Local organizing helps lift labor to historic week: What do Virginia wireless workers, Maryland administrative assistants, Harvard grad students and JetBlue flight attendants have in common? They were all part of last week’s historic organizing surge, as more than 10,000 workers joined unions. The JetBlue flight attendants and Harvard grad students — with about 5,000 each — comprised the bulk of the wins, voting respectively to join the Transport Workers and UAW. Local efforts contributed as well, with six Cricket wireless workers joining CWA 2222 and over 100 administrative employees working for a Montgomery County contractor filing for an election last week with UFCW 1994 MCGEO. Other locals, including OPEIU 2, report ongoing organizing campaigns as well. These local efforts buttress a resurgent national labor movement that has captured national headlines as teachers across the country have staged massive strikes.
AFL-CIO media release:
More Than 10,000 Working People Join Together in Unions in One Week
(Washington, D.C.) This past week alone, more than 10,000 working people chose to join together in unions for the freedom to negotiate a fair return on their hard work. From flight attendants to graduate students, each day more working people are gaining the power to change an economy rigged against us.
Here are some of the latest victories for working people who, through their unions, are improving their lives:
- Nearly 5,000 JetBlue flight attendants will have the freedom to negotiate with the airline’s management after they overwhelmingly voted in favor of joining the Transport Workers (TWU) on Tuesday.
- In a historical victory for graduate students and research assistants at universities who have been fighting for a fair return on their work, more than 5,000 Harvard University teaching and research assistants decided Thursday to join UAW.
- The labor movement is growing in Southern states, as evidenced Thursday when 700 working people at Atlanta Gas Light, in Atlanta, Georgia, voted to join the Electrical Workers (IBEW).
- On Thursday, 2,000 personal support workers and 400 registered nurses at Spectrum Health Care in the greater Toronto area joined the Machinists (IAM)
- In Pleasanton, California, 400 registered nurses from Stanford Health Care’s ValleyCare Medical Center will join National Nurses United (NNU) after a majority of them voted to join the union. And in New York, another 2,200 nurses from Albany Medical Center will join the New York State Nurses Association, an affiliate of NNU.
- In Marlborough, Massachusetts, 220 working people from nurses to clerical staff at UMass Memorial-Marlborough Hospital decided to join the State Healthcare and Research Employees Union, an affiliate of AFSCME.
- The wave of working people in digital newsrooms who join together in labor unions continues to grow. This week The New Republic agreed to voluntarily recognize its editorial staff’s decision to join The NewsGuild of New York, TNG-CWA Local 31003 of the Communications Workers of America (CWA)
“We’re living in a profound moment of change. By joining together in a union, working people are joining, fighting and winning together for the dignity that we’ve earned,” said AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka. “Despite rigged rules and aggressive corporate attacks, 260,000 new union members joined our ranks last year, and three-quarters of new union members are under the age of 34. As we gain density, we gain power. As we grow in numbers, we grow in influence. That’s how we start to build the America working people need.”
At a time when powerful corporations and special interests continue to use a rigged system to their benefit, this kind of momentum proves that working people are standing up to defend the freedom to join together in unions.
According to a recent Gallup poll, America’s labor movement is gaining popularity. Sixty-one percent of Americans approved of labor unions—the highest number in over a decade. The labor movement has been at the forefront of the fight to raise standards of living for all working people across the country, from raising the minimum wage to supporting a new set of economic rules designed to achieve broadly shared prosperity.
Contact: Gonzalo Salvador (202) 637-5018