Joint Board News
New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced legislation to address labor concerns and worker's rights in the U.S. garment industry.
The Fashioning Accountability and Building Real Institutional Change (FABRIC) Act was introduced to the Senate on May 12, 2022, with Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) as co-sponsors. People who make our clothes are too often not employed fairly or treated fairly or paid fairly for their work in the industry. This legislation will help ensure American garment workers are fairly paid while revitalizing the entire American garment manufacturing industry.
Workers United is a proud endorser of the FABRIC Act.
Workers United mourns with our African American communities; decries all acts of hatred and violence
Starbucks workers across the country are organizing in an effort to get a number of improvements, including higher pay, more hours, and better safety protections. They want more say in what their working lives are like and they want to hold a company that talks progressive values accountable. Starbucks calls its employees "partners" but most employees feel they are not treated that way. Starbucks employees say they are seeing successful union votes at other locations and think they could improve conditions at their own stores by doing the same. Our Union is leading the effort to organize these workers.
Meet OUR new members @ Movement Crystal City
NLRB To Certify First Unionized Climbing Gym At Movement Crystal City
Arlington, VA — Workers at Movement in Crystal City are one step closer to becoming the first unionized rock climbing gym in the US. Currently, there are 20 Movement facilities and nearly 600 total rock climbing gyms operated in the US. Workers voted for a union in November 2021, but Movement filed objections, claiming that organizers interfered with the fairness of the election. The National Labor Relations Board overturned all three charges and recommended that the successful vote be certified. The company has declined to appeal the ruling, meaning the NLRB will certify the vote. Both management and the workers are excited to come to the table and reinstate a cooperative relationship.
“We are proud to be the first unionized gym in the country, and are encouraged by our management’s commitment to dialoguing with workers. We look forward to coming to the table in good faith to bargain for improved working conditions and strengthen our excellent community,” said organizer Wendy Low.
This week, organizers invited the local, regional, and national leadership to a preliminary meeting to determine how the bargaining process will proceed. Workers wrote, “We are very excited and grateful to hear that you’re ready to start working with us to better understand and address the concerns of all of us working at the Crystal City gym! As we all know, partnership and innovation are two of our organization’s core values; we think that coming together to set the stage in good faith is the best way for us to put those values into action.”
In a company-wide email regarding the imminent certification of the union vote, CEO Robert Cohen stated, “We are committed to continuing the dialogue and collaborating to further improve the team member experience for all of us.”
Organizer Sylvain La, said, “We’re excited to give the workers at Crystal City a seat at the table and establish open lines of communication and improved transparency.”
Despite pandemic restrictions, the number of climbing gyms in the US has continued to grow.
Workers hope this union will mark the start of a broader movement to create more inclusion and equity of the voices of climbing gym employees in the growing indoor climbing industry.
Delegates Attend First Ever Virtual Joint Board Meeting
Delegates to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Joint Board, Workers United, participated in its annual Joint Board Meeting on October 15, 2021, virtually via Zoom for the first time in our history. Delegates who participated in the meeting handled the business and affairs of the Joint Board and elected officers to a new three (3) year term. Regional Director Patrick Jones Sr. and Associate Director Patrick Jones Jr. were both re-elected to their respective positions. Executive Board members were elected as follows: Larry Bryant - President, David Bailey - Vice President, Peter Bostic - Secretary, Chad McCroskey - Sgt.-at-Arms, and Tommy Fragakis, Jamie Rhodes, and Mercedes Rivera were elected as Members at Large.
International President of Workers United, Lynne Fox, spoke to our delegates about the importance of the Mid-Atlantic Region and the hard working and dedicated team we have in place to grow our Union. Matt Areman, Attorney, made a presentation on the Duty of Fair Representation. International Organizing Director of Workers United, Richard Minter, spoke of the various exciting organizing campaigns taking place within our Region and within Workers United as a whole. MARJB Organizing Director Rebecca Hess and Organizer Stephanie Hernandez reiterated the importance of internal organizing and spoke of the campaigns they are involved in. And, MARJB Representative Ines Vargas spoke about educating our membership.
At the conclusion of the meeting, the wheel was spun and many delegates won fantastic prizes ranging from a 40" flat-screen tv, custom tailored suit (donated by English American Tailoring), smart watch, fit bit, gift cards, air fryer, keurig coffee maker, and a large trunk (donated by Mercury Luggage/Advantus), just to name a few.
Although we experienced a few technical difficulties at the beginning of the meeting, that were quickly resolved, all in all the virtual meeting went well. Next years plan is to gather in person in Virginia Beach, VA.
