The power of the strike ✊ — Emergency Workplace Organizing Committee

This is the power of the strike. It is the foundation of the labor movement, and remains our most powerful weapon in the fight against capital.


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On August 10, about 200 Nabisco factory workers in Oregon represented by the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM) went on strike. They were quickly joined by workers in Colorado, Virginia, Illinois, and Georgia.


The discontent had been building for a long time. Workers saw their pensions replaced by a 401 (k) plan three years ago, and have been concerned about losing their jobs to outsourcing after factory closures in Georgia and New Jersey. More recently the workers have had to work longer hours (12 and 16 hour shifts in some cases), for no additional overtime pay. Meanwhile Nabisco’s parent company, Mondelez International, has made record profits during the pandemic, and CEO Dirk Van de Put received almost $17 million in 2020.


The strike has been met with overwhelming support. AFL-CIO president Liz Schuler joined workers on the picket line in Virginia. Donations to the strike fund raised nearly $200,000. Union Railroad workers backed up a train delivering baking supplies in solidarity. Several public figures voiced their support, from Bernie Sanders to Danny DeVito, who tweeted the strike’s most popular rallying cry: “No Contract, No Snacks.”


And it worked. Last Saturday the union voted to accept a new collective bargaining agreement, which includes hourly wage increases, increased company match to 401 (k) contributions, and updates to workplace policies. In an official statement, BCTGM International president Anthony Shelton expressed gratitude for the support the union received, calling it critical for the success of the strike.

This is the power of the strike. It is the foundation of the labor movement, and remains our most powerful weapon in the fight against capital. And while a strike, especially one as long as this one, can be difficult, the Nabsico workers proved that by fighting for our labor rights, and supporting our fellow workers in the fight, we can win. As the BCTGM statement put it, victory is achieved through courage, sacrifice, and solidarity.

Image: @hellsiteuser

World of Work 🌍

NY – In the lead-up to a union vote by Starbucks Workers United, Starbucks has launched an aggressive anti-union campaign. The coffee giant’s tactics have included sending top-level executives into stores, making last-minute repairs, and most recently, forcing employees to attend meetings where managers share anti-union rhetoric. One study found that in cases where the employer held these captive audience meetings, the union drive won only in 47% of cases, as compared to a 73% win rate when these meetings weren’t held. If enough people flood their Congressperson’s phones before 9/27 to ensure the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act stays in their budget reconciliation bill, these meetings will be banned.


NY – In a recent study, 42% of NYC-based food delivery workers reported experiencing nonpayment or underpayment, and 49% reported being in an accident or crash while making a delivery. The study underscores the harrowing working conditions faced by delivery workers in an unregulated industry.


KY – Employees at a Kentucky distillery are on strike after rejecting a new contract. With the backing of Local 23D, they’re demanding better pay and more humane hours that will allow them to spend time with their families.


The Netherlands – A Dutch court has confirmed what we already know: Uber drivers are employees who deserve rights and protections. The court found that drivers are covered by an existing labor agreement in the country that sets standards for pay and covers benefits like sick pay. Uber will be forced to comply with these policies and shell out 50,000 euros.

USA – According to new research, unions increase wealth among families and shrink the racial wealth gap. The median union family has over double the wealth of the median nonunion family, providing further support for the argument that unions strengthen the middle class.

New From Our Blog 🗣

We talk about EWOC’s model for increasing union power, and whether or not an app can help. Read the full post here.

Resources & Opportunities ✏️

Thinking of quitting? There’s another option. EWOC lays out the 5 immediate steps workers can take before they quit. Read our guide here.

District 1199 SEIU is hiring a full-time Union Organizer in Connecticut, who will be assigned to labor organizing campaigns, trained on the fundamentals of union organizing and will have the opportunity to learn the skills needed to help workers build power in the workplace. They’re a bold, democratic Union with a long activist tradition.



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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