Our latest roundup of worker wins begins with a breakthrough contract for Spanish-speaking performers at Telemundo and includes numerous examples of working people organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life.
Spanish-Language Performers at Telemundo Win Historic First Contract: Spanish-language performers for Telemundo Television Studios tentatively agreed to their first contract after 15 months of negotiations. Pablo Azar, a performer and negotiating committee chair, said, "We applaud Telemundo for working together with us to achieve this agreement. I am so proud to be part of the team that helped establish our first union contract with its health benefits, residuals, and other protections. This agreement reaffirms that a strong union contract goes hand in hand with successful programming."
Fast Company Voluntarily Recognizes Employee Union: Working people at Fast Company had their organizing efforts rewarded when the magazine's management voluntarily recognized Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE), as the representative for the newly formed unit. WGAE Executive Director Lowell Peterson said: "We welcome the editorial and photo staff at Fast Company to the movement for collective bargaining in digital media, and we look forward to building a productive relationship with the employer. Unionizing and negotiating will give these hardworking employees a meaningful voice in the decisions that affect their work lives."
New Contract at The Intercept Contains Historic Diversity Provision: Editorial staff at The Intercept, a digital investigative journalism news site, unanimously ratified their first contract since joining WGAE. The new contract contains a historic diversity provision that requires any job that is open to the public will include at least two candidates from groups traditionally underrepresented in journalism (women, people of color, those identifying as LGBTQ). The contract also includes real gains in pay, paid leave and transparency and fairness in hiring and promotion.
New Yorker Editorial Staff Overwhelmingly Vote to Join The NewsGuild: Six weeks after they launched an organizing drive, editorial employees at The New Yorker overwhelmingly voted to join the The NewsGuild-CWA. In response to more than 90% of staff voting for the union, management at Condé Nast voluntarily recognized the union. The New Yorker becomes the first unionized editorial staff at Condé Nast.
University of Michigan Lecturers Overwhelmingly Ratify New Contract: Members of the Lecturers' Employee Organization, an affiliate of the AFT, voted 98% in favor of a new contract that will raise wages, improve health care and boost job security for 1,700 lecturers at the university. LEO President Ian Robinson said: "Our members said they wanted a new kind of contract that would change how lecturers are paid and create the conditions for quality education for our students. The agreement approved in this week’s voting is transformative. It recognizes fundamental changes in the nature of academic labor."
NLRB Rejects Station Casinos' Legal Challenges to Organizing Victory: Station Casinos, the third largest employer in Nevada, has been delaying the recognition of an overwhelming vote to join the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Local 165, but the National Labor Relations Board has ruled that the union elections, won by a vote of nearly 80%, is valid and Station has to negotiate in good faith with the unions. Geoconda Argüello-Kline, secretary-treasurer for the Culinary Union, said: "We are disappointed that Station Casinos chose to litigate their baseless legal challenges instead of honoring the federal election results as they have always promised to do so. We urge Station Casinos to recognize their workers’ voices and votes at Green Valley Ranch and the Palms, and begin contract negotiations in good faith immediately."
Seattle Mayor Signs Domestic Workers Bill of Rights Bill: Seattle became the first city to establish a Domestic Workers Standards Board when Mayor Jenny Durkan signs the Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights, which was sponsored by City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda. Mariana Viturro, deputy director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, said: "As one of the most innovative and forward-thinking legislations of its kind, the Seattle Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights shows what is possible when the workers who are most vulnerable and often invisible become the center of our solutions. This victory paves the path for expanding rights for all domestic workers, including at the federal level."
New York Insurance Board Rules That Uber Drivers Are Employees: Despite Uber's attempts to misclassify its employees, the New York State Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board ruled that drivers for Uber and similar companies are employees and are eligible for unemployment insurance. Bhairavi Desai, executive director of the National Taxi Workers Alliance (NTWA), said: "This decision gives drivers a safety net, and one that Uber has to pay for, challenging Uber's business model of low pay and lower retention. Uber treats drivers as if they are expendable, and up until now, it's never had to come at a risk or cost to the company."