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C5. Rank & File Labor

“Local grocers that survived Walmart are now falling to Dollar General.”

Hack the Union - Tue, 01/15/2019 - 09:00

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

“Local grocers that survived Walmart are now falling to Dollar General.” Great new report by ILSR on how dollar stores are targeting low-income communities as America’s permanent underclass—and how Tulsa, OK is fighting back. 

GrubHub is being sued by a Philly restaurant chain, who is alleging that the company is charging restaurants for phone calls that don’t actually result in food orders. 

What’s Going on in the Workforce

Uber is facing questions, after they “clarified” their policy on whether drivers can pick up unaccompanied minors (you can’t ride alone if you’re under 18, officially), by mentioning how it’s great that drivers can be there when parents can’t….

I have complicated feelings about a robot cafe, where the robots are controlled by people who are home-bound or physically disabled. 

“It might stay for a long time because it’s a matter of ego,” he says. “The shutdown is biting.” How the federal government shutdown is affecting taxi, Uber & Lyft drivers in DC. (And of course, that isn’t even mentioning the increased competition as some government workers turn to driving as a side hustle to pay their own rent.)

At the end of last year, Uber drivers in London won a ruling against the company that will force them to treat drivers as workers, not contractors.  And a French court just granted an Uber driver employment rights. 

Geeking Out
Kiss your carb-free New Year’s resolution goodbye, with this bread-bot

Categories: C5. Rank & File Labor

Price Soars for Dave Regan’s Ballot Initiatives

Stern Burger with Fries - Fri, 01/11/2019 - 16:38

Dave Regan’s famously unsuccessful “ballot initiative” strategy just got a lot more expensive in California.
If you’re a member of SEIU-UHW, heads up. Diamond Dave will now be able to waste your dues dollars much faster than before.
Regan’s unquenchable thirst for ballot-initiative failure isn’t mere speculation. 
Several months ago, Regan pledged to re-file his unsuccessful dialysis ballot measure in 2020. He made this pledge just days after voters rejected Dave’s dialysis measure by a blow-outmargin: 61.5% (“No”) to 38.5% (“Yes”).
Why is the price tag jumping for California ballot initiatives?
Every four years, California readjusts the number of valid voter signatures that must be collected in order to place an initiative on the statewide ballot. Specifically, it takes 5 percent of the total votes cast for governor during the most recent election.
That threshold was re-set during last November’s gubernatorial election when large numbers of voters turned out to boot Republican congressmembers from office. The threshold jumped from 365,879 valid signatures to 623,212 valid signatures.
That’s gonna make it much more expensive to put measures on the ballot. SEIU-UHW hires companies to collect signatures from voters, typically paying them between $2 to $3 per signature. Campaigns must collect far more signatures than the threshold because a certain percentage of signatures turn out to be invalid.
So that’s why the costs associated with statewide initiatives are going to “skyrocket,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle. (John Wildermuth, “Qualifying a California ballot measure to become a ‘playground of billionaires,’” San Francisco Chronicle, January 2, 2019.)
According to the newspaper: It already costs at least $2 million to qualify a measure for the ballot, and that’s before a single dollar is spent on a campaign to actually win the election. The new signature numbers are likely to boost that amount dramatically.
How much will the costs jump?
At least to $3.4 million, according to analysts.
So, unless Regan finally owns up to his record of uninterrupted failure, SEIU-UHW members can expect Dave to blindly pour more and more of their dues dollars into ballot initiatives… rather than using these precious resources to fund aggressive contract campaigns, organizing drives, and representational work to support the union’s members.

Categories: C5. Rank & File Labor

NUHW Hits Kaiser with Strike

Stern Burger with Fries - Fri, 01/04/2019 - 18:29

The National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) is taking on Kaiser Permanente again.

Not through ballot initiatives, which is Dave Regan’s preferred approach.

But through strikes… which SEIU-UHW hasn’t attempted against any healthcare company in years.
Last month, 4,000 NUHW members conducted a weeklong strike against dozens of Kaiser facilities across California. The strikers included Psychologists, Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, Psychiatric RNs, Medical Social Workers, Addiction Medicine Specialists, Dietitians, Health Educators, and others.

It was the largest strike by mental health therapists in the nation's history, according to NUHW.
What do the strikers want? They're demanding more staff.

Kaiser’s chronic understaffing of its mental health clinics forces patients with depression, bipolar disorder, and other conditions to wait two months or more for appointments.

