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The Oregon Labor Dispatch: September 7, 2023

The Oregon Labor Dispatch is a weekly email and blog series designed to keep Oregon’s workers informed of the latest news about unions, worker power, and much more. Each week, we bring you a curated selection of news stories, graphics, and information about upcoming events and actions. When Oregon’s Labor Movement is connected, updated and informed we are able to be stronger advocates for all working Oregonians.

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Kroger & Albertsons grocery stores are pushing for a corporate merger that could give them nearly unchecked control over food prices, wages & benefits of thousands of United Food and Commercial Workers International Union grocery workers & so much more. Join us & tell the FTC to stop this merger.

National Labor News

Unions Are America's Future. The Numbers Say So

September 1, 2023 | Newsweek

From National AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler: “A few weeks ago, I stood on the streets of New York City with working actors, performers and writers from SAG-AFTRA and the Writers Guild of America who have been on strike for months now: risking their livelihoods to win a fair contract for themselves and all who come after. We chanted. We walked the picket line. But what inspired me most was when working people all around us—overwhelmingly young workers, in their 20s and 30s—saw what was happening and joined in: UPS drivers who laid on their horns to show support. Construction workers who clapped as they passed by. Food delivery workers who stopped for a minute to cheer us on.”

More workers striking in 2023 than the previous three decades

September 4, 2023 | NBC San Diego

“Labor Day is not just a three-day weekend, but a holiday that honors the workers for their contribution to our economy. According to this year’s annual labor report, over 270,000 California workers have joined the picket lines since January of this year. Across the country, more workers have participated in striking for their rights in 2023 than during the last three decades.”

Workers Rights Won by Unions, From the 8-Hour Workday to Overtime Pay

September 5, 2023 | Teen Vogue

“Workers at American companies and institutions of higher learning are making headlines for strikes and unionizing efforts among employees, including Amazon, Starbucks, Rutgers University, HarperCollins, and Hollywood writers.”

Labor Day in Oregon

‘Reclaiming our power:’ Oregon AFL-CIO president talks union growth

September 4, 2023 | KOIN 6

“There’s lots of reasons that go into what’s driving this moment in labor action. Coming out of the pandemic, workers were treated as expendable while told that they were heroes by employers and so workers are angry, we’re reclaiming our power and we’re doing that at a time when union approval rating… is through the roof,” Trainor explained.”

Guest Column: The labor movement has your back

September 2, 2023 | The Bulletin

“Over the past few months, American workers have captured both headlines and the imaginations of the entire working class of our great nation. By standing together, speaking up, and taking collective action workers are winning organizing drives and collective bargaining campaigns from coast to coast. Oregon is no exception: From the five-day strike by nurses and clinicians at Providence to the thousands of Teamsters at UPS ratifying a historic contract without having to strike, it is clear that the power of workers organizing is fueling something amazing in America.”

Oregon union workers celebrate Labor Day

September 4, 2023 | KEZI 9

“Lane County Central Labor Chapter hosted their 24th annual Labor Day picnic, and celebrated accomplishments of the past year and the public support for unions being at record levels according to the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations.”

Central Oregon's labor union landscape has changed for the better in recent years

September 4, 2023 | The Bulletin

“The challenges we face may evolve, but the spirit of solidarity and determination that propels us remains steadfast,” said Brenda Johnson, chair of the Central Oregon Central Labor Chapter of the state branch of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO).”

Oregon Labor

Powell’s Workers Shut Down City of Books With One-Day Strike

September 4, 2023 | Willamette Week

“The solidarity of all unions is to make a simple demand,” wrote Local 5 spokesperson Myka Dubay in a statement. “Powell’s should return to the table; participate in the process by negotiating with the Union; and do so in good faith as required by federal labor law.”

Religion & Labor

U.S. archbishop lays out 'urgent' need for 'radical solidarity' with working families

September 1, 2023 | National Catholic Reporter

“The chairman of the U.S. bishops' domestic policy committee said the nation has "urgent work" to do to really show a "radical solidarity with working families" and provide ongoing support for the well-being of all families.”


SAG-AFTRA Says Dual Strikes Against Video Games & Film/TV Industry “Makes Sense” As Key Issues Of Wages & AI “Mirror” Each Other

September 6, 2023 | Deadline’

“With SAG-AFTRA members already on strike against films and TV shows and voting now underway to authorize a separate strike against the video game industry, the guild’s leaders are saying that a dual strike, if it comes to that, “makes sense” because the issues at stake in both contracts “mirror” each other. “These are largely the same fight over the same issues, and members are stronger together,” SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher and National Executive Director Duncan Crabtree-Ireland said in their latest message to the guild’s members. “By standing shoulder to shoulder and in solidarity, we multiply our strength and send a clear and unmistakable message to all of our employers: We will not be exploited. Without fair terms that protect our members and respect their contributions, employers should not have the benefit of our members’ services.”

