A Seat at the Table: 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.

Strong Opposition Raises to Bill Denying Student Athletes Employment: “Today, hours before the mark up hearing, opposition to the bill cried loudly. The AFL-CIO, the largest federation of labor unions in the United States, wrote a letter strongly disapproving of the PSAEFA. Penned by AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler, the letter stated that ‘the fallacy that every college athlete is merely a student has finally begun to crumble,’ and that within the Johnson case the NCAA seeks to deny student-athletes the right to have their labor evaluated by courts, a right every other worker in the nation maintains.”

Buttigieg Brings Biden’s Re-election Message to Union Members in York: “Jeff Chambers could be considered a man of many talents. Since his teens, he has worked in manufacturing, helped build things like the B-1 Bombers and spent 30 years at Harley-Davidson. A York City native, he joined his first union when he was around 19 years old and has been involved with several unions for over four decades. He retired in 2020 and is a member of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local 175. ‘Union benefits and wages really paved the way for a comfortable retirement for me,’ he said.”

Democrats in Congress Say Federal Mediators Should Let Airline Workers Strike When It's 'Necessary': “A group of 32 senators say federal mediators should speed up labor negotiations between airlines and their flight attendants and other workers, even granting them permission to go on strike ‘as necessary.’ The lawmakers said Wednesday that airlines feel no pressure to reach contract agreements quickly because federal law makes it difficult for airline workers to strike. That causes talks to drag on for years, they said. The senators—31 Democrats and independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont—joined House Democrats by weighing in while flight attendants at American Airlines and United Airlines are trying to gain more leverage at the bargaining table.”

OSHA Worker Heat Stress Proposal Goes to White House for Review: “A proposed federal rule to protect indoor and outdoor workers from heat stress is now under review at the White House. The agency has been working on a national heat stress standard (RIN:1218–AD39) since 2021 amid rising global temperatures that have led to some of the hottest summers on record. Text of the proposal, sent Tuesday to the White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, hasn’t been made public. But the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration previously said protection mandates could kick in any time the heat index reaches 80 degrees Fahrenheit.”

WGA Negotiator John August Reveals What He Believes Is the Biggest Artificial Intelligence Threat to Writers: “The new WGA-AMPTP deal is months old but the AI battle is far from over, according to union negotiator John August. August was speaking on an AVPSummit panel showcasing several AI-generated videos and images that he said represents a grave threat, even after the WGA was able to secure AI guardrails for the first time in its latest deal. ‘We were in negotiations with the six biggest companies but the things we see here today did not require a big company [to create],’ he added.”

More Than 6,100 Members from Five Trade Unions Gearing Up for Skills Training: “More than 6,100 members from five national and international trade unions will travel to Ann Arbor this summer to advance their skills and knowledge. Nearly 5,000 will train at Washtenaw Community College (WCC). Plumber and pipefitter; ironworker; roofer; plasterer and cement mason; and electrical worker union members will train with their respective trade organizations each for a week beginning today through August. The ‘teach the teacher’ partnerships bring union members from throughout the United States and countries such as Canada, Ireland, Australia and beyond. Through a multi-year program, trainers work to enhance their skills and safety practices and then go back to teach fellow trade workers in their organizations.”

Educators, Staff in Virginia’s Largest School District Back Collective Bargaining: “Teachers and staff in Fairfax County, home to Virginia’s largest school district, are a step closer to being able to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement for the first time in nearly 50 years. School employees overwhelmingly voted in favor of collective bargaining on Monday, with the Fairfax Education Association and the Fairfax County Federation of Teachers coming together under an alliance group, the Fairfax Education Unions, that will represent more than 27,000 school system employees in labor talks.”

Public Theater Company Workers Vote to Join IATSE: “Production workers at Off-Broadway's Public Theater have officially voted to unionize and join IATSE. Of the company's workers, 70% voted, with 178 for and 11 against. The decision follows a growing trend of Off-Broadway companies voting to unionize, including Atlantic Theater Company and Titaníque earlier this year. Off-Broadway theatre backstage workers are currently largely non-union, unlike their Broadway counterparts. The Public declined to voluntary recognize the backstage workers' union in March, prompting the decision to call for a vote.”

Fulton Electric Department Joins IBEW Local 1439: “In another win for Organized Labor, employees of the city of Fulton Electric Department have unanimously voted to join IBEW Local 1439. ‘We would like to congratulate and welcome the 14 brothers and sisters of the city of Fulton Electric Department to IBEW Local 1439,’ said Jeremy Pour, Local 1439 business manager. IBEW Local 1439, which represents about 810 members, has been representing outside physical workers in the utility industry since March 16, 1945, including distribution and transmission linework outside of power plants, substation maintenance and construction, building service, meter department, meter reading, underground, trouble, stores, utility shop and salvage, gas, and motor transportation employees. The local also represents workers in multiple municipalities, including Desoto and Potosi.”

Fran Drescher: Union Boss Who Turned Tables on Hollywood Suits: “Fran Drescher may have been ‘The Nanny’ in another life. But as the president of SAG-AFTRA, she turned the tables on Hollywood’s power crowd. Drescher last year emerged as an unlikely labor leader and champion of the little guy. Best known for her zany 1990s sitcom character with the thick Queens, N.Y., accent, Drescher became one of the most powerful people in Los Angeles by holding firm, despite pressure and personal attacks, until her 160,000-member performers union won its most generous deal in decades. The contract brought an estimated $1 billion in gains for members over three years.”

Austin Pets Alive! Employees Vote to form Largest Animal Shelter Union in Nation: “Months after filing a petition, Austin Pets Alive! employees won a vote to form the Austin Pets Allied Workers (APAW) and join the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) District 776, making it the country's largest union of animal shelter workers. ‘We are celebrating this victory with animal care workers everywhere,’ said members of the APAW Organizing Committee. ‘This victory gives us a seat at the table to help make the best decisions for the animals under our care. We look forward to sitting down with Austin Pets Alive! Management to secure a first contract for our fellow caregivers.’”