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This Week in Workers News

Mountain Justice: Appalachian women fought for workers long before they fought for jobs

Bessie Lou Cornett, a leader in promoting the Brookside Mine strike, later helped fight plans to build a highway through a Black neighborhood. Her husband would attack her to try to prevent her leaving the house to organize. After their divorce, he gained custody of their son by arguing that she was an unfit mother because of her union activity and alliances with Black people. Cornett maintained her resolve with the memory of her grandfather suffering of black lung. In the film Harlan County, USA, Cornett says, “I told myself, if I ever get the opportunity to get those coal operators I will. Because I thought, you know, [the company] was the enemy. So when the strike came up, I saw the opportunity, and I jumped right in there.” Read the full story at Scalawag Magazine.


How Do We Punish Bad Men While Protecting Restaurant Workers?

A boycott may show solidarity with victims, but it ultimately treats the symptoms, not the actual sickness that runs rampant in restaurants. Unless the entire industry works to undo the systems that have helped to perpetuate this bad behavior for years, it will continue. Rather than further punishing those who may find themselves stuck working in these restaurants, we need to find a way to support workers so they feel empowered to find stable, lucrative work elsewhere. Read the full story at Eater.


Libyan Oil Workers at El Sharara, Other Fields Demand Salary Increase

Some 50 to 60 workers at El Sharara, wearing blue jumpsuits, appeared in a video demanding a salary hike of 67 percent, a figure that the government decided in 2013. That planned pay rise was never implemented. Read the full story at Voice of America.


Opinion: The price workers pay for no student benefit

From taking out the rotten fruit that stayed in a dormitory fridge too long, to cleaning up old coffee, to getting out the smell of last night’s puke, the employees [at Duke University] work exceptionally hard to maintain cleanly spaces for us to live in. And yet, the ramifications of the past six months have fallen through the cracks in our institutional memory. Read the full story at the Duke Chronicle.


Scores of flights cancelled as Italian airline workers strike

Italian airline Alitalia has cancelled 95 domestic and international flights, and Air Italy is expected to cancel many more as Italian air transport unions called strikes over contracts. Alitalia employees are on a four-hour strike on Monday afternoon, while Air Italy is on strike for 24 hours. Read the full story at The Local.it.


Kroger grocery workers prepare for Colorado’s next big strike

While Kroger workers are paid at or near minimum wage, the CEO makes around $10 million per year–that is, the CEO makes 547 times the median pay of employees. In addition to paying poverty wages the company has eliminated jobs at hundreds of stores in recent years after aggressively implementing new self-checkout and scan-and-go technology. Read the full story at Liberation News.


City Lift workers picket, claim unfair labor conditions

Union Members of City Lift— a branch of City Link for passengers with disabilities made their voices heard by  picketing Saturday afternoon; claiming their days off are being taken away. The employees say they don’t plan to strike for fear of losing their jobs, but they want the community to see they are being “forced to work.” Read the full story at Week.com.


Survey finds that half of Japan’s home care workers experienced harassment in 2018

In the first extensive survey conducted by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry on people working in the nursing care industry, 81 percent of those reporting harassment said they had been psychologically abused at least once in 2018. Those who were psychologically harassed typically reported hostile behavior and verbal abuse. Around 42 percent of those reporting harassment had been physically abused, with reported cases including objects being thrown at care providers, while 37 percent said they had been sexually harassed, according to the survey. Of those providing home care, 17 percent said they had been abused by relatives of those being cared for. Read the full story at Japan Times.


Uber And Lyft Drivers Strike In LA After Yet Another Pay Cut

Ride-hail drivers in Los Angeles have called a 25-hour strike on Monday, March 25 in protest of a recent pay cut of approximately 25% for Uber drivers. Area group Rideshare Drivers United has called on riders to boycott Uber, Lyft, and other ride-hail apps between midnight Monday morning and 1:00 am Tuesday PDT in solidarity with drivers. Read the full story at Forbes.


Rutgers faculty union authorizes strike

In the latest development of contract negotiations, which have been going on for more than a year, a strike has been authorized by the American Association of University Professors and American Federation of Teachers (AAUP-AFT). “We are fighting to increase the full-time faculty to student ratio to defend quality public education,” said Deepa Kumar, the president of AAUP-AFT and an associate professor in the Department of Journalism and Media Studies. “We are fighting for equal pay for equal work for female faculty. And we are fighting to raise the salaries of our lowest paid members, teaching assistants who have not seen a raise since 2013 and who earn $26,000 a year.” Read the full story at The Daily Targum.


Morocco: Teachers Protest Over Poor Working Conditions

These nationwide teacher strikes in Morocco have continued for three weeks and have drawn at least seventy-thousand public school teachers, marching across the country to protest against a new teacher employment contract they see as an attack on their rights and financial security. Read the full story at African News Network.


Employees locked out during strike at Headly Manufacturing

Workers at the Headly Manufacturing plant in Broadview said they were locked out following a strike Friday. Headly employees said management recently threatened several workers with termination in the coming weeks with no explanation. Read the full story at ABC 7 Chicago.


The past and future of the American strike.

The book’s narrative is grounded in workplace struggle, but it has wider implications that extend into the national ordering and distribution of economic and political power. In his discussion of the Lowell strikes of 1836, for example, Loomis tells us how the integration of low-paid women workers into the wage-labor workforce at the textile plants in antebellum New England helps to explain the story of how a household subsistence economy became the low-wage factory system of industrial capitalism. The Northern-based ideology of “free labor”—a quasi-utopian vision of independent white-male workers and small businessmen—excluded women and people of color. Yet the exploited young women at Lowell helped to lead the way, as Loomis argues, “in protesting unfair working conditions as the Industrial Revolution transformed the nation.” Read the full review of Eric Loomis’s A History of America in 10 Strikes at The Nation.

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