WIN Week In Review: Saturday, October 21, 2017
By Doug Cunningham
Grad student workers at the University of Chicago have won union representation. The vote this week was 1103 for the union, 479 voting no. The workers are thrilled that after years of organizing they finally have their union. Graduate Students United is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers.
Maryam Sabbagi is a PhD student and supporter of the Graduate Students United (GSU) union.
[Maryam Sabbagi]: “I’ve seen GSU work on a number of different issues such as health care and I think we can do much more with GSU if we unionize at the University of Chicago.
There is the sense of camaraderie, the sense of support, the sense of understanding as graduate student workers that I think enriches my experience at the University of Chicago. This is for students by students.”
Grad student worker Joya John says a union is the way for student workers to have a real voice on campus.
[Joya John]: “Employees and students are the only group that have no say and the union is the way forward for that.”
The on-going humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico remains life-threatening as Americans on the island continue to struggle to get medical care and critical supplies.
National Nurses United RN Kathy Kennedy is volunteering in Puerto Rico with the union’s RN Emergency Response Network.
[Kathy Kennedy]: “We have a health care crisis, right now. Right here in Puerto Rico. We have been going out going into communities where all they ask for is water and food. And you have to make a decision as to OK, who’s gonna to get the food today or the water?
We shouldn’t have to do that. The United States is the richest nation in the world.”
APWU workers and supporters rallied in Boston Wednesday to warn that postal service is being degraded in an orchestrated effort to depict the postal service as failing so that it can be privatized for private profit at the expense of people who depend on the postal service.
American Postal Workers Union Local 100 President Scott Hoffman says the US Postal Service is headed down the road of privatization and it would destroy the universal mail delivery services that exist today.
[Scott Hoffman]: “We don’t want the public to wake up one day and say oh my God it’s gone. It’s time to speak up now if you want to save it.
Despite what anyone in the postal service may say, they’re going down the road of privatization. And we’ll lose universal mail service.”
Disney workers rallied at tWalt Disney World Thursday, joining hospitality workers in 40 cities demanding living wages. Wage negotiations are underway for 38,000 full and part-time Disney cast members.
New Disney workers are paid $10 an hour.
UNITE HERE Local 737 President Jeremy Haicken says the unions want Disney to agree to an accelerated path to a living wage.
Seven Mexican H2A program tobacco workers are striking over stolen wages at the Paint Lick Kentucky farm of Wayne Day.
Kentucky Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) organizer Stephen Bartlett says the workers were supposed to get $10.92 an hour but got no more than $8 and in come cases less than $4 an hour doing piece work in tobacco fields for the past three seasons.
[Stephen Bartlett]: “First thing we did was assess the situation and write up a demand letter and basically threatened a legal suit. They know we have their back.
It’s stoop labor. It’s a very grueling work and they sometimes do 12 or 14 hours in a day working.”