Labor Headlines-Monday, April 22
MONDAY, APRIL 22, 2019
The yellow Vest movement took to the streets of France for the 23rd consecutive weekend to continue its demands for economic and political rights for workers, students, pensioners and the poor in general.
Over the last five months pf resistance to the Macron government’s stripping of labor rights, cutting social programs and granting huge financial breaks to corporations and wealthy individuals, thousands have been arrested or injured by the tear gas, stun grenades and physical beatings by police.
Anger has increased by the $1 billion in pledges for the rebuilding of Notre Dame cathedral, so publicly donated by some of France’s elite who have rejected any attempts to use public monies to alleviate poverty.
While the corporate media dismisses the Yellow Vest Movement as unorganized trouble-makers, in fact they have delegated meetings including one that took place Ap. 5-7 with 200 separate, elected delegations from across the country composed of 2 delegates and 2 observers. Also in attendance were volunteers, journalists and others who saw the serious discussion and debate on how to press forward not only with their opposition to this society so filled with inequities and injustice but to develop a real alternative program to the capitalist model that has engendered the misery of the masses.
The Yellow Vest Movement has a message for all working and poor people to learn from, I think.
31,00 workers at the huge grocery chain, Stop and Shop, declared victory in their one week strike yesterday.
The tentative agreement preserves healthcare and retirement benefits, provides wage increases for all employees, spousal insurance and maintains time and a half pay on Sundays for current employees.
You might remember last Monday’s Labor News segment when we reported on the beginning of the strike by United Food and Commercial Workers Union members in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. The company’s offer had included a tripling of their healthcare co-pay, cuts in pensions, no raises for three years, the exclusion of spouses from health insurance coverage and loss of time and a half pay on Sundays for part time workers.
Strong picket lines at the 240 stores with support from other unions and community groups despite days of rainy and cold weather produced empty stores with no customers during the week before Passover and Easter.
Our congratulations to the strong union women and men who defended the gains of the past and preserved them for the future.
Here in Atlanta, last Thursday, some 400 members of Teamsters local #528 went on strike for 2 days to protest their boss’s unilateral changes in working condition at the SYSCO College Park distribution Center.
The workers; contract expired March 31 and while negotiations continue, a new local management team ended without any notice a long-standing practice that allowed the union to speak as a part of orientation for new employees.
According the Maurice Cobb, president of #528, as quoted in the AJC, “we were told if we mention anything about the union, we’d be escorted off the property.”
Workers understood this to be an Implicit threat that discussions about demands they wanted in the contract or anything about why they were union members would be censored.
SYSCO is a global distributor of food products and supplies to restaurants, health care and educational facilities as well as hotels and other segments of the hospitality industry.
Atlanta customers were told they could come to the warehouse to pick up their orders since their supplies would not be delivered on time. No doubt raising huge problems for many businesses.
The strike although intended to be of short duration nevertheless gave SYSCO a taste of worker power.