“CONTRACT OR LEAVE!” DEMAND HILTON WORKERS: Charging that the Hilton Crystal City is “violating workers’ rights,” dozens of hotel workers rallied in Northern Virginia Wednesday afternoon demanding that hotel owner Columbia Sussex “sign a fair contract or get out of town.” The workers have been without a contract since October 2007. The “last and final offer” imposed by management has “arbitrarily eliminated sick days, increased the burden of health care costs on employees, imposed layoffs and has prevented raises for more than three years,” said UNITE HERE Local 25 Organizer Mike Hachey. The workers rallied for over an hour in the asphyxiating humidity, the sound of their snare drums amplified through bullhorns as they waved signs reading “Boycott this hotel” and chanting “No justice, no peace!” Maintenance Mechanic Rafael Cruz told Union City that management is “intimidating us constantly- they force us to do twice the work with half the number of people.” He added, “In the 24 years that I have worked for the Hilton, never have I witnessed such greed and intimidation from our employer. We deserve to be treated with respect and dignity- not have our rights taken away. We all have families to take care of just like everyone else.” Hachey told Union City that Columbia Sussex has been hit hard by the boycott – which affects eight hotels in DC, Virginia, Chicago and California – yet they “still refuse to negotiate a fair contract.” He added, “We’re going to keep fighting until we win or they get out!” – report/photo by Adam Wright SEIU 32BJ HOSTS OPEN HOUSE AT NEW HQ SATURDAY: SEIU 32BJ "has consolidated its Silver Spring and DC offices to bring our organizing department, health care fund and training funds together under one roof," says District Chair and Area Director Jaime Contreras. "This will provide our members with better access to their union!" The local is showing off its new headquarters at an Open House this Saturday at 10A and 4P. With conference rooms, plenty of workstations, and an assembly room capable of hosting 130 people, the 13,000 square foot headquarters - located in the heart of downtown Washington at the corner of Vermont Avenue and L Street NW -- will comfortably accommodate the union's staff plus enough space for growth. "The new space is more professional and welcoming for our members and guests," Contreras told Union City at a preview earlier this week. "Plus there is excellent access to an array of public transport options nearby. Also," Contreras noted, "as always, our space can be made available for use by our union brothers and sisters and community allies. Stop by and check it out on Saturday!" Email Yaneth.Salcedo@seiu32bj.org for more information. - report/photo by Adam Wright
ONLINE COUNCIL DIRECTORY UPDATED: AFGE Local 2978 – which represents workers at the DC Department of Health – has new contact information, updated in the Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO’s online directory of local affiliates. Click here now to search for local 2978’s new address and phone number and to find the latest contact information for almost 200 affiliated area unions. The Metro Council's searchable online directory is quick and easy-to-use and is updated immediately as changes come in; email firstname.lastname@example.org if your local has any changes!
LABOR PROFILE: Union Summer Intern Boaz Young-El: Boaz Young-El’s interest in activism began as a minority student at Hampden-Sydney College in Farmville Virginia. “There was not much diversity at Hampden-Sydney,” says Young-El (l), so he joined the Minority Student Union (MSU), a social equality advocacy group on campus. “MSU was one of the most influential student organizations on campus,” Young-El says, “We fought for diversity among the student body and invited prominent black community leaders -- including novelist Nikki Giovanni -- to come speak on campus.” Giovanni addressed her own role in civil rights activism and how it mirrored MSU and Young-El’s work at Hampden-Sidney. Young-El was raised in Prince George, Virginia and graduated from Hampden-Sidney – where he majored in philosophy and later Spanish after studying abroad in Costa Rica where he fell in love with the language -- in 2010. He looks forward to establishing networking opportunities during his Union Summer internship, as well as learning more about the “many faces” of the Metro Washington Council, AFL-CIO. He plans to stay in the Washington area after Union Summer and pursue further employment opportunities with the local labor movement. - report/photo by Jack Arlook, AFL-CIO Union Summer Intern
TODAY'S LABOR HISTORY: Birth of Albert Parsons (r), Haymarket martyr (1848); Birth of Agnes Nestor, president of the International Glove Workers Union and longtime leader of the Chicago Women's Trade Union League. She began work in a glove factory at age 14 (1880); 17 workers are killed as methane explodes in a water tunnel under construction in Sylmar, Calif. (1971); More info & ammo for unionists is available online from Union Communication Services. - photo courtesy World Socialist Web Site
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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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