Workers Issues in the US

AT&T strikers show their power, but face union-company gang-up

By Samuel Davidson and Patrick Martin, 27 August 2019

Even though the the 22,000 AT&T workers on strike in nine states throughout the South are determined to fight, the CWA union is doing everything possible to isolate and contain the struggle.

Tensions rise as unions and district attempt to head off strike by Las Vegas teachers

By Dan Conway, 27 August 2019

After thousands of teachers flooded a meeting of the Clark County School District demanding their contractually-mandated raises, school board members abruptly ended the meeting before being escorted out by police.

US Steel to lay off 150 workers in Indiana as Trump administration escalates trade war

By Jessica Goldstein, 27 August 2019

The announcement of the layoffs in East Chicago follows US Steel’s declaration earlier this month that up to 200 workers will lose their jobs at its Great Lakes Works facility outside Detroit.

Uruguayan health care workers strike, teachers poised to walk out in Washington state, British Columbia

Workers Struggles: The Americas

27 August 2019

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular feature.

Del Monte Foods to close plants in Illinois and Minnesota

By Andy Thompson, 26 August 2019

Packaged food company Del Monte will lay off over 800 workers and close two plants in small towns in Illinois and Minnesota.

Two utility workers electrocuted on the job in upstate New York

By Leslie Murtagh, 26 August 2019

Two utility workers conducting maintenance on a transmission power line in New York’s Hudson Valley region died this week when they came into contact with a wire that wasn’t supposed to be carrying electricity.

20,000 AT&T workers strike as GM, Ford and Chrysler contract deadline looms

By Eric London, 26 August 2019

The largest strike in the American South in recent history captures a growing mood of militancy among workers worldwide.

Strike votes continue as autoworkers gear up for contract fight against GM, Ford, and Chrysler

By our reporters, 24 August 2019

The balloting is taking place under conditions in which the union has been widely discredited by its role in forcing through decades of sellout contracts and an expanding corruption scandal.

Machinists on strike at Berkshire Hathaway-owned Special Metals in New Hartford, New York

By Steve Filips, 24 August 2019

More than 200 workers at Special Metals rejected the company’s last contract proposal and have been on strike since last Saturday.

Hundreds of workers laid off, have healthcare eliminated as Philadelphia refinery closes

By Samuel Davidson, 24 August 2019

Workers at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery, which is being shut down after a major explosion in June, will receive no severance pay and have had their healthcare coverage terminated.

“We are ready to stay out as long as it takes”

Workers at GM, Ford, and Chrysler ready to strike in contract fight

By Jerry White, 23 August 2019

In front of the factory gates Thursday, Fiat Chrysler workers explained what the most critical issues they want addressed in new labor agreements.

Harlan County, Kentucky workers support coal miners’ blockade

By Samuel Davidson, 23 August 2019

Miners blocking shipments of coal from a bankrupt mine have the backing of other workers and residents in eastern Kentucky

“It’s ludicrous the way they treat the temps”

GM autoworker speaks out on UAW corruption, upcoming contract fight

By Debra Watson, 22 August 2019

Workers at the Big Three in the US begin voting today to authorize strike action if no agreement is reached on deal when their contracts expire next month.

US Steel announces up to 200 layoffs at Great Lakes Works in Ecorse, Michigan

By Jessica Goldstein, 22 August 2019

The recent layoffs in suburban Detroit serve to shatter any illusion that workers' jobs and living standards can be protected through trade war measures.

US farm equipment manufacturer John Deere calls for “organizational efficiency,” threatening jobs

By George Gallanis, 19 August 2019

Amid slumps in sales due to escalating trade tensions and low corn and soybean harvests, Deere is intent on cutting production costs.

“That was our money!” Autoworkers livid over UAW corruption scandal

By Shannon Jones, 17 August 2019

Less than one month remains before the expiration of contracts covering 155,000 US auto workers, and there is growing rank-and-file outrage over rampant union corruption.

UAW official indicted for taking millions in bribes as scandal spreads to GM

By Tom Hall, 16 August 2019

Michael Grimes took nearly $2 million in kickbacks for himself and fellow bureaucrats, according to federal investigators.

