Monday, February 8, 2021

NBC: Amazon workers rally for a union in Alabama

 Local NBC affiliate WVTM 13 reports that workers at the Bessemer, AL Amazon warehouse rallied over the weekend in support of their unionization efforts.

The rally followed a decision earlier in the week by the National Labor Relations Board to allow the vote to go ahead despite Amazon's objections to the vote being conducted via mail in ballots.

Sentinel: Bookshop Santa Cruz employees unionize

 The Santa Cruz Sentinel reports that employees of Bookstore Santa Cruz voted 58% in favor of unionizing with the Communication Workers of America Local 9423.

Impetus for the organizing drive came this past year when workers were asked to return to work without health and safety measures in place and without a workers voice in pandemic planning. Workers also are pushing for higher wages.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Connexion: French educators and students to strike over COVID protections and pay

 A French teachers union estimated that about a third of all of France's teachers would go out on strike yesterday, January 26th, as frustration has risen around the nation's response to the resurgent COVID-19 pandemic, The Connexion has reported.

The union, SNUipp-FSU, said that members felt that the state had abandoned frontline workers in the midst of deteriorating situations making and called for the state to implement protection for teachers and students that rose to the challenge of COVID-19.

The unions are also demanding action on teacher salaries, which falls 7% below the global average for early and mid-career professionals, after promises and reforms made last year were deemed insufficient.

Students and parents are also joining the strike over frustration with the government's response to the pandemic.

France's nurses union also encouraged its school nurse members to join the teachers strike, saying the additional burdens placed on school nurses to test and contact trace COVID-19 prevented them from being able to tend to and care for students with other health needs.

Sun-Times: CTU and CPS at impasse as reopening stalled

 The Chicago Sun-Times reports that the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) failed to reach an agreement around reopening physical school buildings by a Wednesday deadline.

As a result, CTU told members to continue working from home as the potential of a work stoppage mounted.

The two sides bought more negotiating time and education will continue at a distance for the remainder of this week, an attempt by CPS to cut off remote teaching and a forced return to the classroom could cause picket lines to pop up across the city according to an email CTU sent to its membership Tuesday night.

The move to full remote learning moves special education and preschool students back to online classrooms after returning to in person learning earlier in January.

A move by CPS to lock teachers out of virtual learning accounts, however, would result in education completely shutting down for all students in the CPS system. With CTU and its members unwilling to go back into the classroom under current conditions they feel are unsafe, such a lock out would, in effect, trigger a teachers strike.

The CTU and its members are concerned that reopening school buildings at this point would put its members and the larger Chicago community in danger in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. A concern made all the more real by the news of several new strains of COVID-19 appear to be more contagious and more likely in infect children than the strain first identified in late 2019. Some indications in the United Kingdom may also point to at least one of these strains being more deadly as well. One of these strains originating in the United Kingdom is expected to become the dominant United States strain my March.

From the perspective of CTU, it makes more sense to wait the remaining weeks before teachers are able to be vaccinated rather than rush people back into buildings and risk infecting teachers and staff, families, and the wider Chicago community.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Verge: Google workers announce international union alliance

Google workers represented by 13 unions in 10 countries have announced the formation of a cross border union alliance, Alpha Global, with the stated goal of holding Google parent company Alphabet accountable, the Verge is reporting.

The announcement comes just weeks after United States and Canada based workers formed the Alphabet Workers Union (AWU), a minority union within the Communication Workers of America, and grew in membership from 350-700.

Alpha Global will be affiliated with UNI Global Union, putting it in an international federation of 20 million union workers including workers at Amazon.

Education Week: Supreme Court declines to hear case on union dues refund

 Education Week reports that the U.S. Supreme Court has declined the appeal of several court case brought by public employees looking for refunds on collective-bargaining fees following the Courts now infamous 2018 Janus ruling.

The decision is being hailed as a victory by public sector unions, though it should be noted that the dismissals allow the Court to avoid ruling on the cases merits for the time being.

CTV: French teachers in Alberta vote on strike

 CTV News reports that French teachers in Alberta's largest school district will be voting on a strike action after two years without a contract agreement.

The teachers, represented by Unité locale francophone No 24, are said to be greatly in favor of a strike. If the action passes, teachers could go out as early as 72 hours after giving notice.