Friday, October 22News That Matters

Tag: Organized Labor

Amazon Workers on Staten Island Aim for Union Vote

Technology
Tucked in four plastic tubs in a tent by a Staten Island bus stop are stacks of cards with valuable autographs: the signatures of more than 1,700 hourly Amazon workers.“I, the undersigned, authorize the Amazon Labor Union to represent me for the purpose of collective bargaining,” the cards read.The commitments are the results of six months of organizing at Amazon’s only fulfillment center in New York City. The organizers expect to have several hundred more by Monday, when they plan to file for a union election.If the National Labor Relations Board validates their request, it could bring the second unionization vote at an Amazon warehouse in less than a year. In April, Amazon defeated a union election at its warehouse in Bessemer, Ala., in what was the gravest union threat the company had f...

As Starbucks Workers Seek a Union, Company Officials Converge on Stores

Business
BUFFALO — During her decade-plus at Starbucks, Michelle Eisen says she has endured her share of workplace stress. She points to the company’s increased use of productivity goals, inadequate attention to training and periods of understaffing or high turnover.But she had never encountered a change that the company made after workers at her store and two other Buffalo-area locations filed for a union election in late August: two additional “support managers” from out of state, who often work on the floor with the baristas and who, according to Ms. Eisen, have created unease.“For a lot of newer baristas, it’s an imposing force,” Ms. Eisen said. “It is not an easy job. It should not be complicated further by feeling like you’re having everything you’re doing or saying watched and listened to.”W...

Hollywood’s Behind-the-Scenes Workers Reach Deal, Averting Strike

Business
LOS ANGELES — You might say that the people behind the cameras have found their voices.Late Saturday, a union representing Hollywood’s version of blue-collar workers — camera operators, makeup artists, prop makers, set dressers, lighting technicians, editors, script coordinators, hairstylists, cinematographers, writers’ assistants — reached a tentative agreement for a new three-year contract with film and television studios, according to officials from both sides.The union, IATSE, which stands for the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, had said that its members would go on strike beginning on Monday, a move that would have resulted in a production shutdown at a particularly inopportune time for the entertainment industry.The studios, which include stalwarts like Disney, ...

Hollywood’s Behind-the-Scenes Workers Reach Deal on New Contract

Business
LOS ANGELES — You might say that the people behind the cameras have found their voices.Late Saturday, a union representing Hollywood’s version of blue-collar workers — camera operators, makeup artists, prop makers, set dressers, lighting technicians, editors, script coordinators, hairstylists, cinematographers, writers’ assistants — reached a tentative agreement for a new three-year contract with film and television studios, according to officials from both sides.The union, IATSE, which stands for the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, had said that its members would go on strike beginning on Monday, a move that would have resulted in a production shutdown at a particularly inopportune time for the entertainment industry.The studios, which include stalwarts like Disney, ...
Inside United Airlines’ Decision to Mandate Coronavirus Vaccines

Inside United Airlines’ Decision to Mandate Coronavirus Vaccines

Business
Scott Kirby, the chief executive of United Airlines, reached a breaking point while vacationing in Croatia this summer: After receiving word that a 57-year-old United pilot had died after contracting the coronavirus, he felt it was time to require all employees to get vaccinated.He paced for about half an hour and then called two of his top executives. “We concluded enough is enough,” Mr. Kirby said in an interview on Thursday. “People are dying, and we can do something to stop that with United Airlines.”The company announced its vaccine mandate days later, kicking off a two-month process that ended last Monday. Mr. Kirby’s team had guessed that no more than 70 percent of the airline’s workers were already vaccinated, and the requirement helped convince most of the rest: Nearly all of Unit...
Amazon settles with activist workers who say they were illegally fired.

Amazon settles with activist workers who say they were illegally fired.

Technology
Amazon has settled with two of its most prominent internal critics, staving off a public hearing over accusations that the company illegally fired the pair, lawyers for the parties told an administrative judge on Wednesday.The terms of the settlement were not immediately disclosed.The former employees, Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa, have said they were fired last year because they publicly pushed the company to reduce its impact on climate change and address concerns about its warehouse workers. Amazon has maintained that the former employees repeatedly broke internal policies.The settlement was reached at a high-wire moment for Amazon, which has pledged to be “Earth’s best employer” and is looking, in a tight labor market, to hire 40,000 corporate and tech workers and 125,000 warehouse...
What Will It Take for Electric Vehicles to Create Jobs, Not Cut Them?

What Will It Take for Electric Vehicles to Create Jobs, Not Cut Them?

Technology
When President Biden announced his multitrillion-dollar jobs plan in March, it included nearly $175 billion in spending to encourage Americans to buy electric vehicles.The money would help ensure “that these vehicles are affordable for all families and manufactured by workers with good jobs,” the White House wrote at the time.Now, as Mr. Biden’s plan wends its way through Congress, a liberal think tank has tried to flesh out the number of jobs to be gained or lost in the transition away from internal-combustion vehicles.The report, released Wednesday by the Economic Policy Institute, concluded that it would take government subsidies focused on developing a domestic supply chain and increasing demand for U.S.-made vehicles to avoid job losses.It found that without additional government inve...
Starbucks Workers in Buffalo Seek Union Vote

Starbucks Workers in Buffalo Seek Union Vote

Business
For years, Starbucks workers have complained about the company’s labor practices, saying that chronic understaffing has led to a chaotic work environment, erratic hours and difficulty taking sick days.Despite periodic commitments by Starbucks to revise its policies, the complaints lingered and appeared to intensify during the pandemic, when overstretched workers also had to contend with new health concerns and safety protocols.Now the longstanding frustrations are fueling one of the most serious union campaigns ever to confront the company, whose more than 8,000 corporate-owned locations in the United States are not unionized.Last week, Starbucks workers in the Buffalo area announced that they were forming a union called Starbucks Workers United, and on Monday they filed petitions from emp...
Flight Attendants’ Hellish Summer: ‘I Don’t Even Feel Like a Human’

Flight Attendants’ Hellish Summer: ‘I Don’t Even Feel Like a Human’

Travel
But while airlines are eager to capitalize on the demand, many appear to lack the staffing to keep up.Bureau of Transportation Statistics data show that the number of full-time-equivalent employees at U.S. scheduled passenger airlines was nearly 14 percent lower in June 2021 than in March 2020. Tens of thousands of flight attendants took leave during the pandemic, the A.F.A. union said. American Airlines said about 3,300 flight attendants have yet to return from leave.“So many people were let go so quickly on extended leave of absence, early retirement, that they’re struggling to meet the travel demand,” said Paul Hartshorn, a flight attendant and spokesman for the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, which represents about 24,000 American Airlines attendants. “And staffing is ti...
Broadway Power Brokers Pledge Diversity Changes as Theaters Reopen

Broadway Power Brokers Pledge Diversity Changes as Theaters Reopen

LifeStyle
“This is a movement that is going to make change, and we’re happy to be part of it,” said Robert E. Wankel, chairman and chief executive of the Shubert Organization.The document’s signatories are committing to changes that would affect many aspects of the theater business, from casting to hair care. But Broadway is a highly unionized work force, and the only labor unions that signed the agreement are those representing actors, stage managers, makeup artists and hairstylists.That leaves some conspicuous gaps — there is pervasive concern about low levels of diversity among Broadway stagehands, musicians and design teams, for example — and the leadership of Black Theater United said that although the group has endorsements from individuals working in those areas, it will continue to work to w...