Last Week in Southern Labor: 1/5 - 1/19
Updated On: Feb 14, 2024


By JACOB MORRISON January 24, 2024


Here’s what workers in the US South and the colonies were up to from January 5th to January 19th:

NEW CAMPAIGNS

  • Workers at Mercedes in Tuscaloosa, AL announced they reached 30% cards signed with the UAW and have gone public with their union campaign, and have continued to stay loud, responding to the Governor, and writing an article and making a video about how they’re organizing. 

  • Workers at Hyundai in Montgomery, AL held a forum about unionization with the UAW, their first foray into the public with their campaign. 

  • Workers likely pushed by their employer filed a petition to decertify the Automotive, Petroleum and Allied Industries Employees Local 618 as the union representing the 4 workers at Gray’s Auto Service in Richmond Heights, MO, with the help of the National Right to Work freaks

  • 2 workers at United Rentals in O'Fallon, MO, filed a petition to hold a union election with Teamsters Local 600

  • 110 workers at Mary’s Center (a medical center) in Washington DC filed a petition to hold a union election with 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East. In a statement to The Valley Labor Report, the union said that for these workers, pay isn’t the main concern. Rather, they are “struggling with conditions at the facility,” “have high workloads,” and “don’t have much control over scheduling.” The bargaining unit includes both workers inside the clinic and in the center’s school-based programs. 

  • 30 workers at From the Earth dispensary in Raytown, MO filed a petition to hold a union election with United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 2

  • 8 workers at RJ Staab Stone Company of Florida in Newberry, FL filed a petition to hold a union election with the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (IUBAC) Local 8, in what the union’s Secretary-Treasurer Robert Baker told The Valley Labor Report has been a fast moving campaign, with workers reaching out to the union on Friday, holding a meeting on Saturday, and filing a petition for a union election on Monday. Baker said key issues for the workers are pay being “very low,” and having “no benefits.”

  • 7 workers at Wells Fargo in Virginia Beach, VA filed a petition to hold a union election with Wells Fargo Workers United, an affiliate of the Communication Workers of America (CWA). In a press release, the union notes this filing comes immediately after the successful election of another group of workers at Wells Fargo in Daytona Beach, FL. In addition to grievances they have about pay and understaffing, they stressed their relationship with their customers too, with worker Brian Switzer saying “We can’t ensure our customers the financial support they need until we have a voice on the job, and that starts with a union.”

  • The employer filed a petition for a union election after a majority of the 50 workers at CQ Roll Call demonstrated support for unionization with the Washington Baltimore Newsguild Local 32035

  • 10 workers at MDV Spartan-Nash (a wholesale distributor for US army commissaries) in Norfolk, VA filed a petition to hold a union election with Teamsters Local 822

  • 20 workers at Starbucks in New Orleans, LA filed a petition to hold a union election with Starbucks Workers United

  • 17 workers at New Era, Inc’s manufacturing facility in Clarksville, TN (New Era is a cookware company) filed a petition to hold a union election with the United Steel Workers (USW).

  • 44 workers at OXD IA LLC dispensary in Kansas City, MO filed a petition to hold a union election with the Teamsters Local 955

  • 20 security guards at Christus Health in Beaumont, TX filed a petition to hold a union election with the United Federation of Law Enforcement Officers Security & Police Benevolent Association

  • 4 workers at the American Red Cross in Douglasville, GA filed a petition to hold a union election with USW Local 254

  • 12 workers at All Points Logistics in North Merritt Island, FL filed a petition to hold a union election with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 2088

  • 6 workers at LEIDOS, Inc (an IT company) in North Merrit Island, FL filed a petition to hold a union election with IBEW Local 2088

  • 3 workers at Valero Refining Company in Memphis, TN filed a petition to hold a union election with the USW

  • 14 workers at Graves Menu Maker Foods Transportation in Oklahoma City, OK filed a petition to hold a union election with the Teamsters Local 886

  • The employer filed for a union election after a majority of the 27 workers at Panel Systems in Woodbridge, VA demonstrated support for unionization with the Construction and Master Laborers’ Local 11 (an affiliate of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA)

  • 30 workers at Giant Resource Recovery in Harleyville, SC filed a petition to hold a union election with the USW

  • The employer filed for a union election after a majority of the 83 workers at Glancy Surface Mining in Wharton, WV demonstrated support for unionization with the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) Local 1503

CAMPAIGN UPDATES
  • According to Shawn Fain’s recent livestream, VW workers in Chattanooga have hit 50% cards signed - they’re having a rally this weekend.

