50% turnover at Amazon in Alabama since the last union election – 60 Starbucks seek to unionize in 19 states

People,

Greetings from the Burgh, where I am slowly regaining my energy to write the newsletter as I struggle with the effects of a long COVID.

Thank you again for all these donations as I slowly return to work.

60 Starbucks seek unionization in 19 states

Early last December, Starbucks workers at a Buffalo store became the first in the country to unionize. Now, workers at 60 Starbucks stores in 19 states have chosen to do the same.

The movement has won massive community support in every Starbucks that has organized, and many expect it to grow given Starbucks’ history with harsh working conditions.

“We have a turnover rate of 140%”, Santa Cruz-based Starbucks employee Joseph Thompson told the Dive restaurant. “There were so many different issues at the store, but [workers] are determined to ensure that it can continue in a great way. And the only way to see that happen is through a union.

(See a map of all the places where Starbucks workers are organizing.)

The Supreme Court’s first choice was a partner in an anti-union law firm

One of the main names mentioned for the Supreme Court vacancy is Michelle Childs, who previously worked at the anti-union law firm Nexsen Pruet Jacobs & Pollard.

While it’s unclear whether Childs has consulted on union-busting cases, she has defended employers sued for racial discrimination. American Prospect’s Alex Sammon has the story:

Bloomberg Law has 25 recorded cases in which Childs participated during his time at the firm; 23 of them involve allegations of employment discrimination or other employment-related civil rights violations. Race and gender were common factors in these costumes; seven of these cases involved occupational discrimination based on race and three others involved occupational discrimination based on gender. In all but two of the recorded proceedings, Childs did not represent the plaintiff but the defendant, meaning she overwhelmingly represented employers accused of violating civil rights and gender discrimination laws in the workplace.

These cases cataloged commonplace abuses. In Greene v. Conseco Finance, for example, the complainant, an African-American woman, alleged discrimination based on race and pregnancy in a situation where the company denied her a promotion and then terminated her outright. Childs represented the employer, Conseco. The case ultimately resulted in a jury siding with the plaintiff, awarding her $193,000 in damages after Childs was removed. In Harris v. L&L Wings, a plaintiff alleged near-daily sexual assault by a workplace supervisor for years; Childs represented the company. A jury ultimately sided with plaintiff Harris, awarding compensatory and punitive damages and even attorneys’ fees.

For more, see The American Prospect.


In Alabama, Amazon Re-Do Election, half of all workers who vote are new employees

In March 2021, Amazon workers in Bessemer, Alabama voted against an Amazon labor campaign by a margin of 738 to 1,798 out of a total membership of nearly 6,000. However, the National Labor Relations Council Labor canceled this union election due to illegal anti-union intimidation by the company and ordered a new election.

This week, Amazon workers in Alabama began voting for a new union election that is scheduled to end on March 28. Union organizers say workers, who saw Amazon fail to deliver on promises in the last election to improve union-free conditions, are less receptive to the company’s anti-union message.

However, a Birmingham News report shows that half of all Amazon workers who vote in this election are new hires, who may not be as receptive to the union’s message.

For more, see The Birmingham News.

Unions fighting on behalf of temps see 21% pay rises

Due to labor law, many temporary workers employed in workplaces alongside unionized workers are not covered by union contracts. In some workplaces, unions choose not to fight for temporary workers and instead focus on benefits for their current union members.

However, new research from Cornell’s Industrial and Labor Relations School shows that in workplaces where unions fight on behalf of temporary workers in contract negotiations, these temporary workers see, on average, a wage increase of 21%.

“The results may irritate some ‘progressive’ trade unionists,” said Adam Seth Litwin, associate professor of labor relations, law and history at the ILR School and lead author of the study. “Old-fashioned, adversarial, non-cooperative organizing is out of style. And there can be a number of good reasons for this. But at least when it comes to helping non-traditional or non-essential workers, unions are much more helpful when confronting management, rather than associating with it.

To verify on Cornell’s School for Industrial and Labor Relations to learn more about the study.

News and strikes happening elsewhere

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Melk

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