Be sure to mark your calendars for May Day this year! Your Thurston Lewis Mason Central Labor Council is excited to invite you and your Local to connect with your brothers, sisters and siblings this spring, summer and beyond!
“We Out Here!” JOIN US on Saturday, February 25, 2023 for a celebration of diverse leadership & more!
View Flyer Here
The A. Philip Randolph Institute, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement and Racial Justice & Diversity Committees of the Washington State Labor Council AFL-CIO are proud to announce “We Out Here!” A celebration of diverse leadership, in honor of and in solidarity with AFL-CIO Constituency Groups during Black History Month. We Out Here! will be held on Saturday, February 25, 2023 starting at 7pm at the Teamsters Hall in Tukwila. We will have food and drinks from around the world, music and a dance floor - an evening filled with joy and justice. RSVP: https://bit.ly/3Xz4cs0
We know that anything that divides our solidarity is a threat to our movement, and to working people’s wellbeing. We’re seeing immense enthusiasm for organized labor, especially among younger workers from increasingly diverse generations. To support current and future union members, to be a welcoming home and an effective movement for building worker power, we must understand that people closest to the problem are also closest to the solution.
“We Out Here!” JOIN US on Saturday, February 25, 2023 for a celebration of diverse leadership, in honor of and in solidarity with AFL-CIO Constituency Groups during Black History Month.
Please join in solidarity to support the working class struggle of all workers in our communities, learn more in The Stand and RSVP to We Out Here! on 2/25: https://bit.ly/3Xz4cs0
National Legislative and Political News
News From Around the NationREGION 1
Tell Starbucks: Stop union-busting closures
From the Stand: https://www.thestand.org/2022/11/tell-starbucks-stop-union-busting-closures/
SEATTLE (Nov. 29, 2022) — On Monday, Nov. 21, Starbucks announced it would close another store in Seattle. Again, it just happens to be one of the unionized locations, Broadway & Denny, which was the first store in the city to form a union with Starbucks Workers United in a unanimous vote back on March 22.
Rather than negotiate a first contract in good faith with its unionized workers, Starbucks continues to bust the unions by retaliating against union supporters and closing unionized stores. This is illegal, but Starbucks continues to do it — despite complaints from federal authorities and members of Congress — because U.S. labor laws and the penalties for breaking them are so weak that the company has deliberately chosen to commit illegal acts to discourage further organizing.
In fact, in the city where the company was born, they are stepping up the union-busting. With the latest store closure in Seattle, that will make four unionized stores that have been shuttered. The Broadway and Denny store is slated to be closed on Dec. 9, the one-year anniversary of the first Starbucks Workers United union election win in Buffalo, N.Y.
TAKE A STAND — Starbucks Workers United Seattle is urging all to show their support for Starbucks workers by taking one or more of the following actions:
— Send a direct message to Starbucks District Manager Taylor Pringle and his boss Regional Director Nica Tovey and tell them what you think of their actions in your own words.
— Sign the pledge: “No contract, no coffee!”
— Contribute to the hardship fund. A GoFundMe hardship fund has been set up to help Starbucks workers who have been retaliated against or had their store closed.
As Starbucks continues to close stores, company executive are citing “safety concerns” and their desire to protect employees as the reason. Many in the commercial media are buying it and simply parroting the company line.
But with the latest store closure announcement, The Stranger’s Conor Kelley decided to actually get up from his desk and go talk to some of the Starbucks workers. He found that the workers tell a much different story than management:
“They say the closures all followed a similar pattern, one designed to bust up union activity rather than to address safety. Now, workers worry about following the company’s safety directives for fear of having their own stores closed.”
In the face of Starbucks’ illegal retaliation, its employees have continued to join together in unions. The current wave of union organizing at Starbucks began in December 2021 with a store in Buffalo, N.Y. There are now 264 Starbucks stores in 36 states have won union elections, including 17 in Washington state. Just 59 stores have lost an election. Dozens more Starbucks stores have filed for a union and are awaiting NLRB-supervised elections, including three more in Washington.
Tacoma Art Museum opts for union busting
From the Stand: https://www.thestand.org/2022/11/tacoma-art-museum-opts-for-union-busting/
The following is from Tacoma Art Museum Workers United:
TACOMA (Nov. 23, 2022) — In a rushed vote, the Tacoma Art Museum Board refused to voluntarily recognize our union, TAM Workers United (TAMWU), which has more than 80 percent support among our coworkers.
A statement released by the museum illustrates a deliberate mischaracterization of what voluntary recognition of a union entails, despite our efforts to educate the board in person and in writing since going public with our union drive. The statement also bears the marks of the outside counsel the museum recently hired, Seyfarth Shaw LLP, one of the largest “union avoidance” firms in the country.
“Voluntary recognition is a legal pathway to unionization, categorizing it as anything else is simply misinformation and union busting,” said Eden Redmond, an institutional giving manager at TAM. “It’s disappointing, but we have great support from unions across Washington, the community in Tacoma, and workers at TAM, and we’re ready to keep going.”
