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.
“Everybody can be great because everybody can serve.” — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It’s 8 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning, and Rich Edwards, a wine steward at L’Auberge de Sedona restaurant in Arizona, kisses his son Devon goodbye. He won’t return home until long past 10 p.m., when Devon is fast asleep. A brief embrace is all they will share together this holiday.
HARTFORD, Conn. — Anger was evident at the state Capitol here recently over revelations of a secret deal between Wal-Mart and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to cover up child labor law violations. The charges include requiring teenage workers to use heavy equipment, including chain saws and forklifts.
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Over 170 employees of The Vindicator newspaper remain on strike here as the walkout heads into its third month. The workers, members of Local 11 of The Newspaper Guild (CWA 34011), are fighting management proposals to reduce health care benefits, impose other takeaways, and limit wage increases to only 1 percent.
News Analysis Hadi Saleh, international secretary of the Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions, was murdered in his Baghdad home, Jan. 4. His hands and feet were tied, he was blindfolded and beaten, forced to kneel, and strangled with electrical wire.
HAYWARD, Calif. — Hundreds of northern California grocery workers roared their approval at a press conference here Dec. 8 as California Labor Federation head Art Pulaski pledged the federation’s support for the UFCW locals now in intense and difficult contract talks with Safeway and other grocery giants. Pulaski said the federation will join the workers’ “Boycott Pledge Card” campaign.
PORTLAND, Ore. — In the spirit of the holidays, 300 people joined a picket line outside the Parry Center for Children Dec. 10, protesting the starvation wages that forced the 85 child care workers on strike Nov. 29.