After a dramatic day of lobbying, the DC City Council on Tuesday passed the Universal Paid Leave Act with a veto-proof 9-to-4 vote. Supporters packed the Council chambers to hear moving testimony about the need for paid leave and witness a cliffhanger vote on a last-minute effort by business interests to scuttle the payroll tax to fund the historic program. The voluntary "employer mandate" failed 8-5 and the original bill passed, making DC just the fifth jurisdiction in the country with a paid leave program. “We won because more than 200 organizations worked in harmony, representing diverse community groups, labor, service providers, small businesses, and national advocates," said Jews United for Justice. Metro Washington Labor Council Executive Director Carlos Jimenez called it "a major, major win for the more than half a million DC workers who will benefit from paid family leave."
The Council also approved the Rail Safety and Security Amendment Act Tuesday, 10-3. "We now have the framework for a proactive rail safety program,” said Herbert Harris Jr., State Chairman of the DC Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen. While the new law will enable “proper oversight of the railroads in the District of Columbia," Harris warned that it lacks “a key component of rail safety," which would have required two trained rail professionals on every freight train.
Read more on our website at dclabor.org
On today's labor calendar, [email protected] Executive Director Jerame Davis will be in-studio with Ed Smith and me on "Your Rights At Work," 1pm today here on WPFW as we take listener calls about worker rights.
For the complete calendar and more details, go to dclabor.org and click on Calendar.
Here’s today's labor history:
On this date in 1897, a group of building trades unions from the Midwest met in St. Louis to form the National Building Trades Council. The Council disbanded after several years of political and jurisdictional differences.
In 1910, twenty-one Chicago firefighters, including the chief, died when a building collapsed as they were fighting a huge blaze at the Union Stock Yards. By the time the fire was extinguished, 50 engine companies and seven hook-and-ladder companies had been called to the scene. Until September 11, 2001, it was the deadliest building collapse in American history in terms of firefighter fatalities.
And in 1919, amid a widespread strike for union recognition by nearly 400,000 steelworkers, approximately 250 alleged “anarchists,” “communists,” and “labor agitators” were deported to Russia, marking the beginning of the so-called “Red Scare.”
Today’s labor quote is by Woody Guthrie
Folksinger Woody Guthrie, who said, "“I ain't a Communist necessarily, but I have been in the red all my life.”
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