Last Week in Southern Labor: 1/19 - 1/26
Updated On: Feb 19, 2024


By JACOB MORRISON January 31, 2024


Here’s what workers in the US South and the colonies were up to from January 19th to January 26th:

NEW CAMPAIGNS

  • 3 workers at Victory Toyota in Triadelphia, WV filed for a union election with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters

  • Workers likely pushed by their employer filed a petition to decertify the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) as the union representing the 18 workers at RailCrew Xpress LLC in Thayer, MO. The National Right to Work Foundation is supporting the decertification attempt.

  • The employer filed a petition for a union election after a majority of the 20 workers at Starbucks in New Orleans, LA demonstrated support for unionization with Starbucks Workers United

  • The International Union of Security, Police, and Fire Professionals of America (SPFPA) appear to be raiding a unit of 31 workers at Golden SVCS in Washington DC who are currently represented by the Governed United Security Professionals

  • 14 workers at Rising for Justice filed a petition to expand their bargaining unit at Rising for Justice in Washington, DC

  • 27 workers at Southeastern Paper Company in College Park, GA filed a petition to hold a union election with Teamsters Local 528

  • 42 workers at Collins Landing Systems in Haltom City, TX filed a petition to hold a union election with the United Auto Workers (UAW)

  • 7 workers at Leidos in Merritt Island, FL filed a petition to hold a union election with the Motion Picture and Video Laboratory Technicians, Allied Crafts and Government Employees Local 789, an IATSE affiliate. This petition was withdrawn in the same week

  • 97 workers at US Sugar Savannah Refinery in Port Wentworth, GA filed a petition to hold a union election with Teamsters Local 528

  • 74 workers at Lycee Francais de la Nouvelle Orleans (a free public charter school following both Louisiana state curriculum and French national curriculum) in New Orleans, La filed a petition to hold a union election the United Teachers of New Orleans, an AFT affiliate

  • 15 workers at the San Antonio Report in San Antonio, TX filed a petition to hold a union election with The News Guild CWA’s Media Guild of the West

ELECTION RESULTS
  • The petition to hold a union election with the United Federation of LEOs among 20 security guards at Christus Health was withdrawn

  • The petition to hold a union election with the United Steel Workers (USW) among 3 workers at Valero in Memphis, TN was withdrawn

  • The petition to hold a union election with UAW Local 214 among 4 workers at the American Red Cross was withdrawn

  • The petition to decertify the Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 513 as the representative of 21 workers at Menzies Aviation in Dallas, TX was withdrawn, meaning the union remains

  • 66 security guards at Akima Global Services in Donna, TX voted unanimously in favor of unionization with the United Government Security Officers of America

  • 5 workers at Wells Fargo Bank in Daytona Beach, FL voted 4 to 1 in favor of unionization with the Communication Workers of America (CWA)

  • 11 workers at Cemex in New Braunfels, TX voted 9 to 1 in favor of unionization with the Teamsters Local 657

  • 20 workers at Gallows Point Resort in Saint John, VI voted 7 to 12 in favor of decertifying the Seafarers International Union of North America

  • 12 workers at Asplundh Tree Expert in Lexington, KY voted 9 to 2 in favor of unionization with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 369

  • 3 workers at Hi-Pointe Cannabis in Saint Louis, MO voted 0 to 2 against unionization with the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 655

  • 10 workers at MV Transportation in West Palm Beach, FL voted unanimously in favor of unionization with the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1577

  • 4 workers at EMCOR Government Services in Alexandria, VA voted unanimously in favor of unionization with the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 99

  • 64 workers at Morton Salt in Cape Canaveral, FL voted 30 to 30 in their union election, and ties go to the employer, meaning the USW will not represent those workers at this time. 

  • 1232 workers at Mangual’s Office Cleaning Service in Guaynabo, PR voted 348 to 179 in favor of unionization with Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1996

  • 24 workers at Rainbow Blossom in Louisville, KY voted 13 to 2 in favor of unionization with the UFCW Local 227

STRIKES & BARGAINING
  • After the merger between Microsoft and Activision has gone through, Microsoft is now laying off an astounding 1,900 workers in gaming. Some in labor supported the merger, including the CWA which represents some game workers at Microsoft, though none that are affected by the layoffs. When the acquisition was completed in October, the CWA said this “represents a milestone in the effort to improve working conditions in the video game industry” because of the neutrality agreement the company signed to garner the union’s support for the merger. 

  • United Campus Workers CWA at Jacksonville State in Alabama are calling for $15/hr by the end of 2024 and $17/hr by 2025. Workers there currently make as little as $8.25/hr. The union went public last year and is wall to wall, open to any employee.

  • The American Federation of Musicians (AFM) are in negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Studios (AMPTP), and held a rally last week to protest the lack of movement and IATSE pledged their support.

  • Contract expiration is fast approaching for Teamsters at Anheuser-Busch, and without a contract. The union issued a warning to the company to sign a contract or face a nationwide strike and boycotts.

  • The Teamsters are planning on another roundtable with Donald Trump next week, and controversy is bubbling up around this as it was revealed that O'Brien sent a memo to all General Executive Board members mandating that they attend the meeting after whispers of some protesting the meeting by not attending. Southern GEB Representative John Palmer replied with a stern memo indicating that not only would he refuse to attend, but arguing that the meeting itself violated the Teamsters constitution based on its prohibition on association with insurrectionists, and could even be grounds for expulsion from the union of participants in the meeting.

POLICY, POLITICS, AND LEGISLATION

  • The CWA became the latest union to endorse a ceasefire in Gaza, as the humane position is becoming more and more mainstream in the labor movement.

  • The Los Angeles Metro Board of Directors is set to approve a major contract (worth $730M) to a Hyundai subsidiary - the UAW and other community groups are pressuring the board not to award the contract until Hyundai agrees to a nationwide community benefits agreement, particularly given Hyundai’s recent history union-busting and abusing children, immigrants, and prisoners.

  • The UAW endorsed Joe Biden for president last week. The timing was unexpected on the part of many, but the move itself was not, particularly given the Biden administration's refusal to tow the union’s line on a ceasefire in Gaza. Biden staff even threatened elected UAW leaders with canceling his speech if the leader did not take off a UAW for Ceasefire pin. The UAW leader did not budge, proving the threat from the White House an empty threat.

INTERNAL UNION AFFAIRS

  • The new BLS numbers for union membership is out. Union density declined yet again, falling from 10.1 to 10.0 percent, dangerously close to single digit unionization. This isn’t because unions lost members though - there were 139,000 new union members in 2023, but nonunion job growth outpaced these numbers. Nationwide, the trend was for union density to fall in union strongholds like the North and West, and increase in more anti-union areas like the South. This includes Alabama, which saw an increase in both union membership and union density for the second year in a row.

LISTENER SUBMISSIONS

  • And finally, we’ve heard reports of the Alabama Education Association raiding both Birmingham and Central AL AFT. We’ll hopefully have more to report next week but just a reminder that AEA is very explicit that they are NOT a union.


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