Work Stoppage
Movie Time 2 PREVIEW – Sorry We Missed You and Pride

Movie Time 2 PREVIEW – Sorry We Missed You and Pride

October 1, 2022

If you’re not a patron you can get the full episode by visiting patreon.com/workstoppage and support us with $5 a month.

For the second episode of our series discussing the labor movement in films, we’re going across the pond to cover two movies from the UK.  First up, we discuss Ken Loach’s Sorry We Missed You, a devastating realist look at the state of the working class in Britain. The film follows the struggle of a working class family trying to provide for their kids in a job market where no matter how hard you work, a living wage and a comfortable life feel further and further out of reach. Sorry We Missed You provides no illusions about class mobility or hard work winning out in the end, it forces us to confront the reality that so many jobs in the modern economy are premised on poverty wages and hours so long that you never see your family.  For our second film, we discuss 2014’s Pride, which tells the true story of a group of LGBTQ activists in London who band together to support striking coal miners in Wales. The film focuses on the power of solidarity, and shows how by combining all the struggles against all the forms of oppression faced by the working class, we can be much stronger than when we’re divided. 

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Follow the pod at instagram.com/workstoppage, @WorkStoppagePod on Twitter,  John @facebookvillain, and Lina @solidaritybee

UNLOCKED - Starbucks Workers United Oklahoma City Interview

UNLOCKED - Starbucks Workers United Oklahoma City Interview

September 30, 2022

In order to let as many folks as possible hear from Starbucks workers fighting for their union, we've decided to unlock our full interview from last week! We hope you enjoy the interview, and if you like the show please support us at patreon.com/workstoppage.

Original Description:

This week we were excited to be joined by Alisha Humphrey, a worker-organizer with Starbucks Workers United in Oklahoma City. We discuss the ins and outs of organizing at Starbucks, what prompted her store to unionize, and how covid has played a major role in all of this. We talk about how the company’s scorched earth union busting campaign has influenced the nationwide union drive, and how organizers have dealt with union busting tactics. We also talk over how to have organizing conversations with workers who may be hesitant, how workers who are thinking about organizing can reach out for help in getting the ball rolling, and how members of the community can show their support for organizing workers. Check out Alisha's writing in Jacobin on the cruel ways Starbucks has weaponized benefits against workers here: jacobin.com/2022/08/starbucks-a…tunt-union-contract

No Contract No Coffee Pledge: crm.broadstripes.com/ctf/SJID0H

Solidarity Fund for SBWU partners: secure.actblue.com/donate/starbucksworkersfund

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Follow the pod at instagram.com/workstoppage, @WorkStoppagePod on Twitter, John @facebookvillain, and Lina @solidaritybee

Ep 124 – We All Need A Living Wage

Ep 124 – We All Need A Living Wage

September 27, 2022

Once again we start this week’s episode of Work Stoppage checking in on the rail workers, as details of the tentative agreements have been released and a strike remains a real possibility. We follow that with some quick updates as the NLRB hits Amazon with a complaint for illegal union busting at LDJ5, the Case New Holland strike hits five months, the ridiculous attempt to bill UMWA for $13M in unmined coal is reversed, and Chipotle continues to rack up thousands of criminal violations of labor law. The RMT will be hitting the picket lines in the UK alongside postal workers, dock workers, nearly 200,000 workers total on October 1. 1000 food service workers at San Francisco Airport went on strike this week in protest of wages 50% below the area’s living wage. We have a truly unhinged story of a small business tyrant in Iowa who bribed workers to decertify their union, amongst numerous other crimes. Home Depot workers in Philly are organizing with the aim of forming the first unionized store in the entire chain. Finally, we check in on Starbucks Workers United, where the retaliation against workers continue but strikes at many stores seem to be making a real impact and winning real gains for workers.

Gofundme for fired working mother at Washington Starbucks: https://www.gofundme.com/f/support-amber-fired-5-year-partner-and-mother 

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Follow the pod at instagram.com/workstoppage, @WorkStoppagePod on Twitter,  John @facebookvillain, and Lina @solidaritybee

PREVIEW - Starbucks Workers United Oklahoma City Interview

PREVIEW - Starbucks Workers United Oklahoma City Interview

September 23, 2022
If you’re not a patron you can get the full episode by visiting patreon.com/workstoppage and support us with $5 a month.

