Last Week in Southern Labor: 12/15/23 - 1/5/24
Updated On: Feb 05, 2024

Last Week in Southern Labor: 12/15/23 - 1/5/24


By JACOB MORRISON January 9, 2024


Here’s what workers in the US South and the American colonies were up to in the three weeks between December 15 and January 5:

NEW CAMPAIGNS

  • 10 remote animation workers at Disney in 6 states including TN, TX, VA filed for a union election with IATSE’s Animation Guild - Local 839. 

  • 51 workers at CQ Roll Call in Washington DC filed for a union election with the NewsGuild CWA after the employer rejected their request for voluntary recognition. 

  • 100 workers at Monongolia Emergency Medical Services in Morgantown, WV filed for a union election with the International Association of EMTs and Paramedics (IAEP), a division of the National Association of Government Employees (NAGE), affiliated with SEIU.

  • Workers likely intimidated or pushed by their employer filed a petition to decertify Workers United as the union representing the 12 workers at Advantus Corp in Petersburg, VA. 

  • The employer filed for a union election after a majority of the 21 security officers at Meow Wolf Dallas, LLC in Grapevine, TX showed support for unionization with… I don’t know? The filing doesn’t say. 

  • Meanwhile, the employer filed for another union election after a majority of the 71 other workers at Meow Wolf Dallas showed support for unionization with the Communication Workers of America. (Meow Wolf is an artist collective)

  • 9 workers at the Peace Center Foundation in Greenville, SC filed for a union election with the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 322

  • Workers likely pushed by their employer filed a petition to decertify the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU) as the union representing the 62 workers at Nestle USA in McDonough, GA. I say RWDSU is the union, although the NLRB filing doesn’t mention the union, because I found this press release about the RWDSU winning an election there in 2017. 

  • 6 workers at Public Television 19 in Kansas City, MO filed for a union election with the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians (NABET) CWA

  • 24 workers at Platinum Waste Disposal in Guaynabo, PR filed for a union election, but the NLRB case page doesn’t say with which union (this has been an unusually common occurrence with this round of filings)

  • 24 skilled maintenance workers at Duke University in Raleigh, NC filed for a union election with the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 465

  • Workers likely pushed by their employer filed a petition to decertify the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Locals 714 and 1493 as the union representing the 15 workers at GTA RATPDEV in Greensboro, NC

  • 5 workers at CBD Kratom in Saint Louis, Mo filed for a union election, as did 4 workers at another location in the same city but again, the NLRB case page doesn’t say who with. Maybe Teamsters Local 955? They just won the second dispensary union election in Missouri in August, so its not a bad guess.  Ufcw perhaps?

  • The employer filed for a union election after a majority of the 26 workers at Neal R Gross & Co in Washington, DC showed support for unionization with Court Reporters United.

  • The employer filed for a union election after a majority of the 20 workers at Starbucks in Saint Ann, MO showed support for unionization with Starbucks Workers United. 

  • Workers likely pushed by their employer filed a petition to decertify the Transport Workers United (TWU) Local 513 as the union representing the 21 workers at Menzies Aviation in Dallas, TX

  • The employer filed for a union election after a majority of the 24 workers at Ballet Austin in Austin, TX showed support for unionization with the American Guild of Musical Artists

  • The employer filed for a union election after a majority of the 54 workers at Stratus Systems in Dallas, TX showed support for unionization with presumably the Sheet, Metal, Air, and Rail Transportation Workers (SMART) (I say presumably because again, the NLRB case page does not show a union, but I did find this recent board charge by SMART against the same employer in the same town) 

  • 85 workers at Southern Electric Corporation in Miami, FL filed for a union election, but it doesn’t say who with

  • 9 workers at Wiener King of Cumberland County, doing business as Weiner Workers, in Fayettville, NC filed for a union election with the National Labor Union (???)

