Worker Wins Update: From Airports to the Airwaves, Workers Make Gains Over Busy Fall

Union organizing victories across the country from Phoenix Airport Fueling Agents to Barnard College Adjuncts is good news for the labor movement.
Anthony DeAngelo
December 10, 2015

Workers across the country have stood up in the past months to win better wages and working conditions.

UAW Members Ratify Contracts with Detroit’s Big Three: In the past two months, workers at General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler have ratified new contracts. The contracts, representing some 142,000 American workers, give autoworkers better pay, better benefits and bonuses.

Phoenix Airport Fueling Agents Join the IAM: More than 120 fueling agents at Swissport in Phoenix voted to unionize as a part of the Machinists (IAM). The workers chose to unionize over concerns with substandard wages, working conditions and the security of their jobs. Their collective action comes after a strong anti-union campaign.
Broadcast Workers Win First Contract: Workers at the Big Ten Network ratified their first college sports network union contract with the Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE). About 125 local freelance broadcast workers will receive pay increases, health benefits and annuity contributions as a part of their first contract.

B&H Workers Vote to Unionize: Employees at the biggest non-chain photo store in the United States, B&H, joined the United Steelworkers (USW), by an overwhelming 200–88 margin. The workers sought to form a union after complaining about unsafe working conditions and harassment issues.

AFGE Organizes Five Union Elections: AFGE welcomed new members from five different government agencies. These included 475 professional employees at the San Diego Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital, 200 physicians and dentists in Phoenix, five U.S. Environmental Protection Agency employees in Dallas, 37 guards at Fort Meade, Md., and 25 vocational rehab counselors at the VA in San Diego.

Media Publication Employees Unionize for Fair Representation: Al Jazeera America employees unionized for representation and job security, after management originally fought the organizing efforts. This organizing effort follows suit from several digital publications whose workers chose to unionize in 2015. The Al Jazeera digital journalists will be represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA).

Barnard College Adjuncts Join Union: Barnard College adjunct professors overwhelmingly voted to form a union with the UAW in early October.

Envoy Air Joins CWA: Nearly 5,000 airline agents voted to join the CWA for fairness, a safer work environment, job security and better wages. This organizing effort is part of CWA’s representation of nearly 60,000 flight attendants at 19 different airlines.

December 10, 2015