Our latest roundup of worker wins includes numerous examples of working people organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life.
Daniel Boone Regional Library Workers United Secures Wage Hike in New Contract: After more than a year of negotiations, workers at Daniel Boone Regional Library (DBRL) in Columbia, Missouri, reached a tentative agreement Wednesday with management on a three-year contract. The contract creates a new wage scale, guarantees 5% annual raises, lowers health insurance costs and implements extreme heat protections for workers, and other gains. “Our full membership has been so supportive,” said Ida Fogle, a member of the Daniel Boone Regional Library (DBRL) Workers United executive board and a member of the bargaining team. “It really was everyone pulling together, and the community, too—the community showed up for us. There’s definitely been a lot of tension, a lot of frustrating times, but it’s also been great to learn about the power of solidarity and collective action.”
The NewsGuild of New York Members at Scholastic Win Raises and Health and Safety Protections: Members of the NewsGuild of New York—an affiliate of The NewsGuild-CWA—who work at Scholastic, ratified a new contract on Friday. The agreement provides general wage increases of 4.75% upon ratification and 3.5% for each of the next two years. It also includes a salary floor of $65,000 for all current and future workers. Other wins include a ratification bonus, a health and safety provision, and other gains.
Western Maine Transit Drivers Win Union Election with ATU: Transit drivers for the Lewiston–Auburn Citylink bus service in Maine won their union election Thursday with Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 714. The drivers work for Western Maine Transportation Services (WMTS), which manages Citylink. The new union is seeking to raise wages, restore personal days and paid holidays, and improve communication with WMTS. “We decided to unionize because we didn’t feel like we had any representation at the company,” said WMTS driver Jessica Anderson, who helped organize the new union. “Our road supervisor was fantastic. She had a strong background in transportation, was well-organized and understood our jobs very well, but they fired her for sticking up for us. When they got rid of her and one of our coworkers who had always bent over backwards to fill in wherever she was needed, we all knew we had X’es on our backs and could be picked off willy nilly. When we saw that happen, we knew we needed the protection of a union. As much as management says their door is open, in reality their doors are always closed, their curtains are always shut and they did not listen to our concerns. We just felt that without a union we’re not safe here.”
University of Illinois-Springfield Nontenure Track Faculty Organize: The full-time, nontenure-track faculty at the University of Illinois in Springfield filed union membership authorization cards on Thursday, expressing their intent to organize with the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT), an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). The union will represent the 35 faculty members. They are seeking clear and transparent working conditions, equitable wages, and fair pathways to promotion and job security. “The community we’ve built this semester is so inspiring,” said Jennifer Whalen, an English instructor and member of the union’s organizing committee. “Non-tenure-track faculty across the UIS campus agree that by forming a union we can better advocate for each other and our many students. A strong contract with longer appointment terms ensures students are supported by experienced instructors through multiple stages of their academic journey.”
After 11 Weeks on Strike, UAW Members at Blue Cross Blue Shield Reach Tentative Agreement: After 11 weeks on strike, the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) reached a tentative agreement on Tuesday with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network (BCN). The contract includes the reduction of wage progression from 22 years to five, significant general wage increases, a $6,500 ratification bonus for Blue Cross Blue Shield workers, a $5,000 ratification bonus for BCN workers, inflation protection bonuses of $1,000 each year of the contract and protections against outsourcing. Members will remain on strike during the ratification process. “Our members have proven that when workers stick together, they can achieve historical gains at the bargaining table,” said UAW Secretary-Treasurer Margaret Mock, who also serves as the director of the union’s Technical, Office and Professional (TOP) Department. “There were difficult times during this strike, especially with the cold weather, but our members never gave up hope and they continued to stand with one another for as long as it took to enable our bargaining team to win an equitable contract that our members deserve.”
New York City Ballet Orchestra Secures New Contract: American Federation of Musicians (AFM) members at the New York City Ballet reached a deal with management for a new contract. The three-year agreement, announced Tuesday, includes an increase in compensation of about 22% over three years. “The marriage of music and dance is a hallmark of N.Y.C.B.,” the company and the orchestra said in a joint statement. “We are thrilled that this agreement has been finalized and we look forward to a successful season featuring our wonderful musicians and dancers who are among the greatest performers in the world.”
City of Columbia Water Distribution Workers to Join LIUNA: The city of Columbia’s water distribution workers have made strides with city leaders in their efforts to join Laborers (LIUNA) Local 955 in Missouri. The workers are seeking higher wages and better working conditions. Union leaders hope to finalize a contract by the end of the year. Local 955 Representative Andrew Hutchinson said, “The city is willing to have a discussion on how we can move these workers into the collective bargaining agreement in a way that is equitable, that transitions them, and does not disadvantage them.”
Arlington County and Alexandria City Workers Secure First Contracts: Workers in Arlington County, Virginia, and the city of Alexandria, Virginia, ratified their first contracts. They unionized last year with AFSCME, and the two units represent more than 500 workers who work on essential public services such as water treatment, traffic enforcement, and parks and recreation. The Arlington contract includes 12.25% across-the-board wage increases over the course of the three-year agreement, 6% increases to all starting and maximum salaries for every position, a new grievance procedure and other gains. In Alexandria, the three-year contract guarantees an 8% raise over three years, plus a $1,000 bonus in 2024. “With inflation and this ‘silent recession’ that no one wants to talk about, having those raises be automatic is definitely going to make me feel a lot more at ease,” said Jaleesa Morris, a parking enforcement officer with the city of Alexandria for more than six years.
