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Working In These Times

Sunday, Jun 20, 2010, 4:00 pm

Weekly Workers’ Round-Up: Thousands Protest Bloomberg’s Cuts, Spirit Airlines Pilots Strike

BY Jennifer Braudaway

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Chicago public schools coalition protests budget cuts and TIFs

The Raise Your Hand Coalition, made up of Chicago public schools (CPS) and public education advocacy groups, rallied outside of City Hall in Chicago, Ill. on Thursday to protest impending school budget cuts which could result in the layoff of almost 3,000 public school teachers. The students, parents, teachers and activists were also there to protest the city’s controversial tax increment financing (TIF) system which diverts property tax funds away from CPS budgets to TIF districts. Read more about the issue here and here. (video above)

Spirit Airlines pilots go on strike

Spirit Airlines pilots started a 5-day strike last Saturday after failed contract negotiations, issuing a statement saying they would “not return to the cockpit until a fair and equitable contract” was negotiated. The pilots say their pay lags behind competing airlines such as AirTran Airways and JetBlue. The strike comes after more than 3 years of negotiations. Read more here and here.

Workers picket cement plant

Over 80 workers and Teamster members picketed at Hercules Cement plant in Stockertown, Pa. on Monday to protest the company’s proposed contract changes, which would transfer them to different job functions for an indefinite period of time. The strike comes after failed negotiations for a new 4-year contract, after the previous one expired in May. Read more here.

Thousands protest Bloomberg’s budget cuts

Thousands of people from 99 unions around the city rallied in front of City Hall in New York City on Wednesday, to protest Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposed budget cuts which would terminate approximately 1,500 city jobs. The proposed cuts which are supposed to close a $4.9 billion budget gap, are contingent upon state aid and will affect firehouses, swimming pools, senior centers, schools and day care centers. Read more about it here. (video above)

Utility workers stand up to concessions

More than 700 utility workers went on strike at Delmarva Power and Conectiv Energy in Wilmington, Del. on Friday, to protest unfair contract concessions proposed by the utility companies. The companies, both owned by Pepco Holdings Inc., were calling for cuts to pension benefits for surviving spouses and elimination of retiree health benefits for new hires. Delmarva also sought to remove job security tenure protections for workers with less than 10 years on the job.

The workers, which include linemen, power plant workers, mechanics and clerical staff, are members of IBEW Local 1238 and have been working under a contract extension since February 1. Delmarva Power and Conectiv Energy serve customers in Delaware and in parts of Eastern Maryland and New Jersey. Read more here.

Jennifer Braudaway is a Winter 2010 Web intern.

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