Posted on November 10, 2014 by dcampbell1
20em (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Recently, the workers of the Chino open-pit copper mine east of Bayard in Grant County, New Mexico, voted to decertify United Steelworkers Local 9424-3, successor to International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers Local 890. During the period 1950-1952 workers of an Empire Zinc underground mine north of Bayard struck due to unsafe working conditions and oppressive and discriminatory practices by the company. Management practices had created the greatest hardship for the Hispanic workers and their families, and it was the Hispanic workers who led the strike. When the men were removed from the picket line as a result of a court order, the women took over. Not only did the striking workers endure economic hardship to win justice, there was physical danger involved. Collective action won from Empire Zinc improved pay and working conditions, which never could have been won by a single worker opposing Big Business. The strike was immortalized by the film “Salt of the Earth,” which was made in 1954 by filmmakers who had been blacklisted during the Joseph McCarthy era.
The Empire Zinc mine workers of Local 890 lived at Santa Rita, which no longer exists. Santa Rita has long since been removed for expansion of the Chino open-pit mine.
I initially over-reacted to the news of decertification in thinking that individual and institutional memory must have been lacking regarding what had been won, and at what cost. It may have been that United Steelworkers Local 9424-3 had insufficient institutional memory of the sacrifices and risks endured by their predecessors in Local 890. It may have been that the present workers are too young to have personal memory, and that there were an insufficient number of persons who themselves remembered. (Insufficiency could obtain in two forms – insufficiency of numbers or insufficiency of current passion – most likely a combination of the two. Perhaps also the present workers inferred, because “the company” paid bonuses to workers in non-union mines, that they too would receive bonuses if they decertified the union. Perhaps very few involved in the decision had ever seen the film “Salt of the Earth.” Also involved in my initial reaction was a jumping to a conclusion that decertification had been inadequately resisted. I do not know that to be so, and on further thought, I believe it cannot be so. I can mentally place myself in the back of the union hall and hear in my mind some really impassioned speeches in favor of sustaining certification. Continue reading
Filed under: Economy, Labor History, LaborFilm, The enemy | Tagged: Administration of federal assistance in the United States, Associated Press, Beaver County, Christmas, El Chino Mine, Freeport-McMoRan, HVAC, National Labor Relations Board, Pennsylvania, Salt of the Earth, United Steelworkers | 1 Comment »
Posted on October 28, 2014 by dcampbell1
City College of San Francisco Seal, Black version (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
from California Federation of Teachers.
Day One of “The People vs. ACCJC”
October 27, 2014, San Francisco—After kicking off the day with a spirited early morning demonstration outside the San Francisco Superior Court building, about a hundred City College of San Francisco faculty, students and community supporters moved en masse into the courthouse to attend the opening day of the trial to keep the college open.
They heard Deputy City Attorney Yvonne Mere deliver the opening argument. She began simply, with “This case is about fairness.” For the next half hour she told Judge Curtis Karnow that the People’s case would prove three things: that the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges violated federal regulations and their own policies when it failed to control for conflicts of interest; it failed to create site review teams that were adequately balanced with academics and administrators; and it failed to give due process to City College.
She also noted that the ACCJC acted in violation of California law when it failed to follow the law and its own procedures; that it deprived CCSF of the opportunity to participate in a process of peer review; and that it acted unfairly when it chose to evaluate CCSF while embroiled with the college in a very public debate over the future of the mission of community colleges in California. Continue reading
Filed under: Busting the union busters, Economy, Labor History, Politics, Solidarity, The enemy | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 27, 2014 by dcampbell1
By Kenneth C. Burt September 24, 2014
The police stop a young man. An officer shoots, killing him. The officer claims self-defense, that the killing was warranted. The community, having endured years of unequal treatment at the hands of law enforcement and other municipal agencies, responds in anger. Protests ensue. Hard feelings persist, as do demands for law-enforcement accountability. Sound familiar? No, this is not the case of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The young man in question was Augustin Salcido, 17, and the incident occurred in Los Angeles more than six decades earlier. The Internet did not exist at that time and local television audiences were miniscule, so the Civil Rights Congress of Los Angeles produced a pamphlet, Justice for Salcido. In its introduction, author and civil rights advocate Carey McWilliams described the killing as part of a historical pattern of “continued suppression of the Mexican minority.” Fred Ross, organizer for a new group known as the Community Service Organization (CSO), recognized the all-too-prevalent problem of police brutality—and the familiar, ineffective community response. The pattern practiced by groups such as the Civil Rights Congress included protests that failed to address the underlying powerlessness of the community. Continue reading
Filed under: Immigrant Workers, Labor History, Organizing, Politics | Tagged: Cesar Chavez, CSO, Fred Ross, Latino | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 2, 2014 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Stuart Elliott
In the summer of 1934, a remarkable interracial union of tenant farmers was founded. Mean Things Happening, a 1993 PBS documentary on the Southern Tenant Farmers Union (SFTU) and depression-era organizing of the steel industry, has been much praised and is presented here.
Filed under: Labor History, LaborFilm, Strikes and work action | Tagged: CIO, SFTU, Southern Tenant Farmers Union, SWOC | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 10, 2014 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Bruce Vail
An illustration from an 1877 issue of Harper’s Magazine depicts the bloody confrontation between state militia and Great Railroad Strike supporters that took place on the streets of Baltimore. (Public Domain)
Many historians date the first great industrial upheaval of American labor to July 16, 1877, when workers on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad began refusing to work in protest against a round of wage cuts ordered by the company’s senior managers. Battered by years of economic depression, high unemployment and miserable working conditions, the workers in Baltimore and beyond had finally been pushed to the breaking point.
Even without any broad-based union organization, the B&O strike immediately seized the public imagination. The unrest spread rapidly to other railroads before expanding to include workers at mines and factories in widely scattered locations across the country. At its height, the six-week-long “Great Railroad Strike” involved an estimated 100,000 workers in more than a dozen states, and succeeded in paralyzing much of the nation’s transportation system.
The sudden uprising engendered fear—and more than a little panic—among railroad executives and government officials. Within just a few days, the first great national strike in U.S. history became one of its first great industrial tragedies, as state militia units and federal troops moved to suppress the movement. Soldiers fired on strikers and protesters during epic clashes in Chicago, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and elsewhere. More than 100 people were killed; thousands more were injured. In the end, the strike was crushed, setting a precedent for the violent suppression of labor unrest that would stain American labor history for generations to come.
Filed under: Book Reviews, Labor History | Tagged: 1877 Railroad Strike, Baltimore | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 12, 2014 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Angelo Lopez
Recently a movie about Cesar Chavez came out that documents the life of Cesar Chavez and his role in the Delano Grape Strike of 1965. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I’ve read that it’s a good movie. One of the things that the movie does is bring out the important but largely forgotten contributions of Filipino Americans to the farm labor movement. Since the 1920s, when Filipinos first learned to organize into unions in Hawaii, Filipinos were important leaders in organizing farmworkers to fight against unfair working conditions. Here is a cartoon I did for the April 16 edition of the Philippines Today to commemorate those forgotten Filipino leaders.
Alex S. Fabros, Jr. and Daniel P. Gonzales wrote a good article about some of the history of Filipino Americans in farm labor organizing.
Filed under: Labor History | Tagged: Andy Imutan, Cesar Chavez, Larry Itliong, Manongs, Pablo Manlapit. Pete Velasco, Philip Vera Cruz, Rufo Canete, United Farm Workers | Leave a comment »