Weekly Labor Reader, June 09, 2019

Support Macy's Cosmeticians - Rally WED JULY 10th and Petition

On Wednesday July 10th, Community groups, union members, family and friends will be joining forces again to encourage workers currently being attacked by Macy's at the Downtown Crossing store.

Macy's is using anti-union tactics to discourage these brave workers ever since they decided to join the UFCW Local 1445 union. Workers will be voting to be represented by Local 1445 on July 19th! Join to us to help them say UNION YES and no to the anti-union propaganda coming from Macy's.

Support Vineyard Transit Drivers' Strike Fund

Martha's Vineyard bus drivers have been on strike since June 28 after their out-of-state employer, TCI, and the agency that contracts with them, the VTA, decided to prematurely walk away from negotiations.

The striking bus drivers are struggling to buy groceries, pay their bills and provide for their families. You can help them by contributing to the Martha's Vineyard bus drivers strike fund today.

Transit Connection Inc., the private company that operates the public bus system, has hired non-union drivers while it attempts to resolve the long running contract dispute with the Amalgamated Transit Union. For strike updates, click here.

Join the picket line at three locations, every day:
  • The Oak Bluffs Port Authority (1 Seaview Ave, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557)
    • 9 AM to 1 PM
  • The Vineyard Haven Port Authority (1 Water St, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568)
    • 8 AM to 12 PM
  • Edgartown – Church Street bus lineup (as buses line up the length of Church St.)
    • 2 PM to 6 PM

Freedom to Join Bill on Baker's Desk

Last week the House and Senate reconciled and enacted H.3854, the Freedom to Join bill, which ensures that Massachusetts unions will have the tools necessary to effectively communicate with members, and workers will have the freedom to join with their coworkers to collectively negotiate for a better quality of life.
The bill now sits on the Governor Baker’s desk. The Governor has the options to sign, veto, recommend amendments, or allow to become law without his signature, and we have urged him to sign the bill into law with no amendments so that we can secure a level playing field in Massachusetts after the Supreme Court’s 5-4, politically motivated Janus decision last year.

Announcing Union Member Candidate School

Support for union members running for elected office is a top priority for the Massachusetts AFL-CIO and our affiliates. We know that when our members run on a platform of working people’s values and receive unified support from the labor movement, we will win. The Massachusetts AFL-CIO and its Executive Board are establishing a union candidate school to train our members to run for elected office from the local/municipal level all the way up to statewide/federal office.
Our first session will be held on Saturday December 7th, 9am-2pm. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. The training will be free of charge and participants will be given materials to use as a reference for campaign purposes.

Learn more and register here.

CEO Paywatch

According to the newly released AFL-CIO Executive Paywatch report, 287 to 1 was the average S&P 500 CEO-to-worker pay ratio last year.
It couldn’t be more clear that there’s an inequitable share of power in our economy. This imbalance between the pay of CEOs and working people continues to be a critical problem. And it hasn’t been getting better—in the report, we found not only a massive gap between worker and CEO pay, but that the Trump administration’s tax law further benefits executives and Big Business.

If you haven’t already, check out this year’s Executive Paywatch to learn more.

Introducing the Organizing School!

We are excited to share that our allies, Community Labor United and New England United for Justice, are launching an Organizing School that will kick off this summer.

Wage Theft in the News

“The problem of wage theft is largely one that remains under the surface because so many cases go unreported, unresolved, or take years to reach a resolution. All the while, workers are unable to pay their bills or make ends meet,” Drinkwater said.
The AFL-CIO estimates that $700 million is stolen in wage theft in Massachusetts each year. The attorney general’s office, whose Fair Labor Division enforces wage and hour violations, assessed $9.6 million in restitution and penalties in fiscal year 2018.

Employees Of Iron Horse Entertainment Group Planning Legal Action Over Alleged Wage Theft

A workers' rights activist says about a dozen current and former employees of Northampton, Massachusetts, music venues are planning to take legal action over wage theft.

Workers for the Iron Horse Entertainment Group, or IHEG, recently met with legal counsel to try to recover what they say are unpaid wages.
That's according to Rose Bookbinder, an organizer with the Pioneer Valley Workers Center.
"We're exploring a few different options," she said. "One being folks filing individually, another being a class action lawsuit, and determining whether doing this with a private attorney or through the attorney general's office. But we definitely will be moving ahead with a claim."

Learn more about wage theft and take action here.

Employee Activism Is Alive in Tech. It Stops Short of Organizing Unions

Tech workers at Silicon Valley’s largest companies have engaged in an unusual degree of activism over the past few years — and it has gotten results. At Google, employees have written letters and signed petitions to force their leaders to address issues such as how artificial intelligence is used in products. Last November, 20,000 Google employees staged a walkout to protest the firm’s handling of sexual harassment, leading to new company policies. Workers at Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and Salesforce have also pushed for various changes.
But the failed unionization effort at NPM shows the obstacles to employee activism in the tech industry, and how moving from speaking out for change to collective bargaining so far remains a distant prospect.

Read more from the New York Times here.

July 10: Rally to Support Macy's Cosmeticians - Downtown Boston

July 10: Building Trades Futures (rotating locations)

July 18: SEIU 888 Rally to Support Public Defenders at the State House, Boston

July 22: Free wage theft legal clinic sponsored by MA Attorney General's Office, Boston

August 6: Boston Tradeswomen Tuesday

August 12: Harbor Cruise Greater Southeastern MA Labor Council

August 18: Building Trades Futures (rotating locations)

August 23: MA AFL-CIO Political & Legislative Roundtable, Dorchester

September 19: Building Pathways Awards Benefit, Boston

September 25-September 27: MA AFL-CIO Convention, Springfield

For a full list of events, visit the calendar on our website. If you have any events that you would like to be included, contact Rachael Running at [email protected]

@WorkingAmerica: The Right loves to argue that minimum wage increases would reduce the number jobs. A new study shows that's just not true. #RaiseTheWage #1u

@CaliforniaLabor: We know they can play, it's time for #EQUALPAY!! Congratulations to #USWNT on an amazing #WorldCup2019 run to the title! The CA labor movement stands in #solidarity w/ you in your fight for equal treatment. #PayThem!