"Are you ready to fight for $15?" The answer came thundering back in National Airport's historic lobby: "Yes!" AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre paused, then asked "Are you ready to join a union?" And again, "Yes!" came back from the fired-up crowd in SEIU 32BJ purple t-shirts and caps as more than 400 airport workers and their supporters rallied Tuesday before marching a milethrough the rain to demand that the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority ensure contractors pay their workers $15 an hour. They also authorized a strike vote during the holiday season against Huntleigh Corporation. “We work very hard to ensure that travelers have a safe and clean airport, but we are ready to go on strike to ensure we can provide for our families,” said Aynalem Lale, a wheelchair dispatcher at Dulles. “If I made $15 an hour, I wouldn't have to work two jobs and would not have to sleep at the airport between jobs.” Joining the rally and march were local political and faith leaders, as well as other local unions. “No employer should ever pay poverty-level wages -- especially here, in one of the richest counties in America,” said Congressman-elect Donald McEachin (D-VA). The strikes and protests in D.C. were part of a nationwide day of disruption that included McDonald’s and other fast-food workers walking off their jobs in 340 cities from coast to coast. - report/photos by Chris Garlock
Facing a dramatically changed political and economic environment, health and safety activists from around the country will gather for a critical strategy session this coming Tuesday Dec. 6 thru Thursday Dec. 8th at the Maritime Center. More than 300 grassroots campaigners, union safety reps, staff and members from workers’ centers, COSH activists and OHS professionals will attend the annual National Conference on Worker Safety and Health. The event is convened by the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH). Registration is still open, with options to attend one-day sessions and/or the entire conference, just a short ride from DC. For more info, contact Peter@NationalCOSH.org.
photo by Earl Dotter
“Fighting Mary” Eliza McDowell, also known as the “Angel of the Stockyards,” born in Chicago. As a social worker she helped organize the first women’s local of the Amalgamated Meat Cutters Union in 1902 - 1854
Mother Jones died at the Burgess Farm in Adelphi, Md. - 1930
(The Autobiography of Mother Jones: Mary Harris Jones—“Mother Jones”—was the most dynamic woman ever to grace the American labor movement. Employers and politicians around the turn of the century called her “the most dangerous woman in America” and rebellious working men and women loved her as they never loved anyone else. She was an absolutely fearless and tireless advocate for working people, especially coal miners. A founding member of the Industrial Workers of the World—the Wobblies—she feared neither soldiers’ guns nor the ruling class’s jails. Here, in her own words, is her story of organizing in steel, railroading, textiles and mining; her crusade against child labor; her fight to organize women; even her involvement in the Mexican revolution.)
More than 12,000 members of the Insurance Agents Union strike in 35 states and Washington, D.C., against the Prudential Insurance Co. - 1951
Unionists and activists shut down World Trade Organization meeting, Seattle, Wash. - 1999
…Read more; compiled/edited by Union Communication Services.
“I’m not a lady, I’m a hell-raiser!”