ROOTS Young Adult Shelter Workers Organize with OPEIU Local 8: Workers at the ROOTS (Rising Out of the Shadows) Young Adult Shelter voted overwhelmingly for representation by Office and Professional Employees (OPEIU) Local 8. The group of 16 case managers, volunteer supervisors and guest service specialists in Seattle are dedicated to partnering with young adults on their journey to stability and ensuring that everyone has a safe place to call home. They are seeking to improve working conditions, increase transparency and have a chance to be better prepared to support the communities they serve. “Unionizing is the only way to increase worker autonomy and ensure full transparency, accountability and equity,” said Volunteer Supervisor Tabatha Kojima. “Ultimately, we are unionizing for our guests—they deserve staff who aren’t experiencing chronic burnout, financial distress and compassion fatigue.”
USC and Graduate Students Reach Tentative Agreement with Big Pay Boosts, Bias Protections: Approximately 3,000 newly unionized graduate student workers at the University of Southern California (USC) reached a tentative labor agreement with big pay boosts and antiharassment protections, averting a threatened strike weeks before final exams. The tentative contract raises minimum wages for the lowest-paid academic workers, establishes the first ever grievance and arbitration process, offers child-care stipends and provides semester-long parental leave and other benefits. The agreement represents “the best contract in the private sector of higher education, made possible by mass participation” from members of the Grad Student Worker Organizing Committee–International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW), said Stepp Mayes, a fifth-year doctoral student in environmental engineering and bargaining team member. “Graduate student workers’ first contract will improve the lives of thousands of workers at USC and create a culture of accountability. This agreement marks the beginning of a stronger USC.”
CCAD Faculty Vote for Union with the Ohio Federation of Teachers: An overwhelming majority of the 154 full-time and adjunct faculty at the Columbus College of Art & Design (CCAD) voted to form a union with the Ohio Federation of Teachers (affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers [AFT]). “We could not be more thrilled to have finally won our union after months of organizing,” said Patrick Lay, an adjunct faculty member. “Having our union in place will allow us to focus on providing the best education possible instead of being bogged down by struggles to make ends meet or fighting to change an inefficient and inequitable system. It is a win-win for students, faculty and our community.”
Maine’s Woodland Pulp Union Members Vote to Accept Improved Contract Offer; Strike Is Over: After weeks of negotiations, members from Machinists (IAM) Local 1490, in collaboration with 20 millwrights from Millwrights Local 1121 and 38 oilers and steam and water plant operators from Service Employees International Union (SEIU) District 330-3, have accepted the latest offer from Woodland Pulp, ending the strike that commenced on Oct. 14. The contract includes job classification improvements, wage increases, improved vacation benefits, paid sick leave and other benefits. “I appreciate the Baileyville community, SEIU, Millwrights, Maine AFL-CIO and our IAM members and staff for their support,” said IAM District 4 Business Representative Danny Loudermilk. “I am grateful to the Food AND Medicine organization for providing groceries and turkeys for the 86 members and their families during this strike. Their donation was greatly appreciated.”
Artistic Workers at Opera Colorado Win Their Union: Members of Opera Colorado won their union by a 91–8 vote and will be represented by the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA). The workers include solo singers, stage directors, assistant stage directors, stage managers, assistant stage managers, choreographers, solo and ensemble dancers, chorus members, and singers participating in the company’s Artists in Residence program. AGMA said it hopes negotiations for Opera Colorado workers’ first collective bargaining agreement will “commence shortly.” “I think this is a ringing declaration,” said Joshua Zabatta, who has sung with Opera Colorado since 2016. “We made it very clear, with an almost 92% vote, we want change, and we want to make art in a creative and supportive environment where we have the tools that we need.”
International Rescue Committee Dallas Employees Vote to Unionize with OPEIU Local 277: On Nov. 17, workers at the International Rescue Committee (IRC) Dallas voted overwhelmingly to unionize with Office and Professional Employees (OPEIU) Local 277. This historic victory marks the first IRC location in the U.S. to unionize. IRC staff provide critical services to refugees and forced migrants, supporting the resettlement of people seeking a new life after refuge. “This victory would not have been possible without the collective efforts, determination and solidarity of the dedicated staff of IRC,” said Tyler Turner, president and business manager of Local 277. “The IRC Workers Unite’s successful unionization marks a significant step forward in securing the rights, dignity and fair treatment of all staff.”
Caesars, MGM, Wynn Workers Vote 99% to Ratify New Contract: Union members at MGM Resorts International voted 99% in favor of a new five-year contract that covers roughly 25,000 members of the UNITE HERE Culinary Union in Las Vegas. The contract provides a 10% wage increase in the first year of the contract, a 32% increase over the total life of the contract, guaranteed lower workloads, technology protections and other career support. A day earlier, workers at Caesars Entertainment similarly voted by 99%. Over the holiday weekend, workers at Wynn Resorts also voted to ratify their new contract with a 99% vote in favor.
OPM Finalizes AFGE-Backed Locality Pay Bump for 32,900 Federal Workers: The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued the final rule implementing a locality pay raise the AFGE sought for nearly 33,000 federal employees. Those working in Fresno, California; Reno, Nevada; Rochester, New York; and Spokane, Washington, are slated to get a locality pay raise on Jan. 1, 2024. New counties will also be added, so those working and living in these counties will get a locality pay bump as well. This is a direct result of AFGE pushing the Biden administration to adopt the Federal Salary Council’s pro-labor recommendations that would increase pay for tens of thousands of General Schedule employees who in 2022 made 24.09% less than employees outside the federal government doing similar jobs.
