Tuesday, June 29, 2010 WASHINGTON HOSPITAL NURSES REJECT CONTRACT: Nurses at Washington Hospital Center overwhelmingly rejected management's proposed contract last weekend. The 987-21 vote -- the largest turnout in the union's history -- sent "a strong message to WHC management that we will not accept continued staffing shortages or reductions in benefits and wages," said Nurses United after the vote. The nurses are now working without a contract, the previous contract having expired at midnight on June 19. "This weekend’s vote was not a strike vote," the union said. "We do not want to go on strike, but we will if we have to. Our first choice is to resolve this at the negotiation table. A strike is our most powerful tool, and should it be necessary, we need to be ready to use it." Contract negotiations are expected to resume soon after the Fourth of July holiday. - Chris Garlock; photo: almost 2000 nurses rallied in May for a fair contract outside the Washington Hospital Center; photo by Adam Wright
DC FAILING OWN WORKERS: Jobless DC residents are being victimized by high unemployment and their own government’s failure to enforce basic laws specifically designed to help them. DC’s 4-year-old living wage law has yet to be implemented, and the District’s “first source” law is largely being ignored, according to recent reports and investigations. Councilmember Michael Brown (I-At large), will hold a hearing this Wednesday at 10A on his "District Resident Employment Trade Stimulus Act,” which would require development projects receiving over $200,000 in city funding to meet higher standards for employing D.C. residents, offer on-site training programs and to sign “Project Labor Agreements” setting workplace conditions. According to a report released by auditor Deborah Nichols in May, D.C.’s first source and living wage programs have not been enforced. These programs mandate an equitable hourly wage as well as require government contractors receiving taxpayer dollars to make sure that 51 percent of their new workers are District residents. Councilmember Michael Brown, Chairman of the Housing and Workforce Development committee, says that 72 percent of the 700,000 jobs in D.C. are held by non-District residents. First Source programs are meant to correct this disparity, but as the Washington Business Journal reported, of the 16 development projects that Nichols reviewed, only four met the 51 percent hiring requirement. - Essie Ablavsky, AFL-CIO Union Summer Intern; photo courtesy Georgetown University
LABOR ON THE MOVE: Reggie Cole Retires From AFL-CIO: "After more than 31 years of service, Reggie Cole is retiring and will be missed immensely!" reports the AFL-CIO. Cole (r) has filled several critical roles at the AFL-CIO, including nearly a decade as the Broadcast Manager. A celebration to honor her is being held on Wednesday, June 30. – photo by Joe Kekeris/AFL-CIO
LABOR PROFILE: Union Summer Site Coordinator Jennifer Tate: “I was born in solidarity,” says Jennifer Tate (below), site coordinator for the DC Union Summer intern program. The Michigan State graduate (’08) knew early on that she wanted to be a union member as well as an activist, growing up in a household fully engaged in the battle for workers rights and solidarity. Her mother, Eula Tate, was a lobbyist for the UAW for 20 years, as well as a city council member in Ypsilanti, Michigan, and father Ronnie Tate is a familiar front-desk face at the AFL-CIO. At school, Tate majored in political theory and constitutional democracy and went on to intern at AFGE and was herself a Union Summer intern in the summer of 2006. That fall, she worked on Jim Marcinkowski’s 2006 Congressional campaign and most recently she was a development associate at Project Vote. Tate looks forward to ensuring that each of the Union Summer interns has a fulfilling and inspiring experience working with the metro area labor movement this summer, and plans to continue her career fighting for labor solidarity in Washington after the program’s conclusion later this summer. “It's exciting to be on the other side of things as a (Union Summer) site coordinator," said Tate. "I now understand the significance of the work I did when I was a Union Summer intern.” – report/photo by Boaz Young-El, AFL-CIO Union Summer Intern
TODAY'S LABOR HISTORY: What is to be a 7-day streetcar strike begins in Chicago after several workers are unfairly fired. Wrote the police chief at the time, describing the strikers’ response to scabs: "One of my men said he was at the corner of Halsted and Madison Streets, and although he could see fifty stones in the air, he couldn't tell where they were coming from." The strike was settled to the workers’ satisfaction (1885); IWW strikes Weyerhauser and other Idaho lumber camps (1936); Jesus Pallares, founder of the 8,000-member coal miners union, Liga Obrera de Habla Esanola, is deported as an "undesirable alien." The union operated in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado (1936); The Boilermaker and Blacksmith unions merge to become International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers (1954); The U.S. Supreme Court rules in CWA v. Beck that, in a union security agreement, a union can collect as dues from non-members only that money necessary to perform its duties as a collective bargaining representative (1988); 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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