Photo credit: @CalNurses, Twitter
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.
Denver Janitors Win Large Wage Increase after Saturday Strike
Janitors at the Denver International Airport in Colorado won a significant wage increase this week after they walked out this Saturday in protest over low pay and overworking. The janitors had walked out to protest these conditions in early October as well, but this month’s strike came just as the busy Thanksgiving travel season was beginning. Specifically, the airport conceded to a $4/hour raise in the new contract, as well as protections around workload and scheduling. One janitor explained in a news statement: “We walked off the job united, and we won historic wages and workload protections for janitors at this airport. This agreement is good for janitors, it’s good for our communities, and it’s good for our airport.”
Long Beach School Bus Drivers Strike over Low Pay
Drivers for the special education buses used by the Long Beach Unified School District in Long Beach, California went on strike for two days last week to demand higher wages and an end to stagnant contract negotiations. Pay for drivers in the district is around $2 an hour less than that of drivers who do similar work in other districts. Many drivers said they were frustrated by the school district’s unwillingness to listen to workers’ demands in bargain sessions that seem to be going nowhere, with one driver telling local monopoly news publication The Long Beach Post, “We’ve had over 13 [negotiation] sessions and drivers are just looking for equality.”
Tens of Thousands of Kaiser Health Care Workers Hold Sympathy Strike for Striking Hospital Maintenance Workers
This past Thursday and Friday tens of thousands of healthcare workers with healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente walked out and joined the picket lines of operating engineers with Kaiser in northern California who have been on strike for two months to demand better pension plans as well as wage increases. One nurse told local monopoly news outlet KCRA 3, “ We work with these engineers daily, they maintain our facilities, they maintain the equipment we use for patient care.” A striking operating engineer told the news outlet that the sympathy strike showed there was “strength in numbers.” More than 2,000 mental health clinicians for Kaiser joined the strike on Friday as well, both in solidarity with the operating engineers and to protest their own grievances of understaffing and overwhelming caseloads.
Illinois Teachers Stage Two-Day “Sick-out” Strike over Work Conditions
Teachers in Evanston, Illinois called out sick in large numbers this Monday and Tuesday to protest difficult working conditions and burnout. The low-staffing numbers caused by the “sick-out” in combination with the current substitute teacher shortage facing schools nationwide meant the district was forced to cancel school on both days. The president of the Evanston Teachers Council, which represents the teachers, said at a local school board meeting that educators in the district have to deal a “toxic working environment,” “power-hungry administrators who do not center students,” and micromanagement which leads to “an immense amount of paperwork.”
Orlando Airport Workers Walk Out to Protest Low Pay, Poor Benefits
Around 100 wheelchair assistants at Orlando International Airport walked out this past Thursday to hold a one-day strike protesting low wages and a lack of benefits for many workers at the airport. Some tipped workers at the airport, such as wheelchair assistants, are paid under $8 an hour. One wheelchair assistant stated in a post on the union’s social media: “We are overworked and underpaid. We need real change so all of us can have a better quality of life. It’s tough to get by on $7.98 an hour, and I’ve suffered injuries on the job.”
While most workers at Orlando International Airport gained a new baseline wage of $15 an hour this year during contract negotiations, workers who are from outside contractors, like the wheelchair assistants, do not benefit from this.
Maine Movie and Theatrical Workers Picket Outside Portland City Hall
Stagehands, forklift operators, dressers, electricians, and other theatrical workers organized by the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) conducted what they called an “educational picket” outside the city hall of Portland, Maine last week to inform the public about their current contract conflict with the Portland city government. The city government recently announced its decision to end its contract with the union workers, who have staffed it since its opening, and instead open up a competitive bidding process to non-union companies who want to staff the theater. Picketing workers told local news publication The Beacon that the primary purpose of the picket was to distribute pamphlets and educate the public, as well as put pressure on city government.
One worker told The Beacon: “So many people come to these shows, but very few know what we do. We are the hands behind entertainment. We roll out the cables, take the stuff off the trucks. … We’re the folks that help to put on the shows that you enjoy.”
Alabama Coal Miners Still on Strike Despite State Repression
Over 1,000 coal miners employed by Warrior Met Coal in Alabama have been on strike for over eight months despite facing increasing state repression. A judge has extended a court order barring workers from picketing and engaging in other union activities within 300 yards of the mine entrance until December 5.
The workers demand an end to the contract concessions they made to management five years ago, which decreased their pay and benefits. The workers have fought tirelessly to enforce their picket and to prevent scabs from crossing the picket line. Workers report that they have been repeatedly assaulted on the picket lines, but have received no assistance from the police. Instead of protecting workers, the police have escorted scabs (non-union replacement workers) across the picket line.
Shipbuilders Reject Bad Contracts
Shipbuilders in Newport News, Virginia and Pascagoula, Mississippi have voted to reject contracts from their respective unions for failing to increase pay and benefits. The workers are employed by subsidiaries of Huntington Ingalls Industries, the largest military shipbuilding company in the US. Despite these votes, the unions have refused to call for a strike. In Newport News, the United Steelworkers has indefinitely extended the old contract, and in Pascagoula the unions (including the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers) have scheduled a re-vote on the rejected contract.
New York Dairy Workers’ Strike Wins New Contract
Around 250 workers at Saputo Dairy in Friendship, New York have won a new contract after a ten-day strike. The workers, represented by Teamsters Local 264, have protected their healthcare benefits and earned a 4% raise over three years. The workers have voted to accept the new contract.
Activision Blizzard Employees Walk Out, Demand CEO’s Resignation
Around 150 employees at video-game company Activision Blizzard in Irvine, California walked out Tuesday following a report that the company’s CEO Bobby Kotick failed to act on reports of sexual misconduct in the company. The workers demand Kotick’s and other executives’ resignations; however, none have resigned so far. The workers also demand a review conducted by an employee-appointed third party. This is the second walkout at the company in four months, following a lawsuit against the company for sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination in the workplace.
Charlotte Flight Attendants Protest Outside Airport
Flight attendants represented by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA protested outside Charlotte Douglas International Airport on Thursday. The workers are employed by Piedmont Airlines, a subsidiary of American Airlines. First-year employees at Piedmont are paid only $16,900 for the whole year. Many of the flight attendants report that they do not make enough to survive and have to sleep in the airport and in their cars. Management has refused to increase pay and is increasing healthcare premiums. The union has been in negotiations with Piedmont for three years, and despite a recent strike authorization it has yet to call a strike.
Philadelphia Hotel Workers Strike, Demand Higher Wages
Approximately 60 hotel workers at Wyndham Philadelphia Historic District Hotel went on strike Sunday, demanding higher wages and better working conditions. The workers formed a picket line in front of the hotel carrying signs with the slogan “Black Lives Matter! Black Work Matters!” The workers told local monopoly newspaper The Philadelphia Inquirer that they were prepared to remain on strike until they get a new contract. Their previous contract expired in September 2019.
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