Workers at Two Wells Fargo Branches Unionize: On Nov. 20, workers at two Wells Fargo locations filed authorization cards with the National Labor Relations Board to establish their union, Wells Fargo Workers United, an affiliate of the Communications Workers of America (CWA). The branches are in Bethel, Alaska, and Albuquerque, New Mexico. In a letter to management, the workers at the Albuquerque branch said, “We look forward to working with you to create a more equitable work environment that more accurately reflects the contribution that branch workers make to the success of the company. We hope that you will take this opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to improving Wells Fargo from the inside out by choosing to voluntarily recognize the union we have formed.”
UFCW Local 655 Wins Historic NLRB Fight in Cannabis Organizing Drive: United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 655 announced an unprecedented settlement of Unfair Labor Practice charges against Shangri-La cannabis dispensary in Columbia, Missouri. The settlement offers 10 fired employees their jobs back with back pay and interest, pays five workers who did not want to return their back pay with interest plus an additional $5,000 each, pays damages to a terminated employee for the interest on a high-interest loan he was forced to take out because of his termination, immediately recognizes UFCW Local 655, allows workers to discuss union organizing on company property, prohibits the company from removing union organizers from their facilities and includes other stipulations. “This settlement—with its more than $145,000 award to wronged employees—is the most sweeping and comprehensive win I’ve seen in my 37 years in the labor movement,” said UFCW Local 655 President David Cook. “These workers, not even union members yet, have now experienced the real value of union membership: having a strong organization to stand behind them and fight for their rights.”
UAW Members Ratify Historic Contracts with Big Three, Securing Record Increases in Pay and Benefits: International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) members at each of the Big Three automakers ratified new contracts. More than 60% of workers at Ford, Stellantis and General Motors voted to accept the deals. The contracts give workers an immediate pay increase of 11% and a total increase of 25% over the course of the four-and-a-half year deal. The deals secure cost-of-living adjustments, let workers reach top wages in three years instead of eight and protect their right to strike over plant closures. The major gains were secured after UAW members went on a nationwide stand-up strike that lasted for 42 days.
Workers at Tacoma Art Museum Unanimously Vote to Unionize: Members of the Tacoma Art Museum Workers United (TAMWU) voted unanimously to unionize with AFSCME. They are seeking better working conditions and higher salaries. “All of our work is interconnected,” said Eden Redmond, an institutional giving manager and organizer at the Tacoma, Washington, museum. “We need to be able to lobby together to work to be able to find solutions that best support our work holistically.”
University of Utah Health Workers Announce Union: University of Utah Health workers formed a union with the Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 7765. The workers are seeking to address growing concerns about staffing levels, wages and benefits. The workers in the unit include nurses, residents, emergency medical technicians, medical assistants, pharmacists, physician assistants, valets, schedulers and other workers throughout the University of Utah Health system. “Our union was formed by and for front-line health care workers, who want an independent voice to advocate for ourselves and our patients,” the workers said in a statement.
TWU and Metro-North Railroad Settle Contract Dispute: Some 600 members of the Transport Workers Union (TWU) and Metro-North Railroad in New York reached a tentative agreement on a new contract. Workers including train mechanics, inspectors, cleaners and cabinet makers, will receive a 9.5% wage increase. The TWU members threatened to strike if an agreement was not reached.
Detroit Casino Workers Win Tentative 5-Year Contract: After months of negotiations and 32 days on strike, the Detroit Casino Council’s 3,700 members reached a tentative agreement on Friday for a new five-year contract with the MGM Grand Detroit, the Hollywood Casino at Greektown and MotorCity Casino Hotel. The members will continue to strike until the contract is ratified. The coalition representing the workers includes UNITE HERE Local 24, UAW Local 7777, Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 324, the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Teamsters Local 1038. The historic tentative agreement includes the largest wage increases ever negotiated in the Detroit casino industry’s 23-year history (including an immediate 18% pay raise on average), no health care cost increases for employees, workload reductions and other job protections, first-ever technology contract language, retirement increases and more. “A contract of this significance makes me feel proud to work in Detroit’s casinos once again,” said Alicia Weaver, a guest room attendant for 24 years at MGM Detroit and member of Local 24. “Cleaning hotel rooms is a really tough job that gets tougher every year, so the fixes we made in this contract to reduce my daily workload mean less strain on my body and more energy for my family when I get home from work. Everyone on both sides worked hard to get this done.”
Strike by Oregon AFSCME Members Forces Employer to Offer Fair Contract: AFSCME members who work for Oregon’s Yamhill County government were on strike for five days seeking a fair contract. The strike, which began Nov. 3, resulted in a three-year contract that the members of Yamhill County Employee Association/AFSCME Local 1422 (an affiliate of Oregon AFSCME) still need to ratify. Highlights of the contract include cost-of-living increases of 7% in the first year and 3% in the second year and third years; improved holiday pay; and more.
WGAE Wins Voluntary Recognition at Pushkin Industries: Management at Pushkin Industries voluntarily recognized the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE), on Thursday as the collective bargaining representatives of the staff’s producers, editors and engineers. The majority of workers signed union authorization cards. “We welcome the creative team at Pushkin Industries to the Writers Guild of America East,” said Lisa Takeuchi Cullen, president of the WGAE. “The Guild is committed to building worker power in the growing podcasting industry. We look forward to securing workplace protections and benefits for our members at Pushkin Industries.”
