The federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour has not been raised since 2009. That’s the longest period without an increase since the minimum wage was enacted, meaning today’s minimum wage is actually worth far less than it was in 2009. Continue reading
Starbucks Workers United is racking up victorious union votes in one branch after another of the iconic American coffee chain. A young California-based worker-organizer explains why this organizing campaign is different.
At only 19 years old, Joe Thompson is one of the youngest lead organizers with Starbucks Workers United (SWU), the umbrella organization at the forefront of one of the most exciting labor successes of the last few years. Thompson, who started working at the coffee chain at age 16, told me in a recent interview, “Starbucks likes to claim it’s super-progressive, and a lot of workers there are, but we’re the ones actually holding Starbucks accountable to that standard.” Continue reading
BESSEMER, Ala.—Shoving merchandise around Amazon’s giant warehouse in Bessemer, Ala., isn’t easy, Isaiah Thomas says. It also isn’t safe. Continue reading
On Friday, April 1, Amazon—America’s wealthiest, most powerful, and fiercest anti-union corporation, with the second-largest workforce in the nation (union-busting Walmart being the largest), lost out to a group of warehouse workers in New York who voted to form a union. Continue reading
Don’t believe the optimistic hype about wages “naturally” rising. About one-third of American workers are shockingly underpaid as a result of the federal government’s continued refusal to raise the minimum wage.
Amid all the good news about successful labor organizing and job growth in the United States is the stark reality that wages continue to remain inexcusably low even as inflation rises. A new government report by numerous agencies, including the U.S. Treasury Department, came to the stark conclusion that corporate power is suppressing wages. Continue reading
While efforts to secure paid leave benefits are stalled at the federal level, states and cities are moving forward. In the latest victory, the District of Columbia has granted hundreds of thousands of private-sector workers 12 weeks of paid time off, up from a maximum of eight weeks. Continue reading
It is hugely significant that even one café out of thousands in the iconic Starbucks coffee chain has beaten back the company’s union-busting tactics to choose collective power in the workplace.
The iconic American coffee chain, Starbucks, employs hundreds of thousands of people in nearly 9,000 cafés nationwide. And yet, the news that a handful of Starbucks employees at one café in Buffalo, New York, recently voted to join Workers United—an affiliate of SEIU—made headlines nationally. The New York Times called it a “big symbolic win for labor,” while the Washington Post hailed it as a “watershed union vote.” Social media feeds were replete with joyous posts celebrating the vote. The café, located on Elmwood Avenue, was the only one out of three union-voting Starbucks locations in Buffalo that successfully chose to unionize. Continue reading
This is the most opportune time for millions of workers in Big Box retail stores and fast-food outlets to form unions. McDonald’s, Walmart, Amazon, Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Burger King, and other giant chains are having trouble finding enough workers. Some of these companies are even paying signing bonuses and upping low pay. Continue reading
BUFFALO, N.Y.—Starbucks Workers United broke a significant barrier on December 9 with the first-ever worker win at the big retail coffee chain. Workers at the Elmwood store in Buffalo voted 19-8 to unionize with Starbucks Workers United, the National Labor Relations Board officer announced. The union also won 15-9 at a second store, but there are seven challenged ballots, and the NLRB will have to decide whether and how many of them to count. Continue reading
BUFFALO —First it was—and still is—Amazon in Alabama. Now it’s Starbucks in Buffalo. Continue reading
With a second union vote at its Alabama warehouse coming at a time of rising worker disaffection, Amazon is clearly worried that American workers will go the way of Europe: toward collective bargaining for their labor rights.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has just ruled that a historic union vote held earlier this year among Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama, by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) was not valid. The highly publicized vote, which took place over several weeks in February and March 2021, resulted in a resounding defeat for the union, with more than 70 percent of those voting choosing against union membership. Continue reading
This worker-driven organizing victory could pave the way for future debt relief.
After a two-week hunger strike and two months of sit-ins, dozens of taxi drivers in New York City hosted a long-awaited celebration outside City Hall on November 10. Continue reading
LAS VEGAS (PAI)—In what turned out to be his final address to a union crowd, the late AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka declared organized labor is fighting not just for itself, but for “democracy, which has been under siege.” Continue reading
Conservatives and corporate employers are weaving an insidious web of myths, lies and exaggerations to justify maintaining low-wage jobs.
For the past few months, Republicans have been waging a ferocious political battle to end federal unemployment benefits, based upon stated desires of saving the U.S. economy from a serious labor shortage. The logic, in the words of Republican politicians like Iowa Senator Joni Ernst, goes like this: “the government pays folks more to stay home than to go to work,” and therefore, “[p]aying people not to work is not helpful.” The conservative Wall Street Journal has been beating the drum for the same argument, saying recently that it was a “terrible blunder” to pay jobless benefits to unemployed workers. Continue reading
"If one in four recipients are making more off unemployment than they did working, that's not an indictment of $300 a week in UI benefits. It's an indictment of corporations paying starvation wages."
Pushing back on the right-wing narrative about the reason for real or perceived labor shortages in some markets nationwide, progressives on Friday told corporations that if they want to hire more people, they’ll need to start paying better wages. Continue reading
The Chamber of Commerce and the Republicans are seizing on what they say is a poor April jobs report to call for ending unemployment benefits they say are too generous. Their idea is that by heaping more pain and suffering on U.S. workers they will be forced to go back to work even if only to jobs that pay sub-human wages. The logical conclusion that this would be a good time for corporations and businesses to finally increase pay to living wage levels is one they want to avoid coming to at all costs. Continue reading
The Biden administration must address the industry’s long-standing gender discrimination and systemic inequalities, which have become even more severe during the pandemic.
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been an outpouring of public support for essential workers. But this national discourse has largely excluded migrant women farmworkers, despite their vital role in keeping food on American families’ tables. Continue reading
The PRO Act alone is simply not going to get the job done for U.S. workers.
President Joe Biden likes to say, “I’m a union guy.” Unfortunately, as Vice President from 2009 to 2017, his boss, Barack Obama wouldn’t let him be a “union guy.” Even with large Democratic majorities in Congress and control of the White House, worker needs went unmet. Continue reading
In the face of intimidation by one of the largest companies in the world, Alabama workers bravely spoke out about the need for greater labor protections.
Following one of the most high-profile union votes in history, workers at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama—led by Black organizers—ultimately rejected efforts to form a union by 71 percent, according to the National Labor Relations Board. Continue reading
A dive into the murky waters of unemployment to see the designed failings of a system that purposefully miscounts, disaggregates and excludes millions of people
The official unemployment rate now stands at 6.7%. But that doesn’t feel right, does it? Unless you live in a gated community, the reality on the ground feels more dire and more destitute. Behind that cheery 6.7% stand millions of uncounted people—uncounted by design. Continue reading
Retail workers are organizing to make sure private equity firms can’t make money by putting people out of work.
For many years, Giovanna De La Rosa enjoyed working at Toys ‘R’ Us—especially during the holiday shopping season. “I loved bringing joy to families and to children,” she shared at a recent congressional hearing. “I watched so many of the local kids grow up over the years while shopping in our store.” Continue reading
‘GE hired a new CEO last year with a pay package worth up to $300 million.’
Workers are stuck “paying the ultimate price for executives’ poorly-timed deals,” said Our Revolution on Monday after General Electric announced it was freezing the pensions of roughly 20,000 employees with salaried benefits. Continue reading