Working In These Times
Weekly Workers’ Round-up: Thousands Rally for Finance Reform, Transit Workers Unite on Capitol Hill
Thousands nationwide call for finance reform
“Make Wall Street Pay” rallies continued nationwide this week. On Tuesday, more than 1,000 protesters showed up in San Francisco, Calif. to ask the big banks where their money has gone. On Wednesday, hundreds of union workers marched in Chicago, Ill. to rally for finance reform in front of the Goldman Sachs headquarters (video above), one day after the Senate hearings on Goldman Sachs' fraudulent business practices. A massive 31,000 people gathered in New York City, led by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, to demand that big banks fix the mess they created (video below). Read more about the movement here and here.
Cement workers go on strike
Almost 100 cement workers went on strike at six IMI, Inc. cement plants on Monday in Ky. and La. The strike comes after five months of failed contract negotiations. Union workers are holding out for wage guarantees and health benefit contributions. Read more here.
Transit workers demand better federal funding
Thousands of transit workers from across the country rallied on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday to ask Congress to fix federal funding for the nation’s distressed public transportation system. Led by the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) and the Transport Workers Union (TWU), workers are asking Congress to redirect stimulus funding from capital improvements toward operating expenses. City public transportation systems have taken major hits in the last year, suffering service cuts and rate hikes, and unions say part of the budget problem is that too much stimulus money is going toward new equipment rather than supporting operating costs. Workers are also seeking the passage of another bill that would provide $8.4 billion for public transit, 10 percent of which could be used for operations. Read more about it here.
Teachers protest pension rollbacks
On Thursday in Teaneck, N.J., more than 500 public school teachers and staff protested recent budget cuts to state aid and public employee pensions. The protest took place outside of St. Senator Loretta Weinberg’s office, who voted for the new measures that will cut pensions for new hires and require all teachers to contribute 1.5 percent of salaries to health benefits once their current contracts expire. Teachers have also been asked to take a one-year wage freeze. Read more here.