Are you a working person considering organizing your workplace or joining a union? Are you trying to figure out if joining a union actually makes a difference? The answer is yes. Here are just a few of the many exciting recent examples where joining a union made a positive difference in the lives of working people:
The editorial staff at Thrillist, a popular entertainment, food, culture and news site, have overwhelmingly voted to join the Writers Guild of America, East, (WGAE). A total of 95% of the 65 Thrillist staff members voted to join the union.
Writers and Editors at Digital News Outlets Join Together for Representation: In recent years, working people at digital news outlets have made progress in joining together, with union organizing victories at The Huffington Post, Gawker, The Guardian U.S., Think Progress, Salon, Vice Media and Al Jazeera America leading the way. More than 90% of 70 digital journalists at Fusion Media Group voted to join the WGAE.
Staff at two new downtown Santa Monica hotels voted to become members of UNITE HERE.
In Las Vegas, staff at Station Casinos won a settlement with the National Labor Relations Board, which made Palace Station the company's second hotel-casino in Las Vegas to be unionized.
2016 Union Organizing and Contract Wins
Working people at Verizon who went on strike in 2016 made huge gains, including getting a raise and adding 1,300 new call center jobs on the East Coast.
In August, members of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA at United Airlines voted to ratify a new contract, which provides immediate economic gains, sets a new industry standard and ensures flight attendants can achieve the benefits of a fully integrated airline. The five-year agreement includes double-digit pay increases, enhances job security provisions, maintains and improves health care, protects retirement and increases flexibility.
Also in the month of August, working people at eight Zara locations in New York chose to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union/UFCW. Zara is owned by Inditex, the world’s largest fashion retailer, and the company did not oppose the union drive. More than 1,000 employees now will be represented by RWDSU/UFCW Local 1102. RWDSU/UFCW represents workers at such retail stores as Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale’s, and supermarkets, drugstores and car washes.
Hotel workers in Las Vegas took on then-presidential candidate Donald Trump and won a fair contract with their union Culinary Workers Union Local 226 after a high-profile fight in 2016.
Also in Las Vegas, working people at the Boulder Station Hotel & Casino voted "union yes!" "It is very simple: We voted for the union because we want to have a union at Boulder Station," said Rodrigo Solano, a cook at the casino, which opened in 1994. "After all these years of fighting to make our jobs better, it is time for management to listen to us: We want to have fair wages and good health benefits like tens of thousands of other casino workers in Las Vegas."
In Cleveland, teachers won a historic union charter school organizing victory when educators and support staff at the University of Cleveland Preparatory School joined the Ohio Federation of Teachers and the AFT to address high turnover and improve education for their students.
Working people who are members of AFSCME saw a net gain of 12,000 new members added to their ranks.
In Baltimore, more than 1,400 working people at BG&E gained a union voice with IBEW. And in Memphis, Tennessee, a "right to work" state, hundreds of working people at Electrolux voted to join IBEW.
In California, after four years of instability and threats of hospital closures or major cuts in patient services, registered nurses voted to approve a new contract covering nearly 1,500 RNs at four former Daughters of Charity hospitals in Los Angeles and the Bay area.
By a nearly 3-to-1 margin, Columbia graduate student employees voted yes for their union—the UAW—in an NLRB election. Many of the 3,500 student workers who will be represented say they chose the union to bargain on their behalf for better health care, benefits for dependents, payment procedures, housing opportunities and grievance procedures. Students who work as teaching and research assistants won the right to join a union after an August ruling by the National Labor Relations Board. Columbia University is challenging the election results, and critics have called the appeal baseless. In a huge victory, graduate workers at Yale with UNITE HERE gave a #gradunionyes despite the heavy opposition of the Ivy administrations. It is the first set of wins for graduate worker unions at private universities won through an official NLRB election.
Autoworkers Ratify New Contracts with Detroit’s Big Three: More than 142,000 working people negotiated better pay, better benefits and bonuses through new contracts with General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler.
Maryland Taxi Drivers Deliver Major Reforms: In July, taxi drivers in Montgomery County, Maryland, helped deliver major reforms to the county’s taxi industry, after the local government passed legislation that creates a worker-driven co-op, provides protections against predatory taxi companies, makes it easier for drivers to compete against online ride-sharing programs and provides dramatically improved services for people with disabilities.