A Sense of Urgency: 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.

Journalists at New York Daily News Walk Off Job for a Day: “Journalists at The New York Daily News walked off the job on Thursday for the first time in more than three decades. Newsroom workers at The Daily News Union, which formed in 2021, are in negotiations for their first contract. The union called a one-day work stoppage to protest staffing cuts, as well as a new policy that requires workers to get advance approval for overtime.”

Forbes Union Stages 3-Day Work Stoppage in Protest of Stalled Negotiations: “According to the guild, Forbes staffers have been fighting for two years for a 'first contract, only to be met with tired, union-busting tactics by Forbes management.' On Thursday, the NewsGuild of New York filed an unfair labor practice charge on behalf of the Forbes Union, 'or the company’s interference with protected union activity, discrimination based on protected union activity, and refusing to bargain in good faith.'”

Trulieve Magnolia Employees Unionize in First-Ever Election for Arizona Cannabis Agriculture Workers: “On Thursday, January 25, workers at the Trulieve Cannabis Corp central Phoenix production facility voted 37-4 in favor of unionizing with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) Local 99. The successful union election at Trulieve Magnolia is the first for Arizona agricultural workers in the cannabis industry, and only the second-ever union election to be administered by the Arizona Agricultural Labor Relations Board (AERB). Established in 1993, the AERB’s statutes are patterned after the National Labor Relations Act, which specifically excludes agricultural workers from its jurisdiction. The last and only time workers petitioned for union recognition through the board was in the year 2000 when workers at the Eurofresh tomato hothouse in Willcox voted to join UFCW Local 99.”

700 Culinary Union Workers at Strat Reach Deal: “Culinary Local 226 members at a north Strip casino reached a tentative agreement with employers, the union announced late Tuesday. The hospitality union representing about 700 employees at The Strat negotiated a five-year deal with improvements on wages, work quotas, protections from technology and more.”

Group of Seaport Hotel Workers Vote to Join Union After Months of Uncertainty: “A subset of workers at a hotel in the Seaport won a long-fought union vote last week, a conclusion to a year-long struggle after more than half of the workers lost their benefits. The Banquets and Convention Services department, composed of about 60 workers, at the Seaport Hotel Boston voted to join UNITE HERE Local 26 six months after they filed for an election, the union said.”

The Texas Tribune Is Unionizing: “Just under six months after the Texas Tribune weathered its first-ever round of layoffs, staff announced this morning that they are unionizing with the NewsGuild-CWA and asking for voluntary recognition from management by January 31. CEO Sonal Shah sent an email to staff 15 minutes after management was made aware of the union, writing, 'Our response is simple. If Tribune employees want to be represented by a union, we will respect their right to representation… We respect our colleagues’ right to collectively bargain.' Talk of unionizing began when management alluded to budget shortfalls in the spring of 2023, but it was the layoffs that 'created a sense of urgency to mobilize across the newsroom,' says Uriel García, an immigration reporter based in El Paso. Those layoffs, which affected 11% of the staff, were shocking—particularly the decision to fire the Tribune’s only dedicated criminal justice and demographic reporters. Many journalists were frustrated by the lack of explanation from management about the rationale behind the cuts.”

Plumbers & Steamfitters Union Recruiting Apprentices In the HV: “The local Plumbers & Steamfitters union will conduct a brief recruitment drive from Feb. 20 through March 4 for 20 plumber and steamfitter apprentices and five refrigeration and air conditioning mechanic apprentices in four Hudson Valley counties. Applications must be obtained in person and filled out at Local Union #21, which is located at 1024 McKinley Street in Peekskill.”

Condé Nast Union Workers Walk Out Following Layoff Announcement: “Roughly 400 members of the unionized staff at several Condé Nast brands, including Vogue, GQ and Vanity Fair, are walking off the job Tuesday in New York City, the NewsGuild of New York said.”

Hollywood Unions Show Solidarity as American Federation of Musicians Enters Negotiations with AMPTP: “The Hollywood unions are throwing their support behind the American Federation of Musicians as it begins its contract negotiations with the studios. The AFM entered into negotiations with the AMPTP for its new collective bargaining agreement on Monday, fighting for many of the same things the WGA and SAG-AFTRA did during last year’s dual strikes, including AI protections, increased wages, and improved streaming residuals.”

The ‘Year of Labor’ in 2023 Was Just the Beginning: “When people ask me why the Labor Movement just had its most dynamic and successful year in a generation, I tell them about workers like Alicia—people whose lives changed because they stood together with their co-workers. For all the talk about macro trends and economic factors, the driving force behind the 'Year of Labor' was simple: Being in a union makes your life better. We’re in a moment of profound uncertainty and disillusionment across this country. Americans are fed up with politicians, institutions and the status quo. Approval ratings for Congress and most major institutions have plummeted to well below 50%. The Labor Movement is the one exception. Polling shows 71% of Americans believe in unions—more than two-thirds of people in this country, the highest number in the past 60 years. Unions are where people seem to have increasingly placed their hopes, their dreams and their aspirations for a better future.”

What Labor Advocates Want from AI Policy: “Ask AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler what she wants from the federal government on artificial intelligence, and her first answer isn’t a surprise: Strengthen collective bargaining rights, like, generally. 'Through every industrial revolution, labor has been the force that has harnessed the technology and channeled it in a way that’s productive and safe,' Shuler said in an interview this month, speaking from a summit alongside the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. But Shuler is also laying out some more specific asks. For one: She’s lasering in regulations and investments related to training workers for jobs in the event of displacement.”

Feb. 2 Strike Deadline: Las Vegas Hospitality Union Works on New Contracts: “Ahead of their Feb. 2 strike deadline, the Culinary Union has reached tentative deals with two properties. On Saturday, the union negotiated a tentative agreement with Westgate for 1,000 employees. 'I’m really happy that we got this contract. I’m excited that the working people of Las Vegas are going to get the money they need to live fruitful lives,' said Brian Torres, a food runner for Westgate, in a written statement.”

L.A. Times Guild Calls for Strike as Owner Warns of Layoffs: “Union leaders at the Los Angeles Times have called for a one-day, multi-city walkout Friday following news that the esteemed newspaper will see dramatic staff cuts due to a widening budget deficit. According to the Times, the single-day strike would be the first in the paper’s 142-year history. The decision comes following news that Patrick Soon-Shiong, the publication’s owner, intended to trim the paper’s staff to address a budget deficit, with the Times reporting cuts could be as deep as 20% or the equivalent of at least 100 journalists.”

Unionized ‘Ridiculousness’ Staffers Leaflet Production In Effort to Start Negotiating First Contract: “Early on Friday morning, 10 unionized creative consultants on the MTV comedy show Ridiculousness distributed leaflets at the show’s production location in Van Nuys in an effort to start negotiating a first contract. The staffers unionized with the Writers Guild of America West after a National Labor Relations Board vote in September, but according to the WGA West, the production has yet to respond to their attempts to begin negotiating a contract. 'We are fighting for a fair contract with improved compensation and benefits for the 336 episodes of Ridiculousness we help to create annually,' the leaflets handed out on Friday state. 'We are currently compensated at a rate well below our peers writing for WGA-covered shows like Ridiculousness. While our workloads have increased substantially, our compensation has been stagnant.­­'”