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U.K. Universities Strike Again, over Pensions, Pay, and Equity

February 26, 2020 / Steven Parfitt<?
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?>Tens of thousands of academic staff at more than 60 British universities are striking for the third time in two years.
The strike began February 20; it was called by the University and College Union (UCU), which represents academics, librarians, technicians, and other professional support staff.
Unless university managers return to the negotiating table, the strike is projected to run for 14 days over four weeks—two days the first week, three the second, four the third, and five the fourth. Up to a million students will see their studies disrupted.

There’s only one living member of Congress who’s ever been invited to speak at a Labor Notes Conference (or for that matter, subscribed to this magazine), and he’s currently leading the polls for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Then-Congressman Bernie Sanders opened the 1993 Labor Notes Conference with his proposed “Workers’ Bill of Rights” to raise the minimum wage, shorten working hours with no loss in pay, divert military spending to create civilian jobs, facilitate union organizing, and create a single-payer health care system.

Women Confront Ugly Harassment at Beauty Products Plant

February 21, 2020 / Bianca Cunningham<?
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?>At a lotion factory outside Chicago, workers endured years of sexual harassment, coercion, gender and racial discrimination, and unsafe working conditions.
Last year the women at Voyant Beauty came together to fight back.
The workers at Voyant are overwhelmingly female, and almost all long-term temps. They blend, bottle, pack, and ship beauty products for brands like Victoria’s Secret, Johnson & Johnson, and Aveeno.
BLACK WORKERS SHUT OUT
Before the organizing came a hiring discrimination lawsuit, filed in 2012.

Twin Cities Janitors and Guards Feature Climate and Housing in Their Strike Demands

February 20, 2020 / Steve Payne<?
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?>Update: Local 26 announced today that it will call a one-day strike next week by its 4,000 members who clean commercial office buildings. Earlier this week, the union reached a tentative agreement on a four-year contract covering 2,000 security officers, with raises of 14 percent.—Eds.
“Twin Cities janitors and security officers vote to authorize strike over pay and sick leave,” read the headline in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

We have good news and bad news.
The good news is that locals representing more than 60,000 Auto Workers (UAW) members have passed the Article 8 resolution calling for a special convention to amend our union constitution and mandate the direct election of top officers. It’s pretty astonishing to see just how quickly momentum built for this effort.
UAW Local 774 was the first local to pass the resolution, on November 22. Over the next four months, 25 more locals passed it, taking a bold step together to demand union democracy.

Steward's Corner: What to Do When Your Union Leaders Break Your Heart

February 14, 2020 / Ellen David Friedman<?
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?>If you’re a union member, unfortunately the chances are good that you’ve had, or will have, your heart broken at least once by one of your own leaders.
Maybe it happened when you first tried to get active in your union, but found that leaders didn’t welcome you into their inner circle. You wondered whether there was some special skill you lacked, and you ended up confused and self-doubting. Maybe you just gave up.

Viewpoint: Employment-Based Health Care Is an Anchor around the Neck of the U.S. Working Class

February 14, 2020 / Mark Dudzic<?
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?>Last June at the House Ways and Means Committee Hearing on Medicare for All, Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas lamented, “That great health care plan that your union negotiated for you? It’s gone. Banned under Medicare for All.”
A right-wing congressman with a 7 percent lifetime voting score from the AFL-CIO crying crocodile tears for union health care plans can easily be dismissed as just another absurdity of America’s political dysfunction.

Officials in the Auto Workers (UAW) have been working arm in arm with the Big Three automakers since the 1980s to increase productivity. So perhaps it was inevitable that union officials’ hands would find their way into the employers’ deep pockets.
Now some UAW officials and corporate executives are behind bars. A federal investigation has revealed that Fiat-Chrysler (FCA) funneled millions of dollars into the UAW.

University of California President Janet Napolitano proudly touted her opposition to Trump’s racist immigration policies before he even moved into the Oval Office. Now she’s following in Trump’s footsteps, threatening international students with actions that could lead to their deportation in an attempt to smash a wildcat strike at the university’s Santa Cruz campus.

Facing Skyrocketing Rents, Santa Cruz Grad Students Extend Wildcat Strike

February 07, 2020 / Yulia Gilich and Tony Boardman<?
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?>Protesting low wages in one of the most unaffordable cities in the country, graduate students at the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC) went on a wildcat grading strike in December and are now organizing for a full strike, beginning February 10.
Graduate student workers at the 10 UC campuses across the state receive the same wages—$2,434 a month, which after taxes amounts to just over $18,000 a year, given that we are only paid for nine months.