Every week, we bring you a roundup of the top news and commentary about issues and events important to working families. Here’s the latest edition of the Working People Weekly List.
Workers’ Leverage Is Here to Stay: “American workers have the upper hand over their employers right now—and there are tentative signs it could last, even as economic storm clouds gather….There were 661 new union filings in the first quarter of 2022—these are petitions from groups of workers seeking to hold union elections. That’s up from 448 in the same quarter in 2020 before COVID, according to data tracked by Kevin Reuning, a political science professor at Miami University.”
Unions Weigh In on East Buffalo Tragedy: “‘The entire labor movement is appalled by the killing of 10 people and wounding of three by a man with racist beliefs who targeted Black people,’ said AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler and Secretary-Treasurer/Executive Vice President Fred Redmond in a joint statement. ‘While there’s no way to make sense of yet another racially motivated, hate-inspired attack on innocent people because of the color of their skin, it’s clear these types of mass shootings are perpetrated by those radicalized online, and we must take action. Our deepest condolences are with the family, friends, [United Food and Commercial Workers] members and an entire community who are once again dealing with unfathomable pain due to one person’s racist beliefs.’”
U.S. Women’s and Men’s National Soccer Teams Close Pay Gap With ‘Game-Changing’ Deal: “The U.S. men’s and women’s national soccer teams struck a labor deal that closes the contentious pay gap between the squads, an unprecedented step that will equalize both salaries and bonuses, providing a substantial boost to the decorated women’s team. The deal was part of new collective bargaining agreements with the U.S. Soccer Federation [USSF] that were announced Wednesday morning. It was the culmination of a long battle between the women’s team and the sport’s national governing body, which included a high-profile lawsuit that was settled this year. The USSF said the agreement makes the United States the first country to achieve equal pay for its men’s and women’s soccer teams. ‘To finally get to the point where on every economic term it’s equal pay, I am just really proud,’ USSF president Cindy Parlow Cone said.”
Architects Draft a New Blueprint for a Labor Movement: “In December, workers at SHoP [Architects] pushed the envelope again: Architects with the 135-employee firm announced a bid to unionize. Under the banner Architectural Workers United, the workers mounted the first significant labor push in the building design industry since 1971….‘When architectural workers first reached out to us, my first question was, what is the standard now?’ says David DiMaria, an organizer with the [Machinists], the global trade union that Architectural Workers United hoped to affiliate with. DiMaria describes feeling a ‘holy s--t moment’ as he surveyed the field: ‘This is a professional trade that is completely not unionized.’”
Newly Organized Workers Are Talking About Why It’s Important to Join a Union: “With AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and newly organized cannabis worker members of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 360 and Starbucks Workers United, New Jersey AFL-CIO President Charlie Wowkanech opened the press conference with the essential point: ‘Workers deserve what the bosses are getting: better wages, health care, decent working conditions and respect on the job.’....‘This is your moment; workers are showing everyone what can be done when they organize, that they can take on the corporate giants and win,’ said AFL-CIO President Shuler.”
The Year Workers Said No: “Liz Shuler, the president of the AFL-CIO, the country’s largest labor federation, said the past year has shown ‘workers in motion.’ ‘Coming out of the pandemic, working people have not only shown their resilience, but they’ve shown that they are ready to draw a line and demand more,’ she said.”
United Reaches New Contract Deal With Pilots’ Union, the First of the Major Airlines in Pandemic: “United Airlines and its pilots’ labor union have reached an agreement on new contract terms, the first of the major carriers to strike a deal since the start of the COVID pandemic. The crisis roiled the industry and exacerbated a pilot shortage and training backlog. The Air Line Pilots Association and United didn’t disclose the terms of the deal on Friday, but they will likely include higher pay and other improvements. United has had perhaps the least contentious relationship with its pilots’ union of the major carriers and struck early deals during the pandemic to keep aviators on staff and trained.”