No Contract No Coffee Pledge: https://crm.broadstripes.com/ctf/SJID0H

Solidarity Fund for SBWU partners: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/starbucksworkersfund

This week we were excited to be joined by Alisha Humphrey, a worker-organizer with Starbucks Workers United in Oklahoma City. We discuss the ins and outs of organizing at Starbucks, what prompted her store to unionize, and how covid has played a major role in all of this. We talk about how the company’s scorched earth union busting campaign has influenced the nationwide union drive, and how organizers have dealt with union busting tactics. We also talk over how to have organizing conversations with workers who may be hesitant, how workers who are thinking about organizing can reach out for help in getting the ball rolling, and how members of the community can show their support for organizing workers. Check out Alisha's writing in Jacobin on the cruel ways Starbucks has weaponized benefits against workers here: https://jacobin.com/2022/08/starbucks-abortion-transgender-health-care-promises-pr-stunt-union-contract

Join the discord: discord.gg/tDvmNzX

Follow the pod at instagram.com/workstoppage, @WorkStoppagePod on Twitter, John @facebookvillain, and Lina @solidaritybee

Ep 123 – It’s Not Over Until the Workers Vote

Ep 123 – It’s Not Over Until the Workers Vote

September 20, 2022

We start this week’s episode summarizing developments with the potential national rail strike, which was delayed but very much not completely canceled by the recent tentative agreement.  Next we discuss the end of the Seattle Teachers Strike and what we can glean from the little information available at the moment. Moving into new stories, over 1000 timber workers are on strike in the Pacific Northwest over wages that don’t come close to keeping up with inflation.  Over 12,000 workers at Kroger may strike this week after voting down the company’s “last, best and final offer.” Workers have been organizing an independent union at Geico in Upstate NY, which could be the first in a type of office work that is nearly entirely unorganized. Amazon workers are rising up all over the country, with walkouts in Atlanta and St Louis and a union election date set for Albany to see if workers will join the ALU. Finally, as usual, we check in on the Starbucks Workers United movement where the company’s illegal campaign of union busting refuses to let up.

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Shop Floor Discussion 6 - National Rail Strike w/Justin Roczniak

Shop Floor Discussion 6 - National Rail Strike w/Justin Roczniak

September 14, 2022

The potential for a national rail strike has been looming for a long time, and now that we have finally reached the point where one could actually happen, we decided we needed to have someone who knows a lot more about the railroads than we do on the show to help explain the situation. We were very excited to be joined by Justin Roczniak from Well There’s Your Problem to bring us historical analysis of the long road to where we are today. We discuss the history of how the railroads have operated in the US, how the national freight network has been shaped by the profit motive, and how rail executives have let the entire national rail network decay in pursuit of maximum dividends. This history sets the stage for the current crisis, where companies have merged into a few mega-carriers with no real competition, and “precision scheduled railroads” have slashed rail crews and stretched their existing employees to the breaking point. We summarize the long labor process to get to this point demanded by the Railway Labor Act, and what we might see in terms of a potential long term outcome of the current dispute. With a national strike possible as soon as this Friday, we hope this discussion provides some helpful background to understand what state the railroads are in, how they got that way, and the roots of the horrific working conditions rail workers are fighting against.

Follow Justin on twitter @who_shot_jgr and check out Well There’s Your Problem on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPxHg4192hLDpTI2w7F9rPg 

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Ep 122 – Striking for the Public Good

