Salauddin is neither a powerful politician nor an affluent business tycoon. An Uber driver by profession, over the last three years, Salauddin has become a quasi-celebrity as a gig industry organizer: spearheading strikes, engaging with policymakers, and highlighting issues in the media to help improve the working conditions of his peers. Walking alongside Salauddin sent a strong message to Gandhi’s supporters: He is serious about India’s unemployment issues. In 2019, Salauddin co-founded the Indian Federation of App-based Transport Workers (IFAT), a coalition of unions that now has over 36,000 members. He currently serves as the federation’s national general secretary. In 2020, he also launched the Telangana Gig and Platform Workers Union (TGPWU), which now has over 10,000 members, including cab drivers, food and grocery delivery workers, and e-commerce delivery persons from the southern state. Salauddin, who has a degree in computer studies, switches between Hindi and English smoothly. He speaks confidently about the “unfair practices of platforms,” and frequently refers to “the algorithm” when talking about why gig workers suffer due to apps. Unlike many other union leaders in India, Salauddin is extremely tech- and media-savvy. He regularly keeps in touch with local and foreign journalists, sharing screenshots and press releases via WhatsApp. He’s articulate and knows how to build a story.

apple creates fake union run by managers to trick employees into thinking they have their needs represented. According to a recent complaint by the Communications Workers of America, Apple illegally created a work group driven by managers to try to stop union organizing efforts. In a filing on December 16 with the US National Labor Relations Board, the Communications Workers of America accused Apple of "soliciting employees to join an employer-created / employer-dominated labor organization as a means of stifling union activities." This kind of action is forbidden under US federal labor law. The CWA also accused Apple of holding mandatory anti-union meetings, something the company has been accused of before. During the sessions, store management reportedly claimed that Apple would be legally barred from negotiating on specific topics if workers unionized, which is false.

Behind the scenes, however, another big industry also had stakes in the standoff: Big Oil. Coal companies, chemical companies, and oil and gas backed rail majors in lobbying Congress to block the workers’ strike. In early November, the American Chemistry Council, which counts BP, ExxonMobil, and Chevron among its members, put out a report warning that a rail strike could “pull $160 billion out of the economy” and lead to 700,000 job losses. Then last week, 400 business groups sent a letter to Congress urging lawmakers to use their authority from a 1926 law to impose the controversial, rejected contract in the absence of a voluntary agreement. In addition to retailers, agriculturists, and car manufacturers, signatories included the American Petroleum Institute, a trade group for drillers, the National Mining Association, and the Renewable Fuels Association, representing ethanol. All of these industries rely on freight rail to make and ship their products. In the end, rail companies and fossil fuel interests were joined by President Joe Biden, who urged Congress to avert the strike over fears of economic breakdown. Research from 2019 showed how, over the past 30 years, BNSF Railway, Norfork Southern, Union Pacific, and CSX, the four largest rail companies in the U.S., joined other coal-dependent companies such as electric utilities in pouring *tens of millions of dollars into denying climate science and opposing climate policy.* “It shows that the rail companies were actually funding more climate denialism organizations than even the oil industry,” said Justin Mikulka, a research fellow at the energy transition think tank New Consensus who formerly covered the rail industry as a journalist. “Coal has been such a huge part of rail – it was in their interest to deny that coal was part of the problem.” Beyond writing letters to block the most recent strike, oil and gas companies have a history of collaborating with the rail industry to avoid freight regulation. In 2013, after a series of high-profile oil train explosions, regulatory agencies spent years trying to implement oil-by-train safety policies, including speed limits for trains, improved braking systems, and requirements to condition oil to make it safer to put in tank cars. “At every meeting by one of the regulatory agencies, the person at the head of the table was someone from the American Petroleum Institute [or API],” said Mikulka, who wrote a book about how freight and oil companies blocked regulations in the years after a runaway train filled with crude oil derailed in Quebec, exploding and killing 47 people.

UPS workers across the country have told me the same thing. When the new year turned, the six-day weeks dragged on, taking a physical and mental toll on workers, who struggled to have a life outside of work; to make dentist appointments; to see their spouses and children without the fatigue of 12-hour workdays. Without sufficient staffing, the barely tolerable seasonal crunch at UPS transformed into an intolerable chronic squeeze. “It’s been nonstop,” said Steve Dumont, a 12-year veteran of “Big Brown” in Williston, Vermont. “It’s literally been like Christmas peak season for the last three years.” Next year, however, these workers may finally win some relief. The collective bargaining agreement, or CBA, between UPS and its workers, who are unionized with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, is set to expire at the end of July, and forced or excessive overtime will be a central issue. The UPS national CBA is the largest private sector labor contract in the country. And with a militancy in the union not seen since the 1990s, the Teamsters leadership has warned UPS that it isn’t afraid to call a strike. With a nearly 350,000 strong workforce, it would be the largest strike against a single company in U.S. history. Transporting 6 percent of the country’s GDP, these logistics workers have incredible leverage. In 2023, UPS workers will demand higher pay for part-time employees, as well as the elimination of the two-tier system introduced in their last contract from 2018, under which package car drivers in the lower tier receive inferior wages and fewer benefits. But they will also fight against forced overtime, rampant harassment by supervisors, and dangerous working conditions. With forced overtime, “it’s not about the money,” Hamil said. “It’s a quality-of-life issue where we can go home and we’re not totally exhausted.” Since the pandemic began, the dismal working conditions across American workplaces have come under greater scrutiny, particularly by workers themselves. “The pandemic exposed this gap,” said Barry Eidlin, an associate professor of sociology at McGill University who studies class and labor movements, “between rhetoric and reality of these workers being considered essential but then being overworked, underpaid, and disrespected.”

