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 wrfg.org, 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.