Working In These Times
Weekly Workers’ Round-up: Steelworkers Protest Calderon, Mineworkers Protest Massey
USW stands up for Mexican workers’ rights
Around 160 United Steelworkers (USW) members and supporters gathered at the Mexican Embassy in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday to protest Mexican President Felipe Calderón’s visit to the nation’s capitol, and to condemn his government’s repression of workers rights.
The Mexican government has been engaged in what the USW calls a four-year campaign to crush the independent mineworkers’ union known as Los Mineros, who have been on strike over workers’ health and safety violations at the Cananea mine in Northern Mexico since July 2007. Since then, the government has worked to dismantle the union by seizing union assets, jailing union members and threatening armed force. Two people have been killed during altercations between workers and Mexican armed forces. Read more here and here.
Florida construction workers demand local jobs for local workers
Around a dozen unemployed construction workers in West Kendall, Fla. protested on Monday outside a new local hospital, calling for “local jobs for local workers.” The contractor, Orlando-based Robins & Mortons, say the ratio of local employees is higher than that of out-of-state employees, but the workers say that with the current state unemployment rate of 12 percent, that is not enough. Read more here.
UMWA workers call for Massey Energy CEO’s resignation
More than 1,000 United Mineworkers of America (UMWA) and other union members rallied on Tuesday outside Massey Energy Co.’s shareholders meeting in Richmond, Va., calling for CEO Donald Blankenship and three other board members who are up for re-election to step down. AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker spoke at the rally, pointing out that Blankenship and board members have presided over a company with the worst safety and environmental record in the industry. Over 12,000 people have signed the American Rights at Work petition demanding that Blankenship be fired. Read more about it at the AFLI-CIO blog.
California Teamsters walk out on unfair labor practices
50 Teamsters on strike, picketed outside NeilMed Pharmaceuticals in Santa Rosa, Calif. on Thursday to protest the company’s unfair labor practices and bad faith bargaining. According to Teamsters Local 624, since workers voted for union representation last summer, the company has refused to provide union representatives with timely information necessary to negotiate a contract, and has replaced 100 laid-off union employees with temporary workers. Read more here.
Monterey County teachers protest five-day furloughs
Over 100 teachers and supporters rallied in Moss Landing, Calif. on Monday to protest North Monterey County Unified School District’s plan to institute five-day teacher furloughs and end the school year a week early. The furloughs are meant to help close a $2.7 million budget gap in the next three years.
The North Monterey County Federation of Teachers Local 4008, which represents the teachers, says that furloughs are unnecessary and the district could save more by offering early retirement plans. The teachers, who held signs that said “unfair to kids,” are paid three to five percent below other large districts in Monterey County, and have not received a pay raise since Jan. 1, 2008. Read more about it here.