Last week, nearly 200 workers at the Lipton plant in southeast Virginia voted to unionize with Local 400 of the United Food & Commercial Workers Union.
“I woke up this morning feeling wonderful,” said Lisa Gayle, who’s been with the company for 14 years. “As a unified group, now we can make Lipton the best place it can be. I’m so excited!”
The Lipton plant has operated in Suffolk, Virginia for more than 60 years and produces nearly all of the Lipton tea sold in North America. More than 200 employees currently work at the plant, but that number could as much as double in the coming months as the company expands its workforce.
“I couldn’t be happier to welcome such a wonderful group of people into the UFCW family,” said Mark Federici, President of UFCW Local 400. “Their courage, commitment and tireless efforts bolstered my faith in the power of working people to stand up for themselves and improve the lives of all hardworking men and women.”
Read more on our website at dclabor.org, where you can also find out about the latest local labor events and actions by clicking on Calendar.
Here’s today's labor history:
On this date in 1919, John Reed formed the Communist Labor Party in Chicago. The American journalist, poet, and socialist activist is best remembered for his first-hand account of the Bolshevik Revolution, “Ten Days That Shook the World.”
In 1921, some 10,000 striking miners began a fight at Blair Mountain, West Virginia, for recognition of their union, the United Mine Workers of America. Federal troops were sent in and miners were forced to withdraw five days later, after 16 deaths.
In 1980, the "Solidarity" workers movement was founded as a strike coordination committee at Lenin Shipyards in Gdansk, Poland. The strike launched a wave of unrest in the Soviet Union that ultimately led to its dissolution in 1991.
And in 1991, an estimated 325,000 unionists gathered in Washington, D.C., for a Solidarity Day march and rally for workplace fairness and healthcare reform.
Today’s labor quote is from the Communist Manifesto, by Karl Marx and Frierich Engels
"Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains!"
Staffing shortages are endangering youth and staff at a residential center for high-risk young offenders in Sabillasville, Maryland, according to AFSCME Maryland Council 3.
The staff shortage creates a strain on employees who are often forced to work overtime at facilities such as the Victor Cullen Center in Sabillasville, said Terra Smith, a resident adviser at the center and a Council 3 member.
“Right now, we don’t have enough staff to make sure that we can provide the highest level of safety for the youth or ourselves at Victor Cullen,” Smith said.
The issue came to a head on March 11 when a fight broke out between two groups of youth, involving about a dozen boys.
Maryland State Police were called to help bring the facility under control, and six staff members, including two who were working overtime, were assaulted in the fight, said Smith, who rallied outside the center on August 17 with co-workers and union representatives to demand relief from the Department of Juvenile Services. Read more on our website at dclabor.org, where you can also find out about the latest local labor events and actions by clicking on Calendar.
Here’s today's labor history:
On this date in 1834, delegates from several East Coast cities met to form the National Trades' Union, uniting craft unions to oppose, quote, "the most unequal and unjustifiable distribution of the wealth of society in the hands of a few individuals." The union faded after a few years.
In 1935, President Franklin Roosevelt's Wealth Tax Act increased taxes on rich citizens and big business, and lowered taxes for small businesses.
Today’s labor quote is by Franklin Delano Roosevelt
“No business which depends for its existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country. By living wages I mean more than a bare subsistence level – I mean the wages of decent living.”
Areas of Arlington National Cemetery are being neglected amid the refusal of grounds-keeping contractors to negotiate with their striking workers.
A section of the cemetery lawn which had been removed and was slated for re-seeding remains unplanted, while areas in between tombstones have become over-grown and neglected, according to Larry Doggett, Business Manager of Local 572 of the Laborers’ International Union, which represents the grounds-keepers.
The workers struck on August 15 to protest delays by their employers in negotiating a contract and the firing and discipline of workers who refused overtime.
“Veterans and their cemetery deserve contractors who put getting the job done ahead of greed,” said Doggett, himself a U.S. Marine Corps veteran. “It’s time for the Army to put the good of the cemetery first, and tell this contractor to deal with its striking employees.”
Read more -- and see photos of the neglect at Arlington Cemetery -- on our website at dclabor.org
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 1996, dancers at San Francisco’s Lusty Lady Club voted 57-15 to be represented by SEIU Local 790. Their first union contract, ratified eight months later, guaranteed work shifts, protection against arbitrary discipline and termination, automatic hourly wage increases, sick days, a grievance procedure, and removal of one-way mirrors from peep show booths. After management cut wages in 2003, the workers struck and won. The workers subsequently bought the club and instituted a peer review process in which the dancers evaluate each other, rather than the managers. Eventually, however, declining business and increased rent took their toll and the Lusty Lady closed on Labor Day 2013.
Today’s labor quote is by the dancers at the Lusty Lady
"We are workers just like everyone else. We deserve to be treated with the same respect as steel workers, truck drivers, teachers, and social workers. We will not allow ourselves to be treated as less than full working citizens, to be stigmatized and marginalized, just because our work involves taking off our clothes, just because our work deals with the forbidden subjects of sex and sexual desire."
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