Trade Policy Should Center Workers: The Working People Weekly List

Working People Weekly List

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.

UAW, AFL-CIO Leaders Say Workers Need to Be at Center of Trade Policy: “UAW President Shawn Fain and AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Fred Redmond called for trade policies Thursday that improve the lives of workers and benefit their communities rather than force a ‘race to the bottom’ through deals that boost the fortunes of wealthy people at the expense of others. ‘Here in America, free trade deals, they had a disproportionately negative impact on communities and particularly workers of color. These trade deals, they gutted communities, and they really deepened inequality in this country amongst workers,” said Redmond, whose union represents 12.5 million members. ‘We have the opportunity to reverse the damage through trade policies with workers at the center.’”

The Labor Movement Just Scored One of Its Biggest Victories in the South This Century: “After a bruising three-year fight, workers at school bus manufacturer Blue Bird in Fort Valley, Georgia, voted May 12 to join United Steelworkers (USW) Local 697. ‘It’s been a long time since a manufacturing site with 1,400 people has been organized, let alone organized in the South, let alone organized with predominantly African American workers, and let alone in the auto industry,’ said Maria Somma, organizing director with the USW.”

NLRB Sues Colleges, Says Athletes Are Workers: “The big business of college sports is back in federal court again. And this time it’s over the right of the athletes to organize. That’s because the National Labor Relations Board’s top enforcement official, General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo, sued the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the PAC12 conference, and several colleges to court in federal court in Los Angeles, seeking approval of its stand that college athletes are ‘employees’ and have the right to organize under labor law.”

Palms, Culinary Union Reach Agreement on New Contract: “Union leaders reached an agreement early Friday with The Palms for a new three-year contract. The agreement affects about 900 employees and on Tuesday 95% of Palms workers voted to ratify the new contract, according to a statement from Culinary Local 226. ‘We celebrate this historic agreement with Palms, which protects workers with the best health care in Nevada, strong job security, and fair wage increases,’ Ted Pappageorge, secretary-treasurer for Culinary Local 226, said in the statement. ‘The San Manuel Gaming and Hospitality Authority and Palms Casino Resort have done the right thing by respecting their employees and recalling workers back to work with their seniority intact.’”

The New York Times Reaches a Contract Deal with Its Newsroom Union: “The New York Times reached a deal on Tuesday for a new contract with the union representing the majority of its newsroom employees, ending more than two years of contentious negotiations that included a 24-hour strike. The agreement, if ratified, will give union members immediate salary increases of up to 12.5% to cover the last two years and 2023, and will raise the required minimum salary to $65,000, up from about $37,500. The previous contract expired in March 2021, and union members have not received contractual raises since 2020. The union negotiating the deal, which is part of the NewsGuild of New York, represents nearly 1,500 employees in the newsroom, advertising and other areas of the company. More than 1,800 people work in the Times’s newsroom.”

Your Fight Is Our Fight: John Leguizamo, Busy Philipps, Tony Kushner and Unions Show Solidarity with WGA: “John Leguizamo, Busy Philipps, Tony Kushner, Neil Gaiman, Al Franken and Wanda Sykes were among those who took to the stage during WGA East’s Rally at 30 Rockefeller Center on Tuesday, appearing alongside union leaders from SAG-AFTRA, IATSE, Actor’s Equity and more pledging that ‘all of labor stands behind the writers.’ Cynthia Nixon, Ilana Glazer, Warren Leight and labor leaders Rebecca Damon from SAG-AFTRA, Kate Shindle of Actors Equity and Matt Loeb of IATSE were also among those who spoke, with Mark Ruffalo and Susan Sarandon making crowd appearances.”

Hispanic Society Museum Workers Approved a New Union Contract, Ending a Grueling Two-Month Strike: “After eight long weeks, workers at New York’s Hispanic Society Museum and Library have ended their strike and voted to approve their first union contract. The fraught labor battle recently led to a demonstration outside the home of Philippe de Montebello, the institution’s chairman and former director of the Met Museum. ‘We are elated about the new contract,’ Patrick Lenaghan, the museum’s curator of prints, photographs, and sculptures, said in a statement. ‘It provides the security we never had before. With this, we can concentrate on the work we love and dedicated so many years to.’ The Hispanic Society first organized in May 2021 amid a groundswell of unionization at museums across the U.S. Workers petitioned the National Labor Relations Board to join Local 2110, part of the United Automobile Workers (UAW) union. A few months earlier, the museum had ended its pension plan for staff members, and staff sought improved benefits and salaries.”

Epic Games' Bandcamp Has Unionized: “Fortnite and Unreal developer Epic Games now has a union. Bandcamp, the music distribution platform aimed at bringing artists to the world, has formed Epic's first union after holding a successful union vote. ‘Today, a majority of eligible Bandcamp workers voted 31-7 in favor of forming Bandcamp United, a union represented by the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU),’ the new union wrote in a statement. ‘The vote results now await certification by the National Labor Relations Board, with a collective bargaining process to follow.’”

Wisconsin AFL-CIO Stands in Solidarity with OPEIU Local 39 Members on Strike at CUNA Mutual in Madison: “Stephanie Bloomingdale, President of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO, released the following statement of solidarity as members of OPEIU Local 39 take strike action: ‘OPEIU Local 39 members at CUNA Mutual in Madison are on strike for good union jobs to remain in Wisconsin, for quality and affordable healthcare for all, for fair wages, and for the ability to retire with dignity after a lifetime of work. As union men and women, we do not take the decision to strike lightly. The history of our union movement has clearly demonstrated that only by standing shoulder to shoulder have working people gained the family-supporting wages, pay equity and other benefits which we are rightly due. The Wisconsin labor movement proudly stands in solidarity with our sisters and brothers of OPEIU Local 39 on strike at CUNA Mutual as they take brave action to secure a fair contract. We urge CUNA Mutual to come to the table and negotiate in good faith.’”

Carnegie Museums Workers Approve First Union Contract, Including Pay Raises: “The United Museum Workers union announced Thursday its members had ratified their first contract with the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh. The more than 500 union members voted to approve the four-year pact, which raises base pay at the museums from $12 an hour to $16 an hour. Most workers will see immediate raises ranging from 15% to 35%, according to the union. Union members already earning more than $16 an hour will also receive raises, according to the museum.”