Workers’ Resistance Bulletin: January 7

Photo credit: Twitter @unionadvocate

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 tribuneofthepeople@protonmail.com.


Massachusetts Nurses Approve New Contract, Officially End 301-Day Strike

Striking nurses at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts overwhelmingly ratified their new contract by a vote of 487 to 9 this Monday, formally ending their over-nine-month strike. By the time the nurses voted to ratify the contract, the strike had become the longest in Massachusetts history, and the longest in the United States in over 15 years. The new contract includes a lower staffing ratio of four patients to one nurse in the majority of units in the hospital, as well as a 2% pay raise and limits on the ability to cancel nurses’ shifts once they have already arrived at the hospital. In an interview with local public radio station WBUR, one nurse said of the strike, “This is an enormous victory for our patients and our members, and it is a testament to the grit and determination of every nurse who walked that line, day in and day out.”

Photo credit: Twitter @SW_Columbia

Chicago Schools Closed as Mayor Lori Lightfoot Refuses to Recognize Union Vote

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) remained completely closed for the third day on Friday as Mayor Lori Lightfoot continues to reject Chicago teachers’ demand to either move to online learning or increase COVID-19 safeguards in Chicago schools. The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) voted 73% on Wednesday to approve a resolution demanding that the school system move to remote learning for up to two weeks or until the district meet the COVID public health metrics agreed upon by the union and CPS for in-person learning back in February 2021. The approved resolution follows data that came out on Tuesday showing the highest number of positive COVID-19 test results since the pandemic began.

Mayor Lightfoot, a Democrat, was initially hailed as a ‘progressive’ by political commentators when she first entered the Chicago mayor’s race. Since she took office, Lightfoot has repeatedly clashed with the teachers’ union, including when she rejected the majority of CTU’s contract demands back in 2019, a position which eventually led to a 14-day strike. Lightfoot’s office originally expressed the hope that a large number of teachers would break with the CTU resolution and return to school. This has not occurred on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday, even as Lightfoot refuses to pay the teachers who are at home in compliance with the union resolution.

Columbia Graduate Students’ Strike Enters Tenth Week Despite University Threats, Retaliation

A strike by Columbia graduate students has entered its tenth week this Wednesday as the student workers refused to bend to Columbia University’s stubbornness and stonewalling. The graduate students first went on strike for almost two months this past spring in order to demand higher pay and greater benefits from the university. The strike fell apart in May when students voted to reject the contract that had been approved by union leadership and called for more negotiations and a continued strike. Rather than work to continue negotiations, the entire upper union leadership resigned, causing organizational chaos and an eventual end to the strike.

Under new leadership, the union voted once more to go on “indefinite strike” this past November as the university continued to deny their demands for greater pay and benefits. Since this second strike began, university retaliation has escalated drastically, with the university threatening to replace all striking student workers unilaterally unless they end their strike. When describing the conditions that led to the strike, one graduate student told foreign monopoly news outlet The Guardian: “Columbia University operates like these early 20th century company towns. For example, I live in an apartment that is owned by Columbia, so the university is also my landlord. They are the source of my health insurance, the source of my job, the source of my academic progress.”

Photo credit: Twitter @Edforboston

Ramsey County Workers Hold Picket outside County Courthouse

Last week, approximately 200 county workers from five union locals in the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), representing 2,300 workers in the St. Paul, Minnesota area, held an informational picket outside the Ramsey County Courthouse. The goal of the picket was to inform the public about proposed wage freezes, progression freezes (automatic raises over a specified time period), and increase health care costs for county workers.

During the picket, workers chanted, “Who does the work? We do!” Just two days later, the county offered a tentative agreement with the union which, according to the AFSCME, includes wage increases, bonus pay, and no increase in health care costs.

Apple Workers Call Out on Christmas Eve

Approximately 50 workers at Apple retail stores across three states called out or walked off the job on Christmas Eve, demanding hazard pay and paid sick time. The walkout was organized by a group of current and former Apple employees known as Apple Together. They represent a growing number of Apple workers who have criticized the monopoly corporation for issues including forcing employees to work while sick during the COVID-19 pandemic, sexual harassment, and low pay.

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