Ep 122 – Striking for the Public Good

September 13, 2022

We’ve got an absolutely jam packed episode this week, labor news never stops. First, we are excited to discuss the victory of the Heine Brothers Coffee workers in their union election. Next we cover the Seattle teachers strike, where workers are fighting for resources needed to serve special education and multi-language learning students. A recent report from the Washington Post has documented the incredible work by Unite Here in unionizing 90 percent of the cafeteria workers at Google campuses across the country. The union drive at Target may have hit setbacks in Virginia but has sprung up in Pueblo, Colorado as well.  Every Hollywood production these days uses a ton of visual effects, but effects workers are some of the only non-union production workers in the business, which some are now fighting to change. The ALU grew again this week as workers organizing in Modesto, CA, announced their affiliation with the union. California passed a major new bill this past week aimed at regulating the fast food industry, we discuss the pros and potential cons of this kind of reform. A report from The Intercept this past week raised some troubling questions about the effect the “neutrality agreement” at Microsoft is having on the relationship between the union and the company, with the union killing a report that was critical of the company’s military contracts.  Finally we close out with our weekly recap of the Starbucks Workers United movement.

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Follow the pod at instagram.com/workstoppage, @WorkStoppagePod on Twitter,  John @facebookvillain, and Lina @solidaritybee

Movie Time 1 PREVIEW – Matewan and Cradle Will Rock

Movie Time 1 PREVIEW – Matewan and Cradle Will Rock

September 9, 2022

If you’re not a patron you can get the full episode by visiting patreon.com/workstoppage and support us with $5 a month.

Work Stoppage is going to the movies! In this first episode of a new series, we check out some classics of labor cinema, Matewan and Cradle Will Rock. Matewan tells the story of one of the most famous battles of the Appalachian Mine Wars of the early 20th century which would culminate in the Battle of Blair Mountain shortly after. Covering the struggle of workers in West Virginia to unionize, it gives audiences a window into the absolute tyranny of the coal companies and the level of violence they were willing to use to try and prevent the unions from organizing the mines. Cradle Will Rock recounts the development of the play of the same name by the Federal Theater Project during the great depression. In whirlwind fashion, the film covers the anti-communist witch hunt to purge the Federal Theater Project, the collusion between the US ruling class and fascism, and the struggle for artistic freedom under capitalism.  We discuss the themes of the films and how we can use them as agitation tools in our organizing. On future episodes, we’ll discuss many more examples of labor cinema and how we can use them to help make workers’ struggles and their history relatable in our fight to build unions today.

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Follow the pod at instagram.com/workstoppage, @WorkStoppagePod on Twitter,  John @facebookvillain, and Lina @solidaritybee

Ep 121 – Nothing Beats Solidarity

Ep 121 – Nothing Beats Solidarity

September 7, 2022

Fund to donate to Leonard Peltier’s Walk to Justice: https://www.paypal.com/donate/?hosted_button_id=24H3YHAGGSZ7Y 

Solidarity Fund for Fired Starbucks Workers in Anderson, SC: https://www.gofundme.com/f/fired-starbucks-union-leaders-in-anderson-sc 

Happy Labor Day everyone, we’ve got another packed episode of Work Stoppage. We start out with a sad follow up as yet another young organizer with the South African Shack Dwellers’ Movement has been brutally murdered. There’s no easy way to transition out of that so we move into our labor news, as the MLBPA is finally organizing the exploited minor league players. Also this week, another huge win for the independent union movement in Mexico at another auto parts manufacturing plant. Moving to a story out of Canada, workers at a construction firm have been threatened with jail for refusing “voluntary” overtime. The NLRB ruled against Tesla this week, saying they cannot bar workers from wearing clothing with union insignia on it. Nursing home workers struck in unison across multiple employers a few weeks ago in a bid to address sector wide problems.  Another major healthcare workers struggle is coming up next week, when 15,000 nurses in Minnesota will hit the picket lines. Finally, the NLRB ruled against Amazon’s frivolous challenges to the ALU’s win at JFK8, and for Labor Day the ALU and Starbucks Workers United came together for a massive rally in NYC to demand both companies recognize the unions and bargain in good faith.

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Follow the pod @WorkStoppagePod on Twitter, John @facebookvillain, and Lina @solidaritybee

Ep 120 – Name and Shame Wage Thieves!

Ep 120 – Name and Shame Wage Thieves!

