LOCAL CONCRETE WORKERS DEMAND DIGNITY, RESPECT: More than 100 concrete workers and community allies descended on the Consolidated Forensic Laboratory construction site at 6th Street, SW yesterday morning, protesting contractor Southland Concrete’s “unsafe practices, unfair layoffs and poor working conditions.” The workers are organizing with the United Construction Workers (UCW) union, but allege that they have been fired, intimidated and harassed by Southland Concrete for their pro-union activity. “Southland fired me for wanting to join a union and have a voice on the job,” said Misael Rivera (at right), a construction worker with over 18 years experience. “They are trying to stop me from speaking out about the daily abuse, poor pay and horrible working conditions – they even offered me double my old salary if I promised to stop organizing.” At-Large DC Councilmember Phil Mendelson – who is up for re-election in the September 14 primary, and is expected to be at Saturday's labor-to-labor walk – told Union City, “I’m out here today to show my support for these workers who have the right to organize and deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.” The protestors rallied for over an hour, shaking rattle-cans and waving signs that read, “We are not disposable” and “United for a better future!” Rivera added, “The only solution to our problem is to stand united together and organize to end these injustices- we refuse to be intimidated any longer!” – report/photo by Adam Wright
GRAY PLEDGES SUPPORT FOR DC NURSES: DC mayoral candidate and City Council Chairman Vince Gray (center) Wednesday renewed his pledge of support for nurses at the Washington Hospital Center (WHC). Earlier this year, Gray expressed his disappointment in the hospital’s firings and disciplinary actions against nurses and other staff who were unable to make it to work during the massive snowstorms that paralyzed the city in February. At a meeting with the leadership of Nurses United on Wednesday, Gray agreed to send a letter to WHC President John Sullivan urging settlement of a contract that will preserve quality care and safety at Washington Hospital Center by providing nurses the pay, benefits, and respect they deserve. "Vince really listened to our concerns and we are excited to have his support," said Nurses United President Dottie Hararas. Nurses United represents the 1600 nurses at Washington Hospital Center who have been working without a contract since the end of June. The union will be meeting in the coming days to decide on an endorsement in the September 14 Democratic primary. - photo by Michael Wilson
LABOR-TO-LABOR WALKS CONTINUE SATURDAY: Labor-to-labor walks continue this Saturdayto help elect labor-endorsed candidates in Wards 4, 5 and At-Large in the District's September 14 Primary. "With only three weeks until Election Day, dozens of volunteers are expected to turn out to door knock in support of Phil Mendelson, Harry "Tommy" Thomas Jr., Vince Gray and Eleanor Holmes Norton," says Metro Washington Council, AFL-CIO Assistant Political Coordinator Alya Solomon. "All are welcome to join us! Also, we will be educating residents about the confusion over Michael Brown's name on the ballot," adds Solomon. "Michael D. Brown is a shadow US Senator running for DC City Council At-Large against the three-term incumbent and pro-labor candidate Phil Mendelson, whereas Michael A. Brown - son of the late Commerce Secretary Ron Brown - currently sits on the DC City Council as an At-Large member and is not up for re-election. This poses a problem if the electorate does not know who they are voting for." Click herefor details on Saturday's walk, including times and location.
UNION VOICE: Readers Write: Three Quarters, Not Two Thirds:“Your note about the passage of the 19th amendment on women's suffrage (8/26 UC Labor History) contains an inaccuracy,” writes David Gurowsky. “A proposed amendment must be ratified by three-quarters, not two-thirds of the states to be adopted.” “Of course you're right, and we apologize for the error,” responds David Prosten at UCS. “Two-thirds of both houses of Congress have to propose an amendment or two-thirds of state legislators have to ask for a national convention; three-fourths of legislatures have to actually approve the amendment, or three-fourths of states must ratify it in convention. We'll get it straight next time around.”
WEEKEND LABOR HISTORY: Some 14,000 Chicago teachers who have gone without pay for several months finally collect about $1,400 each (8/27/1934); President Truman orders the U.S. Army to seize all the nation's railroads to prevent a general strike. The railroads were not returned to their owners until two years later (8/27/1950); The march for jobs and freedom—the Martin Luther King, Jr. "I Have A Dream" speech march (l)—is held in Washington, D.C. with 250,000 participating (8/28/1963); Dancers at San Francisco’s Lusty Lady Club vote 57-15 to be represented by SEIU Local 790. Their first union contract, ratified eight months later, guaranteed work shifts, protection against arbitrary discipline and termination, automatic hourly wage increases, sick days, a grievance procedure, and removal of one-way mirrors from peep show booths (8/29/1996); Northwest Airlines pilots, after years of concessions to help the airline, begin what is to become a two-week strike for higher pay (8/29/1998); More info & ammo for unionists is available online from Union Communication Services. - photo courtesy A&E Television Networks
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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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