Last Week in Southern Labor: 5/10 - 5/17
Updated On: Jun 10, 2024


By JACOB MORRISON May 22, 2024


Here’s what workers in the US South and the colonies were up to from May 10th to May 17th:

NEW CAMPAIGNS

  • Workers likely pushed by their employer filed a petition to decertify Unite Here Local 25 as the union representing 69 workers at Sofitel Washington DC Lafayette Square - a hotel in Washington DC

  • 80 workers at Castle Energy Group in Meridian, MS filed a petition to hold a union election with the United Association of Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters (UA) Local 798

  • 20 workers at Rural / Metro Fire Department in Chattanooga, TN filed a petition to hold a union election with the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) 

  • 6 security guards at Kerberos International in Arlington, VA filed a petition to hold a union election with the Security, Police, and Fire Professionals of America (SPFPA), although they are already represented by Union Rights for Security Officers (URSO)

  • 250 workers at Cargill Cook in Fort Worth, TX filed a petition to hold a union election with the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 540

  • 5 workers at Glades Electric Cooperative in Moore Haven, FL filed a petition to hold a union election with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1933

  • 10 security guards at Allied Universal in Washington, DC filed a petition to hold a union election with the United Government Security Officers of America (UGSOA) Local 259

  • 10 workers at Florida Public Utilities Company in Winter Haven, FL filed a petition to hold a union election with an unnamed union (probably a data error on the NLRB site)

  • 18 workers at Starbucks in River Ridge, LA filed a petition to hold a union election with Starbucks Workers United

  • 122 workers at Corning Distribution Center in Tarboro, NC filed a petition to hold a union election with the United Steel Workers (USW) 

  • 32 workers at Accordius Health in Wilson, NC filed a petition to hold a union election with the UFCW Local 1208

  • 54 workers at Choice Adhesive Corporation in Lynchburg, VA filed a petition to hold a union election with IBEW Local 2173

CAMPAIGN UPDATES
  • Hyundai workers rallied at a local Montgomery church with the support of Reverend William Barber of the Poor People’s campaign as they try to build support for their own election with the United Auto Workers (UAW)

ELECTION RESULTS
  • 5,075 workers at Mercedes in Vance, AL voted 2,045 to 2,642 against unionization with the UAW, after a last minute blitz by third party union busters and the new CEO, who one worker estimated personally talked to 4,000 workers

  • 67 workers at KLS Martin Manufacturing in Jacksonville, FL withdrew their petition for a union election with an unnamed union

  • 6 workers at Hospital General De Castaner in Lares, PR voted unanimously in favor of unionization with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1199

  • 23 workers at Penske Truck Leasing in Nashville, TN voted 8 to 15 against unionization with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) Local Lodge 735

  • 230 workers at District of Columbia International School in Washington, DC voted 132 to 59 in favor of unionization with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Local 1927

  • 31 workers at Hospital Metropolitano de Cabo Rojo in Cabo Rojo, PR voted 14 to 17 against unionization with ULEES

  • 2 workers at Prime Communications Retail - a subcontracted AT&T store - in Montgomery, AL voted unanimously in favor of unionization with the Communication Workers of America (CWA) 

  • 174 workers at Capital City Public Charter School in Washington, DC voted 140 to 34 in favor of unionization with AFT Local 1927

  • 8 workers at Liberty Mobile in Guaynabo, PR voted unanimously in favor of unionization with the CWA

  • 20 workers at Spirit Lex in Creve Cour, MO voted 8 to 8 with 3 challenged ballots back in November, so the challenged ballots were determinative, so the NLRB investigated and determined that they were eligible voters, the votes counted, and it up the union over the top, so the workers are now union with the IAMAW District Lodge 9

  • Workers at Southern Glazer’s wine and liquor distribution have unionized with Teamsters Local 667 in Memphis, TN after the company voluntarily recognized the union. In a statement, the Teamsters said “we intend to raise them to the standard the Teamsters have set in the Memphis market”

SETTLEMENTS, GRIEVANCES, & UNFAIR LABOR PRACTICES

  • Even though the UAW lost the election at Mercedes in Vance, AL, their charges against the company in Germany still stand, and if the company is found to have broken the German law demanding they remain neutral in union election, they will be fined at 2% of their global revenue, not profit, which will be a big hit, an estimated 3B euros, or $3.27B

STRIKES & BARGAINING

  • The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) signed an agreement with the TSA that the union is calling historic, with the union securing increased uniform allowances, a streamlined grievance and arbitration process, and an increased say for workers

  • Still on strike three months later, Teamsters spoke out against the company’s refusal to bargain at Molson Coors’ annual shareholder meeting. Since Teamsters have been on strike, Molson Coors CEO Gavin D. Hattersley has made $2.9 million. Since the last contract, the Coors family have earned over $100 million in dividends, meanwhile the company continues to insult its workers with an offer of 99 cents an hour.

  • CWA members at New Flyer in Anniston, AL ratified a new contract by 99%, with pay increases between 15 and 38% through the end of the contract in 2026, restrictions on forced overtime, expanded vacation and paid time off, improved parental leave, the addition of Juneteenth as a holiday, guaranteed cost-of-living adjustments, and enhanced retirement benefits. This comes after the company voluntarily recognized the union in January. 

  • In a new analysis of data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration by the AFL-CIO’s Strategic Organizing Center, it was revealed that Amazon continues to fail to keep its employees safe. Specifically, Amazon promised to cut injury rates by 50% by 2025 - instead, they only cut injury rates by 2%. The company report a serious injury every 14 minutes in 2023, and was responsible for over 50% of all serious injuries in warehouses. Further, these are likely undercounts, as OSHA says that Amazon’s company doctors send injured workers back to the floor without reporting injuries. 

  • Bad news continued for Amazon, with the University of Chicago releasing a new study finding that over the last three months, 53% of Amazon workers experienced food insecurity, 48% of Amazon workers experienced housing insecurity, and 56% of Amazon workers haven't been able to pay all their bills

  • Boeing locked out 125 firefighters to coerce them into accepting an unfair contract. The Northern Virginia AFL-CIO is rallying to support the workers

  • AFGE is condemning the proposed 2% raise in the President’s budget, while applauding other parts of the budget, like proposed increases for the Social Security Administration, the VA, the USDA, and more

POLITICS & LEGISLATION

  • The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission released a new rule last week aimed at encouraging more large scale transmission projects amid a slump of new construction of these projects, even as new manufacturing and data centers - extremely energy hungry beasts - are being stood up all over the country 

  • Even as Shelby County, AL residents face the costs of extreme increases to the cost of housing (Median home prices shot up from $272,000 at the start of 2017 to almost $400,000 in February and median rent is $1,337 a month in Shelby, versus $913 for the state), Brian Lyman at the Alabama Reflector pointed out that they spent their legislative session focused on policing libraries and high school sports

  • In Shiloh, AL, the construction of a highway caused severe flooding on residents property (construction continued and completed despite residents voicing concern), and rather than fix the issue, the state gave them small settlements and attached a restriction on the deed of the property stating that the owners could never take legal action against the state over the issue, including future owners. The residents claim they were not made aware that this restriction was being placed on their deeds

  • Alabama politicians think we’re too stupid to rank things, so they banned ranked choice voting

  • More than 80 organizations sent a letter to Governor Ivey urging immediate action to close Alabama’s healthcare coverage gap

  • The Supreme Court upheld the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's funding structure 7 to 2


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