Girl Strikers: Gender and Cleveland's Garment District Strikes of 1911
Before the strike, owners flaunted the fact that production had risen each of the last ten years. The city’s 35 factories employed roughly 20,000 workers, many sewing six days a week, 12-hours a day in conditions widely regarded as sweatshops.
Worse were the starvation wages made possible by the fierce competition for sewing jobs as immigrants flooded the cores of American cities.
Work was bad enough, but 60 percent of the garment workers were sole breadwinners, and another 50,000 Clevelanders either supplied or serviced the local garment industry. The only safety net was charity.
For the past three weeks, listeners to France's seven public radio stations have heard little other than music - even on news and speech stations such as France Info and France Inter. The longest strike in the history of Radio France is showing no sign of coming to an end, with both sides becoming more entrenched. [more inside]
What’s a student strike? Can the education minister cancel the semester? How many students are in the streets? Though it may have appeared spontaneous, the student strike of 2012 took a year and a half of preparation. Since last fall, Quebec students, along with other elements of civil society such as unions and NGOs, have been mobilizing against Liberal premier Philippe Couillard’s austerity policies, typified by deep cuts to public services. That mobilization led to this week’s strike. [more inside]
From October 1950 to January 1952, the Mexican American miners at the Empire Zinc mine in Bayard, New Mexico were on strike, protesting the racial discrimination between them and their Anglo counterparts in pay, safety standards, and quality of life in company housing. Two events make this particular strike stand out from similar strikes at other mines are the involvement of the miners' wives in both requesting better living conditions and later in taking to the picket lines themselves, and after the strike was over, the feminist and pro-labor docudrama made by blacklisted Hollywood film makers, Salt of the Earth (YouTube; lower quality on Archive.org; Wikipedia). [more inside]
For the first time in its 39-year history, the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation of the University of Oregon is on strike, and here's why . [more inside]
If you like cheap groceries and live in Massachusetts, you may have noticed this weekend that the shelves were bare at Market Basket. Employees of the company staged a walkout on Friday to show their support for Arthur T. Demoulas, the company's recently ousted president. Many people have questioned the sudden change in management. [more inside]
Alan Prendergast writing in Westword reflects on the history of "Bloody Ludlow."
The Minimum Wage Worker Strikes Back - She notes that her hourly wage of $7.50 is less than a Wendy’s combo meal: “I make less than the Baconator.”
BART workers are continuing their strike into Monday, with no quick end to the strike in sight. [more inside]
One hundred years ago today, W.B. Yeats published one of his best known poems, September 1913, as a letter to the Irish Times. [more inside]
This article covers the US drone program. It looks at the pilots of drones, the decisions to use a drone, their highly effective short terms goals vs long term potential blowback and whether drone strikes are legal.
The Drone That Killed My Grandson — Dr. Nasser al-Awlaki, Fulbright scholar, founder of Ibb University and former president of Sana University, served as Yemen’s minister of agriculture and fisheries from 1988 to 1990. His 16-year-old grandson Abdulrahman (an American citizen born in Denver, Colorado) was killed by an American drone strike in Yemen on Oct. 14, 2011, two weeks after his father Anwar was killed by a previous drone strike.
Third-grader Asean Johnson schools Rahm Emmanuel on the mayor's plan for Chicago's public schools. (YT) [more inside]
In what could be the largest strike of its kind, hundreds of fast food workers in Detroit walked off their jobs on Friday, echoing the rallying cry heard (or not?) across the country that the currently underpaid workers deserve $15 an hour and the right to form a union without retaliation. Friday's strike in Detroit comes on the heels of similar actions in other cities—Wednesday and Thursday in St. Louis, and in Chicago and New York City last month.
On May 16, 1934, the Teamsters local 574 of Minneapolis, Minnesota called for a strike to stop all truck deliveries in the city not run by union workers. This 1981 documentary tells the story in the workers' own words. Part 1, part 2.
