BELVIDERE, Ill. — Pretend you’re an autoworker and you’re having a bad dream. In your dream it’s 2008, one year after the Big Three — GM, Chrysler and Ford — got away with murder in contract negotiations.
It’s summer. The warm sun means you can put on shorts, pack your stuff and head off for a stretch at the beach, in the woods or at a resort hotel or maybe plan to have your cake and eat it too in a European café. Or can you?
DETROIT — Meeting in the heart of Motor City, a historic center of autoworkers and the African American working class, the NAACP placed ending racism and inequality and strengthening labor/Black unity high on the agenda of its 98th annual convention.
OAKLAND, Calif. — The blue T-shirts of the Coalition for Clean and Safe Ports were everywhere, proclaiming that port truck drivers, area union members, neighborhood residents and environmental activists are united to win decent pay and conditions for the drivers and a healthful environment for the Port of Oakland’s workers and neighbors.
Even before it officially opens on June 29, Michael Moore’s latest documentary “Sicko” is already impacting the national health care debate. Over 1,000 nurses and supporters braved sweltering heat to join Moore at a June 12 rally in Sacramento, Calif., sponsored by the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee.
Growing up in western Texas as the daughter of cotton sharecroppers, I spent my summers weeding cotton, five days a week, 10 hours a day, in 95-degree heat. As grueling as this workload was, others had it even worse. For foreign workers toiling as “guest workers” (or “braceros”) alongside us in the cotton fields, the five-day workweek was an impossible luxury.
President Bush, with Wall Street backing, is pushing hard for a policy that would legalize undocumented workers but keep them in a subservient status for more than a decade. His proposals would also relegate future “lower-skilled status workers” to perpetual servitude.
Twenty-two union leaders were arrested at the State Capitol in Hartford, Conn., June 1, as they called for universal health care.
TUCSON, Ariz. — While Congress debates “tougher security at the border,” the temperature is rising above 100 degrees in the Sonoran Desert. Already 84 bodies have been found along the Mexico-Arizona border, more than this time last year.
CHICAGO — Answering the question, “Are the civil rights and labor movements united?” with a resounding “more than ever,” the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists held its 36th international convention here May 23-28.