With 8000 Marriott workers out for nine weeks, the nationwide strike came to an end on December 3, when 2500 unionized San Francisco employees and the world’s largest hotel chain came to a deal, said The New York Times. The San Francisco contract includes raises and better protection against sexual harassment. However, “The deals varied according to the cost of living and ‘union density’ in each city, according to Rachel Gumpert, a spokeswoman for the Unite Here union.”
Continuing a trend among many digital news organizations, workers at Mashable and PCMag have met with owners at Ziff Davis to seek recognition for their union NewsGuild of New York and commence bargaining. According to Huffington Post, the NewsGuild and the Writers Guild of America, East, have succeeded in organizing “web-only publications, including Gizmodo... Vice, Law360, Vox and others, as well as previously non-union legacy publications like the Los Angeles Times and The New Yorker.”
For years, employers have gotten away with classifying employees as independent contracts—because they didn’t want to pay for benefits or adhere to job protections. But now the California Labor Federation, “... joined Assembly member Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher today to tackle this problem head on, codifying into state law a recent California Supreme Court decision that provides a simple test employers must meet to classify workers as independent contractors.” The bill will face strong opposition from employers, but it has broad support among unions and workers rights groups.
Since June, “About 1,250 (Boston area) gas workers have been locked out of the job and without health insurance coverage since June amid ongoing contract negotiations with National Grid, a UK-based company,” according to the Boston Herald. In response, Rep. James O’Day has introduced a bill that would force that would force the company to provide health insurance to the locked out workers. “I think it’s outrageous that an international company is treating its workers here in Massachusetts the way they’re being treated and I think it needs to stop,” said O’Day.
A teachers strike is no longer unusual—unless it’s at charter schools, where only 11 percent of teachers are unionized. But on December 4, 500 educators at a Chicago’s Acero Schools network walked off the job, effectively shutting down 15 schools. Even though the charters are publicly funded, teachers there earn $13,000 less annually than do teachers at public schools. The New York Times said the teachers “rallied at local schools to call for higher pay and smaller class sizes, among other demands.”