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.
Dianne

 

 

 

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 laborforumwrfg@gmail.com.
 
Donations to WRFG are always welcome.
Support the station that supports YOU! 
www. wrfg.org 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 salsaatl.com!!

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!!

http://www.wrfg.org

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 wrfg.org and is available on the station’s mobile app.

Gary Washington, presente!

LABOR HEADLINES-MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2019

I’M GOING TO SPEND SOME TIME TODAY TALKING ABOUT THE UNION ELECTION LOSS AT VOLKSWAGEN THIS PAST WEEK-END IN CHATTANOOGA, TN.
THERE’S LOTS OF LESSONS TO BE LEARNED, I THINK.
BUT FIRST SOME BACKGROUND.
VOLKSWAGEN IS HEADQUARTERED IN GERMANY WHICH HAS A NOTICEABLY DIFFERENT LEGAL RELATIONSHIP TO UNIONS. FOR EXAMPLE, 50% OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTOR POSITIONS ARE HELD BY WORKERS AND IN ADDITION TO UNION REPRESENTATION, PLANTS ARE GOVERNED BY WORK COUNCILS WHICH HAVE JURISDICTION OVER MORE DAILY MATTERS SUCH AS HOURS AND OVERTIME.
OF VOLKSWAGEN’S 45 GLOBAL PLANTS, 43 ARE UNIONIZED WITH CHATTANOOGA BEING THE LARGER OF THE TWO NON ORGANIZED FACILITIES.
THE UNITED AUTO WORKERS FILED FOR A UNION ELECTION IN 2014 WHEN THE COMPANY DECLARED THAT IT WOULD TAKE A ‘NEUTRAL” STANCE ON THE VOTE.
HOWEVER THE BUSINESS ELITE AND ELECTED POLITICIANS ENGAGED IN A FULL-SCALE ANTI-UNION CAMPAIGN THAT INCLUDED THREATS FROM THEN GOV. BILL HASLAM, SEN. BOB CORKER AND OTHERS WHO CLAIMED THAT THE PLANT WOULD CLOSE IF THE WORKERS VOTED TO HAVE A UNION. A NON-STOP PROPAGANDA CAMPAIGN ENSUED WITH ROUND-THE-CLOCK ANTI-UNION RADIO AND TV ANNOUNCEMENTS, BILLBOARDS, NEWSPAPER ARTICLES ORCHESTRATED BY A TEAM OF UNION-BUSTING pr FIRMS PAID FOR BY NATIONAL ANTI-UNION FORCES.
THE UAW LOST BY 86 VOTES, 712 TO 626.
HOWEVER IN 2015, THE SKILLED TRADES WORKERS VOTED 108 TO 44 TO UNIONIZE.
VOLKSWAGEN WAS UNDER THE GUN FROM A SCANDAL INVOLVING FALSIFIED EMISSIONS CLAIMS THAT RESULTED IN BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN FINES FOR VIOLATING CLEAN AIR STANDARDS.
A 2015 SURVEY SHOWED THAT THE CHATTANOOGA PLANT RANKED THE LOWEST OF ANY CAR PRODUCTION FACILITIES IN THE US AS FAR AS WAGES AND BENEFITS GO.
VOLKSWAGEN DROPPED ALL PRETENSE OF NEUTRALITY AND FOUGHT THE SKILLED TRADES WORKERS VOTE TO UNIONIZE, KEEPING IT TIED UP IN THE COURTS.
IN THE INTERVENING YEARS, WORKER DISCONTENT OVER INJURIES ON THE JOB, UNCERTAIN WORK SCHEDULES, INCREASED USE OF TEMP WORKERS AND OTHER GRIEVANCES GREW.
THE UAW FILED FOR ANOTHER ELECTION HAVING SECURED SIGNED CARDS FROM 65% OF THE WORKERS. THE ELECTION WAS PRORPOSED FOR THE END OF APRIL BUT THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD RULED THE ELECTION PETITION WAS TECHNICALLY MISFILED AND EXTENDED THE DATE OF THE VOTE TO JUNE 14. SINCE TRUMP’S ELECTION THE NLRB IS NOW CONTROLLED BY A MAJORITY OF ANTI-UNION MEMBERS.
