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Nurses in the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina filed a petition in March to form a union with National Nurses United. Roughly 1,600 nurses are expected to be eligible to vote.
Despite the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and a relentless union-busting campaign that has delayed the election, nurses at Mission Hospital in Asheville say they are on the brink of a historic labor victory in the country’s second least unionized state.

When the Orlando Sentinel’s newsroom employees won our election in May with 81 percent voting for The NewsGuild, the organizing committee had not seen our co-workers in person for nearly two months. The election was conducted entirely by mail. Supporters watched the vote count at the National Labor Relations Board’s Tampa office by videoconference.
Yet we were confident of victory because over two years, we had laid a solid foundation for the union.

One reason today's horrific recession feels so familiar is that we're still digging out of the last one. When the housing market collapsed in 2008, 10 million people lost their homes and 9 million lost their jobs. The poverty rate went up and has stayed up even when unemployment fell to record lows.

Workers this spring were forced to find new ways to assert their rights when faced with a deadly foe and employers indifferent to their lives.
Sometimes they resorted to the oldest trick in labor's book, the strike, especially wildcat strikes early on in the pandemic, and especially non-union workers. Sometimes they were forced to organize and protest virtually, making the most of social media. And the car caravan was reborn as an appropriately distanced tactic.

Jerome Miller had always wanted to be the guy he needed when he was growing up. Refusing to believe that he was a product of his environment, Jerome took his experience of growing up in a city in disarray, and used it as a learning, and teaching opportunity.
Jerome joined the IBEW as a 20-year kid simply looking for a summer job. Little did he know how very much of an impact it would have on his life, and the lives of others.
Jerome was a journeyman for 11 years before he started teaching part-time. His passion for molding and mentoring young minds was apparent in the way he interacted with his students, inspiring them to try harder, dig deeper and discover what their purpose was.
“He has that thing that you just can’t put your finger on,” said David Springham, Journeyman and Training Coordinator for Local IBEW 24. “It’s that x-factor; he just genuinely loves it.”
So much so in fact, that when offered another position as an assistant business manager, Jerome turned it down. His heart belonged in the classroom, with his students.
“There are so many people who probably grew up in East Baltimore who know Jerome, who see Jerome, and when they think of...

A video taken by an auto worker and obtained exclusively by Labor Notes shows a rowdy and chaotic scene inside Ford’s Dearborn, Michigan Truck Plant on Wednesday as workers refused to work after a co-worker tested positive for COVID-19.
Some stood by the lines; others simply went home.

Read more here about the crisis in the postal service.

Can We Save the Postal Service?

May 22, 2020 / Alexandra BradburyThe U.S. Postal Service is in deep trouble. The postal Board of Governors has asked Congress for $75 billion to keep the agency afloat; without it, the outgoing Postmaster General said, USPS could “run out of cash” by September.
A big drop in letters during the emergency shutdown has intensified the budget crunch, but the underlying crisis predates the pandemic. The good news is, the problem is mostly artificial—Congress created it with the stroke of a pen, and could fix it the same way. If it wanted to.

Follow the Money: Employers Are Behind the Rush to Reopen

May 21, 2020 / Chris BrooksThe federal government squandered the time the states spent in lockdown. We still face a national shortage of COVID-19 test kits and PPE and there is no nationwide testing or contact tracing program. The United States has 4 percent of the world’s population, but about a third of the world’s coronavirus cases.

What will happen to all the people who catch the coronavirus but never get a positive test? As states gear up to send workers back to work, the number of infections will skyrocket. We are going to need a whole new layer of protection for workers who are scarred by this virus but who cannot document its presence in their bodies.