Although the “Rail Safety and Security Act of 2016” passed the DC City Council 13-0 last month, Herb Harris reports that “large interests have been working behind the scenes to maintain the status quo and keep the District of Columbia without a rail safety office.” Harris is State Chairman of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, which has been working on the rail safety measure for over five years. You can send a letter to DC City Council members urging them to support the Rail Safety Act when it comes up for a final vote next Tuesday, by going to dclabor.org now.
On this weekend’s labor calendar, Sierra Leone's Refugee Allstars and Ezuz will perform in concert tomorrow night at the Washington Ethical Society at 7pm.
“You are Not Alone - We Stand Together!” promises an evening of high-energy, danceable music from around the world affirming our commitment to decency, civil rights, and our common humanity. We’ve got a link for tickets at dclabor.org; click on Calendar.
Then on Sunday, transit workers will Rally to Fix the (Unfair)Fax Connector at 1pm in Fairfax, Virginia.
For the complete calendar and more details, go to dclabor.org and click on – you guessed it -- Calendar.
Here’s today's labor history:
On this date in 1902, New York City’s Majestic Theater became the first in the U.S. to employ women ushers.
In 1951, the Bagel Bakers of America union continued a work slowdown at 32 of New York’s 34 bagel bakeries in a dispute over health and welfare fund payments and workplace sanitation. Coincidentally—or not—lox sales were down 30 to 50 percent as well. The effect on the cream cheese market was not reported.
And on this date in 1977, eight female bank tellers in Willmar, Minnesota began the first strike against a bank in U.S. history. The women struck because they were paid little more than half what male tellers were paid. When they went to see bank president Leo Pirsch and demanded an end to the discrimination, Pirsch told the women, “We’re not all equal, you know.” Picketing the bank in wind chills of minus 70, the striking tellers became a cause célèbre for the women’s movement, receiving thousands of cards and appearing in national magazines. Phil Donahue featured them on his talk show, as did NBC’s "Today Show." Actress Lee Grant made a behind-the-scenes documentary and NBC made a TV movie. The strike ended in moral victory but economic defeat two years later.
Today’s labor quote is from Willmar high school history teacher Suzanne Nelson, who teaches her students that:
"A small group of people can make a lot of difference."
Hosts: Chris Garlock and Ed Smith
David Stephen, ATU 689 (in-studio): Town Halls to generate a “People's Agenda for Metro,” DC City Council to take final vote on “Rail Safety and Security Act of 2016” next Tuesday, plus his take on Transportation Secretary nominee Elaine Chao.
Kimberly Mitchell on why the DC City Council needs to pass the Paid Family Leave bill next Tuesday. A DC resident, single parent and UFCW 400 shop steward, Mitchell is a make-up artist at Macy’s at 12th & G in downtown DC.
Jaime Contreras, SEIU 32BJ Area Director, with an update on the airport worker strike.
Labor Song: Labor Song: Power and the glory (by anti-war activist Phil Ochs, performed by Anita Bryant):
FROM THE CAP FILES: Attorney Lolita Martin and THE CASE OF THE POST THAT WASN’T ABANDONED
The show airs live on WPFW at 1p every Thursday or subscribe to the podcast here. Peter Pocock produces the show, Michael Nassella engineers and UFCW 400's Jonathan Williams designed the podcast logo.
Hundreds of contracted service workers at National Airport and Dulles walked off the job yesterday to protest poverty wages and a lack of respect from their employer, the Huntleigh Corporation. The striking workers were joined by Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, Virginia Senator Barbara Favola, and clergy and community supporters for an early-morning rally.
"What do we want?" the strikers chanted. "$15! When do we want it? Now!"
Read more – and see photos of the striking airport workers -- on our website at dclabor.org
On today's labor calendar, Ed Smith and I will take your calls on "Your Rights At Work" – 1pm here on WPFW – so if you have any questions about worker rights on the job, tune in – and call in – at 1pm today.
For the complete calendar, go to dclabor.org and click on Calendar.
Here’s today's labor history:
On this date in 1921, the Kansas National Guard was called out to subdue thousands of protesting women who were going from mine to mine attacking coal miners who wouldn’t join the strike. The women made headlines across the state and the nation: they were christened the "Amazon Army" by the New York Times.
In 1967, the U.S. Age Discrimination in Employment Act became law. It bars employment discrimination against anyone aged 40 or older.
And in 2005, Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers union organizer Clinton Jencks died of natural causes in San Diego at age 87. Jencks led New Mexico zinc miners in the strike depicted in the classic 1954 movie Salt of the Earth.
Today’s labor quote is from the Bible, Proverbs 31, Verses 8 and 9
“Speak up for people who cannot speak for themselves.
Protect the rights of all who are helpless.
Speak for them and be a righteous judge.
Protect the rights of the poor and needy.”
Working family advocates have strongly condemned President-elect Donald Trump's selection of Carl's Jr. CEO Andy Puzder as secretary of labor. Here are a few of their comments:
"At every turn, Andy Puzder has shown contempt for people who get up early every morning and work hard to support their families." That’s from AFSCME, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
The Communications Workers of America said that:
"Puzder opposes many of the policies and programs he would administer. He opposes the Department of Labor’s overtime rule and actually claimed that what workers, quote, 'lose in overtime pay they gain in stature and sense of accomplishment,' unquote"
And Restaurant Opportunities Centers United called Puzder’s nomination
"The clearest signal yet that the incoming Trump Administration seeks to exploit the Department of Labor as a platform to implement the National Restaurant Association’s dangerous, anti-worker policies."
Read more on our website at dclabor.org
On today's labor calendar,
Ken Loach’s latest film "I, Daniel Blake" screens tonight at 7pm at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Spring. The blunt and powerful drama portrays a blue-collar worker fighting welfare bureaucracy.
For ticket information, the complete calendar and more details, go to dclabor.org and click on Calendar.
Here’s today's labor history:
On this date in 1995, some 33,000 striking members of the Machinists ended a 69-day walkout at Boeing after winning pay and benefit increases and protections against subcontracting some of their work overseas.
Today’s labor quote is from Melisha Adams
"I never understood how this man you could barely hear
when he was teaching in class
how he could get up and raise as much noise
as he did when he was president of the union."
Melisha Adams was a student at Cardozo High School when she wrote "Quiet Bill Finds His Voice," a poem about teacher Bill Simons, who led the Washington Teachers Union for 25 years and died recently. Go to dclabor.org to read her entire poem. Special thanks to storyteller and oral historian Candace Wolf.
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