Monday, June 21, 2010

UNION CITY! 06/21/2010


Today, June 21 1P:
OPEIU Protests Unfair
Labor Practices at Red Cross

Today, June 21 6:30P:
Metro Council Delegate Meeting

Monday, June 21, 2010

ON THE LINE TODAY: Join hundreds of OPEIU members, the DC Union Summer interns and two giant inflatable rats at the 1p Red Cross picket line today and then catch up on all the latest local labor news - including reports on the 8-week Teamsters strike against Daycon and contract negotiations at the Washington Hospital Center - at the 6:30p Metro Council Delegate Meeting (last one before the summer break!). Also on the agenda: DC, P.G. and Tri-County COPE candidate endorsement recommendations, Labor Night at the Nats, DC Labor FilmFest & more!
- photo: striking Daycon workers walking the line in May;
photo by Adam Wright

NURSES URGED TO VOTE DOWN CONTRACT AMID LEADERSHIP CRISIS AT WASHINGTON HOSPITAL CENTER: Nurses at Washington Hospital Center are being urged to vote down "insulting contract proposals" after 13 weeks of fruitless negotiations. Meanwhile, as contract talks collapsed last Thursday, the hospital announced that interim president Harry Rider is leaving office early and senior vice president for nursing Elizabeth Wykpisz is unexpectedly leaving June 30. "Their leadership is in crisis," says Nurses United of the National Capital Area Chief Steward Steven Frum. Members of Nurses United last week collected hundreds of signatures from hospital employees informing MedStar, the Maryland chain that owns the hospital, that it has no confidence in the surviving management team. Washington Hospital Center (WHC) "continues to demand contract changes that devalue nurses and our profession," the Nurses United negotiating team reported after the final negotiating session last Thursday. The contract expires at midnight Saturday, June 19. Citing patient safety as their top priority, the union said that "Nurses are not willing to settle for massive wage cutbacks coupled with a lack of commitment to improve staffing. We need the best and brightest nurses to stay at WHC, (but) this will not happen with the proposals (WHC) has on the table. Quality patient care is in great jeopardy." The contract vote is set for June 25-26 and is separate from a possible future strike vote. - Chris Garlock; photo: almost 2000 nurses rallied in May for a fair contract outside the Washington Hospital Center; photo by Adam Wright

STRIKING IRON WORKERS TAKE BATTLE TO NEXT LEVEL: Striking iron workers took their 8-month battle for justice to La Plata on Friday. Accompanied by representatives of DC Jobs with Justice and six Union Summer interns, the iron workers - who have been on strike against Wings Construction since October 2009 -- demanded to speak to the owner of Facchina Construction, a general contractor that subcontracts work to Wings. The workers, who say they're treated "like slaves," want Facchina to stop hiring Wings until their demands for improved job safety, health insurance and better wages are met. When no-one from Facchina was available to meet with them, the workers left information about their concerns and plan to follow up in the coming weeks with the company, as well as with other general contractors who use Wings. "Enough is enough," said one of the workers. - Jasmine Butler & Ryan Carty, AFL-CIO Union Summer Interns; photo by Ryan Carty

CARPENTER TRAINEES BUILD RELATIONSHIPS: After three months of carpentry, math and job readiness training, seven DC residents graduated last Thursday from the DC DOES-funded Carpenters Employment Training Program at Phelps High School in the District’s Northeast. The graduates learned about the tools of the trade and safely used them to build quality bookcases and tool boxes - some of which were donated to the school. "This program was very helpful!" said graduate Melvin Knight, "I learned a lot about the trade and look forward to becoming a carpenter!” Asked what he built at the program, graduate Raymond Whittington replied enthusiastically, "I built relationships - I learned skills for life." Instructors Paul Isom, from the Baltimore Carpentry School, and Kevin Hughes, from DC Joint Carpentry Apprenticeship Committee, received rave reviews from training participants with whom - day in and day out - they shared their craft and love of the trade. Grads also expressed their appreciation for Yvette De La Cruz, a consultant for the Community Services Agency, who spearheaded the job readiness component and prepared participants to be successful in today's workplace. "Thanks to the instructors, DC-DOES, the Community Services Agency, and the school that hosted us, for making this program a huge success!" added Whittington. – report by Sylvia Casaro Dietert; photo: graduates present a bookcase to Phelps High School Principal Michael Johnson (second from right); photo by Yvette De La Cruz