ELECTION RESULTS
  • After filing a petition to hold a union election with the National Labor Union (NLU) during this period, the 8 workers at the joint employers Weiner King of Cumberland County (doing business as Weiner Workers) and Express Employment Professionals withdrew their petition for union election

  • A pretty strange case here - a bargaining unit of one employee filed a petition to decertify the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 465 as the union representing this person at Cargill in Fayettville, NC, and then withdrew that request shortly afterwards

  • The petition to decertify Workers United as the union representing the 12 workers at Advantus Corp in Petersburg, VA was withdrawn - the union remains

  • The petition to hold a union election with the CWA at Meow Wolf (an artist collective) in Grapevine, TX was withdrawn

  • The petition to hold a union election with UFCW Local 655 at CBD Kratom in Saint Louis, MO was withdrawn

  • The petition to hold a union election with the CWA at Lake Michigan Credit Union in Bonita Springs, FL was withdrawn

  • 18 workers at Starbucks in Baton Rouge, LA voted in favor of unionization with Starbucks Workers United, 10 to 4

  • 11 workers at Wolf Creek Federal Services in Huntsville, AL (the pipefitters and sheet metal workers) voted unanimously in favor of unionization with the Plumbers and Steamfitters Union (UA) Local 760

  • 16 workers at Wolf Creek Federal Services in Huntsville, AL (the electricians and carpenters) voted in favor of unionization with IBEW 558

  • 70 workers at Odfjell Terminals Houston in Seabrook, TX voted against unionization 19 to 44 with USW Local 13-227

  • 6 workers at Top Drilling Corporation in Yawkey, WV voted unanimously in favor of unionization with the Teamsters Local 175

  • 16 workers at Darling Ingredients in Grapeland, TX voted 11 to 5 in favor of unionization with Teamsters Local 745

  • 3 workers at Alliance Mobile (AT&T subsidiary) in Bristol, VA voted unanimously in favor of unionization with the CWA, as did 3 workers at another location in Kingsport, TN

  • 55 workers at Evonik Corp in Little Rock, AR voted 14 to 33 against unionization with the USW

  • 3 workers at Harris County Democratic Party voted 1 to 2 against unionization with United Professional Organizers

  • 226 workers at Ascension Seton Medical Center Austin in Austin, TX voted 120 to 5 in favor of unionization with National Nurses United (NNU)

  • 3 workers at Amentum Services in Springfield, VA voted unanimously in favor of unionization with IUOE Local 99

  • 75 workers at Bimbo Services in Valdosta, GA voted against unionization with UFCW Local 1996

  • 5 security guards at Paragon Systems in Atlanta, GA voted unanimously in favor of unionization with the United Federation of Law Enforcement Officers Security and Police Benevolent Association

  • 25 security guards at KR Contracting in Vienna, VA voted 2 to 0 in favor of unionization with National Capitol Union for Security Officers

STRIKES & BARGAINING
  • Passenger service workers at American Airlines,  jointly represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA)-International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Association, have voted by a three-to-one margin to ratify a groundbreaking, five-year agreement that includes an average 20% immediate raise. 

  • Richmond City, VA workers who recently unionized with the Service Employees International Union Local 512, reached a tentative agreement and later ratified it - this is their first ever union contract. This contract includes an 11% pay increase over the 3 year term and implement a wide range of benefits typical in many union contracts like just cause discipline, time and a half for overtime, and 17 paid holidays

  • Newly unionized Teamsters at DHL in Kentucky ratified a contract by 98% after a 12 day strike by the 1,100 members. The contract includes a $2/hr raise immediately, with a total of $5/hr over the 3 year contract, it also doubles the company’s 401k contributions, establishes a worker safety committee, and requires DHL to pay health care premiums.

POLICY, POLITICS, AND LEGISLATION

  • President Joe Biden visited the state of North Carolina last week and was greeted with a rebuke from UE Local 150 president Sekia Royall, with her saying: “Bidenomics’ is $$ to corporations to create low wage, non-union jobs while prioritizing money for war, including $105 Billion to make weapons for Israel and Ukraine. We need money for workers needs not war and corporate profits.” UE Local 150 represents public service workers in North Carolina state and municipal government. 

  • Alabama’s republican House speaker alluded to the potential for Medicaid expansion, as long as it is with a “privatized approach,” with positive comments about Arkansas’ Medicaid expansion, which diverts federal dollars to subsidized private insurance instead of expanding Medicaid.

  • The Communication Workers of America (CWA) are urging the passage of the Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act in Congress, to continue the expansion of high speed internet to the 22 million families being helped by the program now. 

  • The Department of Labor announced a final rule aimed at ending worker misclassification.

INTERNAL UNION AFFAIRS

  • A group of minor league football players have officially launched a decertification petition to oust the United Steel Workers 

  • The decertification drive for the rural carriers failed to gain enough signatures during the allotted time, so that threat is over, but discontent among the rank and file remain. This could be an opportunity for leadership to change course, were they so inclined.


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