What’s on the Horizon for Working Women? 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.

What’s on the Horizon for Working Women?: “One year ago this week, I was officially elected as the first woman to lead the AFL-CIO, America’s largest labor federation—consisting of 12.5 million workers across 60 unions. It’s been the honor of a lifetime to be part of the changing labor movement that is increasingly led by women, people of color, LGBTQ+ people, immigrants and others who have gone underrepresented for too long. But the truth is, the real leaders are the women and workers on the ground who are leading organizing drives and picket lines across America, such as nurses in New York, teachers in Minnesota, retail workers at REI, warehouse workers at Amazon, or baristas at Starbucks. The past 12 months have been nothing short of historic in how these workers and many more have risen up and seized our collective power (with the Federation marching and fighting alongside them).”

Maine AFL-CIO Construction Training 'Academy' Aims to Diversify Workforce: “The new Union Construction Academy of Maine recently graduated its first cohort of 15 pre-apprentices, including six individuals in pre-release or re-entry programs, seven asylum seekers from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola and Togo, and three refugees from Afghanistan. The academy is a free, four-week registered pre-apprentice program run by the Maine AFL-CIO, Maine Building Trades Council and the New England Laborers Training Academy. It’s designed specifically to prepare a diverse workforce from underrepresented populations to graduate into union-registered apprenticeship programs as union carpenters, electricians, elevator constructors, ironworkers, insulators, laborers, millwrights, plumbers and pipefitters, sheet metal workers and more. The goal of the program is to prepare workers to succeed in registered apprenticeship programs and to build careers.”

'It's Gonna Be a Hot Labor Summer'—Unionized Members Show Up for Striking Writers: “Film and TV writers are now in their seventh week on strike against the Hollywood studios. Actors negotiating their own new contract with the studios as members of the union SAG-AFTRA may also go on strike soon, which would shut down productions entirely. The writers' fight for better pay and protections in the streaming economy is resonating with labor movements beyond Hollywood and beginning to unite workers across industries. On Monday in New York City, the Writers Guild of America rallied outside Amazon studios, buoyed by the leader of the country's largest labor union, the AFL-CIO, which represents 12.5 million American workers, including postal workers, mine workers and those in the entertainment industry. ‘Can you hear us Jeff Bezos?’ taunted Liz Shuler, president of the federation. ‘We're not gonna take it anymore. We're here in force, not just the Writers Guild, we're here with the labor movement in this country standing strong in solidarity.’”

Minnesota Miracle: State Legislature Passes ‘Avalanche’ of Progressive and Pro-Labor Laws: “‘Whoa, holy buckets,’ declared Minnesota House Speaker Melissa Hortman after the close of a state legislative session that saw the passage of an ‘avalanche’ of progressive bills, including the most sweeping pro-labor legislation in state history. ‘Our elected leaders listened to the thousands of union volunteers who knocked on doors last fall and continued to show up at the Capitol this year to enact the most pro-worker policy agendas Minnesotans have seen in more than a generation,’ said Minnesota AFL-CIO President Bernie Burnham.”

Nurses Advocate for Better Resources During a National Day of Action: “Nurses at HCA Florida Fawcett Hospital will join thousands of registered nurses who are members of National Nurses United to hold a day of action. The national day of action will take place on Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m.”

AFL-CIO’s Shuler: Supreme Court’s Decision Will Not Stop Workers from Exercising Our Right to Strike: “‘The court unnecessarily gave the employer another bite at the apple,’ Shuler said. ‘The court recognized that for nearly a century, federal law has protected workers’ right to strike in order to improve workers’ wages, hours and working conditions. Unfortunately, the court then relied on unfounded allegations in the employer’s complaint that the union intended to damage the cement trucks when it called the strike.’”

Strip Club Dancers in Oregon City Unionize, Demand Safer Work Environments: “As part of the growing industry in town, dancers at a strip club in Northwest Portland are now unionizing. In an online petition, dancers at Magic Tavern said some employees were fired because they brought up safety concerns. The dancers are being represented by Actors' Equity Association, the labor union that represented the country's only unionized dancers in Los Angeles. ‘We’re joining their union because we’ll be able to bargain our contract and protect us and make sure that the club owners are held responsible,’ said Daphne.”

William Spriggs, Economist Who Highlighted Racial Disparities, Dies at 68: “Spurred by the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police in May 2020, economist William E. Spriggs wrote an open letter to his peers castigating them for making too many assumptions to explain racial disparities in America’s economy. Dr. Spriggs, an economics professor at Howard University and chief economist for the AFL-CIO labor federation, noted that far too many economists assume ‘that African Americans are inferior until proven otherwise.’”

Thousands of Southern California Workers Authorize the Largest Hotel Strike in Modern U.S. History: “The authorization was approved by 96% of those who voted, UNITE HERE Local 11 said Thursday night. If a contract agreement isn’t reached, a strike could begin as early as the Fourth of July weekend and would be the largest in modern U.S. history, the union said. The previous record holder happened in 2018 when nearly 8,000 housekeepers, bartenders and other workers walked off the job at 23 Marriott hotels in eight U.S. cities, including San Diego, San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose. That strike lasted more than two months before final contract agreements were reached.”

1,800 Nurses Warn of Strike Starting June 19 at Providence Portland, Two Other Facilities: “Roughly 1,800 nurses at Providence Portland Medical Center and two other Providence facilities will stage a five-day strike starting June 19 unless progress is made in contract bargaining, the Oregon Nurses Association announced Friday. Providence told KGW on Friday that it will not bargain with the union while the strike is pending or in progress, but will resume bargaining after the strike ends.”

Local Labor Unions Show Their Solidarity During Writers Strike: “As Hollywood's writer strike continues, a rally of support was held on Saturday in Buffalo. Local labor unions, in solidarity with the Writers Guild of America, gathered in front of the production studio that's under construction at the corner of Niagara and West Ferry. Organizers say there are no stories to tell without writers.”