• B&E Poultry, pay your workers what they're owed!
    You might not have heard of B&E Poultry but they’re quickly becoming one of the biggest poultry companies in Australia. They are involved in supplying chicken to Coles, Woolworths, Aldi, KFC and Pizza Hut. B&E Poultry and their subcontractors pay their employees wages that are below the legal minimum. Their workers are now owed tens of thousands of dollars in back pay and B&E is refusing to pay up. NUW backpackers here on working holidays are demanding back pay now! Here is one couple's story: We came to Australia for a working holiday. We wanted to earn some money and travel around Australia. We really wanted to see Uluru, Cairns, Sydney and Tasmania, but we haven't been able to see any of these. We haven’t been able to earn enough money to leave Victoria. In July 2014 we got a job with a man at a poultry factory. We regularly worked more than 10 hours a day, sometimes until midnight. We were paid $16 or $17 per hour cash-in-hand no matter what time of day it was or how long we worked. We didn't realise this was not legal in Australia. Lots of holiday makers were being paid this way. We signed a lot of paperwork, but it was never clear what it was. Our breaks changed all the time, sometimes when it was busy our smoke break would disappear. We would clock on and off, but our supervisor would pay what he thought instead of what our clock cards said. The work was hard and we felt very tired. We were pushed to work harder and faster and I was scared that I would be injured. I felt like my English wasn’t good enough so I wouldn't be able to get work anywhere else. It felt like discrimination. Taiwanese holiday makers were always forced to do overtime for the flat rate. Permanent workers didn't get offered overtime. We can understand how local workers are angry about this too. Somewhere along the line we became employees of a contractor called B&E poultry. It was always unclear who we were working for. One day we found out about the union through another backpacker. Organisers from the union came to our house and spoke to us. We realised what was happening wasn't right. We all decided to join the union. Through word of mouth and social media, working holiday visa workers in Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney who work for B&E subcontractors heard what we were doing and joined us in demanding back pay and fair treatment. We would like all holiday makers in Australia to be treated with respect during their time in Australia and earn at least the legal minimum for the work they do. If we had been on minimum wage we would have been earning $25.44 , and maybe we would have been able to see Uluru. This petition is about equality and respect, something we have learned the union movement in Australia will fight for. **************************** 你在澳洲可能從未聽過 B&E 雞肉廠這家公司,但在他們在雞肉產業快速成長,他們所提供的勞動力遍佈全澳。他們上游的供應商包括知名的超市,Coles, Woolworths, Aldi, 等,大型速食業KFC 和Pizza Hut。這家人力仲介與他旗下的工頭聯手,以低薪價格來欺瞞背包客,現今,所有他們旗下的背包客共欠薪高達澳幣數十萬元,而他們還以拖延手段不願償還!NUW 代表這些工會裡的背包客要求B&E 立即清償所有欠薪! 以下是來自兩個背包客的自述: 我們到澳洲打工度假,所參與的短期工作只是為了賺錢可以環遊澳洲,我們很想看烏魯魯的大石頭、雪梨、凱恩斯、和塔斯馬尼亞,但我們哪都沒去,我們根本沒賺到足夠的錢離開維多利亞州。 去年七月我們在雞肉廠找到一份工作 一開始時從下午一點半開始工作到晚上十點,有時甚至工作到半夜。老闆給我們一小時時薪$16-17元不等,而且都是領現金。我們不曉得這在澳洲是違法的,很多背包客的工作都是算小時直接領現金的,剛進入工廠時,我們簽屬了一堆文件,但從沒人跟我們解釋我們簽了甚麼。 我們的休息時間經常變動,很多時間當工廠訂單大時,我們連休息時間都被犧牲了,我們跟其他在地工人一樣,打卡上下班,但是我們的薪水從來沒有依照打卡時間來給付。 工作很辛苦而且我們常覺得很累,生產部門常常要我們做快一點,我常覺得不知道甚麼時候我就會在工作時發生意外,因為自己的英文能力有限,我覺得在別的地方會找不到工作。 常常在工作時,我都會感受到種族歧視,台灣的背包客總是被強迫加班,而且也沒有加班費,在地的工人因為全職的保障,起薪高加班費也加成,所以老闆不會給他們加班的機會,我也能理解到為何在地工人常常藉機找我們麻煩。 我常覺得就是因為我的薪水比別人低,所以經理常常使喚我們做東做西 在無意間我們得知,原來我們是受雇一家叫做B&E的雞肉處理廠仲介,之前我們根本不知道自己的雇主是誰。 透過其他的背包客我們才知道有工會的存在,這些工會的組織者到我們家跟我們解釋我們的工作權利,我們才知道原來一直以來我們拿的薪水連基本的薪資都不到,另一方面,連最基本的工作權利都被雇主故意忽略。 透過社群網路的宣傳力量,散落在全澳各地如墨爾本、雪梨或阿德等為B&E工作的背包客們,都紛紛加入了我們,除追訴欠薪外並要求再工作上最基本的尊重。而這些背包客所處理的雞肉供應跨及全澳,包括最大的量販賣場如Coles, Woolworths, 及其他速食業等。 我們希望所有在澳洲的打工度假者,在勞動市場中都能跟在地的工人一樣,享有最基本的工作權利,拿取法定基本的薪資。如果我們能拿到法定雞肉廠的時薪$25.44澳幣,我們就能完成去烏魯魯的夢想了。 這份聯署書是起草於尊重與平等,我們相信澳洲的工會運動會起而跟我們並肩作戰。
