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Book Culture Workers Win Strike

Book Culture workers in New York City went on strike in support of their coworkers who were fired for voting to join the RWDSU. Most of the workers have since been re-hired following the strike.

Book Culture workers in New York City went on strike in support of their coworkers who were fired for voting to join the RWDSU. Most of the workers have since been re-hired following the strike.

Four terminated workers at two New York City Book Culture bookstores were re-hired a day after their colleagues walked off the job to support them. The workers were fired from Book Culture last week after casting votes to have a union voice on the job and join the RWDSU.

“I feel great. I’m so relieved and glad we didn’t have to go any further. I’m relieved to finally get back to work,” said Kerry Henderson, one of the fired workers. Book Culture workers walked off the job in protest of their coworkers being fired and business at the stores slowed to a trickle as the community rallied behind the workers. Workers from the two locations recently voted overwhelmingly to join the RWDSU in hopes of creating a channel with management to improve the working environment and make other positive changes at the stores.

“We like working at Book Culture, and we like the stores. But the underlying thing is that everyone wants a collective voice, and more direct pathways to raises and promotions,” said Bec Goodbourne, one of the fired workers who leafleted on a picket line near the 112th Street Book Culture store.

UFCW Locals Participate in AFL-CIO’s Bonnie Ladin Union Skills Training Program

unionskillslogo_150UFCW local staff members are upgrading their skills at the AFL-CIO’s Bonnie Ladin Union Skills (BLUS) Training Program.  The program is designed for union leaders, staff and community activists and offers hands-on training around the areas of union administration; collective bargaining; organizing; arbitration and grievance handling; communications and media; and best financial practices.

Taught by a group of experienced instructors, the BLUS program brings together rising union activists and community allies with the end goal of helping participants to better serve their unions and communities.  The program was recently named after former union organizer and National Labor College professor Bonnie Ladin, who passed away in 2010.

“I thought the course I took, which revolved around contract negotiations, was one of the best courses that I had the opportunity to attend,” said Rhonda Judd, a manufacturing and processing coordinator at UFCW Local 227. “I encourage my colleagues at other UFCW locals to participate in this training program because it’s well worth it.”

UFCW local staff members are encouraged to participate in the program, which will be held at the Maritime Institute in Linthicum Heights, Md. Click here for more information and to sign up for the nest round of classes that start in the fall.

Workers in Mountaire Farms Plant Unite for a Voice

Workers, allies, and members of Local 1208 take a stand in front of the Mountaire plant in Lumber Bridge, NC on June 24, 2014.

Workers, allies, and members of Local 1208 take a stand in front of the Mountaire plant in Lumber Bridge, NC on June 24, 2014.

Workers at a Mountaire Farms poultry plant in Lumber Bridge, NC, are uniting together and organizing themselves into a union in order to ably negotiate fair wages, benefits, and better working conditions. With the help of activists from UFCW Local 1208, the group has shown substantial progress in garnering support from coworkers, with at least 700 workers (out of 2000 workers at the plant) expressing support for a union.

Workers like Jasmine Isom, a Mountaire Farms worker and mother, have reported being subjected to extreme heat on the job, discrimination, intimidation, low wages, and denied access to emergency health care following on-the-job injuries. The poor working conditions are a major factor in the need for workers to join together to improve conditions at the poultry plant.

Local 1208 President Keith Ludlum, who helped organize his co-workers into a union in the nearby Smithfield Processing Plant, noted that it took 16 years to organize within the Smithfield plant and committed to doing “whatever it takes” to fight for workers.

The right to form a union is critical to ensuring that workers have a voice on the job, and utilizing that right is the best way for many to ensure they get fair pay and just treatment while at work. The Mountaire workers in Lumber Bridge are the latest newcomers to the millions of workers across the country that are seeking for and finding that voice.