NEWS: Over 100 Georgetown students joined Aramark employees in a march on February 18th to demand better working conditions for food service workers at Hoya Court. The march ended at the Aramark office on Georgetown’s campus with the delivery of two petitions. One demanded union representation for the workers, while the other petition, signed by over 2,000 students and community members, supports the renegotiation of work conditions for workers at Leo’s, one of the restaurants at the Hoya Court. Those conditions include a 40-hour paid work week, an increase in health care benefits, protection of immigrant workers, anti-discrimination rules and greater involvement in food sustainability discussions on campus. UNITE HERE is the same union that Aramark workers from Leo’s, Cosi and Starbucks joined in March 2011. Negotiations regarding the workers’ demands were scheduled to begin last Friday.
Here's today's labor history:
On this date in 1912, women and children textile strikers were beaten by Lawrence, Massachusetts police during a 63-day walkout protesting low wages and work speedups.
In 1919, Congress passed a federal child labor tax law that imposed a 10 percent tax on companies that employ children, defined as anyone under the age of 16 working in a mine or quarry or under the age 14 in a “mill, cannery, workshop, factory, or manufacturing establishment.” The Supreme Court ruled the law unconstitutional three years later.
Today's labor quote is by Robert Reich:
“If companies have a moral responsibility not to fill the movie theater and airwaves with violence and moral degradation, do they not also have a responsibility to keep workers employed when profits are rising? A moral responsibility to upgrade worker skills, an obligation to fully fund pension plans, to provide health care?”
Robert Reich was Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1997.
News: The latest in our series of Black History Month Labor Profiles honors AUGUSTA THOMAS. Currently AFGE's national vice president for women and fair practices, Augusta Thomas is a lifelong civil rights activist, labor leader and a loving mother and great-great-grandmother. Thomas joined AFGE in 1966, when she began her career as a nursing assistant at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Louisville. There, she continued her fight for equal rights, was active in the civil rights movement and became a leader in her local union. With great energy, dedication and hard work, Thomas keeps advocating for the rights of women, people of color, the LGBTQ community and working families.
Don't forget that you can win one of 100 Black History Month posters by texting the code “BLACK” (for Black History Month) to 235246
Here's today's labor history:
On this date in 2011, a crowd estimated to be 100,000 strong rallied at the Wisconsin state Capitol in protest of what was ultimately to become a successful push by the state’s Republican majority to cripple public employee bargaining rights.
Today's labor quote is by Robert M. LaFollette:
“What is it that is swelling the ranks of the dissatisfied? Is it a growing conviction in state after state, that we are fast being dominated by forces that thwart the will of the people and menace representative government?”
"Fighting Bob" La Follette was an American Republican politician who served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, was the Governor of Wisconsin, and was also a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin. This 1897 quote opens John Nichols 2012 book “Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street.”
Nurses at the Washington Hospital Center are urging Medstar Health board members to listen to their patient safety concerns and come to a fair agreement on a contract that protects patients and nurses through safe staffing. Last week, a delegation of the nurses – who belong to National Nurses United -- visited the office of board member Rosie Allen-Herring, President of the United Way of the National Capital Area, in an unsuccessful attempt to talk to her about their concerns.
CWA and the IBEW reported late last week that they had reached tentative agreements with FairPoint Communications, ending months on the picket lines for about 2,000 workers at the telecommunications company in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. A contract ratification vote is being scheduled.
On today’s labor calendar is tonight’s meeting of the Metro Washington Council, 6:30 pm at the AFL-CIO at 16th and I streets. All are welcome to attend and get the latest local labor news and updates.
In this week’s Labor Quiz, which actor portrayed former Teamsters leader Jimmy Hoffa in the 1992 movie "Hoffa"? Was it Robert Deniro; Jack Nicholson; Joe Pesci; Marlon Brando or Al Pacino? Go to unionist.com and click on Labor Quiz to submit your answer and you could be this week’s winner!
Here’s today’s labor history:
On this date in 1887, the Journeyman Bakers’ National Union received its charter from the American Federation of Labor.
In 1940, with the Great Depression still raging, Woody Guthrie wrote “This Land Is Your Land” following a frigid trip—partially by hitchhiking, partially by rail—from California to Manhattan.
Today’s labor quote is by Woody Guthrie: “We can’t just bless America, we’ve got to change it.” Guthrie had heard Kate Smith’s recording of “God Bless America” and wrote “This Land Is Your Land” in response.
When you go out to eat, if you’re looking for a restaurant that not only serves good food at a fair price but one that also treats its workers right, you’ll want to get ROC United’s Diners’ Guide app. The Restaurant Opportunities Centers United apps helps diners easily find restaurants that meet their standards on wages, benefits, and promotion practices, so you know the food you eat was prepared and served by workers who are being treated fairly. Go to dclabor.org for a link to the app or search for R-O-C United in the app store.
What good are unions, anyway? Are dues worth the investment? A recent study showed that wages declined in newly unionized firms -- but most research still says that you're better off in one than not, reported Lydia DePillis in The Washington Post last week. She also recently published a troubling report on “How Live Nation exploits low-wage workers to stage its rock concerts.”
Here's today's labor history:
On this date in 1834, responding to a 15 percent wage cut, women textile workers in Lowell, Massachusetts organized a strike in protest. The action failed. Two years later they formed the Factory Girl’s Association in response to a rent hike in company boarding houses and the increase was rescinded. One worker’s diary recounts a “stirring speech” of resistance by a co-worker, 11-year-old Harriet Hanson Robinson.
In 1917, thousands of women marched to New York’s City Hall demanding relief from exorbitant wartime food prices. Inflation had wiped out any wage gains made by workers, leading to a high level of working class protest during World War I.
And in 1990, the United Mine Workers settled the 10-month Pittston strike in Virginia, Kentucky and West Virginia.
Today's labor quote is by Richard Trumka, president of the Mine Workers during the Pittston strike and now president of the AFL-CIO:
"People keep asking how long we can hold out. The answer: one day longer than Pittston."
Union City Radio is proud to be supported by UnionPlus, which has been working hard for union families since 1986.
Union City Radio is part of The Labor Radio/Podcast Network
UC Radio airs weekdays at 7:15a on WPFW 89.3 FM; subscribe to the podcast here.