Labor Notes # 458
The key is collective action, says Steelworkers Local 675 Secretary-Treasurer Dave Campbell. His union represents 4,000 workers in California and Nevada, many of them at oil refineries where workers get a window of opportunity to drop their membership each time the contract comes up for renegotiation. In each refinery of 300-600 workers, the union maintains around 90 percent membership.
Ever wanted to graffiti your boss a message in the toilet stall? AT&T Mobility workers put their own twist on that idea. They’re bringing the bathroom to the boss—carrying toilet seats to retail stores and call centers to demand that the company stop flushing their sales commissions and incentive pay down the toilet.
Eli Porras Carmona had been coming to work planting and harvesting sweet potatoes in North Carolina for eight years when he got a call from Mexico. His wife needed emergency surgery and he had to return home.
Carmona works under the H-2A program, where thousands of guestworkers are granted temporary permits to work on farms in the U.S. for up to 10 months per year.
Many return year after year—and since guestworkers are tied to one employer, it’s risky to speak out on the job. The employer can easily send you home, or not call you back the next season.