The local labor community is mourning the passing of John Reid, former executive vice president of the Maryland-DC region of SEIU 1199. "He was a true gentleman, a great leader and just a wonderful person to be around," said SEIU 32BJ Capital Area Director Jaime Contreras.
On today’s Labor Calendar, Union City Radio’s "Your Rights At Work" weekly Call-in Radio Show launches today at 1pm here on WPFW, where I’ll be taking calls with local labor lawyer Ed Smith; area workers who want to find out more about their rights on the job can call in at 202-588-0893.
Then at 5pm, don’t miss DC Suds & Solidarity, the Happy Hour for people interested in the city's labor movement; it’s at The Big Hunt, 1345 Connecticut Avenue Northwest.
And at 7pm tonight, NoVA YELL, the Young Emerging Labor Leaders group in Northern Virginia, meets at the NoVA office in Annandale.
Go to dclabor.org and click on calendar for full details.
Here’s today’s labor history:
On this date in 1891, African-American cotton pickers organized and struck in Lee County, Texas, against miserably low wages and other injustices, including a growers’ arrangement with local law enforcement to round up blacks on vagrancy charges, then force them to work off their fines on select plantations. Over the course of September a white mob put down the strike, killing 15 strikers in the process.
In 1928, some 300 musicians working in Chicago movie houses struck to protest their impending replacement by talking movies.
And in 1991, twenty-five workers died, unable to escape a fire at the Imperial Poultry processing plant in Hamlet, North Carolina. Managers had locked fire doors to prevent the theft of chicken nuggets. The plant had operated for 11 years without a single safety inspection.
Today’s labor quote is by sociologist Charles Horton Cooley:
“One of the great reasons for the popularity of strikes is that they give the suppressed self an sense of power. For once the human tool knows itself a man, able to stand up and speak a word or strike a blow.