NEW YORK — In an amazing bounce- back from the frustrating Nov. 2 electoral defeat, labor leaders, academics and rank-and- filers turned out en masse here to discuss and debate “Labor at the Crossroads: Competing Visions, Alternative Strategies, and the Future of the U.S. Labor Movement.”
CHICAGO — How can union activists make sure the unfolding discussion in the AFL-CIO includes the issues of international solidarity and peace? How can we move the foreign policy debate forward in the labor movement? How can we support the growing sentiment in labor for bringing the troops, predominantly workers and the sons and daughters of workers, home from Iraq and out of harm’s way?
NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Pat Highsmith spent her day off last Saturday traveling 150 miles to Bethlehem, Pa., to discuss the presidential election with fellow union members. One of 3 million industrial workers whose plants closed during the last four years, Highsmith now works as a certified nurse’s assistant, with less pay and no benefits.
LOS ANGELES — Labor history was made Sept. 30 as the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, held U.S. labor’s first-ever central labor council congress.
CHICAGO — The Teamsters trucked it up from downstate. The Chicago Federation of Labor had lobbied for the funding from the state of Illinois. The Illinois Labor History Society campaigned tirelessly for it.
Hundreds of thousands of South African public workers held a one-day strike Sept. 16 over the government’s rejection of their demands for a 7 percent wage hike, an across-the-boards medical aid and housing allowance, and review of a provision linking salaries to inflation for the next two years.
Eight thousand farm workers won union recognition Sept. 16 with the signing of what the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) called the largest union contract in North Carolina history.
Thousands of California hotel workers rallied in San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego Aug. 13 to press their contract demands, with health care, pensions, contracting out, workload and wages heading the list. UNITE HERE, which represents the workers, is also seeking uniform contract expirations in 10 major cities in 2006.
Leaders of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance had a busy day planned for Aug. 21.
Rensselaer, Ind. — “Hands off our health care!” and “No justice, no peace,” echoed through the streets here July 31 as hundreds of steelworkers marched to protest the lockout of the Talbert Trailer workers.