Hostess, the maker of Twinkies, Ding Dongs, and Wonder Bread has filed for bankruptcy twice in the past two years. Hostess workers (members of the Teamsters' Union) staged a walkout on Sunday after the company cut wages by 8 percent and benefits by up to 32 percent. Since the workers went on strike, Hostess has closed three of its plants. Hostess said today that if enough workers do not return to work by this evening, it will liquidate the company and lay off its 18,000 workers. It will announce its decision tomorrow.
"The company at this point isn’t just a key purveyor of lower labor standards and a globalized and concentrated supply chain, it is a key tell for policymakers."
In a surprise move, Premier of Ontario Dalton McGuinty has resigned. CBC National Post Globe and Mail Toronto Star. [more inside]
For the first time since 1987, Chicago public school teachers will strike. Last year, the city council in Chicago passed a law mandating that 75% of Chicago Teachers Union members would need to vote to authorize a strike. In June, CTU announced that they had met that threshold, and that they would strike if negotiations with Chicago Public Schools over job security, evaluations, and a longer school day with no extra pay for teachers, failed. They did, and tonight Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union, announced that as of midnight tonight, public school teachers in Chicago are on strike.
Two weeks ago 34 striking miners were shot dead by police at the Marikana platinum mine in South Africa. Now, using laws once used by the apartheid regime to prosecute black activists fighting for democracy, the remaining 270 miners from the protest have been charged with their fellow workers' murders.
As Chicago prepares to join other cities in marking May Day with a march and a general strike, it is interesting to think about these actions in the context of May Day's Chicago origins and Chicago's role in labor history. [more inside]
In March, 2012, students in Montreal, Canada took to the streets to protest the Quebec Liberal government's intention to raise tuition by 75% over five years. The red square, a symbol of the last student strike, quickly became the symbol of this one as well. [more inside]
The workers at Manhattan's famous Strand Bookstore are currently in conflict with management over a severe new contract that radically reduces benefits. Bookstore employee and cartoonist Greg Farrell has decided to explain the conflicts and background of the problem via comic book.
The U.S. Occupy movement has called for a general strike - or something like it – on May 1. May Day.
Most Occupy May Day advocates understand that a conventional general strike is not in the cards. What they are advocating instead is a day in which members of the “99%” take whatever actions they can to withdraw from participation in the normal workings of the economic system -- by not working if that is an option, but also by not shopping, not banking, and not engaging in other “normal” everyday activities, and by joining demonstrations, marches, disruptions, occupations, and other mass actions.[more inside]
A British Columbia teacher offers a spirited defence of education and the right for teachers to strike and raise issues of class size and composition in collective bargaining in this blog post. Meanwhile, BC high school students are walking out Friday in support of the teachers and the concerns they raise about BC's public school system. [more inside]
You may have never heard of them, but they definitely have your email address. They are the Yahoo-Yahoo Boys; the young Nigerian men who cut wide swaths of cash by preying on the naiveté of moneyed Westerners vis a vis their dreaded 419 emails. ...But if you check your spam folder right now you might notice that it is slightly lighter these days. That's because it's been a tough week for Nigeria’s most infamous internet enthusiasts. Due to the week-long strike action that took place in response to the government’s decision to remove a national fuel subsidy, it has become increasingly difficult for the Yahoos to extract funds from their “clients”. [...] The Yahoos' disposition towards #OccupyNigeria is also worth paying attention to because 419 culture is essentially a street-level microcosm of the institutional corruption that has plagued Nigeria for the past forty years. And although the Yahoos are often blamed for distorting Nigeria’s image abroad, they've also become part of the cultural fabric.
Some context for today's general strike, the Occupy Nigeria movement, and growing frustration over government corruption in Nigeria.
Seventy feared dead and five hundred wounded by riot police in Zhanaozen, west Kazakhstan. Workers in the oil town have been on strike since May; protests (YT) during independence day celebrations escalated into clashes with security forces. Latest reports suggest protesters are gathering again and 1,500 marines are moving in.
