Tuesday, July 13, 2010 LOCAL 99 GRADS KEEP THEIR COOL: After more than 8,000 hours of on-the-job training and 600 hours in the classroom, 14 students graduated last month from the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 99 Joint Apprentice-ship Committee training program. Operating engineers make sure the air conditioning, heat, ventilation, light, and power are working in buildings, industrial plants, and other worksites throughout Washington, operating and maintaining automated or computerized control systems, stationary engines, and auxiliary equipment such as boilers, generators and pollution control devices. The 2010 IUOE 99 graduating class is "a great testament to the high standards Local 99 has always brought to training," Local 99 Lead Organizer Eamon Clifford told Union City, "They really stepped up to the plate and they should be proud of all they have accomplished." This year's class Valedictorian was Randy Russell from PM Services Company, while Justin Barber from Louis Dreyfus Property Group and Nebiat Gebremariam from Vornado/Charles E. Smith were recognized as honor students. "We are very proud of you all," said Local 99 Business Manager Michael Murphy. - photo courtesy Local 99
A CHANCE FOR INJURED WORKERS TO SPEAK OUT: If you or someone you know -- a member of your local, for instance -- has been injured on the job, Sara Markle-Elder wants to talk to you. Markle-Elder is organizing a job safety town halllater this month on federal legislation which seeks to strengthen oversight and enforcement in dangerous workplaces. Town Hall organizers are seeking workers who have had workplace injuries and illnesses to speak out about their experiences. "Members of Congress need to hear about why this bill is needed!" says Markle-Elder. Contact her at 202-291-5565 or firstname.lastname@example.org.The town hall meeting is sponsored by the National Committee for Occupational Safety and Health, the Northern Virginia Labor Federation, the Metropolitan Washington Council and the Virginia AFL-CIO. - photo courtesy Occupational Health Networks
LABOR ON THE MOVE: AFSCME’S Bill Lucy Retires: Longtime labor icon and civil rights leader William Lucy (r) -- known to everyone as Bill -- has retired after more than four decades at the forefront of the labor movement. As Secretary-Treasurer of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) for nearly 40 years, Lucy helped the union grow from 200,000 to over 1.4 million members nationwide. He also helped define the role of African Americans in the labor movement when he founded the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU) in 1972, the same year he was elected Secretary-Treasurer of AFSCME. Along the way he stood alongside the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in civil rights struggles like the Memphis sanitation strike and Nelson Mandela in opposition to apartheid, organizing the Free South Africa movement to force the U.S. government to take action. In October 1995, Lucy was named a member of the AFL-CIO Executive Council, the highest decision-making body in the powerful labor federation. He is also vice president of AFL-CIO's Industrial Union Department, Maritime Trades Department, and Department of Professional Employees. Click here for a moving video tribute to Lucy at last week’s AFSCME convention. Click herefor Union City’s previous report on Lucy’s retirement. Chuck Gray Passes: Chuck Gray (below), Director of the Asian-American Free Labor Institute (AAFLI) and before that, Director of the Federation's International Affairs Department, passed away on June 22nd. AAFLI was one of the four regional institutes that merged to become the Solidarity Center in 1997. Gray “applied his considerable talents to protecting the rights and improving the lives of countless working people all over the world, most of whom he would never meet,” wrote Jim Baker of the International Trade Union Confederation in Brussels, Belgium in the Washington’s Post’s obituary. “He worked and lived with commitment and passion.” Surviving family include his son, Tim Gray, who works at the AFL-CIO. - photo (top) by Thor Swift, (bottom) courtesy The Washignton Post
TODAY'S LABOR HISTORY: Southern Tenant Farmers' Union organized in Tyronza, Ark. (1934); Detroit newspaper workers begin 19-month strike against Gannett, Knight-Ridder (1995); More info & ammo for unionists is available online from Union Communication Services. - photo courtesy Scott Martelle
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