Vermont Historical Society Ratifies First Union Contract: One year to the day after they requested voluntary recognition of their union with AFSCME, workers at the Vermont Historical Society ratified their first union contract on Oct. 31. Key issues the union wanted to address are health care affordability, implementing a fair pay grade reclassification system, the inclusion of just cause, progressive discipline and grievance procedures, the creation of a Joint Labor-Management Committee, a seat for the union on hiring committees, and the right to review and explain the contract for all new hires.
LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired Workers Vote to Join OPEIU: Workers at the LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired announced on Wednesday that they overwhelmingly have voted to form a union. The union, which will be affiliated with OPEIU, will represent about 90 workers from the LightHouse’s five Northern California locations. “Unionizing will allow us to have a collective voice in advocating for the security and protection of this asset, so that we may better serve the blind community,” said Divina Carlson, a Braille instructor who’s worked at LightHouse for 30 years. “The LightHouse staff is the best asset of the agency.”
4,500 Researchers at NYU Are Forming a Union with UAW: The 4,500 researchers at New York University are forming a union as NYU Researchers United, an affiliate of the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW). They delivered a petition for the formation of the union and more than 2,700 union authorization cards to the NLRB. The workers are organizing so they can bargain for better working conditions.
University of Utah Health Care Workers Organize with CWA: Health care workers at the University of Utah’s hospitals and clinics unionized as Utah Health Workers United (UHWU), Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 7765. The union is the first union directly tied to a specific health care system in the state. The workers say they have been sacrificing their own health to take care of patients in a system they feel is critically understaffed. “We believe our working conditions are our patients’ healing conditions and will fight for substantial changes,” the union said in a statement on Tuesday.
Cannabis Workers in Massachusetts Join UFCW: Cannabis production workers at Holistic Industries in Monson, Massachusetts, voted to join United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1459. The win comes after months of organizing and after major layoffs left the workers short-staffed, which led to long hours and work well outside their job descriptions. The workers are also concerned about low pay and hazardous working conditions. “Before, I’d come into work every day and say to myself, ‘There’s room for improvement,’” said Jessica Bozenhard, packaging associate at Holistic Industries. “This victory means we can start making improvements. The union gives us a voice and the support we need to make change possible.”
Fremont Nurses Protest Unsafe Patient Care Proposals and Cuts to Health Care Benefits: Registered nurses (RNs) at Washington Hospital Healthcare System in Fremont, California, held an informational picket on Monday to protest unsafe and disrespectful proposals put forward by management during contract negotiations. The nurses, members of California Nurses Association/National Nurses United (CNA/NNU), are particularly concerned about a proposal offered by management related to floating, the redirection of staff nurses from their assigned units to short-staffed units. The proposal would force nurses to work in units that have different competencies and equipment, without adequate training—risking patient safety. “The hospital’s current ‘floating’ proposal is unacceptable and unsafe,” said Connie Rodriguez, RN and member of the bargaining team. “We are demanding that new graduates have at least six months of experience and training before being floated. Additionally, nurses should have the opportunity to be trained before being floated to a unit other than a regularly assigned unit. Nurses need to feel confident giving care at the bedside. Unfortunately, Washington Hospital’s counterproposal is dangerous and unsafe for patients.”
Aunt Millie’s Workers Ratify New Contract: Members of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union-UFCW (RWDSU-UFCW) Local 87 who work at Aunt Millie’s in Michigan ratified a new three-year collective bargaining agreement. The contract maintains existing health care benefits, brings all merchandisers into the union, raises the base rate pay for drivers and includes a $500 ratification bonus and other benefits.
Strike Averted! Culinary Union Reaches Tentative Agreement with Wynn Resorts!: UNITE HERE's Culinary and Bartenders Unions announced a tentative agreement for a new five-year contract that was reached on Friday with Wynn Resorts. The agreement covers more than 5,000 workers in Las Vegas. The historic new agreement includes the largest wage increases ever negotiated in Culinary Union’s history, workload reductions for guest room attendants, mandated daily room cleaning, increased safety protections for workers on the job, expanded technology contract language, extended recall rights, and the right for unionized workers to support nonunion restaurant workers seeking to organize by respecting their picket lines. Members must still ratify the contract, but it means the planned strike has been averted. “After 7 months of negotiations, we are proud to say that this is the best contract and economic package we have ever won for in our 88-year history,” said Ted Pappageorge, secretary-treasurer for the Culinary Union. “With this new union contract, hospitality workers will be able to provide for their families and thrive in Las Vegas, and we applaud Wynn Resorts for agreeing to a great union contract, which will ensure workers are protected with the best health care benefits, highest wage increases ever, and union job security.”
Home Chef Workers in Illinois Join UFCW: After a four-month campaign, production and distribution workers at the Home Chef facility in Bedford Park, Illinois, voted to join United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1546. Home Chef is a Kroger-owned meal-kit delivery and prepared foods provider with more than 450 workers at the Bedford Park location. “Workers at this Chicago-based location came together to seek better working conditions, higher pay, improved benefits, along with management accountability,” said Local 1546 Organizing Director Carlos Cartagena. “We listened carefully to the workers’ concerns and relied heavily on a strategic mobile organizing approach; a strong sense of unity among co-workers; and workers learning from past lessons of failed corporate promises and divisive rhetoric.”
