The AFL-CIO’s Solidarity Center reports that domestic workers in Jordan have formed the country's first-ever worker rights network, one that includes migrant workers from Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka. The more than 2.4 million migrant domestic workers in the Arab region often toil 12–20 hour days, six or seven days a week cleaning homes, preparing meals and caring for children and the elderly. Migrant workers in Jordan, like in many countries in the Middle East and elsewhere, cannot form unions to improve their working conditions. Find out more at solidaritycenter.org
In this week's Labor Quiz, independent non-union drivers in the trucking industry are known as what? Are they scabs; pie-cards; yellow-bellies or gypsies? Go to unionist.com and click on Labor Quiz and you could be next week's winner!
Here’s today’s labor history:
On this date in 1892, a total of 29 strike leaders were charged with treason—plotting "to incite insurrection, rebellion & war against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania"—for daring to strike the Carnegie Steel Company in Homestead, Pennsylvania. Jurors refused to convict them.
In 1899, seventy-year-old Mother Jones organized the wives of striking miners in Arnot, Pennsylvania to descend on the mine with brooms, mops and clanging pots and pans. They frightened away the mules and their scab drivers, and the miners eventually won their strike.
In 1919, black farmers met in Elaine, Arkansas to establish the Progressive Farmers and Householders Union to fight for better pay and higher cotton prices. They were shot at by a group of whites, and returned fire. News of the confrontation spread and a riot ensued, leaving at least 100 blacks dead and 67 indicted for inciting violence.
And in 1962, Cesar Chavez, with Dolores Huerta, co-founded the National Farm Workers Association, which later was to become the United Farm Workers of America.
Today’s labor quote is by Dolores Huerta:
“When you have a conflict, that means that there are truths that have to be addressed on each side of the conflict. And when you have a conflict, then it's an educational process to try to resolve the conflict. And to resolve that, you have to get people on both sides of the conflict involved so that they can dialogue.”
House Speaker John Boehner's surprise retirement announcement last Friday "has muddled an already confusing situation," regarding the possibility of another government shutdown, reports AFSCME Council 26 Executive Director Carl Goldman. "Some experts and many in the media are saying that Boehner's action makes it less likely that a shutdown will occur, while others are saying the opposite.” Goldman notes that ”Even many of the more optimistic commentators acknowledge that a shutdown could still happen in the coming weeks and months. The truth is that no one knows for sure." What is clear is that the unions representing federal workers are actively preparing for a shutdown as early as October 1. "We are engaging in legislative action, preparing leaflets, expanding our communications network, preparing public actions and getting ready to engage the media," Goldman said. "Anyone who was around during the last shutdown knows what we are capable of doing."
For the latest local labor events, go to dclabor.org and click on calendar.
Here’s today’s labor history:
On this date in 1931, 400 coal miners marched through the streets of Estevan, Saskatchewan, with their wives and children. The miners were striking over union recognition, hours of work, wages, and working and living conditions. When they refused to disperse, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police shot and killed one of the workers and a battle ensued that resulted in three men dead and a number of others seriously injured.
Today’s labor quote is by J. David Cox Sr., President of the American Federation of Government Employees:
“Doctors will tell you that the best cure for any disease is prevention. This shutdown is a disease that is threatening to infect the American people. But it’s entirely preventable. All Congress needs to do is pass a budget to keep the government open.”
Sonia Lozano is the secretary-treasurer of Laborers Local 572 in DC and a member of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement. Describing the importance of Latinos in the workforce and in the labor movement, she says that "In 2050, Latinos will make up one-third of our workforce, yet we are currently some of the most vulnerable workers in the country. For the future of labor and for the future of Latinos, this is an undeniable partnership that needs to take place now. I am a mother of two," Lozano says, "and every morning I wake up and think about the future of my kids. I want to make sure that they grow up in a world where my daughter will earn the same amount of money as my son. I want them to be treated as equals and not discriminated against for being Latinos. Hopefully, our efforts as laborers can provide them a greater opportunity to build a better future for their families and for the community that surrounds them."
This profile is part of a Hispanic Heritage Month series on the AFL-CIO's blog honoring leaders in the movements to protect and expand the rights of Hispanics, Latinos and working families; read more at aflcio.org
Here’s today’s labor history:
On this date in 1917, 165 Wobblies were indicted for protesting World War 1.
In 1995, dockworkers who refused to cross a picket line were locked out and fired by their employer, the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company in Liverpool, England. Their struggle for reinstatement lasted over two years.
Today’s labor quote is by Frederick Douglass:
"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will."
Union City Radio’s Chris Garlock guest-hosts for Bill Fletcher. Guests include:
Lillian Walker Shelton, author of “Emilia’s Song,” a just-released sci-fi novel that inter-weaves workers’ rights, fair wages, and feminism;
Tiffany Flowers, Organizing Director, UFCW 400: Reflections, as a labor activist, on the lessons of the Black Panthers movement (she co-led discussion at Wednesday night’s labor screening of the film “The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution”), especially related to today’s Black Lives Matter movement;
Erica Ginsberg, Co-Director “Creative Feds,” a film-in-progress about what federal workers do on their time off, especially in light of another possible gov’t shutdown on October 1.
Lance Kramer, producer, "City of Trees," which tells the intimate story of one community’s fight for equal access to good jobs and safe parks in our nation’s capital.
Patti Absher, Co-chair & director of the 2015 Greater Washington Immigration FilmFest.
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