NURSES CAST “NO CONFIDENCE” VOTE AT WASHINGTON HOSPITAL CENTER: “Come back with some good results!” called out the nurse. “We’re working on it,” replied OR nurse Valerie Braden (below, left), a shop steward for Nurses United at the Washington Hospital Center. Braden was one of two dozen union nurses clad in purple shirts emblazoned with “Nurses United + Fair Contract = SAFE CARE” who fanned out through the WHC Tuesday, collecting signatures on a petition declaring “no confidence” in hospital management. The contract covering 1,600 WHC nurses expires at midnight and a final bargaining session is set for Thursday. It took Braden’s team – which included clinical nurse Greg Pelletier (right) and Tina Gray (center) – more than an hour to work their way through just two break rooms, as nurses aired their concerns about working conditions in the hospital. “I’ve been here for 17 years,” said a nurse in the Cardiovascular Recovery break room, “and contract after contract the message we get is that management doesn’t value us. So why should I drive 45 minutes for a pay cut?” Nurses United President Dorothy “Dottie” Hararas says she’s hoping for “a 180-degree turn” by hospital management. “They want to slash everything,” Hararas said in the hospital cafeteria Tuesday, the local’s impromptu command center for the day. “All we want them to do is give us what we earn, give us what we deserve.” Nurses United is also fighting to win back jobs for nurses unfairly fired – including 31-year veteran nurse Geri Lee, who’s reported on the firings at recent Metro Council meetings -- during the February snowstorms that shut down DC for a week. Click here for reports in The Washington Postand Washington City Paper. - report/photo by Chris Garlock
DC JWJ ORGANIZES BUS TO SOCIAL FORUM: Seats are going fast on DC Jobs with Justice’s busto the second US Social Forum June 22-26 in Detroit, MI. “Join tens of thousands of activists as we gather in Detroit under the banner, ‘Another World is Possible, Another U.S. is Necessary,’" says DC JWJ Executive Director Mackenzie Baris. Click hereto reserve a seat or for more details. The Social Forum comes on the heels of last month’s Greater DC People's Assembly and among the planned workshops is "Keeping Your Services Off the Chopping Block: the Nuts and Bolts of Building Labor-Community Alliances to Protect Public Services," co-organized by Jobs with Justice and the American Federation of Government Employees. “Throughout the country labor-community coalitions have emerged not only to fight back against the privatization of public resources, but also to provide alternatives for filling the budget gap,” adds Baris. “This workshop is just one of hundreds of opportunities to showcase some of the struggles currently taking place, share best practices and reinvigorate your organizing.” - Ruth Castel-Branco; image courtesy Labor Heritage Foundation
UNION PLUS UPS AT&T DISCOUNT TO 15%: Just in time for the new iPhone 4 release, Union Plus has increased union members' AT&T Discountto 15% from 10%. “Now is a great time to tell your members to switch their wireless service to AT&T to get savings, service and solidarity with the only completely unionized wireless service provider,” says UP’s Jennifer Wright Dorr. For more AT&T print- or web-ready content including web banners, fliers and a full range of ad sizes, click here.
TODAY'S LABOR HISTORY: Eight local unions organize the International Fur Workers Union of U.S. and Canada. The union later merged with the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen, which eventually merged with the Retail Clerks International Union to become the United Food and Commercial Workers (1913); Railroad union leader and socialist Eugene V. Debs (below) speaks in Canton, Ohio on the relation between capitalism and war. Ten days later he is arrested under the Espionage Act, eventually sentenced to 10 years in jail (1918); National Industrial Recovery Act becomes law, establishes the right to unionize, sets maximum hours and minimum wages for every major industry, abolishes sweatshops and child labor (1933); Inacom Corp., once the world's largest computer dealer, sends most of its 5,100 employees an e-mail instructing them to call a toll-free phone number; when they call, a recorded message announces they have been fired (2000); More info & ammo for unionists is available online from Union Communication Services. - photo courtesy peacebuttons.info
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