“SHAME ON MASSEY” SAY PROTESTERS: More than 50 labor rights activists rallied outside the National Press Club Thursday where Don Blankenship – the Chairman and CEO of mining company Massey Energy – was scheduled to speak. “A total of 31 miners have been killed this year at mines owned by Massey,” Peg Seminario, AFL-CIO director of Safety and Health, told Union City. “These tragic deaths are a direct result of Don Blankenship and Massey Energy’s repeated health and safety violations. They need to be held accountable and take responsibility, rather than pushing the blame onto workers!” The protesters rallied for an hour in the midday heat, chanting “People over profit – kill no more!” and “Shame on Massey” as they handed leaflets to onlookers. Following the rally, a small delegation entered the building to directly ask Blankenship, “How many workers have to die for you to follow safety laws?” – report/photo by Adam Wright
LABOR FOR GRAY FUNDRAISER NEXT WEEK: Local unions are encouraged to show their support for labor-endorsed candidate for Mayor of the District of Columbia, Vince Gray, at a reception and fundraiser next Tuesday, July 27. “I strongly urge you to help support Vince's campaign by attending this event,” says Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO President Jos Williams. “Vince is a leader of, by and for the people, and his broad vision and deep community roots are just what the District needs to come together around a common agenda.” Make checks payable to "Vince Gray for Mayor" and bring them to the reception; maximum contribution is $2,000 per local, international or individual. Please RSVP to Alya Solomon: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you cannot attend, send your checks to the Metro Washington Council, AFL-CIO: 888 16th Street NW, Suite 520, Washington, DC 20006. - photo: labor leaders and union members turned out in force to support Vince Gray's candidacy announcement in March, 2010; photo by Johnnie Walker, AFGE 383
TOUGH MINE, WORKPLACE SAFETY BILL ADVANCES: “Tough new mine safety and workplace safety rules cleared a big hurdle Wednesday when the House Education and Labor Committee approved legislation that includes stronger enforcement tools, tougher penalties and broader workers’ rights,” reports the AFL-CIO. “The bill—now named The Robert C. Byrd Miner Safety and Health Act (H.R. 5663) in honor of the late West Virginia senator who was a champion of mine safety—focuses on mine safety, but also includes provisions to strengthen safety protections in all workplaces.” Labor and community allies can learn more about the legislation and hear from Dr. David Michaels, Secretary of OSHA, at a town hall meeting on Tuesday, July 27 at 7P; click here for details.
SEARCHABLE UNION CITY ARCHIVE: Nearly five years of Union City stories are just a click away in Union City’s searchable online archives. Now you can quickly locate complete articles – along with photos and artwork – going back to December 2005.
WEEKEND LABOR HISTORY: Anarchist Alexander Berkman (below) shoots and stabs but fails to kill steel magnate Henry Clay Frick in an effort to avenge the Homestead massacre 18 days earlier, in which nine strikers were killed. Berkman also tried to use what was, in effect, a suicide bomb, but it didn't detonate (7/23/1892); Northern Michigan copper miners strike for union recognition, higher wages and eight-hour day. By the time they threw in the towel the following April, 1,100 had been arrested on various charges and Western Federation of Miners President Charles Moyer had been shot, beaten and forced out of town (7/23/1913); Aluminum Workers Int'l Union merges with The United Brick & Clay Workers of America to form Aluminum, Brick & Clay Workers (7/23/1981); The United Auto Workers and the Teamsters form the Alliance for Labor Action (ALA), later to be joined by several smaller unions. The ALA's agenda included support of the civil rights movement and opposition to the war in Viet Nam. It disbanded after four years following the death of UAW President Walter Reuther (7/24/1968); The U.S. minimum wage increases to $6.55 per hour today. The original minimum, set in 1938 by the Fair Labor Standards Act, was 25 cents per hour (7/24/2008); U.S. minimum wage rises to $7.25 per hour, up from $6.55 (7/24/2009); Workers stage a general strike – believed to be the nation’s first – in St. Louis, in support of striking railroad workers. The successful strike was ended when some 3,000 federal troops and 5,000 deputized special police killed at least eighteen people in skirmishes around the city (7/25/1877); New York garment workers win closed shop and firing of scabs after 7-month strike (7/25/1890); The Teamsters and Service Employees unions break from the AFL-CIO during the federation's 50th convention to begin the Change to Win coalition, ultimately comprised of seven unions. They say they want more emphasis on organizing and less on electoral politics (7/25/2005); More info & ammo for unionists is available online from Union Communication Services. - photo courtesy Library of Congress
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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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