MAKING SOLIDARITY REAL: "Without your help we would not have advanced as far as we have," striking ironworker Christian Vasquez said at last night's DC Jobs With Justice "I'll Be There" awards. "We are like a tree that's planted by the river and we will continue our struggle to the end. Gracias!" The striking Wings ironworkers were among this year's award-winners, which included Mary Beth Maxwell -- former national field director for Jobs With Justice. Founding director of American Rights at Work and now a senior advisor to Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis -- DC ACLU Executive Director Johnny Barnes, and Kristi Matthews of the Fair Budget Coalition. Rev. Noemi Mena, pastor of the Iglesia Cristiana Nacional Hispana, served as Master of Ceremonies. The eighth annual awards -- held in the AFL-CIO's Gompers Room -- also celebrated a slew of wins for District workers, including recovering over $15,000 in stolen wages for day laborers, defeating the anti-immigrant policing program and helping launch the Take Back DC campaign. "DC Jobs with Justice makes solidarity real," Maxwell said, "We can do something difficult together that we can't do alone." Added Barnes, "the African proverb teaches us 'we for us'; together we cannot be broken. Know who you are, know what you're fighting for, and stick together!" And Matthews urged the crowd of JWJ supporters to "Be the change you want to see in the world." The fundraiser also surpassed its $20,000 goal, with many supporters taking ads in the program book and joining the monthly sustainer program. With much work for justice in DC yet to do, "The fight is not over," reminded Metro Council President Jos Williams, "the fight goes on." Noemi Mena, pastor of the Iglesia Cristiana Nacional Hispana, served as Master of Ceremonies, with music by Lilo Gonzalez and Head-Roc. - report/photo by Chris Garlock; photo; 2010 "I'll Be There" award winners; musician Lilo Gonzalez (right)
STUDENTS GET THEIR HANDS ON FUTURE JOBS AT PLUMBER'S OPEN HOUSE: Hands-on welding and a controlled fire exercise were among the highlights of Tuesday's UA Mechanical Trades' Open House for students in the Community Service Agency's GSA Building Futures Project. As part of their pre-apprenticeship curriculum, the students visited the Plumbers and Steamfitter's training campus in Landover, which includes a Plumbers & Gasfitters' School, the Steamfitters' School and a welding building. Guided by Gary Murdoch, Steamfitters Local 602 Assistant Apprenticeship Director, the students started out at "Bruce's Shop," a maze of pipes outside the Steamfitter's School Building run by Welding Instructor Bruce Dantley (at left), where all new apprentices begin their training. After a tour of the two schools and a cookout lunch, the students learned more about piping, got a chance to do some hands-on welding, saw sprinkler system safety demonstrated in a close-up controlled fire exercise and got a look at how new environmental green technologies will shape the future of the mechanical trades. "I don't want to miss the Plumber's School deadline in July" said enthusiastic student Paul McDuffey after the tour, "Thank you for giving us this opportunity!" The GSA-funded Building Futures program is run by the Metro Washington Council's Community Services Agency in partnership with Covenant House Washington and Wider Opportunities for Women. - report/photo by Silvia Casaro Dietert
LABOR QUOTE QUIZ: "A year ago, we were being told, you have to deregulate more. Now, we are going to have to save capitalism from the capitalists." Who said it? Senator Al Franken, Congressman Barney Frank, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, or Congressman Dennis Kucinich? Click hereto vote and you could be a winner! LAST WEEK’S QUIZ: Diane King was last week’s winner, correctly identifying historian Howard Zinn as saying “If the gods had intended for people to vote, they would have given us candidates.” - photo: Zinn (at right) is seen with DC Labor FilmFest Director Chris Garlock in 2009; photo by Ben Garlock
WEEKEND LABOR HISTORY: Representatives from the AFL, Knights of Labor, populists, railroad brotherhoods and other trade unions hold a unity conference in St. Louis but fail to overcome their differences (6/11/1894); Police shoot at maritime workers striking United Fruit Co. in New Orleans; 1 killed, 2 wounded (6/11/1913); John L. Lewis dies. A legendary figure, he was president of the United Mine Workers from 1920 to 1960 and a driving force behind the formation of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (6/11/1969); Fifty thousand members of the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen employed in meatpacking plants walk off their jobs; demands include equalization of wages and conditions throughout U.S. plants (6/12/1904); 260 die in Butte mine disaster; 14,000 strike against unsafe conditions (6/12/1917); The U.S. Supreme Court invalidates two sections of a Florida law: one required state licensing of paid union business agents, the other required registration with the state of all unions and their officers (6/12/1945); Major League Baseball strike begins, forces cancellation of 713 games. Most observers blamed team owners for the strike: they were trying to recover from a court decision favoring the players on free agency (6/12/1981); American Railway Union, headed by Eugene V. Debs, founded (6/13/1893); Tony Mazzocchi (r) born in Brooklyn, N.Y. An activist and officer in the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers union, he was a mentor to Karen Silkwood, a founder of the Labor Party and a prime mover behind the 1970 passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. He also co-founded the DC Labor FilmFest in 2001 and the festival's Tony Mazzocchi Labor Arts Award is named in his honor and presented to filmmakers for "outstanding contributions to advancing worker solidarity through the arts" (6/13/1926); More info & ammo for unionists is available online from Union Communication Services. - photo courtesy United Steelworkers' Tony Mazzocchi Center
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Published by the Metropolitan Washington Council, an AFL-CIO "Union City" Central Labor Council whose 200 affiliated union locals represent 150,000 area union members. JOSLYN N. WILLIAMS, PRESIDENT.
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