Last Week in Southern Labor: 5/3 - 5/10
Updated On: May 14, 2024


By JACOB MORRISON May 14, 2024


Here’s what workers in the US South and the colonies were up to from May 3rd to May 10th:

NEW CAMPAIGNS

  • 14 workers at Dallas Black Dance Theatre in Dallas, TX filed a petition to hold a union election with the American Guild of Musical Artists

  • 10 workers at Wells Fargo Bank in Spring Hill, FL filed a petition to hold a union election with Wells Fargo Workers United CWA, as did 5 more Wells Fargo Workers in Fort Myers, FL

  • The employer filed a petition to hold a union election after a majority of the 29 workers at Generation Hope in Washington DC demonstrated support for unionization with Workers United

  • 19 workers at Darling International in Bastrop, TX filed a petition to hold a union election with the Teamsters Local 657

  • Workers likely pushed by their employer filed a petition to decertify the Communication Workers of America (CWA) as the union representing the 53 workers at ADT Security Services in Lafayette, LA

  • The employer filed a petition to hold a union election after a majority of the 35 workers at Truetimber Arborists in Richmond, VA demonstrated support for unionization with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW)

  • The employer filed a petition to hold a union election after a majority of the 3 workers at Mid-Coast Radio Project in Kansas City, MO demonstrated support for unionization with CWA Local 6360

  • 67 workers at KLS Martin Manufacturing in Jacksonville, FL filed a petition to hold a union election with an unnamed union

  • 6 workers at ALL Crane Rental of Georgia in Phenix City, AL filed a petition to hold a union election with the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 312

  • 27,000 educators and other school workers in Fairfax County, VA filed for union elections with Virginia’s newly established authority for public sector collective bargaining

CAMPAIGN UPDATES
  • Mercedes replaced their CEO ahead of the union election, in a bid to follow Governor Ivey’s new tact of playing nice. Meanwhile “Pastor” Matthew Wilson, Tuscaloosa city councilor, is apparently being asked by Mercedes to walk up and down the shop floor encouraging people to vote no. Is he getting paid for this work? It’s unclear at this time. Alabama college football great has come out in support of the union campaign, speaking at a pro-union rally last weekend.

ELECTION RESULTS
  • 43 workers at Trap Rock and Granite Quarries in Ironton, MO withdrew their petition for unionization with the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA) Local 829

  • 42 workers at Veolia WTS USA in Beaumont, TX withdrew their petition for unionization with the United Steel Workers (USW)

  • 23 workers at Liberty Communications of Puerto Rico in San Juan, PR voted 10 to 11 against unionization with the CWA

  • 14 workers at Rogers Group in Hopkinsville, KY voted 5 to 8 to decertify LIUNA Local 1392 as their union

  • Teamsters Local 688 withdrew their petition to represent a 55 workers at Quest Graphics in Maryland Heights, MO that are already represented by the Printing, Packaging, and Production Workers Union of North America (PPPWU) Local 6-505M

  • 8 workers at Liberty Mobile Puerto Rico in Guaynabo, PR voted 8 to 0 in favor of unionization with the CWA

  • 9 workers at IMI Kentucky in Somerset, KY voted 7 to 1 in favor of unionization with the Teamsters Local 89

  • 650 Breeze Airways flight attendants nationwide voted 76% in favor of unionization with the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA)

SETTLEMENTS, GRIEVANCES, & UNFAIR LABOR PRACTICES

  • The UAW filed more ULPs against Mercedes, alleging the employer has disciplined employees for discussing unionization at work, prohibited distribution of union materials and paraphernalia, surveilled employees, discharged union supporters, forced employees to attend captive audience meetings, and made statements suggesting that union activity is futile. 

  • This was not in the south but has ramifications for southern workers - a National Labor Relations Board Administrative Law Judge found last week that the Atlantic Fire Protection Company committed an unfair labor practice when it discontinued its holiday tradition of feeding employees with a roast, ham, and turkey in retaliation for union activity, among other violations

STRIKES & BARGAINING

  • Labor share of income continues to fall in the United States - previously, workers earned about two thirds of the income their labor created. Today, it’s barely over 50%

  • Linimar - a manufacturing plant in Hartselle - is closing, laying off 152 workers. But the workers are not unionized, so they won’t get to bargain over the conditions of their layoffs, you won’t hear much about it in the news, and the story will not be brought up 20 years from now as an example of why total corporate control is bad

  • United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) members in Birmingham ratified a tentative agreement between the union and the Crimson Oak Grove coal mine that the union says includes “significant wage increases, improvements to paid time off, with no changes to health care or benefits.” The vote was 64.4% in favor. Warrior Met is still refusing to engage in negotiations

  • Daimler workers ratified the tentative agreement between the company and the United Auto Workers (UAW) by an astonishing 94.5%

  • Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien and rank-and-file Costco Teamsters rallied yesterday in Norfolk, Va., in support of the union-wide initiative to organize and mobilize workers at the wholesale retailer ahead of national contract negotiations this year. The union signed the first national contract with the company in 2022, and Norfolk Costco workers voted to join last year. The Teamsters say they have set up a massive nationwide campaign to organize other Costco locations

  • DHL Teamsters - including some from the recently unionized facility in Kentucky - called out the alarming union-busting and anti-worker tactics of the global delivery and logistics giant during DHL Group’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Bonn, Germany last week

POLITICS & LEGISLATION

  • After a rally by labor in Northern Virginia, in a final bid to move the School Board, the School Board has continued to ignore labor and the community and unanimously voted to reject prevailing wages for construction of the Career Center.

  • The Biden Administration announced last week that coverage through the Affordable Care Act will soon be extended to DACA recipients, a move applauded by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU)

  • 17 US Senators submitted a letter to the Senate Appropriations subcommittee deliberating fiscal year 2025 funding levels for the Department of Veteran affairs outlining concerns over lack of funding. These concerns were echoed by the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), the largest VA union. In a statement, National President Everett Kelley said “The VA is facing tens of thousands of vacancies across the country, and nearly all employees say they need more front-line staff, yet the agency is moving forward with plans to eliminate 10,000 full-time jobs because of budget shortfalls,” emphasizing the need for more resources

  • The 2024 Alabama legislative session is over. Some highlights:

    • A bill requiring state agencies to acknowledge and respond to public records requests within set time frames was passed and sent to Governor Ivey

    • No new ethics law

    • Gambling died, potentially for a while - House Speaker says he isn’t even interested in bringing it up next year

    • A bill to loosen child labor laws was passed

    • A bill to remove incentives from employers who voluntarily recognize unions was passed


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