August 30, 2022

On this week’s Work Stoppage, the Columbus teachers’ strike ended after just a few days, we discuss the new contract the workers ratified this weekend.  Workers at REI in Berkeley finally got their votes counted and their win extends the union to both coasts! An ongoing trial over Whole Foods’ attempts to ban workers from wearing masks with BLM on them has revealed the direct links between the fight for racial justice and the class struggle. The labor upsurge in the UK continues to escalate as 115,000 Royal Mail workers shut down the post this past Friday. Punjabi workers in the Toronto area have been fighting wage theft using community organizing tactics inspired by the Indian farmers’ movement. Chipotle workers in Lansing, Michigan won the first union election in the company’s history this week. Finally, Starbucks continues its campaign of union busting, workers keep fighting back, and the union movement has hit over 230 stores!

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Overtime Episode 20 PREVIEW - Injury Impoverished w/Nate Holdren

Overtime Episode 20 PREVIEW - Injury Impoverished w/Nate Holdren

August 26, 2022

If you’re not a patron you can get the full episode by visiting patreon.com/workstoppage and support us with $5 a month.

This week we were honored to be joined by Nate Holdren, professor at Drake University and author of the recent book Injury Impoverished: Workplace Accidents, Capitalism, and Law in the Progressive Era.  In the book, Nate chronicles the shift in the way workplace injury is handled in the US from liability trials to workers compensation. We discuss the dehumanizing aspects of both systems and the ideology used to justify the devaluing of working class life. We also discuss Nate's work on Engels' concept of Social Murder, and how that concept is so applicable to the way modern capitalist society chews up and spits out working class people in the pursuit of profit.

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Follow the pod @WorkStoppagePod on Twitter, John @facebookvillain, and Lina @solidaritybee

Ep 119 – No More Pay Cuts

Ep 119 – No More Pay Cuts

August 23, 2022

Amazon recently fired friend of the show Matt for his organizing work with the ALU. Donate to his support fund here: https://www.zeffy.com/en-US/donation-form/1f94594f-a62a-4a3b-bf7f-88e92b69442a

We’ve got strikes everywhere this week. First we start by checking in with Trader Joe’s, where the company recently closed a store in NYC to kill a union drive. Next we discuss the recommendations from Biden’s Presidential Emergency Board, which fail to resolve any of the major problems faced by rail workers. For our Amazon roundup this week, workers in San BernaRdino staged a walkout at one of the company’s Air Hubs last week, workers in Albany officially filed for an NLRB election, and TikTok creators form a pledge to support ALU demands. In Northern California, 2000 mental health workers with Kaiser Permanente are on strike to force the company to actually hire enough staff to provide patients the resources they need. Columbus teachers hit the picket lines on Monday for the first time in nearly 50 years, fighting for smaller class sizes, safe ventilation, and music and PE classes for all students. Workers at the biggest container port in the UK, Felixstowe, are on a weeklong strike to protest the port operator’s refusal to pay them a wage that keeps up with inflation. Finally, the Starbucks Workers United movement got a huge win this week when a judge ruled the company must rehire the Memphis 7.

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Overtime Episode 19 PREVIEW - US Textile Strikes - Pt 2

Overtime Episode 19 PREVIEW - US Textile Strikes - Pt 2

August 19, 2022

If you’re not a patron you can get the full episode by visiting patreon.com/workstoppage and support us with $5 a month.

On the second part of our series on the history of early US textile strikes, we move into the 20th century. As the textile industry expanded, advances in technology did not come with advances in safety. The drive for maximum profit led to one of the worst industrial disasters in US history, the Triangle Shirtwaist fire of 1911.  Just a year later, not far from where the Lowell Mill Girls formed one of the first labor unions in the country, workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts waged a massive strike for fair wages and safer conditions that would come to be known as the Bread and Roses strike. The workers, led by socialists and organizers from the IWW, fought to overcome the efforts of bosses to split workers up along ethnic lines. Finally, in 1934 as the textile industry moved out of New England and into the South in search of cheaper labor, one of the largest labor uprisings in US history erupted into a national textile strike all along the east coast. These struggles show many of the core contradictions of capitalism, and can teach us many valuable lessons for our organizing today.

