Workers’ Resistance Bulletin is an overview of workers’ resistance, as well as the repression of workers, taking place all across the US, from small workplaces to large factories. The growing wave of worker mobilizations makes clear that the general crisis of imperialism will be met with greater struggle from the proletariat. If you have a tip or suggestion for worker coverage, or you are a worker interested in becoming a worker correspondent, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New York City Taxi Drivers Win Increased Debt Relief after Hunger Strike
Taxi cab drivers in New York City won millions of dollars of additional loan relief from the city after a two-week hunger strike by a group of severely indebted taxi drivers. Thousands of taxi cab drivers in the city have gone bankrupt or suffer from extreme debt after the city inflated the price of taxi medallions, which was needed to operate a taxi cab in the city, between 2004 and 2017. Predatory loan agencies then encouraged taxi drivers to take out loans worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay for the medallions.
The hunger strike, which began October 20, came after the suicides of dozens of taxi drivers, as one driver explained to the union news outlet Labor Press: “A lot of people killed themselves. A lot of people died of heart attacks.”
The city had initially announced a much smaller relief plan over the summer, which drivers said was unsatisfactory. The new plan that drivers have won lowers and caps the total amount on the loans taken out by drivers and provides a significant weekly payment to the indented drivers to help them pay off the remaining loan amount. One celebrating driver explained to Labor Press: “Today we won. People became united in a very miserable time. Nobody knew what they were going to do, other than just die.”
Striking Barbers Defeat Pay Cuts, Win Scaling Pay
Barbers at the Fort Lee military base in Virginia recently settled a contract with Sheffield Barbers, the private contractor that employs them, after a nearly four-month strike. Throughout their struggle, the barbers received support from the community, including striking workers at a nearby Nabisco plant. The barbers originally walked out and formed their picket lines on July 4 of this year after Sheffield, which had recently become their new contractor, imposed a contract which slashed their pay and did not scale the payment they got from each haircut as prices increased. Under their new contract, not only will their pay be restored to the rate that existed before Sheffield took over, but it will also increase along with any rise in the price of a cut at the shop.
Indiana Teachers Stage Three-Day ‘Sick-out’ Strike to Protest Low Pay
Teachers for the Anderson Community Schools in Anderson, Indiana held a three-day strike this week to demand an increase in wages as well as lower healthcare premiums. Teachers in Indiana are some of the lowest-paid in the country, and according to the president of the Indiana Federation of Teachers, Randy Harrison, many teachers haven’t seen a raise since 2015. The strike took the form of a sick-out, in which over 100 teachers called out sick for three days, as it is illegal in Indiana for public school teachers to go on strike.
Although the strike forced the schools to close for three days, many parents in the town were supportive of the teachers, with one telling local monopoly news outlet 13 WTHR: “I am backing them 100%. They deserve what they need to be paid for, and if they’re not going to get it from here, guess what? They’re going to move to a different district. I don’t want that to happen, I don’t.”
Hundreds of Scranton Educators Strike to Demand End to Wage Freeze, School Cuts
Over 800 teachers and support staff in Scranton, Pennsylvania have been on strike since Wednesday to protest rising healthcare costs, stagnant wages, and severe budget cuts the district has imposed on schools across the city. Reductions in school budgets imposed by the district have also meant worsening working conditions for teachers as well as cuts to art and music programs, libraries, and other school services.
As one teacher explained to the Big News Network media monopoly, “[teachers] can’t afford to work in a district where their salary hasn’t changed in five years. It’s impossible. They have bills, too. They have homes. They have mortgages just like everybody else.” Scranton teachers last received raises when they went on strike for eleven days in 2015.
West Virginia Medical Workers Strike to Protest Benefit Cuts
Maintenance workers and healthcare technicians at Cabell Huntington Hospital in Huntington, West Virginia have been on strike since November 3 to demand an end to benefit cuts, low wages, and worsening working conditions. One worker told local monopoly news outlet WOWK 13, “We’re not asking for huge pay raises, we’re not asking for extra vacation, or sick time or anything. We want what we already had.”
Specifically, the hospital wants to significantly increase the amount that workers are paying for their healthcare plans, as well as continue the current freeze on wages they have imposed over the last few years. The hospital strike coincides with a strike by 450 metalworkers at the Special Metals plant in Huntington, which has been going on for six weeks now.
Buffalo Nurses Win Lower Staffing Ratios, Pay Increase after Strike
Healthcare workers at Mercy Hospital in Buffalo, New York won significant wage increases as well as lower patient-to-staff ratios after they reached a deal with healthcare corporation Catholic Health after a 35-day strike. The strike, which began on October 1, came after nurses and other hospital staff demanded an end to unsafe staffing levels on the hospital floor, resulting in dangerous conditions for both themselves and patients. Under the new contract, which was ratified by the workers on Monday, the nurse-to-patient ratio would be no more than one-to-five on the hospital floor, all workers would receive 3% to 6% wage increases and wages would not be less than $15 an hour.
