The airport workers, members of Unite Here 23, are upset about poor working conditions at both National and Dulles airports, which have an outsized impact on the D.C. area’s Ethiopian community. Some sixty percent of the retail and food workers at the D.C. airports are Ethiopians and many say they have experienced discrimination at their current job. DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton joined Tuesday's protest to show her support for the workers.
The groundkeepers at Arlington National Cemetery struck after eight months of delays in reaching a new contract. Arlington County Board members Christian Dorsey and Katie Cristol joined more than 25 contract groundskeepers on the picketline Tuesday morning. The workers are members of Laborers Local 572. “This is about workers and their ability to provide for their families and their ability to live,” said Dorsey. “You really can’t do so if your wages don’t keep up with the cost of living.” The workers, who are jointly employed by the Davey Tree Expert Company and Greenleaf Services, are looking for sick leave time and a pay raise of 4 percent from their current rate of about $13 per hour.
On today's labor calendar, catch Julius Getman on "Your Rights At Work" here on WPFW at 1pm this afternoon; Getman is the author of the new book “The Supreme Court On Unions: Why Labor Law is Failing American Workers.”
For the latest local labor calendar listings, go to dclabor.org and click on Calendar.
Here’s today's labor history:
On this date in 1877, local militiamen were called out against striking railroad workers in Pittsburgh. The head of the Pennsylvania Railroad advised giving the strikers "a rifle diet for a few days and see how they like that kind of bread."
In 1964, the IWW led a strike at Hodgeman's Blueberry Farm in Grand Junction, Michigan.
And in 1984, a die-cast operator in Jackson, Michigan was pinned by a hydraulic Unimate robot, and died five days later. The incident was the first documented case in the U.S. of a robot killing a human.
Today’s labor quote is by Walter Reuther
Touring a new highly-automated factory, Henry Ford the second asked the auto workers president "Walter, how are you going to get those robots to pay your union dues?"
Reuther replied: "Henry, how are you going to get them to buy your cars?"