Vermont Labor: Bring ’em home

The Vermont State Labor Council called on Gov. James Douglas to demand that all Vermont National Guard and Reserves be discharged from duty in Iraq and immediately return to the state. In a resolution passed nearly unanimously by the council’s Sept. 25 annual convention, delegates also accused the Bush administration of using the Iraq war as an excuse to attack labor unions in this country. The resolution provided for the council to become an affiliate of U.S. Labor Against the War.

Delegates speaking in favor of the resolution cited the growing number of international unions (CWA, AFSCME, SEIU, APWU, Mail Handlers), the California, Washington, Maryland/DC Federations of Labor, the AFL-CIO constituency groups as well as the dozens of labor councils and local unions that have already taken similar action.

According to a report from U.S. Labor Against the War, public forums held in conjunction with Military Families Speak Out and months of discussions with union leaders and activists preceded the vote.

19 arrested in overtime protest

Over 300 protesters rallied in St. Louis against George W. Bush’s proposed overtime changes Sept. 16. The new regulations, which make 6 million workers ineligible for overtime pay, were rejected six times by the House and Senate.

The protest started at the downtown federal building and continued to a major intersection, where 19 protesters were arrested for blocking traffic. Sara Kanevsky, an organizer for Missouri Progressive Vote Coalition, told the World, “We had to escalate our action to draw attention to the devastating impact Bush’s attacks on overtime will have on working families. The overtime cuts will be especially devastating to women, who are already paid much less than their male counterparts.”

Members of the Service Employees Union, Jobs with Justice, Missouri Progressive Vote Coalition, and the AFL-CIO participated.

Justice denied for newspaper workers

A baby born on the day the 150 reporters and editors at the China Daily News in Monterey Park, Calif. voted to form a union would now be out of diapers, walking, and talking in complete sentences. One question that comes to mind is “What’s the hold-up?” because after three-and-a-half years, the workers decision to unionize with The Newspaper Guild (TNG) is still on appeal before the National Labor Relations Board. The Taiwan-based Chinese Daily News vowed to spend a million dollars to fight representation, and its teams of union-busters have been delaying the process ever since. The 150 employees of the Chinese Daily News write and edit stories, take pictures, write headlines, sell advertising space and print and sell the paper with a circulation of over 100,000 copies.

To mark the anniversary of the vote to unionize, 750 delegates to the recent Communications Workers of America national convention signed birthday cards to each of the five members of the NLRB.

The cards were delivered Sept. 17 to the board members in Washington, D.C. In a cover letter, TNG-CWA Secretary-Treasurer Bernie Lunzer said, “Please convey Birthday Wishes to the case, and our hopes that we won’t be back here next year wishing it a happy 4th. ‘Justice delayed, is justice denied.’”

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Labor Update is compiled by Roberta Wood ( Tony Pecinovsky contributed to this column.