Labor Notes #449

Thanks to a National Labor Relations Board decision, workers employed by temporary staffing agencies may find it easier to organize and bargain.

The Board issued its long-awaited ruling last August in the case of Browning-Ferris Industries (BFI). The decision revamped the Board’s test for what’s considered a “joint employer,” imposing new legal obligations on employers who hire through temp agencies and potentially also on giant corporate franchisors.

If you’ve attended a Fight for $15 rally or a Black Lives Matter protest in Chicago recently, chances are you’ve seen members of Future Fighters.

Their T-shirts proudly proclaim that they are “a movement of young leaders actively fighting against income inequality, racial profiling, police brutality, and homelessness; while engaging and educating other young workers who are taking direct action to unite and rebuild our communities.”

As of July 1, the challengers for Teamster leadership are officially nominated. Now their supporters are out seeking votes among the union’s 1.3 million members.

Ballots will be mailed October 6 and counted November 14. The result will depend on how many hours volunteers spend leafleting at workplace gates—and how many phone numbers and email addresses they collect.

After staving off a lockout threat last month, 50,000 Canadian postal workers are turning up the heat with public demonstrations and creative actions at work.

Canada Post has been playing hardball in this year’s contract showdown. The company set the stage for a lockout by warning customers of potential disruptions to services. Mail volumes dropped.

“They intended on locking us out, or us walking out, from the get-go,” said Dave Bleakney, a national officer of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW).

With careful planning and a little jujitsu, workers can turn a lockout to their advantage.

The school superintendent in Portland, Oregon, has resigned amid a widening scandal, after news broke that the district waited months to tell the public that drinking water at two elementary schools had tested positive for lead.

Even school employees only learned about the elevated lead levels at Creston and Rose City Park when a local newspaper ran an exposé.

Where’s our economy headed? Soon every factory worker will have to start driving for Uber, and the trucks will drive themselves—at least so the business press tells us.

But Kim Moody, co-founder of this magazine and the author of many books on U.S. labor, paints a different picture. Chris Brooks asked him to cut through the hype and describe what’s coming for working people and the opportunities for unions.

This is Part 1 of our interview with Kim Moody. Watch for Part 2, coming next week. —Eds.

As teachers gathered in Minneapolis for the American Federation of Teachers convention, the two Twin Cities teachers unions led a march to protest the recent police killing of an African American man, Philando Castile, at a traffic stop..

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