ONCE AGAIN, THE FULL WEIGHT OF THE TOP STATE ELECTED OFFICIALS, GOVERNOR BILL LEE, HIS STAFF, CURRENT SENATOR MARSHA BLACKBURN, FORMER SEN. BOB CORKER’S AIDES AS WELL AS NATIONAL ANTI-UNION ENTITIES ENGAGED IN THE SAME BARRAGE OF MEDIA ADS, BIASED NEWS COVERAGE ETC.
HOWEVER, THIS TIME PLANT MANAGERS HANDED OUT ANTI-UNION FLYERS TO WORKERS, THE GOVERNOR CAME TO THE PLANT FOR A MANDATORY MEETING, THREATENING THAT STATE TAX CUTS AND FINANCIAL SUPPORT WOULD BE JEOPARDIZED IF WORKERS VOTED FOR THE UNION. WORKERS WEREN’T ALLOWED TO WEAR UNION STICKERS ON THEIR UNIFORMS OR PASS OUT LEAFLETS IN THE PARKING LOT. MANAGEMENT PASSED OUT ANTI-UNION T-SHIRTS TO WORKERS TO WEAR THE DAY OF THE VOTE.
VOLKSWAGON HAD EARLIER ANNOUNCED THAT IT WAS GOING TO ADD 1000 JOBS AND INVEST $80 MILLION IN ADDING AN ELECTRIC VEHICLE LINE
LITERALLY THE SAME PLAY BOOK HAS BEEN USED BY NISSAN BOSSES AND POLITICIANS IN MISSISSIPPI WITH GOVERNOR PHIL BRYANT AND WITH BOEING IN S.CAROLINA WITH NIKKI HALEY IN STARRING POSITIONS.
SO WHAT NOW? MY THOUGHT AND IT IS SOMETHING THAT WAS DISCUSSED AT A SOUTHERN WORKERS ASSEMBLY MEETING I WAS AT, IS THE IDEA OF GOING AHEAD AND FUNCTIONING LIKE A UNION ANYWAY. MEANING TAKING UP THE ISSUES THE WORKERS ARE FACING AND ENGAGING SOME FORMS OF COLLECTIVE ACTION LIKE GROUP GRIEVANCES IN THE FORM OF A PETITION OR TURNING THE SHIFT MEETINGS INTO MASS GRIEVANCE SESSIONS. THE IDEA BEING IF WORKERS CAN SEE THE POWER THEY HAVE WHEN ACTING TOGETHER, IT HELPS SHOW WHAT A UNION CAN DO TO NEGOTIATE A CONTRACT THAT CONTAINS THEIR RIGHTS TO CHALLENGE MANAGEMENT.
I ALSO THINK UNION ORGANIZING IN THE SOUTH HAS TO TAKE ON CHARACTERISTICS OF MOVEMENT ORGANIZING, MEANING PUBLIC RALLIES AND MEETINGS, ENLISTING A WIDE VARIETY OF COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS AND LEADERS TO SPEAK OUT IN SUPPORT OF THE WORKERS, LOOKING FOR PRESSURE POINTS WITH VOLKSWAGEN CORPORATE LEADERSHIP INTERNATIONALLY, AND ORGANIZING AT THE PARTS PLANTS THAT SUPPLY THE ASSEMBLY LINE FACILITY. COULDN’T UAW LOCALS OF ACTIVE AND RETIRED MEMBERS PLAYED A ROLE, HAVING A VISIBLE PICKET LINE AT VOLKSWAGEN DEALERS IN THEIR AREA OR EVEN HOLDING A PUBLIC RALLY IN THEIR CITY, DENOUNCING THE COERCION OF PUBLIC OFFICIALS ACTING ON BEHALF OF MULTI-NATIONAL CORPORATION’S PROFITS RATHER THAN THE SAFETY AND WELL-BEING OF THEIR CONSTITUENTS.
AS A 30 YEAR VETERAN OF AUTO ASSEMBLY LINES, I CANNOT IMAGINE HOW DIFFERENT MY OWN WORK LIFE AND CERTAINLY MY RETIREMENT WOULD HAVE BEEN IF I HAD NOT HAD THE PROTECTION OF A UNION CONTRACT.
THIS TIME THE MARGIN OF LOSS  WAS 57 VOTES.  WHATEVER PROMISES VOLKSWAGEN MADE TO IMPROVE SAFETY, REDUCE UNEXPECTED OVERTIME AND GET RID OF SOME BAD MANAGERS, THE REAL TRUTH IS UNTIL WORKERS ORGANIZE  AND HAVE A CONTRACT THAT GUARANTEES THEIR RIGHTS AND THEN DEFEND IT WITH ACTION, ALL BOSSES’ PROMISES TO WORKERS ARE LAST ON THE LIST AND  MAKING MORE PROFIT AT THE TOP.
Dianne

Cuba Caravan in Atlanta on Sunday, June 16th

The Oakhurst Baptist Church  will host the annual visit of the Pastors for Peace Cuba Caravan to Atlanta.