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  • University of Toronto: Bring Student Workers Above the Poverty Line
    On Friday, Feb. 27th, union members overwhelmingly rejected a tentative agreement from UofT that did not increase the funding package and instead offered a wage "increase" that was far from keeping up with inflation. Teaching assistants, course instructors, and sessional faculty at the University of Toronto do 60% of the teaching, but earn only 3.5% of the budget. We deserve better. Our working conditions are students' learning conditions. We aren't at our best-- as students or as teachers-- when we are up late worried about paying the bills. Let us focus on the work we love doing- teaching! University of Toronto is Canada's largest university. The success of our efforts impacts teaching assistants, sessionals, and course instructors across the country. Help us send a message that no student workers or sessional (adjunct) faculty should live in poverty! We are now on strike and hoping for a fast resolution so we can get out of the cold and back to teaching- but we are willing to strike as long as it takes!
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  • IFF: Meet with your employees in Dandenong
    On January 27, 2015, Australian employees of International Flavours & Fragrances (IFF) began occupying our factory in Dandenong. We were forced to take this action because local Australian management has pushed us to the brink. We believe matters cannot be resolved with local Australian management and we ask that IFF's leadership listen to us, the IFF workforce in Dandenong, because our voices are not being heard in Australia. All we want is to be heard and genuinely negotiate a workplace agreement, which benefits the interests of both the workers and the interests of the company. We, the workers, have a clear interest in IFF . In the past, and specifically during the negotiations of our last agreement, we were promised there would be a cultural change from management. But things have only gotten worse. Local management couldn't care less about us. There is no acknowledgement of the humanity involved in the process of running a business. We were also promised that, due to a break down with local management, we would have quarterly meetings with the Asia Pacific management team. However, we have had only one of these meetings over the last three years. We believe it is not difficult to treat people with respect. Unfortunately a culture of respect is not encouraged or practiced by management in Australia. Mr Koudijs, we call on you to intervene because we believe Australian management cannot or will not negotiate fairly or respectfully. So far, local management have continued to be provocative and combative, which is not conducive to an agreement being reached. There has been much talk of productivity from local management, and workers have gone to great lengths already, including moving to 24-hour production. Now it is also time to recognise that workers want security, not uncertainty and anxiety. This, not stealing workers' 10 minute breaks, will see an increase in productivity and the health and well being of the workforce. Mr Koudijs, to end this lockout and help deliver a swift and fair agreement, will you meet with workers?
