“I think it’s a crisis right now,” said Tony Oppegard, former top lawyer for Kentucky’s Mine Safety and Licensing Office. “When we have 31 coal miners killed in less than five months, that’s a crisis and it needs to be treated as a crisis and dealt with. We need to stop this fiction that all coal operators are good guys and all you need to do is talk them and they’ll do the right thing, which is the cornerstone of the Bush administration philosophy. We need to crack down on operators instead of trying to babysit them.”
May 1, a day of worker celebration, began in the United States around the struggle for the eight-hour day. Now it is honored across the world, but largely ignored in the United States. How fitting then that this year, immigrant workers from across the world have revived the day, marching to defend their dignity — and energizing an entire movement for social justice.
Protest rallies and marches have rocked Puerto Rico since May Day, when the government closed down 43 agencies, throwing 95,000 people out of work due to a budget shortfall of $738 million. More workers have been added to the unemployment lines as three municipalities have closed down completely and another 12 have laid off workers because they haven’t received monies due them by the central government in San Juan.
HOUSTON - On April 29, AFSCME Local 1550 held a commemorative event for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at St. John Missionary Baptist Church here.
Northern California; Connecticut; Texas; Providence, R.I.
Red Springs, N.C. — North Carolina is one of the most industrialized states in the country. Yet it still has one of the lowest percentages of workers in unions, though not from lack of trying by labor.
Hundreds of Mexican federal and state police stormed the Sicartsa steel plant in western Michoacan, April 20, to remove striking steelworkers who had occupied the plant since April 2. The police opened fire on workers with teargas and bullets. When the smoke cleared, the police had killed two workers, one of them a representative of the National Union of Mine and Metallurgical Workers of the Republic of Mexico.
French President Jacques Chirac bowed April 10 to the pressure of millions of students and workers marching across France and withdrew a hated law granting employers the right to fire a young worker at will for up to two years after he or she is hired.
More than a million people in France have taken to the streets against their conservative government’s attempts to change the country’s labor law.
In response to a comment about the beauty of Colombia, 7-year-old Daniela said, “Yes, but it is so violent.” Daniela should know. She has seen the violence up close. Her father, a left-wing city council member, was murdered by right-wing paramilitaries when he answered the door to their home one day.