For two full years, she and her co-workers were forced to put in 12-hour shifts for 13 consecutive days before they could get a single day off.
“We were off only two days out of every 30,” Anderson said, due to the company policy known as “drafting.” “There wasn’t enough time to be with our families or see our children, and we knew that families would be torn apart if it kept up. And people were getting hurt because they were too tired. Back strains, hand lacerations, slips and falls were common."
Making matters worse, if workers spoke up, they were told that if they didn’t like how things were, they could always quit.
But instead of quitting, the Lipton workers organized and joined UFCW Local 400. Lipton abolished its "drafting" policy and now the workers are negotiating their first union contract.
“Being a Local 400 member means I don’t have to take everything the company says or does to me,” Anderson says. “I don’t have to sit back and let them treat me any way they want. I can go to management and voice my opinion and even if they try to turn a deaf ear, someone is there to listen and to act.”
You can see pictures of Anita and her co-workers -- and read their whole story -- on our website at dclabor.org
On today's labor calendar, there's a Save the EPA Rally sponsored by AFGE District 14 starting at 11:30 this morning at EPA Headquarters at 12th and Pennsylvania Northwest.
Then at noon catch ‘Civil Rights Unionism: From Page to Stage’ at the AFL-CIO. Local composer Steve Jones based his jazz opera, “Love Songs from the Liberation Wars: the 1940s Tobacco Workers’ Struggle” on a book by Professor Robert Korstad, who will discuss his work followed by performances by the cast of “Love Songs.”
For details and all the latest local labor calendar listings, go to dclabor.org and click on Calendar.
Here’s today's labor history:
On this date in 1917, the U.S. Supreme Court approved the 8-Hour Act under threat of a national railway strike.
In 1948, the bituminous coal miners began a nationwide strike, demanding adoption of a pension plan.
Today’s labor quote is by professor Robert Korstad, explaining why he got arrested for civil disobedience on May 6, 2013 at the North Carolina General assembly along with 29 of his fellow citizens.
Duke Professor of Public Policy and History Robert Korstad, who said:
"Citizens who want to give their voice on these issues (have) little option other than to go to the State House and make our voices heard through our singing, through our prayers and through other forms of expression."
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