UAW leader warns of strike at any Detroit automaker without a new contract deal next week

September 6, 2023 | The Hill

“The leader of the United Auto Workers (UAW) warned the union will strike at any Detroit automaker that does not reach a new labor agreement by next week. When asked by The Associated Press (AP) if the union would call a strike on any of the companies that do not reach a tentative agreement, UAW President Shawn Fain said, “That’s the plan.” The contracts with the three major automakers — Ford, General Motors and Stellantis — are set to expire at 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 14. “

Labor leader Shuler touts union support as possible auto strikes loom

September 4, 2023 | Wisconsin Examiner

“Support for unions is growing amid shifting working conditions and labor disputes around the country, according to Liz Shuler, the president of the largest labor group in the country. In Shuler’s comments last week at the AFL-CIO’s first State of the Unions event in Washington, she cited polling that showed support for unions cut across party lines. The AFL-CIO commissioned a poll by GBAO, a Democratic polling and research firm, that found 91% of Democratic respondents and 52% of Republicans approved of unions, with even higher numbers supporting the right to strike.”

Nurses striking for ‘safe staffing’ vow to keep up the fight

September 1, 2023 | New Jersey Monitor

“Negotiations started in April. The nurses’ contract expired June 30 and was extended to July 21, and nurses went on strike Aug. 4. Since the most recent bargaining session Aug. 16, the two sides are now at an impasse. RWJBarnabas Health is the largest health care system in the state and employs the most nurses statewide. The 620-bed Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick is its biggest hospital. The ongoing strike is nurses’ first since 2006, when they were off the job for about 25 days, Danella said.”

Workplace Safety & Safe Staffing

Unionized nursing homes 78% more likely to report workplace injury and illness data, study finds

September 5, 2023 | Medical Press

“Nursing homes that unionize are more likely to report workplace injury and illness data to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a study published in the journal Health Affairs says. "Unionization led to a 78% increase in employer compliance with OSHA's requirement to report workplace injury and illness data," said the lead author of the study, Adam Dean, professor of political science at the George Washington University. "Reporting such information helps make nursing homes safer."

Nursing homes must boost staffing levels under new Biden plan

September 1, 2023 | ABC News

“Leaders of labor unions, which pushed for the new rule, say more people will raise their hands to work at nursing homes if employment conditions were better. "Care workers are egregiously underpaid and deeply undervalued, and it's past time they receive good pay and dignity on the job," said Liz Shuler, president of the AFL-CIO, a federation of labor unions.”

Labor & Economy

Black unemployment rate in August is cautiously good news as Biden touts strong economy

September 1, 2023 | The Grio

“Fred Redmond, secretary-treasurer of AFL-CIO, the nation’s largest federation of unions, told theGrio that President Biden has taken steps to reshape the economy to be more equitable for Black Americans. “Time and time again, this president stood with working people to tackle the most pressing challenges we face, and he’s trying to create an economy that works for all of us,” Redmond said. “This president understands the inequality in this country, and he’s doing everything he can through his policies.”

Union Busting

Popular Union-Busting Tactic Banned in New York in 'Major Victory'

September 6, 2023 | Vice

“New York has banned captive audience meetings, a popular union-busting tactic used by companies during organizing periods to disseminate anti-union information. Governor Kathy Hochul signed the bill on Wednesday morning, making the state the fifth in the U.S. to make such meetings illegal.”

‘This is psychological warfare’: Starbucks workers allege anti-union firings

The Guardian | September 4, 2023

“Alicia Flores had worked at Starbucks in Portland, Oregon, for seven years until June, when she received a voicemail from a manager – filling in for her usual boss, who was taking a leave of absence – who informed her she was being fired. Flores is far from alone.”


Virginia Tech graduate students and staff are launching labor unions

September 5, 2023 | Cardinal News

“The organizing units launching at Tech have a common mission of improving workplace conditions and pay for those who work on campus. Faculty and staff will be represented by the United Campus Workers of Virginia, which has chapters at the University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University and the College of William & Mary.”

The National Labor Relations Board Just Made It Easier for Workers to Win Unions

September 5, 2023 | Jacobin

“An NLRB decision delivered late last month substantially lowers the legal hurdles to union recognition. But using that opening will require unions to build strong cultures of shop-floor solidarity in the face of employer intimidation. According to the board’s decision, an employer now faces a choice when a union, “designated” by a majority of employees, demands to bargain on their behalf.”


How a first union contract provides workers a seat at the table

September 5, 2023 | Labor Tribune

“Along with wage increases, better work-life balance, and other wins, the workers gained a real voice on the job in early August when they ratified their first contract with Kumho as members of the United Steelworkers (USW). The contract establishes a Labor-management workplace improvement committee, affording Golden and others on the front lines the means to address issues like turnover, efficiency, and quality. The agreement also mandates a joint health and safety committee, giving workers not only a say in how to properly operate and maintain equipment but also a role in developing emergency plans and input into other aspects of plant safety.”

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