Workers’ Resistance Bulletin: January 28

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 tribuneofthepeople@protonmail.com.


King Soopers Grocery Store Workers Approve Tentative Agreement, Ending 10-Day Strike

After striking for 10 days, grocery store workers represented by United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Union Local 7 came to a tentative agreement with the King Soopers grocery store chain. The workers voted on January 24 to approve a new contract which includes $5-an-hour pay raises for some workers, as well as healthcare and safety benefits. While the workers won some concessions from the strike, some were skeptical of the union leadership and the nature of the contract, as the details of the agreement between the union and the grocery store chain were initially kept quiet. In an interview with local monopoly news outlet Denver7, a worker stated, “We want to make sure that … there’s not anything missing that’s going to affect this in the long run.”

During the strike, the State interfered on the side of the company to stop workers from picketing more militantly. In a document discovered by monopoly outlet The Huffington Post, King Soopers filed a restraining order against UFCW Local 7 and the workers it represented, citing threats of intimidation against customers as a reason to file the restraining order. However, photos from social media show that the striking workers received broad support from the community, with photos of empty parking lots at King Soopers stores and customers refusing to cross the picket line.

Photo credit: UFCW Local 7

SEIU Negotiates Contract One Day before Planned Strike

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 521, representing Santa Cruz County workers, and Santa Cruz County negotiated a tentative three-year agreement promising a 3% wage increase and $1,250 hazard pay bonuses. Last week, 87% of workers voting rejected a similar offer from Santa Cruz County and 93% supported a strike on January 25. The workers cited the county’s failure to provide resources and protection for health and social service workers during the pandemic as the reason for the strike. The union represents workers in numerous county sectors, including public health nurses, custodians, cooks, and public works employees. In a press release, a nurse with SEIU Local 521 stated, “We have no choice, but to go on strike to protect our community recovery. Our Santa Cruz community deserves better.”

The initial contract between SEIU Local 521 and Santa Cruz County and expired in September 2021. Citing the overwhelming workload exacerbated by the pandemic, combined with low wages, the majority of workers approved a strike authorization on December 7, 2021. Workers will vote on the tentative agreement next week.

Top Bureaucrat of Boilermakers Union Signs New Contract, Overriding Wishes of Local Workers

The president of the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers (IBB), Newton B. Jones, went over the heads of workers with Local 696 to sign a contract with ship-building company Fincantieri Marinette Marine at the end of last year, even though workers rejected this contract seven times in 2020 and picketed last November. A worker of 14 years with Local 696 told local monopoly news outlet Action News 2, “We pay our union dues, and what do we get for it now?”

Workers with Fincantieri Marinette Marine have only received a 5% pay raise in the last five years, while their healthcare costs have skyrocketed by 19%. The decision by the union president ensures that workers can expect more of the same, as worker Matt Moses said in an interview with Action News 2: “We’ve gone how long without a raise now and now we’re having to settle with what we’re basically told we have to take.”

DC Teachers Walk Out to Protest Lack of Safe Conditions for Staff and Students

Teachers at Anacostia High School in Washington, DC walked out in protest last Friday over grievances related to school safety and the poor condition of school facilities. Tensions came to a head after weeks of teachers being injured during fights between students, a lack of heat in the building due to a broken boiler, and weak COVID safety protocols. This culminated in a shooting in front of the school on Wednesday night which covered the building’s front doors in bullet holes while students were still inside the building practicing sports.

In a statement to local monopoly news outlet ABC 4, a teacher who participated in the walkout said, “As a staff, we came together today and said, ‘Well, that’s enough. We’ve had enough.” Immediately following what the educators termed the “Anacostia Day of Action,” the school’s broken boiler was fixed, and other repairs were also made to the building.

Photo credit: wikicommons

Virginia and California Healthcare Workers Strike on MLK Day

Psychologists, therapists, and social workers employed by Kaiser Permanente and organized by the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) in Oakland, California and Richmond, Virginia went on strike on Martin Luther King Jr. Day to demand that the company make the holiday a paid day off. Striking healthcare workers formed picket lines and held signs with slogans like “Kaiser, Don’t Deny the Legacy of MLK, JR” and “ON STRIKE.” The strike also occurred in the context of ongoing contract negotiations between the NUHW and the healthcare giant.

An Oakland social worker interviewed by local monopoly news outlet KTVU explained the grievances of workers with Kaiser: “For Kaiser to still refuse to honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a national holiday in 2022 is disrespectful to our communities. … Kaiser’s executives talk a good game when it comes to social justice, but they don’t practice what they preach.”

Photo credit: National Union of Healthcare Workers

Minnesota Clerical Workers Form Picket, File ‘Intent to Strike’

Over 3,500 social service and clerical workers for Hennepin County in Minnesota formed picket lines outside service centers and libraries on January 19 in a show of strength as they filed an intent to strike with the local county government. The strike would begin on February 2 if a deal is not reached with the county government during ongoing contract negotiations, and would be the first strike of county employees in Hennepin in over 40 years. The workers’ central demands are wage increases that keep up with inflation, greater COVID protections, and hazard pay.

Many workers told the nonprofit publication Minnesota Reformer that they often had to pay out of pocket for supplies without any reimbursement from the county. As one social worker explained, “I feel like my work is not being valued. I’m sick of it. I’m so sick of it.”

Florida Jimmy John’s Workers Quit, Call Out Ownership Lies

Every worker at a Jimmy John’s franchise in Central Florida quit this week and left a sign on the door decrying the lies and poor practices of their franchise’s owners. Next to a sign left by the owners saying the location would be “temporarily closed due to labor shortage” the former workers put up their own sign that read, “There IS no labor shortage! The owners of this establishment treated their employees like dogs, never once helping us out—they don’t even live in Florida. All employees (including management) were students and did a great job keeping the store running with no help from the owners. The past few months of crappy business have been the result of lazy, careless ownership.”

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