Sunday, August 22, 2010

Links for the Aug. 23rd episode of Labor Express Radio...

On the August 23rd episode of Labor Express Radio we discuss the lock-out of Steelworkers at the Honeywell uranium conversion plant in Metropolis Illinois. For more on developments in the lock-out you can check Local 7-669's website...


We also aired a conversation with Amisha Patel of the Grassroots Collaborative about the history and future of the struggle for living wages in Chicago. For more info on the Collaborative and their upcoming 10th Anniversary fundraiser, checkout their website...

Chicago environmental and community health activists encourage EPA to approve new Transport Rule...

You can hear the story from FSRN here...

Hilton hotel workers vote to strike...


Hilton Hotels workers in Chicago voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike at 4 area properties - the Chicago Hilton, Hilton O'Hare, the Palmer House Hilton, and the Drake, according to UNITE HERE Local 1 and Local 450. With 96% of union members voting in favor of a strike, the vote authorizes the rank-and-file bargaining committee to call a strike, if necessary.

You can read more here...

http://www.unitehere.org/presscenter/release.php?ID=4110

UPDATE: UIC Strike called off, negotiations move forward...


The plans for a strike by clerical workers at UIC has been called off, at least for the time being. It looks as if a negotiations on a new contract are moving forward. Here is a statement issued by Joe Iosbaker, Chief Steward at UIC for SEIU Local 73...

As a result of last minute overtures by the University of Illinois president, the officers and elected bargaining committees of SEIU Local 73 at UIC have agreed we will not strike on Monday, August 23rd...

We appreciate all the solidarity we have received from students; from our co-workers, especially the Graduate Employees, Nurses, Teamsters, Faculty, and Doctors; and of course, the labor movement and broader community. We will resume Federal Mediation and hope to gain contracts soon, as our members have been without raises and have suffered job losses over the past year without a contract.

Of course, should negotiations fail to bring us a fair contract with job security and decent pay, we haven’t given up our right to strike.

In solidarity and struggle –

Joe Iosbaker
Chief Steward, Clerical/Administrative Unit, SEIU Local 73,
UIC

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Clerical workers at UIC prepare to strike - NEED YOUR SUPPORT...


Next Monday, August 23rd, is the first day of classes at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). It will also likely be the first day of a strike by clerical workers at the university, members of SEIU Local 73.

You can listen to an mp3 of last Monday's Labor Express Radio program to hear more about some of the issues prompting the workers to strike...


The following is a message from Local 73 member Joe Isobaker...

Workers Prepare Strike at UIC--Need Your Support! 2700 union workers, members of SEIU Local 73 at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) are preparing to strike on Monday, August 23rd. They are demanding job security and a fair contract. They need your support. The Network to Fight for Economic Justice (NFEJ) is calling on its affiliates and supporters to show your solidarity. The strike is provoked by UIC’s attempts to undermine the union and by an administration trying to balance the budget on the backs of workers. The UIC big wigs eliminated hundreds of civil service jobs by “reclassifying”, declaring the positions non-union. Not surprisingly most of those “reclassified” jobs are going to whites, while Blacks and Latinos account for 95% of the union workers. SEIU Local 73 is not going to allow this outrage! An equally big issue is pay raises for union members. UIC pleads poverty because of the State budget crisis, but has actually increased their budget through contributions from rich people. Fact is the bosses at UIC are busy lining their pockets at the expense of workers, taxpayers, and students. Apparently there is no economic crisis if you are a big boss at a state university. President Hogan makes $620,000 per year with a $245,000 bonus over five years. Hogan’s assistant took an 85% pay increase to make $195,000 per year!
What is going on there? The average worker, according to management’s own estimate, makes $35,000 a year after many years on the job. While many workers are losing homes, the UIC bosses wasted $500,000 of taxpayer money to refurbish a mansion in the midst of this economic crisis. Are they crazy! The brave union members of Local 73 SEIU need to be supported and praised for taking a stand and setting an example for other workers. The leaders of SEIU Local 73 are united and strong behind one of the biggest strikes in the country this year. The International union needs to understand the importance of this strike and send in reinforcements too. Meanwhile, it is the union members with the support of students, faculty, and solidarity from other workers who will determine the outcome of this big battle in the heartland. Please do your part to help win the SEIU strike at UIC: 1. Sign the petition to demand a fair contract for SEIU workers. This sends a message to UIC Chancellor Allen-Meares, UIC President Hogan, and members of the administration's bargaining team that we want a fair contract. The online petition can be found here: www.ipetitions.com/petition/uicfaircontractsnow 2. Strike solidarity—on Monday come walk the SEIU picket lines at UIC Student Center East at 750 S. Halsted, starts at 6:00 a.m. 3. Spread the word--circulate the electronic petition to unions, community and student groups. They Say Cut Back! We Say Fight Back! Reach the Network to Fight for Economic Justice at www.nfej.org

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

UPDATE: Ex-Cell Workers on Strike...


