New COVID-19 Protections In Las Vegas: Worker Wins

Our latest roundup of worker wins begins with an important victory in the fight against COVID-19 for Las Vegas' workers and includes numerous examples of working people organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life. 

Las Vegas Unions Negotiate New COVID-19 Protections: Workers at MGM Resorts and Caesars hotels and casinos in Las Vegas represented by Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165 successfully negotiated new protections in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The new agreement will provide more than 36,000 workers with extended health benefits, paid time off for quarantines and other protections. “Behind every worker is a family, and we are proud to have partnered with MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment during this difficult time to ensure workers are protected during this pandemic and are not left behind when the economy recovers. These new historic agreements mean workers will have their family health benefits in place until next year, even if they are currently laid off, and that workers will be able to return to their jobs as business recovers with full seniority rights,” said Geoconda Argüello-Kline, the secretary-treasurer for the Culinary Union.

Feminist Majority Foundation Staff Join NPEU: Staff at Feminist Majority Foundation voted to join Nonprofit Professional Employees Union (NPEU) and have asked management for voluntary recognition. Said NPEU President Kayla Blado: “We are excited to welcome Feminist Majority Union to NPEU and the labor movement. Women’s rights are union rights, and with their union, FMF staff will be able to more effectively advocate for feminism and the rights of women. We look forward to FMF management promptly recognizing its staff union.”

New American Leaders Staff Join NPEU: Staff at New American Leaders (NAL) voted to be represented by NPEU and have made a formal request to management for voluntary recognition. NAL Workers United and NPEU said in a statement: "We believe that unionizing is integral in the fight to eradicate the oppressive structures of white supremacy, systemic racism, and capitalism. We see unionizing as a way to live our progressive values internally; a union will help us use democratic principles to root out white supremacy, colonialism, patriarchy, heterosexism, ableism and classism within the workplace, which will only strengthen our ability to serve our communities better and with more authenticity."

Meow Wolf Staff Ask Management to Recognize Union: Meow Wolf employees have asked management to voluntarily recognize their unionization and intent to be represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA). Meow Wolf Writer Bill Rogers said: "Once we're recognized, we will work with the company to negotiate a contract that represents the well-being of all workers in Meow Wolf. We believe this will set Meow Wolf apart from its peers in the immersive entertainment industry. Meow Wolf has been a beacon for working artists all around the world. That ideal drew many of us to Santa Fe [New Mexico] in the first place. We want to help the company achieve that yet again."

SAG-AFTRA Members Ratify Television Animation Contract Overwhelmingly: More than 87% of members voted to approve the 2020 SAG-AFTRA TV Animation Contracts with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. The new contract includes wage increases, improved residuals for streaming services and other gains. SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris said: "This is a strong, future-focused agreement with significant gains for our members. It applies scale wages to more productions, lowers budget thresholds for half-hour HBSVOD programs and delivers additional money for the use of interstitial programs in new media.”

Philadelphia Museum of Art Workers Overwhelmingly Vote to Join AFSCME: With 89% voting in favor of unionization, workers at the Philadelphia Museum of Art will be represented by AFSCME District Council 47. The victory establishes the first wall-to-wall union at a major museum in the United States. The yearlong campaign was delayed by COVID-19 and management's "attempts to discourage unionization."

Largest Strike in U.S. Ends as IAM Members Overwhelmingly Ratify New Contract: After nearly 10 weeks, the strike by Machinists (IAM) Local S6 members who work at Bath Iron Works is over, with 87% of the membership approving the new contract. The contract includes protections against expanded subcontracting and preserves seniority rights. IAM Local S6 President Chris Wiers said: “This strike was a testament to the culmination of Local S6 leadership, our negotiating committee and the incredible power of solidarity shown by our membership. Now that we successfully protected our contract language with respect to subcontracting and seniority, we need to get back to work and continue to prove to the U.S. Navy that ‘S6 built is best built.’”

Management Voluntarily Recognizes Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Staff Union: Staff at the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law voted to join NPEU, and management voluntarily recognized the union after a majority was confirmed through card-check. The LC United organizing committee statement said: “Every day, the Lawyers’ Committee staff works hard to protect the civil rights of our country’s most vulnerable populations. We are excited to be recognized and work with management to ensure better workplace protections and conditions for our deserving and dedicated staff.”

Staff at Educational Site Chalkbeat Join WGAE: Reporters, story editors and other staff at educational website Chalkbeat voted to join the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE). Management voluntarily recognized the union. In a statement, the staff said: "We are thrilled to take this step in concert with Chalkbeat management, which swiftly recognized our union. We believe that every child deserves an excellent education and that sustaining vital newsrooms is crucial to that mission. As Chalkbeat continues to grow, it is imperative that those closest to the journalism we produce have a greater role in the decisions that affect us. Our decision to unionize and negotiate a contract reflects our desire to help strengthen this news organization."

USW Members at Former Briggs & Stratton Ratify Contract: Members of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 2-232 ratified a new contract with the successful bidder for the company Briggs & Stratton. The engine maker filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and an affiliate of investment firm KPS Capital Partners submitted the successful bid to buy the company, subject to approval by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. “The USW supports the KPS bid, and we look forward to a long and productive partnership with the company here. The company has a solid track record of success in running manufacturing facilities like this, and this contract will put the company and the workers on that same track,” said Michael Bolton, director of USW District 2.