The AFL-CIO announced Nov. 16 that it will begin issuing “solidarity charters” to locals whose international unions recently disaffiliated from the AFL-CIO and joined the Change to Win Federation.
United Auto Workers members were hit with a one-two punch in late November, as bankrupt Delphi Auto Parts disclosed its latest wage proposals — which would put its lowest-paid workers’ wages slightly above Wal-Mart’s average — while GM proposed shutting plants and cutting 30,000 jobs by 2007-2008.
“If we had only stopped them at PATCO” became a common labor refrain in the union-busting years of the Reagan administration. Most in labor will now acknowledge that the lack of full labor solidarity was a key factor in the defeat of the PATCO (air traffic controllers) union. It opened the door to years of ferocious corporate and government attack on unions.
BRANFORD, Conn. — In a groundbreaking agreement, the Cintas Corp. has signed a pact with the state of Connecticut to stop using detergents which contain ingredients known as APEs (alkyphenol ethoxylates). APEs are toxic to fish and are potentially linked to cancer.
WASHINGTON (PAI) — The AFL-CIO created a procedure to let locals from unions that left the federation — the Service Employees, Teamsters, United Food and Commercial Workers and the Carpenters — stay in state federations and local Central Labor Councils.
Northwest Airlines mechanics, cleaners and custodians walked off the job Aug. 20, refusing to accept layoffs that would leave half of them without jobs, and pay cuts that would reduce the wages of those left by 25 percent. According to a statement on the Airline Mechanics Fraternal Association web site, not one of the 4,400 members has crossed the picket line to return to work.
ST. LOUIS — Washington University here will commit at least $1 million over the next two years toward higher salaries and better benefits for low-paid contract employees as a result of a 19-day sit-in by students demanding a living wage for service workers. Wash U’s Student Worker Alliance (SWA) reached a groundbreaking agreement with campus officials April 22. “We won more in the last 19 days than we won in the last 18 months put together,” said SWA member Ojiugo Uzoma.
Despite threats of retribution and tense negotiations that included a one-day walkout, graduate student instructors (GSI) at the University of Michigan claimed a major victory when their membership ratified a three-year contract with the university on April 3.
BERKELEY, Calif. — Hundreds of striking service workers, other campus workers, students and faculty gathered on the steps of International House on the University of California–Berkeley campus April 14 to greet incoming UC Chancellor Robert Birgeneau with shouts of “Living wage now” and signs reading, “Strike for justice at UC.” Birgeneau, who was attending a faculty reception on the eve of his inauguration, has said he supports a living wage for the service workers. The service workers, whose wages have not been raised in two years, held their one-day walkout at a dozen UC facilities statewide.
Labor and immigrant rights organizations assembled at San Jose’s State Building April 7 to kick off national days of action against the Bush administration’s virulently anti-immigrant Real ID Act, now pending in the Senate. They urged a flood of calls and faxes to California Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, neither of whom have expressed a position on the measure.