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Worker Wins Update: April Showers Bring Big Wins For Workers

WASHINGTON, DC– Workers across the country have stood up in the past month to fight for better wages and working conditions.

Harvard Hotel Workers Make Smart Choice to Organize: Following a two year campaign, workers at the Soldiers Field Road DoubleTree Hotel, located in a building owned by Harvard, voted to organize with UNITE HERE! Local 26. The workers will join Harvard dining hall workers as well as Boston-area hotel staff in the local union.

Next Stop for Double Decker Bus Tour Guides: A Union: Workers at a double decker bus tour company in New York City have voted to join Transport Workers Union Local 100, fighting back against poor working conditions and pay cuts. TWU Local 100 currently represents approximately 40,000 transit workers throughout New York City.

Casino Workers Go ‘All-In’ on Union: The cards at the Horseshoe Baltimore Casino will be dealt by union members after workers voted to join the National Gaming Workers Coalition, which includes UNITE HERE!, United Auto Workers, and Operating Engineers.

Toady’s Lesson at Detroit Charter Schools: Forming a Union: Teachers from three Detroit charter schools have come together to file petitions to be represented by the Michigan Alliance of Charter Teachers & Staff, a local union affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers.

Gawker Writers Submit Stories and Union Cards: Workers at Gawker Media announced that they will be forming a union with the Writers Guild of America, East, AFL-CIO in New York City. Gawker writers cited need for a fair salary and stated clearly that ‘every workplace could use a union’.

Alaska Nurses Find the Right Prescription, Affiliate with AFT: In a move to strengthen the voices of nurses in Alaska, the Alaska Nurses Association Labor Program agreed to affiliate with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Nurses and Health Professionals. With this affiliation, AFT now represents 113,000 healthcare professionals across the country.

Rutgers Faculty Win Big in Classroom and at Bargaining Table: Nearly 4,700 full-time faculty and graduate teaching assistants signed a new contract protecting members from salary freezes, health care rate hikes, and promising a raise in wages throughout the life of the contract. The contract, fought for by members of the American Association of University Professors – American Federation of Teachers, will also provide protections for approximately 7,000 graduate teaching assistants.

Howard University Physicians On-Call for Better Pay, Benefits: Resident physicians at Howard University Hospital in Washington DC have asked hospital officials to negotiate a new contract with their newly formed union after the NLRB upheld the results of its January election last week.

April 25, 1969

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The governor of South Carolina declares a state of emergency in Charleston and orders more than 100,000 state troopers and members of the National Guard to break a strike by predominantly African American Medical University Hospital workers seeking recognition for their union, Local 1199B of the Retail Drug and Hospital Employees. In the end, the employer promised to rehire the striking workers they had fired, abide by a newly established grievance process, and provide modest pay increases.

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AFL-CIO Warns Congress of the Dangers of Fast Track in a Wave of Actions Across the Country

Over 10,000 Calls and Nearly 7,000 People at Events Against Bad Trade

(Washington, DC) – Last week, the AFL-CIO and its allies placed 10,000 calls to 49 House Members and 2 Senators, with an additional 1,000 calls occurring on Saturday’s National Day of Action from Virginia alone.

Since Fast Track legislation was introduced last Thursday, nearly 7,000 union members, environmentalists, faith leaders and other community partners went to Capitol Hill and canvassed the streets in over 50 Congressional districts and states to warn about the dangers of the Fast Track trade deals. Current proposals would roll back state and local laws safeguarding food and the environment as well as laws that protect working people from wage theft, predatory lending, and consumer fraud. Click here for a list of the events in the DC metro area and across the country. Highlights include:

  • In St. Louis, MO, 400 hand written letters were drafted to Senators Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill, and to Missouri Members of Congress. In addition, 26 Missouri State Representatives wrote to Sen. McCaskill in opposition to Fast Track.
  • In Nebraska, nearly 100 people endured thunderstorms and pouring rain to rally in front of Brad Ashford’s district office. They then waited an additional half hour to personally go into the Congressman’s office one by one to express their opposition to Fast Track.
  • In Portland, Bend, Salem, Eugene, Medford and Coos Bay, OR, over 1,000 people protested the Pacific Rim Trade Deals.
  • In Washington, DC last Thursday, Members of Congress, labor and environmental leaders spoke to a crowd of 1,200 people. On Monday, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, Sen. Bernie Sanders, CWA President Larry Cohen, and commentator Jim Hightower, spoke to a 1,000 person crowd of community allies from National People’s Action, USAction, Campaign for America’s Future, and Alliance for a Just Society.
  • At a Springfield, MA panel discussion, 50 students, union members, environmentalists and other community activists concerned about our food supply pulled out their phones to call Congressman Neil and express their views.
  • Also last Thursday, the AFL-CIO launched a six figure digital ad buy in 34 targeted House Districts and 16 Senate states.

Last week’s wave of action across the country builds on the grassroots activity in the month of March when union members, environmentalists, small business owners, progressives and community allies made more than 86,000 phone calls to Members of Congress, gathered more than 40,000 petition signatures, and organized more than 400 events across the country.

Today in labor history for the week of April 20, 2015

2015.04.20 history ludlow

April 20
Nearly 10,000 demonstrators celebrate textile workers’ win of a 10-percent pay hike and grievance committees after a one-month strike, Lowell, Mass. – 1912

Ludlow massacre: Colorado state militia, using machine guns and fire, kill about 20 people—including 11 children—at a tent city set up by striking coal miners – 1914

An unknown assailant shoots through a window at United Auto Workers President Walter Reuther as he is eating dinner at his kitchen table, permanently impairing his right arm. It was one of at least two assassination attempts on Reuther. He and his wife later died in a small plane crash under what many believe to be suspicious circumstances – 1948

National Association of Post Office Mail Handlers, Watchmen, Messengers & Group Leaders merge with Laborers – 1968

United Auto Workers members end a successful 172-day strike against International Harvester, protesting management demands for new work rules and mandatory overtime provisions – 1980

2015.04.20 history primer.lawApril 21
New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller signs Taylor Law, permitting union organization and bargaining by public employees, but outlawing the right to strike – 1967
(A Primer on American Labor Law is an accessible guide written for nonspecialists—labor and management representatives, students, general practice lawyers, and trade unionists, government officials, and academics from other countries. It covers such topics as the National Labor Relations Act, unfair labor practices, the collective bargaining relationship, dispute resolution, the public sector, and public-interest labor law.)

Some 12,500 Goodyear Tire workers strike nine plants in what was to become a 3-week walkout over job security, wage and benefit issues – 1997

2015.04.20 history hazel dickens

April 23 April 22
Songwriter, musician and activist Hazel Dickens dies at age 75. Among her songs: “They’ll Never Keep Us Down” and “Working Girl Blues.” Cultural blogger John Pietaro: “Dickens didn’t just sing the anthems of labor, she lived them. Her place on many a picket line, staring down gunfire and goon squads, embedded her into the cause” – 2011

The Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) is founded through a merger of the Trades and Labour Congress of Canada (TLC) and the Canadian Congress of Labour (CCL), the two major union congresses in Canada at the time. The CLC represents the interests of more than three million affiliated workers – 1956

2015.04.20 history stullDeath of Ida Mae Stull, nationally recognized as the country’s first woman coal miner – 1980

United Farm Workers of America founder Cesar Chavez dies in San Luis, Ariz., at age 66 – 1993

April 24
The Int’l Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union halts shipping on the West Coast in solidarity with Mumia Abu-Jamal, a Philadelphia journalist who many believed was on death row because he was an outspoken African-American – 1999