2021 Scholarship Winners
Bruce Dunton / Peter Nadash
is a member of our
Local 2024 -
in Narrows, VA
is a member of our
Local 262 -
in Scranton, PA
is a member
of our Local 132 -
in Ashland, PA
is a member
of our Local 1700 -
in Bloomsburg, PA
MARJB Holds Golf Scramble
to benefit the Scholarship Fund
The Mid-Atlantic Regional Joint Board and The Greenbrier Resort co-hosted a golf scramble on Wednesday, October 27, 2021, on the Meadows Golf Course in White Sulphur Springs, WV to raise money to benefit our Scholarship Fund. The event was well attended with 84 golfers making up 21 foursome teams.
Leadership of the Mid-Atlantic Region was represented by Regional Director Patrick Jones Sr., who addressed the attendees and expressed appreciation for everyone's support of the Scholarship Fund. Other leadership of the Executive Board in attendance were Patrick Jones Jr.-Associate Director, Larry Bryant-President, David Bailey-Vice President, Peter Bostic-Secretary, Chad McCroskey-Sergeant-at-Arms, Members at Large-Tommy Fragakis and Mercedes Rivera, and past President Antoinette Brown. In attendance representing Staff were Ines Vargas, Kathy Glover, and Nate Hall.
The Winning Team was the team sponsored by the Malone Funeral Home, 2nd Place was the team sponsored by United Bank, and 3rd Place was the team sponsored by the MARJB Education Fund.
The event raised approximately $12,000 for the Scholarship Fund and will go a long way to support our efforts to offer annual scholarships to our members and their children and grandchildren.
Bleyer workers end 2-day strike!
Members of Workers United, Local 9, Mid-Atlantic Regional Joint Board employed at Bleyer Industries, Mount Union, PA, walked off the job on Tuesday morning, May 11, 2021. The approximately 21 workers had been in negotiations with their employer since December 2019 that included working during the Covid Pandemic for all but approximately 4 weeks that the facility was shut down.
Despite the Corporate tax breaks of 2017 that were sold to US taxpayers on the basis it would permit employers to increase the wages of their employees and the $350K in PPP loans provided to the Company, the average wage at the Mount Union plant is $8.50 an hour, with many dependent on the minimum wage of $7.25. The Mount Union plant celebrated its 55-year anniversary in 2018 and is spotlighted by the Company as the only remaining manufacturer of Easter basket grass and Halloween spider webs in the U.S.
Giorgia Norris, President, Local 9, shares the frustration of her fellow union members. “We have been beat over the head with the competition of our industry”, she said. “Knowing that money was given to our employer but not given to us was the last straw. Everyone has a breaking point.”
By Wednesday afternoon, the Company and Union officials had reached a deal that increased employee wages, added lump sum ratification bonuses, and secured monthly labor-management meetings with oversight from FMCS. These Union members stood strong, fought, and got what they wanted! All employees returned to work on Thursday morning and walked in with a renewed sense of pride and were UNITED as ONE!
Regional Director Patrick Jones Sr. (pictured) doing his part and getting the 2nd dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Director Jones encourages all members of the Union to get the vaccine in an effort to bring this pandemic to an end.
Getting the COVID-19 vaccine could prevent you from spreading the virus to others, add to the number of people in the community who are protected from getting the virus - making it harder for the disease to spread, and prevent the COVID-19 virus from spreading and replicating, which allows it to mutate and possibly become more resistant to vaccines.
The MARJB would like to give special recognition and thanks to our Union sister and Executive Board Member Mercedes Rivera. Mercedes made a very generous monetary donation to our Scholarship Fund. Way to go Mercedes! YOUR kind gesture is very much appreciated!!
Do You Know Your Weingarten Rights?
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a worker is entitled to have a union representative present when a supervisor asks for information which could be used as the basis for discipline. Management has no obligation to tell workers their rights. Stewards should make sure all workers know their rights and know that they can request union representation before or during questioning by management.
If called to a meeting with management, read the following statement to management before the meeting starts:
If this discussion could in any way lead to my being disciplined or terminated, or affect my personal working conditions, I respectfully request that my union representative, officer or steward be present at this meeting. Without representation present, I choose not to participate in this discussion.
Local 4 Officers (Marshalls Distribution Center in Bridgewater, VA) celebrated the retirement of 31-year employee Debra Moore. Debra held many positions while a member of Local 4 and always supported the Union's efforts and offered dedicated service to our members / her co-workers. Enjoy your retirement Debra!