Oregon AFL-CIO Weekly Update: Ready to Strike
August 28, 2019
Grocery Workers: Ready to Strike
On the evening of Saturday, August 24th in Baker City, OR, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555 grocery store members concluded their strike authorization vote in the last of a total of 92 meetings that were held throughout the summer across Oregon and SW Washington, on behalf of 20,000+ affected workers.
UFCW Local 555 members have voted nearly unanimously to authorize a strike anywhere in the jurisdiction against Albertsons, Fred Meyer, QFC, and/or Safeway. Such an authorization does not automatically trigger a strike; instead, it provides the Local 555 Unity Bargaining Team with the discretion to call for a strike anywhere in UFCW Local 555’s jurisdiction at any of the aforementioned stores whenever the Team should deem such action necessary.
The next negotiation session between the Unity Bargaining Team and the employers’ negotiators will take place on Thursday, August 29th. Further updates will be released after that meeting has concluded.
Join Oregon’s union movement at Labor Day picnics across the state! Our friends at the Northwest Labor Press have a handy list of all the events happening on Monday, click here to find one nearest you.
If you’re stocking up on fixings for a cookout, please make sure you’re buying union-made in America products and goods! Click here to see a list.
Demanding Fair Pay for Women at Fred Meyer
Community members, worker advocates and women’s rights organizations delivered thousands of petition signatures to Fred Meyer’s central office last Friday in Southeast Portland to demand fair pay for women employees. The petition delivery is part of the Oregon AFL-CIO's (American Federation of Labor, Congress of Industrial Organizations) Fix the Gap campaign. The goal of the campaign is to end the wage disparity at Fred Meyer stores, where women are twice as likely to be placed onto a lower paying schedule than men.
At the petition delivery, leaders of labor and advocacy organizations spoke to participants before delivering the petition signatures:
“We are demanding Fred Meyer fix the gap today,” said Stacy Chamberlain, executive director of Oregon AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) Council 75. “As the labor movement in this community, we expect them to do better. When a worker is injured, held back or mistreated it is the responsibility of Oregon’s unions to speak up. The deliberate underpayment of women by this corporation must end.”
“Women deserve equal pay and opportunity, and that is not what is happening at Fred Meyer,” said Grayson Dempsey, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon. “No one should have to face tough decisions about which bills to pay or forgoing necessities like health care—simply because of their gender. Economic justice is a cornerstone of the fight for reproductive healthcare equity.”
Outside of Portland, community members delivered petitions to Fred Meyer stores in Bend, Eugene and Medford. To learn more about our campaign to fix the gap at Fred Meyer, please visit www.FixTheGapOregon.com.
Stagehands at Oregon Shakespeare Festival Begin Contract Negotiations
IATSE Local 154 members make the Oregon Shakespeare Festival run, and yesterday they completed their first bargaining session on their first successor contract since organizing their union!
Local 154 is asking for support during contract negotiations. Please click here to donate to help support bargaining efforts and you’ll have your choice in IATSE Local 154 swag as a thank you!
Stand Up and Be Recognized: Worker Wins
The National AFL-CIO just put out a list of worker wins from around the country! This latest roundup of wins begins with screen actors winning new contracts and includes numerous examples of working people organizing, bargaining and mobilizing for a better life.
SAG-AFTRA Signs New Agreement with Ad Agency BBH After 10-Month Strike: After a strike that lasted 10 months, SAG-AFTRA has negotiated a new contract with advertising agency BBH. The deal means BBH will provide union wages, pension and health contributions to all actors. David White, national executive director for SAG-AFTRA, said: "We are pleased to welcome BBH back to the SAG-AFTRA family. The tremendous solidarity of our entire membership is to thank for in helping bring BBH back to the table. Our members look forward to once again collaborating with BBH and providing their professional talent to create innovative, memorable and award-winning commercials."
Netflix and SAG-AFTRA Reach Deal with Significant Improvements for Actors: Netflix and SAG-AFTRA have reached a new three-year contract that includes several major improvements for actors that appear in the streaming service's movies and shows. The new agreement treats voice-over and motion capture the same as other actors. The contract also includes better residuals from theatrical releases, creates new protections against harassment, sets new overtime rules for stunt performers and other gains.
Workers at Spot Coffee in Buffalo Become Among the First Baristas to Unionize: Baristas at Spott Coffee in Buffalo have voted to form a union, making them among the first baristas in the country to seek to organize a union. Jaz Brisack, the lead organizer for Workers United, which helped organize the campaign, said: "It's really a relatively new thing to organize baristas, so this is a very groundbreaking campaign and it's really significant. 'I think that it will empower people to realize what's possible. Other places will say, 'If the Spot workers can do it, why can't we?'"
