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Viewpoint: Pro-Labor Candidates Are Upending New York Politics—But Where Are the Unions?

August 06, 2020 / Sam LewisAt a candidate forum in Central Brooklyn for a New York state senate race, the moderator asked a simple yes or no question: “Do you support charter schools?”
It was no surprise that public school teacher, union member, and democratic socialist Jabari Brisport answered with a terse “nope”—unions rightly see charters as an effort to privatize and deunionize the teaching profession.

On July 15 the grocery chain Kroger announced that starting July 22 its stores would begin requiring mask coverings for all shoppers in its stores. Walmart had announced a similar measure earlier that day.

The $600 weekly federal unemployment benefits expired last Friday at midnight. The Senate left town without a deal to extend them, cutting the only lifeline keeping tens of millions of Americans afloat during the worst public health and economic crisis in memory.
The pandemic has hit restaurants harder than nearly any other industry. Restaurants have already shed millions of jobs and there is no end in sight. Food service workers also have fewer tools to advocate for themselves than do many other workers; barely any belong to a union.

While today's wave of protests focuses on the role of police in our society, we cannot ignore another big looming crisis for Black lives: the destruction of the public sector.
GDP shrank by a whopping 32.9 percent in the second quarter. The economic crisis induced by the pandemic is leading to massive austerity across the country. Without federal fiscal aid, state and local governments are projected to make cuts resulting in 5.3 million workers losing their jobs before the end of 2021.

All of us in the labor movement are—hopefully—scrambling to figure out how to construct defenses and get positioned to deal with the rapidly deteriorating bargaining climate. Every employer is either on the attack or soon will be.

Shop stewards at the Strand, a prominent New York City bookstore, are denouncing owner Nancy Bass-Wyden for accepting federal loans but failing to keep workers on the payroll.
Strand Bookstore, Inc. received a federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan of $1-$2 million by claiming to retain 212 jobs. (Public data provide only a range for the loan amount, not a precise figure.) But in fact Bass-Wyden laid off all but a few employees shortly before applying for the loan.

Brooklyn Teamsters Protest UPS Harassment of Black Shop Stewards

July 30, 2020 / Jonah FurmanA hundred members of Teamsters Local 804 gathered outside a Brooklyn UPS hub July 20 to protest management’s harassment of a Black shop steward and efforts to divide the workforce along racial lines.
It was Local 804’s way to mark the global “Strike for Black Lives,” a day of protest (though it included few conventional strikes) called by a constellation of unions and organizations including the Service Employees (SEIU), Teachers (AFT), Transit Union (ATU), Teamsters, Communications Workers (CWA), UNITE HERE, Farmworkers (UFW), and Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW).

Our IBEW business development department works with Local leaders and customers to keep jobs coming, and today we will delve into some of those stories. Learn about the incredible projects that our Locals are working on and how they’re making a difference in the world.
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The post IBEW Local – Business Development News Briefs: Edition 3 appeared first on IBEW Hour Power.

The ask was clear and self-explanatory: a starting salary of $25,000 and permanent status after four years.
Somerville’s paraprofessional educators made this demand over and over during the course of protracted and contentious negotiations over a contract that expired August 31, 2019. We made the demand on social media, at community meetings and rallies, and in the local media.

This piece originally ran on July 26 at Jacobin. On July 28, the American Federation of Teachers announced it would back local safety strikes around reopening.—Eds.