An eight-story building housing garment factories in Dhaka, Bangladesh collapses, killing 1,129 workers and injuring 2,515. A day earlier cracks had been found in the structure, but factory officials, who had contracts with Benneton and other major U.S. labels, insisted the workers return to the job the next day – 2013

April 25
The New York Times declares the struggle for an 8-hour workday to be “un-American” and calls public demonstrations for the shorter hours “labor disturbances brought about by foreigners.” Other publications declare that an eight-hour workday day would bring about “loafing and gambling, rioting, debauchery and drunkenness” – 1886

IWW Marine Transport Workers begin West Coast strike – 19232015.04.20 history rev abernathy

The Reverend Ralph David Abernathy and 100 others are arrested while picketing a Charleston, S.C., hospital in a demand for union recognition – 1969

Supreme Court rules that employers may not require female employees to make larger contributions to pension plans in order to obtain the same monthly benefits as men – 1978

April 26
The U.S. House of Representatives passes House Joint Resolution No. 184, a constitutional amendment to prohibit the labor of persons under 18 years of age. The Senate approved the measure a few weeks later, but it was never ratified by the states and is still technically pending – 1924
2015.04.20 history kidwork(Kids at Work: Lewis Hine and the Crusade Against Child Labor: Your heart will be broken by this exceptional book’s photographs of children at backbreaking, often life-threatening work, and the accompanying commentary by author Russell Freedman. Photographer Lewis Hine—who himself died in poverty in 1940—did as much, and perhaps more, than any social critic in the early part of the 20th century to expose the abuse of children, as young as three and four, by American capitalism.)

On the orders of President Roosevelt, the U.S. Army seizes the Chicago headquarters of the unionized Montgomery Ward & Co. after management defies the National Labor Relations Board – 1944

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April 19, 1974

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A one-week national strike by the Canadian Union of Postal Workers begins over wage inequality. The Canada Post Office’s new postal mechanization system was staffed with female postal code machine operators paid $2.94/hour compared to male postal clerks making $3.69/hour. In the end, an arbitrator awarded female postal coders the same wages as male postal clerks.

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Letter Carriers Continue A 23-Year Tradition Of Working To “STAMP OUT HUNGER”

1-in-7 Americans need food assistance including, 7 million seniors, over 1 million veterans, and  12 million children.

The National Association of Letter Carriers continue help feed those in our local communities who need assistance holding the nations largest annual one day food drive, on May 9th.

 

NALC 1 Minute PSA video link

http://216.164.46.16/commun/foodrive/2014/logos/SOH.jpgOn Saturday May 9th Letter Carriers  will be conducting their  annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive. The drive is the largest one-day food drive in the nation. Last year, more than 70 million pounds of food were collected, making this the eleventh consecutive year that collections reached over the 70-million-pound mark. Since the drive began in 1993, nearly 1.4 billion pounds have been collected. Residents are asked to just place non perishable food by their mailbox for their letter carrier to pick up and deliver to a local food pantry.

Led by letter carriers represented by the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), with help from Rural Letter Carriers (NRLCA), other postal employees and other volunteers, the drive has delivered food to local food banks at a critical time as food pantries often run low on donations in the Spring.   This years drive is enthusiastically cosponsored by the AFL CIO , The National Rural Letter Carriers Association and the United Way.

NALC 30 Second PSA video link 

2015_Food-Drive-Flyer-EnglishWhat makes this drive truly successful, year after year, is the amount of effort our food drive volunteers put in to help bring in as much food as possible,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said. “Rather than taking a well-deserved rest after a full day of delivering the mail, countless men and women in branches large and small spend untold hours working out the local logistics necessary to conduct a successful food drive so generous customers can help those in need.”
Letter carriers visit every address in America at least six days a week, so we are acutely aware of how hunger affects the communities we serve. Driven by a desire to do something about this problem, and inspired by the success that a number of branches had experienced with local food drives, in the early 1990s the NALC worked with the Postal Service to come up with a national food-collection campaign.

