A collective bargain

Announcements 📜

Join EWOC at Labor Notes this weekend!

    If you’re coming to Labor Notes, we’d love to meet you there! Reach out to [email protected] to get added to EWOC communications at the conference and to receive announcements about opportunities to connect with other EWOC volunteers!

    Write for EWOC’s blog!

      Are you working on an awesome campaign? Do you love to nerd out about labor law? Have any lessons to share from past organizing? We’d love to have you write about your experiences for EWOC’s blog. It’s a great way to reach new workers, and no formal writing background is required. Reach out to [email protected] to pitch ideas you’re excited to write about!

      Apply to Volunteer with the Fundraising Communications 

        Do you love EWOC and want to take on a significant role in developing how to communicate its impact? The Fundraising Communications Team is looking for an experienced writer to produce language for emails, grants, and a range of other donor communications. This is an opportunity to work with staff to develop strategy and help to lead and train other volunteers — apply here!

        New on our Blog and Other Labor Resources 💻

        • EWOC Guiding Principles: Over the last four years, EWOC’s work has been guided by principles that we share with many of our comrades in the labor movement. We’ve recently formalized our guiding principles and published them on our website. Take a look! EWOC Guiding Principles
        • Unite & Win: The Workplace Organizer’s Handbook: Now available in e-book and for pre-order! Unite and Win | HaymarketBooks.org. Special thanks to Dawn Tefft, Bob Lawson, Terry Davis, James Skretta, Thurman Wenzl, and Ian Cooper-Smith for your contributions to the writing, Paul Zappia for the illustrations, and Stephen Crowe for the layout! And thanks to all those who pored over this baby and gave so much helpful feedback along the way! 
        • National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) pocket guide: An easily distributed pocket guide/flyer of the NLRA. Flyers – Worker Organizing Resource and Knowledge Center

        Upcoming Events 📆

        EWOC Foundational Training for Workplace and Climate Organizers

        Thursdays, May 9–June 6, 2024, 8–9:30 p.m. ET / 5–6:30 p.m. PT

        Thinking about organizing your workplace? Want to bring climate demands into your workplace organizing? This May, on Thursday evenings, join the Emergency Workplace Organizing Committee’s Foundational Training to learn how to organize workers. This is an invaluable, five-part series introducing workers and organizers in non-unionized shops to the basics of organizing a workplace and will end on a special fifth additional session focused on Climate at Work.

        In five 90-minute weekly deep-dive sessions, participants will hear from experienced organizers and workers organizing their own workplaces and learn how workers can unite to address issues at their workplace and how to begin the process of unionization. Participants will practice connecting with co-workers and engaging in collective decision-making around common concerns. They will learn how to prepare themselves and their co-workers to take collective action and how to prepare for the boss’ response. And finally, we’ll talk about how any workplace campaign can bring climate and the environment into the demands.

        Space is limited to 100 participants, so register here today

        $20 minimum wage for fast food workers in California

        New legislation in California has established a fast-food industry council composed of a variety of stakeholders including fast-food industry officials, fast-food workers, and union representatives. Through a negotiated process, a $20 minimum wage was realized, among other worker protections. 

        Critics of the bill, concerned that the wage increase may hurt profits for affected fast food restaurant chain conglomerates, will be heartened to learn that these companies have made record profits year after year since the Pandemic. McDonald’s annual gross profit for 2023 was $14.5 billion, a 10% increase from the year before. 

        As for the workers whose labor has contributed to these profits, the increase in wages will certainly help a little bit, but $20 an hour in California is barely a living wage. For a full-time employee who works 40 hours a week, $20 an hour adds up to little more than $40,000 a year with take home pay of $34,000 or $2,800 a month. Once we subtract the fair market average cost of rent in California at $2,300, this fast-food worker is left with only $500 to pay for transportation, clothing, food, health insurance, and other emergency expenses. 

        Nevertheless, the new legislation is a boon for sectoral bargaining across the country, which would allow all workers in a certain industry to negotiate working conditions across the entire industry. 

        A physically demanding job that doesn’t provide health insurance in an industry plagued with issues of wage theft from employers, sexual harassment, and dangerous working conditions should provide enough to pay for shelter, food, medical expenses, a small savings, and perhaps a little time off to enjoy with loved ones. At EWOC, we’ll continue fighting for a working economy that we deserve!

