BRICKS OBJECT TO NON-UNION MASONRY AT VP BIDEN'S OFFICE: It's the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, DC, and it's where Vice President Biden has his office, along with many other White House officials. The Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers union (BAC) found out recently that despite all the Obama administration's rhetoric about providing decent, green, union jobs, the General Services Administration (GSA) has awarded a masonry restoration project at the building to a non-union contractor. "We're in the middle of the biggest recession since the great depression and president Obama has spoken forcefully about the need to create good jobs with good benefits," says BAC Local 1's Raymond Keen, "So why did the President's administration give this major contract to a company that doesn't provide good benefits and pays its employees far less than responsible local contractors?" Keen told Union City yesterday afternoon that after meeting with BAC President James Boland on Tuesday, GSA representatives have committed to working more closely with organized labor in the future and have increased the workers' pay and benefits, but not to the levels the BAC says are appropriate. - ILCA Insider Newsletter, with additional reporting by Adam Wright; photo: members and staff of BAC Local 1 hand billing outside the EEOB; photo by Tony Garcia, BAC Art Director
MOTT’S STRIKE GARNERS NATIONAL ATTENTION: The ongoing strike by upstate New York Mott’s workers – first covered by Union City back in early July and supported from the very beginning by UFCW 400 – is now drawing much-deserved national attention, including a front-page New York Times article last week. Mott’s is owned by the Dr Pepper Snapple Group, which is demanding major wage cuts while posting record profits. “This fight has implications well beyond these workers,” noted AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka earlier this week. “This greedy company thinks it can take advantage of a small group in Williamson, New York, while the rest of the labor movement sits by and watches. If we allow this to happen in New York, it will spread to other profitable companies seeking to follow suit.” Supporters are being urged to boycott products from Mott’s, Snapple and Dr. Pepper; click here for a list. – photo: outside the Mott’s apple juice plant in Williamson, N.Y., Mike LeBerth, president of the union local, is picketing against demands for wage and benefit givebacks; photo by James Rajotte for The New York Times
“UNIONS CANNOT WIN ON OUR OWN” SAYS AUSSIE ACTIVIST: “While coalitions are not an absolute solution to changing the dynamic of a hostile political environment – and an economy that only serves the interests of large corporations – they are paramount to strengthening the brawn and brains of unions,” said Australian labor activist and author Amanda Tattersall (r) at yesterday’s lunchtime discussion at the AFL-CIO. “Unions cannot win on our own – it is vital that we bring others to the movement around social change issues not isolated to collective bargaining.” Tattersall reflected on experiences based on campaigns in Australia, Canada and the United States and explored five key lessons to sustain an effective social movement, which are the focus of her new book, Power In Coalition: Strategies For Strong Unions And Social Change. She is the founder and Director of the Sydney Alliance – a diverse coalition of unions, community organizations and religious organizations – and is the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Unions New South Wales, the central labor council in Sydney representing 600,000 workers. – report/photo by Adam Wright
TODAY'S LABOR HISTORY: Fannie Sellins (l) and Joseph Starzeleski are murdered by coal company guards on a picket line in Brackenridge, Penn. Sellins was a United Mine Workers of America organizer and Starzeleski was a miner (1919); After two-thirds of the states had ratified the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, women win their long struggle for the vote (1920); With America in the depths of the Great Depression, the Comptroller of the Currency announces a temporary halt on foreclosures of first mortgages (1932); In what some may consider one of the many management decisions that was to help cripple the American auto industry over the following decades, Ford Motor Co. produces its first Edsel. Ford dropped the project two years later after losing approximately $350 million (1957); More than 1,300 bus drivers on Oahu, Hawaii begin what is to become a five week strike (2003); More info & ammo for unionists is available online from Union Communication Services. - photo courtesy Northern Illinois University
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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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