The Fight Goes On: 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.

‘He Has Our Backs’: Pennsylvania Steelworkers Cheer Biden’s Proposed Tariffs on Chinese Steel: “Darrin Kelly, the president of the Allegheny/Fayette Central Labor Council, told PennLive that Biden’s tariffs proposal ‘is just one further acknowledgment that this is the most worker-friendly president in the history of our great country.’ Kelly praised Biden’s commitment to labor and the middle-class, saying that, ‘Every step and every breath this man takes has the American worker in his blood, in his heart. That’s why we’re here. That’s why we’ll always stand with him.’”

Shedd Aquarium Employees Launch Union Drive: “Employees at the Shedd Aquarium announced plans to unionize Thursday, the latest in a series of unionization campaigns at Chicago’s prominent cultural in recent years. The employees eventually plan to file for a union election with the American Federation of Sate, County and Municipal Employees Council 31, which since 2022 has unionized workers at the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Art Institute and its affiliated school, the Museum of Science and Industry, the Field Museum, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Lincoln Park and the Newberry Library, a research library on the Near North Side.”

Disneyland Character Workers File for a Union Election with the National Labor Relations Board: “The workers who play characters like Goofy and Mickey Mouse and cheer and dance at parades at Disneyland have taken a step forward in their push to unionize with Actors’ Equity. The group of organizers, which is seeking to represent 1,700 employees, filed a petition for a union election with the National Labor Relations Board, Actors’ Equity president Kate Shindle announced at a press conference in Anaheim on Wednesday. According to Shindle, a ‘supermajority’ of eligible employees have signed union authorization cards, supporting the move to be represented by Actors’ Equity in collective bargaining. Beyond performers, the group—which calls itself ‘Magic United’—also includes workers who help facilitate character performers’ interactions with park patrons and trainers who work with them.”

Graduate Student Workers Vote to Authorize Strike: “Fordham Graduate Student Workers (FGSW) announced its members had approved a 98% vote in favor of authorizing a strike on April 9 after polls had closed. The vote is an effort to pressure the university to meet the union’s demands in ongoing contract negotiations for higher compensation, healthcare benefits, childcare subsidies, and more. The strike authorization vote will allow union leaders to call for a strike at any moment if Fordham does not move closer to meeting FGSW’s demands—both parties have been in negotiations for 19 months. If a strike were to occur, union members would not work until both parties negotiate a satisfactory contract with Fordham.”

MSHA Final Rule Lowers Limit for Miner Exposure to Silica: “To Cecil Roberts, president of United Mine Workers of America, the rule protects miners both in the short-term and throughout their lives. ‘Young miners in their 30s and 40s are getting lung diseases that are being exacerbated by silica dust,’ Roberts said in a release. ‘What was thought to be a disease of the past is coming back with a vengeance because miners are cutting more rock than ever before.’ In a separate release, AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler calls the rule ‘a definitive step toward safeguarding the health and well-being of our nation’s miners.’”

U.S. Antitrust Funding Jump Urged by Unions, Lobbies, Trade Groups: “The Justice Department’s antitrust enforcers need more funding to crack down on illegal mergers and conduct, unions, small business and advocacy groups told members of Congress Tuesday ahead of Attorney General Merrick Garland’s expected testimony. In a pair of letters to the leaders of the House and Senate appropriations committees, the groups urged lawmakers to increase the antitrust funding for the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission.”

Nebraska Steamfitter Running for U.S. Senate Against GOP Incumbent Is Gaining Traction: “In Nebraska’s U.S. Senate race, something extraordinary is happening—Dan Osborn, a nonpartisan candidate, is gaining traction at the polls, attracting national media attention, and, most importantly, securing cross-over voters. A former union president who led a 77-day strike at Kellogg’s in 2021, Osborn was fired from the company last year and is currently an apprentice for a local steamfitter’s union in Omaha. Now, the 48-year-old father of three is spending all of his free time outside his 40-hour workweek campaigning against incumbent GOP Sen. Deb Fischer.”

Another Group of St. Louis Public Radio Employees File to Organize Despite University of Missouri Resistance: “Another group of St. Louis Public Radio employees has filed to organize, following the newsroom’s historic unionization last year. The St. Louis Public Radio Guild announced it has filed for a second election to add the radio station’s non-supervisory fundraising, events and support staff to its ranks. The St. Louis Public Radio Guild organized the 37 newsroom workers who bring local, national and international news and programs to the airwaves and online, including journalists, producers, on-air talent and marketing professionals. Last year, they made history by becoming the first public media union to file for and win union recognition in the state of Missouri.”

America's Newest Doctors Fuel Efforts to Unionize: “A new generation of doctors struggling with ever-increasing workloads and crushing student debt is helping drive unionization efforts in a profession that historically hasn't organized. Why it matters: Physicians in training, like their peers in other industries, increasingly see unions as a way to boost their pay and protect themselves against grueling working conditions as they launch their careers. It also comes amid a wave of unionization and labor actions by nurses and other caregivers across a health care system that's still dealing with high levels of burnout.”

Sault Saint Marie Nurses Strike for Fair Pay Amid Negotiation Standoff: “Nurses in Sault Saint Marie are now on strike. This follows negotiations between the Michigan Nurse's Association and MyMichigan Health that ended in a deadlock. About 120 nurses work at MyMichigan Health, and they could be striking outside the hospital for five days if an agreement is not reached.”

Marquette Employees Launch Union Organizing Drive Amid Budget Uncertainty and Job Cuts: “A group of more than 50 Marquette University employees have launched a union organizing drive in hopes of gaining federal recognition—allowing them to negotiate over wages, benefits and workplace conditions. The effort announced this week comes shortly after Marquette laid out plans to cut $31 million from its budget over the next seven years. ‘It just seems like we need this now more than ever,’ said Grant Gosizk, a union steering committee member who teaches in the university's English department. ‘There’s an amount of pressure to the campaign now that we haven't had for the past year or two. It’s been in the works for a long time, but now it seems essential.’”

WGA Strike Leaders Chris Keyser and David Goodman Warn Members to Stay Vigilant: ‘The Strike Is Over, the Fight Goes On’: “Chris Keyser and David Goodman, the veteran showrunners who steered the five-month Writers Guild of America strike last year, warned guild members on Sunday to stay vigilant in a fast-changing business landscape despite the gains of last year’s historic labor action. ‘Though this strike is over, the fight goes on. If we take our eye off the ball, everything we gained can literally go away tomorrow,’ Goodman told the crowd at the Writers Guild Awards at the Hollywood Palladium.”

'Overworked, Underpaid': Flight Attendants Picket at Newark Airport: “If an airline has the cash to give its executives a big pay bump, its employees also deserve a raise. This was the call from dozens of unionized flight attendants with United Airlines at a picket line outside Newark Airport on Thursday. As part of a national day of action held at airports across the U.S., the flight attendants held up signs reading ‘Pay Us Or Chaos’ and chanted ‘Overworked, underpaid—pay us a living wage.’”