Also on today’s labor calendar, the DC LaborFest continues with a book event at noon and film screening tonight. At noon at the AFL-CIO, authors Lois Kelly and Carmen Medina will discuss their book Rebels at Work, which offers ideas, techniques and advice on how to be a successful rebel at work. And tonight catch a world premiere screening of a re-mastered copy of Fighting for Our Lives, the Oscar-nominated portrait of the historic 1973 United Farm Workers strike, led by César Chávez; the film screens at 7:20 tonight at the AFI in Silver Spring, and filmmaker Glen Pearcy will be on hand for a Q&A after the screening.
Here’s this week's Labor Quiz: on April 13, 2015, Walmart suddenly and mysteriously closed five stores in four different states, citing “plumbing problems” as the reason for the six-month closure, although many employees feel the closings are retaliation for recent protests over low pay and bad working conditions. What was the company's advice to the thousands of employees it had just laid off? Was it: Collect unemployment until the stores reopened; seek temporary employment at Sam's Club; avoid chocolate and nicotine; or volunteer to help Walmart with the plumbing problems. Go to unionist.com, click on Labor Quiz and you could be next week's winner!
In today's labor history, a nationwide railway strike began on this date in 1894 at Pullman, Illinois. Over a quarter of a million railroad workers ultimately joined the strike to protest wage cuts by the Pullman Palace Car Company. And in 1953, seventeen crewmen on the iron ore freighter Henry Steinbrenner died when the ship, carrying nearly 7,000 tons of ore, sank during a violent storm on Lake Erie.
Today's labor quote is by Eugene Debs, speaking in Pullman, Illinois during the American Railway Union's Pullman Strike in 1894:
“If it is a fact that after working for George M. Pullman for many years you appear two weeks after your work stops, ragged and hungry, it only emphasizes the charge I made before this community, and Pullman stands before you a self-confessed robber....The paternalism of Pullman is the same as the self-interest of a slave-holder in his human chattels. You are striking to avert slavery and degradation.”
Debs, one of the founding members of the Industrial Workers of the World, was instrumental in founding the American Railway Union, one of the nation's first industrial unions.
YOUR RIGHTS AT WORK: Tip #11 (click below)
This is Chris Garlock, with Union City Radio’s Your Rights at Work tip of the day:
D.C. workers have the right to be free from employer retaliation. It is illegal for an employer to retaliate against a worker in any way for filing a claim for unpaid wages, or for directly asking your employer about the wages. If your employer takes any action against you within 90 days of making a formal or informal complaint, there will be a presumption that your employer was retaliating against you. If your employer retaliates against you, you may be able to collect damages of $1,000 to $10,000.
Find out more about your rights at work from the Employment Justice Center, at DCEJC.ORG or call 202-828-9675.