“We urge this Council to strongly consider increasing the maximum weekly benefit amount to modernize the UI program,” testified Carlos Jimenez, Executive Director of the Metro Washington Council. “We need to do everything we can to ensure that there is increased stability for workers and the local economy.” The Metro Council’s Claimant Advocacy Program has worked closely with allies to push for an increase in unemployment benefits; DC’s $359-dollar maximum weekly benefit is one of the lowest in the nation. “I hope DC will raise benefits to help people like me,” testified Ward 5 resident Druzilla Green. “We have to find a way for people to have dignity and provide for their families while they are looking for employment.”
On today’s labor calendar, Verizon strike pickets continue throughout the metro area; get complete details at dclabor.org; click on calendar.
The DC LaborFest continues tonight with a screening of “Sherpa” at 7:15 pm at the AFI Silver Theatre. The film reveals the lives and struggles of the Himalayan locals who do most of the heavy lifting on Mount Everest. Full details at dclabor.org; click on LaborFest.
Here’s today’s labor history:
On this date in 1907, legendary Western Federation of Miners leader William “Big Bill” Haywood went on trial for murder in the bombing death of former Idaho governor Frank Steunenberg, who had brutally suppressed the state’s miners. Haywood ultimately was declared innocent.
In 1907, Japanese workers struck at Oahu, Hawaii’s Aiea Plantation, demanding the same pay as Portuguese and Puerto Rican workers. Ultimately 7,000 workers and their families remained out until August, when the strike was broken.
In 1937, Hollywood studio mogul Louis B. Mayer recognized the Screen Actors Guild. SAG leaders reportedly were bluffing when they told Mayer that 99 percent of all actors would walk out the next morning unless he dealt with the union. Some 5,000 actors attended a victory gathering the following day and SAG membership immediately increased 400 percent.
Today’s labor quote is by Big Bill Haywood
“If one man has a dollar he didn't work for, some other man worked for a dollar he didn't get.”
Big Bill Haywood, who also said, “Tonight I am going to speak on the class struggle and I am going to make it so plain that even a lawyer can understand it.