Labor Notes # 487
A few years ago I was working for Princeton University Campus Dining as a member of Service Employees (SEIU) Local 175, a small, tough local that represents most of the blue-collar staff at Princeton and no one else.
I had worked lots of food service jobs, ever since I was a teenager, from fancy restaurants to fast food. But at Princeton, because we had a strong contract and good stewards, the pace was more humane; we worked with better protections and more dignity. And we got paid a lot better!
On August 7 the poultry towns of central Mississippi suffered the largest workplace raid in the U.S. since 2006. Some 680 chicken-processing workers from seven factories were detained and incarcerated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Ten percent of the population in Morton, Mississippi, was either incarcerated or fired. Parents were detained the same day they had dropped their children off to their first day of school.
Update, September 27: The union announced the strike vote results last night: 94 percent of members voted to authorize a strike.
Twenty-five thousand Chicago teachers started the school year with a possible strike in their sights.
Chicago Teachers Union members leafleted and picketed with school employees and parents outside schools their first week back. A three-day strike vote wraps up tomorrow.
At an awards ceremony for Environmental Protection Agency workers July 10, scientist Loreen Targos took over the stage with a sign: “I care about EPA workers having a fair contract to address public health and climate change. Do you?”
Targos is a Government Employees (AFGE) Local 704 steward who was being honored, along with her co-workers, for superior service in the clean-up of contaminated wetlands in the Great Lakes region.