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January 13, 2003

Labor Monday (1-13)

  • Over 100 unionists from across the country met to form U.S. Labor Against the War (USLAW) to promote antiwar sentiment and activity throughout the labor movement.
  • The American Federation of Government Employees is going to court in an attempt to win collective bargaining rights for 56,000 federal baggage screeners at the Transportation Security Administration, arguing the Bush administration overstepped its power in barring union rights for those workers.
  • Service Employees International Union added 124,000 new members in 2002, including home health care and hospital workers, building service employees, and local government employees.
  • United airline workers lost in court as the bankruptcy judge agreed to allow the company to impose 14% pay cuts on the workers.
  • The New York Times continues an ongoing expose of how deaths on the job lead to "slaps on the wrist" for negligent companies.
  • 300 Domino Sugar workers in Baltimore ended a 35-day strike with a contract that the union is declaring a victory.
  • See this indepth article about the lawsuits mounting against Wal-Mart over its violations of labor law.
  • Congressman John Conyers is joining with the United Steelworkers to block U.S. Steel's purchase of the assets of backrupt National Steel, since U.S. Steel officials have said the company will not assume responsibility for the payment of National's current pension plan and health benefits.
  • Washington D.C. teachers are realing from revelations that Teachers' Union leaders wasted millions of dollars on furs, electronics and other non-union expenses. The union has put the local into receivership.
  • A proposed Texas bill would give employers access to the injury and workers' compensation information of job applicants, raising fears of a blacklist against employees who exercise their rights after job injuries.

  • Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez threatened Friday to send soldiers to seize control of food-production facilities and also fired 700 workers from the state oil monopoly, hoping to break a 40-day-old strike intended to oust him.
  • Russia has barred reentry to that country by workers rights advocate, Irene Stevensen, the local head of the American Center for International Labor Solidarity, the AFL-CIO's outpost in Moscow.
  • In Britain, train drivers yesterday refused to move a freight train carrying ammunition believed to be destined for British forces being deployed in the Gulf.
  • Belgian unions are planning demostrations against the proposed global General Agreement on Trade in Services (Gats), an addition to the World Trade Organaization that would limit national government's power to deliver and regulate health, education, transport, broadcasting and postal services.
  • The Canadian Labor Congress has denounced the proposed "Article 23" legislation proposed for Hong Kong that would ban any union or organization affiliated with groups in mainland China.
  • The Campaign for Labor Rights is mounting a global campaign to demand the release of former Coca-Cola bottle worker and union president, Alfredo Porras Rueda, whose union has seen 14 union leaders murdered, half of them at Coca Cola plants.
  • The Hudson's Bay Company and Wal-Mart were declared joint winners of the "Sweatshop Retailer of the Year" award by the Toronto-based Maquila Solidarity Network (MSN).
  • Protesters in Indonesia hit city streets across Indonesia throughout last week and street rallies protesting the recent hefty price rises for fuel and power took place in several major cities in Java, Bali, Sulawesi, Kalimantan and Sumatra.
  • A court in Mauritius upheld the right of anti-free trade groups to stage a protest during the Agoa Ministerial Forum, also known as the U.S.Sub-Saharan African Trade and Cooperation Forum, being held in in Mauritius next week.

    Posted by Nathan at January 13, 2003 08:51 AM

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