A life of dignity

Calls for a ceasefire heighten amid intense suppression of free speech.

A growing movement of peace activists, labor unions, and ordinary people around the world have been gathering at protests and marches in unprecedented numbers, rallying for peace. As calls for a ceasefire grow louder and more urgent, the pressure to censor these voices becomes stronger. Prominent figures in labor and in the media are losing their jobs over their support for innocent lives in Palestine.  

As labor organizers and working people, we understand the fight for a life of dignity and the power of withholding our labor. Activists in the Port of Oakland and Tacoma, Washington, protested the departure of a military ship believed to be en route to Israel in an action that represents a majority of Americans who don’t want our tax dollars and labor to fund an indiscriminate bombing campaign. 

Here is an expanding list of resolutions and petitions from the groundswell of labor unions and peace activists in this movement.

U.S. labor unions call for a ceasefire and petition sponsored by United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 3000 and United Electrical Workers (UE).

“Working people around the world want and deserve to live free from the effects of violence, war, and militarization.”

UFCW and UE

“As nurses, … it is our duty to speak up for every human being’s right to a life free from violence and the traumas of war.”

California Nurses Association 

“We join the calls for an immediate cease-fire, the release of hostages, and urgently needed massive humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza. The cries of humanity demand nothing less.

American Postal Workers, the largest U.S. union

“I lead a union that stands for equality, peace, international solidarity, and social justice — and that’s why I am joining thousands of others in calling for a cease-fire.”

President of American Postal Workers statement

“Our solidarity principles ground us in a vision for a world that includes justice for all marginalized communities.” 

SEIU 1021 executive board and SEIU Local 509  

“As unionists, we must always stand on the side of justice, both in word and in deed.” 

United Auto Workers (UAW) rank-and-file boycott, divestment, and sanction open letter

“We absolutely condemn antisemitism and Islamophobia. … We are a union with Jewish, Palestinian, and Muslim workers.”

Starbucks Workers United 

“[This council] opposes in principle any union involvement in the production or transportation of weapons destined for Israel.”

Thurston Lewis Mason Central Labor Council (TLMCLC) resolution

(Their parent union, AFL-CIO, which took a more neutral position, did not support the resolution.)

“We call for a swift resolution to the current conflict to end the bloodshed of innocent civilians, and to promote a just and long-lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.”

The national AFL-CIO statement

Harvard Graduate Student Union votes to endorse BDS movement amid some member dissent.

Washington D.C.

Most notable is the dissent brewing underneath the pillars of government in Washington D.C. Hundreds of federal employees and staffers sign an open letter calling for a cease-fire. Congressional aides, who are being inundated by calls and letters from their constituents demanding an immediate de-escalation, conducted a walk-out honoring the civilians killed in the conflict. More than 1,000 USAID employees sign a letter urging a cease-fire and expressing the inadequacy of rendering humanitarian aid in the midst of intensifying violence. The urgency for a ceasefire cannot be overstated as the death toll in Gaza increases by the tens of thousands. 

Include your voice. Demand a ceasefire now!

No Tech for Apartheid petition: PLEASE SIGN!

“Technology should be used to bring people together, not enable apartheid, ethnic cleansing, and settler-colonialism.”

The UAW secures a tentative agreement with all three automakers! 

After only six weeks of hard bargaining paired with an innovative strike strategy from the United Auto Workers (UAW), the Big Three automakers have capitulated to most of the UAW’s ambitious demands. Among their wins are immediate wage increases as well as raises over the next four years, reinstating cost of living adjustments, restoration of pensions and retirement healthcare, and a speedier path to full-time status for temporary workers. There were also concessions from the Big Three that many thought were impossible: the right to strike over plant closures, electric vehicle battery plants included in the master agreement, and a guarantee from Stellantis to reopen their shuttered plant in Belvidere, Illinois.

We’re already seeing reverberations across the industry: Toyota, Honda, and Tesla (all non-union shops) have increased their workers’ top wages. The UAW deliberately extended their next contract to end in April 2028 and put out a call for other unions to synchronize their contracts to expire with the UAW’s. This will give workers time to organize and potentially join in a general strike primed for May 1, 2028 — International Workers’ Day. 

We’re here for it! Let’s get to work! 

SAG-AFTRA ends its longest strike in history after 118 days

A long season of strike activity in the entertainment industry, beginning with the Writers’ Guild strike in May, has come to a close after SAG-AFTRA reached a tentative agreement with the AMPTP. The WGA and SAG-AFTRA were both fighting for fair wages, protections against AI, and a just transition to a new business model with residuals from streaming services. Working under the previous contract, 87% of SAG-AFTRA members (with a membership of over 160,000 workers) were making less than $26,000 a year without health insurance. It was exciting to see other union members such as Starbucks United, Teamsters, and the AFA joining their picket lines and calling attention to the power of worker solidarity.

Upcoming Events 🗓

TONIGHT! Ceasefire Now: Webinar on Workplace Organizing for Palestine

Wednesday, Nov. 15, 8 p.m. ET

Labor Notes is hosting a Zoom call to hear reports from workers regarding Palestine resolutions in your union. Many are also fighting against the repression of workers who are speaking up for a ceasefire and against Israel’s occupation of Palestine.

Please join us for this urgent conversation. Register here.