LEARNING ABOUT U.S. LABOR THROUGH THE NATIONAL PASTIME: A group of Russian labor professionals will be among the crowd at the July 9 Labor Night at the Nats. The Russians will be here "to meet with their counterparts and learn more about labor relations," says Michael Ginsberg of the Center for International Programs, who calls the labor baseball event "a spectacular networking opportunity for them!" Tickets ($10 each) are still available: email - photo by Chris Garlock

LABOR PROFILE: Union Summer Intern Joseph Daniels: It’s no surprise that DC native Joe Daniels (below) is fascinated by politics. After following the 2004 election, Daniels – one of seven Union Summer interns at the Metro Council -- was hooked and wanted to “learn more about how our government ticks and how it affects the people.”  Since then, he’s followed politics closely in his hometown and is majoring in politics at Messiah College in Pennsylvania. He was looking for a political job this summer and sees his Union Summer internship as a chance to learn how politics are related to the labor movement. He recently interviewed an unemployed member of IUEC Local 10 at the Navy Yard, an experience that showed Daniels how workers can be positively affected by a law ensuring that government-funded projects in the District hire local workers. Looking ahead to the rest of his Union Summer, Daniels says he wants to see "the work we do build to a successful result" advancing the Employee Trade Stimulus Act. In his free time Daniels enjoys playing baseball, learning about cars and visiting the Smithsonian museums, especially political exhibits in the National Museum of American History. - report/photo by Ryan Carty, AFL-CIO Union Summer Intern

LABOR QUOTE QUIZ: "Individual commitment to a group effort -- that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work." Which coach said it? Phil Jackson, Vince Lombardi, Pat Summit or John Wooden? Click here to vote now and you could be a winner! LAST WEEK'S QUIZ: Robert Byrne was last week's winner, drawn at random from those correctly identifying US Congressman Barney Frank (D - MA, at right) as saying in 2008, "A year ago, we were being told, you have to deregulate more. Now, we are going to have to save capitalism from the capitalists." "This was a tough one," said Susan Flashman, "as I think at some time, any one of these people might have said it." - photo courtesy Associated Press

TODAY'S LABOR HISTORY: In England, a compassionate parliament declares that children can't be required to work more than 12 hours a day. And they must have an hour's instruction in the Christian Religion every Sunday and not be required to sleep more than two in a bed (1802); 10 miners accused of being militant "Molly Maguires" are hanged in Pennsylvania. A private corporation initiated the investigation of the 10 through a private detective agency. A private police force arrested them, and private attorneys for the coal companies prosecuted them. "The state provided only the courtroom & the gallows," a judge said many years later (1877); The U.S. Supreme Court upholds the right of unions to publish statements urging members to vote for a specific congressional candidate, ruling that such advocacy is not a violation of the Federal Corrupt Practices Act (1948); 100,000 unionists and other supporters march in solidarity (above) with striking Detroit News and Detroit Free Press newspaper workers (1997); More info & ammo for unionists is available online from Union Communication Services.
- photo by Paul Felton

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Material published in UNION CITY may be freely reproduced by any recipient; please credit the Council as the source.
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. 
Story suggestions, event announcements, campaign reports, Letters to the Editor and other material are welcome, subject to editing for clarity and space, and should be directed to: 
Editor: Chris Garlock
Assistant Editor: Adam Wright
Voice: 202-974-8153
Fax: 202-974-8152

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