BAD BLOOD AT THE RED CROSS: Bad blood is more than a metaphor at the American Red Cross. Hundreds of workers demonstrated outside national Red Cross headquarters under the blistering afternoon sun yesterday to expose the aid agency's poor treatment of both its workers and the nation's blood supply. The Red Cross has been “reprimanded numerous times for their unacceptable policies," one demonstrator told Union City, "yet this organization continues to turn a blind eye to their mistreatment of their workers and the mismanagement of their blood supply." The picketers - delegates to this week's OPEIU convention in DC - carried signs reading “Tell the American Red Cross: Qualified Staff Means A Safe Blood Supply!” to protest their “extreme dissatisfaction” with the aid agency. The Red Cross “refuses to adhere to staffing requirements and workers’ rights,” said another demonstrator, adding that the agency has been under Congressional decree for over 15 years “with no sign of improvement.” Frank Hornick - a business representative for SEIU - said, “These issues lead to the dangerous distribution of untested - or ‘bad’ - blood, which many times has not even been tested for diseases such as syphilis.” The leadership of the Red Cross needs to “either change now or leave,” said OPEIU Local 459 Business Representative Joe Marutiak, noting that the Red Cross has been fined over 16 million dollars in the last week alone for mismanagement of distributed blood. – report/photo by Boaz Young-El, AFL-CIO Union Summer Intern
TEAMSTERS BLOW WHISTLE ON DAYCON AT UMD COLLEGE PARK: Striking Teamsters literally blew their whistles on Daycon during a picket at the University of Maryland’s College Park campus Friday after discovering that the school was using a Daycon truck as an on-site supply drop for cleaning supplies. The strike against Daycon - a local cleaning product supplier - is now in its ninth week. When campus police objected to the pickets, “I told them to call Daycon and have them get the truck out of here,” reported Teamsters 639’s Doug Webber. - Chris Garlock; photo by Buddy Robson
NATS STADIUM WORKERS INK NEW CONTRACT: With a hot new pitcher on the mound and a freshly-approved contract in hand, members of UNITE HERE Local 25 are enthusiastically cheering on the Nationals. Workers at the Nationals Stadium - members of Local 25 - overwhelmingly approved a new agreement Monday afternoon. "It's a great contract," said UNITE HERE Local 25 Executive Secretary-Treasurer John Boardman. "Money was not the issue," said Boardman, noting that the Nationals readily agreed to wage, benefit and pension improvements. "The major issue was subcontracting," Boardman said. "We had three tough months of negotiations, a great negotiating committee and a membership that was well-aware of what was at stake. In the end, we not only preserved more than 500 existing union jobs at the stadium, but as the Nationals build out more facilities in the future, they've agreed that workers at existing vendors will be covered and a card-check neutrality agreement will cover those at new vendors. We couldn't be more pleased." The Local 25 members work at the concession stands throughout the Nationals ballpark. Click here for details on the Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO's upcoming Labor Night At The Nats, scheduled for Friday, July 9. - photo: OPEIU Local 2 member and AFSCME IU staffer Renee Barnes singing the national anthem at last year's Labor Night At The Nats; photo by Chris Garlock
MONTCO TENANT GROUP TO CALL FOR RENT STABILIZATION, IMPROVED RENTER LAWS: Rent stabilization and improved renter laws in Montgomery County are among the recommendations the Montgomery County Tenants Work Groupwill make to the Montgomery County Council today. "Right now there's very little to protect renters in Montgomery County against out-of-control rent increases and landlord abuse," says Work Group Chair Matt Losak, former National Labor College Communications Director, and Baltimore-Washington Newspaper Guild Executive Board member. "Between the current economic crisis and the existing housing shortage, renters need increased protections." The Tenant's Work Group - formed in 2008 by County Executive Isiah Leggett - issued its formal reportin March and is urging concerned union members and tenants to turn out to support their recommendations at the County Council this morning at 10a (Council Chambers, 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville MD), where they'll also recommend the establishment of a permanent organization dedicated to advancing the cause of tenants rights. "In response to the report's recommendations, we will soon announce the founding of the Montgomery County Renters Alliance, a non-profit dedicated to implementing the TWG's report recommendations and establishing a permanent voice for the more than 200,000 renters living in the County," says Losak. - photo courtesy Coalition for Economic Survival
LABOR PROFILE: Union Summer Intern Essie Ablavsky: Inspired by anarchist Emma Goldman and folksinger Utah Phillips, Union Summer intern Essie Ablavsky (below) is back for her second summer of union activism. “They addressed issues of inequality and referenced the labor movement” says Ablavsky, “it really captured my interest.” The New College of Florida student – a Massachusetts native -- interned last summer in Boston with UNITE HERE, registering union members to vote, training as an organizer and campaigning for Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. “I just want to get a broader understanding of the labor movement” this year, she says, “everything from politics to organizing.” The Union Summer internship interested Ablavsky “because there are not a lot of formal programs that deal with the labor movement.” This Fall, Ablavsky, a sociology major, will travel to Mexico to study with the Mexico Solidarity Network, working with social movement organizations including the Zapatistas. - report/photo by Jasmine Butler, AFL-CIO Union Summer Intern
TODAY'S LABOR HISTORY: Violence erupted during a coal mine strike at Herrin, Ill. Thirty-six were killed, 21 of them non-union miners (1922); More info & ammo for unionists is available online from Union Communication Services.
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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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