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Ep 118 – Close the Concentration Camps

Ep 118 – Close the Concentration Camps

August 16, 2022
This week’s episode is kind of an angry one. We start out with some good news, as the ATU in DC have won their strike, and workers at Intelligentsia Coffee in Chicago have won their union vote. Trader Joe’s workers in Minneapolis won their union election in a landslide, potentially setting up a new nationwide union push. We also follow up with the workers at Heine Brothers coffee, where union busting efforts by management have escalated. We discuss the many (600,000+) crimes of Chipotle, which recently settled a massive lawsuit from NYC with a minor fine. Working conditions at Amazon continue to maim and kill workers, we discuss more deaths in New Jersey, unsafe temps in Memphis, and backbreaking labor in Albany. A new report was recently issued showing that unions have far more cash, and far fewer organizers, than business unionist leadership would like us to believe. Also this week, “detainees” have been on strike for months at two of the US migrant concentration camps, refusing to work for slave wages of $1/day in unsafe conditions. Finally, we close out looking at the weekly developments with Starbucks Workers United.

Donate to help striking migrants: http://www.kwesi.org/donate.html

More Perfect Union video on conditions at Amazon: https://twitter.com/MorePerfectUS/status/1556731115737595904

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Overtime Episode 18 PREVIEW - US Textile Strikes - Pt 1

Overtime Episode 18 PREVIEW - US Textile Strikes - Pt 1

August 13, 2022

If you’re not a patron you can get the full episode by visiting patreon.com/workstoppage and support us with $5 a month.

The development of the industrial revolution in the United States begins with the textile industry. Centered in New England, the explosion of wealth from industrial manufacturing of cloth would form the foundation for the construction of the rest of the US industrial base. Along with that early capitalist development came the rise of the labor movement. In this two part series, we will discuss some of the earliest factory strikes in US history, and how they show in microcosm the development of the forms of capitalist oppression we still see today. We will discuss how class exploitation has always been bound up with oppression based on gender, race, age, and any other ways the capitalists could find to divide workers against each other. In the first episode we cover the very first factory strike in US history, at the Slater Mill in Pawtucket, RI, as well as the rise of the Lowell Mill Girls Association in Massachusetts. In the second episode, we will move into the 20th century, discussing the Triangle Shirtwaist fire and the national textile strike of 1934.

Bibliography for this series available in the Discord

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Ep 117 – Breaking Free From the Capitalist TRAP

Ep 117 – Breaking Free From the Capitalist TRAP

August 10, 2022

We start this week’s episode with a quick follow up with the Indiana grad student workers who have won major gains despite the university’s continued refusal to recognize their union. Boston teachers have used rank and file methods to win a historic new contract that will help address homelessness in the city. The NLRB has signed onto an order demanding UMWA workers cover the costs of their more than a year long strike against Warrior Met coal, but they are fighting back. The Democrats introduced a bill in Congress with bipartisan support to permanently misclassify gig workers, which would destroy existing labor law. The DOJ has sued the poultry monopolies for wage fixing, but the proposed settlement doesn’t do much to help workers’ wages or job conditions. PetSmart, the nation’s biggest pet supply store, is being sued for trapping employees with thousands of dollars in debt for “grooming academy” training. 200 DC area transit workers are on strike, and could even potentially force out the private company managing what otherwise would be a public service. Finally we check in with the Starbucks Workers United movement, where the company continues to find new, creative ways to illegally retaliate against their own workers for unionizing.

Support fund for fired Buffalo Starbucks organizer: https://www.gofundme.com/f/support-sam-fired-13-year-starbucks-union-leader 

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Why Rank and File? Pt 3 PREVIEW

Why Rank and File? Pt 3 PREVIEW

August 6, 2022

If you’re not a patron you can get the full episode by visiting patreon.com/workstoppage and support us with $5 a month.

On the first two parts of this series, we discussed what exactly rank and file organizing is, and how it differs from top down, business unionist organizing methods, and then discussed some historical examples. In this third part of the series, we do a deep dive on two major rank and file movements from the last decade. First we look at the Chicago Teachers Union and the rise of the rank and file caucus, CORE, to leadership over the massive 2012 teachers’ strike. Then we discuss one of the most recent major union drives from the IWW, the Burgerville Workers Union. Both of these drives show the power unions can have when they actually engage and empower the workers themselves to take the reins of their organization and fight for the issues that matter most to them.  These, along with the other examples we’ve covered, make a strong case for major unions to embrace rank and file leadership of union drives if they want to rebuild the labor movement.

