Jenny Brown

They’ve really stepped in it. The incumbent Unity Caucus that runs the huge teachers union in New York City is facing a challenge from the Retiree Advocate slate who hope to take leadership of the powerful 70,000-person retiree chapter within the union. Ballots were mailed May 10 and will be counted June 14.

The piñata finally burst. Starbucks corporate heads agreed Tuesday to negotiate for real with the union and allow workers to organize.

“I was in shock initially, and definitely some disbelief,” said Michelle Eisen, who works at the first Buffalo store that unionized with Starbucks Workers United in 2021. As she learned more, she said, she came to believe the victory is real.

Strikes and threats of strikes extracted contracts ranging from good to excellent from employers across the country this year. Half a million U.S. workers walked out—machinists, teachers, baristas, nurses, hotel housekeepers, and auto workers—with much of the motion coming from unions led by reformers.

Steward’s Corner: How AA Flight Attendants Scored a Huge Strike Vote

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Flight Attendants at American Airlines voted to strike by 99.47 percent at the end of August, with 93 percent turnout.

The 26,000-member union, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, has been in negotiations since 2019—and members have seen no raises since then. Understaffing and scheduling are also big issues. American, based in Dallas, is the largest airline in the world by passengers carried.

When Thomas Bradley showed up for his third shift at Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort and Spa in Dana Point, California, on July 2 he encountered something new: a picket line.

The picket was part of a wave of strikes at Los Angeles-area hotels by members of UNITE HERE Local 11. Their contracts at 62 hotels expired June 30. The hotel workers’ top demand is for pay that will allow them to secure housing in a market that is pricing them out.

Slingshot: ‘Work Requirements’ or Real Jobs?

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When I heard the debt-ceiling deal would target people in their fifties for new work requirements to get food stamps, I thought about my brother.

As a young man in the Navy, he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes—that’s the one where your body attacks your pancreas, and you need insulin to stay alive. At the time, treatment options were limited, and the Navy discharged him. But thanks to the V.A. and medical advances, he was OK.

When the Amazon Labor Union first submitted union authorization cards, “we had to withdraw and file again,” recalled organizing committee member Justine Medina, “because Amazon challenged over 1,000 of our signatures saying they no longer worked there.”

The sky-high turnover at the 8,000-worker fulfillment center on New York's Staten Island, made collecting cards “a race against Amazon firing everyone,” she said.

At Starbucks regional headquarters in Manhattan on May 1, staff were setting up an office pizza party when they heard a chant coming from the hallway of their fifteenth floor glass-enclosed office.

“Who are we? We are partners! Who are we? We are workers!” chanted a dozen Starbucks workers as they filled the reception area, many wearing shirts saying “Partners? Prove It. WE are Starbucks.”

April 28 is Workers Memorial Day, commemorating those killed, sickened, or injured on the job. As part of a week of events, today the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health is releasing its “Dirty Dozen” report.

Starbucks projects the image of an employee-friendly company, but its workers have been exposing the contradiction between the company’s words and its actions.

On March 29, they’ll get some help from the U.S. Senate’s HELP Committee, chaired by Bernie Sanders. The Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee has called Howard Schultz, who recently resigned as Starbucks CEO, to testify before Congress about the company’s union-busting.

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