News & Commentary

August 28, 2023

Morgan Sperry

Morgan Sperry is a student at Harvard Law School and also serves as OnLabor's Social Media Director.

In today’s news and commentary, a Southern coalition launches a campaign to promote good jobs in electric vehicle plants, Duke University graduate students have overwhelmingly won their vote to unionize, and the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team voices support for striking actors and writers.

Today, a coalition of unions and civic groups in Georgia and Alabama is launching a pressure campaign targeting Hyundai’s electric vehicle plants and clean energy suppliers. Labor leaders in the South have emphasized that despite pro-union provisions in President Biden’s three signature bills—a $1 trillion infrastructure package, a $280 billion measure to rekindle a domestic semiconductor industry, and the Inflation Reduction Act, which included $370 billion for clean energy to combat climate change—electric vehicle manufacturers (like Hyundai) expected to reap huge benefits from the new legislation have chosen to produce cars in union-hostile locations. Union leaders and allies are pressing automakers shifting to electric vehicles to “honor the right to organize,” take necessary steps to avoid plant closings, and provide training programs to help workers transition into new jobs at comparable wages.

Last week, Duke University graduate students overwhelmingly won their vote to unionize, affiliating with SEIU. Once certified, it will be one of the largest unions in North Carolina—a right-to-work state with only 2.8 percent union density—and join only a handful of other graduate student unions in the South. The win comes after months of union-busting by the university, including attempts to deny graduate students employee status.  

The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team has spoken out against its own PR firm for taking on the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) as a client as the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes persist into the fall. The DC-based Levinson Group assisted the USWNT in its campaign for pay equity and is now working on behalf of the AMPTP, which continues to refuse to negotiate with striking writers and actors. Last week, the AMPTP publicly released its latest counteroffer in violation of labor laws.

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