LABOR RISES TO SUPPORT GRAY MAYORAL EFFORT: "This mayor has been a divider," said Vince Gray, "but tonight he's united us to throw him out of here!" Cheers erupted from the crowd of labor supporters gathered atop the downtown DC IBEW headquarters at last night's Labor for Gray fundraiser and reception. "I don't even think we've had a mayor in the District of Columbia," said IBEW Local 26 Business Manager Chuck Graham, welcoming the crowd on behalf of IBEW President Ed Hill. "Just 49 days until we liberate the nation's capital," vowed Metro Council President Jos Williams. ""Labor and its allies are on the march!" Gray excoriated Mayor Fenty for his "disrespect for the city's working people" and promised "not just an open door for labor but I'll come to you if it's more convenient." Added Councilman Phil Mendelson, "We desperately need a change and I support Vince because he gets it." Gray also pledged that "my first act will be to re-establish the Labor Management Partnership Council," the innovative and nationally-recognized forum that hasn't met since Fenty took office and was a way for public sector labor and management to come together to perform more efficiently, save taxpayer dollars, and boost morale of public sector workers. The Metro Council organized the fundraiser, which was hosted by the IBEW and catered by Avalon, an HERE 25-represented fully unionized top-flight catering firm. An album of downloadable reception photos will be available online later today and the full schedule of labor-to-labor Gray activities will be posted on the Council's calendar. - story/photos by Chris Garlock
FORMER BALTIMORE SUN WORKERS GET NEW OUTLET: “Looking for work is more dispiriting even than dating,” writes John E. McIntyre. “You put yourself forward to be judged, and you are not only found wanting but often simply ignored.” McIntyre, former chief copy editor at the Baltimore Sun, was one of 60 people – including a third of the newsroom staff – abruptly laid off in the spring of 2009. Now the stories and memories of McIntyre and his former colleagues at the Sun – members of Newspaper Guild Local 32035 -- are available online at Telling Our Stories: The Days of the Baltimore Sun. The website grew from a fellowship project conceived and funded by the Writers Guild of America, East Foundation, which has a mission of perpetuating the art and craft of storytelling. “Like other WGAE Foundation projects, this one gave the laid-off Sun employees an opportunity to process a difficult experience through creative work,” says the website. The Sun workers' creativity is on view in sections that mirror a traditional newspaper’s format, including Metro – where Tyeesha Dixon writes about “My dream job cut short” – and Business, where Charles Weiss describes “Death by a thousand cuts.” There’s also an arts section with photos, comics and even a sports section. The site has attracted the support and interest of notables like director Barry Levinson, a Baltimore native, The Wire producer David Simon (a former Sun reporter) and television critic David Bianculli. “For years we had a wonderful community of writers on The Sun’s pages and managed to host a lively and diverse paper that really did, I think, play a meaningful role in the public life of the region” writes Franz Schneiderman a former editor. Now, through this site, they still can. - Lizet Ramirez, Union Summer intern
TODAY'S LABOR HISTORY: Women shoemakers in Lynn, Mass. create Daughters of St. Crispin, demand pay equal to that of men (1869); Harry Bridges is born in Australia. He came to America as a sailor at age 19 and went on to help form and lead the militant International Longshore and Warehouse Union for more than 40 years (1901); A strike by Paterson, N.J. silk workers for an eight-hour day, improved working conditions ends after six months, with the workers’ demands unmet. During the course of the strike, approximately 1,800 strikers were arrested, including Wobblie leaders Big Bill Haywood and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn (1913); Federal troops burn the shantytown (l) built near the U.S. Capitol by thousands of unemployed WWI veterans, camping there to demand a bonus they had been promised but never received (1932); Nine miners are rescued in Sommerset, Pa. after being trapped for 77 hours 240 feet underground in the flooded Quecreek Mine (2002) ; More info & ammo for unionists is available online from Union Communication Services.
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