Dan DiMaggio

Ballots Out in UAW Presidential Run-Off

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The run-off election for president of the United Auto Workers is underway. Ballots hit the mail January 12 and counting will start March 1.

The election pits challenger Shawn Fain, an electrician from Kokomo, Indiana, and an international rep, against incumbent president Ray Curry. The 400,000-member union represents workers at the Big Three auto plants, auto parts factories, and other sectors including heavy equipment manufacturing and higher education.

Negotiations will take place in 2023 for some of the biggest contracts in the labor movement, including at UPS and the Big Three automakers.

Workers are hoping to take advantage of a tight labor market to reverse years of concessions and win big raises to help cope with inflation. New leaders in the Teamsters, and potentially the Auto Workers (UAW), have promised to put up a more aggressive fight.

Three miles from the U.S.-Mexico border, auto parts workers in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, voted yesterday to join an independent union, defeating company attempts to usher in an employer-friendly, politically connected union.

The independent Mexican Workers’ League (la Liga Sindical Obrera Mexicana) won 186 votes, while a union with ties to the powerful Confederation of Mexican Workers (CTM) received 101.

“Seven months ago if you asked me about a union I would’ve said, ‘I don’t know, cops have them?’” says Sarah Pappin, a shift supervisor at a Seattle Starbucks. But on June 6, she and her co-workers voted unanimously to join Starbucks Workers United, part of an upsurge of organizing by younger workers with little union experience that is breathing new life into the labor movement.

Auto workers at a General Motors plant in central Mexico delivered a landslide victory to an independent union in a vote held February 1-2. It's a major breakthrough for workers and labor activists seeking to break the vice grip of the employer-friendly unions that have long dominated Mexico’s labor movement.

2021 saw high-profile strikes and contract battles that put unions in the public spotlight. And 2022 could potentially be more explosive.

Workers are already sensing their increased leverage in a tight labor market. They’ll be feeling the squeeze of record inflation while their employers rake in profits. There’s every reason to hold the line against concessions, or to win back what they gave away before.

Johnson Brothers Strikers Take Their Fight to the Customers

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For more ideas on taking your campaign to consumers, see the Steward's Corner by Robert M. Schwartz, "How to Picket Stores That Sell Your Employer's Products."

Striking delivery drivers in Rhode Island are providing a good example of what you can do with a small squad of roving picketers. The drivers, who deliver wine and liquor for Johnson Brothers of Rhode Island, have been targeting stores and restaurants that are accepting scab deliveries.

‘It Feels Like We Started a Movement’: Despite Mixed Results in Frito-Lay Strike, Workers Proud They Stood Up

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Frito-Lay workers won one guaranteed day off per week and put an end to forced “suicide” shifts after a 20-day strike this summer at their plant in Topeka, Kansas. Many were frustrated that the union didn’t hold out longer and win more—but are proud of the role that their fight played in launching the ongoing strike wave.

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