Fighting the good fight here on Earth

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On Wednesday, July 28th, striking Alabama mine workers are taking their fight to NYC to protest the hedge fund BlackRock, their employer’s largest shareholder, and demand better pay and working conditions as well as higher safety standards. The public is invited to show up to support these workers outside BlackRock from 9 a.m. to noon.

In April, Trader Joe’s crew members launched a petition with demands about pay, healthcare, and employee discounts. In May, Trader Joe’s made concessions towards all three demands, although not fully meeting them. Continue to support the workers as they fight for a living wage, easy access to necessary benefits, and dignity in the workplace. They’ve put out a survey, from crew members to crew members, about harassment in the workplace, to better gauge and inform their organizing.

Some time this week, or earlier, the financial elite, in the form of Amazon’s Bezos, a 18 year old trust fund kid, and some others took another step to not only flaunt the disparity bolstered by decades of sociopathic capitalistic championing but ensured to hold a megaphone to their tone deaf escapades while the shoulders they stood upon continue to labor. In case you missed it, Bezos went to space, and thanked Amazon workers for funding it, with nothing less than through low wages, union busting, a frenzied and inhumane workplace, and delivery drivers not having health insurance during a pandemic.

Inexplicably our world returns to “normal” without consideration for what toxicity existed there despite flooding and other anomalous weather.

Where austerity and bloated hubris blast off into space, workers share in the privilege of the same hope — “don’t come back.” And through the dust that Bezos has accrued here on Earth, many stay fighting the good fight. Staten Island won’t be lighting a landing platform for the illustrious return of their persistent tormentor anytime soon, where workers announced a union fight back in April. You can donate to their solidarity fund here. In the words of Ralph Abernathy, “America has reached out to the stars but has not reached out to her starving poor.” The continued lesson in this escapist insult flight of Bozos Blue Ruin may be a testament to a great American divide, but workers, together, are stronger than ever. In solidarity with all workers everywhere, EWOC is cheering this colossal abuse for exactly what it is.

Image: Gerald Bryson, pictured at a March 30 protest in front of Amazon’s Staten Island warehouse, was fired after leading a demonstration protesting working conditions. (Bebeto Matthews/AP)

World of Work

KS: Imagine working mandatory 12-hour shifts, 7 days a week, with only 8 hours off between shifts and no days off for months on end. Known as “suicide shifts,” these are the horrific conditions facing workers at a Frito-Lay plant in Topeka, Kansas, threatening their health and their lives. Hundreds of workers at the plant are currently on strike for the third week in a row. As they fight for their lives, some are calling on the public to boycott Frito-Lay products (including Fritos, Doritos, Tostitos, Funyuns, and Cheetos) and products made by parent company PepsiCo. To show your support, you can also call PepsiCo’s board of directors and urge them to negotiate a fair and reasonable contract, and donate to help pay the water bills of striking workers.

OR: Driven by safety concerns over Covid-19, union workers at Fred Meyer warehouses have voted unanimously to authorize a strike. While contract negotiations continue between Teamsters Local 117 and Fred Meyer, a strike could have the power to shut down operations in much of the Pacific Northwest as early as Monday. 

VA: Since the end of the UAW strike at the Dublin Volvo plant, members of the Volvo Workers Rank-and-File Committee have published a statement expressing their unhappiness with the new contract and their frustrations with union leadership, which they say lacked transparency and acted undemocratically. Nevertheless, they’re returning to work in a “militant mood,” ready to continue the struggle against unfair pay and increased healthcare costs. 

USA: Amid fears for their safety and calls for racial justice, some independent-restaurant workers are starting union drives for the first time—with mixed results. Their demands range from better pay and PPE, to changes that would allow them more dignity and respect on the job. While organizing restaurant workers is notoriously difficult, and food service continues to have some of the lowest union density of any economic sector at 1.2 percent, some workers have been successful, and have wrangled well-deserved concessions from employers. 

USA: On Wednesday, hundreds of Uber and Lyft drivers will join other app-based workers for a day-long strike across the country to demand better wages and congressional support of the PRO Act, a bill that would make it easier for gig economy workers to join unions and bargain with their employers.

Space – And of course, if the thought of billionaires spending their ill-gotten gains on space tourism makes your blood boil, you may find some (temporary) relief in this searing op-ed about all the reasons Jeff Bezos is terrible.

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