LABOR HEADLINES– MONDAY, MAY 20, 2019
MONDAY, MAY 20, 2019
Ford Motor Company has announced that it is cutting 10% of its global white collar jobs.
Some workers have already taken buy-outs and are no longer working. Others will be laid-off starting tomorrow and concluding in August.
Of the expected 7000 workers who will be removed from the payroll, about 2400 are in the US, mostly concentrated in the Dearborn, Michigan area where the Ford headquarters is located.
You might recall last November when GM announced that it would eliminate 14,000 jobs; 8000 globally among white collar, ununionized workers and roughly 5000 assembly-line, union members who worked at the five plants that were shut down.
A considerable number of those workers who were willing and able to move have been resettled at another plant, The highly competitive auto industry is going to great measures to reduce costs, invest in new technology and above all, increase their all important profit margins. The well-being of these thousands of workers whose labor developed and built the vehicles and produced those profits is not a consideration in this economic system of capitalism.
The Labor Forum often mentions the community service that public sector workers do over and above their jobs. In particular, postal workers and public bus drivers in their daily work travel through the same neighborhood and streets.
There are countless stories that sometimes make the news of mail carriers who notice that a senior hasn’t taken their mail out of the mailbox because of a fall or other medical emergency or that something looks odd about someone’s home like an open door or a broken window and because of the vigilance of that letter carrier, help is called. At times, that can be a life-saving call.
Likewise, stories like the bus driver who spotted a small child, barefoot on a cold day, wandering alone down a sidewalk of a busy street can go viral on social media and become widely known. The video seen so many times shows the driver stopping the bus bus and running to scoop up the child and bring them back safely to the warm bus. It turns out the child had slipped out of its home and the parents were unaware that their little one was even missing.
That driver was hailed as a hero.
Unfortunately, the news is not always so good.
On May 18, about 4pm,a Tampa city bus driver, Thomas Dunn, was stabbed to death while on the job. He was a member of ATU local 1593.
According to news reports, the assailant had argued with Dunn before stabbing him and fleeing the bus.
Dunn managed to bring the bus to a safe stop ensuring no harm came to the passengers.
He died from his injuries on the scene.
Dunn had publicly raised his concerns about driver and passenger safety in December of 2018.
Just weeks ago, the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) international president, Larry Hanley on April 28, Workers Memorial Day dedicated to the memory of all workers who die on the job or from injuries sustained at work issued a strong statement advocating for stronger protections for workers.
The statement opened with the famous quote from Mary Harris known as Mother Jones. “Pray for the dead and Fight like hell for the living” was her rallying call at many a strike and rally.
According to an AFL-CIO report, 150 workers die EVERY DAY from injuries or illnesses incurred at work.
The ATU statement honored the 55 transit workers who have died over recent years including a Canadian driver in Winnepeg who was stabbed to death by a passenger in Feb of this year.
Hanley noted that countless other drivers have been assaulted in many ways from racial or misogynist slurs to being hit or
punched, often over a fare dispute or a late arrival.
He described the campaign the union is engaged in from coast to coast to secure more protection for drivers, passengers and pedestrians that would require structural changes in the bus as well as operating improvements.
There is also a demand for greater accounting of injuries and violent experiences to drivers and passengers, information necessary to evaluating whether progress is being made.
The Transit Worker and Pedestrian Protection Act would legislate these measures nationally if Congress approves the bill and the president signs it
Just days after issuing this strong defense of workers right to a safe work environment, Larry Hanley, one of the most progressive international union presidents and a supporter of The Labor Forum, died at age 62.
We close our headlines by saying, together,
Thomas Dunn, presente!
Larry Hanley, presente!