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.
Foundations Embrace Organized Labor with $20 Million Plan to Help Workers in the South: “It’s a lesson learned from the #MeToo movement, the wave of protests following the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, and the string of union victories at places like Amazon and Starbucks that previously seemed impervious to attempts to organize, says Christian Sweeney, deputy organizing director at the AFL-CIO. ‘There’s a growing sense that the major problems in our country aren’t getting solved purely through policy interventions or charitable works,’ Sweeney says. ‘What’s driving this from the foundation side is that people see the labor movement broadly as a place to change the balance of power.’”
WGAE Members Approve Changes to Guild’s Constitution to Ensure 'Balanced Representation' Amid Digital Gains: “WGA East members have voted overwhelmingly to approve changes to the guild’s constitution that are designed to ensure a more ‘balanced representation’ of members by bridging the divide between those who work in film, TV and broadcasting, and those employed in digital newsrooms. The referendum, which was approved by a vote of 1,567-40 (98%-2%), includes the creation of three work-sector vice presidents covering members who work in Film/TV/Streaming, Broadcast/Cable/Streaming News and Online Media.”
Biden to Address Major Labor Conference Next Week: “President Biden next week will travel to Philadelphia to speak at a convention for the AFL-CIO, the largest federation of unions in the country. Biden will deliver remarks on Tuesday at the convention, which takes place every four years. It will be a high-profile event for Biden to emphasize his support for organized labor. The AFL-CIO is made up of 57 different labor unions representing more than 12 million workers.”
California Nurses Plan for Potential Second Strike of 2022: “Nurses at AHMC Seton Medical Center in Daly City, California, have voted to authorize their bargaining committee to call a strike, according to the union that represents them. The California Nurses Association represents 300 nurses at Seton. Its members are prepared to strike for a second time this year unless the hospital addresses what the union describes as critical and persistent patient care issues and the closure of vital services, according to a June 6 news release. The nurses went on strike in March. ‘The last thing we want to do is strike. We love our patients, our hospital and our community, but AHMC has failed all of us and we need to call attention to these critical concerns before it is too late,’ Michelle Kubota, a registered nurse at Seton, said in the release.”
TV and Movie Music Supervisors Are Looking to Unionize: “For an example of what a music supervisor can achieve, just look at the moment Kate Bush is having right now. After her song ‘Running Up That Hill’ was played on the most recent season of the Netflix hit Stranger Things, the song found new life on the charts, and has elicited a rare response from Bush herself. None of that could have happened without a music supervisor (Nora Felder, in this case). Now music supervisors are looking to unionize with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, or IATSE. According to IATSE, 75% of film and television music supervisors have signed authorization cards to join the union. The union says music supervisors want to standardize pay rates in order to tackle discrimination and disparities; gain access to healthcare and retirement plans; and negotiate with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which has not voluntarily recognized the union.”
Mills Announces $12M to More Than Double Apprenticeships in Maine: “Awards totaling $12.3 million to 14 organizations will expand apprenticeship opportunities across Maine in more than 50 new occupations. Gov. Janet Mills said the expansion is part of her administration’s effort to strengthen Maine’s workforce through the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan. The funding is expected to reach more than 3,000 Maine people, doubling today’s total of 1,175 apprentices. Maine AFL-CIO plans to develop three new pre-apprenticeship programs focused on providing multi-craft core curriculum in partnership with IBEW 1253, New England Laborers Training Academy, Maine Building and Construction Trades Council, and RSU 19.”
Unions Lobby Biden for Bolder Approach to Student Debt Relief: “The AFL-CIO announced last month its support for canceling student debt. So too have traditionally blue-collar unions, such as United Auto Workers, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and United Food & Commercial Workers, which all signed a letter last month urging Biden to cancel student debt ‘immediately.’ The broad union backing may provide Biden with some political cover and help counter concerns, even from some Democrats, that student debt cancellation will be perceived as elitist by voters who never attended college. ‘This is a working people’s issue,’ AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler said during a town hall with young workers last month. ‘There is a sort of stereotype that we’re talking about Ivy Leaguers who have racked up all this debt. It’s absolutely not true.’”