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The Fight for 15, or What?

In a claim impossible to substantiate, organizers say “hundreds” of Milwaukee fast food and retail workers walked off the job for the day on May 15. Milwaukee is the fifth city where such actions have taken place since a few dozen Manhattan fast food workers walked off their jobs on April 4. Similar protests by SEIU’s Fight for 15 campaign have occurred in Chicago, St. Louis and Detroit. (It appears actions against retailers in Oakland on May 1 were largely unrelated or the campaign is not taking credit for them.)

MJS_foodstrike02_04_wood_foodstrike_2Fight for 15 demands a $15 an hour base “living wage” for all fast food and retail workers as well as “the right to organize a union without retaliation.” In each city the “day of action” consists of a few workers in a smattering

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A Peek Into Inland Empire Corporate Campaign Tactics

Since 2009, a Change to Win campaign, Warehouse Workers United, has been running attacks on employers in California’s “Inland Empire.”  WWU is a joint venture of SEIU, UFCW, and the Teamsters.  This week, Labor Notes gives us a glimpse into how corporate campaigns are built and, more importantly, why certain employers and not others are in the crosshairs.

In what is certainly no coincidence, the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement has been investigating cases of wage theft by employers who just happen to employ WWU activists.  The campaign has also solicited workers into class-action lawsuits against those same employers to collect “stolen” wages.  (Suits are based on the charge that workers paid by the piece were forced to wait for shipments and so should have been paid on the

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The Burdens of Non-Transformational Employment

You may have noticed the recent spate of negative press about allegations of abysmal working conditions in Chinese Foxconn factories that produce Apple iPad and iPhone.  Setting aside for another day a more balanced perspective on working conditions in an emerging economy we turn our attention to working conditions here, in an Apple retail store.

Apple’s retail stores, which turned 10 years old last month, have been ranked in the top 50 best places to work by job tracker Glassdoor.com for three years running. Apple has even admitted that it’s easier to get a job at its corporate headquarters than one of its retail stores because the draw is so great and the turnover so low.

That didn’t stop disgruntled Genius Cory Moll from forming the Apple Retail Workers Union last year and launching the fledgling union’s private website and

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Election Not The Final Say

As giant retailer Target is finding out, even if the election results go the employer’s way, that doesn’t mean the battle is over. Even though their Valley Stream location on Long Island turned down the UFCW, in a recent election, the union filed a host of ULP charges against the company in an attempt to get another bite at the apple.

And with a union-friendly NLRB managing such affairs, it is increasingly likely that among the spurious charges filed, the board will find sufficient evidence to call for a reelection.

Regional board director Alvin Blyer cited evidence that supervisors interrogated employees, instructed them that they couldn’t campaign for the union in non-work areas, and threatened that the facility would close if unionized. He also mentioned language in the employee handbook that could be turned against

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