TWU Members Ratify Contract with SEPTA: Members of Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 234 voted to approve a one-year contract with Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA). The collective bargaining agreement averted a possible strike. Over the course of the next year, thousands of operators, mechanics and other SEPTA employees will receive a 7% salary increase and a $3,000 “anti-inflation” bonus. “This was a good agreement for our members,” said Local 234 President Brian Pollitt. “It will put more money in our members’ pockets during a time of high inflation and help SEPTA with recruitment and retention. But I want to emphasize that it is very much a work in progress. It is only a one-year agreement. Much work remains, especially as it relates to compensation, safety and security issues.”
Brooklyn Museum Workers Ratify First Union Contract: Workers at the Brooklyn Museum, members of International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) Local 2110, voted overwhelmingly to ratify their first contract on Tuesday, one day before the union was set to strike. The new three-and-a-half-year contract boosts pay by more than 23% over the life of the contract, raises minimum pay, guarantees annual pay increases, reduces the employee’s share of health premium costs, expands eligibility for health care benefits to part-time staff and establishes an annual $50,000 set aside for professional development. “We’re thrilled to have finally reached this agreement with the Museum,” said Elizabeth St. George, an assistant curator of decorative arts. “I will now have the opportunity to do the work I love at a Museum I love in a workplace with union rights.”
SAG-AFTRA Reaches Tentative Agreement with Studios: SAG-AFTRA’s TV/Theatrical Negotiating Committee voted unanimously to approve a tentative agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), therefore suspending the strike. “In a contract valued at over one billion dollars, we have achieved a deal of extraordinary scope that includes ‘above-pattern’ minimum compensation increases, unprecedented provisions for consent and compensation that will protect members from the threat of artificial intelligence, and for the first time establishes a streaming participation bonus,” the union said in a statement. “Our pension and health caps have been substantially raised, which will bring much needed value to our plans. In addition, the deal includes numerous improvements for multiple categories including outsize compensation increases for background performers, and critical contract provisions protecting diverse communities.”
Culinary Union Reaches Tentative Agreements with MGM, Caesars: On Wednesday, UNITE HERE’s Culinary Union and Bartenders Union announced a tentative agreement on a five-year contract with Caesars Entertainment. The deal was reached after 20 hours of negotiations and covers 10,000 workers. Workers will have 10 days to ratify the contract. Ted Pappageorge, secretary-treasurer of the Culinary Union, said the tentative agreement would provide compensation increases far above those in the last contract. The unions also reached a tentative agreement with MGM Resorts International on Thursday. The five-year contract will cover approximately 25,400 workers across eight MGM properties.
Google Contractors Who Work on Search and Bard Win Union Vote: Contractors at Google who have worked on Search and Google’s artificial intelligence chatbot Bard voted to unionize. The workers are seeking to join the Alphabet Workers Union, an affiliate of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), and are employed by contractor Accenture. The workers include 120 writers, graphic designers and coordinators, among other jobs. “Today’s victory proves what’s possible: when workers stand together, even Google cannot stand in our way,” said Jen Hill, a designer on Google’s support staff. “We organized so that we could have a say in our working conditions. In response, Google has tried to skirt its responsibility to us as our employer, while also laying off dozens of our team members. It is unjust that our jobs are being shipped off to workers who will be paid even less than us, and will have access to even fewer labor protections.”
IBEW Local and PSEG Long Island Agree on New Contract: The Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1049 reached a new collective bargaining agreement with the Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) Long Island. The four-year agreement was ratified on Nov. 4 and approved by the Long Island Power Authority. It covers nearly 1,500 PSEG Long Island workers in New York who operate and support the transmission and distribution system on Long Island and in the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens. “Through a fair democratic process, our members have ratified a contract with PSEG Long Island that invests in their future through strong wage increases, healthcare coverage, and retirement benefits,” said Local 1049 business manager Pat Guidice. “This shows labor’s power when we stand united at the bargaining table.”
Swarthmore RAs Join Student–Worker Organizing Wave: Resident assistants (RAs) at Swarthmore College submitted a petition to school President Valerie Smith on Monday asking for voluntary recognition of their union. More than 90% of the college’s 56 RAs signed the petition to join the Office and Professional Employees (OPEIU) Local 153. The workers would be the first unionized workers at Swarthmore in the college’s history. “Being an RA is a demanding role, and one that takes up already scarce free time as a student,” said Yebo Moyo, an RA since 2022. “While this fact may be verbally acknowledged, our employers continue to fill our plates with excessive meetings, training, tasks, and other time commitments that do not improve our abilities to perform in our position.”
Union Voters Power Election Victories Across the Country: Never bet against America’s workers. Tuesday night’s results showed the power working people have in electing pro-worker candidates, up and down the ballot, who will fight for us and stand up to wealthy corporate interests and extremists. In communities across the country, thousands of union volunteers engaged in deep discussions with fellow workers about the economic issues and freedoms that matter most, including reproductive rights. That’s the heart and soul of the labor movement’s political mobilization: one-on-one, face-to-face engagement on the issues that matter most to working people. As a result of those conversations, union member enthusiasm and engagement helped deliver key victories in critical races. While the final results are still being tabulated, it’s crystal clear that working people pushed pro-worker candidates over the finish line, even in historically deep red states. Union voters powered Gov. Andy Beshear’s victory last night in Kentucky, delivering another term for a leader who stood shoulder to shoulder with workers throughout his first four years in office. We congratulate Gov. Beshear on this tremendous win for workers and our families, and look forward to working closely with him to continue uplifting communities with good union jobs. Read more.
