CRYSTAL CITY, Va. — In response to Barack Obama’s appeal for volunteer service on Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, Jan. 19, hundreds of union members and their allies marched on the picket line at the National Airport Hilton Hotel here.
NEW ORLEANS — Each year the AFL-CIO celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day in a different city. This year, it was symbolic that the labor federation chose to hold the event here, with about 1,000 union members from around the country in attendance.
Since 2006, the right-wing Mexican governments of Vicente Fox and Felipe Calderon have been engaged in a war of nerves with the National Union of Mine, Metal and Allied Workers. Calderon has now escalated the fight in an attempt to crush this major union entirely. But national and international solidarity with the union is growing.
Once again, the nation has witnessed the difference between life and death that comes from having trained, experienced union members on the job.
A poll by Peter Hart Research, one of the nation’s most reputable polling outfits, shows that Americans now support passage of the Employee Free Choice act by a whopping 78 to 22 percent margin, a record level of backing for the measure, which would level the playing field between workers and bosses in union organizing and bargaining.
The nations’ biggest labor unions are moving to bring all American unions back together under the umbrella of one national labor federation.
With unemployment surging, unions and environmental groups greeted President-elect Barack Obama’s efforts to win approval of a $775 billion “green jobs” economic package even before he takes office.
On Jan.7 the House of Representatives is expected to hand workers a victory by passing two bills to ensure equal pay for women and reverse the 2007 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that severely restricted the rights of women to combat pay discrimination through the courts.