'When We Fight, We Win': 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.

Union Negotiating Strategy Pays Off in SoCal Hotel Deals: "The recent spate of tentative contract agreements between Southern California hotels and their unionized workers appeared to materialize out of the ether. After months with little progress reported, several deals were struck in succession, including the announcement of agreements with 10 hotels in a single day and another four soon thereafter, which brought the total to 24 in all. With workers at nearly 40 other hotels still seeking deals they can agree to, the larger picture is not complete. But what is becoming apparent is that the union’s negotiating strategy, willingness to call out hotels and their parent companies by name, and tactic of selective strikes have begun to click."

Fairfax Connector Workers Authorize Strike as Contract Negotiations Continue: "Hundreds of Fairfax Connector workers could strike if contract talks between their union and employer break down. Nearly a month after the end of their existing contract with Transdev, which operates Fairfax County’s public bus system, union drivers, mechanics and other employees voted on Dec. 29 to authorize a strike, the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 689 announced yesterday."

Laborers Local 773 Officials Have Confirmed That Edward M. Smith, Retired CEO and President, Has Died: "Laborers Local 773 officials have confirmed that Edward M. Smith, the retired CEO and president, has died. Smith had a long, distinguished career with the Laborers' International Union of North America. After joining LiUNA at age 13, he was elected business manager of Laborers Local 773 at age 21. Smith later became International Union Vice President and Midwest Regional Manager."

'When We Fight, We Win': VP Congratulates Culinary Union but Workers' Fight Isn't Over: "Hundreds of Culinary Union Local 226 workers gathered Wednesday to hear a congratulatory message from the United States Vice President Kamala Harris. Harris' visit to Las Vegas comes on the heels of a historic employment deal made between three resort corporations: Caesars Entertainment, MGM Resorts and Wynn Resorts in November."

Ohio State Wexner Medical Center Health Care Workers Vote to Unionize: "Health care workers at Ohio State University's (OSU) Wexner Medical Center have voted to join the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM). According to a press release, the nearly 1,000 workers are composed of Patient Care Associates (PCA) and Psychiatric Care Technicians (PCT)."

Labor Unrest in 2024 Poised to Leverage Union Contract Gains: "After a year of record-breaking strikes, expiring contracts in 2024 signal another significant but likely smaller potential wave of labor unrest. More than 1.1 million workers are covered by large union contracts that are due to end next year, according to a Bloomberg Law analysis of filings with the federal mediation service."

Unions Poised to Capitalize on U.S. Labor Board Rulings That Bolstered Organizing: "The coming year will reveal the full impact of a U.S. labor board's recent rulings that were seen as providing a major boost to union organizing and whether those changes can withstand legal challenges amid a series of high-profile labor campaigns. Democratic President Joe Biden's appointees to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) paved the way in 2023 for workplaces to unionize outside of the decades-old secret ballot election process, made it easier for unions to organize franchise and contract workers, and expanded the type of worker conduct protected by U.S. labor law, among other significant moves."

Seafarers International Union President Emeritus Mike Sacco Has Died: "Seafarers International Union President Emeritus Michael Sacco passed away on Dec. 28, 2023, in St. Louis, surrounded by his family. He was 86 years old and passed away from natural causes. Brother Sacco was the longest-serving president in Seafarers (SIU) history, having led the organization from 1988 until his retirement in February 2023, a period spanning nearly 35 years. 'Mike’s leadership at the Seafarers International Union benefited generations of merchant mariners and all working people,' AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler said in an article announcing Sacco’s retirement in March 2023. 'Mike led his union with integrity and a fighting spirit that he learned as a rank-and-file member.' SIU President David Heindel described Sacco in the same article as 'an inspiration to members and officials alike.'"

Blue-Collar Workers Won Big in 2023, Defying Bleak Predictions: "A year that started out with bleak prospects, including a widely predicted recession, shaped up to be a boon for the average American worker—and one of the most triumphant for organized labor in a generation. More than 525,000 workers in the United States walked off the job in 2023, according to Bloomberg Law’s database of work stoppages, making it one of the three biggest strike years since 1990. Many of those strikes led to big concessions from employers, such as the landmark deal reached by the UAW in October."

Biden Rule Mandates Project Labor Agreements on Major Federal Building Projects: "President Joe Biden and Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su on Dec. 18 announced a new game-changing federal rule that, according to the AFL-CIO, will not only benefit workers, but also make our tax dollars go further by making construction projects more efficient. The rule mandates the use of Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) for large federal construction projects that cost $35 million or more. In expanding the use of PLAs, contractors and subcontractors will have to negotiate with unions to set terms for project construction—ensuring that the safety and dignity of workers are prioritized on the jobsites."