Equity and the Broadway League Announce Settlement of ‘Waitress’ Grievance: Actors’ Equity Association (Equity) and The Broadway League, the national trade association for the Broadway industry, released the following statement Monday: “Actors’ Equity Association and The Broadway League are pleased that the parties were able to reach a settlement of the grievance filed by Actors’ Equity Association in May, 2022 in connection with the most recent tour of the musical Waitress. The settlement is an amicable resolution acknowledging the interests of all parties, including the producers, actors and stage managers, given the unique circumstances regarding this production.”
Wisconsin Watch Union Receives Voluntary Recognition: Wisconsin Watch’s board of directors and CEO voluntarily recognized on Friday the Wisconsin Watch Union, Local 34051 of The NewsGuild-CWA, after 80% of journalists and administrative staffers signed union cards. “We are so thrilled that we’ve been able to work constructively with management to help achieve voluntary recognition,” said audience director Kiran Saini, a member of the union’s bargaining committee. “Now, we begin bargaining for a contract that will build a more stable and secure environment at Wisconsin Watch.”
Oakland IAM Members Achieve Landmark Contract with SSA: Nearly 100 Machinists (IAM) Local 1414 members working at SSA Marine (SSA) terminals in Oakland, California, voted to ratify a robust new six-year contract Nov. 1. The contract includes significant wage increases, enhanced health care and retirement benefits, retroactive pay, and other critical improvements. IAM members working at SSA Marine are employed as heavy equipment, crane, chassis and refrigeration mechanics. “It’s fabulous for our members at SSA,” said IAM District 190 Directing Business Representative Don Crosatto. “This agreement raises the bar for everybody at the port. All the other employers will need to up their game a bit.”
Registered Nurses at Ascension Saint Agnes Hospital in Baltimore Vote to Join NNOC/NNU: On Nov. 2 and Nov. 3, registered nurses (RNs) at Ascension Saint Agnes Hospital in Baltimore voted to join National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United (NNOC/NNU). This is the first time RNs have organized a hospital in Baltimore and the fourth group of NNOC/NNU RNs to successfully organize an Ascension hospital. “This victory is a big win for our patients and for all of Baltimore, and we achieved it despite the Ascension administration’s relentless efforts to undermine our legal rights to form a union, which are currently under federal investigation,” said Kimmy Rider, RN at Saint Agnes. “We have seen NNOC/NNU nurses around the country win strong contracts that support significant improvements in patient care. As patient advocates, this is our goal—using our collective voice to win the conditions that we need as RNs to provide the quality care that our patients deserve.”
Newsroom Staff at Oregon's Bend Bulletin and Redmond Spokesman Form Union: Newsroom workers at the Bend Bulletin and Redmond Spokesman in Oregon are set to become the state's second group of unionized journalists. The two publications are owned by EO Media Group, a private publishing company that runs 15 newspapers and two magazines in Oregon. The Bulletin is a daily newspaper that covers Deschutes, Crook, and Jefferson counties. The Spokesman is a weekly newspaper covering the City of Redmond. The majority of photographers and news assistants at the two papers signed union cards asking for The NewsGuild-CWA to represent them. Management declined voluntary recognition, so the workers asked for a National Labor Relations Board election.
Workers at Walt Disney Animation Studios Unionize with Animation Guild: Production coordinators, managers and supervisors at Walt Disney Animation Studios voted to unionize with the Animation Guild, Local 839 of the Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE). Sixty-three of the 68 workers who participated voted in favor of union representation. “Congratulations to the production workers at Disney Feature Animation!” the Animation Guild posted on X. “With 96% voter turnout, 93% voted yes!!! Let’s celebrate!”
Columbia Postdoctoral Workers Secure New Contract with Up to 24% Salary Increases: Postdoctoral workers at Columbia University, who are members of International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) Local 4100, secured a new contract Tuesday, approving it with a vote of 89.4% in favor. This contract is an important win for the union, containing notable gains in compensation, rights, and protections for postdocs and associate research scientists. Specifically, the contract provides up to 24% salary increases, $1,200 ratification bonus, protections against power-based harassment and bullying, child care expenses, a hardship fund to cover emergencies, and other gains.
Union Contract at Code for America Sets Industry Standard: Code for America Workers United (CWU) members, members of the Office and Professional Employees (OPEIU), voted overwhelmingly to ratify their first collective bargaining agreement. The contract includes across-the-board wage increases, additional paid family and medical leave time, adoption and fertility support, gender-affirming care, expanded worker protections against caste-based discrimination and intrusive monitoring, and limits on the use of contracted and temporary workers in favor of full-time employees, and establishes a neutral arbitration process to resolve disputes between the union and management. “Members of CWU work tirelessly to help improve the social safety net for everyone; this contract is a safety net for us. We are excited about what we won in this contract, and I am also proud we were able to hardcode Code for America’s values into the contract, from giving staff a role in making decisions that will impact them to ensuring criminal background checks will not put anyone’s employment at risk,” shared Matt Bernius, a principal researcher at Code for America since March 2020 and a member of the bargaining committee.
UAW Members End Strike at Thombert After New Contract Is Signed: Thombert employees and members of International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) Local 997 reached an agreement with management on Oct. 21 after nearly three months on strike. “We are here to show support and solidarity to let them know they’re not alone,” said Charlie Wishman, president of the Iowa Federation of Labor. “You’ve got people from every single different kind of union out here right now, the trades, private sector, the public sector. They’re all here and in support of this because they want to make sure these folks know we have their backs.”
