Labor Must Take a Stand Against Killer Cops

Organized Workers for Labor Solidarity (OWLS) invites you to join an on-line Solidarity Check-In, Friday, June 12th, 7 pm.

Register in advance for this meeting:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

The featured topic is the call from key unions for the Martin Luther King Jr. County Labor Council to expel the Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG) from its ranks.

SEIU Healthcare 1199 NW and UFCW 21 presented a “Resolution Affirming Our Commitment to an Anti-Racist Union Movement” that sets a deadline of June 17 for SPOG to refashion itself as an anti-racist labor organization. If the resolution’s demands are not met, MLKCLC delegates will be given the opportunity to remove SPOG from its ranks.

The Highline Education Association has also sent a demand letter to the Council that SPOG ‘be removed from the Martin Luther King Jr. Labor Council.’ Their members “see the direct impact of policing and police brutality” on their students and families. “When SPOG can call itself part of the ‘labor movement,’ it is granted further protection against reform, and proponents of police reform can be painted as anti-labor or anti-progressive.”

As a labor organization that has supported numerous strikes over the years, OWLS has seen the role of police in helping employers break strikes by enforcing unjust injunctions that forbid picketers from blocking driveways against replacement scabs. As a diverse group OWLS members can testify to the brutal role of the police in upholding a racist, exploitative economic system.

Join this important discussion about labor’s role in the exploding movement to win racial justice.

 

 

May 26: Eyewitness Report: Yakima’s Fruit Packers on Strike!

OWLS Meeting via Zoom –
Tuesday May 26, 7pm

Amid the current pandemic and economic crisis strikes are breaking out across the country. Workers around the world are fighting back and raising the demand No Safety, No Work! Fruit packers in Eastern Washington are currently leading the battle for safety and respect on the job in the food production industry.

Last week, OWLS member Linda Averill joined the strikers, a racially diverse, majority immigrant workforce that may be poised to win historic gains as they fight for protective equipment and other measures, respect, and unionization against a $2.5 billion dollar industry well-known for its callous disregard of workers’ rights.

Join the OWLS meeting to hear about the strikes and updates on other labor battles, and discuss how we can make gains for all workers during the pandemic.

Zoom info below:
Please register in advance for this meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMkc-morDorH9PfP7tRjKrX2Q23sVXagBq3
You will receive an immediate confirmation with log in info.Workers control

Emergency Motorcade of Frontline Workers – an Urgent Counterpoint to Open it Up Protests

DSC_0216On Saturday, May 9.    A motorcade initiated by Organized Workers for Labor Solidarity (OWLS) of over 60 vehicles wound its way through the streets of Seattle.  The cavalcade assembled at a parking lot in the Industrial District, and proceeded to workplaces that highlighted conditions and demands by frontline workers, including bus drivers, postal service, hospital, grocery and meat-processing workers.  Laborers in caution-orange shirts marshalled the motorcade into the street.

In contrast to recent right-wing “open it up” rallies, participants wore masks to highlight Motorcade demands for worker personal protective equipment (PPE). Vehicles sported signs declaring, “No safety, no work!” Two fire trucks, numerous Metro buses, and delivery trucks honked horns in support. The Motorcade was also streamed live to supporters at home, and is recorded on Facebook.com/OrganizedWorkers.

As the procession circled Harborview and Swedish medical centers, University of Washington custodian Salvador Castillo reported on the lack of adequate protective supplies or training, with management saying “you don’t need to worry.”    Members and supporters of United Food & Commercial Workers 21 were stretched along the sidewalk outside the QFC at Broadway and Pike Street, cheering the motorcade as it passed.  The grocery’s corporate owner, Kroger, “amassed record-breaking profits” UFCW21 member Jeannette Randall said, “but they just said they’re stopping ‘hazard pay’ and don’t foresee extending it.”

