Workers’ Resistance Bulletin: September 24

Workers’ Resistance Bulletin is a new feature by Tribune of the People to provide an overview of workers’ resistance, as well as the repression of workers, taking place all across the US, from small workplaces to large factories. The growing wave of workers’ mobilizations makes clear that the general crisis of imperialism will be met with greater struggle from the proletariat. The Bulletin will still be supplemented with in-depth coverage of workers’ struggles and our worker correspondent pieces. If you have a tip or suggestion for worker coverage, or you are a worker interested in becoming a worker correspondent, please reach out to us at  tribuneofthepeople@protonmail.com.

Nabisco Strike Ends after Combative Weeks at the Picket Lines

The month-long, multi-state strike of Nabisco workers ended on September 20, with the acceptance of a new contract. Striking workers demanded that Nabisco change their scheduling policy and retract a proposed removal of overtime pay for shifts on Saturdays and Sundays. The full details of the new four-year contract are not publicly available at the time of publication.

Nabisco strikers and supporters blocking vehicles transporting scabs (Source: KATU)

The strike saw wide support, and workers displayed resolve to defend their picket lines, particularly in Portland, where a majority of workers also voted to reject the new contract. In northeast Portland, workers and protesters at the Nabisco plant clashed with scab replacement workers on Wednesday, September 15. Scuffles erupted as striking workers and supportive community members prevented vehicles carrying scabs from breaking through the picket lines. Eventually, Nabisco deployed security guards to attack and break up the group, allowing the scabs to pass.

Understaffed Restaurant Workers Walk Out at Phoenix Airport

On September 15, dozens of restaurant workers walked off their jobs to protest understaffing at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport. The restaurant workers, organized by Unite Here, reported that since the beginning of the pandemic they’ve been struggling with severe understaffing issues, and that the workers that remain are often overworked to cover the gaps in service.

While the strike only lasted one day, one worker told local monopoly media about the sentiments behind the decision to strike: “We’re sick and tired of talking to managers and telling them all these things, and for them to only say, ‘We know. We know. We’re trying our best.’ Like, your best isn’t good enough.”

Striking Teamsters Expand Charges against United Metro Energy in New York

Members of Teamsters Local 533 in New York, on strike for nearly 160 days as of writing, filed National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) charges against United Metro Energy after nearly eight workers have been illegally replaced during the ongoing strike. The workers, who supply New York City with heating oil, diesel, and gas, are significantly underpaid compared to workers in similar positions at other companies and say they will remain on strike until their demands for wage increases are met.

United Metro Energy is owned by capitalist and real estate mogul John Catsimatidis, who, as of 2021, has a net worth of $2.8 billion, according to Forbes.

Striking Teachers in New Bethlehem, Pennsylvania Threatened with Fines

Teachers with the Redbank School District in New Bethlehem, Pennsylvania went on strike on September 13. Teachers in the district have been working without a contract for two and a half years as negotiations have stalled between the Redbank Valley Education Association (RVEA) and local district administration. The strikes of educators in public schools are heavily regulated, and while not illegal in Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Department of Education announced that if the strike lasts past November 3 it will be declared illegal and the RVEA fined and punished.

Kentucky Bourbon Makers Go on Strike

Source: UFCU Local 23D

On September 11, 420 workers at the Heaven Hill distillery, which produces Elijah Craig and Evan Williams bourbon, went on strike. The workers, represented by United Food and Commercial Workers Local 23D, voted to reject the company’s five-year contract, which required the workers to work seven days a week with no overtime, decreased pay, and an increased cost for healthcare. The workers have been picketing for over a week, and have received community support. Mike Corbitt, a striking worker, told media outlet Salon: “We want to get back to work, but we’re determined to strike as long as it takes.”

In Northwest Carpenters StrikeUnion Limits Participation

Source: Northwest Carpenters Union

On September 16, members of the Northwest Carpenters Union rejected a contract deal and went on strike. This was the fourth time the workers voted down a proposed contract, despite being pressured by union leaders to accept. The most recent contract failed to increase wages sufficiently to meet the rising cost of living and did not include reimbursements to cover expensive parking fees for workers, among other grievances.

The Northwest Carpenters Union represents 11,600 carpenters in Washington State; however only certain carpenters have been authorized to strike. Although carpenters at many job sites are officially disallowed from joining the strike due to no-strike clauses in the contracts, there are reports of wildcat strikes (strikes not authorized by the union) around the state.

Walmart Hairstylists Walk Out and Quit

Source: Olean Times-Herald

On September 14, the entire staff of the SmartStyle Hair Salon at a Walmart in Allegany, New York walked out and quit their jobs together. The staff locked the doors and put up a poster stating, “We Out.” “We love our people” was also written on the poster, along with information where customers could find the stylists working next. Staff member Diana Roth told the Olean Times Herald: “The last nine months especially has been fairly taxing with us having had a limited staff and no support from the higher-ups.”

Teamsters Fire Shop Steward for Wildcat Strike in Georgia

On September 3 in Georgia, 54 Savannah-Chatham County Public School System bus drivers went on a wildcat strike in response to low pay, inadequate retirement benefits, poor communication from the school district, and unsafe working conditions. The strike was not sanctioned by the Teamsters Union, which punished shop steward Kendrick Banks for participating in the action. Banks and several other drivers resigned from the union, and Banks was later fired for organizing the strike.

Banks told the local NBC affiliate, “I will continue to be an advocate everywhere that I go because the families of Chatham County deserve better than what’s being offered to them right now. This fight is so much more than just about me, but it’s about families and the employees that work.”

Walkout at McDonald’s in Bradford, Pennsylvania

The entire weekend morning shift staff at the Bradford, Pennsylvania McDonald’s walked off the job on September 7, protesting low wages, staffing shortages, and poor building maintenance. A former employee told the Bradford Era: “This is not the first incident of employees walking out of the Bradford store due to issues with executive management.”

Birmingham Nurses Protest

University of Alabama-Birmingham Hospital (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

On September 6, 24 night shift nurses and hospital staff from the University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB) hospital refused to clock in and protested outside the hospital in response to the long hours and low pay they have been forced to endure during the COVID-19 pandemic.

One emergency room nurse told the local NBC affiliate, “We love what we do, we love our patients, and we to continue to fight for and care for our patients, but we want to be equally compensated and treated correctly while we sit over here and save all the lives that we do.”

Buffalo Nurses Vote To Strike

Nurses and hospital staff at Catholic Health’s Mercy Hospital of Buffalo voted to strike on September 9, in a near-unanimous decision. In an official statement, Communications Workers of America Local 1333 cited severe staffing problems, pay cuts, and benefit cuts as the motivating factors for the vote to strike. The nurses and hospital staff are demanding a fair contract for all three hospitals represented by the union in Buffalo as well as a common expiration date, so that all the workers can strengthen collective bargaining in the future.

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