Friday, May 29, 2020, 8:44 am · By Hamilton Nolan
One of the nation’s most respected public defender nonprofits is unionizing, the latest in a surge of union drives at prominent nonprofits across the country.
Thursday, May 28, 2020, 11:24 am · By Hamilton Nolan
Just like private businesses across America, federal government agencies are plotting how to get their employees back into their offices. The Environmental Protection Agency sent an email to all of its employees late last week telling them it’s set to begin reopening offices in several regions. One problem: the biggest union of EPA employees says the government hasn’t spoken to them about it, and that they have no reason to believe the plan to reopen is safe.
Wednesday, May 27, 2020, 12:48 pm · By Michael Galant
For call center employees in the Philippines, sleeping on the floor of their workplace less than a meter from their coworkers in the middle of a pandemic is an improvement. “Until very recently,” reported one worker, “people were just inches apart.”
Tuesday, May 26, 2020, 6:32 am · By Chris Brooks
The 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.
Friday, May 22, 2020, 11:20 am · By Leo Gertner and Shaun Richman
Do we have a right not to work? The answer is we don’t if Democratic leaders stubbornly try to keep the “era of big government” confined to the 20th century.
Thursday, May 21, 2020, 10:09 am · By Hamilton Nolan
We are living through the economic equivalent of emergency medicine. Right now, we are focused on leaders trying (often ineptly) to triage the immediate consequences of our economic crisis. Most of us are just thinking about staying employed. But there is deeper trouble on the horizon—the future of wages. We need to talk about how we’re going to prevent the paychecks of workers from getting crushed for years even after the pandemic is over.
Tuesday, May 19, 2020, 12:25 pm · By David Bacon
This article was originally published at Labor Notes.
Since this article was written, apple packinghouse workers at two more companies have joined the strike: at Hansen Fruit and Columbia Reach. Six worksites in Yakima County have now seen production shut down. The county has the highest rate of COVID-19 cases on the West Coast. The strikes are women-led, multigenerational, and multiracial, according to Edgar Franks of Familias Unidas por la Justicia, a local farmworkers' union. —Editors
Last week the COVID-related strike in Washington state’s Yakima Valley quadrupled in size, as workers walked out at three more apple packinghouses. More than a hundred stopped work on May 7 at Allan Brothers Fruit, a large apple growing, packing and shipping company in Naches, in Central Washington. On May 12 they were joined by 200 more workers, who walked off the job at the Jack Frost Fruit Co. in Yakima, and at the Matson Fruit Co. in Selah. The next day another 100 workers walked out at the Monson Fruit packing shed, also in Selah.
At the center of the stoppages are two main demands for those who decide to continue working during the pandemic: safer working conditions and an extra $2 an hour in hazard pay.
Apple sheds line the industrial streets of Yakima Valley’s small towns. Inside these huge concrete buildings, hundreds of people labor shoulder-to-shoulder, sorting and packing fruit. If someone gets sick, it can potentially spread through the workers on the lines, and from them into the surrounding towns. Although packinghouse laborers are almost entirely immigrants from Mexico, their families comprise the stable heart of these areas. Most have lived here for years. Jobs in the sheds are a step up from the fields, with year-round work at 40 hours per week.
Tuesday, May 19, 2020, 10:04 am · By Hamilton Nolan
“The reason we all work at nonprofits is because we support the mission of the nonprofits,” says Kayla Blado, who works at the Economic Policy Institute. It makes sense. Like many fields that involve doing something good for the world, nonprofit work tends to come with low pay and long hours. But now, more than ever before, it comes with something else: a union drive. The nonprofit union wave is rising right along with the intensity of the crises that nonprofits are dealing with in our bad, bad world.
Friday, May 15, 2020, 10:53 am · By Maurizio Guerrero
Legions of undocumented immigrants in the United States carry letters signed by their employers stating that President Donald Trump's administration considers them essential workers amid the pandemic. While these letters exempt them from being arrested by local agents for violating stay-at-home orders, these workers could still be detained and deported by federal authorities.
Friday, May 15, 2020, 10:42 am · By Shaun Richman
Is the ability to negotiate healthcare benefits with employers a source of strength for unions, or an insidious trap? The Covid-19 health crisis and ensuing economic meltdown probably answers that question, but it’s still worth dissecting for those naive optimists who think there is some semblance of the old normal that we can return to when the pandemic is finally behind us.