The featured speaker will be Cheryl LaBash of Detroit who has been involved with US-Cuba matters since 1985. Cheryl is a co-chair of the National Network on Cuba, is working with Doctors4Detroit supporting the Latin American Medical School Scholarship program , and has been a long time advocate for lifting the blockade on Cuba. She will speak on US-Cuba relationships.

There will also be an opportunity for donations to the work of Pastors for Peace.

The gathering will be a potluck dinner, so please bring a covered dish to share. Oakhurst Baptist Church will provide beverages.

For further information you may contact Wayne Grinstead at  12wayne31@gmail.com. We look forward to seeing you!

Address: Oakhurst Baptist Church, 222 East Lake Drive, Decatur, 30030

Directions: https://goo.gl/maps/xNJgk4pjfumVya1V9

Date: Sunday, June 16th, at 6:00 PM

In solidarity,

Bernardo Gomez

Labor Headlines–Monday, June 10

I am going to concentrate on an international story for today’s Labor Headlines.
As workers in this country, we get so little information about huge struggles taking place around the world, particularly in Africa.
A continent of enormous wealth, with civilizations that advanced science and art, creating thriving economies hundreds of years before Europeans so-called discovered them.
Modern day Africa is similarly as unknown despite all the multiple forms of communication available today.
Northern Africa is undergoing tremendous civil unrest with hundreds of thousands of people occupying the streets of major cities, demanding change.
Yesterday, the struggle in Sudan opened another stage of resistance against the ruling military council that seized power after months of mass demonstrations forced the ouster of the long-time president, Omar al-Bashir in April.
A general strike is taking place across the country and a strategy of continuous civil disobedience is projected until civilian rule is established, a demand the military has so far refused.
Instead the generals has ordered a crackdown on the demonstrators beginning with a particularly deadly assault on a large camp outside the military headquarters in the caotal city of Khartoum on June 3.  Over 60 people were killed, scores more inured and some 2500 arrested.
In the following days, dozens of workers, professional like doctors and engineers and political leaders of opposition groups have been arrested and taken to unknown locations.
At least 4 more people were killed yesterday by security forces.
Protests began in December 2018 against the rising prices of basic goods, including bread.
Further measures by the al-Bashir government removed subsidies for wheat and electricity, driving millions into greater destitution.
Earlier in 2018, the ruling National Congress Party backed al-Bashir’s declaration to run again for president even though he had earlier stated he would not.The current Constitution bars him from such an attempt.
The early demonstrations were met by tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition, causing numerous deaths and injuries.
On Ap. 6 , in neighboring Algeria where similar protests were taking place against another long-time president, Abdelazi Bouteflika, he stepped down.
Encouraged by the victory in Algeria, hundreds of thousands took to the streets across Sudan and on Ap. 11, the military council acted and placed the president under house arrest.
The workers and the poor, long abused by these corrupt generals, demanded civilian rule now.
Negotiations began between the Transitional Military Council and the Alliance for Freedom and Change, an umbrella organization of the resistance groups.
The deadly assault on the camp made clear the country’s elite were not going to negotiate away their power.
The Alliance forces say they will continue their strike until the generals step down and a civilian government is recognized.

WRFG Summer Pledge Drive June 10-June 30

Dear Friends of The Labor Forum,

We appreciated the time and information you have provided our listeners on the issues so important to workers and their families. Our guests and listeners  are the heart and soul of our program.
As you know, WRFG receives NO money from corporations or grants from federal or state agencies. For 46 years, the vast majority of our funding has come from our listeners and individuals who support independent, community radio.
The station’s Summer Fund Drive begins Monday, June 10 and goes through Sunday, June 30.
We hope that you will measure your appreciation of the service the station provides with as many dollars as you can afford.  Every dollar is a “high five” to the many volunteers who produce  WRFG’s unique music and public affairs programs 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
You can make your pledge online at wrfg.org by clicking on the DONATE button and following the prompts. (and signifying The Labor Forum as the program of choice).
You can also donate on the mobile app and by calling 404.523.8989 anytime (or 4-5 pm on Mondays) and by mail by sending a check to WRFG 89.3 FM, 1083 Austin Ave NE, Atlanta 30307.
The Labor Forum team extends our solidarity to all those in the struggle against exploitation and oppression, for workers’ rights everywhere.
Thank you and we look forward to sharing our airwaves with you again.
The Labor Forum Team,
Dianne Mathiowetz, Dawn O’Neal, Paul Mclennan, Calvin Ivey
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