Labor-endorsed candidates won in three DC City Council primaries on Tuesday, while one lost and one is still too close to call. Robert White won in the race for an At-Large seat, Trayon White won in the Ward 8 primary and challenger Janeese Lewis George pulled off an upset against incumbent Brandon Todd with a double-digit win. As of yesterday, the Ward 2 race was still too close to call, and while Anthony Lorenzo Green was not victorious in his bid against Vincent Gray, Metro Washington Council Political Director David Stephen said the Green “ran an outstanding campaign, and we are looking forward to continuing our work with him as an activist and ally.”
In today’s labor history, on this date in 1939, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Hague v. Committee for Industrial Organization, upholding several lower courts’ rulings that Jersey City mayor Frank Hague’s ordinance banning labor meetings in public places and prohibiting the distribution of CIO literature violated the First Amendment right to freedom of assembly and was therefore unconstitutional.
Today’s labor quote is by Ryan Timlin, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1005, which represents Minneapolis bus drivers and last week refused to transport George Floyd protesters to jail. Ryan Timlin, who said:
“If we feel if something is unjust, then workers should have the right not to support the situation or provide their services.”
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(audio) “There's deserts within our community, grocery deserts, there's banking deserts, a militarized police force. There's inadequate infrastructure. There's a racist criminal justice system: Brianna Taylor, Ahmad Aubrey, George Floyd.”
That’s Terry Melvin, president of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, at a town hall meeting last week.
“All of these things have contributed to the rising deaths of blacks during the pandemic. And we cannot allow this to continue. We can't emerge from this quarantine the same way with the same racist operating moves that we had before; institutionalized oppression has resulted in the deaths of thousands. If we don't act now, we risk the reality of things getting worse. So this is why this moment, we need our voices more than ever. And this is why CBTU and our sibling constituency groups are building new platforms and venues to amplify the voice of true essential workers.”
We’ll be discussing this issue – and taking your calls -- on Your Rights At Work, today at 1 o’clock here on WPFW 89.3.
In today’s labor history, on this date in 1956, the AFL-CIO opened its new headquarters building, in view of the White House. The House of Labor, as it’s known in the labor movement, was hit by vandalism and fire during the protests Sunday night, But as AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka said, “the labor movement is not a building. We are a living collection of working people who will never stop fighting for economic, social and racial justice.”
Today’s labor quote is by Bonnie Castillo, a Registered Nurse who’s the Executive Director of National Nurses United. Bonnie Castillo, who said:
“We must acknowledge that it is the economic, political, legal, and corporate system that reinforces this crisis. We must push for the transformative changes that will protect the health and safety of everyone, protect our diversity, and protect our democracy.”
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Supermarket workers at Kroger recently reported receiving collection letters from the company alleging that they were overpaid “emergency pay” while on sick leave, and demanding the workers pay the company back.
Their union, UFCW Local 400, investigated each case thoroughly and were preparing to file grievances against the company, but after an exposé in Dissent Magazine featuring a Local 400 member sparked an outcry from workers and customers on social media, the company backed down.
The union said it was pleased Kroger had come to its senses and urged the company to “focus their attention on extending ‘hero pay’ until this crisis is over.”
For the latest local labor events, check out the Calendar at dclabor.org
In today’s labor history, on this date in 1900, the International Ladies Garment Workers Union was founded.
Today’s labor quote is by Local 689 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, a majority black union of over 12,000 members and retirees around the nation’s capital. ATU Local 689, which this week released a statement saying:
“Let us never forget that the conditions that built many of our unions (including: civil unrest, widespread unemployment, mass demonstrations) are not too different from today. Our unions weren’t given to us but were the result of incredible sacrifices.”
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“We will clean up the glass, sweep away the ashes and keep doing our part to bring a better day out of this hour of darkness and despair.” That was AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka’s on Monday morning, after protests Sunday night hit the national labor federation’s headquarters with fire and vandalism.
“The Labor Movement is much more than a building,” the AFL-CIO tweeted. “We’ve said it for years and we will say it again: Black Lives Matter.”
“In this house,” the federation tweeted, “we will continue to fight for economic, social and racial justice with every fiber of our being.”
On this week’s labor calendar, an important update: the “Workers First” caravan planned for this Wednesday has been postponed; we’ll keep you posted when it’s rescheduled.”
In today’s labor history, on this date in 1786, twenty-six journeymen printers in Philadelphia staged the trade’s first strike in America over wages: a cut in their $6 weekly pay.
Today’s labor quote is from a statement issued last Friday by the Communications Workers of America, which said:
"We will never build enough power as working people if an entire community is living under the threat of death and subject to discrimination based on the color of their skin. We will never build enough power if an entire community has its neck under an oppressor's knee.”
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