Strikers were joined by former Congressman Patrick Kennedy -- the author of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act and a national leader of mental health reform efforts -- who flew across the US to join them on the picket line.
RNs from the California Nurses Association and members of the Stationary Engineers Local 39 also joined picket lines across the state.

According to NUHW, the strike produced more than 1,000 press stories.

And one thousand patients reported their stories of Kaiser’s delayed care -- including suicides and other tragic outcomes -- to the union’s “Kaiser Don’t Deny” website, according to NUHW.
This isn’t the first time that NUHW has taken on Kaiser.

Several years ago, NUHW hit Kaiser with a series of statewide strikes and successfully got the state to fine the giant HMO $4 million for illegally delaying their patients’ mental health appointments. NUHW documented more than a dozen suicides connected to Kaiser's delayed care.
Check out this three-minute TV news story about the strike and Kaiser’s understaffed mental health clinics.

Categories: C5. Rank & File Labor

“People are in pain because unless you went to college, the only way you’ll earn a decent living is by breaking your body or risking your life”

Hack the Union - Wed, 01/02/2019 - 09:00

What’s Going on in the Workforce

“That’s the thing they don’t tell you about opiate addiction. People are in pain because unless you went to college, the only way you’ll earn a decent living is by breaking your body or risking your life — plumbers, electricians, steamfitters, welders, mechanics, cable guys, linemen, fishermen, garbagemen, the options are endless.”An amazing first-person narration of what it’s like to be the cable guy, even when you’re not a guy.

Are cannabis delivery companies luring Uber & Lyft drivers away with more stable pay & better benefits? 

Uber may be close to a settlement that pays drivers .11 per mile driven, in exchange for giving up their rights to pursue employee misclassification claims. 

“Through 2016, our analysis found that between the time older workers enter the study and when they leave paid employment, 56 percent are laid off at least once or leave jobs under such financially damaging circumstances that it’s likely they were pushed out rather than choosing to go voluntarily.” ProPublica & the Urban Institute have concluded that workers over 50 are more likely to be pushed out of jobs than they are to leave them voluntarily, resulting in huge economic consequences. 


Want to up your digital game? Becker Strategies has announced dates for the three bootcamps they’ll be holding this year. 

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

In the run-up to the holidays, Connecticut Lyft & Uber drivers staged a one-day strike. Let me know if you have contact with the folks who organized this! 

It’s possible that the 21st Century “Battle in Seattle” that will most impact gig worker organizing, is the one being conducted around collective bargaining rights for ride-sharing drivers. 

“Frankly, we should all be mad that the richest country in the world doesn’t care about workers’ well-being.” Well, yes. Welcome to the party, Digg. 

Categories: C5. Rank & File Labor

Dust explosion leads to evacuation of P.C. Campana in Lorain

Recent Chemical Accidents (ticker) - Thu, 12/20/2018 - 06:32
— The P.C. Campana Alloy Cored Wire facility was evacuated Wednesday afternoon after a dust explosion. Lorain fire Capt. Frank Griffith said
Categories: C5. Rank & File Labor

Man injured in energy facility explosion dies

Recent Chemical Accidents (ticker) - Thu, 12/20/2018 - 06:05
Fisher, of Salem, West Virginia, died Tuesday at a hospital burn unit. Fisher was one of four injured in the explosion and subsequent fire
Categories: C5. Rank & File Labor

Explosion at Aerospace Plant Injures Worker

Recent Chemical Accidents (ticker) - Wed, 12/19/2018 - 07:19
. One person who was injured was airlifted to a hospital. In 2016, an explosion at the Esterline plant seriously injured two people.
Categories: C5. Rank & File Labor