US Kaiser Permanente workers vote overwhelmingly in favor of strike

By Dan Conway, 16 August 2019

The 98 percent strike vote is a powerful expression of opposition to decades of attacks on workers by the multi-trillion dollar US health care industry.

New studies reveal growing epidemic of nurse suicides in the US

By Alex Johnson, 16 August 2019

Hospital conditions and the accompanying mental health strain are driving increasing numbers of nurses to take their own lives.

“It’s not just miners, but all blue-collar workers, like the teachers, who have been mistreated too”

Blackjewel miners in Kentucky vow to continue fight against coal operator

By a WSWS reporting team, 16 August 2019

Two miners who have played a prominent role in the blockade of the coal train in Cumberland, Kentucky, spoke to the WSWS about their struggle to obtain back pay from the bankrupt coal company.

Chicago school district and union officials prepare to sell austerity contract to teachers

By Kristina Betinis, 14 August 2019

The Democratic Party “fact-finder” has come down on the side of the district’s demands for a virtual wage freeze and further inroads on teachers’ health care benefits.

Study finds workplace injuries increase risk of death by suicide, drug overdose

By Jessica Goldstein, 10 August 2019

A recent study found a relationship between work-related injuries and the rapid growth of deaths caused by suicide and drug overdose among workers in New Mexico, one of the poorest states in the US.

Book Review: Red State Revolt – Part II

The Democratic Socialists of America shows its hostility to socialism

By Nancy Hanover, 10 August 2019

Part II of the review of a new book by Eric Blanc of the DSA. See Part I

“You work so hard and you can barely make ends meet”

Hundreds of Detroit workers line up to apply for new Fiat Chrysler jobs

By Jerry White, 9 August 2019

Fiat Chrysler is expanding operations in Detroit, exploiting the sharp fall in wages and huge tax cuts.

New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority approves plan to cut 2,700 jobs

By Isaac Finn, 9 August 2019

On July 24, the transportation authority board approved the “MTA Transformation Plan,” which includes the possible layoff of 2,700 workers and the use of contractors to replace retiring workers.

Lowe’s lays off thousands of workers as “retail apocalypse” continues

By Trévon Austin, 8 August 2019

The recent string of store closures and layoffs is part of a broader trend since the Great Recession.

Michigan road workers strike major regional contractor

By Tim Rivers, 8 August 2019

Michigan road workers have been on strike since July 31 to fight for back pay and job protections.

Book Review: Red State Revolt – Part I

The DSA’s dishonest and self-serving account of the US teachers’ strikes

By Nancy Hanover, 8 August 2019

A new book by Democratic Socialists of America member Eric Blanc reviewing the role of the DSA during the teacher strikes in West Virginia, Oklahoma and Arizona aims to boost the credibility of the unions and the Democratic Party.

Kentucky coal miners continue protest as Blackjewel assets auction proceeds

By Naomi Spencer, 7 August 2019

The determined resistance of the miners in Harlan County, Kentucky, has demonstrated once again that the dividing line in America is class, not race or ethnicity.

Teamsters union boss with close ties to Chicago Democrats pleads guilty to extortion

By Jessica Goldstein, 5 August 2019

The agreement by John Coli Sr. to work with federal investigators could have wide-reaching consequences for the Democratic Party machine in Illinois and Chicago.

Trump orders review of Pentagon’s JEDI cloud computing contract

By Nick Barrickman, 5 August 2019

Trump’s decision to halt the bidding process reflects concerns over Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ opposition to the administration’s policies.

Kentucky miners block train tracks for sixth day demanding back pay

By Samuel Davidson, 3 August 2019

Out-of-work coal miners are now in their sixth day of blocking railroad tracks, preventing the bankrupt Blackjewel LLC from moving coal out of the Harlan County, Kentucky, mine where they worked.

“GM has made all of these profits and we’re getting shafted”

Autoworkers speak out as GM Warren Transmission plant closes after 78 years of operation

By our reporters, 2 August 2019

The closure of the facility, which once employed upwards of 4,000, is the latest economic blow to workers in the Detroit area, once the center of global auto manufacturing.