Strike Surge! U.S. Union Strike Activity Today and Throughout History Webinar

Thursday, Nov. 16, 2:30–4 p.m. ET

Join the Labor Research & Action Network (LRAN) for a discussion about the current wave of strike activity and how we can understand it within a historical context. We’ll be joined by two scholars of the labor movement: Jasmine Kerrissey, director of the UMass Amherst Labor Center and co-author of “Union Booms and Busts: The Ongoing Struggle Over the US Labor Movement,” and Johnnie Kallas, project director of the Cornell ILR Labor Action TrackerRegister now.

Labor for Palestine Teach-In: UAW’s fight for BDS

Friday, Nov. 17, 5 p.m. ET

Join UAW unionists to discuss the history of UAW’s anti-apartheid organizing, the labor movement’s problem with Zionism, and ongoing efforts to pass boycotts, divestments, and sanctions (BDS) in the current context. Facilitated by Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, theoretical physicist; Corinna Mullin, PSC-CUNY delegate; Frank Hammer, retired GM worker activist; and Loubna Qutami, former UAW rank-and-file member. RSVP now.

EWOC 101: Starting a Local EWOC Zoom Event

Saturday, Nov. 18, 3 p.m. ET

If you’re interested in starting a local EWOC, or you’ve started one recently and you’d like some support, please join EWOC and the Democratic Socialists of America National Labor Committee for a Zoom panel and discussion on local EWOCs: how to start one, what they do, and how they can build DSA chapters (if organized through a DSA chapter)! Register now.

Basics of Corporate Research 

Saturday, Dec. 9, 4–5:30 p.m. ET

We’re excited to announce a brand new training that EWOC is offering this year: Basics of Corporate Research. The pilot session will be held on Saturday, Dec. 9 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. ET.

Led by Lillian Osborne (SEIU corporate researcher) and Ramsin Canon (independent labor and municipal law attorney), the Basics of Corporate Research training will introduce workplace activists and EWOC volunteers to campaign research and the role it can play in strengthening workplace campaigns. Over an hour-and-a-half-long session, this training will provide an overview of corporate research methods and tools, key questions to start your research, tips on how to use the information you find – and critically, how to think like a researcher! The content will be appropriate for private sector workplaces of all types, from small businesses to large corporations, for-profits and nonprofits, in any state.

Register by Dec. 8. If you have any questions about the program, please reach out to [email protected].

World of Work 🌍

TOMORROW! Starbucks United Workers Red Cup Rebellion. On Thursday, Nov. 16, stand in solidarity with Starbucks Workers United workers as they push the company to come to the table and finally bargain a contract! Join an event during Red Cup Rebellion and learn more about what you can do as a customer or Starbucks partner.

Hex Workers United in collaboration with Workers United NY/NJ and EWOC have won their union election 50–16! In response to a barrage of union-busting tactics, Hex Workers United launched a public petition garnering nearly 1,200 signatures, which was delivered to the co-owners on October 12. We’re so proud of all their hard work and EWOC’s partnership with them! Follow Hex Workers United on Twitter or Instagram.

Workers at The Uncommons, run by Hex and Co owner Greg May, are joining the fight for union representation. Citing their love of the board game café, Uncommons employees are asking for a starting wage of $22.50 per hour and internal hiring for managerial positions and a clear path to career advancement.

Workers at a NYC-based board game café will file for an election after their employer refused to recognize their 75% majority collective. Brooklyn Strategist Workers Union joins a wave of workers in this niche industry demanding recognition.

Cornell Grad Students United (CGSU) won their union fight last week under the national United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America (UE). This victory is heartening after previous efforts to unionize failed in 2017. CGSU is seeking comprehensive healthcare coverage and better funding guarantees. 

Caesars employees, joined by colleagues at Wynn and MGM Casinos, have reached a tentative “historic” agreement and narrowly avoided a strike that would have shut down the Las Vegas strip. The agreement includes meaningful wage increases as well as language that allows unionized employees to campaign and support their non-union counterparts.

Employees at several Waffle House locations have begun circulating a petition with the support of the SEIU hoping to secure a higher minimum wage of $25 per hour and an end to automatic meal deduction charges from their paychecks. 

Teachers in Oregon’s largest school district are on strike for the first time in history. The Portland Association of Teachers are demanding higher pay and better working conditions, more broadly: lowering classroom sizes, updating the heating and AC systems, and hiring school psychologists.

For the past decade, multiple Minnesota unions across sectors have been aligning their contract expiration dates to expire at the same time. This strategy will prepare them to enter contract negotiations with increased bargaining power. Minnesota workers hope to gain structural improvements for their communities like electric buses, corporate accountability for environmental harm, and stronger renter protections.

Women across Iceland, including the Prime Minister, go on strike for an end to unequal pay and gender-based violence.

Thousands of garment workers in Bangladesh shut down over 100 factories as they protest unfair wages.  

Beginning in 2021, the National Labor Relations Board unrolled several new policies to safeguard the rights of undocumented workers organizing their workplaces. 

A comprehensive overview of successful state action during the 2023 legislative session to strengthen workers’ ability to join unions and collectively bargain, such as repealing right-to-work laws, improving collective bargaining protections, strengthening protections for striking workers and allowing tax deduction for union dues among others.

Week in Labor History 📚

November 10, 1933: A sit-down strike began at the Austin, Minnesota, Hormel plant with the help of an organizer from the International Workers of the World and led to the creation of the Independent Union of All Workers. Labor historians believe this may have been the first sit-down strike of the 1930s.

Solidarity,

Team EWOC

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