CEJ Buffalo stands in solidarity with our siblings in labor.
Starbucks Workers United
Workers at the Elmwood Ave. and subsequently the Genesee St. Starbucks location became the first unionized Starbucks stores in the United States despite blatant union busting tactics brought on by Starbucks executives. This is a huge victory not only for the American labor movement but for those working in the retail industry and other Starbucks locations not only in WNY but around the country have followed suit in filing their own union petitions!
Mercy Hospital (CWA)
In October of 2021, nearly 2,000 health care workers went on a 5-week long strike for changes to staffing ratio, wages, benefits, and increased patient care. Striking workers and allies spent time picketing, phonebanking, and gaining support for the issue from the community and lawmakers. In November of 2021 CWA and Catholic Health reached a contract agreement, ending the strike.
The Wendt workers began their fight for unionization in June of 2017. After meeting with the corporation almost 60 times, testifying at a labor rights board, a judge finding the corporation in violation of federal labor law for how workers who supported unionizing efforts were treated (including several lay-offs), receiving a report of the working conditions from WNYCOSH, and holding numerous informational picketing events, Wendt, Iron Workers Shopmen’s Local 576 representatives, and the workers were able to reach a labor contract, July 2019. Here is the Wendt worker’s statement following the contract agreement
CEJ has been working in collaboration with the Steelworkers, the Clean Air Coalition, and other coalition members alongside Tesla workers for a union contract since December of 2018.
November 2018 Chris Koch announced his intentions to close the New Era Cap Plant in Derby, NY, putting the jobs of 200 workers at risk. A strong effort to stop the closing of the plant was carried out in collaboration with labor partners, including the WNY Labor Federation. The campaign received a lot of attention and support, including trending number 1 on twitter nationally following tweets made by Sean Doolittle, relief pitcher for the Washington Nationals, and Collin McHugh, pitcher for the Astros, used the platform to speak out in support of the workers.
Unfortunately, the Koch remained unswayed. A severance package was agreed on between New Era and CWA and the plant closed June of 2019.
While this was not the outcome we had obviously hoped for, it was important for all of us to go out and fight in any way we could with the workers for the jobs they did not deserve to lose.