Labor Headlines–Monday, June 3, 2019
Last Wednesday, May 29, a national strike brought Argentina to a standstill.
The labor Forum has reported in the past of the broad resistance to austerity measures implemented by the right-wing government of President Mauricio Macri.
Workers are struggling with escalating costs for necessities as well as job cuts in public and private sectors, fees for public services and elimination of subsidies and attacks on labor and civil rights.
The action was called by the General Confederation of Labor (CGT), the largest trade union in the country.
This was the 6th national strike since Macri’s time in office began in 2015.
On Wednesday, the public transportation system came to a halt as subway services did not run and airports shut down. Sea ports critical to export and import didn’t operate. Banks, schools, government buildings and hospitals were closed. Stores and restaurants were shuttered.
Instead of normal traffic, the avenues and squares were filled with the people whose suffering had reached the breaking point. They marched, chanted and sang, demanding the restoration of jobs and public services, higher wages to counter the rampant inflation and the end to all policies dictated by the IMF.
Presidential elections are scheduled for Oct.
And to add to the many areas of dissatisfaction with the status quo, the day before on May 28, massive demonstrations of women marched in Buenas Aries in support of legislation to legalize abortion up to 14 weeks of pregnancy.
The proposed law would provide “women and other identities with the ability to gestate” access to legal, safe and publicly funded abortions in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.
Currently, women can be jailed for terminating a pregnancy. This legislation would decriminalize abortion. A similar measure passed the Argentinian House last year but was defeated in the senate.
Abortion now is only allowed in cases of rape and danger to the woman’s life and then only with the permission of a judge. This requirement often means a lengthy delay or denial of the procedure.
An estimated 500,000 unsafe, illegal abortions are performed annually in Argentina.
Switching to US news, although the similarity of the issues impacting the working class are so similar that the labor slogan “An Injury to One is an Injury to All” should lead to ongoing displays of international solidarity, I think.
In New York, on May 23, an appellate court has ruled that farmworkers cannot be excluded from a state law that protects workers’ rights to organize and collectively bargain without fear of employer retaliation.
Crispin Hernandez, a member of the Workers Center of Central New York had been fired from his job at Mark Dairy in 2016 for organizing his fellow workers after hours.
Agriculture is a big business in New York State and thousands of farmworkers labor long hours, often is unsafe conditions and exceedingly low pay.
The NY legislature is considering legislation that would grant farmworkers the same minimum wages as other hourly workers as well as overtime pay and a day of rest.
Also on May 23, workers at McDonald’s in more than a dozen cities held a national job action to continue the fight for $15 an hour and a union. In addition, they elevated the struggle against sexual abuse and harassment on the job and workplace violence.
These low-wage workers who often make $7.25-10 an hour, working for the world’s most profitable fast food chain but denied full-time work in many cases, regular work schedules and other benefits, have none the less initiated a movement that has energized millions to stand up for their rights.
The McDonald’s stockholders meeting which has always been held in Chicago, the corporate Headquarters, moved to Dallas, Tx this year, perhaps thinking they could avoid the large and noisy demonstrations of recent years.. Undaunted, the workers showed up with banners, signs and chants, making clear that their demands for $15 an hour minimum wage, other benefits, a union contract and no tolerance for sexual abuse and harassment on the job were non-negotiable.
Although Atlanta was not part of the striking cities, on Saturday, June 1, a Workers’ Solidarity Action was held at the Ponce de Leon McDonald’s to show visible support for their struggle.
There are plans to have a solidarity event on the first day of every month with a workers’ struggle. For additional information, the local e-mail is atlworkersolidritynetwork.com.