After intense negotiations, the United Auto Workers secured a new agreement with Ford, General Motors, and their suppliers that effectively prohibits a vaccine mandate for employees by requiring only “voluntary” disclosure of vaccination status for union members. This hard-won validation for workers points to a larger opportunity for the America First movement and organized labor to acknowledge that they are natural allies.
On critical issues ranging from medical privacy to border security and foreign trade, the emerging populist and nationalist consensus of the New Right creates an obvious home for unionized Americans. The America First cause can, in turn, help revitalize private-sector unions and guarantee a more prosperous society for our country, with a stronger middle class through a better diffusion of economic and political power.
Pennsylvania state Rep. Torren Ecker (R-Abbottstown) believes the guarantee of free and fair elections with secret balloting belongs not only in contests for public office but in votes over labor representation.
This week, he announced plans to introduce an amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution intended to cement that guarantee in the Keystone State in anticipation of federal legislation aiming to strengthen labor unions.
Seattle-based Starbucks announced it will increase hourly wages next year as the coffee giant faces the dual pressures of unionization attempts and staffing shortages.
According to a press release from the company, starting in January of 2022, hourly employees with two or more years of service could see a 5% raise and those with five or more years of service could see a 10% raise.
By the summer of next year, the company says its average hourly pay will be $17, up from the current average of $14. Employees will make between $15 and $23 an hour across the country, depending on location and tenure.
The press release did not address what impact the moves will have on coffee prices.
In a highly orchestrated and publicized White House gathering this month, President Biden presented a detailed plan for the development of a U.S. fleet of clean, high-mileage electric automobiles that would reduce reliance on gasoline and generate thousands of good union jobs. It’s a new, government-encouraged, taxpayer-subsidized auto world. The plan calls for U.S. auto production to become 50% electric by 2030. Today, the electric share stands at a paltry 2%.
Top leaders from Ford, GM, and Stellantis (formerly Fiat-Chrysler), along with environmentalists and governors, were prominently invited to share in the announcement. Yet the absence of any non-union, America-located auto producers was glaring. There were no representatives from Hyundai, Nissan, or Toyota – companies that have long produced popular vehicles within our borders and recently expressed some support for Biden’s goal. Also striking was the absence of Tesla’s Elon Musk, the world’s acknowledged leader in the electric car and battery revolution. Tesla is an American firm, but it is not unionized.
The general perception within Conservatism, Inc. and libertarian circles is that collective bargaining is a violation of the right of the individual to seek work without being compelled to join a union. That sounds good in principle, but there’s much more to the story.
A few years ago, the workers at a local grocery store chain in California went on strike. The reason they voted to strike was that management had implemented a new policy whereby most of the employees, including full-time career workers, had their hours reduced to fewer than 25 hours per week. At the same time, these employees had their health coverage taken away.
Flight attendants’ and teachers’ unions whose members are on the front lines of disputed Covid safety protocols are ardent enforcers of mask mandates for the public but do not require their members to get vaccinated. Such inoculation is widely acknowledged as the most effective step in stopping the spread of the new Delta variant, while masking is viewed as of secondary importance, and many are highly skeptical of its effectiveness and critical of its inconvenience.
As the Association of Flight Attendants continues to urge federal authorities to allow flight attendants to police passengers for masking – a policy that has led to fisticuffs on some flights – the union has struck an agreement with at least one airline, United, to allow unvaccinated members to fly. American Airlines and Southwest Air say they also do not require their flight attendants or other employees to vaccinate. Flight attendants for both airlines are unionized.
Los Angeles school teacher Glenn Laird has been a union stalwart for almost four decades. He served as a co-chair of his school’s delegation to United Teachers Los Angeles and proudly wore union purple on the picket line.
But Laird is now suing to leave UTLA and demanding a refund of the dues the union has collected since his resignation request. His turning point came in July 2020 when the union, the second largest teachers union in the country, joined liberal activists to demand that Los Angeles defund the police in response to Black Lives Matter demonstrations.
California teacher Brenda Lebsack says she began seeing “red flags” in her school district when she decided to become more involved with her union, the California Teachers Association.
After she began attending the union’s conferences in 2015, Lebsack says, she was alarmed to see that many of the topics weren’t academic but instead focused on social justice, human rights, and LGBTQ issues.
The Biden Administration sent some stock prices tumbling and left small businesses worried after taking sides on a hotly contested labor issue that critics say could threaten the jobs of millions of independent workers and thousands of small businesses.
In his address to the nation Wednesday evening, President Joe Biden called on Congress to pass legislation that would ban the use of freelance workers in most instances.
A report from the freelance site UpWork found that about 59 million gig workers make up $1.2 trillion of the U.S. economy.
Big labor suffered a significant loss in its attempt to unionize employees at Amazon’s warehouse facility in Bessemer, Alabama. Of the workers eligible to vote, an embarrassingly small 16% voted to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. It was the most recent in a series of high-profile losses for labor including failed attempts to unionize factories for Volkswagen, Nissan Motors, and Boeing. In each case, union leaders bet that they could convince workers it was in their best interests to be enrolled in a union that would stand up to management over wages and working conditions. In each case, they lost.