San Diego Unified School District Employees Join AFSA: Principals, vice principals, school police supervisors, operations managers, education, food and transportation supervisors voted to join the American Federation of School Administrators (AFSA). AFSA President Ernest Logan said: "This is a new day for the San Diego Unified School District. The [Administration Association of San Diego City Schools] affiliation is a milestone for the union that will give a stronger voice—locally, statewide and nationally—to school leaders in San Diego Unified. This new power will enhance their ability to deliver a better education to the children of this community."
NLRB Finds Firings of Five IAM Members at Boeing in South Carolina Unjust: A group of flight line inspectors and technicians voted overwhelmingly to be represented by the Machinists (IAM) in 2018, but the company has fought back against the organizing campaign. A National Labor Relations Board regional director found that the firings of five employees at the 787 Dreamliner facility in North Charleston were unlawful acts of retaliation against union supporters. IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. said: "This ruling is a landmark first step to victory for workers at Boeing South Carolina. Boeing has continuously and systematically ignored the law and trampled on the rights of its own employees in South Carolina. We call on Boeing to immediately reinstate our members, sit down now to negotiate a contract with its Flight Line employees, end its scorched-earth anti-union campaign and get back to the business of working with the IAM and our members to build aircraft. Now is not the time for Boeing to be abusing its safety rules to harass and fire experienced and skilled workers who are critical to the safety of Boeing airplanes."
Machinists Reach Deal with General Electric to Avoid Strike: More than 1,250 IAM members in Ohio and Wisconsin will not be going on strike after a new contract with General Electric was agreed to. President Martinez said: "Our negotiating committee worked tirelessly to secure a tentative agreement that reflects the importance of our members' role in making GE the company it is today. The voices of our membership have been heard in every step of this process."
Martha's Vineyard Bus Drivers Win First Contract After Strike: Bus drivers represented by Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) won their first-ever contract after a month long strike during tourist season. The drivers are contracted with Transit Connection to work for the Vineyard Transit Authority. The new contract provides pay increases and seniority protections. Driver Richard Townes said: "This is a historical day for VTA drivers and a great day for the island. We can now better provide for our families, our jobs are more secure, and we can get back to safely transporting our riders, friends and allies, whose support on the picket lines and year-round was critical in achieving this fair contract."
ACLU of Maryland Staff Join OPEIU: Staffers at the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland voted for representation by Office and Professional Employees (OPEIU) Local 2. Justin Nalley, an education policy analyst, said: "We are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to negotiate a workplace that is fair and equitable for all staff. The staff of the ACLU of Maryland take exercising our rights as employees as seriously as the work we produce on behalf of our clients, Maryland residents and the broader ACLU of Maryland family. We hope the ACLU of Maryland will hold itself to the same values we use to fight for our civil liberties every day and apply those values to our internal workplace reform. While it is unfortunate the unionization process was met with increased distrust on the management side and has taken nearly half a year after asking for voluntary recognition, we expect the contract negotiation to be more efficient and collaborative as we all share the same goals."
BuzzFeed Voluntarily Recognizes Employee Union After Walkout: After months of negotiations and a walkout, BuzzFeed has finally agreed to voluntarily recognize the union employees have fought for. The employees walked off the job in order to gain union recognition and improvements to management, pay inequality and job security. In a release, the union said: "We’re excited to share that we have reached a voluntary recognition agreement with BuzzFeed. On Tuesday, a third party will conduct a card-check. Once that’s completed, our union will be certified. And we can’t wait to celebrate our victory once it’s official!”
Committee to Protect Journalists Staff Join Writers Guild of America, East: After more than 90% of the staff signed union authorization cards, the staff at the Committee to Protect Journalists have joined the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE). Natalie Southwick, who works as the program coordinator for Central and South America for CPJ, said: "We’ve grown a lot as an organization over the last four to five years, and that means that practices that were in place when our organization was half this big are no longer necessarily the ones that make sense for our current size and goals. CPJ’s growth has also made it more difficult to maintain consistency across the organization in terms of opportunities, policies and accountability. We wanted to make sure we were taking proactive steps to ensure this is a positive workplace for everyone as we continue to grow."
California Grocery Store Workers Secure Contract: United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 8-Golden State has negotiated a new contract with Safeway and Vons. About the deal, UFCW 8-Golden State President Jacques Loveall said: "At the bargaining table we were able to build on the key achievements of decades of union solidarity. This contract is one of our best ever, a big ‘win’ for union members."