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  • Sick leave for Starbucks Partners
    I have to save some of my vacation every year just in case I get sick. I am a working partner who can't afford to stay home when I am sick.
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  • Walmart: Treat Military Families with Dignity
    Lisa's story: My name is Lisa Austin and I work in Apple Valley, MN at Walmart #2642. On December 28, 2014 I was disciplined for staying home to take care of my seven-month-old child while my husband was away training with the National Guard.* The training was on the weekend of December 7, 2014. Per Walmart policy, I requested the days off close to two months in advance but was still written up for the days missed. Now I am close to being terminated and am afraid I will lose my job if I have to miss work if Walmart doesn’t approve future dates that my husband is away. The store manager told me that “my absence was inexcusable and everyone has kids.” I was told that I cannot have another absence until June 14, 2015. Military families sacrifice on a daily basis when their spouse is deployed or away from their loved ones. Should a Military spouse sacrifice her child or her job for just needing a day off to care for their baby? Walmart can help associates like Lisa and show its respect for military families by amending its leave policy today. Please join us in showing your support by signing this petition for a national policy that helps all our military families who work at Walmart across the country. *Since I started working at Walmart in October 2014, I had not been working there long enough to qualify for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. LEGAL DISCLAIMER: UFCW and OUR Walmart have the purpose of helping Wal-Mart employees as individuals or groups in their dealings with Wal-Mart over labor rights and standards and their efforts to have Wal-Mart publically commit to adhering to labor rights and standards. UFCW and OUR Walmart have no intent to have Walmart recognize or bargain with UFCW or OUR Walmart as the representative of Walmart employees.
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  • Fair Wages for Tenured Starbucks Partners
    Over the course of 2014, Starbucks Coffee was in the news on a regular basis. Whether it was a partner (aka, a Starbucks employee) that was struggling with her wages and hours, or a strangely uneven HBO Starbucks-produced tribute to America’s veterans, there’s been no shortage of media attention thrown the way of the coffee siren. Most notably Starbucks turned heads by changing its tattoo policy, finally allowing its employees the ability to show off their ink without having to cover them all day, every day. Much rejoicing was heard, it was an exciting time for many employees as most believed the archaic policy would never move. It did. Further steps were announced by Starbucks corporate. Pay would be changing. In the middle of the hype over the tattoo policy changes, and some calling for higher wages, Starbucks took the lead announcing that pay would increase for a large portion of its US employees. Excitement began to boil again. At a time in US history when stagnant worker wages are at an all time high, and protests are happening from coast to coast, the powers that be at Starbucks headquarters realized [and wisely so] that they had to move first. Move they did. At the end of January, news began to trickle out about these wages. Many Starbucks partners believed and hoped that wages would be raised significantly. Some defended the current wages as being enough. Reading through unofficial Starbucks partner Facebook pages, it became evident that for very few, the initial wage would be substantial, but for partners that have been employed for 1-3 years, they would be put at the new wage base level [which is different per state, per region]. Much of the work many partners put in for their wages would be wiped clean, even starting partners would be paid the same as they would, a gross inequality in a growing number of voices as seen through social media. THE BREAK DOWN (How it used to work) Typically, Starbucks employees were eligible for raises every six months, something no other company was doing up until that point. This system worked. What wasn't working were starting wages and wage caps. Starbucks as a company, like many other companies, falls far behind in paying their workers a livable wage. Many of its employees, struggle to pay their bills week to week. Many live with family or in roommate situations. (How it works now) Now, Starbucks baristas and shift supervisors are eligible for one raise a year, slowing down their rate of pay. The starting wages being reported are a good beginning for the multi-billion dollar company, but in their decision making process, they have failed to account for what will probably amount to tens of thousands of their employees who are now placed at the beginning of the wage system, just to get one raise a year. Tempers are hot. In the scheme of things, Starbucks gets most things right. They offer their employees health benefits, free drinks, a pound of coffee a week, stock options, and a competitive 401k among other things. Most American businesses should be looking at Starbucks as an example of how you treat the people who are actually responsible for the customer connection which brings in the record earnings every quarter. The new wage benefits are promising, a step in the right direction. It would be wise for the decision makers on a corporate level to not throw their mid-term or mid-tenure employees under the bus when premiering new wages. There was a lot of hype around the wage increase, but as you would see if you joined certain Starbucks barista social media groups, a bill of goods was sold and hyped that actually ended up slowing the pace of wage earning, and starting off experienced workers as if they were new. Starbucks now has a worker relations mess on their hands. This petition is to Starbucks for a fair wage increase for partners tenured one year or more. You do not have to be a barista to sign this petition. Although, if you are, I recommend that you share this with your fellow baristas, family and friends. You can share this petition by copying and pasting the link below. http://www.coworker.org/p/fairwageincrease A special thanks to Jill Deblasio!
