ICYM: A roundup of worker news

Canadian unions, too, are set to suffer from the US Supreme Court Janus decision. “Right-to-work will shrink the dues base of international unions with public sector members, meaning resources for campaigns or organizing will be squeezed for locals on both sides of the border,” according to Canadian labor newsletter, rankandfile.ca. Moreover, the US decision is already inspiring the increasingly right-wing Progressive Conservative Party which recently took power in Ontario under Trump admirer PM Doug Ford.

Many people turn to opioid from emotional or spiritual pain, but many workers do so because of physical injury. According to The Boston Globe, “the Massachusetts Department of Public Health found that nearly a quarter of overdose deaths in a five-year period occurred among people, mostly men, who work in construction.” This may not seem a union issue, but in the increasingly non-union construction business, workers who take leave to deal with on-the-job injuries are frequently fired.


Unions cannot thrive—or even survive—without considerable support from the wider community. Many workers don’t recognize their invisible links to unions. In an op-ed in The New York Times, writers Meagan Day and Bhaskar Sunkara urge more support for labor. “American workers should cheer labor on when they take this course — for example, by supporting the ongoing wave of teachers’ strikes — knowing that the fates of union and nonunion workers are inextricable,” they say.


Unions aren’t just about the wages and working conditions of its members; they’re also about wider issues of fairness and justice. That’s why labor organizations have jumped in on the appalling issue of immigrant family separation. An article in Labor Notes details how tech workers and flight attendants have publicly confronted their employers who helped carry out the ICE human rights violations.


An increasing number of workers worldwide have to struggle along as involuntary “independent contractors,” usually meaning they do the same work as salaried employees but without stability, benefits or even health and safety protections. According to Equal Times, though, some Danish workers successfully fought back. “Hundreds of workers for Hilfr.dk, a website that provides cleaning services for around 1,700 customers across Denmark,” won a collective bargaining agreement and “will immediately be covered by the new union agreement and will automatically receive Hilfr pension contributions, holiday pay and sickness benefits.” Read how they did it.

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