December 4, 2014: With the retirement of the dean of labor reporters from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal is now the only newspaper with a full-time labor reporter.
As of today, the number of reporters assigned to primarily cover labor and workers' issues in the US has fallen by half: from two to one!
Steven Greenhouse, labor reporter for The New York Times, took a buy-out this week and retired. He will not be replaced.
That leaves just one paper with a labor reporter: The Wall Street Journal. The WSJ is owned by Rupert Murdoch, and its editorial posture is anti-labor and pro- right to work (for less).
Twenty years ago, there were dozens of reporters covering unions and workers’ issues. The two Detroit papers had two labor reporters each, for example.
Ken Crowe, who wrote the definitive book Collision on the rise of Ron Carey, covered labor full-time for Long Island Newsday.
Almost every major newspaper, from Washington to Pittsburgh to St Louis to Seattle and Los Angeles had a full-time labor reporter.
These reporters developed contacts in the labor movement and understood workers’ issues. Now they are gone from the scene, and as result, workers’ issues are often invisible.
Our union and working class issues are covered by business reporters. These reporters usually have contact with Wall Street, CEOs, and investment experts. When they cover unions – or issues of pensions, health care, free trade, workplace safety, or minimum wage – it is too often from the perspective of their corporate contacts.
All the more important for the labor movement and our community allies to work together to get our stories – the stories of the majority of Americans – out to the public and keep workers’ issues on our nation’s political agenda.
Here’s what’s really being missed in most snapshot explanations of Detroit’s bankruptcy: the unprecedented hit being taken by retirees who believed that, after working throughout their lives, they would be secure in their old age.
And Detroit sets a dangerous precedent. Your city’s retirees may be next in the crosshairs.
Click here to read more at Labor Notes.
December 1, 2014: Walmart workers and allies ramped up the pressure for $15-an-hour with protests across the country.
Walmart workers held pickets, rallies and walk-outs at more than 1,600 stores nationwide on the biggest shopping day of the year. Some workers fasted and risked arrest to highlight their demands for $15-an-hour and full-time work at Walmart, the nation’s largest employer. In Washington, organizers reported protests at 64 stores—every store in the state.
Click here to read more from protesting Walmart workers and see a survey of the protests.
According to a Bloomberg BNA report, unions won more representation elections, with a higher win rate, in initial NLRB-monitored representation elections in the first half of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013, but the number of newly organized employees fell drastically, and unions have been losing decertification elections more often.
Unions won 8.6 percent more elections in the first six months of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013 (428 to 465). Unions were more successful not only at increasing the absolute number of representation elections held and won, but also their win rate improved 3.7 percent, to 69.2 percent (428 out of 653 in the first half of 2013, to 465 out of 671 in the first half of 2014).
Click here to read more at The National Law Review.
November 20, 2014: The 222 city and road drivers at the big Charlotte terminal voted Yes for the Teamsters Union in an NLRB election. It’s the largest union win at FedEx Freight to date, and brings the number of Teamster-represented FedEx Freight workers to about 400.
Congratulations to the FedEx Freight brothers and sisters, and to Local 71.
The IBT press release on the vote is here.
November 19, 2014: Walmart workers are planning protests, sit-ins and strikes at stores across the country on Black Friday.
Protests against low-wages, lack of full-time jobs, inadequate and expensive healthcare, and disrespect from management will take place at 1,600 locations nationwide on the biggest shopping day of the year.
Walmart employs more than 1.4 million workers—who they term “associates”—making it the largest employer in the country. “Associates” make on average just $8.81 an hour.
Walmart workers need allies to show their support—click here to find a Black Friday action to join up with.
And click here to hear stories from Walmart workers and learn more about what they’re fighting for.
November 11, 2014: Louisville Local 89 and Teamster carhaulers have won a strike victory at Ford, despite getting no support from the Hoffa administration.
Teamsters who transport vehicles from the Ford assembly plant to the rails in Louisville have won a victory—and they have won big.
Their victory puts an end to a dirty deal cut between Ford and contractor Voith Industrial in early 2012, which dumped 161 Teamsters who made $20 an hour and replaced them with newly-hired workers making $11-$14 an hour.
The Hoffa administration delayed and denied strike sanction to Local 89 and blocked its leadership from negotiating a solution with the UAW.
But that didn’t stop Teamsters Local 89.
First, the local won multiple unfair labor practice charges at the NLRB against Voith. Then Local 89 finished the job on the picket line.
It took Local 89 members just four days to win — once the Hoffa administration stopped delaying strike sanction.
Now 161 Teamsters who were on the original seniority board are returning to work with full back pay, benefits, and restoration of their seniority.
Eighty-four more workers hired by Voith since the dispute began in 2012 will get backpay for the wages and benefits they were entitled to under the national carhaul contract too.
The total price tag could surpass $50 million in backpay and benefits; the NLRB will determine the final figure.
Ford has also severed it relationship with Voith. Local 89 Teamsters will be employed by RCS Transportation going forward.
Congratulations to the Local 89 leadership and members. Their victory shows what Teamster power can be.
One local union and its united members defeat a sweetheart arrangement, save over 200 jobs, with full backpay and benefits.
By comparison, Hoffa’s International Union Carhaul Director did nothing while Ford and Voith teamed up in a similar scheme to put Teamster carhaulers in the street in Michigan.
Teamster power in Louisville. A Teamster power outage at the International. It’s time for change.
Click here to read the report on the Local 89 website.