The nation’s labor unions are in full support of the food drive, says AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka: “With the support of unions all across America, the NALC can set a record in collections, helping those who have lost their jobs and the millions more facing economic uncertainty.

The United Way’s Stacey Stewart expressed her organizations support “The United Way will continue to partner with the NALC Food Drive in 2015. Its our privilege to once again, join with organized labor, an indispensable partner in our broader mission to create real and lasting change in communities throughout the United States.”

NRLCA President Jeanette Dwyer commented on the success and simplicity of the food drive: “It has become clear how such a small act of charity on the part of one person can resonate so profoundly in the communities in which we live.”

Please join us on America’s greatest day of giving.

To donate, just place a box or bag with your cans and non-perishable items next to your mailbox, before your letter carrier delivers mail on May 9th.

The carrier will do the rest.

The food is sorted, and delivered to a local food bank or pantry, where it is available for needy families.

For more information watch this short 7-minute video from the National Association of Letter Carriers that explains it all, and why letter carriers are donating their time to help feed the people in their own communities. 

(All of this information can also be found in Spanish in this video translated by NALC members in Puerto Rico Branch 869)

 

 

April 17, 1912

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The military arrives to crush a strike by more than 6,000 gold miners – on strike over long hours, appalling working conditions, and starvation wages – along the Lena River in southeast Siberia, Russia. The entire strike committee was quickly arrested and when 2,500 workers marched to demand their release, soldiers opened fire on them, killing and wounding over 500 people. Anger over the mass murder fueled a subsequent wave of strikes across the country.

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Tell Congress NO To Fast Track: A Special Message From AFT

This is a special message from AFT Secretary Treasurer Loretta Johnson.

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Yesterday, I spoke at a rally here in D.C., where hundreds gathered to urge Congress to put the brakes on “fast-track” trade deals that will hurt American workers. I don’t need to convince you that transparency is important when it comes to making decisions about our economy, jobs, safety and the environment. Unfortunately, just a few hours ago, the Senate introduced legislation that undercuts the public’s voice on free trade agreements through this fast-track legislation.

Click here to tell Congress NO to fast-track.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a free trade agreement that is currently being negotiated in secret between the United States and 11 other countries in the Asia-Pacific region. And legislation granting fast-track authority would enable corporate power-grabs like the TPP to be rushed through Congress, circumventing ordinary review, amendment and debate procedures.

The TPP will create rules and obligations that govern an estimated 40 percent of the world’s economy, yet few Americans are aware of its impact or even its existence. Unfortunately, the last 20 years of corporate-driven free trade policy have created a downward spiral in which jobs have been shipped overseas and worker, environmental and consumer protections have been eroded.

We cannot allow corporate interests to determine trade policy like the TPP. We must urge Congress to fend off the corporate call for fast-track.

Smart trade policy has the potential to promote shared global prosperity, which is why our communities—NOT multinational corporations—must be the driving force in shaping trade policy.

Please urge your members of Congress to protect our economy, jobs, environment and public health by opposing fast-track legislation.

In unity,

Lorretta Johnson

AFT Secretary-Treasurer

One more thing: Would you help us by sending this tweet?: To preserve & protect US jobs Congress must stop Fast Track for the TPP! #StopFastTrack

April 16, 1947

1947 TEXAS CITY DISASTER EXACT DATE UNKNOWN.

2,300 tons of ammonium nitrate on board a ship docked in the port of Texas City detonate, setting off a chain reaction of explosions and fires on other ships and nearby oil storage facilities. At least 581 people were killed and thousands more were seriously injured in the deadliest industrial disaster in U.S. history. As a result, changes in chemical manufacturing and new regulations for the bagging, handling, and shipping of chemicals were enacted.

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  • Matt Murray 2122Netroots

    Please #VoteForMatt to win a scholarship to attend Netroots Nation #NN15

    CLICK HERE TO VOTE

     
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