NOVA Labor Fed Monthly Meeting
Thu, January 21, 7pm – 9pm; 4536 John Marr Dr, Annandale, VA 22003
(unless Fairfax County Schools cancel evening activities)
Teamsters OK Safeway Deal that Saves Jobs & Ousts Warehouse Manager: Teamster warehouse workers on Wednesday morning overwhelmingly approved a new 6-year contract at Safeway that saves every job and ousts the company that had threatened to eliminate the jobs of over 700 area workers. “It’s a huge win,” said Teamsters Local 730 president Ritchie Brooks immediately after his members voted 205-18 in favor of the pact; in a separate meeting, Teamsters 639 members approved it 123-4. The locals have been battling since last October when Safeway warehouse manager C&S Wholesale Grocers abruptly announced plans to close two Safeway distribution centers in Upper Marlboro and Landover. “The key to our victory was that everyone banded together,” Ritchie told Union City. “Labor, political leaders and the community all came together to show Safeway our solidarity.” While workers gave up some concessions – accepting a $2 an hour wage cut, two paid holidays, straight time on Sundays and paying 20% of healthcare costs – they preserved every job and, most importantly, ousted C&S. Safeway will now manage the Upper Marlboro warehouse (the smaller Landover facility will close and the workers there will transfer to Upper Marlboro). Local and state officials also pledged $1.5 million in financial incentives to keep the warehouse, and the deal also guarantees no outsourcing of jobs during the term of the contract. “Everyone came together and that’s the power of solidarity,” said Ritchie. photo: At the December Metro Council meeting, delegates sign up for alerts on Teamster negotiations with Safeway; photo by Chris Garlock/Union City
Readings Scheduled for Bruskin’s “Pray for the Dead”: It’s a truism that organizers never really retire and Gene Bruskin proves it. After retiring in 2012 following a 37-year career as a union organizer, Bruskin has written a play called “Pray for the Dead-A Musical Tale of Morgues, Moguls and Mutiny.” While the January 26 reading of the play has already filled up, there’s still space at the one on February 9th at the Theater on the Run, Arlington at 7:30p; free but you must reserve your seat(s). “I have called this ‘theater for the 90%’ because mainstream theater is not generally designed for the average wage worker,” says Bruskin. “Theater has a unique power to impact an audience and I intend to get this play to unions and working class audiences. Our progressive movements need culture and I hope Pray for the Dead can make a contribution toward that goal.” Click here to see a brief video about the project.
Solidarity Center Report: Jailed Cambodian unionists freed
Five union leaders in Cambodia were released from detention, with the assistance of the Solidarity Center, after being beaten and thrown in jail for trying to meet with striking garment factory workers seeking to improve their workplaces and wages. Meanwhile, forced labor and abusive working conditions in Malaysia include 16-hour days with no days off for a group of Nepali migrant workers toiling at a glass factory. Find out more at the Solidarity Center. photos (right and top right) courtesy Solidarity Center
Labor Quote of the Day: Martin Luther King
“Freedom is never given voluntarily by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”
Union Voice/Readers Write: Who was really highest-paid baseball player? (Answer: it depends)
“I think this is wrong about Mickey,” writes local filmmaker Aviva Kempner in response to our 1/20 labor history item noting that Mantle’s 1961 contract for $75,000 made him the highest paid player in baseball. “Hank Greenberg (right) was the first baseball player to get the highest salary,” says Kempner, who directed the 1998 documentary “The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg.” In 1947, Kempner says, “Greenberg signed a contract with a $30,000 raise to a record $85,000.”
“There are conflicting numbers about this,” says Chris Rolling at UCS, our source for Today in Labor History. “Salaries fluctuated every year because there were no long-term contracts, so while Greenberg’s $85K may have been the top salary for ’47, Mantle’s $75K could easily been the top salary for ’61. I’m even seeing multiple charts that don’t have either Greenberg or Mantle leading either of those respective years.”
Today in Labor History
Some 750,000 steel workers walk out in 30 states, largest strike in U.S. history to that time – 1946
Postal workers begin four-day strike at the Jersey City, N.J., bulk and foreign mail center, protesting an involuntary shift change. The wildcat was led by a group of young workers who identified themselves as “The Outlaws”- 1974
Six hundred police attack picketing longshoremen in Charleston, S.C. – 2000
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