Instigated by a company hell-bent on keeping out a union, the U.S. government raided the world’s largest pork processing plant, Smithfield Packing, in Tar Heel, N.C., on Jan. 24.
Development projects anywhere in the world often have a high human cost. In Colombia, the price is often measured in human lives and blood.
WASHINGTON — The broad labor-led coalition supporting the Democrats’ “100 Hour Agenda” in the 110th Congress hailed the 315-116 House vote Jan. 10 to raise the minimum wage to $7.25, and urged the Senate also to approve the increase without more tax giveaways to big business.
Poultry workers typically stand shoulder to shoulder de-boning chicken breasts mounted on cones flying by at the rate of dozens per minute. They must wear metal mesh gloves on their non-cutting hands to protect them from the razor sharp blades they and their co-workers wield at lightening speed.
Leaders of Iraq’s labor movement have criticized Iraqi government plans to hand control over the country’s oil production to multinational companies.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents raided Swift & Co. meat-processing plants in Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and Utah last week, arresting 1,282 undocumented workers. The raids have generated an outpouring of support for the workers and their families, with many calls for a halt to raids and for comprehensive immigration reform that guarantees workers’ rights.
CHICAGO — The Illinois Legislature wasted no time heeding the national voters’ mandate, overwhelmingly passing a bill to raise the state’s minimum wage from $6.50 an hour to $7.50 effective next July. The bill, which Gov. Rod Blagojevich said he looks forward to signing, will make the Illinois minimum wage one of the nation’s highest.
WASHINGTON — “Union power’s on the rise, now’s the time to organize!” More than 1,000 union members took up that chant as they marched to Capitol Hill, Dec. 8, still riding high from labor’s huge victory in the Nov. 7 midterm elections.
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — In response to Eve Enseler’s feminist “Vagina Monologues,” a series of theatrical vignettes on the theme of contemporary women’s gender and social oppression, South Asian Sisters, a California-based group, developed “Yoni Ki Baat” (“Talks of the Vagina”).
Folks were still eating turkey sandwiches when the AFL-CIO issued its call for a Dec. 8-9 labor summit and march in Washington, D.C., to pass the Employee Free Choice Act, a top legislative priority for labor. Among the summit’s goals is training 250,000 “trusted messengers,” worksite-based labor activists, to force veto-proof enactment of EFCA.