Last Week in Southern Labor: 5/24 - 5/31
Updated On: Jun 10, 2024


By JACOB MORRISON June 4, 2024


Here’s what workers in the US South and the colonies were up to from May 24th to May 31st:

NEW CAMPAIGNS

  • 88 workers (traffic flaggers) at Southern Protection Agency in Lexington, NC filed a petition to hold a union election with the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA) Local 919

  • 26 workers at Amentum in Beaufort, SC filed a petition to hold a union election with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW)

  • 3 workers at Midwest Air Traffic Control Services in Hollister, MO filed a petition to hold a union election with the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA)

  • 6 workers at Petro Technologies in Broussard, LA filed a petition to hold a union election with the IAMAW

  • The employer filed a petition to hold a union election after a majority of the 203 workers at Walsh & Albert in Houston, TX demonstrated support for unionization with the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Union (SMART) Local 54

  • Workers likely pushed by their employer filed a petition to decertify the United Steel Workers (USW) Local 507G-02 as the union representing the 26 workers at Imerys Fused Minerals in Greeneville, TN

  • 5 units at Corporacion SANOS in Caguas, PR comprising of 14 nurses, 2 drivers, 8 pharmacy and X ray techs, 23 office clerks, and 3 social workers respectively filed a petition to hold a union election with Unidad Laboral De Enfermeras(os) y Empleados De La Salud (ULEES)

  • 550 workers at Peco Foods in West Point, MS filed a petition to hold a union election with the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1529. If I remember correctly, they filed last year and either withdrew the petition or lost the election

  • 2 workers at Jones, Lang, and LaSalle in Washington DC filed a petition to hold a union election with the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 99

  • 7 workers at JPATS Logistics Services in Enid, OK filed a petition to hold a union election with the IAMAW, but withdrew the petition in the same week

  • Workers likely pushed by their employer filed a petition to decertify the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) District 1199 as the union representing the 105 workers at Putnam Company in Saint Albans, WV

CAMPAIGN UPDATES
  • Municipal workers at the Monongalia County Commission Office in West Virginia have been seeking to have a union election with the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA), but so far the Commission Office is obstructing the process. The union is asking for community members sign a petition in support of the workers right to unionize, and the union’s political committee has rescinded its endorsement of Monongalia County Commissioner Thomas Bloom in his re-election race because he voted against allowing an election to move forward

  • Fairfax County Virginia education workers will be voting in several union elections this week between June 3 and June 10, the culmination of an alliance between the NEA and AFT affiliate unions in the area (this is not a merger of affiliates, rather, they divided the turf and supported each other’s organizing efforts)

  • Workers at Corning in Tarboro, NC rallied in support of their union campaign last week - they filed to hold an election with the USW two weeks ago. Of 7 Corning plants in NC, only one is unionized with the USW

  • According to new disclosures with the labor department, Mercedes hired at least 11 persuaders from 3 different contractors to support their anti-union campaign in Tuscaloosa. The going rate for these types of consultants is $3,200 per consultant per day - the total bill could easily be in the hundreds of thousands, but we won’t know until next year (when the amount has to be disclosed).

ELECTION RESULTS
  • 18 workers at Starbucks in River Ridge, LS voted 8 to 5 in favor of unionization with Starbucks Workers United, as did 13 workers at Starbucks in North Little Rock, AR (10-0), 18 workers in Tampa, FL (13-5)

  • 6 workers at Wells Fargo in Fort Worth, TX voted unanimously in favor of unionization with Wells Fargo Workers United CWA

  • 53 workers at 10 Roads Express in Greensboro, NC voted 29 to 13 in favor of unionization with Teamsters Local 391

  • 6 workers at Koorsen Fire and Security in Louisville, KY voted 2 to 6 against unionization with the Road Sprinkler Fitters Union Local 669 (UA)

  • 78 workers at United Natural Foods voted UNANIMOUSLY in favor of unionization with the Teamsters Local 769

  • 54 workers at Miami City Ballet in Miami Beach, FL voted 20 to 31 against unionization with the American Guild of Musical Artists

  • 23 workers at Akima Systems Engineering in Panama City Beach, FL voted 8 to 0 in favor of unionization with the IAMAW

STRIKES & BARGAINING

  • Municipal workers for the city of Durham, NC (and members of UE Local 150) are rallying at the city budget hearing to demand reclassification of solid waste workers, moving them up on classification title (which would result in a raise). UE 150 says that of the $28M available for raises this year, the majority is going to cops and management, not the city's low wage workers. 

  • Axios is touting Julie Su’s role in helping workers at Blue Bird in Georgia secure a first contract after unionizing with the USW. They cite as evidence for this the Biden administrations green initiatives generally (with Blue Bird slated to be the recipient of $60M in funding from the EPA’s Clean School Bus Program) and Su’s personal interventions with management, having urged them to bargain in good faith

  • The Union of Southern Service Workers and Step Up Louisiana rallied at Dollar General headquarters in Goodlettsville during their annual shareholder meeting to demand safer working condition

  • In an attempt to protect employees in the case of a second Trump term, federal employees at the EPA just secured a new contract through their union - AFGE Council 238 - that includes “groundbreaking” protections for “scientific integrity.” The council’s 13 locals voted unanimously to ratify the new agreement. 

  • Members of UAW Local 286 at Penske Logistics in El Paso, TX went on strike after the company has refused to bargain in good faith for a first contract. Most workers make around $18/hr with healthcare premiums of $180 per week. The 40 clerical workers are seeking to raise wages to at least $20/hr. 

  • CWA members at Brightspeed (an internet provider) in Alabama, North Carolina, and Virginia are undergoing mobilization training to prepare for contract expiration (which occur between June 1 and June 7 for the different groups of workers). Members are fighting for pay increases, staffing, and reasonable commutes

  • Workers at UFCW International in DC, represented by the NewsGuild CWA, went on a one day strike last week in protest of the UFCW’s contract offer that fail to keep pace with inflation and inadequate telework options

  • Integral Care, the largest mental healthcare provider in Travis County, TX and a government agency, currently employs its workers on an at will basis. The union, United Workers of Integral Care (UWIC) states that this has led to unjust dismissals which means workers are afraid to speak out, and that this has also led to a staffing crisis. The union is pushing for a just cause disciplinary program to be implemented, and the agency head said he is “ready to have a conversation” with the union about it

  • The Baldwin County Library Cooperative fired its entire staff last week - so far no reasons have been given

  • 15,000 workers in Alabama are paid at or below minimum wage, according to a new study

POLITICS & LEGISLATION

  • The IRS is making its free tax filing platform permanent and open to all 50 states

  • Romney and Manchin have a fiscally irresponsible bill that would cap all telework for federal employees to 40% of work days in a given pay period, with exceptions for military spouses or federal law enforcement. It does not make an exception for remote employees, meaning thousands of workers would be forced to move across the country or be fired. Manchin said the reason for this legislation is that remote work “hinders” productivity, but provides no evidence

  • As an illustration of these issues - in the same week this legislation was announced, AFGE Local 3810 (representing workers at the Economic Development Administration) says that a full 50% of their members are “actively” applying for jobs outside the agency and two thirds say they would accept an offer if made, and said that further return to the office plans will exacerbate turnover and understaffing

  • Alabama leaves millions of dollars from the federal food stamp program unused every year

  • Seven school districts in Alabama will get $7.865 million for 24 electric buses from the EPA’s clean school bus program, which is slated to particularly help low income, rural, and tribal communities.

INTERNAL UNION AFFAIRS

  • United Campus Workers of Tennessee voted to join other southern UCW groups in CWA District 3


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