“Again the board is making institutional decisions without the input from community or staff, showing they would rather rush to anti-union tactics than collaborate and hear from museum workers,” said Joe Liwag, a visitor services representative at TAM.
“This vote is just another example as to why the museum needs to be unionized,” said Carrie Morton, a visitor services representative. “Decisions are made at TAM with little transparency and with little regard for the stakeholders or our community. The problems at TAM are systemic and an overwhelming majority of workers agree that the solution is a strong union.”
TAKE A STAND — Show your solidarity by signing the community support letter. Also, be sure to follow TAM Workers United on Instagram and Twitter for the latest updates.
The museum’s willful ignorance about what, exactly, unions do has been a source of concern for us since the start of our union drive, and was again present in the museum’s statement. Our good-faith attempts to educate the Board or at least delay a vote until they could become informed were in vain.
“The Board described the union’s grievances as the result of bad behaviors and communication, and therefore outside the scope of what unions do,” Redmond said. “But that’s exactly what unions do- they make structural changes that secure workers rights no matter who is in power. We wanted to talk about a system, and they changed the subject to talk about individuals. This mischaracterizes our work and is a blatant union-busting tactic.”
Stephen Rue, lead preparator at TAM added, “Given that Thursday’s meeting was the first time the TAM Board has met since the unionization effort was made public one month ago, it is clear their denial was made in haste without fully understanding the legal process of voluntary recognition nor all the issues at stake.”
We understand that unions are not granted by employers, though they can be. They are voted into existence by workers themselves. If we need to create our union that way, without the good will of our employer, we are determined to do it.
“TAMWU will continue forward, united as workers spanning all departments of our museum, to bring to the community the message that denial of voluntary recognition is unacceptable and unionization is key to fixing the systematic wrongs that the TAM Board is now hiding behind as reason for their refusal.”
Together we can make a difference for the more than 38M Americans who experience food insecurity every year.
Donate nonperishable food during the #StampOutHunger food drive on Sat. May 14th by placing them in a bag next to your mailbox!
Participating is simple and easy: Just leave a bag of nonperishable items such as canned goods in a bag next to your mailbox and your letter carrier will handle the rest.
More info: https://www.ufcw.org/stampouthunger/
On National Third Shift Workers Day and every day, we thank all the workers that keep us going around the clock!
Workers' Memorial Day
On April 28, Workers’ Memorial Day is observed. The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 was signed into law on April 28 that year to address the grievous working conditions that were harming far fewer American workers then than are harmed today. The anniversary of that signing is now Workers’ Memorial Day. “Workers’ Memorial Day is a solemn but important time to reflect on the lives lost at worksites throughout Washington state,” said Larry Brown, President of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO. “COVID-19 has awakened many to the harm that workers face on the job every day when they are not protected from known hazards. It’s never been more clear that workers need to join together in unions and demand safer working conditions if they want that to change.” Read more.
For the past few months, Olivia Muzzy and Lisa Longmire (KRL/WPEA) have been involved in planning this workshop opportunity with the Washington State Labor Council, the Kitsap Central Labor Council and the Olympic Labor Council - we now have a date/time for this workshop, and a poster to share with you! "Courageous Conversations on Race and the Labor Movement" is a (free) workshop intended to provide a practical toolkit to identify the impacts of racism in the workplace and how we can build union solidarity through recognizing and responding to instances of racism. This is a hybrid style workshop, with an option to attend via Zoom as well as two in-person locations (in Silverdale and in Port Angeles). The workshop is scheduled for Thursday, May 19 from 5:45-7:45pm.
You can learn more about WSLC's Race and Labor initiatives here: https://www.wslc.org/race-and-labor/
Workshop information and registration here: https://tinyurl.com/wslcMay192022 and when registering, it will ask for the International Union affiliation - you will choose "United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW)", as that is WPEA's parent organization.
A HUGE thank you to our outstanding members that have worked so hard to put this together! We thank you for all you do!
Union members: If you and your family are experiencing hardship as a result of recent flooding in northwest Washington or some other natural disaster in Washington state, the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO urges you to apply for disaster relief from the Foundation for Working Families.
The FFWF is a nonprofit formed by the WSLC and its affiliated unions to assist union families in times of hardship or disaster. To apply for disaster relief, fill out and return this form.
Teamsters Local 174: Despite the cold, wet, windy Seattle weather, 34 dump truck drivers are still on an Unfair Labor Practice strike at Gary Merlino Construction. The workers are part of a larger group of construction Teamsters all covered by the Associated General Contractors Agreement, which is jointly negotiated to cover nearly 500 Teamsters at six different Teamster Local Unions. The only Employer refusing to agree to the terms of the joint agreement is Gary Merlino Construction, with Merlino subordinate Charlie Oliver in charge of the contract negotiations. Said one striking employee:
“I’m just so disappointed with this whole situation, after almost 25 years working for Gary Merlino. We’ve helped build his house, for God’s sake, and he’s still letting his lackey shove us all out in the cold wind during Christmas because of what, pride? It makes me more sad than anything else.”
Orginally from The Stand (Nov. 29) — Gary Merlino drivers’ ULP strike continues