TAR HEEL, N.C. — Close to 1,000 Smithfield Packing Co. workers walked off the job here Nov. 16 to protest illegal firings, and they won against big odds.
DALLAS — Members of Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1700 hit the streets here as part of a national series of rallies aimed at winning a better contract with Greyhound Bus Lines.
Do you think they heard us this time? Although the Bush administration and its congressional allies have done a very good job of ignoring working families for six years, I think they must have heard us Nov. 7.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s web site refers to the National Labor Relations Act, passed in 1935, as “labor’s Magna Carta,” extolling the fact that the act guarantees “workers the right to organize and bargain collectively.” That right could be history for millions of America’s workers in the wake of a recent decision by the NLRB that sharply limits union eligibility.
NEW YORK CITY — In 2001, New York State Supreme Court Justice Leland DeGrasse ruled that New York State was in violation of its own Constitution which guarantees every child the right to a “sound, basic education.” Since then, education activists, teachers and parents have been fighting — in the courts and in the court of public opinion — to remedy the gross inequities in public school funding.
Agreeing with the Steelworkers union and strongly rejecting company claims of workers’ guilt, the federal government’s chemical safety investigations board threw the book at British Petroleum on Oct. 31 over the fatal explosion at its Texas City refinery more than a year ago.
DALLAS — Activists here honored one of the nation’s most distinguished civil rights figures Nov. 4. On legislation originated by Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D), who represents East Dallas, the Lakeland Hills Post Office was rededicated to the memory of Francisco “Pancho” Medrano.
Labor’s challenge in this election was to provide the organizing to transform the workers’ frustration and anger into political power, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney said at a post-election press conference Nov. 8. It was not only labor’s message but its messengers who achieved that goal.
When Louise Parry died suddenly last June 29 at the age of 85, she left unfinished reading on her bedside table: David McCullough’s “John Adams,” Frances L. Broderick’s study of the great W.E.B. Du Bois, Eric Foner’s “Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution.”
New TV spots are the handiwork of a powerful, well-financed web of extremist, conservative organizations and well-paid spin-doctors on a mission to dismantle labor unions. The over-the-top mudslinging by the Center for Union Facts, the National Right to Work Committee and other anti-union groups is nothing more than an attempt to pull the wool over our eyes, hiding the real crisis in the American workplace.