  • The employer filed for a union election after a majority of the 20 workers at Starbucks in Baton Rouge, LA showed support for unionization with Starbucks Workers United

  • 24 workers at Keystone Supply Company in Oklahoma City, OK filed for a union election with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 886

  • Workers likely pushed by their employer filed a petition to decertify Starbucks Workers United as the union representing the 14 workers at a Starbucks in Jacksonville, FL

  •  29 workers at the Disability Law Center of Virginia in Richmond, VA filed for a union election, but it doesn’t say who with

  • Workers like pushed by their employer filed a petition to decertify CWA Local 3808 as the union representing the 124 workers at AT&T Mobility Tennessee IHX in Gallatin, TN

  • 12 workers at Wolf Creek Federal Services (pipefitter and sheetmetal workers) in Huntsville, AL filed for a union election with the United Association of Plumbers and Steamfitters (UA) Local 760

  • 16 workers at Wolf Creek Federal Services (electricians and carpenters) in Huntsville, AL filed for a union election with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 558

  • 4 workers at Lee County Electric Cooperative in North Fort Myers, FL filed for a union election to add them to the bargaining unit already represented by IBEW Local 1933

CAMPAIGN UPDATES
  • The UAW’s Shawn Fain and Wolkswagon worker organizers visited the Chattanooga VW plant with a Faith and Community Coalition to demand they end their union busting. 

  • 33 US Senators issued a letter to non union auto companies calling on them to cease union busting activities. Absent from the list were both of Alabama’s Senators.

ELECTION RESULTS
  • 11 groups of workers withdrew their petition for a union election:

    • 3 workers at UPS in Louisville, KY with Teamsters Local 89

    • 61 workers at UPS in Louisville, KY with Teamsters Local 89

    • 22 workers at UPS in Louisville, KY with Teamsters Local 89

    • 28 workers at UPS in Louisville, KY with Teamsters Local 89

    • 6 workers at UPS in Campbellsville, KY with Teamsters Local 89

    • 33 workers at High Profile Dispensary in Colombia, MO with UFCW Local 655

    • 4 workers at Red Label in Stillwater, OK with UFCW Local 1000

    • 290 workers at Places for People, Inc in Saint Louis, MO with SEIU

    • 15 security guards at Walden Security in Washington, DC with United States Court Security Officers

    • 10 workers at Waxwork Recording Company in Harahan, LA

    • 25 workers at AdvanSix in Hopewell, VA with UFCW Local 591-C

  • In brighter news, the petition to decertify Teamsters Local 89 as the union representing 36 workers at TAYLOR CORECC in Campbellsville, KY was also withdrawn, meaning Local 89 remains

  • Workers at Alliance Mobile, an AT&T subsidiary meant to get away from the union, in Kingsport, TN voted unanimously in favor of unionization with the CWA

  • 242 workers at Costco in Norfolk, VA voted 111 to 92 in favor of unionization with the Teamsters Local 822. After the victory, Costco sent out a letter to all employees saying the company was “disappointed by the result.” Puzzlingly, this was called “classy” by a large progressive twitter account.       

  • 33 workers at Coca Cola in Beckley, WV voted 23 to 10 in favor of unionization with the Teamsters Local 175

  • 53 workers at Kenergy Corp in Henderson, KY voted 27 to 26 in favor of unionization with IBEW Local 1701

  • 15 workers at Koppers in Newsoms, VA voted 5 to 9 to decertify USW Local 14187-01

  • 2 workers at Technica in Fort Bliss, TX voted unanimously in favor of unionization with IUOE Local 351

  • 3 workers at Transdev Services in Auburn, AL voted in favor of unionization with the Teamsters Local 612

  • 23 workers at Starbucks in Durham, NC voted in favor of unionization with Starbucks Workers United

  • 2 workers at CBRE in Washington, DC voted unanimously in favor of unionization with IUOE Local 99

  • 28 workers at C3 Industries in Colombia, MO voted unanimously in favor of unionization with UFCW Local 655

  • 22 workers at Night Owls Print Shop in Houston, TX voted 15 to 5 in favor of unionization with Night Owls United

  • 5 workers at Alliance Mobile in Morristown, TN voted unanimously in favor of unionization with CWA

  • 11 workers at Conversion Geeks in Chesterfield, VA voted unanimously in favor of unionization with The Animation Guild (TAG), IATSE Local 839

  • 4 workers at CBRE in Dallas, TX voted in favor of unionization with IUOE Local 68

  • 20 workers at Starbucks in Durham, NC voted in favor of unionization with Starbucks Workers United

  • 6 workers at Lincare Holdings in Wheeling, WV voted in favor of unionization with Teamsters Local 697