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Ep 116 – No Job is Worth Your Life

Ep 116 – No Job is Worth Your Life

August 2, 2022

Alabama Starbucks Support Fund: https://www.gofundme.com/f/relief-fund-for-scottsboro-starbucks-partners

This week on Work Stoppage, we start with a couple big union election victories. First, Hudson Workers United finally has their union election win recognized after a year-long ordeal. Then, workers at Trader Joe’s in Hadley, MA won their election to form the first recognized union at the chain. We also check in on the national strike in Panama, where workers have won two of their key demands to relieve the cost of living crisis. In recent weeks, lawmakers in Ukraine have moved to slash worker protections in the country, using the war as justification for dismantling the country’s labor code. More news came out this week about the worker who died at a New Jersey Amazon warehouse during Prime Week, and Amazon’s union busting has increased in Albany as the ALU moves towards filing for an election there. Also in Albany, a new union at Activision was announced recently, with game testers at Blizzard Albany filing for representation with the CWA. This past week was the first UAW convention since the one member, one vote reform campaign, and we discuss several of the measures passed in the run up to this fall’s elections. Finally, as always, we close out checking in on the Starbucks Workers United campaign, which continues to win over 80% of their elections.

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UNLOCKED - CAUSE: Organizing Amazon in North Carolina

UNLOCKED - CAUSE: Organizing Amazon in North Carolina

July 29, 2022

In order to let as many folks as possible hear from the CAUSE workers fighting for a union at Amazon, we've decided to unlock our full interview with them!  We hope you enjoy the interview, and if you like the show please support us at patreon.com/workstoppage.

Original Description:
We were honored this week to be joined by Lance, an organizer with Carolina Amazonians United for Solidarity and Empowerment, CAUSE.  CAUSE has been working to organize workers at Amazon’s RDU1 warehouse in Garner, North Carolina, just outside Raleigh, since the beginning of this year. We discuss the challenges and successes they’ve had building power with their coworkers, what tactics they’ve found effective, and which ones less so. We discuss how soaring inflation has blunted Amazon’s argument that they pay a good wage, and how other folks thinking about organizing their workplace can get started.  Finally, we discuss how folks can support CAUSE in their fight to organize at Amazon.

Support the workers at CAUSE by checking out their website and donating: https://amazoncause.com/

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Follow the pod @WorkStoppagePod on Twitter, John @facebookvillain, and Lina @solidaritybee

Ep 115 – Waging the Class War

Ep 115 – Waging the Class War

July 26, 2022
Lina’s back and we had so much labor news this week it was hard to squeeze it all in one episode. We start with several quick follow-ups. 400 Planned Parenthood workers in the upper Midwest won their union election in a landslide this week, as did the workers at America’s Test Kitchen. Workers at Activision walked out across the country this week in protest, and Medieval Times’ union movement has spread to a second castle. Also this week, Chipotle went full scorched earth and closed the store in Augusta, Maine who had been fighting to unionize. Amy’s Kitchen did something similar, closing a plant in San Jose where workers were unionizing even though the plant had been open for less than a year. A shocking story came out last week about the use of child labor at a Hyundai plant in Alabama. The recent upsurge in labor militancy in the UK spread to the Royal Mail this week, as 115,000 postal workers voted to authorize a potential strike. Also in Europe, Italy’s repression of militant trade unions escalated yet again this week, as several organizers from two militant unions were arrested for organizing strikes in the logistics sector. Finally, we close out checking in on the Starbucks Workers United movement, which has now unionized over 200 locations across the country!

Augusta, GA Starbucks Strike Fund: https://www.gofundme.com/f/support-the-partners-in-striking

Join the discord: discord.gg/tDvmNzX

Follow the pod @WorkStoppagePod on Twitter, John @facebookvillain, and Lina @solidaritybee

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