Strikes, layoffs, raises, Name and Shame—you know the deal, baby! It’s another edition of This Week in Worker Conquests, reporting on all the labor news important to YOU, the person running out the clock on this lovely Friday! Let’s get into it.
Starbucks strike!!! Starbucks workers at over 100 stores walked out en masse on November 17 in a nationwide action they dubbed the Red Cup Rebellion. This weekend they’re doing it again, with workers across the country going on strike for the Double Down Strike. What do they want? A damn contract!!! Starbucks has still not ratified a contract with any of their 262 unionized stores.
Want to show your support? The workers ask you to please NOT purchase any Starbucks gift cards this holiday season until Starbucks begins treating their workers fairly. And if you’d like to support their cause, donations will help these folks keep fighting for fair treatment, a high tide raising all our ships. Donate to their strike fund here.
And stop by this weekend:
Friday, December 16
Madison Park: 8 am-11 am
Seattle Roastery: 12 pm-3 pm
Saturday, December 17
Madison Park: 9 am-11 am
Seattle Roastery: 12 pm-3 pm
Sunday, December 18
5th and Pike: 9 am-11 am
Seattle Roastery: 12 pm-3 pm
Starbucks puts the ‘L’ in NFL: Where’s the bottom, Howard? How low can your company go? DeMaurice Smith, Executive Director of the NFL Player’s Association, says he reached out to Starbucks to tell them to stop union-busting and Starbucks told him—the head of the NFLPA (!)—that he didn’t understand collective bargaining. If Starbucks’ goal is to eliminate all public goodwill, you’re doing great, sweetie.
@sbworkersunited DeMaurice Smith, Executive Director of the NFL Player’s Association, calls out AJ Jones, Starbucks Executive 😤😮💨 #ajjones #starbucks #NFL #NFLPA #solidarity #americanfootball ♬ original sound - SBWorkersUnited
The Musk is sour: Emerald mine heir who mocked a child for their father’s suicide and got kicked down a stairwell, who grew up to become a union-buster accused of sexual assault by an employee, Elon Musk appears to now be kicking journalists off his “free speech” platform. Which, for any journalists you might be currently reading and/or following, is very concerning!!!!!! Elon, I’d like to chat with you. Please stand in front of that stairwell and close your eyes.
Interested in learning more about this “genius”?
We broke down how Tesla's meteoric rise was actually a result of Musk scamming government programs like carbon credits. pic.twitter.com/jL3m7H9tgn— More Perfect Union (@MorePerfectUS) December 13, 2022
Twitter dealing with a sea of arbitration: BTW, Elon, good luck with your thousands of upcoming arbitration cases for those folks you thought you could lay off with impunity. In California, no less! There goes Big Bad Government again protecting the little folks. Don’t you hate it when it does that? Don’t you, Elon?
Washington Post to begin layoffs: More thrilling news from the journalism sector, in which the publisher of one of our largest papers announced layoffs and then fled the room. Outstanding. Profile in courage, this.
Today at The Washington Post town hall meeting, publisher Fred Ryan walked out, refusing to answer questions after dropping a bomb that there will be targeted layoffs. Proud of my @PostGuild colleagues for standing up and asking them anyway. pic.twitter.com/sfFeN3KHG6— Jaclyn Peiser (@jackiepeiser) December 14, 2022
NYT shamed over $150m stock buyback: Media in 2022, folks. Unionized journalists at the Old Gray Lady are negotiating for contracts that keep up with inflation, and management continues to reject their offers despite spending ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY MILLION DOLLARS on stock buybacks this year. Just incredible. Steven Greenhouse has more.