  • 8 workers at Johnson Controls Fire Protection in Springfield, MO voted 3 to 5 against unionization with the UA’s Road Sprinkler Fitters Local 669

  • 598 workers at University Medical Center New Orleans in New Orleans, LA voted 442 to 100 in favor of unionization with National Nurses United

  • 52 workers at Quest Diagnostics Clinical Laboratories in Abbeville, GA voted 29 to 17 in favor of unionization with the Teamsters Local 728

  • 17 workers at the Oklahoma Policy Institute in Tulsa, OK voted unanimously in favor of unionization with UFCW Local 1000

  • 9 workers at Rogers Group in Hopkinsville, KY voted 4 to 5 against unionization with IUOE

SETTLEMENTS, GRIEVANCES, & UNFAIR LABOR PRACTICES
  • A new Propublica report alleges widespread abuse of workers on the railroads: “[the companies] blame workers when they get hurt and motivate supervisors to go to extreme, and sometimes dangerous, lengths to keep injuries off the books.” This including paying workers to hide head injuries and having doctors alter records so the company wouldn’t have to report the injury. 

  • Universal Orlando agreed to scrap company policies that would’ve prohibited the wearing of pro-union buttons after a worker filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board and won. Friend of the show McKenna Shuler broke the story for the Orlando Weekly. 

  • AFGE secured the reinstatement with backpay and accumulated leave benefits for an employee after a series of discrimination and wrongful termination complaints beginning in 2017. The employee received over $300,000 in backpay, interest, and compensatory damages.

  • Teamsters at DHL in Kentucky ended their 12 day strike in December after coming to a tentative agreement containing “enhanced workplace safety, higher wages, and better benefits.” The TA is with the workers for a vote now. 

  • The NLRB is alleging that the NCAA abuses the term “student-athlete” to “deprive” college players of workplace protections. A recent poll showed 62% of college athletes think they should form a union.

  • Elon Musk and SpaceX are trying to have the NLRB abolished after it found the company illegally fired workers for their criticisms. 

  • Truckers Movement for Justice is alleging the illegal firings of 18 pro-organization truck drivers in TX by employer LoHi Logistics.

STRIKES & BARGAINING
  • A coalition of labor groups and allies including SEIU Local 7 and the Missouri Workers Center are planning to pack the Jackson County courthouse to oppose efforts to give the Kansas City Royals tax payer subsidies for a new stadium without a strong Community Benefits Agreement. 

  • Rather than bargaining with its workers, Amazon encouraged its employees to write a letter to Peccy, the company mascot, detailing their hardships for the chance that the company might help. Amazon workers start at only 17/hr. The company in the last quart tripled its profits to $9.9B. 

  • Southwest Airlines Pilots won a tentative agreement with a 50% raise over the next 5 years. Members are currently voting on whether or not to accept the deal. 

  • 26,000 flight attendants at American Airlines voted by 99% to authorize a strike - they haven’t received a raise since 2019. Flight attendants at Southwest, United, and Alaska Airlines are all also in contract negotiations.

  • Crewmembers at Atlanta’s Alliance Theater, who recently unionized with IATSE Local 798, won their first collective bargaining agreement that includes immediate raises of between 22% and 8% depending on classification, more overtime, more time off, and better insurance benefits. 

  • Teamsters at Anheuser-Busch voted to authorize a strike by 99%.

  • Salisbury, NC Firefighters (IAFF Local 2370) are pushing for step raises.

INTERNAL UNION AFFAIRS

  • Lots of drama in minor league football labor. The United Football Players Association (UFPA) put out a statement saying their “partnership with the USW has ended” which led me to believe that the union that won an election to unionize USFL players and lost an election to unionize XFL players would be disaffiliating from the USW. They said this was because the merger between the XFL and USFL will result in a 50% cut in players and no raise for those remaining, and that this happened because the USW “stood by and allowed this to happen” while “shut[ing] out” the UFPA from negotiations. However, after this the United States Football League Players Association (USFLPA) Local 9004 put out their own statement saying that the UFPA in fact was never the bargaining representative of the players and that they were their own non-union nonprofit organization that had been hired to work as organizers for the USW, and affirmed their relationship had been terminated. The statement did not address allegations of ineffectiveness, but did say that the XFL players would be automatically brought into the bargaining unit. In the final response, UFPA released a video affirming the correctness of the USFLPA statement, saying that it was a mistake to enlist the USW as their union instead of going independent, and that they are going to try to run another election to take over as the union in 2024. Yikes.

