January

THIS WEEK IN LABOR

Hotel workers issue wake-up call

Many-top-of-the-line hotels brag about their “heavenly beds.” But triple sheets, oversize mattresses, heavy comforters and five or six pillows make for a work load from hell for today’s hotel workers. And while global hotel chains are expecting heavenly record-breaking profits in 2006, the nation’s hotel workers are struggling in an industry plagued with poverty-level wages.

Ford to cut 25,000 to 30,000 jobs

Ford Motor Co. plans to cut up to 30,000 jobs and shutter 14 plants in a sweeping restructuring of its North American auto business.

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Oakland teachers encouraged by fact finders report

Teachers here are encouraged by a long-awaited arbitrator’s report, released Jan. 23, bolstering their contention that the Oakland Unified School District can afford to raise salaries by up to 2.5 percent and that new health care costs to teachers can be minimized.

Calif. almond workers demand a voice at work

For the last year and a half, efforts by over 600 almond workers at Blue Diamond Growers’ Sacramento plant to join Local 17 of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and gain the respect, raises and benefits they deserve have been stonewalled by what the company itself calls “an aggressive union avoidance campaign.”

Transit workers reject contract in close vote

By a margin of seven votes, city transit workers rejected a tentative contract between their union, Transport Workers Union Local 100, and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The main reason cited for the “no” vote was the provision that workers would for the first time have to pay for health coverage, but union leaders, members and elected officials point to disinformation in the media and interference by Gov. George Pataki.

UMWA to represent Sago miners in disaster probes

“Be assured that we will pursue every avenue as we seek to understand what happened at Sago, because the truth is that when it comes to safety, we represent every miner in America and Canada whether he or she chooses to pay dues to this union or not,” said United Mine Workers President Cecil Roberts as a team of union safety experts arrived at the scene of the Jan. 2 explosion that killed 12 miners.

Fight to save Winchester jobs

When they arrived at work on Jan. 17, fresh from a holiday break, union workers at U.S. Repeating Arms were greeted with the announcement that the plant has been scheduled to close on March 31. The 186 workers, who produce Winchester sporting rifles, also discovered important machinery had already been removed by parent company Browning, part of the Belgium-owned Herstal Group.