Workers at Harley-Davidson vetoed the company’s offer of a five-year contract, citing issues “related to temporary workers, job security, scheduling, and seniority and temporary workers rights,” said Reuters. The thousand member workforce is represented by USW at plants in Milwaukee and Tomahawk, Wisconsin. Demand for motorcycles has been down and adding to the woes, the “.. tariff war waged by U.S. President Donald Trump will cost the company between $100 million and $120 million in 2019.”
On April 2, 2019, 915 Google temporary workers and contractors signed a letter demanding equal treatment with the salaried workforce. According to The Hill, the group noted that it temps and contractors comprise 54 percent of Google's workforce, or 122,000 positions. On that same day, Google announced that they would “... receive full benefits, including comprehensive health care, paid parental leave and a $15 minimum wage.” That’s what organizing can do.
The 13,000 members of the Writers Guild of America are in a desperate fight with the major talent agencies who represent most of them. WGA is claiming that agents are collecting fees from the studios instead of a percentage of writers pay, reducing agents’ ability to confront producers. Worse, many of the agencies “have started functioning more like studios, with the establishment of sibling companies that develop and own content,” said The New York Times, further blurring the lines between agents and studios. As a result, “If the two sides prove unable to resolve their differences, the East and West branches of the W.G.A. have said they will instruct their roughly 13,000 members to fire their agents en masse.”
Labor Notes tackled the often-ignored subject of conflicts among workers because “...our workplaces are divided by status, race, interests, and political ideologies.” Don’t ignore divisions and personal issues, because “... if left unresolved, [they] can grow into conflicts that make it easier for the boss to manipulate the group.” Labor Notes cited classic union-buster techniques which “By preying on personal animosities, the union-busters erected a wall between co-workers.”
The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) is holding events in 30 cities worldwide—including many in then US—to protest the imprisonment of former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Known to everyone as Lula, he had led a steelworkers union under the military dictatorship and went to become a founding member of the Workers' Party (PT). But now, according to the ITUC, “Lula was falsely imprisoned in order to create the environment for the installation of Jair Bolsonaro, who is determined to destroy the hard-won social and economic gains of Lula’s Presidency and turn Brazil into a bargain-basement shop for Brazilian and foreign capital.”
Photo of now-imprisoned former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva courtesy of the The International Trade Union Confederation.