Texas Farm Workers March for Justice – 1966

In Southern Texas in 1966, the UFW supported the fruit workers strike in Starr County, Texas, and this led a march to the capitol in Austin, in support of UFW farm workers’ rights. Starr County farm workers who had led the strike in the melon fields in the summer of 1966, and marched 400 miles beginning on July 4 from the Rio Grande City in Texas, to Austin, arriving at the Capitol on Labor Day 1966. When they arrived, 10,000 people joined them to walk the last 4 miles from St. Edward’s University to the Capitol. Their struggle for economic justice sparked the Chicano movement in Texas. Governor John Connally refused to welcome them to Austin and denied their request for minimum wage.

The 1966 historical event should therefore be remembered, commemorated, and celebrated. This event laid the foundation in the fight for justice that continues today in the struggles for a living wage, for immigrant rights, for civil rights and for environmental justice. The marchers walked from the valley in Texas to the state capitol in Austin, seeking a livable wage for agricultural laborers. The marchers stayed at St. Edward’s University the last night of their journey. On the next day, September 5, Labor Day, they joined thousands of supporters for the final march down Congress Avenue to the capitol. Continue reading

The Maquiladora Workers of Juarez Create Independent Unions

THE MAQUILADORA WORKERS OF JUAREZ FIND THEIR VOICE
By David Bacon              The Nation, web edition, 11/20/15
http://davidbaconrealitycheck.blogspot.com/2015/11/the-maquiladora-workers-of-juarez-find.html

Rosario Acosta and other mothers march behind the banner of the group they organized:  “Nuestras Hija de Regreso a Casa” – “May Our Daughters Come Home”

Torreon, Coahuila  11/15/02 Rosario Acosta (l) and other mothers of women murdered and disappeared in Juarez, march in Torreon to call on Mexican authorities to investigate the cases.

Torreon, Coahuila 11/15/02
Rosario Acosta (l) and other mothers of women murdered and disappeared in Juarez, march in Torreon to call on Mexican authorities to investigate the cases.

CIUDAD JUAREZ, CHIHUAHUA — After more than a decade of silence, maquiladora workers in Ciudad Juarez have found their voice.  The city, just across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, is now the center of a growing rebellion of laborers in the border factories.  At the gates to four plants, including a huge 5000-worker Foxconn complex, they have set up encampments, or “plantons,” demanding recognition of independent unions, and protesting firings and reprisals.

“We just got so tired of the insults, the bad treatment and low wages, that we woke up,” explains Carlos Serrano, a leader of the revolt at Foxconn’s Scientific Atlanta facility.  “We don’t really know what’s going to happen now, and we’re facing companies that are very powerful and have a lot of money.  But what’s clear is that we are going to continue.  We’re not going to stop.”

The Juarez protests come just as Congress gets ready to debate a new trade treaty, the Trans Pacific Partnership, which opponents charge will reproduce the same devastation Mexican workers experienced as a result of the North American Free Trade Agreement.  Critics charge NAFTA cemented into place a regime of low wages, labor violations and violence on the border after it took effect in 1994.  Today, economic pressure has become so extreme that Juarez’ workers feel they have no choice but to risk their jobs in hope of change.

Ali Lopez, a single mother at the planton outside the ADC CommScope factory, describes grinding poverty. “The only way a single mother can survive here is with help from family or friends,” she says.  Lopez has two daughters, one 13 and one 6 years old.  “I can’t spend any time with them because I’m always working.  When I leave in the morning, I leave food for the older one to warm up for lunch.  Childcare would cost 200 pesos a week or more, so I can’t afford it.” Continue reading

Support the USW Strikers !

We support the USW unfair labor practices strike against big oil companies

Petition by James P. Thompson

http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/we-support-the-usw-strike?source=mo&id=109686-22927824-YUOthAx

To be delivered to Ben van Beurden, CEO, Royal Dutch Shell Oil Company

We support the unfair labor practice strike by steelworkers at the refineries in Texas City, Texas, and across the country. Their struggle is the struggle of working people in this country and around the world. We all want safe refineries and safe communities.

Editor note: STEELWORKERS AND ROYAL DUTCH SHELL COME TO TENTATIVE AGREEMENT: The United Steelworkers and Royal Dutch Shell reached a tentative four-year contract that includes wage increases and “improvement” on worker safety issues like fatigue and refinery maintenance.

We don’t want any more workers to die. That’s why the United Steelworkers union is taking on the richest, most powerful industry in the world by fighting to secure a fair contract that will protect the health and safety of workers and communities. The oil industry’s greed and bad-faith bargaining have stalled efforts to improve conditions in its workplaces. The industry has refused to address serious health and safety issues that have already killed thousands of workers over the years.

We support the efforts of the USW union to improve the working conditions of the striking refinery workers. Jobs in refineries are dangerous and require a high level of skill. As we know from the BP disaster, mistakes can cause catastrophes for the surrounding communities and the environment.

These workers deserve to be treated fairly. Failure to bargain fairly in these negotiations will only reflect the oil industry’s lack of regard for the workers and the communities in which its enterprises are located.

Statement by the Nurses of the Texas Hospital

1014_StopBlamingNurses_ebola_BANNERThis is an inside story from some registered nurses at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas who have familiarity with what occurred at the hospital following the positive Ebola infection of first the late Thomas Eric Duncan and then a registered nurse who cared for him Nina Pham.

The RNs contacted National Nurses United out of frustration with a lack of training and preparation. They are choosing to remain anonymous out of fear of retaliation.

The RNs who have spoken to us from Texas Health Presbyterian are listening in on this call and this is their report based on their experiences and what other nurses are sharing with them. When we have finished with our statement, we will have time for several questions. The nurses will have the opportunity to respond to your questions via email that they will send to us, that we will read to you.

We are not identifying the nurses for their protection, but they work at Texas Health Presbyterian and have knowledge of what occurred at the hospital.

They feel a duty to speak out about the concerns that they say are shared by many in the hospital who are concerned about the protocols that were followed and what they view were confusion and frequently changing policies and protocols that are of concern to them, and to our organization as well. Continue reading

A Southern Strategy for Unions

Jonah Lalas, who headed up the HOPE organizing project in Houston, wrote an interesting account of union organizing in the Summer 2008 Dissent. His article in now on-line and is well-worth checking out.

Lalas explains why the South is crucial.
Continue reading