The UK is experiencing some of its worst disruption to services in decades as more than 2 million public sector workers stage a nationwide strike, closing schools and bringing councils and hospitals to a virtual standstill. [more inside]
Australia's Qantas Airlines has been left red-faced after an ill-timed public relations campaign and Twitter competition backfired, drawing thousands of angry responses. The contest ran a day after talks with unions broke down, and after Qantas grounded its entire fleet in October. Thousands of passengers were stranded worldwide after the firm halted flights in an attempt to end months of strike action by workers angered by the firm's restructuring plans. The "Qantas Luxury" promotion, launched on 22 November, quickly tapped into customers' ire. ~ BBC
At least 4,000 are at the gates to the Port of Oakland - San Jose Mercury News. More links inside. [more inside]
In response to industrial action over wage disputes with 3 unions - aircraft engineers, baggage handlers, and other ground staff - Qantas has announced that it is grounding its international and domestic fleet immediately and indefinitely.
The ongoing student demonstrations in Chile began as a protest over the costs, profits, and fairness of higher education there. They have since attracted other segments of Chilean society venting frustration over wages, health care, and other issues. Uniting the protesters is common dissatisfaction with hugely unpopular President Sebastian Pinera and social inequality...
Hundreds of angry longshoremen stormed through a grain shipping terminal in Longview, Wash., early Thursday and held security guards at bay while descending on a disputed train full of grain, cutting brake lines and dumping cargo. - Serious and sometimes violent direct action aimed at a new west coast shipping facility by a local union, supported by members from the Seattle area.
A half-month hunger strike by Venezuelan students has ended. More than 150 students participated in the protests, some sewing their own mouths shut. [more inside]
The Newspaper Guild is calling on unpaid writers of the Huffington Post to withhold their work in support of a strike launched by Visual Art Source in response to the company’s practice of using unpaid labor. In addition, we are asking that our members and all supporters of fair and equitable compensation for journalists join us in shining a light on the unprofessional and unethical practices of this company. [more inside]
We Are Those Lions. Sepia Mutiny discusses the death of Jayaben Desai, trade unionist.
Jayaben Desai passes away. Ms. Desai came to national prominence in the UK for her leading role in the 1976-78 strike at Grunwick Processing's photo processing labs in North London, a dispute that shattered stereotypes about south Asian women workers in Britain, in the face of police violence, the antics of the McWhirter brothers and ambiguous support from the official trade union movement. [more inside]
In 1972, miners at Duke Energy's Brookside coal mine in Harlan County, KY voted to organize with the United Mineworkers of America. When the company refused to accept a contract, the workers went on strike. [more inside]
French general strike is going on. It's against a proposal by the French government to raise the normal retirement age for public pensions from 65 to 67 and early reduced pensions from age 60 to 62. All society is concerned. Voilà the manifestations of high-school students, so damn chic.
The thrills of drilling, the hazards and rewards as you bring in your own . . . Offshore Oil Strike. "An exciting board game for all the family." Lovingly brought to you by BP. //BLDGBLOG
On Saturday, Cuba issued an unprecedented public report on the status of an imprisoned dissident. Guillermo Fariñas Hernández began his hunger strike in February, the day after the first Cuban hunger striker death in almost forty years. He is now near death. [more inside]
Bad Hotel - a FlashMob direct action for San Francisco hotel workers' right to health care by Pride At Work, Sleep With The Right People, and the Brass Liberation Orchestra. [more inside]
Carlsberg brewery employees are on strike to protest new rules that limit on the job beer drinking to lunch time.
Turkey buzzard mistakes helicopter pilot for Santa Claus. No birds or pilots were harmed in the filming of the incident. Too bad about the windshield. (via)
Norman Strike is blogging the 1984-85 U.K. miners' strike. From his account of the "Battle of Orgreave" (June 18, 1984): There was the coke works in the distance, squatting on the land and belching out smoke from Yorkshire coal. A black line of police spread across the yellow field in front, with horses to the rear and sides. . . . I began sprinting up the field, trying to avoid the slower lads. I made it to safety but was horrified at what I saw as I looked back down the field. Dogs were biting lads whilst others were being truncheoned by pigs and either led away or dragged away! It was a disgusting sight and one I never thought I’d see in this country. I’ll never forget it but worse was to follow. [more inside]
Thousands of students, faculty, and staff have walked out today in protest of the University of California's budget cuts. [more inside]
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