Our latest roundup of worker wins begins with grocery store workers using their collective voices and includes numerous examples of working people organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life.
UFCW Workers at King Soopers/City Market in Colorado Reach Tentative Agreement to End Prevent Strike: United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) members who work at King Soopers and City Market in Colorado have accepted a tentative agreement to prevent a strike and the new deal must be approved by the membership. The new contract addresses wage increases, health care costs, improved benefits and increased safety requirements. UFCW Local 7 President Kim Cordova said: "Today’s deal represents an important investment in King Soopers and City Market workers and strengthens our ability to continue providing shoppers with the high-quality customer service they deserve. The fact that this offer is significantly better than where we started in December is a tribute to the hard work of every member."
Two More Condé Nast Publications Join Organizing Wave: Pitchfork and Ars Technica, two publications owned by Condé Nast, have become the latest publications to join the wave of organizing that has been sweeping newsrooms and digital media in recent years. Employees at both publications have asked for voluntary recognition of their union representation. Ars Technica covers technology and science and Pitchfork publishes music criticism and news. Pitchfork's senior editor Stacey Anderson said: "The editors, writers, producers and strategists of Pitchfork are deeply proud of the work we do here. We believe that forming a union will keep this a sustainable place for all of us. We’re ready for management to address our concerns and work as hard for us as we do for them."
Boise Philharmonic Musicians Vote for Representation by American Federation of Musicians: With 96% of the vote, musicians at the Boise Philharmonic have voted to join the American Federation of Musicians (AFM). Kate Jarvis, a violinist and assistant concertmaster, said: "We're excited to join the community of working musicians, and we think this is an exciting time in the life of our orchestra. We have a vested interest in the organization, and we think it's important for the musicians to have a voice in the organization."
Staff at Podcast Startup Gimlet Media Join Writers Guild: More than 80 staff who work for Gimlet Media have asked management to voluntarily recognize their unionization with the Writers Guild of America, East. Gimlet produces popular podcasts such as Reply All and StartUp and the membership includes producers, engineers, reporters and hosts. Among the issues the new union will be negotiating with management are fair treatment for contractors, increased workplace diversity, protection of employee intellectual property, and transparency around pay, promotions and firings.
Flying Food Workers Avoid Strike and Ratify New Contract: Nearly 700 catering employees of Flying Food Group who work at Los Angeles International Airport averted an approved strike after 98% voted to ratify a new contract. The workers, represented by UNITE HERE Local 11, will see wage increases and the end of costly monthly health care premiums. Flying Food Group worker Juan Varela applauded the agreement: "This new contract is going to change my life. I used to pay $332 a month for my health insurance and now I won’t have to pay any money out of my check for full coverage for me and my family."
Tufts Dining Workers Reach Tentative Agreement After Nearly a Year: Dining workers represented by UNITE HERE at Tufts University have reached a tentative contract after nearly a year of negotiations. The contract would be the first for dining workers at the university. The contract addresses wage increases, health care, the conversion of temporary employees to regular status, maintaining employees' existing time-off benefits and other issues.
Ohio Teachers End Strike After Ratifying New Contract: Teachers at Summit Academy Parma in Ohio ended a nine-day strike after the members of the Ohio Federation of Teachers overwhelmingly voted to ratify a new contract. OFT President Melissa Cropper said: "The teachers and intervention specialists at Summit Academy Parma organized their union to improve their students’ learning conditions. That’s what this contract does with language on staffing and class sizes, and by establishing a labor-management committee so that we can solve problems as they arise." The contract was secured after the teachers went on strike in order to improve teaching and learning conditions at the charter school, which serves special needs students.
New Jersey State Workers and Gov. Phil Murphy Agree to New Contract: After a long-fought battle with former Gov. Chris Christie, New Jersey's new governor, Phil Murphy, is much more open to working with state workers. A breakthrough contract last year was followed by a tentative agreement on a four-year contract with the state and the Communications Workers of America New Jersey. The new contract was approved by the membership at the end of March.
BuzzFeed Workers Join NewsGuild: The overwhelming majority of U.S. journalists working for online news outlet BuzzFeed voting to be represented by The NewsGuild of New York, CWA Local 31003. Earlier this year, BuzzFeed moved to eliminated 15% of its workforce and the new unit is seeking better benefits and fair pay. The BuzzFeed workers said: "We want to remain spry and competitive, but we reject the argument that we must choose between freelancing in a hellscape gig economy for vampirical platforms or submitting to the whims of a corporation that botches basic HR tasks." The BuzzFeed workers have asked management to voluntarily recognize the union.
Boston's WBUR Staff Overwhelmingly Vote for Representation Through SAG-AFTRA: With 96% voting in favor, staff at radio station WBUR in Boston voted to recognize SAG-AFTRA as their union. They are in the beginning stages of negotiating their first contract. Ally Jarmanning, a digital producer at WBUR, said: "We are thrilled to officially be recognized as a union at WBUR. Organizing has brought our staff closer together and we can't wait to get to work negotiating a contract that will be fair for all. We know together we can make WBUR an even better place, both for workers and listeners."
Machinists at Boeing Win Mid-Contract Pay Raise: Thousands of Machinists who work for Boeing in Seattle have won a $4-per-hour increase of minimum pay rates. While their current contract sets pay rates through 2024, the Machinists fought for an increase after management responded to a labor shortage by offering new hires wages higher than the existing contract. The union successfully argued to management that the contract's minimum wage should be raised so that already hired workers would be making as much or more than new hires.
Gizmodo Editorial Staff Unanimously Ratifies New Contract: Nearly 170 members of the editorial staff at Gizmodo Media Group voted unanimously to ratify their second collective bargaining agreement. The staff is represented by the Writers Guild of America, East, and about the contract the bargaining committee said: "We’re incredibly proud of the contract we won. With a strong union, and the support of our colleagues at other unionized shops across digital media, we were able to build on our first contract and help elevate industry standards to better protect workers and the independence of our newsrooms. But building labor power in digital media is bigger than just a contract, so the struggle for a more democratic, transparent industry continues. There’s power in standing together, and when we fight we win."
Nurses Vote to Join Minnesota Nurses Association: An overwhelming majority of nurses at CHI St. Alexius Health in Bismarck, North Dakota, voted to be represented by the Minnesota Nurses Association. The nurses sought union representation after operational changes and layoffs had a negative impact on patient care. Nurse Leslie Wenger said: "We’re all extremely excited. We just really wanted to come together and have a voice to get heard and to get a seat at the decision-making table."
Journalists at The Morning Call Join NewsGuild: By a vote of 31-12, reporters, photographers and other staff at The Morning Call, located in Allentown, Pennsylvania, voted to be represented by The NewsGuild-CWA. Peter Hall, a senior reporter, said: "For a lot of people, this is about improving our sense of certainty about the future. Everyone involved in this has really worked hard."
San Francisco Bikeshare Workers Vote for TWU Representation: Workers at Ford GoBike in the San Francisco Bay area have voted to join the Transport Workers (TWU). The maintenance workers are employed by Motivate LLC and are seeking wage increases, better scheduling practices and other quality of life factors. TWU already represents Motivate workers in New York City, Chicago, Boston, Washington, D.C., and Jersey City.