Thursday, July 22, 2010 ACTIVISTS TO RALLY FOR MINE WORKERS’ RIGHTS TODAY: Dozens of workers’ rights activists will rally outside the Press Club at 11:30A today to tell Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Massey Energy, Don Blankenship - whose company owns the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia where 29 miners were killed on April 5th - that “lives are more important than profits.” Protestors will meet in the AFL-CIO lobby, 815 16th Street, NW at 11:20A and walk to the event. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. - photo: Terry Cooper, his wife Michele, daughter Tera, 16, and son Justin, 11, comfort each other during a candlelight vigil in Montcoal, West Virginia April 10, 2010; photo courtesy John Gress/Reuters
“BOYCOTT THE RESERVE” URGE RESTAURANT WORKERS: Representatives from DC Jobs with Justice and community allies leafleted outside The Reserve on L Street, NW at noon yesterday, urging passersby to boycott the restaurant where workers are owed tens of thousands in back wages by owner Moe Hamdan. “Hamdan still refuses to pay his workers,” says DC JwJ Organizer Arturo Griffiths, “he is a thief! Not only has he ignored summonses by the DC Office of Wage and Hour, but has called police on workers who try to collect their pay.” Former employees and community supporters will leaflet every weekday until the end of the month; click here to sign up for a leafleting shift or email email@example.com for more information. – report/photo by Boaz Young-El, AFL-CIO Union Summer Intern
WHC NURSES CONTINUE PUSH FOR “FAIR CONTRACT”: Over 300 Nurses United members – who have been working without a contract since the end of June - rallied outside the Washington Hospital Center Monday, calling on management to bring “fair and reasonable” proposals to the bargaining table. “Nurses are not asking for pay increases, only to keep their pay where it is,” Nurses United of the National Capital Area Chief Steward Steven Frum told Union City. “Management is proposing drastic pay cuts and wants to take control of members' health care plans, insisting on having the right to make changes without any meaningful input from members.” He added, “Management also continues to bring unfair and unreasonable proposals to the table that nurses know will result in increasing staffing shortages and a lower quality of care. Monday’s picket was the first in a series of actions Nurses United will be taking to keep the pressure up on management until our members win a fair contract that preserves the high quality of care at the Washington Hospital Center.” – photo by Adam Wright
FED UP RESIDENTS ESTABLISH “TENT CITY”: Enraged over Mayor Fenty’s back flip on promises to provide affordable housing, dozens of DC's Shaw neighborhood residents, homeless activists and community allies – led by ONE DC and Take Back the Land – have established a ‘tent city’ on the corner of 7th and R Streets, NW to draw attention to the human right to housing. “Our stand is one of the people against the industrial greed of a corrupt Mayor,” said one occupant, who spoke on condition of anonymity, “housing should be developed to promote community, not wealth!” Residents of Shaw were promised that the block of land now occupied by the activists, Parcel 42, would be converted into affordable housing. However, residents argue that Mayor Fenty has reneged on his agreement and plans to “convert the space into upscale condominiums, damaging the chances of working people” to qualify for housing. Cavonn Ellis-Smith, an early activist in the settlement, told Union City Wednesday, “This is not just an organization – rather, it is people coming together for people.” DC Jobs with Justice urges the labor community to “stop by to show your support, and bring water or snacks for the campers!” Click here for more information. – report/photo by Joseph Daniels, AFL-CIO Union Summer Intern
MINER SAFETY TO BE EXPLORED AT LABOR BRIEFING: Join labor and community allies for a special briefing next Tuesday on the Miner Safety and Health Act of 2010, which seeks to strengthen oversight and enforcement in mines and other dangerous workplaces. Briefing organizers are seeking workers who have had workplace injuries and illnesses that would be willing to speak about their experience at the meeting. "Members of Congress need to hear about why this bill is needed!" says organizer Sara Markle-Elder. "Come learn more about the legislation and how it will help protect American workers' lives." Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 202-291-5565 for more information and to testify at the briefing.
TODAY'S LABOR HISTORY: Local militiamen are called out against striking railroad workers (below) in Pittsburgh. The head of the Pennsylvania Railroad advises giving the strikers "a rifle diet for a few days and see how they like that kind of bread." Instead, the militiamen joined the workers. Meanwhile, federal troops are sent to Baltimore, where they kill 10 strikers and wound 25 (1877); Compressed air explosion kills 20 workers constructing railroad tunnel under the Hudson River (1880); IWW leads a strike at Hodgeman's Blueberry Farm in Grand Junction, Mich. (1964); Radio station WCFL, owned and operated by the Chicago Federation of Labor, takes to the airwaves with two hours of music. The first and only labor-owned radio station in the country, WCFL was sold in 1979 (1926); A die-cast operator in Jackson, Mich. is pinned by a hydraulic Unimate robot, dies five days later. Incident is the first documented case in the U.S. of a robot killing a human (1984); More info & ammo for unionists is available online from Union Communication Services. - image courtesy DSA Labor Network
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