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Thursday News & Notes

UK union marches across campus; Cameron petitions judge on abortion bill; the war on Louisville; DNC bans anti-union consultants; Starbucks wages

3 min read

Even with the General Assembly finally done for the year, the news keeps coming.

‘Poverty wages have got to go.’ UK union calls for better pay, health care for graduate workers

Calling for higher pay and access to more comprehensive health care for graduate workers, members of the University of Kentucky union marched across campus on Wednesday afternoon. Marching to chants of “Poverty wages have got to go,” the group of around 100 people delivered a copy of a petition to UK President Eli Capilouto’s office, although Capilouto was not in his office at the time. Among other requests, the petition calls for a $20,000 minimum stipend per academic year for graduate employees, as well as annual increases to the stipend, and comprehensive health insurance for graduate employees, including dental and vision coverage. The petition had more than 600 signatures in support, according to the union. (Herald-Leader)

Ky. AG Cameron asks judge not to block new abortion law

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron has asked a federal judge not to grant a temporary restraining order against a new restrictive abortion law. Planned Parenthood filed documents in federal court, challenging the constitutionality of the law and asking judges to temporarily block it. They have argued that the law means a de facto ban on abortion in Kentucky, since they can’t immediately comply with new requirements.

Cameron said in his response Tuesday that Planned Parenthood’s argument on this is faulty because “HB3 does not require Planned Parenthood to comply with forms and regulations that do not exist yet.” Cameron added there are some parts they should be able to comply with now. (WFPL)

Why the Kentucky legislature’s war on Louisville could cost millions and jeopardize merger

Ever since the Republicans took control of the Kentucky House of Representatives following the 2016 election, putting them in charge of both houses of the Kentucky General Assembly, they’ve threatened us with what Democrats have called the “War on Louisville.” You can now mark 2022 as the year they finally made good on their threats. (Joe Gerth in the C-J)

Democratic Party weighs banning its consultants from anti-union activity

The Democratic Party is considering banning its army of consultants from engaging in anti-union activity following a report that one of its pollsters had helped Amazon combat organizing efforts, according to a document obtained by POLITICO.

A union-drafted addendum to any contract between a Democratic Party political committee and a consultant would forbid the consultant — or any of its parents, subsidiaries or affiliates — from participating in an array of activities involving unions. That includes union-busting, aiding an employer in a labor dispute or lobbying against union-backed legislation.

The move comes less than a month after a report that Global Strategy Group, a prominent Democratic pollster based in New York, had aided Amazon’s campaign to fend off organizing efforts at several of its Staten Island facilities, including by producing videos and distributing flyers that featured company executives extolling the benefits of remaining non-unionized. (Politico)

Data reveals 63 percent of hourly Starbucks workers make under $15 an hour

Despite Starbucks’s claims that it is a progressive employer that prioritizes the needs of its workers, newly released data shows that a majority of the company’s hourly workers make less than the average living wage across the U.S. According to research from Harvard/UCSF’s The Shift Project and the Economic Policy Institute, 63 percent of hourly workers at Starbucks make less than $15 an hour. About a quarter of the company’s hourly workers make between $10 and $12 an hour, while another quarter make about $12 to $14 an hour, the data finds. Only about 10 percent of its workers make above $18 an hour. This means that a majority of the company’s hourly workers don’t make what economists qualify as a living wage.

Starbucks Workers United, which is working to unionize hundreds of stores across the country, says that the company is decreasing hours in order to union bust. Over the past months, the company has been firing workers for seemingly trivial reasons, or for violations of rules that workers say would not normally constitute a termination. As Vice reports, at least 18 pro-union workers have been fired over the past two months. (Truthout)


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