On the Picket Line
Rally for Chipotle workers blocks midtown Manhattan traffic
Chipotle workers were joined by local unions and politicians in midtown Manhattan in New York City June 1 to demand union representation, better scheduling and a $20-an-hour wage. Chipotle has committed 600,000 labor law violations within the last two years, including violation of the city’s “Fair Workweek Law” that requires fast-food employers to provide regular schedules to workers, regardless of their immigration status.
Representatives from Service Employees Union (SEIU) Local 32BJ — who seek to represent the Chipotle workers — the New York Taxi Workers Alliance and Amazon Labor Union (ALU) were among the speakers. Chipotle worker Alyssa Roman, 21, said, “Now that I’m pregnant, it’s not just myself I need to defend for. Listen, you can mess with me, but when you mess with my child I promise you it’s over.”
Julian Mitchell-Israel, field director with ALU, shared words of solidarity with the Chipotle workers: “Just like we are fighting on Staten Island, we have your back.” (tinyurl.com/4fstka9t)
Dollar General workers protest at shareholders meeting
Hundreds of Dollar General workers protested at the Goodlettsville, Tennessee, City Hall where Dollar General shareholders were meeting. Workers are demanding a pay increase to $15 an hour, up from the current $8.25 an hour, and safer working conditions.The workers, along with Poor People’s Campaign leader Rev. William Barber II, were denied entrance to the building in a blatant display of Dollar General’s lack of concern for workers’ struggles. One worker who traveled from North Carolina described the hardship of trying to provide for three children on such a small wage.
A Labor Department press release cited four Dollar General stores for safety violations, including failing to keep receiving areas clean and orderly, stacking items in an unsafe manner and exposing workers to fire hazards. The Labor Department acknowledged that Dollar General has a long history of hazardous working conditions. (tinyurl.com/ydmnsyyx)
Missouri library workers win union in landslide vote
Workers at the Daniel Boone Regional Library system in Columbia, Missouri, were the first library workers in the state to organize and win their union election. Daniel Boone Regional Library Workers Union (DBRLWU) voted 101-55 to join American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 61. Workers want a safe inclusive environment, a voice in decision-making about library operations and a fair equitable wage.
AFSCME reports, “Throughout the organizing process, workers received an incredible showing of support from local community and library workers around the country. DBRL staff who testified in support of a union at the library’s monthly Board of Trustees meetings were often greeted by local supporters donning red solidarity clothing for the group’s organizing efforts. A community letter of support posted on DBRLWU’s website has garnered over 700 signatures to date.” (tinyurl.com/5n943nw4)