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.
New Jersey State AFL-CIO Hails Passage of Bill to Expand Benefits to Veterans Exposed to Burn Pits: “The New Jersey State AFL-CIO today hailed the US Senate for passing legislation, known as the PACT Act, designed to expand medical benefits for veterans exposed to toxic ‘burn pits.’ Burn pits are used in the military to dispose of materiel, trash, and other refuse for waste management and to prevent useful items from falling into enemy hands. Burning these materials creates toxins which have been linked to various life threatening and debilitating diseases among veterans. Over 5.5 million veterans are thought to have been exposed to burn pits. Specifically, the PACT Act builds upon the Agent Orange Act of 1991, by expanding presumptions and increased medical care related to Agent Orange exposure to veterans exposed to burn pits.”
Boeing Workers Ratify 3-Year Contract, Averting Strike: “Unionized Boeing workers at three St. Louis-area factories voted in favor of the company’s latest contract offer Wednesday, averting a strike that threatened to paralyze the company’s output of crucial military hardware. A strike by roughly 2,500 members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District 837 would have commenced at midnight had the vote gone against the three-year proposal. ‘At the end of the day, that is what the impending strike was about. Congratulations to IAM District 837 members for standing strong in achieving an agreement that is more fair and just,’ Steve Galloway, who is Midwest territory general vice president at IAM.”
SAG-AFTRA and Netflix Reach Tentative Deal on New Contract: “SAG-AFTRA and Netflix have reached a tentative deal on a new contract to replace the novel agreement they penned in 2019. The performers’ union announced the tentative deal—which will now go to the union’s National Board and, later, to members for approval—on Tuesday. The National Board will next meet and discuss the agreement on August 8. No other details were available about the pact at this time. The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to Netflix for comment.”
Utility Line Workers Compete at Lineman Rodeo: “The annual Pacific Northwest Lineman Rodeo, which was held July 23, is sponsored by IBEW Locals 125, 659 and 77 together with PGE, Pacificorp, and Clark County PUD. It tests utility line workers for speed, safety and trade skills, and raises money for the Oregon Burn Center. This year’s fundraising results weren’t final at press time, but last year’s raised $50,000. All told, 21 three-member teams of journeymen, 58 apprentices, and even seven pre-apprentices competed. Challenges included a relay event, a pole climb with a raw egg, a written test, and a ‘hurt man rescue’ in which a mannikin simulating an injured and unconscious coworker is brought safely to ground.”
Booming U.S. Cannabis Industry Seen as Fertile Ground for Union Expansion: “As cannabis legalization has spread throughout the U.S., workers in the now booming new industry are pushing to unionize, seeking to ensure the sector provides good-paying union jobs with benefits throughout its supply chain. Adult recreational marijuana use was legalized in New Jersey in February 2021, and the law included agreements to protect workers’ union organizing efforts. The UFCW represents a majority of workers in the cannabis industry in the state.”