ExxonMobil fire in Harris County, Texas injures 37 workers

By George Kirby, 2 August 2019

The oil industry has proven itself oblivious to the occasional slap on the wrist from federal regulators, continuing to flout health and safety rules in the chase for production and profits.

More than 150,000 healthcare and grocery workers could strike in California and other states

By Rafael Azul, 2 August 2019

Eighty-thousand Kaiser Permanente healthcare employees in several states and 70,000 supermarket workers in California and Oregon are poised to walk out.

“Paid for by Fiat Chrysler:” Prosecutors outline UAW corruption for Norwood Jewell sentencing hearing

By Tom Hall, 1 August 2019

Jewell will be the highest ranking UAW official sentenced in the ongoing federal corruption probe of the UAW and FCA and one of eight union or company officials to have been convicted.

UAW, Ford enforce punitive attendance policies at Chicago Assembly Plant ahead of September contract expiration

By Jessica Goldstein, 31 July 2019

The UAW is now playing a critical role in disciplining workers at the behest of Ford in advance of the September expiration of the national auto contract agreement.

Layoffs mount as slump in world auto industry deepens

By Shannon Jones, 30 July 2019

Continuing sales declines, led by China and India, are leading to massive job losses and attacks on autoworkers as transnational companies seek to maintain high levels of return.

Unpaid Kentucky Blackjewel miners block coal train to demand wages

By Naomi Spencer, 30 July 2019

After weeks without work or pay from the bankrupt company, miners blocked the removal of coal from an idled Blackjewel mine in Harlan County, Kentucky.

Fire forces evacuation at Saginaw, Michigan General Motors plant

By Tim Rivers, 29 July 2019

Workers at the Saginaw Metal Casting Operations, the site of the fire, have been saddled with a “competitive operating agreement” aimed at undermining working conditions in order to cut costs and drive up GM profits.

12,500 job cuts at Nissan as global restructuring of auto industry continues

By Jerry White, 26 July 2019

The Japan-based automaker says it will cut 6,400 jobs in Japan, the US, Mexico, Britain, Spain, India and Indonesia by the end of March 2020.

Electrical worker killed at pipe mill in Western Pennsylvania

By Samuel Davidson, 26 July 2019

Forty-six-year-old David Bupp was electrocuted last Wednesday while repairing a piece of equipment at a small steel pipe manufacturing plant north of Pittsburgh.

Chicago Amazon workers confront management, demand improvements

By George Gallanis, 25 July 2019

The day after international protests against Amazon during Prime Day, Chicago Amazon workers staged a “walk-in” to demand increased pay, health insurance and air conditioning in their facility.

Ford in Canada announces 200 layoffs at Oakville assembly plant

More layoffs threatened for January

By Carl Bronski, 25 July 2019

Unifor has rushed to defend Ford’s layoffs as a “business decision.”

The mass protests in Puerto Rico

By Eric London, 24 July 2019

Over one-sixth of the total population of the island protested Monday.

Autoworkers speak out against UAW's disregard of safety during scorching heat

By Jessica Goldstein, 23 July 2019

US autoworkers are furious over the refusal of the UAW to carry out any fight against oppressive conditions in the factories during the July heat wave.

US coal giant Blackjewel, LLC and affiliates declare bankruptcy

By Zachary Thorton, 23 July 2019

Another coal giant has declared bankruptcy, leaving devastation in its wake as hundreds of workers are out of work and owed thousands of dollars in unpaid wages.

Two-day strike by Peruvian doctors

Workers Struggles: The Americas

23 July 2019

Doctors struck to press demands for increased funding for healthcare, salary increases and an end to supply shortages.

“I want to strike and send a message to the city”

With anger growing, Chicago Teachers Union floats threat of September walkout

By Kristina Betinis, 22 July 2019

Teachers who have suffered through years of falling real income, deteriorating classroom conditions and mass layoffs are determined to fight, but they face a brick wall of opposition from the CTU.

Wall Street Journal warns job threats might not prevent rebellion by autoworkers

By Jerry White, 17 July 2019

The mouthpiece of the banks said younger workers who have never experienced mass layoffs are the “big wild card” in this year’s contract fight.