St. Louis Nursing Home Workers Strike for Safer Conditions, Wage Increase
Workers for Blue Circle Rehab and Nursing in St. Louis, Missouri have been on strike since November 5 to demand increased healthcare benefits and wages as well as a safety committee for the nursing home facility. Workers at the facility told local monopoly news outlet 5 KSDK that understaffing and bad management had led to situations where residents of the nursing home were “left to sit in their own urine and feces” or wander around the facility unsupervised.
One worker who spoke at a rally said: “We always underpaid, we overworked. … [Blue Circle] gets paid double for Medicare, double for Medicaid and yet they telling us they can’t pay us.”
Rhode Island Truck Drivers’ Strike Enters Sixth Month
Drivers for the liquor distributor Johnson Brothers in North Kingstown, Rhode Island have been on strike for nearly six months now as they demand higher pay and greater recognition for the Teamsters unit present at their facility. Johnson Brothers has refused to negotiate with the workers and has attempted to prevent them from receiving unemployment benefits by claiming that they were only officially replaced in September, rather than when they were actually replaced by scab drivers in May.
The drivers have been conducting what they call “ambulatory picketing,” where they protest and picket outside liquor stores that continue to receive shipments from the scab drivers currently working for Johnson Brothers. The drivers are some of the lowest-paid in Rhode Island. While the strike has gone on longer than expected, as one driver told Tribune, the strike will continue until they win their demands. The driver said, “We don’t want to be used as slave labor out here.”
Ohio Steelworkers Strike, Management Refuses to Negotiate
Around 500 workers at ArcelorMittal Tubular Products, represented by the United Steelworkers, went on strike last week after their contract expired. According to the union, negotiations ended suddenly after the company presented what it called its final offer and left the building without notice. The workers demand more paid holidays, lower healthcare costs, and increased contributions to their pension. ArcelorMittal has refused to return to the negotiating table.
New Orleans Teamsters Go on Strike
Last week, 36 sanitation workers employed by Republic Sanitation in New Orleans, Louisiana went on strike. The workers demand safer working conditions and higher pay. According to the Teamsters Union, Republic Sanitation is one of the lowest-paying companies in the area.
Robert Williams, a maintenance worker, told the local outlet of news monopoly ABC, “It’s hell on wheels. We’re underpaid. Trucks are constantly breaking. I’m a one-man gang in the morning, I handle all these trucks, by myself.”
3,000 Student Workers on Strike at Columbia University
Around 3,000 student research and teaching assistants at Columbia University in New York City have gone on strike. The students are represented by the United Autoworkers. Students recently disrupted and shut down a class being taught by the university’s president, and then marched to protest outside his house. The strike is the second-largest ongoing strike in the US. The student workers demand better pay and health benefits, however, the university is currently refusing to negotiate. Student workers at Harvard University are on strike for similar demands.
Tufts University Janitors Protest, Win Contract Extension
Janitors at Tufts University in Massachusetts held a rally in late October protesting their employer’s failure to extend their contract and meet for negotiations. The workers are employed by C&W Services, a facilities contractor employed by the university. The protest succeeded in extending the contract until December 3. The workers, represented by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), demand more full-time positions, health insurance, and increased pay.
Adelaida Colón, who has been a janitor at Tufts for 25 years, addressed the rally: “Everything is expensive—how are we surviving? Despite the pandemic, C&W didn’t pay extra money for anybody. People are so sick, but it doesn’t want to pay for insurance … while the contractors are taking vacations, taking sick days.”
University of Illinois Service Staff Protest
Service workers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign protested last week to relay their demands prior to contract negotiations. The workers demand better pay, increased staffing, and better working conditions. The workers attempted to initiate contract negotiations in September, but the university ignored their efforts, only recently suggesting that negotiations begin November 18. According to the SEIU, the university has repeatedly ignored complaints filed by the workers.
Katrina Jarrett, who works in the university’s dining hall, told Illinois Newsroom, “We have a lot of people who get hired now and they’re not even making $15. How can you pay your bills? And the way our pay raises go is [we get one] every two years.”
California Bakers Strike for New Contract
Around 140 bakers represented by the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers, and Grain Millers went on strike in Santa Fe Springs, California. The workers are employed by Jon Donaire Desserts, and demand a one-dollar raise and a new contract. According to the union, the company is refusing to negotiate.
Palmyra Machinists Strike, Win New Contract
Around 300 workers in Palmyra, New York represented by International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers Local 558 went on a three-day strike, and have won a new contract. The strike began after workers rejected a proposed contract from Garlock Sealing Technologies, which froze pension contributions. The new contract increases wages, improves healthcare benefits, and includes a signing bonus and employer 401k contributions.
New York Dairy Workers Strike over Healthcare Costs
Around 250 workers represented by the Teamsters Union went on strike at Saputo Dairy in Friendship, New York. The company is attempting to drastically increase healthcare costs for workers, and is attacking seniority rights. The workers unanimously voted to strike. The union has filed several unfair labor practice complaints with the National Labor Relations Board.
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