If it’s December in the nation’s capital, it means residents and visitors alike are gearing up to celebrate the holiday season with family, friends and loved ones. So let’s take a moment to thank our Washington, D.C., union brothers and sisters on the front lines fighting for better wages, hours and benefits for all of us. From retail workers protesting against Walmart’s low wages, to workers at Reagan National and Dulles International airports joining the national Fight for $15, workers in the D.C. metro area have participated in dozens of actions in 2015. We can all join the fight for a stronger middle class this holiday season. Every time we open our wallet, we can choose to spend our money supporting good employers who treat their workers well. In that spirit, the Metro Washington Council and Labor 411 are proud to present a selected list of D.C. holiday activities and events that union workers make possible, from the National Christmas Tree to ICE! at Marriott’s Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” at Ford’s Theatre, “The Nutcracker” by The Washington Ballet at Warner Theatre and ZooLights at the National Zoo.
Because together, our dollars can make sense. Full details at dclabor.org
Here’s today’s labor history:
On this date in 1910, a dynamite bomb destroyed a portion of the Llewellyn Ironworks in Los Angeles, where a bitter strike was in progress.
In 1967, fourteen servicemen from military bases across the U.S., led by Private Andrew Stapp, formed The American Servicemen’s Union. The union, which never came close to being recognized by the government, in its heyday during the Viet Nam war claimed tens of thousands of members and had chapters at bases, on ships and in Vietnam. ASU demands included the right to elect officers and their slogan was “To win a Bill of Rights for rank-and-file servicemen and women.”
Today’s labor quote is by Andrew Stapp, from his book “Up Against the Brass”:
“We talked to everyone who would listen. Soon the entire battalion knew our views. Only a handful showed hostility. Often in the barracks, after lights-out, we would kid about the war. Dick Wheaton, a marvelous mimic, could sound exactly like Lyndon Johnson. He would pretend he was LBJ holding a press conference and the guys would ask questions.
‘Mr. President, are you going to send additional troops to Vietnam?’
‘Our commitment is firm, son, firm. Ah’m not gonna hide mah tail between mah legs and run. Ah’m willin’ to fight to the last drop of yore blood to achieve peace.’”
Union City Radio's Chris Garlock hosts, with Labor Heritage Foundation Executive Director Elise Bryant; guests include Labor 411's Cherri Senders on how to make it a union holiday in the nation's capital, Will Fischer of the AFL-CIO's Veteran's Council and "Pray for the Dead" author Gene Bruskin.
Fifty four workers and families will be having happier holidays this season "thanks to the amazing generosity of many national and local unions and individuals," says Community Services Agency Executive Director Kathleen McKirchy. "This year’s Holiday Basket Project has been a big success," McKirchy said. "From collecting non-perishable food to sending in union grocery store gift cards, making direct financial contributions and providing special gifts for individual kids, unions and labor people stepped up to the plate with their hearts and their wallets. Labor Cares, Labor Shares!" Go to dclabor.org to see our album of photos.
On today’s labor calendar, I’ll be hosting “Your Rights at Work” at noon today here on WPFW. Labor Heritage Foundation Executive Director Elise Bryant co-hosts; guests include Labor 411's Cherri Senders on how to make it a union holiday in the nation's capital, Will Fischer of the AFL-CIO's Veteran's Council and "Pray for the Dead" author Gene Bruskin. Plus your calls on rights at work!
Here’s today’s labor history:
On this date in 1913, seventy-two copper miners’ children died in a panic caused by a company stooge at Calumet, Michigan who shouted “fire” up the stairs into a crowded hall where the children had gathered. They were crushed against closed doors when they tried to flee.
Today’s labor quote is by Woody Guthrie, from his song “1913 Massacre” about the Calumet tragedy:
Such a terrible sight I never did see
We carried our children back up to their tree
The scabs outside still laughed at their spree
And the children that died there were seventy three
The piano played a slow funeral tune
And the town was lit up by a cold Christmas moon
The parents they cried and the miners they moaned
"See what your greed for money has done"
Transportation Security Officers picketed at Dulles Airport last Saturday to call attention to the lack of a contract for TSOs nationwide. The TSOs are also seeking the same basic Title 5 workplace rights enjoyed by many other federal workers, including GSA pay scale, Family and Medical Leave Act and Fair Labor Standards Act. “Most passengers think we have these rights, but we don’t,” said AFGE Local 445 President Dustin Martin, who was joined by AFGE Council 100 members from as far away as Detroit and Orlando. “We have to bring this to the nation’s attention.”
Here’s today’s labor history:
On this date in 1908, officers of the American Federation of Labor were found in contempt of court for urging a labor boycott of Buck's Stove and Range Company in St Louis, where the Metal Polishers were striking for a 9-hour day. In 1970, construction workers topped out the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 1,368 feet, making it the tallest building in the world. And in 2008, Walmart, the nation's largest employer, with 1.4 million "associates," agreed to settle 63 wage and hour suits across the U.S., for a grand total of between $352 million and $640 million. It was accused of failure to pay overtime, requiring off-the-clock work, and failure to provide required meal and rest breaks.
Today’s labor quote is by Yoda, from the film "The Empire Strikes Back":
"Do or do not. There is no try."
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