NLRB CHARGES DAYCON VIOLATED LAW: Strikers at Daycon won a victory last Friday when the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decided to charge the local cleaning products company with significant violations of federal labor law. After conducting a major investigation for several months, the NLRB is issuing formal charges contending that Daycon improperly declared impasse and unilaterally imposed new conditions on workers in April. According to Teamsters 639's Doug Webber, that action precipitated the strike. The NLRB had previously dismissed multiple charges filed by Daycon against the union. "We've said all along that the union was -- and still is -- willing to bargain," said Webber, and on Friday the union notified Daycon that the strikers were willing to return to work "unconditionally, effective Tuesday, and to return to the bargaining table" said Webber. “We’ve bargained in good faith and will continue to do so,” said Webber. The union expects more developments this week. - Chris Garlock
OPERA MANAGEMENT, UNION MEMBERS SINGING OFF SAME PAGE: Labor and management are in harmony at the Washington National Opera. Again. Workers and management at the 54-year-old local musical institution settled a new contract in less than 48 hours last month, reports Eleni Kallas, National Director of Organizing and Training at the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA). "We have a great relationship with our employers," says Kallas, "Together, AGMA and the Washington Opera brainstorm to fix problems as they arise" Although the workers struck twice in the early 1990s, the relationship is now so harmonious that in 2008 AGMA nominated the Washington National Opera for the "Labor Day List" award of top employers by American Rights at Work. The new agreement provides singers, dancers, stage managers, and principal artists at the Opera with modest increases in wages and benefits over the next three years, says Kallas. - Boaz Young-El, AFL-CIO Union Summer intern; photo: members of both negotiation teams celebrate the new contract together; photo courtesy AGMA
MOTT'S STRIKERS TAKE A STAND FOR AMERICAN BLUE-COLLAR WORKERS by Chris Garlock They'd rather be making applesauce. Instead, the workers at Mott's have been on strike in upstate New York since May 23, in what they say is the latest battle against unchecked corporate greed. On Friday, while visiting my parents in nearby Rochester for the holiday weekend, I stopped by the picketline in Williamson to host the workers on Gloria Minott's Friday morning show on WPFW and to deliver letters of support from the Metro Washington Council and UFCW Local 400, a sister local to UFCW Local 220, which represents the 300 striking workers. "We've never had a strike in the 54 years the plant has been here, but enough is enough," line worker Fred Acevedo -- who's been working there 22 years -- told me, as cars and trucks whizzed past on the highway outside the Motts plant. The picketline stretches around the huge plant, delineated by a line of American flags planted in the ground, isolated knots of picketers and anchored by two huge inflatable rats that draw toots of support from the passing motorists. Mott's changed ownership two years ago, when previous owner Cadbury-Schweppes sold it to the Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPS) and the new owners made no secret of their intention to drive down wages and benefits, local 220 President Mike Leberth -- a lead production technician in the plant -- told me. "They said we were paid too much and that we were monkeys whose jobs could be done by anyone." In the DC area, UFCW Local 400 members continue to distribute flyers urging a boycott of Motts, Dr Pepper and Snapple;click here for details. CLICK HERE for our complete report and more photos from the picketline. - photo by Ann Vollertsen, UFCW 220 member and Mott's filler-operator mechanic
EXCLUDED WORKERS ORGANIZE FOR RIGHTS: Fifty one local activists traveled to Detroit recently, chartering a bus to attend the U.S. Social Forum held June 22 - 26th. The group included students, union members, members of DC Jobs with Justice and Empower DC, Wings strikers, and Union de Trabajadores members. In Detroit they joined up with members of UFCW Local 400 and AFGE Local 2741 who were also participating in the Forum. One of the event’s features was the Excluded Worker Congress, which brought together domestic workers and farm workers -- historically excluded from organizing rights -- informal sector workers such as taxi drivers, restaurant workers and day laborers, welfare-to-work participants, workers in "right to work" states, and other workers now excluded from bargaining rights, such as TSO screeners. Workers shared testimonies, as well as calls to action for their organizing campaigns. DC participants included members of DC Jobs with Justice, the Union de Trabajadores, the Justice at Wings strike, and Georgetown's Kalmanowitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor. "Our fathers and forefathers have fought too hard to let us go back to slavery," said Lamar Denton, catfish cannery worker and member of the Mississippi Workers Center, who spoke about the harassment and mistreatment workers face at the Gulf Coast company where he and co-workers are trying to organize with UFCW Local 1529. "Maybe someday you'll be AFL-CIO members, and maybe you won't,” said Eddie Acosta of the AFL-CIO, encouraging workers of every sector to come together to organize for their rights. “But the AFL-CIO will be there with you. Our futures are tied very closely together." - Mackenzie Baris; click here for Bankole Thompson’s report on the Congress: "Excluded Workers" Move from Shadows to Negotiating Table; photo (r-l): Felix Salvador, Mackenzie Baris, Christian Vasquez and Socorro Garcia; photo by Bankole Thompson/IPS
NEW YORK GROUP TRYING TO RAID UFCW IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY: An out-of-town labor group with a “checkered past” is raiding Montgomery County government workers, reports UFCW Local 1994 MCGEO. The National Corrections Employees Union (NCEU) from Massachusetts and the New York-based United Public Service Employees Union (UPSEU) are soliciting the Local 1994 members for signatures on a decertification petition. Local 1994 secretary-treasurer Yvette Cuffie says the organizations want to “play on the understandable frustrations of our members who just came through a bruising budget battle.” UPSEU in particular has a “checkered past,” according to Cuffie. “They’ve been associated with raids on the SEIU, AFSCME, the IBEW and the New York Building Trades. In one incident in 2003, complaints about rat contracts on New York building projects persuaded then AFL-CIO President John Sweeney to revoke the IUJAT charter.”
TODAY'S LABOR HISTORY: Two strikers and a bystander are killed, 30 seriously wounded by police in Duluth, Minn. The workers, mostly immigrants building the city’s streets and sewers, struck after contractors reneged on a promise to pay $1.75 a day (1889); Two barges, loaded with Pinkerton thugs hired by the Carnegie Steel Co., landed on the south bank of the Monongahela River in Homestead, Penn. seeking to occupy Carnegie Steel Works and put down a strike by members of the Amalgamated Association of Iron & Steel Workers (1892); Rail union leader Eugene V. Debs is arrested during the Pullman strike, described by the New York Times as "a struggle between the greatest and most important labor organization and the entire railroad capital" that involved some 250,000 workers in 27 states at its peak (1894); Transit workers in New York begin what is to be an unsuccessful 3-week strike against the then-privately owned IRT subway. Most transit workers labored seven days a week, up to 11.5 hours a day (1926); 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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