Top SEIU Official to Leave at End of Month

Stern Burger with Fries - Tue, 12/18/2018 - 14:19

Laphonza Butler and Mary Kay Henry
Laphonza Butler -- the President of SEIU Local 2015 -- is quitting her job at the end of December.
Readers will recall that she was appointed to run the union after its former president, Tyrone Freeman, went to jail for a massive corruption scandal. 
During Butler’s tenure, more local unions were merged into the mega-union including 65,000 long-term care workers transferred from Dave Regan’s SEIU-UHW. Butler also serves on SEIU’s International Executive Board and is reportedly a close ally of Mary Kay Henry.
So why is Butler leaving her position atop a giant union with hundreds of thousands of members? 
Here’s what she’s saying publicly: “The time has come for new leadership to take Local 2015 to its next great victories.”
What’s the real story?
It turns out she’s jumping ship to become a partner at a political consulting/communications firm based in California, according to a Dec. 7 article in the Los Angeles Times:“Butler will be a partner in the newly rechristened firm SCRB Strategies, along with veteran strategists Ace Smith, Sean Clegg and Juan Rodriguez. Their clients include Newsom, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), a frequent subject of speculation in her own right about 2020 presidential ambitions.”
According to the firm’s website, “SCRB also advises Fortune 500 companies, major developers, and sports franchises regarding crisis, PR, and public affairs.” 
One of the firm’s corporate clients is PG&E, which is facing allegations that its faulty equipment sparked the massive wildfires that ravaged California during the past two years and killed more than 100 people. PG&E will no doubt pay a pretty penny to SCRB.
In other words, Butler’s motivation might be summarized as “ka-ching.”
The firm, formerly known as “SCN Strategies,” has added a “B” at the end of its name to indicate its fourth partner, Laphonza Butler, along with partners Smith, Clegg and Rodriguez.
Interestingly, Butler may soon find herself across a table from Dave Regan, whom she reportedly can’t stomach.
Regan has hired the firm to run some of his failed ballot initiatives, including SEIU-UHW’s 2014 ballot initiative targeting the California Hospital Association.
Like planets caught in the same gravitational field, their paths may soon collide again. 

Categories: C5. Rank & File Labor

Chlorine gas leak repaired at water facility near Lake Crescent

Recent Chemical Accidents (ticker) - Tue, 12/18/2018 - 02:40
No. 2 responded to a chlorine gas leak at a Crescent Water Association facility near Lake Crescent. No injuries or exposures were reported
Categories: C5. Rank & File Labor

Crews battle fire at old grain elevator in Superior, Wis.

Recent Chemical Accidents (ticker) - Tue, 12/18/2018 - 00:00
. An April 26 blast at an oil refinery sent shrapnel into a tank of asphalt, which eventually caught fire and burned for hours, sending a
Categories: C5. Rank & File Labor

“Hiring is rarely a single decision, but rather a series of smaller, sequential decisions that culminate in a job offer—or a rejection.”

Hack the Union - Mon, 12/17/2018 - 21:00

Reputation, reputation, reputation

“Hiring is rarely a single decision, but rather a series of smaller, sequential decisions that culminate in a job offer—or a rejection.” Upturn takes a look a bias in hiring algorithms

If Facebook’s tracking you all over the web (even when you’re not logged on to their site) isn’t creepy enough, don’t worry. Now they want to track your physical location, so they can predict where you’ll go next (the gym—>coffee shop isn’t just me?). 

Microsoft President Brad Smith is calling for the tech industry to create a set of principles around the use and development of facial recognition software—and outlines what Microsoft itself is specifically committing to do

Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability

Congrats to the NDWA (and in particular, friend-o-the-blog Palak Shah) on their launch of Alia, which allows clients of domestic workers to make contributions for paid time off and other portable benefits. 

Here’s a cool data visualization of 206 of the 238 locations that put in bids for Amazon’s HQ2, thanks to Muckrock and journalists everywhere. 

Surely no one could have seen this coming…Instacart won’t be delivering Whole Foods any more, starting in 2019. 

Video game developers in the UK just formalized the world’s first game workers’ union

h/t to Annette Bernhardt for sending me this story about a Danish union that has achieved collective bargaining rights for platform domestic workers—including protecting workers’ data

From Partners 

Journalist Tony Abraham compiled this cool map of hospital strikes from the 1980s to now. 

What’s Going on in the Workforce
Before the fatal crash involving self-driving cars earlier this year, self-driving Uber test cars were apparently involved in an accident approximately ever 15,000 miles. I can’t imagine how expensive my car insurance would be, if that were me. 

Google aims to compete with Amazon with highly automated warehouses (like, one hundred robots for every human). They’ve already started, in China. 

Geeking Out

Why you gotta name your salad-prep robot with a woman’s name, anyway? 

