News & Commentary

February 20, 2024

Sunah Chang

Sunah Chang is a student at Harvard Law School.

In today’s news and commentary: labor unions form a network to demand a ceasefire in Gaza, CSU faculty approve a new contract, and German airport workers launch their second strike of the month. 

Last Friday, seven national unions and over two hundred local unions announced the formation of a network dedicated to advocating for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. Called the National Labor Network for Ceasefire (NLNC), the network encompasses over 9 million union members and includes unions like the United Auto Workers, the National Education Association, and the American Postal Workers Union. The NLNC has promulgated five demands: an immediate ceasefire in Gaza between Israel and Hamas, restoration of basic human rights, immediate release of hostages taken by Hamas, unimpeded full access for humanitarian aid, and President Biden calling for a permanent ceasefire. 

The formation of the NLNC exemplifies the ways in which the American labor movement connects itself to issues across the globe. NLNC’s mission statement states, “[a]s trade unionists, we stand in solidarity with workers everywhere, and join in movements leading towards a just and peaceful world, which upholds our values of democracy, equality and the respect for human and labor rights.”

Yesterday, 76% of voting members of the CSU faculty union voted to approve the union’s tentative contract agreement, which came after a one-day strike by union members in January. The agreement provides for a 10% salary increase to all faculty, a boost in salary minimums for the lowest-paid faculty, extended paid family leave time, and other benefits. Within the union, the contract agreement was met with controversy—with some faculty arguing that more pressure and a longer strike would have led to a better deal. However, with the majority of the union members voting yes on the current agreement, the tentative contract will now move up to the CSU’s Board of Trustees for final approval. 

Today, airport ground staff in Germany, represented by the Verdi union, have gone on strike against Lufthansa airline. The one-day strike is targeting seven different airports in Germany and is predicted to disrupt travel for over 100,000 passengers. The strike comes just weeks after another strike launched by airport ground staff earlier this month, which I covered two weeks ago. Since then, Lufthansa has offered a 10% pay raise, which was rejected by 96% of the union members. The union is demanding a wage increase of 12.5% along with a one-time bonus payment of 3,000 euros to offset inflation. The union will return to the bargaining table with Lufthansa tomorrow. 

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