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."
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