For the last link in the last newsletter of the year, have some robotic reindeer pulling a sleigh

Categories: C5. Rank & File Labor

Pittsburgh Glass Works not required to extinguish underground East Deer fire

Recent Chemical Accidents (ticker) - Mon, 12/17/2018 - 15:36
, the state Department of Environmental Protection found “no imminent threat to human health, safety or the environment,” according to
Categories: C5. Rank & File Labor

Structure fire at Berkeley County autoshop

Recent Chemical Accidents (ticker) - Thu, 12/13/2018 - 05:06
6 fire departments on scene. The flames have also destroyed several cars. There are no reports of injuries at this time. Gross Ave and
Categories: C5. Rank & File Labor

Oil well leak reported Wednesday in southeast Oklahoma City

Recent Chemical Accidents (ticker) - Thu, 12/13/2018 - 03:27
of oil spilled was on Byers and Stiles avenues. Firefighters and a hazardous materials crew built temporary dams with dirt to slow the
Categories: C5. Rank & File Labor

Worker in stable condition after being exposed to chlorine gas leak

Recent Chemical Accidents (ticker) - Wed, 12/12/2018 - 19:05
being exposed to a level 1 HAZMAT situation Wednesday morning. The Rochester Fire Department says there was a chlorine gas leak outside a
Categories: C5. Rank & File Labor

Fire Crews Contain Small Chemical Fire At STERIS In Mentor

Recent Chemical Accidents (ticker) - Wed, 12/12/2018 - 13:22
fire in a lab storing chemicals, but the chemicals were deemed not to be a public health hazard, officials said. No one was hurt in the fire
Categories: C5. Rank & File Labor

“We have these promised productivity benefits, and we wanted to think about ways workers can get a fair share of them.”

Hack the Union - Tue, 12/11/2018 - 09:00
What’s Going on in the Workforce   “We have these promised productivity benefits, and we wanted to think about ways workers can get a fair share of them.” The four-day workweek, as practiced in the UK. If your workplace doesn’t threaten to contaminate you with bear spray, are you really working? Uber is back to testing self-driving cars in Pittsburgh, but some employees are anonymously worried that the company is cutting corners. Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability “After nine years, Uber isn’t within hailing distance of making money and continues to bleed more red ink than any start-up in history.” Well then. h/t to Jay Youngdahl for pointing this one out: Grad students at UNC are conducting a grade strike, saying they won’t hand in students’ grades until the university reverses its plan to construct a new building to house racist Confederate memorial “Silent Sam.” The Tech Workers’ Coalition is stepping up their demand for an end to forced arbitrations at work. Check out their new post, that describes where they’re going next.  In a particularly timely coincidence, 12,000 Uber drivers just claimed that the company is denying them timely arbitration of their disputes.

Categories: C5. Rank & File Labor

‘I didn’t know what the union was for’

Hack the Union - Wed, 12/05/2018 - 09:00
Organizing Theory  ‘I didn’t know what the union was for,’ he said, ‘but now I can see that it’s the thing that we have to take a collective stand for ourselves and for others. It gives us our voice.’ Read this fascinating description of how Australian call center workers rebuilt their union around solidarity—even non-workplace solidarity. What’s Going on in the Workforce   The Independent Drivers’ Guild is claiming victory, as New York City’s TLC is proposing changes to minimum standards for driver pay that they claim will raise most drivers’ pay over $9,000 per year. Uber is expanding their food delivery market to include grocery delivery as well—starting in Toronto.   The company has also announced changes to driver pay rates (for ride-sharing drivers), which have some drivers grumbling on message boards. California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez is introducing a bill to codify the ABC test for independent contractors into state law (recently the CA Supreme Court issued the Dynamax decision, which used the ABC test—but gig economy companies have been lobbying politicians to overturn it legislatively). Walmart is rolling out janitorial robots. The Nation’s Michelle Chen takes a look at the nail salon industry, three years after the NY Times expose on working conditions in the industry. Upshot? Not much has changed for workers. Geeking Out So this is an ad, just to be clear. But it’s still a cool use of tech. Schweppes built a dress with sensors, to prove to men that women aren’t lying when they say how much they get groped in clubs. Sharing, Solidarity & Sustainability The way Amazon treats its third-party marketplace is under investigation by a German anti-trust agency.  And Saul Kaplan takes a look at what Amazon’s entry into the healthcare market could entail. Airbnb is getting into the business of building houses. How Janus is making public sector unions in University of Illinois at Chicago work together, backfiring against the administration’s plans to weaken their organized workforce.

Categories: C5. Rank & File Labor

NW Kansas business a total loss after fire

Recent Chemical Accidents (ticker) - Mon, 12/03/2018 - 10:24
all the plastic, the fire burned until the early hours of Monday, according to Weber. The facility is a total loss. There were no injuries.
Categories: C5. Rank & File Labor

Koch Foods ammonia leak hospitalizes 22 people

Recent Chemical Accidents (ticker) - Mon, 12/03/2018 - 09:15
plant was evacuated. Officials with the Gadsden/Etowah County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) said the 22 people sent to hospitals were
Categories: C5. Rank & File Labor