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  • Tell Delta: “Our Voices Will Not Be Silenced”
    The timing of Kip’s termination on December 2nd is no accident. It came in the midst of a national week of action for “$15 and a Union,” and just as three different union drives at Delta, and their subcontractor AirServ, kick into high gear. Over 200 rallied on December 5th at MSP Airport, blocking traffic, to demand $15 and a Union and that Delta re-hire Kip. Delta thinks firing Kip, a leading 15 Now and union activist, will silence other airport workers from standing up for their rights. They couldn’t be more wrong. With your support, and the mobilization of the wider labor movement, Delta’s blatantly illegal and unjust actions will only deepen workers’ resolve to fight for $15/hour and union rights. We call on Delta and the Metropolitan Airport Commission, which governs operations at MSP Airport, to immediately reinstate Kip Hedges and to make clear that these intimidation tactics will not continue. We stand in solidarity with Kip and with all workers fighting for $15 and a union!
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  • Occupy Tingalpa
    We’re fighting for a fair deal for all Smiths Chips workers in Tingalpa, Queensland, especially the casual workers who get paid less than me and other permanent workers. We think all workers should be treated equally and paid equally for the work that they do. That's why we are all sitting-in the lunchroom until we get equality and respect. #OccupyTingalpa Brett Thomas, Smiths worker and union delegate.
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  • Federal Employees for Socially Responsible Investment Options in the Thrift Savings Plan
    Many federal government employees dedicate their careers to advancing important social objectives such as protecting the environment, enforcing labor standards, encouraging responsible corporate behavior and advancing civil rights at home or human rights abroad. I have over 20 years with the federal government in various jobs and am now working at the Department of State. I would like to be sure that my retirement funds are invested in companies that reflect the values that are important to me. Nevertheless, unlike many state and local government workers, federal employees do not have the opportunity to invest their retirement monies in mutual funds that support these same objectives.   More than one out of every nine dollars in the United States– or $3.74 trillion - is invested according to sustainable and responsible investment (SRI) strategies. It's one of the fastest growing categories of investment. These mutual funds allow many employees across the country to ensure that their investments reflect their values on a broad range of issues from climate change and other environmental risks to human rights, decent workplaces, consumer protection, diversity and product safety.  While federal employees do not currently have the option to participate in this kind of investment for their retirement funds, the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB) has recently authorized the agency managing the Thrift Savings Plan to explore the creation of a "mutual fund window," which would allow TSP investors options to invest in mutual funds beyond those limited ones currently available through the TSP. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/wp/2014/11/18/tsp-moves-toward-opening-investment-window/. It is important to demonstrate to the TSP there there is substantial interest among TSP investors (both current and past federal employees) to provide socially responsible options if and when this window is created. Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/people/89228431@N06/
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  • Help Capital Bikeshare Employees Unionize!
