Jonah Furman

GEICO insurance sales rep Lila Balali first started thinking about a union early in the pandemic. “I didn’t really know what a union was,” she says, “just that it was something for the employee.”

She and her co-workers had been abruptly sent to work from home, where she set up a cramped workspace. “We were taking calls on our cell phones, 40 hours a week, our phone to our ear,” she recalls. “You couldn’t get reimbursed or provided a headset.

On September 19, workers filed a petition to organize a union among 276 workers at a Home Depot in northeast Philadelphia. If successful, the independent union would be the first at the home repair chain, the fifth-largest private employer in the U.S with 500,000 employees.

Vince Quiles, who’s worked at the store for five years, says the union effort gathered over 100 signatures for an election in just five weeks.

Just after 5 a.m. on Thursday, Marty Walsh tweeted that the railroad companies and the railroad unions had come to a tentative agreement, less than 19 hours from a potential shutdown:

Chipotle workers in Lansing, Michigan, formed the fast food chain’s first recognized union in the U.S., voting 11-3 on August 25 to join Teamsters Local 243. It’s the latest in a string of new organizing breakthroughs at prominent national brands, from Starbucks to Apple to Trader Joe’s to REI.

Trader Joe’s workers in Minneapolis won their union in a landslide vote August 12, making theirs the second store to go with the new, independent Trader Joe’s United. The win raises the question of whether the grocer, with its 530 locations and progressive image, could be the next Starbucks.

Next Monday 2.500 workers who make fighter jets, missiles, and drones for Boeing in the St. Louis area are set to strike. It would be the largest strike at the aerospace giant since 2008, and the biggest manufacturing strike since last year’s showdown at John Deere.

This story was updated July 20 with additional info, including a new sidebar describing the federal monitor's latest report. —Editors

Auto Workers (UAW) members made history last November, winning direct elections of national officers (“one member, one vote”) in a membership referendum. Now delegates are headed to a Constitutional Convention where candidates will be nominated for the top slots.

The whole process will put to the test whether reformers can break the iron grip of the Administration Caucus, the one party that has ruled the union for 70 years.

Farm and Construction Equipment Workers Strike in Iowa and Wisconsin

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Eleven hundred workers who manufacture agricultural and construction equipment for CNH Industrial in Burlington, Iowa, and Racine, Wisconsin, have been on strike since May 2.

At the core of the strike is the company’s three-tier pay system. Workers hired before 1996 make $6 to $8 more per hour than those hired after 2004; those hired between 1996 and 2004 earn somewhere in between. Workers want to see at least the bottom tier abolished.

Retaliation Can't Stop Growing Starbucks Union

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So far, over 200 Starbucks stores across the country have filed for union elections, with 25 of the 27 that have voted so far choosing to join Starbucks Workers United. That includes the union going five for five yesterday in elections at stores in Richmond, Virginia.

We Can't Just Keep Saying 'Pass the PRO Act.' We Have to Organize.

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In January our movement got its annual punch in the gut from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, whose 2021 report shows 241,000 fewer union members than the previous year. Just 1 in 10 workers belongs to a union; in the private sector it’s 1 in 16.

In 20 years the country gained 14 million workers—but unions lost 2 million members.

Poll after poll shows majority support for unions; “Striketober” gripped headlines for weeks. And yet our numbers keep going down.

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