Mike Monteiro put a pro-union message for Amazon workers on his new book's cover

Designer/activist Mike Monteiro added a pointed pro-Union message to the cover of his new, print-on-demand book that Amazon workers would perhaps see when they print copies to ship to customers. The Amazon-specific cover to Ruined by Design: How Designers Destroyed the World, and What We Can Do to Fix It made it through their approval process and is visible on the product page, for the moment anyway.

From The Verge:

While Monteiro says he’s sold over 10,000 copies of the book so far, only 150 paperbacks have been printed since he changed the cover, which isn’t a lot of opportunities for it to catch the right person’s eye.

Monteiro says he was working on some union organizing when he came up with the idea: “We were discussing how to get messages in front of people and I realized ‘Oh, huh. I have this thing that Amazon workers see every time a book gets ordered. Let’s put a message there.’”

Ruined by Design: How Designers Destroyed the World, and What We Can Do to Fix It (Amazon)

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UNIONS: In Pittsburgh, 80 Google workers join United Steelworkers Union

This is an interesting move. Read the rest

Countries with higher levels of unionization have lower per-capita carbon footprints

In Is Labor Green? (Sci-Hub mirror), three Oregon sociologists investigate the correlation between high rates of trade unionization and low carbon footprints. Read the rest

GE dumps century-old railroad division on Wabtec, almost 2,000 factory workers strike

GE Transportation workers were told after merger their new employer “wants to turn this into an Amazon warehouse,” says labor union.

How trade unions are addressing automation

The first wave of computerized automation caught trade unions flat-footed; already reeling from the Reagan-era attacks on labor, union leadership failed completely to come up with a coherent response to the automation of manufacturing industries (a notable exception was the longshoremans' union, which ensured that containerization led to massive pay raises and generous retirements for the workers whose work was largely eliminated by better shipping techniques). Read the rest

Zimbabwe's nurses went on strike this week and got fired by the government as a result

On Monday in Zimbabwe, thousands of nurses went on strike, demanding better salaries. The strike came hot on the heels of the country's doctors returning from their own weeks-long strike, which took place for similar reasons. With no nurses standing by to assist doctors or to see patients, hospitals in the African country have been forced to turn away people looking for care. Instead of negotiating with the nurses or passing legislation that would send them back to work, Zimbabwe’s vice-president, Constantino Chiwenga, apparently decided to fire them all.

Because doing that always calms things down in a country that's facing growing labor unrest.

According to The Guardian, vice-president Chiwenga believes that the strike actions undertaken by the country's doctors and nursing staff are politically motivated and stated that his "...Government has decided in the interest of patients and of saving lives to discharge all the striking nurses with immediate effect." Yep – ensuring that healthcare professions are never allowed to return to their jobs of you know, saving lives, is definitely gonna be in the best interest of any patients they might have treated.

Chiwenga called the strike “deplorable and reprehensible," citing the fact that the government had released £12m to boost their pay and allowances. There's no word, however, on how much this amount would increase the state of each nurse's wages, or when the money would actually come into use.

But don't worry Zimbabwe, there's good news! The government plans on hiring any unemployed or retired nurses that it can find to fill in the massive hole that your government just created in your country's healthcare system. Read the rest

The Wells Fargo fraud came to light because of union organizers

Though Wells Fargo had been pressuring its employees to commit fraud since 1998, firing those who couldn't make quota, as well as the whistleblowers who came forward to report the fraud, it wasn't until the Committee for Better Banks launched a unionization drive to organize retail banking workers against punitive sales quotas that the crimes came to light. Read the rest

California and New York raise state minimum wage to $15

California governor Jerry Brown today approved a mandatory minimum wage of $15 an hour by 2022. The bill's enactment came within hours of a similar bill signing in New York by governor Andrew Cuomo. Read the rest

Unions considered helpful (economically)

A paper in Industrial Relations A Journal of Economy and Society performs a meta-analysis of a wide range of studies the impact of trade unions on productivity and finds a complex puzzle. Read the rest