Don’t forget essential workers
Frontline workers pressure lawmakers to pass the bonus pay bill, an MOA Starbucks and Peace Coffee launch union drives, and more.
👋 Howdy, folks! We’d love for you to share this newsletter with anyone who likes to stay in the loop about labor issues and worker power and culture. Let us know what you’d like to see!
📣 Will frontline “heroes” be abandoned?
“Before I came here today, I did spray my throat with some numbing spray because ever since I had COVID I’ve had a persistent cough…I don’t believe we’re in a post-pandemic world.” –Shannon Helgeson, educator with the Winona Education Association.
Representatives of frontline workers met in Winona on Thursday, in state Senator Jeremy Miller’s district, the majority leader of Minnesota’s state Senate, who hasn’t called any hearings on the Senate version of the frontline worker pay bill that state Representatives passed in the House.
They testified about what they’ve been witnessing on the frontlines of the pandemic, calling attention to the lack of protections and destructive narratives surrounding the work they do. They also expressed fear that their struggles will be forgotten, and concerns they won’t be prepared when the next disaster or emergency occurs. They recognize that a $1500 check won’t replace what these workers lost or serve as a long-term solution, but it will help to pay a few bills.
They urged fellow workers and community members to put political pressure on Sen. Miller to move the bill forward. You can use this form to contact your legislators.
☕ Solidarity with baristas and roasters
Jay Boller (@jaymboller) from Racket has the story on the first floor MOA Starbucks joining the union movement! Boller also has the story on Peace Coffee workers’ union drive. The workplaces may be different, the bosses may be different…but the anti-worker strategies are the same. 🤨
Meanwhile, Starbucks is trying everything it can to bust its unions, including proposing benefits for non-union workers.
❤️ ICYMI: check out my story on how organizing a union at their store is an act of care for baristas.
💪 How to win at work: taking on one of the most powerful corporations
The independent Amazon Labor Union won their union election against all odds and are now facing a contract negotiation with their employer as well as more upcoming elections. This week, Jacobin and Emergency Workplace Organizing Committee hosted a virtual discussion with ALU organizers, and Senator Bernie Sanders made an appearance in support. Even though Amazon tried to smear president Chris Smalls as not “smart or articulate,” Smalls and fellow organizers, Angelika Maldonado and Michelle Valentin Nieves, share the revolutionary wisdom of worker power.
👀 Watch: ALU organizers offer tips and techniques on workplace organizing.
🛠️ Fighting against fraud in construction
“We’re looking for elected officials, developers and contractors to pay more attention, to be accountable for what is happening on these projects…Not only does it hurt the taxpayer, it’s about the dignity of workers.”–North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters representative Woodrow Piner
Union carpenters picketed this week to bring attention to the industry-wide practice of payroll and tax fraud that exploits workers and costs our state and federal governments billions of dollars. Michael Moore from St. Paul’s Union Advocate (@unionadvocate) reports on the local carpenters who are standing up against employers and raising awareness.
🚍 “They haven’t taken any accountability.”
Thankfully, no one was physically harmed when a University of Minnesota bus crashed into Acadia Cafe in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood on March 15. However, Devlin Epding (@DevlinEpding) from The Minnesota Daily reports on workers at the cafe who express frustration with the lack of response from the University while the incident is being investigated by police.
🗓️ Save the date: UALE’s Midwest School for Women Workers!
Learn more and register here.
Thanks for reading Up With the Workers! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support our work.
All power to the people. We are each other’s harvest.