Members of the DC Labor Chorus and Not What You Think preview their May 14 concert with Union City Radio's Chris Garlock.
The third annual DC LaborFest launches tonight with a screening of “Trumbo” at the AFI Silver Theater at 7 pm. Bryan Cranston gives an Oscar-nominated performance as the legendary author and screenwriter Dalton Trumbo. Red-baited and blacklisted, Trumbo fought back against a witch-hunt that has lessons for anyone battling intolerance and oppression today.
Then on Sunday, don’t miss the Mother Jones Memorial Wreath-Laying at noon on Powder Mill Road in Silver Spring. The legendary labor organizer claimed May Day as her birthday and after a lifetime fighting for unions and the rights of workers, the spot where she died in what is now Adelphi, Maryland is now the site of the annual commemoration.
Also on Sunday, there will be a Mayday March and Rally starting at 2PM at Malcolm X Park, followed by a march to the White House as local activists join millions of workers across the globe as they express international solidarity.
There are a number of other LaborFest events this weekend; check out the whole line-up at dclabor.org; click on LaborFest.
And for other local labor events, just click on the calendar at dclabor.org
Here’s today’s labor history:
On this date in 1894, Coxey’s Army of unemployed civil war veterans reached Washington, D.C. Troops of vets started out from many parts of the country, and had swelled to an estimated 12,000, but the "Army of the Unemployed" lost their momentum as court injunctions prevented them from temporarily seizing railroad lines, which was how the men traveled, and there were just 500 left when they arrived in Washington.
In 1899, an estimated one thousand silver miners, angry over low wages, the firing of union members and the planting of spies in their ranks by mine owners, seized a train, loaded it with 3,000 pounds of dynamite, and blew up the mill at the Bunker Hill mine in Wardner, Idaho.
In 1943, the special representative of the National War Labor Board issued a report setting forth provisions for wage rates for women working in war industries who were asking for equal pay. Women a year earlier had demanded equal pay for comparable work as that done by men.
Today’s labor quote is by Jacob Coxey
We have come here through toil and weary marches, through storms and tempests,
over mountains, and amid the trials of poverty and distress, to lay our grievances at the doors of our National Legislature and ask them in the name of Him whose banners we bear, in the name of Him who plead for the poor and the oppressed, that they should heed the voice of despair and distress that is now coming up from every section of our country, that they should consider the conditions of the starving unemployed of our land,
and enact such laws as will give them employment, bring happier conditions to the people, and the smile of contentment to our citizens.
When Coxey tried to speak at the U.S. Capitol in 1894, police arrested him for walking on the grass. Fifty years to the day later, on May 1, 1944, Coxey finally delivered this speech from the steps of the U.S. Congress.
This week's guests: Latest report from the Verizon strike by Terry Richardson, president, CWA 2336; Ed Smith, president, Firefighters Local 36 is in-studio to talk about how firefighters and emergency medical services providers are at increased risk of developing specific cancers, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, and certain infectious diseases from exposure to blood and other bodily fluids. Currently, workers who develop these conditions have a really hard time convincing the system--designed to support their health and welfare--that their condition stems from occupational hazards. And historian Lane Windham, who’s doing a post-doctoral fellowship at The Penn State Center for Global Workers' Rights, reports on what happened last week when the university administration sent her a memo explaining how faculty and staff could resist the graduate students' efforts to unionize (i.e. union-bust). She let the administration know what she thought about that - - in an opinion piece in Tuesday's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Labor song of the week: Communication breakdown – Led Zeppelin.
Labor Quiz: This Sunday is May Day and the 185th birthday of legendary labor organizer Mary Harris “Mother” Jones; there will be a wreath-laying in her honor at noon at 2601 Powder Mill Rd in Silver Spring, MD. Here are three quotes; which one is by Mother Jones?
1: You are never strong enough that you don't need help.
2: Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.
3: Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.
Answer: 3; 1 is by Cesar Chavez and 2 is by Frederick Douglass.
Previous Quiz: The annual DC labor FilmFest is coming up in May; which of these films is NOT being screened at the FilmFest? Concussion, Horrible Bosses, or Suffragette? Answer: Horrible Bosses.
Tune in next week and you could win a pair of passes to the DC Labor FilmFest!
Security guards in DC – members of SEIU 32BJ – are feeling a bit more secure now that they have ratified a new four-year agreement with the city’s largest security contractors, covering nearly 3,000 commercial security officers. The contract includes fair wage increases and maintains benefits at their current level, according to the union. “I’m happy about this contract because it will help us a lot with our everyday living and medical expenses, especially for people with big families,” said Bruce Barfield, a security officer protecting the National Geographic Society building and a member of the union’s bargaining committee. “It helps us get more respect and allows us to better support the communities where we live.”
This year’s DC LaborFest begins tomorrow with a 7p screening of Trumbo at the AFI Silver Theatre; check out the whole line-up of more than 60 labor arts events at dclabor.org; click on LaborFest.
On today’s labor calendar, Verizon leafleting continues throughout the area; go to dclabor.org for the latest details.