Amazon workers internationally protest against conditions on Prime Day

By Kayla Costa, 16 July 2019

Across the US and in Europe, Amazon workers are protesting dangerous working conditions, low pay and the company’s ties to the US immigration Gestapo.

As auto talks begin, UAW and companies conspire to enforce new wave of concessions on workers

By Jerry White, 16 July 2019

The conflict is not between the auto companies and their servants in the UAW, but between rank-and-file workers, on the one side, and the corporate-UAW alliance, on the other.

Laid-off FCA Belvidere autoworkers, abandoned by UAW, told to uproot

By Jacob Crosse and Marcus Day, 16 July 2019

Laid-off workers have reported that they were given as little as two weeks to decide on transfers hundreds of miles away.

General Electric workers reject union-backed contract

By Steve Filips, 16 July 2019

In another signal of growing working-class militancy, GE workers opposed rising medical expenses, cuts to their retirement pensions, and changes to workplace rules.

Anger of West Coast grocery workers mounts as union seeks to block strikes

By Dan Conway and Kimie Saito, 16 July 2019

Talks between the United Food & Commercial Workers and Southern California supermarket chains resumed last week after workers overwhelmingly voted in favor of strike.

Argentine bus drivers carry out one-day strike, judge orders fines for American Airlines workers over protest actions

Workers Struggles: the Americas

16 July 2019

Bus drivers across Argentina carried out a one-day strike on July 11 to press wage demands.

“We want to get back everything we gave up”

Autoworkers determined to fight as contract talks open

By Jerry White, 15 July 2019

With the formal negotiations starting today autoworkers want to recoup years of UAW-backed wage and benefit concessions and substantially improve their wages and working conditions.

Strikes get “silent treatment” at NEA convention, as candidates take center stage

By Nancy Hanover, 15 July 2019

The National Education Association, the nation's largest teachers union, met to promote the Democrats in 2020.

European regulator uncovers autopilot problem on Boeing 737 Max

By Bryan Dyne, 13 July 2019

A leaked document from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency lists five different reasons to keep the 737 Max 8 aircraft grounded.

Talks continue after workers at Cascade Steel Rolling Mills in Oregon vote overwhelmingly to strike

By Jessica Goldstein, 13 July 2019

With a possible strike date of August 1, the United Steel Workers and management are maneuvering to impose a new round of concessions on workers.

Roasting on the line: Autoworkers warn of unsafe conditions at US plants as summer heat hits

By Marcus Day, 12 July 2019

Hot, humid weather blanketed much of the central United States on Wednesday, creating miserable and often dangerous work for tens of thousands of workers at auto factories and other plants.

10,000 Portland-area grocery workers authorize strike

By Norisa Diaz, 10 July 2019

The strike vote comes less than two weeks after 46,000 workers at three of the largest supermarket chains in Southern California also authorized a walkout.

Minnesota nurses struggle betrayed by union

By Jonas Boquist, 10 July 2019

The piecemeal ratifications carried out by the MNA diluted the strength of all 13,000 nurses and facilitated the implementation of contracts acceptable to hospital management.

As industry analyst calls UAW-automaker negotiations “Kabuki theatre”

Autoworkers demand substantial improvement in wages and conditions on eve of contract talks

By Jerry White, 9 July 2019

With negotiations set to begin on July 15, workers are determined to overturn decades of givebacks accepted by the United Auto Workers.

Costa Rican public health workers strike over pay cut, government policies; truckers block highways

Workers Struggles: the Americas

9 July 2019

Three Costa Rican public health unions began strike action July 4 against government policies while Costa Rican truckers blockaded highways over imposition of a value added tax.

Amazon’s 25th anniversary: A conglomerate based on parasitism and exploitation

By Tom Carter, 8 July 2019

The technology and infrastructure behind Amazon’s meteoric trajectory and the biggest individual fortune in modern history must be turned towards the needs and aspirations of the world’s population as a whole.

Bus drivers in Massachusetts strike over wages and healthcare

By Elliott Vernon, 6 July 2019

Bus drivers are seeking wage increases consistent with the cost of living in Martha’s Vineyard as well as improvements in safety, disciplinary procedures and healthcare.

