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Millennial Review – Daily Review, Monday, September 12th

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MR Daily Review 

Wednesday, September 7th

1. A major rail strike is imminent and has left the White House struggling to keep it together.
2.One of the largest nurses strikes in U.S. history begins in Minnesota.
3.
Detroit area Starbucks workers vote to unionize, 11th store in the state of Michigan to do so. Starbucks workers in Maine go on strike to protest retaliation against union organizing.
4.
Amazon workers in Moreno Valley, California announce union drive. Police threaten to arrest Amazon Labor Union founder Chris Smalls at the behest of Amazon for trespassing for the second time.
5.
A rail strike in the U.K. scheduled for this week was canceled due to the death of the queen. 

1. A major rail strike is imminent and has left the White House struggling to keep it together. 

A nationwide railway strike is set to begin, Amtrak has shut down three of its longest routes and warned of broad national blackouts beginning Tuesday. The strike also threatens to completely shut down up to 30% of freight commerce. Many railway workers have been working without a contract since 2019 and haven’t seen a raise since before that. They work long hours, often away from home, and their wages have never kept up with the importance of their work. Now they are set to launch the largest railway strike in recent memory and the first in three decades. The White House appointed a federal emergency board to help settle the dispute and reach a contract agreement but it was seen by most unions as far too favorable to management and out of step with the actual demands of rank and file. That agreement would have seen wage hikes and annual bonuses but not enough to keep up with years of neglect and inflation. Joe Biden made direct calls to union leaders and railway stakeholders in an attempt to avert a strike, mostly because shutting down commuter and freight rail could have huge public relations impacts. Solidarity with the railway workers 

2. One of the largest nurses strikes in U.S. history begins in Minnesota. 

Roughly 15,000 nurses walked off the job today in Minnesota, making it the largest private sector nurses strike in history. The strike is set to last 3 days and is specifically meant to highlight staffing shortages that lead to dangerous conditions for nurses and patients alike. Nurses were pushed to the limit during COVID and just as the pandemic continues so does the poor treatment from administrators and hospitals. Nurses in Minnesota describe what being pushed to the limits means for them and their patients and it often means poor care often for reasons completely out of nurses’ control. Nurses also fear legal liability for simple mistakes often caused by overwork to begin with and the situations poor staffing creates. Nurses are some of the most organized workers in the country but this doesn’t prevent them from being exploited or put at risk. 

3. Detroit area Starbucks workers vote to unionize, 11th store in the state of Michigan to do so. Starbucks workers in Maine go on strike to protest retaliation against union organizing.

A Mount Pleasant, Michigan Starbucks voted to form a union today with a vote of 10-1. Adding to the already 220+ Starbucks locations who have done so and making it the 11th store in Michigan to do so. The effort to unionize Starbucks is one of the most inspiring in the country, especially given the significant opposition the company has put in the way of organizers. White shoe law firms, consultants galore, retaliation in the form of firings and store closures, Starbucks has taken out all the stops under former CEO and would-be Hillary Clinton labor secretary Howard Schultz. There is a new CEO but they have already stated they want to learn from Schultz directly so opposing Starbucks Workers United will likely be their MO as well. In Maine the first Starbucks in the state to unionize recently went on strike to protest union busting from management. The strike was on labor day and workers reported was broadly supported by the community. 

4. Amazon workers in Moreno Valley, California announce union drive. Police threaten to arrest Amazon Labor Union founder Chris Smalls at the behest of Amazon for trespassing for the second time. 

Workers in a Moreno Valley, California Amazon fulfillment center have announced an effort to join the Amazon Labor Union, hoping to build on the organization’s Staten Island success. A worker named Nannette Plascencia is spearheading the effort, she told the Los Angeles Times, “everything just kind of fell into place. I’ve been here for so long that I gained a lot of friendships there and a lot of my friends were hurting, after this they’ll have so much.” A statement echoing the hope of the labor movement itself. Chris Smalls was there as well and declared the Amazon Labor Union “bicoastal” stating this is going to grow “just like Starbucks.” Chris Smalls also recently joined labor organizers in Albany, New York where there is an effort to unionize a fulfillment center ongoing. As part of that effort Smalls and other organizers took to the bus stop just outside the parking lot of the facility, prompting Amazon officials to call the cops and ask they be trespassed citing the stop as private property. The exchange was captured on video and posted to social media, as part of that exchange Smalls stated, “if there’s a homeless man that gets off her – it’s the last stop, they have to get off here – do they tell them to leave? They don’t. The only reason they’re doing that is we’re forming a union.” And Smalls is exactly right, the police are there to protect private property and protect Amazon against the union. That’s what they did to Smalls when he was organizing in Staten Island and their tactics are the same in Albany.

5. A rail strike in the U.K. scheduled for this week was canceled due to the death of the queen. 

In June 40,000 railway workers in the U.K. went on strike in a coordinated effort to call attention to poor working conditions and wages. The Rail, Maritime, and Transport Workers union had a similar set of strikes scheduled for September 15th and 17th but they have been called off in observance of Queen Elizabeth’s death. The union stated they would pursue the strike at a later date but for now did not want to disrupt national mourning. As an American the whole monarchy thing is bizarre to me. And Queen Elizabeth was a through and through personified symbol of empire and colonialism. But clearly not everybody sees it that way and in the context of the U.K. this is probably a smart move politically speaking.

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