Unemployed workers and their advocates urged the DC City Council last week to raise unemployment benefits and adopt other common sense reforms to benefit DC workers. “A job loss can be catastrophic,” testified Tonya Love of the Metro Washington Council's Claimant Advocacy Program. “Unemployment benefits were designed to be a safety net to offset the loss of income when they lose a job through no fault of their own. But it is a daunting task to make a living on $359 per week.” SEIU 722's Dan Fields noted that "DC has a high cost of living and the benefits just don’t fit the bill.” It's been 10 years since DC last raised this benefit and since then, inflation has eaten away 20% of its purchasing power. “I hope you will raise the benefits," urged Ward 6 resident Fanny Jones. "$359 a week will only pay my electric and water bill. Then I have to think about, how am I going to pay my mortgage?”
For all of this week's labor events, go to dclabor.org and click on Calendar for complete details.
Here’s today’s labor history:
On this date in 1863, fabled railroad engineer John Luther “Casey” Jones was born in southeast Missouri. A member of the Railroad Engineers, he was the sole fatality in a wreck near Vaughan, Mississippi on April 29, 1900. His skill and heroics prevented many more deaths.
In 1914, Henry Ford announced the new continuous motion method to assemble cars. The process decreased the time to make a car from 12 and a half hours to 93 minutes. Goodbye, craftsmanship, hello, drudgery.
In 1954, the movie Salt of the Earth opened. The classic film centers on a long and difficult strike led by Mexican-American and Anglo zinc miners in New Mexico. Real miners performed in the film, in which the miners’ wives—as they did in real life—take to the picket lines after the strikers are enjoined.
Today’s labor quote is by Esperanza Quintero, one of the main characters in the 1954 film "Salt of the Earth":
'Whose neck shall I stand on to make me feel superior, and what will I have out of it? I don't want anything lower than I am. I am low enough already. I want to rise and to push everything up with me as I go"
The character of Esperanza Quintero was portrayed by actress Rosaura Revueltas