Human Rights Week around the nation

What follows is but a small sampling of the scores of actions that took place across the country the week of Dec. 3-10. Look to “Online Extra” on the PWW’s web page, www.pww.org, for additional reports.

Philadelphia — Union members and community activists welcomed AFL-CIO President John Sweeney at a Dec. 6 event sponsored by the Philadelphia Central Labor Council, and focusing on the Employee Free Choice Act (HR 1696). “Unions lift up the standards for all workers and 50 million workers would join a union if given the opportunity,” said Sweeney.

Boston — Thousands of unionists and supporters braved bitter cold Dec. 8 to march from Boston Common to a rally on the State House steps, highlighting anti-worker attitudes of Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, President Bush, corporate giants Wal-Mart and Verizon Wireless and the Harborside Nursing Home in Wakefield.

Arizona — In Tucson, Jobs with Justice activists held a picket line Dec. 10 in support of workers harassed by management at Desert Diamond Casino. The Border Action Network led a march and rally of over 150 demanding immigration reform, an end to persecution and deaths of migrants, a halt to militarization of border communities, respect for workers’ rights, and fair trade. BAN also held actions in Douglas and Nogales. In Phoenix, the Arizona AFL-CIO held a spirited rally of over 200 at Phoenix College, supporting HR 1696 and a new voter initiative to raise the minimum wage.

San Francisco — At a City Hall press conference Dec. 5, S.F. Labor Council head Tim Paulson called for citywide actions to uphold workers’ rights on the job, while Peter Olney of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union urged support for over 600 almond workers facing an aggressive anti union campaign at Blue Diamond Growers.

Oakland, Calif. — Over 200 gathered at the First Unitarian Church Dec. 6 for a Workers’ Rights Hearing followed by a march to City Hall, where the City Council pledged to take up a proposed ordinance to assure Comcast workers’ labor rights.

Wichita Falls, Texas — A Dec. 9 rally sponsored by UAW Local 2157 demanded justice for Delphi workers. Delphi seeks to join a growing list of major American companies using bankruptcy to void their contracts with workers, both active and retired, while rewarding the mismanagement of top executives.

Washington, D.C. — Thousands of workers and their allies descended upon the White House for a Dec. 8 march and rally organized by the AFL-CIO. Demonstrators demanded that President Bush and the Republican-run Congress support U.S. workers’ rights. “The right to organize has been destroyed,” said AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Linda Chavez-Thompson, adding, “Right-wing politicians cut back the law to nothing. And corporations trample on our freedom like it’s their personal doormat.”