May Day actions and events
Today is International Workers' Day, a global day to recognize the struggles and gains made by workers and the labor movement. Metro Washington Labor Council affiliates will be taking action all week long. Join us and local unions from around DC and Maryland at these upcoming events.
Students join Compass workers in the fight for a $20 minimum wage
Last week students at both American University and Catholic University joined Compass food workers on campus in their fight for a $20 minimum wage. “We want to make sure that people work and that they work with dignity,” UNITE HERE Local 23 vice president Josh Armstead told the AU Eagle. “People have the right to dignity on the job [and] a job that pays a fair wage.”
Commemorating Workers Memorial Day
Each year, thousands of workers are killed and millions more suffer injury and illness because of dangerous working conditions that are preventable. Our nation’s job safety laws are still too weak, and public agencies responsible for enforcing workplace safety lack the resources they need. Last week, on April 28, we observed Workers Memorial Day, a day to remember those who lost their lives, were injured, or suffered illnesses at work and renew our commitment to fight for safe workplaces.
Capitol Compliance Associates, Inc. workers unanimously ratify their first union contract
Capitol Compliance Associates, Inc. and IBEW Local 1900 agreed to a three-year contract on April 25. The agreement provides for yearly raises, improved vacation and sick leave as well as retroactive payments for all union members. It also maintains existing health care and 401(k) Profit Sharing Plans. Congratulations to Capitol Compliance Associates, Inc. and IBEW Local 1900!
Monday May 1: Wreath Laying at the Mother Jones Historic Marker
With the Labor Heritage Foundation of ATU Local 689
2601 Powder Mill Rd., Adelphi, MD (Park at the Hillandale Baptist Church lot)
In 1916 DC transit workers went on strike for better pay and working conditions. The 3-day strike led to recognition of ATU Local 689 which today represents 15,000 workers in the metropolitan area. Mother Jones’ support of the strike – along with that of other local unions – helped win Local 689 its first contract.
DC May Day Festival and March
With the Progressive Labor Party, the SRA, and the PCUSA
Celebrate the accomplishments of the working class in America and internationally this May 1 in Malcolm X Park in DC! Sponsored by the Progressive Labor Party, the SRA, and the PCUSA. Festival begins at 4:00pm followed by speeches at 5:00 and a march to the White House at 6:00pm.
Senate Health Committee advances Julie Su for secretary of labor
PBS News Hour — April 26, 2023
President Joe Biden’s nomination for the next labor secretary, Julie Su, advanced through a Senate committee Wednesday, but a handful of Democrats are withholding support, creating uncertainty ahead of a vote in the full chamber.
Workers Fighting Union-Busting May Have a New Legal Tool at Their Disposal
Truthout — April 23, 2023
A class-action lawsuit against a California-based grocery retailer could set a new precedent against union-busters.
Head Down: Part II
Latino USA — April 21, 2023
Every year, hundreds of thousands of foreign workers come to the United States to fill temporary agricultural jobs under the government-sponsored H-2A visa program. But instead of finding safe jobs to support their families back home, many farm workers end up getting deceived and abused.
National Council for Occupational Safety and Healthy: "Dirty Dozen 2023"
The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health announced the “Dirty Dozen” list of employers who put workers and communities at risk due to unsafe practices. The Dirty Dozen report is released each year as part of the observance of Workers Memorial Week, which takes place from April 23-30.
How Open Bargaining—and Not Letting Management Set the Ground Rules—Led to a Union Victory
The Nation — May 1, 2023
In 2017, Kentucky became the most recent “right-to-work” state in the US. Which makes the recent victory by the Amalgamated Transit Union all the more significant.
Gen Z is the most pro union generation alive. Will they organize to reflect that?
NPR – April 11, 2023
A recent poll shows public support for labor organizing is the highest it's been in decades, but union membership is at an all-time low. Will Gen Z bridge the gap?
CHECKED OUT: How DOES Collects and Then Ignores Evidence of Wage Theft
DC Jobs With Justice & Restaurant Opportunities Center-DC
Tipped workers in DC are at high risk of wage theft, and DC government does not do enough to protect them. DC will eliminate the two-tier wage system in 2027, but until then, much is needed to stop and prevent tipped workers from having their wages stolen.
AU Kitchen workers demand higher wages with UNITE HERE local union
AU Eagle — April 25, 2023
Compass workers across DC are organizing to negotiate new contracts with higher wages.
“For 49 years, I've been asking for a dollar,” AU food service worker Willie Joiner said at yesterday’s rally for Compass workers as hundreds of chanting UNITE HERE members and their supporters marched in front of the World Bank. “I was working at AU, I would bring home $47 a week to feed my child. Forty-nine years, I've been waiting on that dollar. I saw it at the table this year. I saw it, but I'm going to tell you right here that that doesn't feed my grandbaby. That doesn't pay my rent. I will not wait another 49 years.” The local workers were joined by busloads of UNITE HERE members from locals 25, 54 and 100. The workers are demanding a $20 per hour minimum for Compass workers who serve elite clients in DC. Compass cafeteria workers “serve the powerful people in buildings right over here behind me like the World Bank,” said UNITE HERE Local 23 President Marlene Patrick Cooper. “At this big annual spring meeting that's going on right now, they're serving drinks to folks who are trying to eliminate global poverty while we’re out here to make sure that we're not getting poverty wages. It’s a joke. World poverty; let's take care of home first, Compass.” Father Brian Jordan of St. Camillus Church led the crowd, shaking their fists and fingers at the World Bank, chanting “Shame on you! Shame on you!”
- report/photos by Chris Garlock
Today’s Labor Calendar
Click here for the complete calendar and details. Got something to add or update? Email us at [email protected].
Union City Radio: 7:15am, WPFW-FM 89.3 FM
2-minute audio version of the Metro Washington Labor Council's Union City newsletter.
Your Rights at Work radio show (WPFW 89.3FM): Thu, April 13, 1pm – 2pm
WPFW 89.3 FM or listen online.
GMU Coalition for Worker Rights: Fri, April 14, 12pm – 1pm
Coalition of faculty, students, alumni, campus staff, and contract workers
Dozens of union leaders from across Africa took part in the first-ever Summit for Democracy on the continent, where they discussed the essential role of unions in strengthening democracy and shared strategies on how unions can step up efforts to advance democracy through one of its most essential components—worker rights. “Amplifying the Voices of Workers to Safeguard Democracy in Africa” was co-hosted by the Multilateral Partnership for Organizing, Worker Empowerment and Rights (M-POWER) and the Zambian Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU). It was an official side event of the second Summit for Democracy organized in part by the Solidarity Center. Said Joy Beene, secretary general of the Zambia Confederation of Trade Unions: “There’s no democracy without workers.” See conference highlights in this photo essay. photo: Alex Nkosi, Coordinator, ITUC-Africa, shares examples of young activists who led movements for independence as examples of how the union movement needs to nurture youth leadership & participation to build & strengthen democracy.