Our latest roundup of worker wins begins with more victories for working people in digital media and includes numerous examples of working people organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life.
Thrillist Editorial Staff Approves First Union Contract: After a contentious campaign that included the first-ever strike authorization at a digital news site, the editorial staff at Thrillist unanimously ratified its first union contract, which cements financial gains and improves workplace protections. Lowell Peterson, executive director of the Writers Guild of America, East, said: "The hard work of the WGAE negotiating committee, backed by the solidarity of the entire bargaining unit, have made this excellent agreement possible. Collective bargaining works; people who craft content can make concrete improvements in their pay and working conditions by unionizing, and can gain a real voice on the job."
Writers at Salon Unanimously Ratify First Collective Bargaining Agreement: About the victory, Lowell Peterson, executive director of the Writers Guild of America, East, said: "Our collective bargaining agreement with Salon marks the Guild’s seventh contract in digital media. We won important gains including minimum rates of pay that result in a third of the unit receiving an average increase of 11%. There will also be guaranteed across the board increases for all employees, based on the average pay, which will further reduce inequality among colleagues. In addition, the agreement includes just cause, a process for terminations and guaranteed severance. We are pleased to finalize a collective bargaining agreement with one of the pioneers in digital journalism, a company that is committed to continuing its important mission in changed times."
Omaha World-Herald Votes Overwhelmingly to Affiliate with The NewsGuild: By a vote of 71-5, reporters, copy editors and photographers at the Omaha World-Herald have voted to join The NewsGuild. The new union will represent more than 80 journalists and negotiations with BH Media Group, which owns the paper, are expected to begin in coming months.
Registered Nurses in Tucson Join National Nurses United: Registered nurses at St. Joseph's Hospital and St. Mary's Hospital in Tucson, Arizona, have voted by 72% to be represented by the National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United (NNOC/NNU). The new unit will represent 550 registered nurses at St. Joseph's and another 450 at St. Mary's. National Nurses United (NNU) Director Bonnie Castillo, RN, said: "On behalf of our members nationwide, I welcome you and want you to know that we are thrilled to have you on board. We are proud of RNs at St. Joseph’s and St. Mary’s Hospitals for taking this historic step to unite with your RN colleagues to elevate standards for patients and nurses."
Registered Nurses at HCA-affiliated Hospitals Reach Tentative Contract Agreement: Some 7,000 registered nurses represented by National Nurses United have tentatively reached a new contract agreement that would cover nurses in Florida, Kansas, Missouri, Nevada and Texas. NNU Director Bonnie Castillo said: "On behalf of our members across the nation, I extend a hearty congratulations to the nurses at these HCA-affiliated hospitals, for winning agreements that honor and support optimal patient care. These new pacts clearly demonstrate what nurses can accomplish when we are persistent and unified, including in environments that are hostile to collective bargaining rights. Your powerful patient advocacy is an inspiration to us all."
Flight Attendants at Miami Air Ratify New Contract: Flight attendants working at Miami Air voted by 93% to ratify a new five-year contract. The 100 flight attendants, represented by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, will get immediate pay raises and per diem and improved work rules. AFA Miami Air President Natasha Glasper said: "Miami Air Flight Attendants stood together throughout negotiations and a year ago authorized a strike if necessary. Today, we ratified a new contract that will provide much needed wage increases for Flight Attendants and their families."
Pennsylvania Steelworkers Win New Contract: Members of the United Steelworkers at Universal Stainless & Alloy Products in Bridgeville, Pennsylvania, ratified a new five-year labor contract. The contract includes wage increases over the life of the contract, strengthens health care and pension contributions, and preserves vacation scheduling, seniority and other benefits for the 245 workers covered by the new agreement.
Columbia Postdoctoral Workers Join United Auto Workers: More than 70% of the 1,000 postdoctoral workers who voted at Columbia University supported joining UAW. Columbia Postdoctoral Workers-UAW becomes the first certified postdoctoral union at a private university. Alvaro Cuesta-Domínguez, a member of the organizing committee, said: "We made history. We would like to expand our voice to the national level. We would like to have a voice regarding issues such as federal science funding and making the research environment a more equitable and a diverse work space."
Flight Attendants Win Safety Guarantees in FAA Reauthorization Bill: Congress passed a new five-year FAA reauthorization bill that includes a number of safety priorities pushed for by flight attendants, including 10-hour minimum rest breaks to combat fatigue, forever keeping knives off of planes, keeping voice calls off of planes and banning e-cigarettes. AFA-CWA International President Sara Nelson said: “Flight Attendants cheer the passage of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 with a provision to combat Flight Attendant fatigue by increasing minimum rest from 8 hours to 10 hours. This bill closes a safety loophole while improving Flight Attendant health and achieving equal minimum rest with our flight deck counterparts."