Paratransit drivers – members of ATU Local 1764 -- now start at $16 an hour and top out at $22 dollars, “a big improvement from before the union was organized and the starting pay was only $11 dollar per hour,’ says ATU’s Sesil Rubain. “There is power in a union!”
On this week's labor calendar, get your tickets now for “Love Songs from the Liberation Wars,” the labor jazz opera composed by Steve Jones and directed by Elise Bryant.
There are just four performances of the show, starting Thursday night and running through Saturday; complete details on our website at dclabor.org, click on calendar.
“Love Songs” tells the moving story of a 1943 strike led by African-American women at the R J Reynolds factory in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, which was an early victory against Jim Crow segregation.
To hear some of the cast perform songs from the show on WPFW’s [email protected], go to dclabor.org and click on Union City Radio.
Here’s today's labor history:
On this date in 1852, Ohio made it illegal for children under 18 and women to work more than 10 hours a day.
In 1918, Sam Walton, founder of the huge and bitterly anti-union Walmart empire, was born in Kingfisher, Oklahoma. He once said that his priority was to “Buy American,” but Walmart is now the largest U.S. importer of foreign-made goods—often produced under sweatshop conditions.
And on this date in 1948, the “Battle of Wall Street” took place, during which police charged members of the United Financial Employees’ Union, who were striking against the New York Stock Exchange and New York Curb Exchange, now known as the American Stock Exchange. Forty-three workers were arrested in what was to be the first and only strike in the history of either exchange.
Today’s labor quote is by Steve Jones, from the labor jazz opera "Love Songs from the Liberation Wars"
We are the voices of rebellion
The writing on the wall
We sing the songs of freedom
The witness to the fall
We bring you the love songs
From the liberation wars
The songs that heal
And remind us
What we’re fighting for
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