Wednesday, July 7, 2010 JANITOR BATTLE SPLASHES ONTO BUSINESS PRESS: “Is Lee Development Group’s Cleaning Contractor BREAKING THE LAW?” blares the banner ad running atop Gazette.net’sbusiness page. SEIU 32BJ is running the ad for a full month to expose Lee’s hiring of contractor Beltway Cleaning Services “which unjustly refused to hire all but one of the workers who previously maintained this building.” Lee Development Group (LDG) is an industry leader owned by a founding family of Silver Spring. Meanwhile, the union says, Beltway “pays its employees poverty-like wages that undermine wage standards for janitors throughout the county.” The adtakes visitors to a website detailing charges against Beltway and asks visitors to send an e-mail to tell LDG that business leaders in Montgomery County should use responsible contractors who pay fair wages at their properties.
LABOR ON THE MOVE: SAUNDERS ELECTED AFSCME SECRETARY-TREASURER:Lee Saunders (below) was elected Secretary-Treasurer of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) last Friday at the 1.6 million-member union’s 39th International Convention, held in Boston, MA. Saunders bested Danny Donohue in the contested election, receiving 652,660 votes to Donohue’s 648,356. "Danny Donohue and I are both deeply committed to our members and deeply devoted to this union," Saunders said. "Both of us waged very vigorous and energetic campaigns. I am very grateful for his words of support and look forward to working together to advance the interests of our members and the working people of this country.” Saunders joined OCSEA/AFSCME Local 11 in 1974 as a contract specialist at the Ohio Department of Employment Services. In 1978, he joined the AFSCME International staff as a labor economist and has served as assistant director of Research and Collective Bargaining Services, director of Community Action and deputy director of Organizing and Field Services. Before his election as Secretary-Treasurer, Saunders served as Executive Assistant to International President Gerald W. McEntee and was responsible for overseeing and coordinating the activities of the departments of Legislation, Political Action, Public Affairs, Retiree Programs, and Information Services. STREETHEAT WORKS, SAYS IPS: “The street heat generated by Jobs with Justice, the AFL-CIO, SEIU, and other groups” strengthened the financial reform bill now before the Senate Sarah Anderson told attendees at the U.S. Social Forum in Detroit last month. “The Wall Street ‘showdowns’ they organized in Chicago, in New York, in Washington and elsewhere helped stiffen the spines of Congress,” said Anderson, the director of the Global Economy project at the Institute for Policy Studies, and co-author of the report Taxing the Wall Street Casino.
WHY THE MONA LISA DOESN'T TALK TO GRAND JURIES: The latest social justice calendar from labor artist Ricardo Levins Morales is now available for free download. In addition to significant historical labor events and actions, the July calendar features an image of the Mona Lisa dressed as a worker, mysteriously saying "I don't talk to grand juries." Morales provided Union City with a link to the Grand Jury Resistance Project which notes that "Because of their broad subpoena powers and secretive nature, grand juries have been used by the government to gather information on political movements and to disrupt those movements by causing fear and mistrust." Click here for more social justice artwork - including posters, note cards and photographs - on Morales' website.
LABOR PROFILE: Jobs with Justice Intern Anthony Ferguson: Most youth dream of changing the world and making a difference. Anthony Ferguson (l), a rising junior at Bell Multicultural High School in Columbia Heights NW DC, chose to put his dream into action by signing up for DC Jobs with Justice in a summer internship. "I wanted to help with workers' rights," says Ferguson, adding that "since starting my internship last week I have already been exposed to the injustice done to some workers in the day laborer's campaign." An avid basketball player in his spare time, Ferguson decided to spend the summer this year promoting fair wages and hours in his own community. "I'm happy to work at a great organization with great people every day," he says, "and I definitely see myself working for justice into the future." - Joseph Daniels, AFL-CIO Union Summer Intern
TODAY'S LABOR HISTORY: Striking New York longshoremen meet to discuss ways to keep new immigrants from scabbing. They were successful, at least for a time. On July 14, 500 newly arrived Jews marched straight from their ship to the union hall. On July 15, 250 Italian immigrants stopped scabbing on the railroad and joined the union (1882); Mary Harris "Mother" Jones begins "The March of the Mill Children", when, accompanied part of the way by children, she walked from Philadelphia to President Theodore Roosevelt's home on Long Island to protest the plight of child laborers. One of her demands: reduce the childrens' work week to 55 hours (1903); Cloakmakers begin what is to be a two-month strike against New York City sweatshops (1910); Some 500,000 people participate when a two-day general strike is called in Puerto Rico (above) by more than 60 trade unions and many other organizations. They are protesting privatization of the island's telephone company (1998); More info & ammo for unionists is available online from Union Communication Services. - photo courtesy BBC
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