CHICAGO — Over 100 community supporters, including religious leaders and elected officials, rallied here in front of the immigration court building June 1 as about two-dozen former employees of IFCO Systems, who were arrested as part of a nationwide raid by federal agents in April, went to their first deportation hearing.
Because Congress has refused to raise the $5.15 an hour minimum wage since 1997, coalitions of labor, religious and community groups are organizing voters to do so, one state at a time. So far 21 states and Washington, D.C., have done so. Similar campaigns are under way in another dozen states.
HOUSTON – Enron workers who lost billions in pension benefits when the company collapsed are voicing satisfaction that at last top Enron executives have been found guilty of a long list of crimes that plunged the company into bankruptcy.
“I think it’s a crisis right now,” said Tony Oppegard, former top lawyer for Kentucky’s Mine Safety and Licensing Office. “When we have 31 coal miners killed in less than five months, that’s a crisis and it needs to be treated as a crisis and dealt with. We need to stop this fiction that all coal operators are good guys and all you need to do is talk them and they’ll do the right thing, which is the cornerstone of the Bush administration philosophy. We need to crack down on operators instead of trying to babysit them.”
May 1, a day of worker celebration, began in the United States around the struggle for the eight-hour day. Now it is honored across the world, but largely ignored in the United States. How fitting then that this year, immigrant workers from across the world have revived the day, marching to defend their dignity — and energizing an entire movement for social justice.
Protest rallies and marches have rocked Puerto Rico since May Day, when the government closed down 43 agencies, throwing 95,000 people out of work due to a budget shortfall of $738 million. More workers have been added to the unemployment lines as three municipalities have closed down completely and another 12 have laid off workers because they haven’t received monies due them by the central government in San Juan.
HOUSTON - On April 29, AFSCME Local 1550 held a commemorative event for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at St. John Missionary Baptist Church here.
Northern California; Connecticut; Texas; Providence, R.I.
Red Springs, N.C. — North Carolina is one of the most industrialized states in the country. Yet it still has one of the lowest percentages of workers in unions, though not from lack of trying by labor.
Hundreds of Mexican federal and state police stormed the Sicartsa steel plant in western Michoacan, April 20, to remove striking steelworkers who had occupied the plant since April 2. The police opened fire on workers with teargas and bullets. When the smoke cleared, the police had killed two workers, one of them a representative of the National Union of Mine and Metallurgical Workers of the Republic of Mexico.