        Jane McAlevey

        Jane McAlevey, an icon in the labor movement, shared on her website that she will halt all work and turn to home-based hospice in her hard-fought battle with cancer. Jane has been an incredible leader and educator. Last summer, EWOC partnered with Jane on a call and assembled a cohort of EWOC folks to attend her celebrated organizer training sessions, Organizing for Power. Our hearts are with her family and everyone in the labor movement who was inspired by her work, which included hundreds of training sessions broadcast globally, several published books, and years of service educating and galvanizing workers to fight for a better world. 

        Jane McAlevey | Latest News

        EWOC in the News! 📰

        Here’s where we celebrate EWOC campaign wins and EWOC mentions in the press.

        • Update: Preschool teachers at Early Learning Educators Collective in Denver voted narrowly against unionization after facing an upward battle of union-busting. We will continue to support their efforts to advocate for fair treatment and better working conditions. Instagram: @elecdenver
        • Update: Sign! Jewish Family Services Workers United, CWA Local 6400, in St. Louis, an EWOC campaign supported by Jake MacLennan, did not receive voluntary recognition. Please sign and share their new letter of support asking for a free and fair election without interference from management!
        • Partners Coffee Union, UFCW local 1500, in Brooklyn, New York voted to unionize, aligning with the growing worldwide organizing movement among food service workers. This campaign received support from several EWOC organizers! IG: @partnerscoffeeunion
        • San Antonio Workplace Organizing Committee to support local union efforts (TPR): The work of San Antonio’s new local EWOC chapter is featured here on Texas Public Radio. Congratulations to Yana Kalmyka and our fellow EWOC volunteers at SAWOC!
        • Sign! The organizing committee at Austin Pets Allied Workers, an EWOC campaign, have filed to become the nation’s largest animal shelter union with the support of EWOC volunteer organizer Yana Kalmyka. Their employer has denied a petition for voluntary recognition, but we can sign here in support and let management know that they need to remain neutral leading up to the vote! 
        • Workers at Chicago Trader Joe’s file for union election (Chicago Tribune): Workers at the Trader Joe’s on Lincoln and Grace in Chicago filed for union election this month. A year ago, these workers joined Trader Joe’s United with support from EWOC’s Dawn Tefft
        • New Labor Book! Real World Labor | Dollars & Sense: Dollars & Sense has published a new book with contributions from leading voices in labor including Ellen David Friedman, Eric Blanc, and Eric Dirnbach with a chapter on EWOC, check it out! 
        • Labor Breakthrough: Workers Winning Victories Once Thought Impossible (The Indypendent): A deep dive into the wave of unionization among retail and service sector jobs with a large section on EWOC’s organizing efforts and extensive quotes from EWOC’s Eric Blanc, Eric Dirnbach, and Alex Dinndorf.

        World of Work 🌍

        Huge turnout at UAW community rally in Chattanooga, Tennessee! 

        Organizing Tip of the Month 💡

        Question: Do you still have Weingarten rights (the right to union representation in meetings that can lead to discipline) if your union has been voluntarily recognized but you don’t have a first contract yet? 

        Dave Kamper: Yes!

        One of the funny little things about the NLRB is you don’t have to have any official recognition from the NLRB for them to treat you as an exclusive bargaining representative, so long as you can demonstrate that you have been recognized as such by the employer and are operating in that fashion. If a dispute with the employer over Weingarten led all the way to an NLRB hearing, they wouldn’t care whether you’d filed a recognition petition first. They’d simply ask if this union is the exclusive bargaining rep of these workers and look at the voluntary recognition you’d won. If they conclude YES, you’re the exclusive rep, Weingarten applies irrespective of the rest of it.

        I came across this exact situation in a previous job where I was a member of the staff union. I discovered that this union had been certified by the state’s public employee labor board, even though the employees of this union were clearly private-sector. I briefly panicked and worried that maybe we had to file an RC petition, so I called up a board agent and they assured me there was no need. Apparently, every once in a blue moon they come across a bargaining unit that’s been around for decades, but has never filed anything with the board. They were given voluntary recognition long ago and no one sent in any papers, but as long as they could demonstrate a bargaining relationship, the board didn’t care.

        Fun fact about Weingarten Rights: for a few years in the early aughts, any worker, not just workers represented by unions, had the right to have a union rep present for disciplinary meetings. The National Labor Relations Board had reasoned that the right to collective action exists not just for workers with recognized unions, so it made sense for all workers to have this right. The NLRB appointed by George W. Bush, sadly, took away this right, and it hasn’t come back.

        This Week in Labor 📚

        APRIL 15

        1916 – Teacher unionists gather at the City Club on Plymouth Court in Chicago to form a new national union: the American Federation of Teachers.

        Solidarity,

        Team EWOC

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