Jared Houston also objected to the “wait and see” attitude of management “unless we push them” to act on safety concerns.  His employer PCC, “a nice friendly coop,” cannot claim poverty while supermarket sales continue to skyrocket. An OWLS member later read a statement from “Friends of Tyson Workers,”  that described how, with 251 employees testing positive for COVID-19, that non-union meatpacking plant in Walula “has restarted operations while sick employees’ basic financial and medical needs remain unmet….Washington and Walla Walla County have to hold Tyson accountable (for) an outbreak that has already caused unnecessary death.”

At the 3rd Avenue post office downtown, postal retiree Bob James talked about Trump and McConnell’s threats to destroy that grand institution, founded by Ben Franklin and enshrined in the Constitution.  “America needs to support the Postal Service” by including it in the next stimulus package from Congress, James said.  Not only is USPS “the single largest civilian employer of veterans,” but vital during the crisis for delivery of prescriptions, testing kits being prepared by the CDC, and mail ballots to ensure a fair election.  At the post office, Amalgamated Transit Union 587 members James Pratt and Linda Averill mailed a petition with over 3,000 signatures to King County Metro calling for “urgent measures to stem the spread of COVID-19.”

The motorcade ended at the shuttered Edgewater Hotel, site of a contract dispute with UNITE!/HERE 8 members until they were laid off during the shutdown of tourist activities.  Edgewater shop steward Jeremy Sharp urged everyone to donate to the local’s Hardship Fund by going to www.UniteHere8.org/donate. OWLS member Kevin Allen, President of the Puget Sound Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, said that Black and workers of color are overrepresented in those sick and being pushed back to work. “Now we’re called ‘essential,’ before we were called ‘whatever,” he said.

The diversity and breadth of the motorcade was evident where members of more than a dozen unions, community, and labor groups gathered, socially distanced, for a closing rally. Miriam Padilla read greetings of international solidarity in English and Spanish from the Mexican Partido Obrero Socialismo. Support statements from unionists in Brazil, Argentina, and from the Freedom Socialist Party in the U.S. and Australia were also read. Radical Women Organizer Gina Petry spoke to the disproportionate impact of the virus on women and people of color.

Going forward, OWLS spokeswoman Maxine Reigel rejected fantasies about “just going back to normal — ‘cause we’re not gonna do that,” calling for “30 hours work for 40 hours pay” and a massive public works program to address skyrocketing unemployment. Allen warned that “the right is out here” in rallies like one in Olympia that same day. “It’s time for us to stand up and raise our voice…all of us are ‘do-ers’ today!”

Check Facebook.com/OrganizedWorkers for continued organizing around these issues. Further actions union “do-ers” can take include the following from participants:

  • Go to https://1199nwcovidresponse.org/actions/ for three petitions to Congress, Washington State and healthcare employers (in cooperation with Washington State Nurses Association, UFCW21 and OPEIU8.)
  • At the website for org “Search” enter “Grocery Store Workers Demand Action” for their petition.
  • At org. use the “Legislation/Take Action “ drop box for their petition.
  • Call Congress now demanding the Postal Service be included in the next stimulus bills. See org for information.

grocery

OWLS Solidarity Check-in – May 15

 OWLS Solidarity Check-in – Friday, May 15, 7pm

Across the U.S. front-grocery DSC_0216line workers are walking off their jobs, striking, launching petitions campaigns, and engaging in other acts of self-defense to gain protective equipment, sick leave, hazard pay and more. Equally exciting, cross-industry labor solidarity is on the rise. OWLS hosts a discussion about these critical developments, and how to build on these trends so that workers’ rights are strengthened in response to the lingering pandemic and economic crisis.

Register for the meeting on Zoom by going to https://bit.ly/owls5-15-20

Salute to Frontline Workers: An Emergency Motorcade for Workers Rights – Saturday, May 9

Aside

On Saturday, May 9, Organized Workers for Labor Solidarity (OWLS) is spearheading an Emergency Motorcade for Workers Rights to help workers put a spotlight on critical safety demands and to show public support for their fight. Vehicles will meet up at 11:30 am in the parking lot at 1st Avenue S. and S. Lander Street under the OWLS banner. The Motorcade will run from 12 noon to 2pm. Sign-making materials will be available for posting on vehicles.

