Chris Brooks

After a strike threat and a contentious ratification vote, 13,000 members of the New York State Nurses Association settled a contract that achieved gains but fell short of the union’s goal of winning safe nurse-to-patient staffing ratios.

The four-year agreement includes annual pay increases of 3 percent, increased tuition reimbursement, retiree health benefits for nurses who retire early, and a new process to enforce staffing levels.

The National Labor Relations Board has ruled to postpone a planned union election vote at Volkswagen's factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where plant management spent the week waging war against union supporters.

In an unexpected victory for Volkswagen, the company has evaded another plantwide union election thanks to a ruling from the Republican-dominated Labor Board. The election, petitioned for by the Auto Workers (UAW) on April 9, has been put off indefinitely.

Tennessee Governor Leads Anti-Union Captive Audience Meeting at VW

Volkswagen plant

The lines stopped at Tennessee’s Volkswagen factory today as workers were forced to attend an all-plant captive audience meeting with the state’s Republican governor, Bill Lee.

A recording of the governor’s speech, obtained by Labor Notes, reveals a raucous meeting in which the governor tried to praise workers while encouraging them to vote against the union.

Volkswagen Jump-Starts Anti-Union Campaign

“The anti-union campaign has begun,” said a Volkswagen worker, who asked to not be identified due to fear of being targeted by management.

Before each shift, the 1,700 workers at the company’s Chattanooga, Tennessee factory attend mandatory meetings where they do stretches while supervisors read updates from the company’s “JumpStart” newsletter.

This morning, the supervisors read something new: anti-union talking points.

For the third time in five years, auto workers will vote on whether to form a union at the country’s sole Volkswagen plant, located in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

On Tuesday, the United Auto Workers (UAW) filed for an election to represent all 1,709 of the plant’s hourly employees, requesting that the election be held on April 29 and 30.

The union’s first attempt in 2014 failed after a slim majority of workers voted no, following a barrage of threats by politicians and business-backed anti-union groups.

'It's Different Here' Is No Excuse

I talk with labor activists all across the country. Plenty are inspired by strikes that happen elsewhere. But over and over I hear the same excuse for why they can’t make big demands or go on strike themselves: “It’s different here.”

How is it different? Pick your poison: It’s the South. It’s the public sector. It’s illegal. Our union leaders would never support us. Everyone is too scared. Too apathetic.

This year, the teacher union movement is supplying the best reply to “It’s different here.” Here’s what we’ve seen in 2019 so far:

New York Nurses Prepare to Strike over Patient Ratios

Nurses picketing.

Thirteen thousand nurses may be on strike in March at three of the largest employers in New York City.

For several months, hospitals in the Montefiore, Mount Sinai, and New York Presbyterian systems have been bargaining jointly with the New York State Nurses Association.

Here's Why Los Angeles Parents Are Standing with Striking Teachers against Billionaire-Backed Charters

Yesterday for the second day in a row, 50,000 people rallied in support of the striking teachers of Los Angeles.

This time our target was the California Charter School Association, the lobbying arm behind the rapid expansion of unregulated charter schools in Los Angeles. It’s funded by billionaires like Eli Broad and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.

The CCSA has pursued a plan to move one million students from public schools into charter schools by 2022.

Members of the Maconaquah Education Association hold up signs to support teachers and public education.

Employers are always looking for sources of leverage. One way they may hit a union in the wallet is by targeting dues checkoff—an agreement that requires the employer to deduct dues from union members’ paychecks.

Anti-union politicians have already banned dues checkoff for public sector union members in Wisconsin and for teachers in Alabama and Michigan—and have threatened to do so in many more states, including Indiana, Tennessee, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania. Their goal is to make the administration of the union as cumbersome as possible, sapping time and energy.