Monthly Archives: July 2019

Labor Headlines- Monday, July 29

Martha’s Vineyard,a small island off CapeCod, Massachusetts and home to some of the wealthiest people in the country, witnessed the power of workers when the public transportation drivers, members of ATU #1548, Amalgamated Transit Union, walked off the job June 28 after months of negotiations had failed.
A popular vacation spot, the full-time population is about 16,000 but swells to many times more during the summer months.
The cost of living on the island according to a Martha’s Vineyard Commission report is 60% higher than the national average and housing prices are 96% higher yet the average weekly wage is only 71% of the state average.
The private management company, Transit Connection Inc had played hard ball for five years, refusing to negotiate a contract, figuring the small local of 26 workers would not be able to sustain a long strike.
Four weeks of rallies including one at the state capitol in Boston, daily picket lines, confrontational meetings with company and elected officials and solidarity from other unions and island residents resulted in a victory this past weekend.
The membership ratified a three year contract, their first since voting for a union, with significant annual pay raises, double time for holiday ours, union protections during layoffs and seniority rights in route placement are among the gains.
On Aug. 1, wages for drivers will go up from $23.50 an hour to $25.50 and top put at $27.50 in 2021. New hire wages will increase from $16.50 to $19.50 this Thursday and top out at $20.50 in the last year of the contract.
Cabs had been hired to operate the buses during the strike with some service cut or reduced. The steadfastness of the drivers for four weeks was supplemented by the strong attendance of strikers, town officials and union supporters from the community who attended the two-day negotiating meeting that ended in a contract.
Congratulations to these union-strong ATU members, bus drivers who serve the public on Martha’s Vineyard.
Quality public education for all children is one of the most important issues to workers and their families not just in Atlanta but across the country. For several years now, public tax dollars have become a cash cow for private companies, promising rapid transformations in test scores and student overall achievement. This option is promoted by the Atlanta Schools Superintendent and Board of Education president, in particular. And nationally by Secretary of Education, millionaire Betsy Devos.
The Atlanta federation of teachers is calling for a solidarity rally on Thursday, Aug. 1 in front of the Atlanta Public School  Building, 130 trinity Ave, downtown from 3-6pm. Decisions being made by the elected Board are directing money away from public schools into the pockets of private corporations that are hired to manage charter schools. Studies show that despite the claims made about charters innovation and higher quality, for the most part, their test scores do not exceed those of public school students. Yet millions of dollarsare being siphoned away to pay these business management teams instead of upgrading the facilities and staff services of the schools most Atlanta students attend.
The AFT encourages all those concerned about quality education for all to attend the rally and school board meeting Thursday, Aug. 1 at 130 Trinity Ave.