This week, 22 workers at the Ex-Cell metal products plant in Franklin Park went out on Strike. Despite major contract concessions by the workers in recent years, the company is now demanding that the workers cover 20% of their health care coverage costs. This amounts to over $300 a month from most workers, and the average wage at the plant is $9 an hour. Most workers at the plant have worked there for many years, some more than 20 years. It is a familiar story. A light manufacturing facility employing low wage Latino workers and forcing them to accept poverty wages by threats of plant closings. Hats off to these workers for taking a stand and saying no to further concessions.

Tune in to next Monday's episode of Labor Express Radio for more...

Labor Express Radio
Mondays - 10 AM
88.7 FM or listen live online at... www.wluw.org
For archived episodes go to www.laborexpress.org

For more pics, go to the following link...

You can listen to an interview with striker Anna Maria Rico here...

There will be much more coverage on next Monday's Labor Express Radio program.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Link to article on CFL Wal-Mart "Agreement"...

Hi All,

On today's Labor Express Radio program I reference an article by Mischa Gaus of Labor Notes on the agreement between the Chicago Federation of Labor and Wal-Mart announced in June. You can find the article here...

Monday, August 9, 2010

Links to the Pension Rights Center...


On today's episode of Labor Express Radio, we talked about the Pension Rights Center's Retirement USA Speakout and "Wake Up, Washington!" campaign. Here are links for more information about how you can become involved...



Wednesday, August 4, 2010

PERRO holds "People's Dinner" outside Ald. Solis fundraiser...


About 20 or so people this evening attended a "People's Dinner" outside a fundraiser for Alderman Daniel Solis of the 25th Ward. While campaign contributors inside the event paid a minimum of $150 a plate to influence the Alderman, attendees of the free People's Dinner called on the alderman to place the health of residents of the 25th Ward above the influence of corporate donors, including Midwest Generation, which owns and operates the Fisk coal-fired power plant on Cermak. Stay tuned for more news coming very soon that illustrates the depth of the relationship between Solis and Midwest Generation.

You can find pictures of the event here...


Here is the press release issued earlier today for the People's Dinner...

Pilsen Residents Push Alderman Solis to Stop Coal Soot

“People’s Dinner” Held Outside Alderman Solis Fundraiser calling for Ordinance Support

CHICAGO, August 2 – Pilsen residents are gathering outside Alderman Danny Solis’ (25th Ward) exclusive fundraiser to demand that he co-sponsor the Clean Power Ordinance. The measure would clean up harmful coal soot emissions from the local Fisk coal-fired power plant, the second largest single source of pollution in Chicago. On Wednesday, August 4, the Pilsen Environmental Rights and Reform Organization (PERRO) and residents will hold a free “People’s Dinner” where their demands will be made.

Alderman Solis has stated he opposes the ordinance, joining the plant’s owner, Midwest Generation (a major campaign contributor), in opposing provisions of the bill that would clean up coal soot (called Particulate Matter- PM) from falling near local residents despite the evidence of the harm that PM is known to cause.

The “People’s Dinner” will be free to the public and will include a people’s agenda for discussion of policies in the best interest of the residents of the 25th Ward, such as passage of the Clean Power Ordinance and demanding that Alderman Solis co-sponsor the bill. This is in stark contrast to the expected discussion inside Alderman Solis’ fundraiser related to the interests of Solis’ campaign contributors.

"Chicago is supposedly one of the 'green-ist cities,' however, not one, but two coal-fired power plants operate within the city limits,” says Sarah Finkle, a local resident and member of PERRO. “We want a response from Alderman Solis as to why he has not co-sponsored this ordinance. It is his responsibility to maintain the welfare of this ward."

The Clean Power Ordinance would regulate PM and carbon dioxide emissions from all coal-fired power plants operating in Chicago. Studies have shown that the pollution from Chicago’s plants cause over 40 premature deaths per year and 550 emergency room visits. Furthermore, population densities surrounding the Fisk and Crawford power plants are higher than for any other power plants in the U.S. and Chicago’s two coal-fired power plants are the largest single sources of CO2.



Monday, August 2, 2010

Fiesta del Sol 2010...


Well another Fiesta del Sol has come and gone. And for the second year running, I feel the Fiesta is returning to its roots as a community festival. For many years it seemed the commercial booths had taken over and the community orientated booths were disappearing. This year and last that
seems to be reversing itself. I also heard that the non-profit booth rated had dropped from $800 to $700. Still way to high, but improving at least.

Members of PERRO (Pilsen Environmental Rights and Reform Organization) were able to gather over a thousand signatures on a petition asking for a Clean Power Ordinance in Chicago, reducing pollution from the Fisk and Crawford coal-fired power plants, despite Midwest Generation's sponsorship of the Fiesta. It was great to see the Latino Vote, Amnesty International and other folks out circulating petitions as well.

Once again, the Art booth, Children's booth, The Alivio Medical Center booth and House of Sol were real highlights. The addition of the music stage in Dvorak Park and the Graffiti art section were exciting developments this year. But nothing was more exciting than the new "Hecho en Pilsen" t-shirt designed by Marty Sanchez. I bought 4 - nice job Marty.

Alejandro Romero's poster this year, referencing the centennial of the Mexico Revolution and the Bi-centennial of independence was also very nice.


You can check out more pictures from the Fiesta here...