Last week, nearly 200 workers at the Lipton plant in southeast Virginia voted to unionize with Local 400 of the United Food & Commercial Workers Union (UFCW). “I woke up this morning feeling wonderful,” said Lisa Gayle, who’s been with the company for 14 years. “As a unified group, now we can make Lipton the best place it can be. I’m so excited!” The Lipton plant has operated in Suffolk, Virginia for more than 60 years and produces nearly all of the Lipton tea sold in North America. More than 200 employees currently work at the plant, but that number could as much as double in the coming months as the company expands its workforce. “I couldn’t be happier to welcome such a wonderful group of people into the UFCW family,” said Mark Federici, President of UFCW Local 400. “Their courage, commitment and tireless efforts bolstered my faith in the power of working people to stand up for themselves and improve the lives of all hardworking men and women.” photo by Jonathan Williams/UFCW 400; click below to read more
Staffing shortages are endangering youth and staff at a residential center for high-risk young offenders in Sabillasville, MD, according to AFSCME Maryland Council 3. The staff shortage creates a strain on employees who are often forced to work overtime at facilities such as the Victor Cullen Center in Sabillasville, said Terra Smith, a resident adviser at the center and Council 3 member. “Right now, we don’t have enough staff to make sure that we can provide the highest level of safety for the youth or ourselves at Victor Cullen,” Smith said. The issue came to a head March 11 when a fight broke out between two groups of youth, involving about a dozen boys, Smith said. Maryland State Police were called to help bring the facility under control, and six staff members, including two who were working overtime, were assaulted in the fight, said Smith, who rallied outside the center on August 17 with co-workers and union representatives to demand relief from the Department of Juvenile Services. Read more.
- based on a report in the Frederick News Post; photo by Graham Cullen, Frederick News Post
Calling it "one of the most difficult decisions" he's ever had to make, Fire Fighters Local 36 president Ed Smith has accepted a promotion to Battalion Fire Chief. He'll step down as union president once the promotion is effective, and Charlie Hottinger will serve as president at Local 36 until a general election is held. Smith (left) traces his union roots back to his father, a Port Agent for the Seafarers in Baltimore. Smith was elected president of Local 36 in 2011, leading the union through "some of the worst times in this great Union's history." He credits his success in meeting these challenges to the support of the local's membership and Executive Board, as well as "our Brothers and Sisters in the labor movement at the DC Labor Council." Jackie Jeter, president of the Metro Council, where Smith was elected an Executive Board member earlier this year, called Smith "the very embodiment of a great labor leader; tenacious, tough and absolutely devoted, not only to his members, but to the entire community. We could not be prouder of our union brother and know that he'll continue working hard to protect our community."
Sixty letter carriers from 18 states meet in a room above Schaefer's Saloon on Plankinton Avenue in Milwaukee. They unanimously adopt a resolution to form a National Association of Letter Carriers - 1889
Seventy-five workers die when the lower St. Lawrence River’s Quebec Bridge collapses while under construction. A flawed design was found to be the cause. Thirteen more workers were killed nine years later when the reconstructed bridge’s central span was being raised and fell into the river because of a problem with hoisting devices - 1907
Dancers at San Francisco’s Lusty Lady Club vote 57-15 to be represented by SEIU Local 790. Their first union contract, ratified eight months later, guaranteed work shifts, protection against arbitrary discipline and termination, automatic hourly wage increases, sick days, a grievance procedure, and removal of one-way mirrors from peep show booths. After management cut wages in 2003, the workers struck and won. The workers subsequently bought the club and instituted a peer review process in which the dancers evaluate each other, rather than the managers. Eventually, however, declining business and increased rent took their toll and the Lusty Lady closed on Labor Day 2013. - 1996
Northwest Airlines pilots, after years of concessions to help the airline, begin what is to become a 2-week strike for higher pay - 1998
Delegates to the Minnesota AFL-CIO convention approve the launching of workdayminnesota.org, now in its fourteenth year. It was the first web-based daily labor news service by a state labor federation - 2000
- compiled/edited by David Prosten at Union Communication Services.