May 20, 2015: Tens of thousands of workers and supporters in 120 cities rallied, protested, and went on strike on April 15, including Wal-Mart employees, fast-food workers, homecare workers, and others.
Teamster members are joining the growing movement to raise the minimum wage and win union rights for all workers.
New York City
The Fight for $15, a global effort to raise the pay of low-wage workers, has circled back to where it began. Protests by fast-food workers in New York City in 2012 got the movement started, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo has now given the effort its biggest boost so far by announcing the creation of a board to look into raising wages for the state’s more than 180,000 fast-food workers. Its first public meeting will be in New York City on Wednesday.
Under New York law, a Wage Board, composed of business, labor and public representatives, has the power to propose a raise for any occupation where pay is judged to be too low to support the health or “adequate maintenance” of its workers. The state labor commissioner can then order the raise without legislative approval.
Click here to read more at The New York Times.
We need to expand Social Security to prevent the looming retirement crisis, and we can do it simply by asking billionaires to pay their fair share.
Want a stronger union at work? Consider building a stewards council.
With only five stewards for 1,700 workers, demoralization was high at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles.
Click here to read more at Labor Notes.
Three Walt Disney World performers who were fired from the Festival of the Lion King show at Disney's Animal Kingdom after refusing to wear sweaty, soiled costumes will get their jobs back after winning an arbitration case.
A representative from the Teamsters Local 385 Union said Monday the arbitration process was finally over, and a federal arbitrator ruled in favor of the cast members, who lost their jobs in June 2014 after they said they would not perform in dirty costumes.
According to witness testimony in the case, the sweaty costumes were caught outside in the rain on June 10, 2014. When the time came to prepare for the 6 p.m. show that evening, some performers found the soiled costumes pushed up against their clean clothes.
"They went to management and said, 'We need new unitards. These need to be washed, something,'" said Teamsters representative Donna-Lynne Dalton.
The union said management wanted them to wear the soiled costumes for the sake of the show, but the three performers refused, saying it was unsanitary. Management then cancelled the performance that evening.
The performers did eventually get clean unitards and perform for the next show, but the three, full-time cast members were later suspended and then terminated.
In November, the Teamsters union showed News 13 a copy of the character addendum that stated:
"All costume pieces shall receive a minimum of 12 hours of drying and sanitation between performances…
No character performer shall be required to wear any costume piece worn by another Character Performer."
Now that an arbitrator has ruled in the cast members' favor, the three performers will not only be rehired, but they'll also receive full back pay.
"Disney will comply with the decision," a media representative for Walt Disney World told News 13 on Monday.
April 17, 2015: Teamsters and TDU members joined a national day of action to fight for living wages. UPS Teamsters in New York made a splash in joining the Fight for $15.
Workers and supporters in 120 cities rallied, protested, and went on strike on Wednesday, including Wal-Mart employees, fast food workers, homecare workers, and others.
UPS Teamsters in New York made a splash—joining the Fight for $15 with rallies at UPS buildings throughout the city. Political leaders joined UPS Teamsters, part-time and full-time, to say it’s time to “Raise the Wage.”
“I joined the fight so the future of our children is a thriving and secure one,” said Kioma Forero, a Local 804 steward and TDU International Steering Committee member, who helped organized the rallies at UPS.
“One of the reasons I’m involved is I understand what it’s like to struggle to make ends meet,” TDU member Darrel Tucker, 52, told In These Times.
"We're taking on part-time poverty at UPS by fighting for a living wage for all New Yorkers," Local 804 President Tim Sylvester told the Daily News.
More UPS Teamsters explain why they’re joining the Fight for $15 in this great video from Local 804.
April 13, 2015: On April 15, workers will rally, sit-in and even strike as part of a national day of action to fight for $15-an-hour and a union. Teamster members are getting in on the action too.
More than 60,000 workers in over 120 cities will rally, protest or strike on April 15 in the biggest national day of action since the movement began four years ago.
Grassroots action has paid off. Walmart raised its wages and will hike them again next year. Starting next February, starting pay will be $10 an hour. That’s still not nearly enough—but it’s good that Walmart is feeling the heat.
Trying to head off bad publicity from the April 15 protests, McDonalds increased the pay of 90,000 employees to $9.90 an hour—but another 750,000 McDonalds workers who work at franchises are not eligible for the pay increase.
Keep in mind, Walmart, fast food and other low wage workers work part-time with no benefits.
The Fight for $15 goes way beyond McDonalds. What began as a movement of fast food workers has spread to nursing homes, homecare, Wal-mart and more.
On April 15, UPS part-timers are joining the Fight for $15 with “End Part-Time Poverty at UPS” rallies and worksite actions.
Higher wages—and union rights for all. That’s what the Fight for $15 is all about.
Starting next month, Target will raise its minimum wage to $9 an hour. Sound familiar? That's because Target’s decision comes just one month after its competitor Walmart said it would raise its starting wage to $9 and eventually $10 per hour. T.J. Maxx and Marshalls have also announced a new $9 an hour base. These minimum wage increases reflect an improving economy and the impact of widespread protest through campaigns like the fast food strikes and OUR Walmart.
The business press, unsurprisingly, chalks up the hikes to an improving economy. The Wall Street Journal writes, "Target’s move is the latest example of a tightening labor market and rising competition for lower paid workers amid declining joblessness and signs that consumer confidence is returning." At 5.5%, the country's unemployment rate is at its lowest in six years. Earlier this year, a review of several studies found that higher wages led to more productivity and lower turnover rates, which can then lead to higher profits for companies.
Click here to read more at In These Times.
Wisconsin is now the 25th state to adopt a so-called “right-to-work” law, which allows workers to benefit from collective bargaining without having to pay for it.
It joins Michigan and Indiana, which both adopted right to work in 2012. Similar initiatives, or variants, are spreading to Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and West Virginia—and the National Right to Work Committee and the American Legislative Exchange Council probably have a well-developed list of additional targets.
Click here to read more at Labor Notes.