The Labor Tribune

Labor News From Our Region

260,000 working people joined unions last year to change a rigged system

DEMANDING FREEDOM to negotiate with the airline’s management, almost 5,000 JetBlue flight attendants last month overwhelmingly voted in favor of joining the Transportation Workers Union (TWU), becoming part of a growing wave of working people fed up with a rigged system and demanding change. – TWU photo

Washington –The Labor Movement is growing again as working people who have had enough of a rigged system band together for change.

Last month, more than 10,000 working people chose to join together in unions for the freedom to negotiate a fair return on their hard work. From flight attendants to graduate students, each day more working people are gaining the power to change an economy rigged against us.

Here are some of the latest victories for working people who, through their unions, are improving their lives:

Almost 5,000 JetBlue flight attendants will have the freedom to negotiate with the airline’s management after they overwhelmingly voted in favor of joining the Transport Workers Union (TWU).

• Over 5,000 Harvard University teaching and research assistants decided to join UAW in an historic victory for graduate students and research assistants at universities who have been fighting for a fair return on their work.

• The Labor Movement is growing in Southern states, as evidenced when 700 working people at Atlanta Gas Light, in Atlanta, Georgia, voted to join the Electrical Workers (IBEW).

• Some 2,000 personal support workers and 400 registered nurses at Spectrum Health Care in the greater Toronto area joined the Machinists (IAM).

• In Pleasanton, Calif., 400 registered nurses from Stanford Health Care’s Valley Care Medical Center will join National Nurses United (NNU) after a majority of them voted to join the union.

• In Marlborough, Mass., 220 working people from nurses to clerical staff at UMass Memorial-Marlborough Hospital decided to join the State Healthcare and Research Employees Union, an affiliate of AFSCME.

• The wave of working people in digital newsrooms who join together in labor unions continues to grow. The New Republic agreed to voluntarily recognize its editorial staff’s decision to join The News Guild of New York-CWA Local 31003.

MOMENT OF CHANGE

“We’re living in a profound moment of change,” said AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka. “By joining together in a union, working people are joining, fighting and winning together for the dignity that we’ve earned.

“Despite rigged rules and aggressive corporate attacks, 260,000 new union members joined our ranks last year, and three-quarters of new union members are under the age of 34. As we gain density, we gain power. As we grow in numbers, we grow in influence. That’s how we start to build the America working people need.”

At a time when powerful corporations and special interests continue to use a rigged system to their benefit, this kind of momentum proves that working people are standing up to defend the freedom to join together in unions.

UNION POPULARITY GROWING

According to a recent Gallup poll, America’s Labor Movement is gaining popularity as fed up workers seek better pay and benefits.

Sixty-one percent of Americans approved of unions, the poll found — the highest number in over a decade. The Labor Movement has been at the forefront of the fight to raise standards of living for all working people across the country, from raising the minimum wage to supporting a new set of economic rules designed to achieve broadly shared prosperity.

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