CODE-CWA Newsletter: October 22

CODE-CWA Newsletter: October 22

#STRIKETOBER Edition

“The strike is part of a broader trend for labor to reclaim some of its lost bargaining power over the past 30 years,” Industry analyst Larry De Maria.

First and foremost, we want to congratulate and welcome the workers behind Pathfinder and Starfinder as they just became the FIRST certified unit of game workers in North America with collective bargaining rights!

Secondly, we usually focus on tech worker organizing here, but workers in every industry have clearly had enough. There’s a worker rebellion happening across the country. From hospital workers to film crews, workers in blue collar, white collar, and digital professions are standing up for better working conditions, higher wages, and dignity on the job. In fact, the Paizo workers were joined in their demands for change at the company with strike action from their freelancer coworkers!

Not only that but strikes are breaking records. Of the 597 strikes tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics since 1993, only 90 have crossed 10,000 workers. Now over 10,000 workers at the farming and industrial manufacturing giant John Deere are on strike, and 24,000 health care workers at Kaiser Permanente have voted to strike — a mammoth record breaking number.

So for this newsletter we are giving you an overview of the biggest strikes happening in the U.S. today. We hope bosses across industries are spooked by this massive labor uprising and will finally treat workers like you and me with the respect and pay we deserve.

Many tech companies will try to engage in union busting activities and anti-union campaigns. But working together will make the biggest impact. If you are unsure or unwilling to organize, we at CWA have one question for you. Are you looking for better working conditions? Reach out. We are ready to help and organize with you.

Events

Check our calendar for future events.

Worker News

Paizo Workers Make History: Pathfinder and Starfinder Become First Certified Unit of Game Workers in North America

Yesterday Paizo workers received a signed voluntary recognition agreement from Paizo management. Over the next few months, they'll elect a bargaining committee, continue building deep connections with their CWA Local, and begin the work of hashing out a fair contract for all Paizo employees. One small step for Paizo, one giant leap for the gaming industry. Read more here.

John Deere Strikers Want To Reclaim Labor’s Lost Bargaining Power

10,000 workers at John Deere are on strike. This marks the largest strike of the pandemic and is the first time since 1986 that John Deere workers walked off the job. Executives are expecting record breaking profits following a thriving agriculture sector, but a prolonged walkout could damage their bottom lines.. This has forced executives to the bargaining table, especially since replacing this many workers is not a viable option. As David Swenson, an economics professor at Iowa state university said “There is pressure for John Deere to move closer to where the workers are.” Read more on Axios.

Netflix Trans Employees Release a List of Demands Ahead of Walkout

On Wednesday, employees and allies at Netflix took part in a walkout to protest transphobic content and culture at Netflix. In addition to the walkout, the trans employee resource group (ERG)  submitted a list of demands. They have asked for reforms in the areas of employee relations & safety, harm reduction, and content investment. Some of their demands include recruiting trans and non-binary executives, acknowledging the harm of transphobic content, and adding disclaimers for transphobic content. According to the press release the demands are “necessary to avoid future instances of platforming transphobia and hate speech.” Read more on The Verge

Buffalo Hospital Workers Continue Strike Against Understaffing, Low Pay

2,200 health care workers are on strike to protest against understaffing and low wages. The COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to tensions amongst the staff who are risking their lives every day. “People are telling us stories about using ripped towels to make washcloths, using hospital socks for washcloths, not being able to get medical-grade gloves, not being able to get urinals, and using suction canisters for patients to urinate.” said Debbie Hayes, upstate area director for the CWA and a member of the bargaining committee. The strike at Mercy Hospital in Buffalo, New York has already lasted 3 weeks and was organized with help of the Communication Workers of America (CWA). The New York state attorney general has also gotten involved and has asked Catholic health to provide “adequate wages to attract and retain staff, and that grants adequate levels of care in the hospital.” Read more on The Nation.

‘People Work 100 Days Straight’: Kellogg’s Workers Shut Cereal Factories

“I’d like to highlight executive level compensation, and the bonuses [executives] received during the pandemic. All of that was made possible because we worked seven days a week 16-hours a day. Now with their greed, they want to thank us by cutting our jobs and making our future workforce have less than what our current workforce does," said Trevor Bidelman, a fourth generation Kellogg's worker. 1,400 Workers closed production of Kellogg’s ready to eat cereal factories across the US amid concerns of losing jobs and extreme work exhaustion. Workers at Kellogg have worked for more than 100 days straight due to understaffing. One striking mechanic has even worked for“ two years with no weekends.” Now the company wants to cut 212 more jobs and introduce a two-tier employment system. This has sparked outrage especially since Kellogg’s CEO, Steve Cahillane earned more than $11.6 million last year. Read more on Vice

24,000 Kaiser Permanente Health Workers Authorize Strike

96% of Kaiser Permanente union workers in Oregon and California voted to strike via electronic balloting. The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the systemic issues in the healthcare industry such as understaffing and low pay. As Shane Burley, a communications organizer with the Oregon union said, “Rich Kaiser executives should not exploit working people to make a profit. When patients are upset about what’s happening in the health-care system, they should look at these big executives who are making big salaries and trying to cut costs by undermining working people and health-care professionals.” Kaiser Permanente has 10 days to resolve the issues before the strike begins. If unsuccessful, the 24,000 person strike would become the largest in this pandemic and cause a lot of strain for the health care giant. Read more on the Washington Post.

This Week in History

OCTOBER 20th 1926 – Eugene V. Debs, U.S. Labor leader and socialist, dies in Elmhurst, Ill. Among his radical ideas: an eight-hour workday, pensions, workman’s compensation, sick leave and social security. He ran for president from a jail cell in 1920 and got a million votes.

OCTOBER 24th 1940 – The 40-hour workweek goes into effect under the Fair Labor Standards Act, signed by President Roosevelt two years earlier.

Song of the Week

Work Song from Cinderella:

Cinderelly, Cinderelly

Night and day, it's Cinderelly

Make the fire, fix the breakfast

Wash the dishes, do the mopping

And the sweeping and the dusting

They always keep her hopping

She goes around in circles

'Til she's very, very dizzy

Still they holler

Keep a-busy Cinderelly!