Thursday, January 21, 2021

National Law Review: Top-5 labor law developments of December

 For readers of the Union Library Workers' Blog interested in the intricacies of labor law the National Law Review has published a list of the top-5 developments in labor law from December 2020.

DCist: Virginia Dems split over RTW appeal

 The progressive wing of Virginia's Democratic Party is pushing for a repeal of the states 74-year "right to work" law while the more moderate wing of the party remains less willing to move repeal forward in the Democratic controlled legislature.

The DCist reports that Delegate Lee Carter (D-Manassas), a self described socialist who is running for state governor, has put forward his third attempt to repeal the legislation that he argues is rooted in segregationist policies and undermines the ability of unions to organize in the state.

Despite voter rejection of a 2016 referendum to enshrine "right to work" in the state's constituion, moderate members of the state legislature are showing signs that they are not eager to move Carter's legislation forward.

Sun-Times: Chicago Teachers Union to collectively refuse in-person assignments

 As the COVID-19 pandemic heads into the new year with more contagious varients expected to become the dominant strains by March, Chicago teachers are voting on a collective action to refuse orders to return to full in person teaching Monday, the Chicago Sun-Times has reported.

The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) has noted the action would not constitute a strike as teachers would continue teaching from home. This has not stopped Chicago Public Schools (CPS) from labeling the action as an "illegal strike." 

Meanwhile, elected officials from local and state government gathered in support of the CTU in Chicago's Little Village neighborhood, pointing out that President Biden was calling for an end to recklessness in the national approach to COVID-19 they argued that teachers shouldn't be forced back into schools until they were able to get vaccinated.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

The Counter: Amazon workers to vote on companies first American union

 The Counter reported on Monday that 6,000 Amazon employees at the companies Bessemer, AL warehouse will begin a weeks long vote on unionization in February.

If successful, the union organized under New York based Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) would be the first in Amazon's U.S. operations.

Amazon has a long history of anti-union activities and has stymied organizing drives in the past, but organizers believe the Bessemer warehouse could finally break open organizing at the nations second largest employer. A victory would launch an avalanche of organizing for other Amazon locations as well as Whole Food grocery stores.

Amazon has come under increasing scrutiny for its labor practices and workplace safety, scrutiny that has only increased in the past year as workers have raised concerns about working conditions under a global pandemic.

ILtUWS: Columbia Students call for tuition strike, affordable education, and an end to Harlem's Gentrification

 I Love the Upper West Side reports that over the weekend, Columbia University students from a number of different organizations united under the banner of "Tuition Strike 2021" to demand affordable education and an end to the schools gentrification of the nearby Harlem neighborhood.

Tuition Strike 2021 has circulated a petition that had garnered 4,200 signatures as of Tuesday. The petition lays out demands as:

  • A 10% reduction in tuition matched with a 10% increase in finacial aid
  • An end to the school's expansion into West Harlem as well as jobs, education, and housing for the neighborhoods residents
  • Defunding the school's policing services and the creation of "community safe solutions" that also look to the repairing of past harms caused by the Public Safety department
  • Transparency and student voice in university investments
  • Meeting the demands of campus unions, recognition of the union for MA and undergrad student workers, and protections for international students

Friday, January 15, 2021

UNISON: UK libraries should stay closed to protect library workers and families

 The United Kingdom's largest union, UNISON, has called for libraries to completely close during the UK's third lock down amid a new highly contagious strain of the COVID-19 virus.

The government's stated guidelines ask for libraries to continue services such as IT access and curbside service. Facing a growing health crisis UNISON views even these services as too dangerous for library workers, who will have to provide these services, and their families

Compounding the problem for library workers, the union argues, is the fact that many library workers are already isolating and more are to be deployed for food delivery and other services leaving already struggling libraries under staffed.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Tribune: Chicago teachers refuse return to school

 The Chicago Teacher's Union, while not calling for any workplace action, has stated that it will support any teachers in the city that chose to disobey Chicago Public Schools and Mayor Lori Lightfoot's efforts to force pre-K and and special education cluster teachers back into the classroom before the Mayor's own most recent stay at home order expires and public health officials have an opportunity to examine and gauge post-holiday spread, the Chicago Tribune has reported.

CTU, which has become famous in labor circles for its successful community organizing efforts that propelled them to multiple victorious strikes and other actions over the past decade.

A letter was also sent by 30 city aldermen expressing concern that efforts to force schools open fail to meet CPS's equity objectives while also falling short on issues of public health concerns.

A union attorney noted that this is not a work stoppage, as teachers have a right to work in a safe environment and those who continue to work remotely are simply exercising that right. If CPS puts up a fight, however, he notes that the membership might choose to take a tougher stance.