Unionized nursing homes were safer in the pandemic, this week in the war on workers

Unionized nursing homes were safer in the pandemic, this week in the war on workers

Unions have increasingly bargained for the common good in recent years, as when teachers negotiate lower class sizes and more school nurses or counselors, or nurses negotiate for improved staffing ratios so they can give every patient the attention they deserve. Union opponents often try to claim that these are really self-interested measures that only benefit workers (as though there’s anything wrong with benefiting workers), not also students and patients. These are of course the same people who always come up with excuses for how larger classes and more patients per nurse are reasonable, as they are hostile not just to workers but to investments in the public good.

All of which is to set up why this study of resident mortality and worker infection rates in union versus nonunion nursing homes in 2020-2021 is interesting and important. As the study, by Adam Dean, Jamie McCallum, Simeon Kimmel, and Atheendar Venkataramani notes, “nursing home residents have accounted for roughly one of every six COVID-19 deaths in the United States,” making nursing homes a major site of mortality. So, how did union and nonunion nursing homes compare? After a lot of data and statistics, “we found that unions were associated with 10.8 percent lower resident COVID-19 mortality rates, as well as 6.8 percent lower worker COVID-19 infection rate.”

Imagine if 1 in 10 of the nursing home residents who died of COVID-19 … hadn’t.

● Leaked memo reveals Apple’s anti-union talking points for store managers, reports Lauren Kaori Gurley. Three Apple stores have filed for union representation.

NEW: Apple Store workers in Maryland are attempting to form the company’s first US union. While CEO Tim Cook made $98 million last year, workers face threats from customers and are barely scraping by. “There’s a revolution coming and it’s gonna be one retail store at a time.” pic.twitter.com/6BTWXfgby2

— More Perfect Union (@MorePerfectUS) May 13, 2022

● Starbucks is playing with fire, writes Steven Greenhouse.

● The Starbucks union picked up its first win in California, followed immediately by its second win in California.

● According to a survey of California fast food workers:

  • 85 percent of workers surveyed have experienced at least one form of wage theft.
  • 57 percent of workers have experienced multiple forms of wage theft.
  • Nearly one-third of workers have been retaliated against for asking to be paid properly, taking a sick day, or asking to be paid for a sick day.

● The next frontier of labor organizing: Food delivery workers.

● Judges need to be held accountable as employers.

● Sting operation tests whether Chipotle’s hiring may be racist. Answer: Maybe? The Equal Rights Center, an advocacy group working with 32BJ SEIU/Fast Food Union, sent out job applications for fake candidates with some coded as Black and some coded as white, and the Black candidates were always slightly better qualified than the white ones. Nonetheless, the white candidates were more likely to be contacted about their applications.

● Fired by Starbucks, union organizer now wears his fursuit to rallies and it’s kind of adorable.

● No more union busting. It’s time for companies to give their workers what they deserve, writes Jennifer Sherer.


Chris Smalls is making good trouble and helping inspire a new movement of labor organizing across the country. Let’s keep it going. pic.twitter.com/oHMuVqf6TS

— President Biden (@POTUS) May 11, 2022


EXCLUSIVE: Trader Joe’s workers in Massachusetts are organizing to form the company’s first ever union. They say Trader Joe’s has repeatedly slashed pay & benefits and neglected safety issues in recent years. They’re unionizing to make the company live up to its own values. pic.twitter.com/emxYl4uGMU

— More Perfect Union (@MorePerfectUS) May 14, 2022

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