Milk-Bone Workers Ratify Contract; End Strike: Workers at the Milk-Bone plant in Buffalo, New York, will return to work after their three-year-contract is ratified. The 40 repair and maintenance workers, who are members of the Machinists (IAM), had been on strike since Oct. 16. The contract includes raises of 8.5%, 3.5% and 2.0% in each of the three years, a $2,500 signing bonus, and two additional sick and personal days.
UAW Reaches a Tentative Agreement with Stellantis, GM: After 44 days of the Stand Up Strike, the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) reached a tentative agreement with Stellantis. It is the second tentative agreement the union has reached in bargaining with the Big Three, after the agreement with Ford. The contract includes gains valued at more than four times the gains from the union’s 2019 contract. The agreement grants 25% in base wage increases through April 2028, and will cumulatively raise the top wage by 33% compounded with estimated COLA to over $42 an hour. The lowest-paid workers at Stellantis will see a raise of more than 165% over the life of the agreement. The agreement also reinstates major benefits lost during the Great Recession and kills divisive wage tiers, among other gains. Stellantis workers will return to work while the agreement goes through the ratification process. The UAW also reached a historic tentative agreement with General Motors (GM) that paves the way for a just transition and wins record economic gains for autoworkers. Like the agreements with Ford and Stellantis, the GM agreement has turned record profits into a record contract. The deal includes gains valued at more than four times the gains from the union’s 2019 contract. The agreement grants 25% in base wage increases through April 2028 and will cumulatively raise the top wage by 33% compounded with estimated COLA to over $42 an hour. The GM agreement kills several wage tiers; unifies UAW membership; provides the first general wage increase for salaried workers since the 1909s; brings Ultium Cells and GM Subsystems LLC into the UAW GM Master Agreement; provides payments to retirees; reinstates major benefits lost during the Great Recession; improves retirement for current retirees, those workers with pensions, and those who have 401(k) plans; and other gains. GM workers will return to work while the agreement goes through the ratification process.
TWU Local Reaches Tentative Deal; Avoids Strike: Members of Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 234 in Philadelphia were preparing for a strike Thursday night, but on Friday the union and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) reached a tentative agreement on a new one-year contract. The contract must be approved by a majority of Local 234′s roughly 5,000 members and the authority’s board. The workers would get across-the-board raises, a signing bonus, a retention bonus, changes in work rules, expanded training for existing union mechanics to repair new electric buses instead of subcontracting that work, pension increases and other gains.
Final NLRB Joint-Employer Rule an Important Win for Working People: AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler issued the following statement on the NLRB’s final joint–employer rule: The National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB’s) final joint–employer rule announced today is an important win for working people across this country. The point of the rule is simple—when workers negotiate for fair wages and working conditions, companies shouldn’t be able to hide behind a subcontractor or staffing agency to deny us what we’ve rightfully earned. Today, too many employers use intermediaries like staffing firms or temp agencies to evade their responsibilities under the law. This rule ensures that union members can bargain with each company that has the power to make changes in the workplace. From temporary nurses to factory workers, this rule will benefit workers in sectors across our economy. The rule is about basic common sense. The right to collectively bargain is nonexistent if the company that has the power to change workers’ terms and conditions of employment isn’t negotiating with workers. And it is one more example of the Biden administration’s work to ensure that all workers have a seat at the table, whether we have one boss, or many.
Project Scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab Have Reached a Tentative Agreement: Project scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, who are members of International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) Local 5810 reached a tentative contract agreement. Members still must vote to ratify the contract. The new deal includes guaranteed annual cost-of-living and merit-based pay increases, stronger protections against discrimination and sexual harassment, expanded vacation days, eight weeks of paid family/medical leave, and other gains.
UAW Reaches Tentative Agreement on Record Contract with Ford Motor Company: The International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) announced a tentative agreement with Ford Motor Company after 41 days on strike. The gains in the deal provide more in base wage increases than Ford workers have received in the past 22 years. The lowest-paid workers at Ford will see a raise of more than 150% over the life of the agreement. The agreement reinstates major benefits lost during the Great Recession, including cost-of-living allowances, a three-year wage progression, the killing of divisive wage tiers and improvements to retirement for current retirees, workers with pensions and workers who have 401(k) plans. Ford workers will return to work while the agreement is considered for ratification by a vote of union members. “For months, we’ve said that record profits mean record contracts. And, UAW family, our Stand Up Strike has delivered. What started as three plants at midnight on Sept. 15 has become a national movement,” said UAW President Shawn Fain. “We won things nobody thought possible. Since the strike began, Ford put 50% more on the table than when we walked out. This agreement sets us on a new path to make things right at Ford, at the Big Three and across the auto industry. Together, we are turning the tide for the working class in this country.”
Cultivators at Columbia Care/The Cannabist in Vineland, New Jersey, Join UFCW Local 152: The majority of 12 cultivators at the Columbia Care/The Cannabist facility in Vineland, New Jersey, signed cards to join United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 152. The union was certified by the New Jersey State Board of Mediation on Oct. 6. The cultivators at the facility grow and process cannabis, overseeing its production and preparing it for sale to consumers. “We are proud to represent these cannabis cultivators,” UFCW Local 152 President Brian String said. “We take seriously their trust in our union. We will ensure their voice is heard and their hard work is respected.”