Labor Headlines Monday, July 22, 2019

Before I begin the news, I want to make sure we thank all those who donated to The Labor Forum during the recent Summer Fund Drive.
It goes without saying that there are not sufficient thanks we can give to listeners and supporters of independent, community radio who contribute the funds that keep this non-commercial, progressive station on the air And some have been doing so faithfully for years and even decades.
Here is our public appreciation for donations from individuals and unions.
We will ring the bell wildly for the Building and Construction Trades Council, Operating Engineers #926, Letter Carriers, IATSE Local 927, Charlie Fleming, State AFL-Cio President, Anne Hughes, Joan Baptist, WRFG Station manager, Labor Forum team members Paul McLennnon and Calvin Ivey.  Next week we will publicly thank those who made their donations online and any others I have forgotten.
We want to note that Charlie Fleming made his contribution in memory of Gary Washington, the initiator and long-time producer of The Labor Forum, Teamster shop steward, staunch defender of workers rights and all around community activist who died recently. We encourage any of you who knew Gary or listened to The Labor Forum during his years on air to likewise contribute to the station that he so dearly loved.
You can do so anytime by calling 404.523.8989, going on line at, using the donate option on the mobile app or coming in to the station or sending a check to 1083 Austin Ave NE, Atlanta 30307.
If any of you have been online today, you have seen the enormous demonstration in Puerto Rico that is accompanying a general strike that is not only demanding the resignation of the island’s governor, Ricardo Rossello but an end to the vicious austerity and privatization policies that have impoverished the people, left unrepaired much of the devastation from Hurricane Maria, particularly in the rural areas, forced the closing of schools and hospitals, and siphoned public disaster funds into private pockets.
The initial cause of the massive street protests were a response to the release of internal texts between Rossello and others in the government that used misogynist and homophobic language and disparaged the Puerto Rican people.
Listeners should be aware that Puerto Rico has been a colony of the US for over 100 years, providing cheap labor to US industries, its natural beauty despoiled by exclusive resorts, military ranges and chemical plants. Legally, Puerto Ricans are US citizens but face the same forms of discrimination as other immigrants and refugees and national groups of people of color.
There are strong and militant unions  such as the teachers and electrical workers and student organizations that have found allies in the political movements for independence.
As of this morning Rossello insists he will not resign but he has conceded he will not seek re-election. We will see how long he can resist the determination of the people to end his ruinous time in office.
There are solidarity rallies taking place across the US tonight with Puerto Rico, including here in Atlanta from 6;30-9pm in front of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.
And since I am letting you know about opportunities to express solidarity with struggles important to working people, this Saturday, July 27, Rideshare Drivers United Georgia, the organization of Uber and Lyftt drivers who are banding together to win living wages, safe working conditions and respect on the job are having their second open organizing meeting at the IBEW Auditorium from 1-4pm. The address is 501 Pulliam St SW. While this is primarily for drivers, supporters are also welcome to learn more about the conditions and demands of these workers and how they can help.
Saturday is also the WRFG 46th Birthday celebration from 3-6pm at Ormewood Church at 1071 Delaware at the corner of Ormewood in southeast Atlanta. There will be great music provided by WRFG airshifters, Salsa lessons at 3:30, food vendors supplying a variety of food, cool beverages, WRFG t-shirts for sale and your opportunity to meet the volunteers who provide you with the most eclectic mix of music and public affairs programs. Drop by for a minute, stay for hours but be sure to make time to celebrate WRFG’s 46 years of providing progressive information and quality, hand-picked music.




WRFG Labor Forum on Monday, July 22

On the fourth Monday of each month, The Labor Forum on WRFG 89.3FM  welcomes members of one of

the building and construction trades unions  to talk about the kind of work they do  and their apprenticeship
programs open to interested community members.
This Monday, July 22, our listeners will hear from Local 148, Operative Plasterers and Cement Masons Union
members. These are much needed skills that offer good wages, benefits and a safe job environment for union members.
The Labor Forum airs every Monday from 4-5 pm and brings news of working people’s struggles and victories from Atlanta to internationally.
The Labor Forum’s programs are archived at wrfglaborforum. org. To contact us for program suggestions or comments, email us at
Donations to WRFG are always welcome.
Support the station that supports YOU! 
www. for online donations or call 404.523.8989 anytime.



WRFG’s 46th Birthday Bash on Sat, July 27

Doors open at 3 with a sizzling Latin set by José Jimenez, which includes a salsa lesson from Sean at!!

After that, DJ BabySlim will bring his special collection of selections to the dance floor.

Followed by The Rinse Out’s DJ Elevation, whose set will definitely move you!

Restaurants “Side Chick” and “My Parents’ Basement” are offering yummy treats for plant based and omnivorous diners alike

And, there will be WRFG merchandise for purchase…check out our WRFG T-shirts. We just got a fresh batch!!

We’ll see you there!!

WRFG’s Summer Pledge Drive July 8-17

photo of radio microphone on blue background

WRFG Labor Forum on Monday, July 8

Gary Washington, ardent WRFG supporter, former Board member, initiator and producer of The Labor Forum, Teamster shop steward, militant ant-racist, defender of workers’ rights, generous human being and  so much more died on Wednesday, July 3.

He had been dealing with multiple health issues for some time. The family has not yet announced funeral arrangements or the date of a public memorial. But on Monday, July 8, The Labor Forum will offer a tribute to Gary’s remarkable contributions to people’s struggles.

Charlie Fleming, president of the Georgia State AFL-CIO will be joined by WRFG airshifters and staff to share their memories of Gary.

Gary would often close his program with “Don’t Mourn, ORGANIZE!” and so shall we.

The program will air from 4-5pm at 89.3FM, online at and is available on the station’s mobile app.

Gary Washington, presente!

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