike are among the most fundamental democratic rights of American citizens. In recent years, however, the ultra-right-wing Supreme Court majority has issued a string of decisions that have systematically eroded these rights.

This week, SCOTUS heard oral arguments in Glacier Northwest, Inc. v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local Union 174. Should SCOTUS rule in favor of the employer in this case, the right to strike could be significantly suppressed. The case has come at a time when, in response to growing economic inequality, union organizing and strikes are growing at the fastest pace in recent history. Corporations fear this trend, and a politicized right-wing Supreme Court majority could help them slow it.”

The American Prospect, 1/13/23



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