Workers’ Resistance Bulletin is 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 worker mobilizations makes clear that the general crisis of imperialism will be met with greater struggle from the proletariat. 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 email@example.com.
Wisconsin Boilermakers Protest Low Pay, Attacks on Union
Over two dozen workers represented by the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers protested outside the shipbuilding company Fincantieri Marinette Marine over low pay and increasingly long hours. The workers report that their employer has been hiring non-union subcontractors and paying them more than the unionized workers. The boilermakers haven’t received a wage increase in two years, and have had a 19% increase in healthcare costs.
One worker named Matt Moses told the local affiliate of ABC news monopoly, “We’re losing union members to other jobs locally because they get paid better. A lot of people can go to the subcontracting company and get paid more. I know we’ve lost almost 200 people in the last two years.”
John Deere Workers End Strike, Approve New Contract with Concessions
Workers at John Deere approved the third contract offer after striking for over five weeks. The newly ratified contract increases wages by 10%, offers better retirement benefits, retains the same healthcare coverage without benefits, and comes with a $8,500 bonus for workers. The new contract is nearly identical to the one rejected earlier this month, excerpt for slight improvements to the bonus system when workers exceed projected output by 15% or more.
Union officials with United Auto Workers pressured members to ratify the contract by saying that the company would shift production to non-unionized factories or use scabs (replacement workers during a strike) to undercut workers, while some criticized the union for not gaining more concessions in the latest round of negotiations. A common tactic used by the union to push workers to approve the contract was claiming that if workers pushed any harder they would end up suffering for it, mirroring the threats of John Deere, which said that the newest contract was their final offer.
Kellogg’s Sues Omaha Union
Kellogg’s has filed a lawsuit against the Omaha chapter of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union for blocking entrances to the factory and preventing scabs from entering. Around 1,400 workers have been on strike at Kellogg’s cereal factories since October 5, demanding an end to the two-tier wage system, which offers new employees lower wages, poor benefits, and no pension plan. The company reports that it has brought in salaried office employees to work in the factories in addition to the scabs.
Ohio Steelworkers End Strike
Around 500 steelworkers at ArcelorMittal went back to work last week after the union membership narrowly voted to ratify a contract agreement, at 245 yes-votes to 202 no-votes. The new four-year contract increases wages, improves benefits with a reduction of healthcare costs, and guarantees workers time off.
University of California Narrowly Avoids Lecturer Strike, Meets Demands
Lecturers represented by University Council-American Federation of Teachers at University of California colleges, which represents ten campuses across the state, threatened to go on strike and cancel classes on November 17 and 18, after 91% of union members voted to strike. The university offered a new contract which increases pay by an average of 30% over five years, offers paid family leave, and strengthens job security. After an agreement was reached on the new contract, the union cancelled the strike.
Houston Kroger Workers Vote on Strike Authorization
Employees represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers at over 100 Kroger grocery stores in Houston, Texas voted to authorize a strike this week over wages, benefits, and staff levels. The vote comes one year after another strike vote at Kroger, with over 97% of members voting to reject the new contract and go on strike.
According to the workers, Kroger called the police as they voted; however, no workers were arrested. The strike authorization includes over 14,000 workers in the Houston metro area.
Reno Bus Drivers Reject ‘Last Best Offer’ Strike for Third Time in Four Months
Drivers for the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County, which encompasses the city of Reno, Nevada, are on strike for the third time since the beginning of August of this year as employees voted by a 9-1 margin to reject their private contractor’s latest offer at the bargaining table. The drivers are employed by Keolis North America, which has repeatedly made promises to the workers to meet their demands for higher pay and a more humane shift scheduling system only to renege on those promises once the workers returned to the bargaining table. After promising to meet drivers’ demands for higher wages in order to get workers to end their second strike, Keolis made a final offer in which the annual pay raise does not even keep up with current inflation rates.
Starting wages for drivers in the district are currently $17 an hour, and as one driver explained to labor news source Payday Report: “It’s sad because we drive around with these ads on our bus, these huge ads that say, ‘Go do housekeeping at Grand Sierra Resort for $20 an hour.’ I’m like, why don’t we pay $20 an hour, why are we advertising for these places?”
South Carolina Bus Drivers Strike for Better Working Conditions, Mask Mandate
Bus drivers at Berkeley County Schools in South Carolina went on strike this week to demand equal treatment and the implementation of a mask mandate on the district’s buses. Currently, while students are required to wear masks in schools, they are not required to wear them on the district’s buses. This policy gap has led many bus drivers to claim the district is treating them unfairly.
As one driver explained to local monopoly media outlet 5 WCSC, the lack of a mask mandate combined with general burnout and the pandemic has led to drivers feeling stressed and overwhelmed: “It’s really stressful for us, and we’re all starting to show the stress. We want everybody to understand we want to be safe. We want to be safe for our children. We want to be safe for us.”
North Carolina, Maryland Bus Drivers Stage Sick-out for Higher Pay
Public school bus drivers in Howard County, Maryland and Cumberland County, North Carolina both staged sick-outs this week to demand better pay in their respective districts. Drivers in those districts say they will continue to call out sick in large numbers until their demands are met by their districts’ administrations. The sick-outs in both districts caused many bus routes to be canceled. One Maryland bus driver told local monopoly news source 13 WJZ, “We had to take a stand and fight for what we feel like we need and what we deserve.”
Bus drivers throughout the country have been staging strikes and sick-outs to protest low pay and exhaustion after months of staff shortages, overwork, and pandemic stress.
Boston Museum Workers Hold One-Day Strike to Protest Stagnant Wages
Around 200 workers for the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts went on strike this Wednesday to protest stalled contract negotiations and stagnant wages at the museum. Workers allege that the museum’s management refused to make any major changes in the terms of the current contract or give a higher annual raise for workers than 1.75%. While on the picket line workers held signs with slogans such as “Ancient art, not ancient wages” and “You can’t pay rent with prestige.” Workers expressed that the strike had increased their feeling of solidarity as a staff; one worker told The Boston Globe, “This is so uplifting for us to be able to come together and show our power and have a voice.”
Kaiser Permanente and Unions Reach Tentative Agreement, Strike Put on Hold
Kaiser Permanente and the alliance of unions representing over 50,000 healthcare workers that work for them reached a tentative contract agreement this past Saturday, at least temporarily averting the strike of tens of thousands of pharmacists, technicians, nurses, and healthcare workers which was expected to occur this Monday. The tentative agreement cuts out any clauses related to a two-tier wage system for new and veteran employees, something that Kaiser attempted to implement during contract negotiations and which workers emphatically rejected. Union officials also said that the new contract would offer workers a significant raise, but did would not disclose what the final numbers on those raises were.
With many final details pending, it remains to be seen whether or not Kaiser employees will vote to approve the contract. If the contract is rejected, a strike still remains a possibility.
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