And at 1pm today, check out this week’s edition of Your Rights at Work, when our guests will be CWA 2336 president Terry Richardson, Fire Fighters Local 36 president Ed Smith and labor historian Lane Windham.
As always, check the calendar on our website at dclabor.org.
Here’s today’s labor history:
On this date in 1914, a coal mine collapsed at Eccles, West Virginia, killing 181 workers.
In 1924, a coal mine disaster claimed the lives of 119 in Benwood, West Virginia.
And in 1971, Congress created OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. April 28 has been known since then as “Workers Memorial Day” and unions around the world have organized events to honor the hundreds of thousands of workers killed and injured on the job every year.
Today’s labor quote is by Mother Jones, who said
“Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.”
There will be a wreath-laying in honor of legendary labor organizer Mary Harris “Mother” Jones’ 185th birthday this Sunday at noon at the Mother Jones marker in Silver Spring; details at dclabor.org
Local Verizon strikers got a huge boost yesterday with two big rallies in downtown DC. “We’ve got your back” AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka told hundreds of picketers outside the F Street Verizon Wireless store at 1 pm. “You’re not just fighting for yourselves, you’re standing up for all American workers, Trumka said. CWA president Chris Shelton asked if the strikers and their supporters are ready to fight and win, and got back a resounding “yes!” A second rally and picketline was held later in the afternoon at the L Street Verizon Wireless store; both DC stores will be targeted with leafleting and pickets all week. Check the calendar on our website at dclabor.org for the latest details.
A full schedule of labor in the arts this weekend marks the launch of this year’s DC LaborFest, including screenings of “Trumbo” at the AFI Silver Theatre and a new labor-themed play called “The TEMPest” at the Silver Spring Black Box Theater this Friday. Go to dclabor.org and click on calendar for complete details and tickets.
Here’s today’s labor history:
On this date in 1911, James Oppenheim’s poem “Bread and Roses” was published in Industrial Solidarity, the IWW newspaper. Oppenheim was inspired by a speech given by labor union leader, socialist, and feminist Rose Schneiderman who said that "The worker must have bread, but she must have roses, too." A political slogan as well as the name of an associated poem and song, “Bread and Roses” has been translated into other languages and has been set to music by at least three composers.
In 1953, President Dwight Eisenhower signed Executive Order 10450: Security Requirements for Government Employment. The order listed “sexual perversion” as a condition for firing a federal employee and for denying employment to potential applicants.
And in 1978, a cooling tower for a power plant under construction in Willow Island, West Virginia collapsed, killing 51 construction workers in what is thought to be the largest construction accident in U.S. history. OSHA cited contractors for 20 violations, including failures to field test concrete. The cases were settled for $85,000—about $1,700 per worker killed.
Today’s labor quote is by James Oppenheim
As we come marching, marching, in the beauty of the day
A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill-lofts gray
Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses
For the people hear us singing, "Bread and Roses, Bread and Roses
Picketing and leafleting by striking Verizon workers continues throughout the metro Washington area this week. Several DC Verizon Wireless locations have been added. Dates and times vary; please check our website -- dclabor.org -- for latest details.
And mark your calendar now for the third Annual DC LaborFest, which kicks off later this week. The LaborFest -- anchored by the 16th annual DC Labor FilmFest -- launches its third edition with films, plays and more, starting this Friday. More than 60 events – films, music, poetry, art, theatre, history, soccer and radio – celebrate labor arts, culture and the struggles of working people. Go to dclabor.org for a complete calendar of events and you can also view or download a full-color PDF of the LaborFest program guide with full details on all events.
Highlights of the monthlong labor arts festival include a tour of artist Ben Shahn’s stunning frescos at the VOA, a wreath-laying at the Mother Jones memorial in Silver Spring and an evening of live jazz by local union musicians, as well as a soccer labor night and a full slate of labor films at the AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring.
Check out this week's local labor calendar at dclabor.org; click on Calendar.
Here’s today’s labor history:
On this date in 1924, the U.S. House of Representatives passed House Joint Resolution No. 184, a constitutional amendment to prohibit the labor of persons under 18 years of age. The Senate approved the measure a few weeks later, but it was never ratified by the states and is still technically pending.
In 1944, on the orders of President Roosevelt, the U.S. Army seized the Chicago headquarters of the unionized Montgomery Ward & Compny after management defied the National Labor Relations Board.
Today’s labor quote is by Michael Moore
"You can't regulate child labor. You can't regulate slavery. Some things are just wrong."
Michael Moore's latest film is "Where to Invade Next"
With the strike by nearly 40,000 Verizon workers now in its second week, the financial impact on the strikers and their families is beginning to take a toll. “Money is getting tight and the need is great,” reports Community Services Agency Executive Director Kathleen McKirchy. CSA is collecting contributions to its Emergency Assistance Fund to support the strikers; donate online at dclabor.org -- click on Community Services. They’re also accepting and distributing donations of non-perishable food items.