POLICY, POLITICS, AND LEGISLATION

  • Elon Musk and SpaceX are seeking to have the NLRB declared illegal after the labor board accused the company of illegally firing 8 workers for criticizing the company - so much for free speech. 

  • A recently released annual report from the federal Office of Personnel Management showed that telework can be a strong incentive for employee retention amid serious staff shortages across the government. 

  • Completely unrelated to the staff shortage many federal agencies are facing - the pay gap between federal workers and similar private sector workers increased again in 2023 to 27%

  • UE Local 150, representing state and municipal workers in North Carolina, has called for Duke University to start paying taxes to the City of Durham to help fund raises for city workers. 

  • Labor reporter for the Huffington Post has a great piece reminding folks about Trump’s record on labor, which includes, but is certainly not limited to: making it easier for bosses to steal from and physically injure their workers, froze pay for agricultural immigrant workers, and increased line speeds in poultry plants.

  • Greyhound is floundering, prompting calls for its nationalization.

  • Minimum wage workers in 22 states got a raise at the beginning of January, but only one of those states were in the Republican controlled South - and that’s using a liberal notion of “The South” (it’s Missouri). Minimum wage workers in Alabama make $7.25/hr. Tipped workers can and do make as little as $2.13/hr. 

  • A new lawsuit “alleges that current and former officers and board members of NextEra Energy, Inc., the parent company of Florida Power & Light, violated federal securities laws by making “materially false and misleading statements” related to the company’s political spending.” per AL[dot]com. These officers and board members utilized Alabama’s infamous consulting firm Matrix to carry out some of this work. 

  • USW President David McCall says the US Steel buyout by Nippon violates their collective bargaining agreement and would be bad for america. A bipartisan group of Congressmembers wrote a letter to the Biden administration urging review of the proposed buyout. Biden has responded by saying the purchase deserves “serious scrutiny.” Fairfield Tubular Operations and Fairfield Works in Birmingham are subsidiaries of US Steel, which is also a major landholder in Jefferson County, involved in multiple development projects. 

  • Regulations implementing Biden’s executive order to mandate Project Labor Agreements on all federal projects exceeding $35M were finally announced. It is estimated that 200,000 workers will gain collectively bargained wages and protections as a result. 

  • Cecil Roberts, President of the United Mine Workers of America, eviscerated US Representative Scott Perry for his amendment that would prohibit “the use of funds for MSHA to finalize, implement, or enforce the proposed rule entitled, ‘Lowering Miners’ Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica and Improving Respiratory Protection,’” saying he and others like him are in the dark “about the critical needs of tens of thousands of their constituents”

  • The USPS, as part of Trump appointee Louis Dejoy’s wide ranging 10-year plan to change the postal service (which includes the recent postage cost increases), announced a proposal to move Knoxville, KY distribution center operations to Louisville, KY. Postal workers are speaking against the proposal. 

  • New data showed that more workers died on the job in 2022 than the year before. House Republicans are seeking to cut funding to both OSHA and MSHA.

MISCELLANEOUS

  • Work has begun on a $1B Graphic Packaging International paper mill in Waco, Texas that will reportedly employ 200 people. It is unclear (and probably unlikely) that these workers will immediately be represented by a union, and I can’t find anything about GPI having a national master agreement with any union. 500 USW GPI workers down the road in Domino, TX ratified a 5 year contract back in March after narrowly avoiding a strike, and 200 GPI workers in Chicago, IL unionized with the Teamsters.

  • Thanks to the new UAW contract, per Bloomberg, “average hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory workers in the transportation-equipment manufacturing sector rose 4% in December, the largest monthly increase since 1996, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data out Friday.”


Did we miss something? Send us your union updates: www.tvlr.fm/contact

Did you receive this from a friend? Click here to subscribe so you don't miss out! 


  • The Valley Labor Report

    Copyright © 2024. All Rights Reserved.

    Powered By UnionActive


  • Top of Page image