At the end of each week, Working In These Times rounds up labor news we’ve missed during the past week, with a focus on new and ongoing campaigns and protests. For all our other headlines from this week, go here.
-Thousands of unionists rallied in solidarity with striking Candian postal workers Thursday outside the offices of Canada Post in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Ottawa, Ontario. The protesters chanted “Negotiate, don’t legislate!” — a reference to the federal government’s move toward back-to-work legislation.
-The International Trade Union Confederation, which represents 171 million workers in 151 nations, is calling for a global financial transaction tax. The proposed tax would be .2 to .5 percent of all financial transactions. Bob Baugh of the AFL-CIO told reporters in Bonn last week that this relatively modest levy could raise hundreds of billions of dollars a year while serving as a brake on irresponsible and socially destructive speculation by the financial sector.
-Rank-and-file members of New York’s building trades are scheduled to rally at 3:30 p.m. Friday on Broadway and West 40th Street in Manhattan to protest a proposed 20 percent wage cut. Louis Coletti, head of the Building Trades Employers’ Association, wants unionized construction workers to take a 20 percent pay cut in addition to cuts they’ve already accepted in the name of spurring a slow construction sector.
-The World Health Organization is warning that asbestos-related deaths could skyrocket in Asia over the next 20 years if action is not taken to preserve the health of workers. Sixty-four percent of the world’s asbestos was used in Asia, from 2000 to 2007 according to a new study, up from 33 percent between 1971 and 2000, and just 14 percent from 1920-1970. North American workers enjoy strong protections from asbestos, but those standards are not universal. Worldwide, over 100,000 people die of asbestos-related illness every year and the death toll could rise much higher if precautions are not taken to protect workers.
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