The relatively new Union of Southern Service Workers, strategically formed as a cross-sector organization to retain members who job-hop between industries, has inspired other unions to head into red-state territory and plant those Big Labor seeds.
As our own Phil Wilson recently pointed out, so-called union “salts” infiltrate workplaces and use troubling tactics to mislead their coworkers into signing up for a union experience that ends up being quite different than what a union is selling.
Case in point: A Trader Joe’s worker penned a scathing editorial about his experience at the chain’s first unionized store. The worker described how promises of an independent union evaporated due to activists’ ties to Workers United and SEIU. The worker also alleges bad-faith bargaining by the union with no contract in sight.
The South could be particularly vulnerable to new union activity: Activists wish to pour on the salts while relocating them to Southern states and organizing manufacturing workers. The UAW hopes to capture at least 100,000 auto workers in states including Kentucky, Alabama, and Tennessee.
These activists will only be encouraged after 1,400 Blue Bird Corp. bus manufacturing workers joined the United Steelworkers in a move seen as a watershed moment for labor in the South. This victory also occurred in a right-to-work state where Big Labor hopes to recruit more African American workers while further organizing the auto industry.
On a related note: United Food And Commercial Workers launched an “Essential Workers Organizing Academy” to educate “the next generation or worker-leaders” or, in other words, to create new crops of salts.
Other organizing highlights from this month:
- New York City’s first unionized pizzeria could soon emerge after Barboncino Pizza workers in Brooklyn filed an election petition. The campaign is being led by Workers United, which has, of course, been responsible for most of the Starbucks organizing wave, including plenty of NYC baristas.
- Tourism continues to attract union activity, and this month, Colorado’s Crested Butte Mountain Resort workers formed the Crested Butte Lift Mechanics Union and filed for a union vote. In Las Vegas, Venetian Resort parking valets and traffic officers voted to join the Teamsters.
- In Chicago, two union successes: (1) “Drunk Shakespeare” actors, bartenders, and servers filed for a union vote after organizing as Drunk Shakespeare United as part of the Actors’ Equity Association. (2) Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum workers voted to join the Chicago Academy of Sciences Workers United on the heels of union victories at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Field Museum.