Labor Notes #461

In Ireland the retail sector employs 1 in 7 workers—and their fight for a living wage, secure hours, and union rights is heating up. Recent strikes at the country’s largest private sector employers, Tesco and Dunnes, have grabbed headlines and working-class support.

In 2014, members of the Maysville Education Association voted to accept a deal that would end our pay freeze, which dated back to 2011, in exchange for replacing our traditional pay scale with a new merit-pay system.

Local union leaders were warned by Ohio Education Association staff that a return to the step-and-ladder system of regular raises might be impossible—or require a strike. But this year, as the money for sweeteners and incentives dried up, a group of members committed to winning back our old pay scale.

Grocery workers in the Washington, D.C., area have reversed concessionary bargaining in the industry for the first time in a generation. Last November 17,000 workers at Giant Food and Safeway stores ratified a contract that:

Read this article in Spanish here.

For the last four years I’ve been working at B&H Photo and Video, the largest non-chain electronics company in New York City, with a long history of health and safety violations and abuse of workers. The workforce in the company’s warehouses is made up predominantly of Latino workers, the majority of them Mexicans, Guatemalans, and Dominicans. My job is to ship orders and box up merchandise that arrives at the warehouse.

Marches by immigrant workers are not an everyday sight in Nashville, Tennessee. But 50 hotel workers and supporters took to the streets June 20 to make visible the conditions facing low-wage workers in this city.

With the support of the worker center Workers’ Dignity, they marched through downtown and led delegations to management at six prominent hotels, handing in petitions calling on the hotels to adopt a Cleaning Workers’ Bill of Rights.

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