Union leaders and the parent company of Nabisco (Mondelez International) reached a tentative agreement this week on a contract which, if agreed to by the workers, would end the five-week long strike by Nabisco workers. Nabisco workers in Portland, unionized with the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union, began striking in early August after their contract expired in May and they felt as though Mondelez’s offers were subpar. Portland workers specifically railed against the contract’s provision that could have them working 12-hour shifts while offering less possibility of overtime, which would amount to significant losses in their pay each year. During the pandemic, workers at Portland’s Nabisco plant say they’ve been working 16-hour days while Mondelez International’s revenue increased by 2.8 percent in 2020 and its CEO earned approximately $16.8 million.
Even though union leaders have agreed to the prospective contract, union workers must vote on it in order for it to be binding. So far, representatives from Portland’s Nabisco factory say they are voting against the proposed contract, though the official tally has not yet been counted.
Meanwhile, here at Harvard the Harvard Graduate Students Union-UAW Local 5118 is in the midst of a strike authorization vote after negotiations with Harvard University leadership stalled and the workers’ contract, representing approximately 5,000 workers, expired earlier this summer. The union listed just a few of the continuing points of contention here, including: that Harvard’s proposed 2.5 percent raise does not align with the 4 percent cost of living increase in the Harvard area last year; that hourly workers do not have adequate access to benefit funds; that Harvard’s contributions to cover its health care plan do not do enough to make the plan affordable; that Harvard must enhance its Title IX and non-discrimination protections and procedures for students; and more. The strike authorization vote, if it passes, would not guarantee a strike but would allow the union to go on strike anytime between October 1, 2021 and December 31, 2021. The vote is ongoing – the union says of Tuesday at 5p.m., members have cast 1,014 votes. The union needs two-thirds of votes to authorize the strike.
Lastly, the National Women’s Soccer League Players Association (NWSLPA), which represents athletes in the NWSL, announced yesterday that it has become an affiliate of the AFL-CIO, which also represents other players associations like the NFL Players Association. The NWSLPA says it hopes this move will allow it to tap into the AFL-CIO’s broader training and organizing efforts and boost their efforts to negotiate a strong contract with the NWSL. The NWSLPA seeks to significantly raise the minimum salary, which is currently $22,000, improve working conditions, and gain free agency for its players. The organization represents 200 players.