Led by bus drivers, grocery clerks, custodians, and other essential workers, the motorcade will make stops along the route to highlight current worker struggles, including at Metro/King County, Whole Foods, and Harborview Medical Center. The action is being held on the anniversary of the 1934 West Coast Waterfront strike, when dock workers shut down ports for 83 days to demand safety and unionization.

As the economy slowly reopens putting more workers at risk and unemployment claims reach record levels, frontline workers will press for pro-labor solutions to the COVID19 crisis such as reduced work hours with no cut in pay to provide relief for those working in harm’s way, and jobs for those who are newly unemployed. The demands of the Motorcade include:

  • No Safety No Work. PPE. Free healthcare for all
  • Full rights for immigrant workers. Release detainees
  • End discrimination – fight racism and sexism on the job
  • Defend the right to strike
  • 30 hours work for 40 hours pay: less exposure for those working; create more jobs
  • Initiate a massive public jobs program – at union wages

Perdue-protest-April-27

Tues. 4/28: OWLS Zoom Meeting: Salute Frontline Workers!

Help plan an Emergency Motorcade to Support Front line Workers
OWLS is spearheading a motorcade to help essential workers put a spotlight on critical safety demands and press for pro-labor solutions to the pandemic and deepening economic downturn. Led by front line bus drivers, grocery clerks, custodians and other essential workers, the motorcade will stop at strategic locations to highlight some current workplace struggles. Your ideas, skills and creativity are needed as plans for the route and messaging are firmed up.

Also Updates on Frontline Workers’ Campaigning for COVID19 Measures and history on the meaning of May Day and the West Coast Waterfront Strike
Transit workers, custodians, and others report on changing conditions; Learn the history of May Day and how workers shut down the West Coast Waterfront in 1934, starting on May 9th.

To join the April 28 OWLS ZOOM online meeting:
By computer or smartphone:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/9916930964
Meeting ID: 991 693 0964
Password: 337891

By Phone:
+1 253 215 8782 US
+1 301 715 8592 US
Meeting ID: 991 693 0964
Password: 337891

Friday 4/24, 7PM: HELP PLAN EMERGENCY MOTORCADE

Solidarity Check In
Friday, April 24, 7pm   
via Web or Phone

Help plan an Emergency Motorcade to Support Frontline Workers
OWLS is spearheading a motorcade to help essential workers put a spotlight on critical safety demands and press for pro-labor solutions to the pandemic and deepening economic downturn. Led by frontline bus drivers, grocery clerks, custodians and other essential workers, the motorcade will stop at strategic locations to highlight some current workplace struggles. Your ideas, skills and creativity are needed as plans for the route and messaging are firmed up.
Updates on Frontline Workers’ Campaigning for COVID19 Measures
Transit workers, custodians, and others report on changing conditions and the status of demands for measures to make workplaces more safe.

To join the April 24 OWLS ZOOM online meeting:
By Computer or Smartphone click link below.
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85677942605?pwd=b1lrSUpTZDBxQWxzRld6ODVvUTVlZz09
Meeting ID: 856 7794 2605
Password: 463460
By Phone –dial
+1 253 215 8782 US
+1 301 715 8592 US

Also, Mark Your Calendar for the Next OWLS Meeting
Tuesday, April 28, 7pm on Zoom
OWLS will continue planning for the Motorcade and feature a short educational about the West Coast Waterfront Strike of 1934. Stay tuned for details to dial in via zoom.

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Have you signed & shared the petition to support Metro Transit Workers? The links are below, plus phone numbers to call the King County Executive & Council members. Thanks

1) Sign and share the petition https://www.change.org/p/king-county-council-support-frontline-metro-transit-workers-call-for-urgent-measures-to-stem-covid19-spread

2. Call King County Executive Dow Constantine at 206-263-9600 and your County Council member at 206-477-1000. Let County officials know you support the demands of transit workers!

