News from the Daily Kos Labor
- Stop & Shop strike ends with ‘a powerful victory’ for 31,000 workers
April, 22 2019
Stop & Shop workers were back in stores on Monday after their 10-day strike ended with a tentative deal reached on Sunday evening. “Today is a powerful victory for the 31,000 hardworking men and women of Stop & Shop who courageously stood up to fight for what all New Englanders want—good jobs, affordable health care, a better wage, and to be treated right by the company they made a success,” the United Food and Commercial Workers union said in a statement. Local workers told the Boston Globe they were glad to be going back to work.
The workers won increased pay and beat back management’s efforts to drastically increase healthcare costs and cut retirement benefits. Current members will also maintain time-and-a-half on Sundays and holidays.
The strike was “effective and devastating,” in the words of one analyst, leaving Stop & Shop stores with bare shelves and few customers. The workers were aided by solidarity from Teamsters who refused to cross picket lines with deliveries, and from regular customers. They also drew visits and support from Massachusetts Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey as well as other Democratic presidential candidates or potential candidates like former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
- Supreme Court to weigh in on LGBTQ rights in the workplace
April, 22 2019
Hoo boy. Today in things that could put the brakes on progress for a generation, the Trump-McConnell Supreme Court will be taking up LGBTQ rights in the workplace.
Two cases that will be combined for argument focus on whether lesbian or gay workers can be fired because of their sexual orientation, or whether that “is a subset of sex discrimination.” The Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit said yes, it is sex discrimination, while the 11th Circuit said no, setting up the issue for the Supreme Court to tackle.
The court will also be looking at a third case in which a funeral home fired an employee because she was transgender. The owner believed “both that allowing Stephens to wear women’s clothes would violate the funeral home’s dress code and that he would be ‘violating God’s commands’ by allowing Stephens to dress in women’s clothing,” Amy Howe writes that the 6th Circuit sided with the employee and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, but the funeral home owner took the case to the Supreme Court.
- Corporate tax cuts didn’t trickle down like Republicans promised, this week in the war on workers
April, 20 2019
Republicans claimed that their big corporate tax cut would raise wages and bonuses for workers. How’s that looking now? Surprise! Not so hot.
The Economic Policy Institute is out with two key pieces of research on this question, and by two different measures, the corporate tax giveaway failed to deliver for workers. For one thing, Republicans claimed the move would lead to increased investment, which would trickle down to workers. In fact, investment growth has stalled. “That’s not to say that the TCJA itself stopped the upward trend in investment growth,” Hunter Blair writes, “but it sure is nothing like the investment boom its proponents promised.”
Second, right after the Republican tax law passed, a bunch of corporations announced bonuses for workers. It looked like a corporate PR move to benefit Republicans … and it was. “The average bonus for 2018 was just $0.01 higher than in 2017,” Lawrence Mishel writes, drawing on Bureau of Labor statistics.
- ‘Morally wrong’ and ‘not kosher’: Stop & Shop workers get support from Joe Biden and rabbis
April, 19 2019
Striking grocery workers in New England are getting a boost from politicians like former Vice President Joe Biden—and from religious leaders as they head into Passover and Easter. Biden spoke at a rally Thursday, telling the workers that “This is morally wrong, what’s going on around this country, and I’ve had enough of it, I’m sick of it and so are you.”
”How can they make that money, buy back all that stock and tell you they’re gonna cut your wages?” Biden said, specifically addressing a key issue in the strike, in which Stop & Shop workers are being pressed to take pension and healthcare cuts, as well as cuts to Sunday and holiday overtime pay for part-time workers, even as Ahold Delhaize, the chain’s parent company, has gotten a big tax cut from Republicans and is putting billions of dollars into stock buybacks.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and state Treasurer Deb Goldberg, whose family founded Stop & Shop and ran it until the 1980s, also spoke at Thursday’s rally. Sen. Ed Markey attended the rally, having spoken at another rally last week; Sen. Elizabeth Warren spoke to striking workers last week as well.
Rabbis around New England have also boosted the strikers by telling their congregations that food bought by crossing a picket line is not kosher for Passover. “The food that you’re buying is the product of oppressed labor and that’s not kosher,” according to Boston Temple Hillel B’nai Torah Rabbi Barbara Penzner. ‘‘Especially during Passover, when we’re celebrating freedom from slavery, that’s particularly egregious.”
- Kentucky Republican backtracks after AOC says she’s ‘happy’ to talk Green New Deal with coal miners
April, 17 2019
Republicans like to pretend that their fascination with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t involve a big helping of fear, but every now and then they drop the facade and let the fear show through openly. That’s the case with Republican Rep. Andy Barr’s invitation to AOC to come to his home state of Kentucky and talk to some coal miners about the Green New Deal. Barr thought he had her in a corner … right up until she accepted the invitation and he realized he was the one in the corner.
Barr pretty obviously planned to find some coal miners who would yell at AOC about how she was putting them out of work. But she responded that she’d be “happy” to go, that “when I first started my campaign, the first place I went was Kentucky,” and oh, by the way, “I’d also like to note that in the Green New Deal, one of the things that I advocate for is fully funding the pensions of coal miners in West Virginia and throughout Appalachia because we want a just transition to make sure we’re investing in jobs across those swaths of the country.”
Huh. Fully funding pensions, she says? At a time when coal companies are doing everything they can to dump the pensions of their retired miners?
No doubt it’s a coincidence that Barr subsequently withdrew his invitation because she was super-mean to Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw about his nerve in attacking Rep. Ilhan Omar over 9/11 while he himself has refused to co-sponsor the September 11th Victims Compensation Fund. It’s not that Barr is nervous about AOC talking to coal miners about funding their pensions, no sirree—it’s just that he can’t deal with the incivility.
But this is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Barr is trying to own even as he retreats. “Luckily, Kentucky has open borders,” her spokesman told the Louisville Courier Journal. “If we decided to go to Kentucky to visit with coal miners, which we certainly hope to, and talk about the opportunities that can be brought to the rural South … and to coal-mine country and Appalachia, that can be brought by transitioning to renewable energy and the Green New Deal, we’ll be excited to do so.”
And we know AOC doesn’t need Andy Barr to set up that meeting in part because there is not one active coal mine in Barr’s district. Also because the United Mine Workers of America would probably be happy to set up that meeting for her, too.
There are no upcoming events.