News & Commentary

March 29, 2024

Esther Ritchin

Esther Ritchin is a student at Harvard Law School.

In today’s news and commentary: Republicans attempt to sway historically blue union voters; employees at Sega voted to ratify a contract; BMWE launches a campaign for direct elections.

As the 2024 election approaches, Republicans are making a play for the union vote. Former Representative Mike Rogers claimed “I understand these people,” drawing on his own experience working in a car factory, anticipating many UAW voters will shift towards the Republican party this year. This anticipation stems from many factors, including working-class support for presidential nominee Donald Trump and populism sweeping the Republican party. UAW president Shawn Fain has expressed distrust of the Republican party, pointing to the party’s long history of support for policies that push wealth inequality.

This week, Allied Employees Guild Improving Sega (AEGIS), won a union contract at Sega–the first at any major video game company in America. The contract contained important protections for workers, including a commitment to credit people for games they’ve worked on, a significant issue in the video game industry. Notably, workers will also get just cause protection, a rarity in the industry. The protections create a strict set of guidelines for an employer attempting to fire a worker. AEGIS is partnered with the Communications Workers of America.

The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Ways Employees (BMWE), one of the largest railroad unions, launched a campaign for direct elections of their union officers. Currently, BMWE operates via delegates, and members can vote for their local officers and the president of the Teamsters (with whom they are affiliated), but not for officers in between. In support of the campaign, members point to successful direct elections in other unions, including the election of Shawn Fain as president of UAW, and hope direct elections would help engage members, build solidarity and power, and lead to better contracts.

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