Labor Notes 11/22/23

November 22, 2023

The biggest news is that International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) members at each of the Big Three automakers ratified new contracts. More than 60% of workers at Ford, Stellantis and General Motors voted to accept the deals. The contracts give workers an immediate pay increase of 11% and a total increase of 25% over the course of the four-and-a-half year deal. The deals secure cost-of-living adjustments, let workers reach top wages in three years instead of eight and protect their right to strike over plant closures. The major gains were secured after UAW members went on a nationwide stand-up strike that lasted for 42 days.

In arts news, members of SAG-AFTRA voted unanimously to approve a tentative agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), therefore suspending the strike.

“In a contract valued at over one billion dollars, we have achieved a deal of extraordinary scope that includes ‘above-pattern’ minimum compensation increases, unprecedented provisions for consent and compensation that will protect members from the threat of artificial intelligence, and for the first time establishes a streaming participation bonus,” the union said in a statement. “Our pension and health caps have been substantially raised, which will bring much needed value to our plans. In addition, the deal includes numerous improvements for multiple categories including outsize compensation increases for background performers, and critical contract provisions protecting diverse communities.”

The Culinary Workers Union Local 226 (UNITE HERE) reached its best tentative agreements ever with three Las Vegas titans: Caesars, MGM and Wynn.

And just last week, the Detroit Casino Council reached a terrific tentative agreement for thousands of casino workers in Michigan.

From the AFL-CIO:

This is all incredible news with deals that will provide life-changing gains for America’s workers. And it was made possible by the unwavering strength of union members standing united for a better future, with all of our union family and people across the country standing in solidarity with them.

This moment is even bigger than these huge victories. This is about a labor movement. We’ve seen more than 300 strikes so far this year, involving more than 450,000 workers. Every industry. Every state.

Working people are reclaiming their power, taking on the companies that have given them the short end of the stick for too long:

  • Look at WGA, who won an extraordinary deal for Hollywood writers with the major film and television companies.
  • Look at OPEIU, IFPTE, and SEIU, who won a groundbreaking deal for health care workers with Kaiser Permanente.
  • Look at the Teamsters, who won a historic deal for delivery and warehouse workers with UPS.
  • Look at Starbucks stores all over this country. Two years ago, there were zero unions. Today, we have more than 360. And last week, the Red Cup Rebellion was the largest strike in Starbucks history.

And we’re not done. Workers are still holding the line and standing in solidarity as one labor movement so that every worker gets the fair contract they deserve. And we are growing our movement to bring in more working people, to elect more pro-labor leaders and to lead in the future of work on key issues like artificial intelligence (AI) and green energy jobs.

We can’t remember a moment when our movement had this kind of momentum. This is the story of how workers win.

So this Thanksgiving, we couldn’t be more grateful for workers and activists across the country and for every single person like you who has joined the fight. It truly is better in a union. THANK YOU.

And last but certainly not least, we want to repeat AFM International President Tino Gagliardi’s recent message:

November is Music Fairness Awareness Month, an annual effort throughout the month of November to bring attention to a decades-long injustice that denies musicians and singers fair pay for their work on AM/FM radio in the United States.

The American Music Fairness Act (AMFA) — bipartisan, bicameral legislation that would ensure music artists receive compensation for the use of their work —  was re-introduced in 2023 by Representatives Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and Senators Alex Padilla (D-CA) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) in the Senate. The AFM worked closely with the MusicFIRST Coalition and members of Congress to help craft this bill designed with your concerns in mind as a musician.

This Music Fairness Awareness Month, join us in voicing your support for FairPay for AM/FM radio plays by adding your name to the action list at: Music artists deserve to be paid for use of their work, wherever it’s played.  It’s time to end the loophole that has allowed Big Radio to rob artists of their fair share for far too long.