Labor Notes # 481

Fair Workweek Initiative protests for fair wages, fair hours, and predictable schedules.

As the bumper sticker has it, unions are “the folks who brought you the weekend.” Unions fought for the 10-hour day, and then the eight-hour day… and then our fight stopped. We never got to a six-hour-day fight.

Instead we started to backslide. We not only lost the weekend; we lost control over our time. This slippage mirrors the decline in real wages over the last generation—both signs that organized labor has gotten weaker.

Macy's workers marching for their workplace rights during Seattle's Pride Parade.

When department-store workers fight, we do it fashionably. Have you ever seen a union contract campaign that featured makeovers and feather boas? Read on.

We had worked hard for Macy’s, and frankly we were fed up. Like a lot of working people out there, we work for a company that’s doing fine, yet they want to cut staff and expect us to pick up the slack.

The slack, if there ever was any, was picked up a long time ago. If you’re like us—and like most people in America—you’re struggling to make ends meet even though you have a job.

Amazon workers with fists raised gathered around a sign.

After yet another speed-up in a workplace notorious for its lightning pace of work, workers at a Minnesota Amazon warehouse walked off the night shift for three hours.

The March 7 walkout at Amazon’s fulfillment center in Shakopee, Minnesota, was these workers’ second job action in three months.

The strikers work in the stow department, shelving items after they have been unloaded from inbound trucks and processed. Once shelved, the merchandise is then compiled into customer orders by pickers.

Woman on megaphone supporting Oakland teachers and students during Oakland teacher strike.

On the heels of Los Angeles teachers’ winning strike in January, teachers in Oakland 340 miles north joined the strike wave. Three thousand teachers, alongside parents and students, led picket lines February 21-March 1 at the city’s 86 schools.

These strikes, plus rumblings from other California teacher unions, are ramping up the pressure on school boards and legislators to invest in public schools and stop privatization statewide.

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