In our regular weekly feature, we’ll be taking a look at the winners and losers of the week in the struggle for the rights of working families. The winners will be the persons or organizations that go above and beyond to expand or protect the rights of working families, while the losers will be whoever went above and beyond to limit or deny those rights.
A federal judge granted an injunction Wednesday ordering the Kellogg Company to end its lockout of 226 workers—members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM) Local 252G—at its Memphis cereal plant and reinstate them to their jobs within five days. The lockout began Oct. 22.
Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra will be back onstage soon after they and the orchestra board of directors have ratified a new collective bargaining agreement that will end the nearly 16-month lockout of the musicians. The agreement takes effect Feb. 1 and performances are expected to begin later that month.
Locked-out workers at American Crystal Sugar plants in Minnesota, North Dakota and Iowa will soon be returning to work after they ratified a contract late last week. The company locked out 1,300 workers, members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM), in August 2011.
In cities across the country this holiday season, theaters will be packed for performances of the Christmas classic ballet, the "Nutcracker Suite"—in many cases performed by dancers of the Musical Artists (AGMA). Symphony halls will be full as orchestra musicians—many who are members of American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM)—fill the air with holiday-themed concerts.
But in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn., the home concert halls of Minnesota Orchestra and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra will be dark.
Locked-out American Crystal Sugar workers tried to deliver a petition with more than 100,000 signatures urging a resumption of talks to end the 17-month lockout of some 1,300 workers to company executives, shareholders and growers at the firm’s shareholder meeting in Fargo, N.D., Thursday morning. But in a similar response to CEO Dave Berg’s refusal to bargain for a fair contract, Berg and other top company officials refused to meet with the workers.
Alex Ross, The New Yorker’s music critic, has called the Minnesota Orchestra “the greatest orchestra in the world.” On Oct. 1, the orchestra’s management locked out “the greatest orchestra in the world” because the 95 musicians refused to take an up to 50% pay cut.
The growing number of lockouts—where employers close the doors or gates in order to wring concessions out of workers—“represents an overreach on the part of employers,” writes Minnesota AFL-CIO President Shar Knutson, in an op-ed piece today in the Minneapolis StarTribune.