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Restaurant workers in Nashville are experimenting with new forms of organizing in response to years of management abuse and the new threat of COVID-19.
In early March, just as the pandemic was looming on the horizon, but before any government-mandated shutdowns, a chef in the city’s rapidly growing restaurant industry started a Facebook page called “Nashville Hospitality Union.” Soon more than 1,000 restaurant workers had joined the page.

Return of the Lockout: Uber and Lyft Try to Strong-Arm California

September 23, 2020 / Nelson LichtensteinIn August a California court ordered Uber and Lyft to reclassify more than 100,000 drivers as regular employees. The two companies, which depend on a business model that defines drivers as independent contractors, got the decision lifted for at least a few months.
But in the meantime their threat to shut down operations in California—and thereby fire thousands of drivers while ending service to millions of customers—raises the question: What do we call this extraordinary corporate stratagem? A public relations gambit? A pressure tactic? Blackmail? A capital strike?

Outside the gates of Brooklyn’s P.S. 139 hung a poster with a report card for the Department of Education. Teachers frustrated with the ever-evolving plan to reopen schools had issued the DOE the following grades:
Timely submission of directives? F
Using data to drive decisions? F
Keeping stakeholders prepared and informed? F
Wasting time, energy, resources, driving us crazy? A+.

School and Campus Workers Say: Not Until It's Safe

September 18, 2020 / Alexandra BradburyThe push to reopen schools and campuses is hitting educators with a brutal fact: your employer will place you in deadly danger for the sake of the economy.
You knew this already if you worked in a meatpacking plant, an Amazon warehouse, or a construction site. But until 2020 you didn’t think a school or university job might kill you.

Labor Notes is pleased to present a series of free webinars taught by veteran Boston labor lawyer Robert M. Schwartz.
This webinar, held on September 17, was entitled "Requests for Information" and based on Chapter 4 of Schwartz's popular book The Legal Rights of Union Stewards. The session begins around the 22-second mark.

On Friday a Cook County judge filed a partial injunction against nearly 5,500 health care workers preparing to strike the University of Illinois at Chicago’s hospital, clinics, and other campus divisions. The judge cited a “clear and present danger” to patients, reducing the number of union members who could participate in the strike.
But to members of the Illinois Nurses Association and Service Employees Local 73, the clear and present dangers at UIC are unsafe staffing levels, lack of protective equipment, and poverty wages, especially in the coronavirus pandemic.

Alaska…the last frontier… is more than 660,000 square miles… most of which is uninhabited, extreme terrain. And every square inch is managed by the men and women of IBEW Local 1547, to ensure power remains uninterrupted.
Whether it’s construction or maintenance, inside or outside, the linemen, electricians and technicians of the state wide local have been trained to not only work safely, but to also be prepared for any and all conditions.
As part of these nimble programs, the Alaskan apprenticeship school developed a drone certification course to further show the value their linemen can offer contractors.
While learning how to properly turn the screws is an important part of working in the field, the apprentice school recognizes that it’s just as vital for their journeymen to be squared away between the ears.
Being prepared to work safely and accomplish any task or project, in any weather condition, the brothers and sisters of 1547 keep on in spite of the challenges.
That’s the Alaskan Way.
The post Feature Story: The Alaskan Way Part 2 appeared first on IBEW Hour Power.

Grad student workers at the University of Michigan have been on strike since September 8 over the university’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and policing on campus.
The Graduate Employees’ Organization has 2,000 members on U of M’s three campuses. They voted by 79 percent on September 6 to strike for four days, September 8-11. (Fall classes resumed August 31.)

Last Friday, when New York City educators were supposed to be in their third day of “professional development” held inside school buildings, teachers and other staffers at a Queens middle school, IS 230, took their work outside.
Sitting in chairs and on the concrete with their laptops, they refused to enter the school building after they learned that one of their co-workers had tested positive for COVID-19. Union officials were notified Thursday and immediately informed members. The city didn’t notify them till Friday.

My school district put me on administrative leave for organizing workers at my school. Then students and community members led a huge campaign that forced my reinstatement in just three days.
I’m the union steward at Luther Burbank High School on the Southside of San Antonio, where I teach U.S. history. After tense faculty meetings and intense questioning from district personnel, the school district placed me on leave on August 31.