Hundreds quit union as UAW pushes through sellout deal at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center in Toledo, Ohio

By Shannon Jones, 5 July 2019

Nurses who struck for six weeks are outraged and disgusted by the conduct of the UAW, which scabbed on their strike and then rammed through a rotten agreement.

11,000 food service workers vote to strike US airlines

By Kayla Costa, 4 July 2019

Catering workers confront not only the airline corporations but UNITE-HERE and other unions that have forced them to accept poverty level wages.

Why autoworkers need an international strategy

By Jerry White, 4 July 2019

The fight to unite autoworkers in the US with their class brothers and sisters in Mexico, China and other countries has opened up an important debate over strategy as workers head into the contract battle this September.

Amazon’s meat grinder in the Dallas, Texas suburbs

By Tom Carter, 2 July 2019

Over a two-year period, 567 workers were injured at Amazon’s DFW7 fulfillment center in Fort Worth, Texas.

Quebec: Alcoa issues ultimatum to locked-out ABI workers

By Keith Jones, 2 July 2019

The United Steelworkers Union has refused to make any public comment on Alcoa’s ultimatum, let alone coupled an emphatic call for it to be rejected with an appeal for workers across North America to come to the ABI workers’ defence.

2,000 workers to lose jobs as Philadelphia refinery shuts down

By Samuel Davidson, 2 July 2019

Blaming high costs from fire damage, Philadelphia Energy Solutions announced the closure of the largest oil refinery on the US East Coast.

Uruguay workers in one-day national strike

Workers Struggles: The Americas

2 July 2019

A June 24 strike called by the PIT-CNT trade union federation took place in the context of a worsening economic crisis that has seen continuing attacks on workers.

Southern California grocery workers authorize strike action

By Dan Conway, 29 June 2019

Following a regionwide supermarket strike in New England, grocery workers at three supermarket chains in Southern California voted overwhelmingly last week to strike.

West Virginia legalizes charter schools

By Nancy Hanover, 29 June 2019

Defying the overwhelming sentiments of teachers, students and workers, Governor Jim Justice signed a bill legalizing the state’s first-ever charter schools.

Ford announces 12,000 layoffs, five plant closures across Europe

By Will Morrow, 28 June 2019

A global restructuring is underway, with all the automakers relying on the trade unions to seek to suppress the seething and growing opposition of autoworkers.

UAW rams through sellout deal at Saline, Michigan Faurecia factory

By Shannon Jones, 28 June 2019

While UAW officials claim the agreement passed by a wide margin, many workers told the WSWS Autoworker Newsletter they had deep reservations about the deal, which failed to address critical issues related to wages and working conditions.

Protesting nurses speak out in Long Beach, California

By Rafael Azul and Kimie Saito, 28 June 2019

“Patients are not numbers! Maximum patients + minimum nurses = maximum profits. And the costs are passed on to the consumers and us.”

New petrochemical complex could create a “cancer alley” on Ohio River

By John Ashbrook, 28 June 2019

The Trump administration is backing a tri-state effort to build a huge fossil fuel processing facility that threatens public health and the environment.

Boston: Hundreds protest Wayfair’s profiting from sales to immigrant detention centers

By Kate Randall, 27 June 2019

Employees learned last week that a $200,000 order of bedroom furniture from Wayfair was placed by a private contractor for a detention facility.

Quebec: ABI lockout in its 18th month

By Laurent Lafrance, 27 June 2019

Having isolated the ABI workers and promoted the lie that Quebec’s right-wing premier would come to their aid, the union is now turning to Québec Solidaire to give it a “left” cover.

“This is a class question… All students should have equal access to education”

Second of two “Fund Our School” rallies held in Michigan

By Phyllis Steele, 26 June 2019

The small turnout at the protest, organized by the unions to back the budget proposal of the state’s new Democratic governor, was only a pale reflection of the deep discontent over decades of school funding cuts.

Countdown to contract fight

Auto execs, UAW have a game plan: What will autoworkers do?

