No security for IMF security guards

The International Monetary Fund’s private security contractor, Wackenhut Corp., has suspended two employees who are leading an effort to form a union. A majority of security officers at the IMF offices in Washington, D.C., had signed cards authorizing the Service Employees International Union to represent them, when Wackenhut put Anderson Carter Sr. and Terence Purnell on indefinite suspension. To send the IMF a message of protest, go to


In their effort to woo Missouri state legislators, anti-union contractors are presenting state lawmakers with pinball machines shaped like miniature baseball stadiums, the St. Louis Tribune reports. The machines simulate a “game” between taxpayers and “union bosses,” but the legislation the contractors are pushing would lower wages and benefits for workers on publicly-funded construction projects by undermining project labor agreements. “Many of these contractors aren’t even from Missouri, so their bill would raise their profits and depress the standard of living in Missouri communities,” says state AFL-CIO President Hugh McVey.

Caterpillar-UAW talks extended

The current contract between Caterpillar Corp. and the United Auto Workers union has been extended until April 18. The main issues under discussion are health care costs, wages and job security, according to union observers. This contract will cover 8,000 workers and 23,000 retirees in Illinois, Colorado, Pennsylvania and Tennessee. The UAW members voted 96 percent to authorize a strike struggle in support of their demands, in spite of vivid memories of the bitter year-and-a-half strike they waged during their last contract battle in 1994.

Calif. teachers hit NED funding

The AFL-CIO should fund its international programs and activities from funds generated directly by its affiliates and their members, and not seek nor accept funding from the U.S. government or institutions which it funds, such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), says a resolution adopted unanimously by the California Federation of Teachers at their annual convention March 29.

The convention was responding to the announcement of the AFL-CIO leadership of its intent to apply for $3 million to $5 million in funding from the NED for its operations in Iraq. In the past, according to the resolution, the NED has served as “a front for U.S. government intelligence operations and subversive interference in the internal affairs of the labor movements of other countries.”

“AFL-CIO acceptance of NED funding for its solidarity work in Iraq would have the appearance, if not the effect, of interfering in the internal affairs of the Iraqi labor movement in furtherance of U.S. government foreign policy objectives,” the teachers concluded.

The convention delegates also voted to affiliate with U.S. Labor Against the War, and took time out to hit the streets on March 22, to march against the war on Iraq.

Student-labor unity in St. Louis

As part of the Student Labor Action Project week of action, over 250 students, trade unionists, and community activists rallied at Washington University in St. Louis April 2. They demanded living wages for campus workers and the return of 36 Nicaraguan service employees who were fired from their campus jobs last November and forced to leave the country.

Anna Rizzo, SLAP national coordinator, told the World, “We are asking that employees of this campus be able to put food on their tables, to provide for their families. This university would not function if not for these workers.” Roosevelt Stewart, president of the United Postal Workers Union Gateway District Area Local, pointed out, “By working with labor, students are learning that this is part of their class interests.”

Sergio Salmeron, of the Student Worker Alliance said, “The Nicaraguan workers were part of our community. We are doing everything in our power to get them back.” Students are the labor force of the future. Carl Harris, from the community group ACORN, told the World, “There is nothing better than the workers of tomorrow in struggle with the workers of today.”

Support building in Congress for EFCA

The Employee Free Choice Act now has 178 co-sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives and 30 in the Senate, according to Andy Levin, director of the AFL-CIO’s Voice@Work campaign.

EFCA amends the National Labor Relations Act to provide for certification of a union when a majority of employees has signed authorization cards. It also provides first-contract mediation and arbitration and triple back pay for workers fired for union activity, as well as stricter penalties for employer violations of the National Labor Relations Act during organizing drives and first-contract negotiation.

Labor Update is compiled by Roberta Wood (
Tony Pecinovsky contributed to this week’s update.