Labor Notes # 483

Doctor views imaging machine

An issue doesn’t need to violate contract language to spark a winning fight, as this story from my union demonstrates.

Just before Christmas last year, management told one of our members at Buffalo General Hospital that as of the first of the year, she would no longer receive a $1.50-an-hour pay bump as the department lead.

Evelyn is a file clerk in the imaging department, where patients go for X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs. She had been receiving this pay differential since the late 1990s in exchange for taking on extra duties as the lead.

Rideshare drivers around the world rallied and struck May 8, the day Uber went public. Joined by unions in London and in Melbourne, Australia, drivers from at least 12 U.S. cities participated in the first globally coordinated protest against rideshare companies Uber and Lyft.

During the strike, Lyft’s stock dropped to its lowest value since going public. Uber’s stock market launch (known as an initial public offering, or IPO) lost more value in its first day than any other in U.S. history.

People sitting in the front row at the Stop & Shop workers UFCW 1459 contract ratification.

Thirty-one thousand workers at New England grocery giant Stop & Shop struck for 11 days in April, beating back concessions with a display of power that took management by surprise.

Members of five Food and Commercial Workers locals in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut walked out April 11 over company proposals to hike health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs, kick 1,000 spouses off the company’s health plan, get rid of time-and-a-half on Sundays, and gut workers’ pensions.

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.

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