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Happy May Day, everyone! On International Workers Day, as today is also referred to, we are devoting this entire newsletter to labor coverage from the OptOut news network.
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Your May Day News Roundup
The Workers Movement Takes Off
In Labor Notes, three NewsGuild organizers write about how they organized their newsrooms and how this unionization is replicating.
The American Prospect explains how working conditions in the pandemic spurred labor organizing at Starbucks.
As the pandemic went on, restrictions were eased, and more people became comfortable being around others again, the distress pay faded as mobile ordering remained, increasing the workload. In addition, Johnson noted, “we simply do not have the people to keep up with the demand.”
The CT Mirror reports that Connecticut will become the second U.S. state with a ban "captive audience" meetings, which employers use to intimidate workers and discourage them from organizing.
In New Haven, the city's second tenant union recently formed, reports New Haven Independent.
The Rational National shows us that people's attitudes are changing—for the better. In 2021, Americans supported labor unions at the highest rate since 1965. Now, the Amazon, Starbucks, and other unions drives are surely influencing the national image of labor organizing. 75% of Americans back the Amazon union push—including 71% of Trump voters aged 18-34.
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Threats to Workers
While the labor movement is picking up speed in the U.S., workers are still fighting for an eight-hour work day, the same thing they wanted when they founded May Day nearly 140 years ago.
Jacobin's Alex Press writes about the original May Day and today's ongoing struggles.
On May 3, police attacked and killed locked-out steelworkers at the McCormick Reaper Works plant — labor leaders called for a protest against the violence the following day in the city’s Haymarket Square. When a bomb was thrown into that crowd, police opened fire. The events provided a pretext for the arrest of eight anarchists, who were then convicted of murder, with four of them hanged on November 11, 1887. The Haymarket affair transformed the date into a class holiday: International Workers’ Day.
As with much of his agenda, President Joe Biden has slept on his promise to protect workers from union busting. As the president ignores Amazon's blatant union-busting tactics, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is calling on him to step it up, The Humanist Report documents.
Thursday's episode of Means Morning News featured labor issues, including Amazon escaping punishment after a deadly tornado, Bernie pushing Biden to take on union busters, and inflation's influence on meatpackers.
Meanwhile in Queens, New York, a Chipotle worker says the company fired her for her union organizing, and the SEIU has filed a complaint on her behalf with the National Labor Relations Board, reports The City.
Capital & Main reports on the plight of essential immigrant workers in California.
Also in the West, firefighters' poor pay and benefits are causing an exodus from the field. In Source New Mexico:
The American right has been working to crush unions for decades, and until now the Koch-funded movement has been largely successful. Many conservatives are openly hostile to workers, and even faux-populists like GOP Sen. Josh Hawley have been "noticeably silent," reports In These Times.
The Citations Needed podcast delves into corporate personality testing and its anti-worker aims. Listen here.
As organizers continue their work, there are many lessons to be learned from the public sector labor protests in Wisconsin in the early 2010s. The Real News and In These Times collaborated on this project.
Socialist Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant joins Status Coup to discuss how different progressive movements are responding to the successful unionization at Amazon.
The Laura Flanders Show has a segment on a labor movement in impoverished McDowell County, West Virginia, led by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).
Drawing on some of the labor movement’s earliest traditions, could this partnership between local drive and national commitment provide a model for the future?
On The Nomiki Show, independent labor reporter Kim Kelly discusses her new book, "Fight Like Hell," and the untold history of American labor.
Thanks as always for keeping up with the OptOut news network! See you soon.
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