By Jerry White, 26 June 2019

GM wants to "hire more temporary workers who are paid less and aren’t on the same health care plan," reports Automotive News.

Explosion and fire at Philadelphia refinery as company puts profits over safety

By Samuel Davidson, 25 June 2019

The massive explosion and fire at a Philadelphia oil refinery are the direct result of the criminal drive for profits at the expense of the safety of the workers and the collaboration of the USW with the company.

Vote “No” on UAW sellout agreement!

Build rank-and-file committees to unite Faurecia and all autoworkers in a national strike

By the WSWS Autoworker Newsletter, 25 June 2019

The following statement is being distributed to auto parts workers in Saline, Michigan who will be voting Thursday on a contract that maintains poverty wages and sweatshop conditions.

Faurecia and Ford workers denounce UAW sabotage of auto parts strike

By a WSWS reporting team, 24 June 2019

The UAW shut down the strike at the critical auto parts supplier only nine hours after it began.

Anger and disgust over UAW betrayal of Mercy St. Vincent nurses strike in Toledo, Ohio

By Shannon Jones, 24 June 2019

The union’s claim that a return to the bargaining table would lead to an improved deal, was nothing but a cynical ploy.

Saline, Michigan Faurecia workers outraged after UAW shuts down their strike

By Shannon Jones, 22 June 2019

The walkout had the potential to quickly shut down auto assembly operations nationwide at Detroit automakers and at Tesla.

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra musicians locked out

By Harvey Simpkins, 22 June 2019

If the lockout continues until September and the summer session is not reinstated, the musicians will lose more than $2.5 million in wages and benefits.

As Trump ramps up trade war, US Steel to idle three blast furnaces in the US and Europe

By Jessica Goldstein, 22 June 2019

Because of the furnace shutdowns, hundreds or even thousands of workers could eventually lose their jobs worldwide.

Toledo Mercy Health nurses vote down UAW sellout

By Shannon Jones, 19 June 2019

In a sharp rebuke to the UAW, nurses at Mercy Health St Vincent Medical Center rejected a deal the union tried to impose after it shut down their strike.

Michigan teachers rally to “fund our schools” after 20 years of bipartisan cuts

By Lawrence Porter and Jesse Thomas, 19 June 2019

Teachers across Michigan rallied at the state capitol Tuesday voicing their outrage over a generation of budget cuts.

Baltimore teachers’ contract set to expire at end of month

By Ron Barzel and E.P. Milligan, 18 June 2019

Neither one of the factions fighting for control of the Baltimore Teachers Union offers educators any way forward to fight the bipartisan attack on public education.

Mobilize the working class to fight the bipartisan attack on public education!

For a socialist policy to fully fund public schools!

By the WSWS Teacher Newsletter, 18 June 2019

The following statement is being distributed to teachers and their supporters who are attending the “Red for Ed” rally in Lansing, Michigan today.

On eve of auto contract talks, VW workers in Tennessee reject UAW again

By Jerry White, 17 June 2019

Workers in Chattanooga were correct to reject, for the second time, “representation” by the United Auto Workers, a corrupt agent of corporate management.

As UAW stonewalls about contract talks

Faurecia workers voice their anger and determination to fight

By George Kirby and Tim Rivers, 17 June 2019

Faurecia workers face near-poverty level wages that force many workers to work two full-time jobs, for a total of at least 80 hours a week, just to make ends meet.

Minnesota Nurses Association announces sellout tentative deal at Children’s Hospitals in Minneapolis-St. Paul

By Jonas Boquist, 17 June 2019

It has been many decades since the unions have launched a nationwide strike in any industry. In its place they have adopted the program of union-management collaboration."

Chattanooga, Tennessee Volkswagen workers reject UAW for second time

By Shannon Jones, 15 June 2019

The union has been further discredited by revelations that top negotiators took huge payoffs from Fiat Chrysler to obtain favorable contract terms.

“UAW doesn’t care about us!”

Nurses outraged over UAW sellout of hospital strike in Toledo, Ohio

By Jerry White, 14 June 2019

After nurses struck for six weeks, the United Auto Workers union unilaterally ordered them back to work, demanding that they vote on a deal without time to study or discuss it.