Weekly Round-Up: Workers Challenge Sodexo, Dollar General, Toyota

Jennifer Braudaway

From time to time, we offer a round-up of workers’ struggles — protests, rallies, strikes — from the past week, with a focus on actions in the United States. This time around: Sodexo employees protest at the food service giant’s Paris headquarters. Teamsters and China Labor Watch protest Dollar General’s labor violations. A rally in New York’s capital after local hotel’s unionbusting. And the UAW and Teamsters protest Toyota’s closing of two plants in California.

Sodexo Employees from U.S., France, and England Fight for Worker’s Rights at Annual Shareholders Meeting in Paris

On Monday, French and British workers joined U.S. workers in solidarity to protest the multinational food services and facilities management corporation Sodexo at its annual shareholders meeting in Paris, France. The delegation, organized by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), called for increased wages, improved working conditions and guaranteed workers’ rights to organize.

The delegation also delivered petition signatures from thousands of Sodexo employees stating, it’s time to raise standards for all Sodexo workers and we want the freedom to form a union.” Read More at SEIU’s Clean Up Sodexo” website.

The China Labor Watch and the Teamsters Protest KKR Working Conditions at Dow Jones Private Equity Conference

China Labor Watch and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters held a joint protest on Tuesday outside of the Dow Jones Private Equity Conference in New York. The demonstration addressed working conditions of Chinese workers at KKR’s Dollar General sourcing factories as well as U.S. Foodservice’s labor law violations in Arizona, owned by KKR. As Stephen Franklin reported on this site last month, China Labor Watch says that KKR workers in China are subjected to excessive working hours, discriminatory hiring and poor housing conditions where up to 12 workers sleep in each room.

Albany Rally for Labor Reform after 281 Days of Protesting Unfair Labor Practices

Over 100 people rallied for labor reform on Thursday in Albany, N.Y., including U.S. Representatives Raul Tonko, D-NY and Scott Murphy, D-NY, as well as labor leaders from the Capital District Area Labor Federation, the CSEA and the New York State United Teachers. The rally followed an NLRB investigation of a local Holiday Inn which found the hotel had engaged in unfair labor practices” and had illegally discharged three employees for attempting to organize a union.

The Latham hotel agreed to reinstate the employees with full back pay after 281 days of striking and picketing by workers at the hotel. The NLRB investigation also found there had been spying on the union meetings, and interrogation of workers to discourage them from organizing. Read more on this at The Record.

The UAW and the Teamsters Protest Toyota’s Closing of California Plant

Representatives from the UAW and the Teamsters union gathered Thursday outside the Japanese Embassy in Washington, D.C. to protest Toyota’s decision to close a California plant and hire nonunion workers, where around 4,700 carhaulers work.

According to the Teamsters website, Toyota is also planning to shut down another California plant — New United Motors Manufacturing Inc. — which will cost the state up to 50,000 jobs. Led by the UAW Vice President Bob King and the Teamsters President James Hoffa, the delegation delivered a letter to Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama calling on the government and Toyota officials to meet with them. Read more about this at the Detroit Free Press’ website.

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Jennifer Braudaway is a Winter 2010 Web intern.
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