The Metro Washington Council yesterday joined local, state and national labor leaders and their allies across the country in demanding an end to attacks on United Steelworkers (USW) Local 1999 President Chuck Jones (right), who was attacked by President-elect Donald Trump after Jones told The Washington Post that Trump “lied his ass off” when he claimed he had saved 1,100 jobs at the Carrier furnace plant in Indianapolis from going to Mexico. “What nobody’s mentioning is 550 people are losing their jobs,” Jones told CNN, adding that 700 other positions at a different Indiana plant would be moving to Mexico. Working families quickly responded to Trump’s tweets attacking Jones by creating the #ImWithChuck hashtag highlighting the role unions have in fighting for good jobs. “Jones was doing his job defending working men and women and the families that depend on them by speaking out and telling the truth,” said Metro Washington Council president Jackie Jeter. Jones has received death threats since Trump singled him out. “To attack Jones and his family is not just anti-worker, it’s un-American. To speak the truth is a freedom generations of Americans died for, and worth defending today and forever.” Jeter called on those “who cherish that freedom, including those in positions of influence, to join us in standing with Chuck Jones, loudly and publicly.”
Howard University recently attempted to make changes to the DC Nurses Association’s contract by announcing increases to parking rates. DCNA learned that HU/HUH planned to increase parking rates by 50% beginning in January 2017. On November 15th, DCNA filed a grievance with the hospital’s new Chief Executive Officer, James Diegel, pointing out that under the contract the employer could not increase parking rates by more than 10% per year. On December 1, CEO Diegel agreed with DCNA and announced that parking rates would not be increased. - DCNA newsletter
William “Bill” Simons, the first president of the modern Washington Teachers’ Union, has died. Simons served as WTU president for 25 years, led two teacher strikes—in 1972 and 1979— “and was responsible for negotiating numerous contracts that improved the pay and benefits of DC public school teachers, and set in motion reforms that improved the education of students throughout the District of Columbia,” said WTU. Current WTU president Elizabeth Davis called Simons “the voice of DC labor, an icon in black history and the center of DC politics,” in Christine Easterling’s biography of Simons entitled “A Giant for Justice.” “The work and example of William ‘Bill’ Simons will continue to inspire the WTU, its leaders and its membership as we strive to live up to the high standard he set as an educator, labor leader, community activist and human being,” Davis said on Wednesday.
“When labor speaks of free medical care, it is saying we need it for blacks who do not have it and whites who are concerned that they will have to pay for giving it to them. When labor calls for full employment, it is talking about blacks who are without jobs and whites who want to protect the ones they have. When labor says we must build more homes, it is seeking to create a society where the black brother need not be enraged because he does not have a home and the white need not fear for the home he has.”
Bayard Rustin was a black social activist and a founding member of the Congress of Racial Equality and Southern Christian Leadership Conference.