Coffee By Design Voluntarily Recognizes Staff Union: The Portland, Maine–based cafe chain Coffee By Design (CBD) voluntarily recognized its staff union with Laborers (LIUNA) Local 327. CBD announced last week that 89% of its employees had signed authorization cards. In a joint statement, the company and the union said that once CBD was presented with independently verified evidence that the majority of its retail workers and baristas had declared their support for the union, they filed the appropriate paperwork with the National Labor Relations Board to voluntarily recognize the union. “This is the way it’s supposed to work. I’m pleased that the management team at Coffee By Design has agreed that our collective energy is best used to work together towards a fair and equitable first collective bargaining agreement,” said Regional Organizer and Local 327 Secretary-Treasurer Jason J. Shedlock in a statement. “With the buy-in of ownership, worker solidarity and public support, we look forward to continuing that collaborative approach to move forward with a structure that ensures 30 more years of worker-powered and customer-focused success at Coffee By Design. I personally want to thank Ms. Lindemann and her team for their foresight and partnership as we navigate this process together.”
Montgomery County Association of Administrators and Principals Joins AFSA: School principals, assistant principals and school district administrators in Montgomery County, Maryland, who work on curriculum, instructional support, student services, student support, transportation, food service and other school district business and operations voted last spring to affiliate their long-time independent local union with the School Administrators (AFSA). This month, the Montgomery County Association of Administrators and Principals (MCAAP) officially became AFSA Local 146. “As an independent union, MCAAP has effectively represented the amazing leaders in schools, [the] central office and operations of Montgomery County public schools for decades. But times are rapidly changing, and it’s apparent that we need to be part of a national organization that can help strengthen our voice and our advocacy for our members and our profession,” said MCAAP President Christine Handy. “As the people who help lead and manage our county’s school district, we need a stronger voice at the table that will allow us to best serve our students and protect the working conditions of our members. Our members are excited to partner with AFSA.”
‘Table Read’ Podcast Performers Sign Independent Podcast Agreement with SAG-AFTRA: The “Table Read” podcast, which offers writers the chance for their unproduced scripts to be discovered, became one of the first to sign the new Independent Podcast Agreement with SAG-AFTRA. It means that the actors, comedians, musicians and influencers who perform on the “Table Read” podcast are now covered, giving them essential protections, respectful working conditions and equitable compensation for their contributions, as well as gaining access to the support and resources provided by SAG-AFTRA. “We’re so pleased that ‘Table Read’ podcast has signed on as a SAG-AFTRA podcast, allowing the performers who work on this creative series the benefits and protections of a union contract,” said SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director Duncan Crabtree-Ireland.
Wyoming EMS Workers Sign First Union Contract: The first EMS workers to organize in Wyoming signed their first union contract on Oct. 18. The workers unionized with the United Steelworkers (USW) in February and began negotiations shortly thereafter. The union members threatened to strike if they weren’t offered a fair contract by October, and the company finally offered a contract the members could support. The contract includes up to 15% wage increases for all employees, recruitment and retention bonuses, paid vacation leave, paid sick leave, paid union leave, improved safety measures, and other gains.
Over 1,100 UAW Members at General Dynamics Reach Tentative Agreement After Strike Threat: Some 1,100 members of the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) who make tanks and armored vehicles for General Dynamics reached a tentative agreement on a new contract Sunday night. The workers are members of five UAW locals in Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania. The agreement comes after members voted 97% to authorize a strike. The four-year contract provides a 14% wage increase, cost-of-living wage increases and other gains. The membership will hold a ratification vote on the agreement, with further details to be announced.
DCINY Orchestra Musicians Secure First Union Contract: The musicians of the Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY) Orchestra have won their first union agreement after four years of negotiations. The musicians are members of American Federation of Musicians (AFM) Local 802. Highlights of the five-year contract include: higher wages, bonuses for online content, increased contributions to the musicians’ health fund and pension plan, and other benefits. “The strength of our orchestra’s solidarity is what allowed us to achieve a contract that we are all proud of,” said the musicians’ negotiating committee. “By leading a transparent negotiation, open to all members of our orchestra, our colleagues felt empowered to bravely participate in numerous strategic actions that forced management to move on their proposals. Our union's greatest strength is its members, and we hope that our success will serve as an example of how all [New York City] musicians can improve their working conditions by unionizing and fighting together.”
Arizona IAM Members Reach Tentative Agreement on Strong New Contract: Members of Machinists (IAM) Local 933 reached a tentative agreement Sunday with Raytheon, covering approximately 1,000 members in Tucson, Arizona. The Raytheon workers manufacture missiles and other advanced arms vital to the U.S. military. These members must still vote to approve the contract, which includes pay increases of 4%, 3.5% and 3.25% over the next three years, a $3,000 ratification bonus, pension and other improvements. “This new contract is a testament to the collective power of a united workforce,” said Local 933 Directing Business Representative Rick Vargas. “Congratulations to all our members at Raytheon for voting overwhelmingly to ratify the new three-year agreement, specifically designed to improve the quality of their lives.”
Philadelphia Orchestra Musicians Approve a New Labor Agreement for Higher Pay, Increased Work Protections: More than two months after a strike authorization vote, the musicians of the Philadelphia Orchestra, members of the American Federation of Musicians (AFM), approved a new contract on Oct. 21. “We are an ensemble, and we stuck together and refused to accept substandard deal after substandard deal. This contract is a victory for the present and future for the Philadelphia Orchestra and its world-class musicians,” said David Fay, who plays double bass and is chair of the orchestra’s Members Committee.