Corporations are showing their true colors

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The more workers come together in solidarity and fight for better working conditions, higher pay, benefits, and a seat at the table, the more corporations will expose their true colors. After the historic Amazon Labor Union win on Staten Island, Amazon is now reportedly developing an internal messaging app, intended to “increase happiness” among the workers. But the app reportedly bans the use of words like “union”, “fire”, “compensation”, “plantation”, “slave labor”, “diversity”, “robots”, “grievance” and “injustice”. This reaction, as offensive as it may be, shows how afraid Amazon is of the power of collective action taken by the brave Amazon workers at JFK8 and across the country, who have forced the corporation to show the lengths it’s willing to go to control its workforce.

At Starbucks, where a historic union wave is sweeping the country, management recently announced that it may be expanding benefits for its workers, but that this expansion will exclude workers who chose to unionize. On the one hand, this shows that Starbucks Workers United, who have been fighting for higher pay, better working conditions, and expanded benefits, have forced the corporation to react by providing more for its workers. On the other hand, it exposes Starbucks’ punitive stance against its own employees who legally won their union and hints at the coming strategy that Starbucks and other corporations will be adopting to fight against workers’ collective action.

Whether it’s with the carrot or the stick, corporations and capitalists will always try to stop union organizing and destroy worker solidarity. But it’s important to understand that they do this because they are afraid of what will happen when working people realize their power. And they should be. When workers stand and fight together, there’s nothing they can’t overcome.

Image: Senator Bernie Sanders and ALU President Chris Smalls address supporters in Staten Island

World of Work 🌍

IN – Graduate student workers at Indiana University in Bloomington have voted to suspend their recognition strike for the time being. The workers have been on strike for over a month, seeking recognition with UE. They are planning to launch an even larger strike in the fall.

CA – On May 3, the Star Garden strippers asked their employer to resolve their ongoing labor dispute through a card check agreement, which states that Star Garden will bring the dancers back to work with appropriate safety measures and voluntarily recognize Strippers United as their union.

DC – The EPA’s biggest union will ask the Biden administration to declare a national climate emergency and take other ambitious steps on the environment.  The union, which represents 7,500 of the EPA’s 14,300 employees, also wants the White House to reinstate a crude oil export ban under the National Emergencies Act and Defense Production Act

USA – House Lawmakers called for a labor board budget of $368 million next fiscal year, a vast increase from the current level of $274 million, which hasn’t budged since 2014. The stagnant funding in recent years means the agency’s budget has gone down in real dollars.

New From Our Blog 📧

Amazon Labor Union stunned the world by winning the first union election at an Amazon warehouse in history. Last month EWOC hosted a panel with ALU president Chris Smalls and organizers Michelle Valentin Nieves and Angelika Maldonado on how they were able to to make their upset victory possible. For the blog we discuss some of the key takeaways. Read the post here and watch the full conversation here.

Week in Labor History 📚

May 14, 1953 – The 1953 Milwaukee brewery strike was a labor strike that involved approximately 7,100 workers at six breweries in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States. The strike began on May 14 of that year after the Brewery Workers Local 9 and an employers’ organization representing six Milwaukee-based brewing companies failed to agree to new labor contracts.

Solidarity,

Team EWOC

EWOC is a collaboration between the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE). We depend on small-dollar donations to provide frontline workers with the support they need to fight for protections during COVID-19. Click here to make a contribution that will help fund our work.


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