Here’s today’s labor history:
On this date in 1886, The New York Times declared the struggle for an eight-hour workday to be “un-American” and called public demonstrations for the shorter hours, quote, “labor disturbances brought about by foreigners,” unquote. Other publications declared that an eight-hour workday would bring about “loafing and gambling, rioting, debauchery and drunkenness.”
In 1969, Reverend Ralph David Abernathy and 100 others were arrested while picketing a hospital in Charleston, South Carolina in a demand for union recognition. The governor of South Carolina declared a state of emergency in Charleston and ordered more than 100,000 state troopers and members of the National Guard to break a strike by predominantly African American Medical University Hospital workers seeking recognition for their union, Local 1199B of the Retail Drug and Hospital Employees. In the end, the employer promised to rehire the striking workers they had fired, abide by a newly established grievance process, and provide modest pay increases.
And in 1978, the Supreme Court ruled that employers may not require female employees to make larger contributions to pension plans in order to obtain the same monthly benefits as men.
Today’s labor quote is by Ralph David Abernathy, Sr.
"Bring on your tear gas, bring on your grenades, your new supplies of Mace, your state troopers and even your national guards. But let the record show we ain't going to be turned around."
Ralph David Abernathy, Sr. was a leader of the Civil Rights Movement, a minister, and Martin Luther King Jr.'s closest friend.
A new report from the McKinsey Global Institute finds that greater gender parity in the workforce—in terms of pay, hours worked and access to full-time jobs—would also benefit the entire country’s economy. The report makes the case for both the government and businesses to take a more proactive role in bringing about gender equality. Read more about it in The Atlantic at dclabor.org
On today's local labor calendar, activists are turning out at noon at DeCarlos Restaurant in Northwest Washington to support Norma Escobar, who worked at DeCarlos Restaurant for nearly a year and was fired without notice and without cause. The protest, organized by MANY LANGUAGES ONE VOICE, will demand severance of two months' wages, not just for Norma Escobar, but for any worker who is fired without just cause. Details at dclabor.org; click on Calendar.
Here’s today’s labor history:
On this date in 2011, songwriter, musician and activist Hazel Dickens died at age 75. Among her songs: “They’ll Never Keep Us Down” and “Working Girl Blues.”
Today’s labor quote is by cultural blogger John Pietaro, who wrote that
"(Hazel) Dickens didn’t just sing the anthems of labor, she lived them. Her place on many a picket line, staring down gunfire and goon squads, embedded her into the cause."
The AFL-CIO released a video earlier this week showing firsthand the devastating economic impact the Trans-Pacific Partnership could have on communities across the country. When global companies move jobs offshore to take advantage of trade deals, they not only destroy jobs, they suppress wages, deprive local governments of needed resources and leave working families behind, according to the video, which is posted on the Metro Washington Council website at dclabor.org
On today's local labor calendar,
Verizon strikers and supporters rally in downtown DC today at noon at the Verizon Wireless store at 13th and F Streets Northwest, a block from Metro Center.
Then at 1pm, catch this week's edition of "Your Rights At Work" here on WPFW 89.3 FM. Guests include CWA 2336 president Terry Richardson, AFGE president J. David Cox and workers comp attorney Hal Levi.
Here’s today’s labor history:
On this date in 1967, New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller signed the Taylor Law, permitting union organization and bargaining by public employees, but outlawing the right to strike.
In 1997, more than 12,000 Goodyear Tire workers struck nine plants in what was to become a 3-week walkout over job security, wage and benefit issues.
And in 2015, Mary Doyle Keefe, who in 1943 posed as “Rosie the Riveter” for famed painter Norman Rockwell, died at age 92 in Simsbury, Connecticut. Published on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post in May 1943, Rosie came to symbolize women factory workers during World War II. The Rockwell painting is sometimes conjoined in peoples’ memories with “We Can Do It!” a similarly-themed poster by Pittsburgh artist J. Howard Miller, created the year before.
Today’s labor quote is by Sybil Lewis, a riveter at Lockheed
"You came out to California, put on your pants, and took your lunch pail to a man's job. This was the beginning of women's feeling that they could do something more."
This week's guests: Terry Richardson, president, CWA 2336, reports on the Verizon strike, live from the picketline; Marilyn Park, Legislative Representative at the American Federation of Government Employees, talks about a sham commission that’s intent on privatizing veterans’ health care, and a forthcoming bill that would abolish the merit system and turn all VA workers into at-will employees who could be fired at any time for any reason; attorney Hal Levi, who handles worker’s comp cases for employees in DC and is active fighting legislative changes to public sector employee’s rights, reports on legislation coming up would change current law in ways that could be bad for injured DC gov’t employees.
Labor song of the week: 1999 (Party Like It's 1999) in memory of Prince (1958-2016).
Labor Quiz: The annual DC labor FilmFest is coming up in May; which of these films is NOT being screened at the FilmFest? Concussion, Horrible Bosses, or Suffragette? Answer: Horrible Bosses.
Previous Quiz: More firefighters die from cancer and other work-related illnesses than in fires: True, but they don’t always get the same benefits. Check out our website for a report on how dying firefighter Lawrence DiPietro is using what time he has to fight back).
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