Monday, August 16, 2010

UNION CITY! 08/16/2010

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ACTIVISTS ARRESTED AFTER PROTESTING ARIZONA ANTI-IMMIGRANT LAW AT NATS-DIAMONDBACKS GAME SUNDAY: Four local immigration rights and labor activists were arrested yesterday after staging a protest against Arizona’s anti-immigrant law at the Nationals game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. “Baseball is our national pastime and emblematic of our national values and identity,” said Gustavo Torres of CASA de Maryland, which organized the protest with the National Day Laborers Organizing Network (NDLON) and As an array of local and national community and civil rights organizations protested outside the game, activists inside dropped a banner that read “Bud Selig Move All-Stars Game: No SB1070” and ran onto the field (click here for a brief YouTube video) at the beginning of the fifth inning, disrupting the game. The protesters were a diverse African-American, Latino, Asian, and Caucasian group waving patriotic colors and chanting “Strike Out Arizona!” Arrested were Gustavo Andrade, Senior Organizing Manager for CASA de Maryland; Rosa Lozano, Youth Organizer for CASA de Maryland; Mackenzie Baris, Executive Director for DC Jobs with Justice; and Virginia Leavell. Activists are demanding that MLB Commissioner Selig commit to move the All-Star game out of Arizona next year. If the game is held in Arizona, they fear that minority players will run the risk of racial profiling and many have already begun receiving advice and training on how to protect themselves.  Numerous players, managers and coaches have spoken out against the law, and several have said they will refuse to participate if the 2011 All-Star Game is held in Arizona. “It is a disgrace for MLB Commissioner Selig to refuse to move the game out of Arizona and we are asking our Nationals to boycott it,” added Torres. The DC action  follows the arrest of several activists last week as they attempted to deliver more than 110,000 petitions to Commissioner Selig during the owners’ quarterly meeting in Minneapolis. Sunday’s protest was part of the national campaign – a coalition of organizations led by and, which has coordinated several rallies, protests and other events across the country in reaction to the passage of Arizona’s anti-immigrant law SB 1070 earlier this year. Photos: Jonathan Newton/Washington Post (top right); Ann Heisenfelt/AP (left); (bottom right)

“WE’RE SET UP TO FAIL” SAY DC SCHOOL WORKERS: The hidden casualties of the Fenty administration’s controversial “IMPACT” school evaluation system rallied outside DC Public Schools headquarters for several hours Friday, protesting the “shady methods” used to assess their performance. “Para-professionals, clericals and even custodians now have five percent of their evaluations based on how much test scores increase in their schools – even though they have no direct control over how testing goals are met in the classroom,” AFSCME Local 2921 President Michael Flood told Union City. “That’s blatantly unfair and outrageous - we’re being set up to fail.” Rita Howard, a former DCPS employee, told Union City that even with her high qualifications and tenured experience, she was unfairly fired because of the failures of a “corrupt and mismanaged administration.” She added, “I’ve never worked for such a dysfunctional education system in my entire life.” Among other issues, the union says that record numbers of school workers city-wide are being forced to work out of classification without compensation; that highly qualified union members with tenure are being specifically targeted and fired by Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee; that many of the workers’ salaries are “so low that they qualify for welfare and social service programs”; and that the members have been working without a ratified contract for three years because of Rhee and Fenty’s “stalling tactics.” “The labor movement is the last line of defense for working families who are engaged in this war with Mayor Fenty and Michelle Rhee for the heart and soul of DC,” said Metro Washington Council President Jos Williams (l) in a rousing speech, “When the September election comes, that day will be our chance to tell them, ‘get the hell out of our city!’”
– report/photos by Adam Wright

AFGE VIDEOS HIT FENTY, DRAW MEDIA NOTICE: Anti-Fenty YouTube videos produced by the American Federation of Government Employees garnered attention in the Washington Post with
political columnist Mike DeBonis’ “Union attacks Fenty with 'demon teddy bears'” report last Thursday. The videos hit DC Mayor Fenty for closing DC daycare centers and funneling millions to his fraternity bothers without Council approval.

COUNCIL OF SCHOOL OFFICERS DECLARES IMPASSE IN NEGOTIATIONS WITH DC PUBLIC SCHOOLS: The Council of School Officers (CSO) Local 4 announced Friday that it had filed papers with the DC Public Employee Relations Board (PERB) declaring that an official impasse has been reached in contract negotiations with the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS). The CSO – affiliated with the Metro Washington Council -- represents nearly 700 DCPS education professionals, including principals, assistant principals, coordinators, directors, business managers and specialists. " DCPS does not appreciate their workforce," said CSO president Aona H. Jefferson. "Our members deserve better and the children deserve better.”

INTERNS WRAP UP ACTIVIST UNION SUMMER: “You’ll always be part of our family,” declared Metro Council President Jos
Williams at Friday’s farewell lunch for the 2010 Union Summer interns. “DC was one of five cities across the country to host interns this year, but you’re undoubtedly the best!” he added, before presenting each with a plaque recognizing their efforts over the summer. Jobs with Justice’s Mackenzie Baris thanked the interns for their work on JwJ campaigns as well, saying that she hoped “you got a picture of how incredibly diverse our movement is here in DC” and urging the young activists to seek out “the many possible ways to continue this work for social justice.” Over pizza and refreshments provided by Gwend Johnson, the interns shared favorite memories of their summer of labor and community activism in metro Washington.
- report/photo by Chris Garlock; photo: (l-r): Joseph Daniels, Jasmine Butler, Ryan Carty, Lizet Ramirez, Jos Williams, Jennifer Tate (Union Summer supervisor), Jack Arlook, Boaz Young-El, Essie Ablavsky

TODAY'S LABOR HISTORY: George Meany (l), plumber, founding AFL-CIO president, born in City Island, Bronx. A complex labor leader, he proudly claimed to have "never walked a picket line," yet also firmly said that “You only make progress by fighting for progress.” Meany served as secretary-treasurer of the AFL from 1940 to 1952, succeeded as president of the AFL, and then continued as president of the AFL-CIO following the historic merger in 1955 until retiring in 1979 (1894); Homer Martin (r), early United Auto Workers leader, born in Marion, Ill. (1902); Congress passes the National Apprenticeship Act, establishing a national advisory committee to research and draft regulations establishing minimum standards for apprenticeship programs. It was later amended to permit the Labor Dept. to issue regulations protecting the health, safety and general welfare of apprentices, and to encourage the use of contracts in their hiring and employment (1937); National Agricultural Workers Union merges into Amalgamated Meat Cutters & Butcher Workmen (1960); International Union of Wood, Wire & Metal Lathers merges with United Brotherhood of Carpenters & Joiners (1979). More info & ammo for unionists is available online from Union Communication Services. Photos courtesy Life magazine

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Material published in UNION CITY may be freely reproduced by any recipient; please credit the Council as the source.
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. 
Story suggestions, event announcements, campaign reports, Letters to the Editor and other material are welcome, subject to editing for clarity and space, and should be directed to: 
Editor: Chris Garlock
Assistant Editor: Adam Wright
Voice: 202-974-8153
Fax: 202-974-8152

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