Photo credit: Twitter @sobaylabor
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 email@example.com.
Dozens of Starbucks Stores File Petitions to Unionize
Since two Starbucks stores in Buffalo, New York successfully voted to unionize on December 9, at the time of writing over 50 other Starbucks locations across 19 states have filed petitions to conduct union elections. The elections decide whether or not the workers at a given location would be organized under the new Starbucks Workers United labor union, affiliated with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). The pace of union election petitions has been rapid, with 16 locations filing for union elections on January 31 alone.
In reaction to the push by its workers to not only unionize but demand higher wages and better working conditions, Starbucks has undertaken a concerted effort to intimidate and repress the nascent unionization movement. One worker at a Memphis store that is trying to unionize described an example of Starbucks’s campaign of intimidation to liberal nonprofit More Perfect Union: “We have an interim store manager and now she’s bringing all of her [own] managers and all of her employees to our store, and they’re deliberately taking our hours. The majority of our store has had to get second jobs because hours have been cutting back short.”
California and Nevada UPS Workers Protest Pay Cuts for Part-time Workers
Workers for the logistics giant United Parcel Service (UPS) in California and northern Nevada staged protests at seven different facilities last Thursday to demand an end to severe pay cuts for part-time employees of the company. Despite making record profits in 2021, UPS announced last month they would be cutting the pay of nearly 4,000 part-time workers in the area by up to $6 an hour. At the protests workers distributed educational flyers and held signs and banners that read, “UPS: Don’t cut part-timer pay!”
One protesting UPS worker told local Nevada monopoly news outlet KRNV, “That’s a huge cut in pay for [the part-timers]. These are the lowest paid people in UPS and UPS is making billions, with a ‘b’, per quarter in profit, every quarter. This is such a disservice.” Such cuts and harassment usually follow the end of the holiday peak season, as Tribune has reported on in other UPS facilities.
School Bus Drivers in Mississippi Strike for One Hour, Secure Pay Increase of $5 an Hour
School bus drivers in Jefferson Davis County went on strike on January 21 in response to the county’s school board members voting 4-1 to approve a $25-an-hour rate to “emergency drivers.” Under this setup, the county would reach out to former bus drivers and other district employees to mitigate short-staffing while only paying their current drivers $12 to $15 an hour. The next day, the bus drivers went on strike, and after only an hour of striking, the superintendent agreed to meet with them and hear their grievances. In response to the strike, the school board held an emergency meeting and voted unanimously to raise their pay to $20 an hour.
17,000 Railroad Workers Vote to Strike in Response to BNSF Attendance Policy, Strike Prevented by State
Over 17,000 railroad workers working for BSNF Railway, represented by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET), and the Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation (SMART) voted to go on strike in response to a new repressive attendance policy that would grant workers only one day off per month. Under this policy, workers could be penalized for taking time off, even for sick days or doctor visits. The workers were set to go on strike on February 1 when Federal Judge Mark T. Pittman, siding with BNSF, ruled that workers could not go on strike over a “minor dispute.” In response to this, one worker stated in an interview with liberal nonprofit More Perfect Union, “How is it minor when your whole life is dictated by the whims of a rail carrier?”
In an interview with More Perfect Union, railroad worker Ron Kaminkow commented on the potential impact of a nationwide railroad strike, and stressed the need for solidarity from workers in all industries. “We’re all part of the working class that produces the wealth and without us nothing could happen,” he stated, “and so when one of us is under attack, we’re all under attack.”
Columbus: Student Workers Protest Ohio State University’s Poor Treatment
On January 21, students rallied outside of the Ohio Union building on the Ohio State University (OSU) campus, protesting the university’s insufficient wage for student workers.
The protesters, which consisted of student workers from several workplaces, called for a $15 minimum wage, free campus parking for student workers, more frequent wage increases, along with other demands. Supporters of Tribune distributed pamphlets and articles about the student worker strike at Columbia University to passers by.
The demonstrators later stopped in front of Traditions at Scott, a campus dining hall, and student workers gave speech about their working conditions and grievances against the university’s administration. One student worker named Ricky said: “I’m tired of people telling me that I should be happy with my wage. Well, I’m not! I’m tired of it. OSU is nothing without its student workers, it’s time we make them realize that. Together we can force that realization!”
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