KUOW pickets again: And solidarity to the folks over at KUOW, who hit the pickets again this week to demand a fair contract for the good work they do:
Once again, we are forced to picket because @kuow and UW won’t agree to a reasonable contract. #soundstoriessoundwages #fairpay @wemakekuow pic.twitter.com/2mQtWeMD2q— Matt Martin (@matt_martin507) December 13, 2022
500 Seattle gig workers get $1.1 million back from wage thieves: Now that I’ve got you all riled up, let’s get into the Namin’ and Shamin’!!! This week popped off, with $1,094,974.85 coming back to 505 workers from the wage thieves known as Gopuff ($735,239.37), HungryPanda ($179,145.48), and Fantuan Delivery ($180,589.62). Allegations in these cases included multiple violations of PSST (Paid Sick and Safe Time) policies and the Gig Worker Premium Pay Ordinance. The three companies were also fined by the City. If you think your employer is not following labor laws, contact the Office of Labor Standards here!
Consciousness… enhance: in 2020, COVID gave us perspective on life outside of work. In 2021, workers refused to put their families at risk in dangerous working conditions. And this year, they began pulling together and unionizing. Yesterday, Vox published a recap of this year’s huge gains that workers won and a look ahead to 2023. And on Tuesday, TIME said 2023 is about to get even better.
Academic worker wins: Speaking of gains, conditions for academic workers are improving quickly, and more filings are happening each week—including USC on Wednesday. And if the win at Boston University is any indication, we’re going to see plenty more organizing on campuses in 2023.
Nationwide teacher salary minimums TK? Speaking of academia, this is a hell of an idea:
Reps. Jamaal Bowman and Frederica Wilson have introduced a bill to pay all U.S. teachers at least $60,000/year.— More Perfect Union (@MorePerfectUS) December 15, 2022
The U.S. is facing a major teaching shortage — about 45% of public schools have unfilled vacancies.
New 2023 WA labor rules to learn: Our statewide minimum wage is about to go up again, to $15.74, keeping pace with inflation, since Washington has indexed it to inflation along with 11 other smart states. But it gets even better: also rising are the salary thresholds for companies to enforce non-compete agreements or restrict your outside employment. That’s right, starting in 2023 if you’re getting paid under $116K, that non-compete agreement is null around these parts and if you want to side-hustle your way to security, that’s none of their business. Check out the full stats here.
One labor rule remains: You have to pay your damn employees. Looks like Kroger switched their payroll software and it glitched out, meaning hundreds of Washington state employees have gone weeks without a paycheck and months without agreed-upon raises. They’re suing Kroger. KIRO has more.
And a new rule from the NLRB: If companies are found by the National Labor Relations Board to have fired workers for union activity, they’ll now have to pay up. On Tuesday, the board ruled that these union-busters will now be responsible for reimbursing workers for expenses like health insurance, credit card fees, and moving costs if workers lose their housing. A big hell yeah to the NLRB on this one.
Maybe one more from Union Joe? More Perfect Union says Biden could do this One Easy Trick That Union-Busting Companies Hate:
NEW: The union-busting industry operates in near-total secrecy.— More Perfect Union (@MorePerfectUS) December 13, 2022
Anti-union firms only have to reveal when they pressure workers face-to-face. Everything else is hidden.
The Biden administration has the power to end this. All @POTUS has to do is bring back the Persuader Rule. pic.twitter.com/GZ1oGHjTKP
What else you got in that bag, Conor Claus? Looks like there’s another huge auto industry layoff coming in the Midwest—sound familiar? Bloomberg named Michelle Eisen of Starbucks Workers United and Chris Smalls of Amazon Labor Union to the Bloomberg 50. The PUMP Act, which would guarantee workers time and space to pump breast milk at work, is being held up by the airline industry. Amazon Peak is hell.
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Speaking of which: For your song of the week, I’m going to bless you with something a little different. Here’s a supercut of the hit songs from Memphis Texas Breeze, a fictional country music group that occasionally appears on Comedy Bang! Bang! Sit back and let Brantley Aldean (Drew Tarver) and Harland Haywood (Carl Tart) sing you three of the most deranged songs you’ve ever heard. That’s it for me, folks. Have a great weekend. Toot beep, beep honk, toot honk.