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Labor is all ablaze
Workers at Blaze Pizza are celebrating a settlement over stolen wages and damages, plus historic Amazon union election news and #WorkShouldn’tHurtMN.
🍕💪 Blaze Pizza workers recognize and exercise their power
“I remember going into work one day and hearing a coworker complain about our wages. This was maybe three months into me working at Blaze. Until then, I had no idea that anything was wrong…I expected them to pay me a legal wage. I trusted them to do that, because why wouldn’t they?” –Sydney Kuran, worker at Blaze Pizza and nursing student at the University of Minnesota.
Read up on how Blaze Pizza workers learned their workplace rights and organized with ROC-MN to reach a settlement.
🗳️ Historic Amazon union election
The independent Amazon Labor Union (@amazonlabor), led by fired Amazon worker Christian Smalls (@Shutdown_Amazon), held an election this week for Staten Island warehouse workers, and the results are in!
🤕 Work shouldn’t hurt
Meanwhile, in Minnesota, the Awood Center and Rep. Emma Greenman held a press conference this week on HF2774, the warehouse worker safety bill in the state legislature. The bill passed through the House on a 72-60 vote and will now make its way through the Senate.
📞 Union conversations in public media
This week, MPR’s Angela Davis (@AngelaDavisMPR) answered calls from listeners on unions with the help of history professor William P. Jones (@willpjones3) and labor economist and associate professor Aaron Sojourner (@aaronsojourner) from the University of Minnesota.
Unions are often customized based on the industry.
A welder who works in Minneapolis said joining a labor union was the best decision they ever made. They appreciated the economic and relational benefits as an African-American worker.
One former union employee expressed concern for small business owners being told how to run their companies and said unions should be restricted to public entities that may have less accountability at the top.
The huge increase of wealth from investing and owning capital contrasts the wage stagnation of the lower classes. 💰
A former worker in the low voltage industry lamented the lack of outreach from their union and sexist abuse from union coworkers.
A nurse from MNA said their union gave them the opportunity to advocate for their patients.
A worker from the Guthrie Theater wants you to know that artists can unionize, too. 🎨
✈️ Solidarity with airline workers
“I’m only paid $12 an hour. I work a lot of hours and some days I work so late that I just sleep over at the airport. I can’t afford a car, rent and to send money home to my family in Sudan,” said Omer Hussein, a wheelchair attendant servicing American Airlines at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, in a press release on the actions. “I like working with passengers, but I’m so tired all the time. That won’t fly any longer.”
🤳 Tiktok tactics against union-busting at Kroger subsidiary
Tens of thousands of workers at Krogers are preparing to go on strike, and Ralphs, a subsidiary of Kroger, attempted to hire scab workers…however, tech savvy youth activists created and used coding that floods the site with fake applications.
🎮 Candy isn’t the only thing being crushed
An EEOC lawsuit alleging sexual harassment and discrimination against gaming entertainment company Activision Blizzard, which is currently being acquired by Microsoft, has led to an $18 million settlement. The company is being separately sued for equal pay violations.
🏆 If you’re still mad about #TheSlap…pay more attention to the Chateau Marmont allegations
Jay-Z’s party saw protests by workers with UNITE HERE who’ve accused the hotel of racial discrimination and sexual misconduct.
🚨 It’s not too late to sign up for more labor skills & organizing classes!
Check out the remaining Labor Education Service courses here.
🗓️ Save the date: Register for UALE’s Midwest School for Women Workers!
🗓️ Mark your calendars
The MN AFL-CIO Retiree Council has announced an in-person fundraiser for August 20!
The event will draw a crowd of retired workers, families and friends to the Sheet Metal Workers Local 10 Hall, 1610 Cope Ave., Maplewood, MN 55109. Attractions include delicious free foods, live music, games, a silent auction, hourly drawings for prizes and the pleasure of good company.
🌱 A poem for you to begin National Poetry Month!
An Earth Song, by Langston Hughes
It's an earth song,—And I've been waiting long for an earth song.It's a spring song,—And I've been waiting long for a spring song.Strong as the shoots of a new plantStrong as the bursting of new budsStrong as the coming of the first child from its mother's womb.It's an earth song,A body song,A spring song,I have been waiting long for this spring song.
Do you hear it? We are each other’s harvest.