Just Hours and Paid Family Leave, two of the priority campaigns supported by organized labor and our allies, will be back on the table this session.
For more than a year now, the labor-community coalition and folks working retail across the city have urged the Council to pass a "Just Hours" law to ensure full-time hours and stable work schedules in the local service industry. Similarly, the DC Paid Family Leave campaign has been waiting -- and waiting -- on the Council to pass a universal paid leave program.
Come on down to City Council this morning at 8:15am and help spread the word on this day of action; show your support for critical policies that will help DC’s working families.
Also on today’s labor calendar; NoVA Young Emerging Leaders is holding a Movie Night at 6pm in Annandale, Virginia; they’re showing "Dream On," a documentary that follows comedian John Fugelsang traveling the country to see if the American dream is still alive. And it’s a good night for labor films, as “Maestra” screens at 8pm at the Old Greenbelt Theatre in Greenbelt, Maryland, followed by Q&A with filmmaker Catherine Murphy. The film is about how 700,000 Cubans, mostly women, learned to read and write in just one year in 1961.
For complete details and the latest on local labor events and actions, go to dclabor.org and click on Calendar.
Here’s today's labor history:
On this date in 1878, Upton Sinclair, socialist and author of “The Jungle”—published on this day in 1906—was born in Baltimore, Maryland.
In 1887, according to folklorist John Garst, steel-drivin’ man John Henry, born a slave, outperformed a steam hammer on this date at the Coosa Mountain Tunnel or the Oak Mountain Tunnel of the Columbus and Western Railway (now part of the Norfolk Southern) near Leeds, Alabama. Other researchers place the contest near Talcott, West Virginia.
Today’s labor quote is from the work song "Take this Hammer"
This old hammer killed John Henry,
But it can't kill me.
Take this hammer, take it to the Captain,
Tell him I'm gone, babe, tell him I'm gone.
For almost a hundred years after the abolition of slavery, convicts, mostly African American, were leased to work as forced labor in the mines, railroad camps, brickyards, turpentine farms, and then on road gangs of the American South, where work songs like this were common.