Rail union rejects contract as strike threatens U.S. economy before holidays
Attendance and sick leave policies have led to widespread anger and frustration among rank-and-file railroad workers on major freight lines One of the largest railroad unions narrowly voted to reject a contract deal brokered by the White House, bringing the country once again closer to a rail strike that could paralyze much of the economy ahead of the holidays, union officials announced on Monday. The union SMART Transportation Division voted the deal down by 50.9 percent, the union said. The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, which represents engineers, announced 53.5 percent of members voted to ratify the deal. The two are considered among the most politically powerful of the 12 rail unions in contract discussions. The move highlights months of tension between unions and companies across a variety of sectors, as companies have been dealing with labor shortages and workers have taken advantage of more leverage in the workplace to press for better working conditions, more sick pay and more flexible schedules in the aftermath of the pandemic. The rejection of the contract adds new pressure to the White House, which had been closely involved in negotiating the contract between the unions and rail companies. A shutdown of the nation’s transportation infrastructure heading into the holiday season would spell a political disaster. Already seven of 12 unions have voted to approve their contracts. But in recent weeks, three of the smaller unions have also rejected their contracts and are back in negotiations. The main sticking points for rank-and-file members have been points-based attendance policies that penalize workers for taking time off when they are sick or for personal time, and contribute to grueling, unpredictable schedules that weigh on workers’ mental and physical health, they say. In June, a 51-year-old union engineer put off a doctor’s visit, and died of a heart attack on a train weeks later, his family said. the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees and the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen, have rejected their contracts and would be allowed to strike or companies would be able to impose a lockout even sooner, right after midnight Dec. 5, unless Congress intervenes. If those unions strike on Dec. 5, all of the unions would likely move in solidarity, provoking an industry-wide work stoppage. In late September, with less than 48-hours to spare before a railroad shut down, Biden and other top administration officials helped negotiate a last-minute agreement. Points-based attendance policies had been at the heart of that dramatic showdown. The deal struck included a 24 percent pay increase by 2024 — the largest for railroad workers in more than four decades — and, for the first time, flexibility for workers to take time off when they are hospitalized or to attend three routine doctor’s appointments a year without penalty. The deal also included a single additional paid day off. Currently conductors and engineers do not receive a single paid sick day, but carriers have said their attendance policy allows workers “to take time off when needed.” But discontent among rail workers continued to brew. They say these concessions did not meaningfully change the points-based attendance policies that carriers began rolling out in 2020 to maintain staffing levels that they said they needed to keep trains running during the pandemic. Union members say the changes have come at the expense of their health.

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) says it’s 55,000 members will go on strike regardless of t
Ontario government response: >Government now says: CUPE members would face fines of upto $4,000 per day -- which would cost the union $250-mill per day. > >While the org would face a daily $500,000 fine.

The NFF president, Fiona Simson, said considering benefits including food in approving workplace pay deals would be “transparent” and ensure “they are considered upfront, and everybody is very clear about the intention of that arrangement”. Simson told Guardian Australia that farm employers offer a range of non-monetary benefits to workers including accommodation, electricity, food and fuel. “It just makes sense to be making sure you can contemplate the particular nature of the farming business and the benefits that are provided to the workforce [in bargaining]." “There’s a lot of opportunities there, particularly with the cost of living at the moment, those sorts of expenses can be very high for people. “Providing those things as benefits or part of salaries is something that makes sense to consider for people working in rural and regional Australia.” The Australian Workers Union national secretary, Daniel Walton, said “the days of vulnerable workers being ‘paid’ with food instead of money should be long behind us … if you work in Australia you deserve the Australian minimum wage and not a cent less”. Walton acknowledged some jobs in remote locations required employers to provide accommodation and other essentials but “at no point” should these “be considered some kind of ‘service’ for which workers are expected to forgo pay”.

Tesla violated US labor law by implicitly banning employees from wearing shirts with union insignias, the National Labor Relations Board ruled yesterday. the employer has the burden to establish special circumstances that make the rule necessary to maintain production or discipline," Also.. An earlier decision said Walmart violated the law by enforcing its policy in areas other than the selling floor, but that it had legitimate justifications for maintaining the policy in customer-facing areas. Tesla violated federal labor law in several ways, including by banning employees from distributing union literature. Tesla CEO Elon Musk was found to have violated labor law with a tweet that indicated employees would lose stock options if they voted to unionize.

cross-posted from: > Here is the email from Chipotle:

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