Biden expected to usher in an era of worker-friendly labor policies
Labor activists eager to capitalize on the pro-worker sentiment fueled by the pandemic will soon have a friend in the White House.President-elect Joe Biden is expected to push to make it easier for workers to unionize and hold employers accountable for working conditions, a sharp U-turn from the business-friendly employment policies pursued by President Donald Trump.Among the most immediate changes will be new leadership at the National Labor Relations Board and Department of Labor, the latter of which is currently helmed by Eugene Scalia, a former corporate attorney who has been criticized by...
Stranded at sea: Crew members weigh COVID-19 trauma as they decide whether to return
Princess Cruises crew member Gan Sungaralingum has spent the last two months taking care of his elderly parents, eating home-cooked meals, and doing what he loves most: walking on the beach near his home in Mauritius. But instead of returning to his position as an onboard watch salesman after a few months of rest at home, he’s leaving the industry.“Maybe I’ll come back as a passenger, but not as a crew,” he said. He’s been a crew member with several cruise lines since 2014.Sungaralingum is part of a growing number of cruise ship workers who say they will not be returning to their posts when cr...
Commentary: Valuing cleaners during a pandemic
It’s become cliché to say that COVID-19 has changed everything. The way we relate to each other, how we shop, where we eat.But as a lifelong trade unionist who has spent decades negotiating contracts on behalf of factory workers, truck drivers, nurses and cleaners, I can tell you one thing that hasn’t changed — when workers join together in unions, everybody wins.We are seeing this very clearly in the cleaning sector. Cleaners across the world have long been underpaid, unappreciated and undervalued. But now they have found a renewed sense of pride and determination to claim their rightful titl...
Tribune News Service
Philadelphia progressives fought to elect a candidate they didn't like. They're already organizing to move Biden left
PHILADELPHIA — Dyresha Harris, an environmental activist from West Philly, spent the last month texting and calling Black, low-income and young Philadelphians, encouraging them to vote — all for Joe Biden, a candidate who was far from her first choice.Black women like her, she said, do a disproportionate amount of urban organizing that gets Democrats elected — with not enough in return.“There is a fatigue with going to battle for folks who it doesn’t feel like are going to battle for you,” said Harris, 39, a volunteer with Philly Thrive, a progressive environmental activist group. She wants to...
The Philadelphia Inquirer
How California's history was shaped by Larry Itliong and other Filipino Americans
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Larry Itliong was one of the most important Filipino American activists and a founding figure in the California labor movement. Yet his influence on the Central Valley is one that often gets lost in popular retellings of California history.“Honestly, people didn’t want to learn about him,” said Marie Mallare-Jimenez, professor of ethnic studies at California State University, Sacramento.Many know who Cesar Chavez is and have heard of the United Farm Workers union that he headed. What many are less familiar with is that it was actually Itliong who reached out to Chavez to c...
The Sacramento Bee
Canadian autoworkers ratify contract with General Motors; Oshawa Assembly to reopen
Canadian autoworkers have approved a new three-year contract with General Motors that will reopen a key plant to produce light and heavy duty pickups.Unifor, the union representing those workers, announced Monday that the contract had been passed on an 85% vote.Jerry Dias, Unifor National president, cheered the results.“This contract solidifies and boldly builds on GM’s Canadian footprint, with a $1.3 billion dollar investment that brings 1,700 jobs to Oshawa plus more than $109 million to in-source new transmission work for the Corvette and support continued V-8 engine production in St. Catha...
Detroit Free Press
Delta pilots union reaches deal to avoid furloughs
ATLANTA — The pilots union at Delta Air Lines said it has reached an agreement in principle with the company to avoid furloughs for more than a year.The deal would allow Delta to reduce pilots’ guaranteed pay by 5%.In exchange, the company would agree not to furlough pilots until Jan. 1, 2022. However, the 1,941 pilots that would have been furloughed would get roughly 1/3 of regular pay while not working.The two sides had been working to reach a deal before a Nov. 1 deadline, when those pilots would have been furloughed.The Air Line Pilots Association at Delta said it had “diligently sought cr...
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Ford wage, benefits fuel union buzz at Honda, Toyota, says Canadian autoworkers leader
Jerry Dias has his eye on Honda and Toyota now.The president of Unifor, the union representing Detroit Three autoworkers in Canada, said contract talks with Ford Motor Co. went so well that nonunion workers have begun making inquiries, wondering if the time has come to join.The Ford deal announced Sept. 28 included a $1.5 billion (U.S.) investment to bring battery-electric vehicle production to Oakville Assembly near Toronto and a new engine derivative to Windsor. The agreement was a massive negotiation among government, company and union officials. And the wages set a pattern for the other au...
Detroit Free Press
Fiat Chrysler, Canadian autoworkers union reach tentative contract deal
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Unifor, the union representing FCA’s approximately 9,000 Canadian autoworkers, have reached a tentative contract deal, averting a possible strike late Wednesday.With only minutes to go before the 11:59 p.m. strike deadline, Unifor announced that a deal had been reached.No details were provided, but the company confirmed a tentative deal had been reached and said details would be provided at a later date.The negotiations with FCA followed successful contract talks between Ford and the union last month. General Motors is set to be the third company to negotiate in t...
Detroit Free Press
With Florida's hotel workers still jobless, unions pivot to canvass for Democrats
MIAMI — Before the coronavirus pandemic, Ketty Toussaint Rene kept her hands busy every day working the same way she had for three years scrubbing dishes at the largest hotel in Miami-Dade County for a little more than $13 an hour. Now, she says her knuckles are so sore from knocking on doors that she has resorted to carrying around a 2-inch white piece of stone she found at home to do the knocking for her.Toussaint Rene is one of thousands of the state’s hospitality workers who were laid off in March when the pandemic decimated South Florida’s hotel industry, leaving a majority of minimum wag...