    Having our members show their support for the employees of Capital Bikeshare is key; our main leverage is member relations - namely, you all. Having members sign the petition and show that they endorse the right of CaBi workers to unionize is huge. Please, tell Alta/REQX to voluntarily recognize the union we have formed with TWU Local 100 and to drop the motion to clarify, that is, allow everyone who wants to be in the Union a seat at the table. Thank you everyone to has signed the petition. However, it appears our work has just begun. At the NLRB hearing Jackson-Lewis successfully pushed our petition to unionize out. We are starting back from ground zero. We still need your support - letting them know that we, the public, those who use the bikes stand for workers rights will go a long way in our struggle. Thank You.
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  • Give Whole Foods Workers a Raise!
    Whole Foods recently launched a campaign with the tagline "Values Matter". But when most of us need 2 or 3 jobs just to pay the rent and take care of our families, we are left wondering which values truly matter. We see the company opening up a new store almost every month, while we are told they can't afford to give us a full 40-hour week. Every year we are given the "opportunity" to vote on how to make deeper cuts to our health plan. We are at the point now where everyone knows getting sick means going into debt. We know it doesn’t have to be this way, that’s why we’ve come together to tell Whole Foods Market - We are Hungry for Better Lives!
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  • Uber: Give consumers the option of adding a tip to all Uber fares
    Uber initially marketed its transportation service as a seamless and cashless experience where the tip was included in the fare calculation. In fact, the fare calculation was, and is simply based upon time, distance, tolls, and surge charge. Notably absent is a gratuity. Eventually, Uber moved away from saying that the “tip is included in the fare” to a more ambiguous “there is no need to tip.” Based upon Uber’s global marketing, many Uber customers falsely believe that the Uber fare includes an automatic tip. While UberTaxi does include an automatic tip, the UberX, UberXL, UberPlus, UberBlack, and UberSUV platforms do NOT include any gratuity at all. Uber is fully aware of the confusion that exists in the marketplace regarding the tips. In fact, Uber’s present independent contractor agreement advises drivers that there is “no tipping.” But then, in the same sentence, advises drivers that Uber may, through advertising and marketing, communicate to customers that “tipping” is “’included in the Service Fee paid by the User.” In a recent commutation to an Uber customer, however, the Company clarified the tip issue by saying: “There’s no function that will allow riders to tip their drivers for vehicle options other than UberTaxi. That means for uberX, uberBlack, and the rest of the Uber services, you can’t leave a tip. And yes, the fare is simply a calculation of the base fare, time, distance, tolls, and surge rate.” Uber passengers deserve to know the truth and to have the option to tip within the app if they choose. In the past year, Uber has drastically reduced its fares, while at the same time increasing the commission it takes from each trip. For example, in December 2013, in Los Angeles, the uberX fare was $2.40 per mile, $0.60 per minute, with a base fare of $4.00. Of that fare, Uber would take a 5% commission. Today, an uberX driver will make $1.10 per mile, $0.21 per minute, with a base fare of $0.80. Of that reduced fare, Uber now takes a 25% commission. This means many of Uber drivers are taking home a lot less for our work than we used to, and we have to increase our hours behind the wheel by up to 50% in order to make up for the reduction in fares, and Uber's increased commission. Allowing a way for users to provide tips to drivers would make a huge difference to drivers and the families for which many of them are providing. It would also be a boost for driver morale and another incentive to great service. It shouldn’t be hard for Uber -- a tech company -- to create options within the app to allow customers to automatically tip their drivers. In fact, they are already doing it -- for uberTaxi, one of Uber’s services, users can request a ride from a regular cab through the app, and a default 20% tip is included in the fare (and app users can adjust that percentage online). If it can be done for uberTaxi, surely an innovative tech company like Uber could develop a solution for users to provide tips for drivers across all of its different services -- just like its competitor Lyft offers. Placing an automatic tip within the Uber app would be a win for both customers and drivers alike. Please join CADA in asking Uber to update its technology by adding a 20% default tip to ALL Uber fares. Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/people/afagen/
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