The election begins Monday.
The election begins Monday. RS

“Merchandise over safety:” A source at the unionizing Broadway Crossroads Trading Co. store told me a shoplifting incident partly spurred workers to organize. On January 31, the source said, a security guard on duty followed a shoplifting suspect through the store and confronted the person. The suspect allegedly brutally attacked the guard, who ended up in the hospital. The workers filed for a union election the next day, February 1. As my source put it, workers feel as if they’re “expected to prioritize merchandise over our safety.” Their election begins Monday.

Words on the worst: Amazon partnered with law enforcement to keep workers from gaining more rights. This week, the NYPD arrested three union organizers for “trespassing” at a Staten Island warehouse, even though two of them worked at that location.

In other Amazon news: This week, KUOW reported that workers at the Amazon Fresh store at 23rd and Jackson have decided to unionize. This is the first Fresh store to do so. The former head of the National Labor Relations Board reminded the outlet that workers don’t need an official union to organize: “Nothing formal is required to use the title ‘union.’ A group of workers at a workplace could decide to form their own organization and call it a union if they wish,” she said. You can just get together with a few other like-minded folks, folks!

Or even just one! At an Albertsons in Tigard, OR, two workers in the bakery section filed to unionize. Just two of ‘em. They said, "Hey, how about the two of us get together and make our lives a little better?" Worker conquests come in all sizes.

More cake at Baskin-Robbins: Here’s what a little organizing did for some other cake-makers.

I think we’d all like an extra three bucks an hour, whether it’s slingin’ sheet cakes or goin’ type-type.

Teamsters hanging tough: Concrete workers are hoping to see the fruits of their labor soon, after three months of striking. Instead of negotiating, their employers took them to court and tried to get their protests reigned in. The Seattle Times reported that King County Superior Court Commissioner Mark Hillman plans to impose “reasonable conditions” on their picketing activity to ensure safety. Though he did add: “The union has an absolute right to strike. They have an absolute right to picket. The intent of this order is to do the minimal amount that I see to keep the peace.”

That appears to be a stronger endorsement than the picketers’ own Mayor can give. In a statement to the West Seattle Blog, Mayor Harrell’s spokesperson, Jamie Housen, said that “Concrete drivers from other counties are honoring the local strike and are unavailable,” suggesting he checked in on their “availability” to cross the picket line! Interesting! In an email, Housen said the mayor's response to the blog was "purely informational," and that it was "common knowledge that concrete drivers in outside counties are honoring the strike." He added: "The mayor and staff have been in frequent contact with Teamsters throughout the work stoppage."

Teamsters Local 174 posted to their Facebook page some more details on what they allege is management’s refusal to negotiate in good faith.

And just in case you weren’t sure who the bad guys were here: During a mediation session yesterday, management laughed in the concrete truck drivers’ faces when workers offered to return to the job with a one-year extension of their current contract, according to KIRO.

Legislative bill rises from the dead: Speaking of negotiation tactics, it looks like the 100-person callout last week worked, and the bill to allow legislative workers to unionize is alive again under a new banner: HB 2124. Crazy how mass demonstrations make the impossible happen. Rich has more on this one. Reminds me of this absolute banger:

Wondering why MLB owners are fighting so hard to keep the players locked out? This breakdown by Kate Preusser at Lookout Landing helps to answer that question.

UW in the NIL game: Staying in sports, Dawg fans out there may be interested to read the profile The Seattle Times ran on Thursday about the company that will help Husky players profit off their likeness (and bring in better recruits).

Thought I wouldn’t have any Starbucks news? Joke’s on you, pal. I hid it down here! On Wednesday, Uncle Bernie held a town hall with Starbucks workers, lauding their union efforts and young people in general.

The Starbucks inside QFC on Holman Road by Carkeek Park became the fifth Seattle Starbucks to unionize.

The head of the Everett Starbucks Workers United Union announced on Twitter that they’re being investigated by Starbucks’ “ethics and compliance” team.

Starbucks lost its appeal in Mesa, Arizona! And, according to HuffPost, the company missed a crucial deadline by eight minutes! Ha!

Temp workers speak up: In another edition of This Is Why We Organize, this week The Guardian reported that companies are hiring and – OF COURSE – exploiting temp workers. Twenty-four percent of the workers reported wage theft, 71% experienced retaliation for raising workplace concerns, and – crucially – 80% said they’d be interested in joining a union to improve their conditions. Folks, the movement is happening.

And it’s sure as hell happening in Puerto Rico. Last weekend, as the Associated Press reported, workers held a general strike to protest the high cost of living and low wages (sound familiar?). The result: The governor offered a $12,000 annual pay increase to teachers, a $6,000 annual increase for firefighters, and a 30% raise for paramedics. Congratulations to those workers who took to the streets to fight for a better life. Could it happen here? Something to chew on this weekend!

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Send us to the weekend, Marc!