N. Calif. PWW banquet to honor workers, environmental leader

OAKLAND, Calif. — Garbage workers who defeated their employer’s union-busting lockout, hotel workers fighting for better wages and working conditions, an environmentalist and community leader, and the head of an area building trades council will share center stage Nov. 4 as Northern California Friends of the People’s Weekly World/Nuestro Mundo honors them at its annual banquet.

The event will take place at the Snow Building, 9777 Golf Links Road, starting at 1 p.m.

Nearly 500 members of Teamsters Local 70, Automotive Machinists Lodge 1546 and ILWU Local 6 spent most of July on the picket line after their employer, Waste Management, Inc., locked out nearly 500 Teamsters during contract talks. The machinists, together with the landfill, recycling and clerical workers represented by Local 6, then hoisted picket signs alongside their Teamster brothers and sisters. The end result: a new contract for the Teamsters, preserving health care and the right to honor others’ picket lines.

The Sacramento Hotel Workers Rising Labor-Community Coalition was formed last year to support hotel workers in the city in their struggle for fair wages and decent working conditions. It has brought together unions, the faith community, women’s and student organizations, gay and lesbian activists and the disabled community to help the workers win improved health care, wages and workload protections at three union hotels. Contract talks continue at two others.

Margaret Gordon, West Oakland environmental and community activist, has just been sworn in as a member of the Oakland Board of Port Commissioners. Earlier this year she was named one of three co-chairs of the Port of Oakland’s Maritime Air Quality Task Force, where representatives of labor, business, health, environmental organizations and local residents are working with the port to reduce air pollution. (See related story, page 6.) Gordon helped found the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project in 2001 and is its co-director.

Barry Luboviski has headed the Building and Construction Trades Council of Alameda County since 1995. He is among the pioneers who have advocated for affirmative action in the building trades, and has worked with the city and Port of Oakland to promote apprenticeships and local hiring for city and port projects. Luboviski, an ironworker, has been a union activist since joining the Iron Workers Union as an apprentice. He has also led voter registration drives and membership education for the Building Trades Council.

Also featured will be Música Humana, a vocal ensemble dedicated to the struggle for equal rights for all immigrants.

Reservations for the banquet are $50. For information and driving directions, call (510) 251-1050.