Solidarity Check-in – Fri., April 17 via Zoom or phone

Solidarity Check In
Friday, April 17, 6:30pm   

via Web or PhoneUpdate on Transit Workers’ Campaign for COVID19 Measures
Rank-and-file activists of Amalgamated Transit Union 587 report on their efforts to push for protective equipment and training, hazard pay, clean filters on buses, and transparency on cases of COVID19 in the workplace.

Help plan emergency action to defend frontline & unemployed workers
Custodians, bus drivers, grocery clerks, and other workers across a broad spectrum of jobs are raising similar demands for protective equipment and safety measures against COVID19.  Workers suddenly unemployed are scrambling to put food on the table. Help OWLS lay plans to raise labor’s issues in an emergency motorcade for workers rights.

To join the OWLS ZOOM online meeting

By Computer or Smartphone click link below.
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89643011067
Meeting ID: 896 4301 1067

By Phone –dial
1 253 215 8782 US or
1 301 715 8592 US

Have you signed & shared the petition to support Metro Transit Workers? The links are below, plus phone numbers to call the King County Executive & Council members. Thanks

1) Sign and share the petition https://www.change.org/p/king-county-council-support-frontline-metro-transit-workers-call-for-urgent-measures-to-stem-covid19-spread

2. Call King County Executive Dow Constantine at 206-263-9600 and your County Council member at 206-477-1000. Let County officials know you support the demands of transit workers!

Support Transit Workers fighting for Safety Against COVID19

Link

Transit Workers are fighting for action from King County/Metro to implement safety measures that will help stem the tide of COVID19 on public transit. Please sign their petition on change.org. Follow the link below.

https://www.change.org/p/king-county-council-support-frontline-metro-transit-workers-call-for-urgent-measures-to-stem-covid19-spread

OPEN LETTER

to King County Council, King County Executive Dow Constantine,
Metro General Manager Rob Gannon, and Metro Ombudsman

We, the undersigned transit workers at King County Metro in Washington State, and members of Amalgamated Transit Union 587, call on King County government to immediately implement the following emergency measures to help contain the spread of coronavirus on our public transit system.

  • Full transparency and disclosure of coronavirus cases in the workplace, throughout the system; Rescind the policy, stated in a March 23, 2020 General Manager’s Bulletin, that “unless the employee was symptomatic in the workplace, we are not providing notifications to immediate coworkers.” Equally unacceptable in the same bulletin is Metro’s stated policy that “we will not be announcing or addressing every new illness or positive case in the workplace.” This violates the most basic worker protections, and puts not only transit workers at unnecessary risk, but also the riders we are transporting.
  • On a daily basis, clean, sanitize and change the filters of every bus that goes into service. Provide full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and safe practices training for all workers involved in cleaning buses. Because this virus is communicated primarily through respiratory droplets, clean air filter systems are fundamental to curbing the spread of COVID19. As well, to further protect riders and drivers, provide PPE to all transit operators for assisting riders with disabilities, when social distancing rules are not practicable. Guarantee access to handwashing stations and break times to use the stations.
  • Institute hazard pay in the form of 40 hours pay for 30 hours work for all transit workers who are serving in harm’s way. Better distribution of work and less time on the job means less exposure, and less of the stress that can undermine workers’ immune systems. Provide full wages for all high-risk workers who are forced to stay at home and/or are caring for dependents, until it is safe to return to work.

Going into this crisis, King County Metro has failed to live up to its Equity and Social Justice Strategic Plan. Inequity, discrimination, and injustice have been allowed to thrive, while management remains immovable and indifferent, and even retaliates against employees who raise problems or concerns. This culture impairs safety under normal circumstances, and now has created a highly toxic work environment that jeopardizes the lives of workers and the riding public.

It is critical now, more than ever, that Metro management turns this around, listen to its front line workers, and step up and provide the basic elements of a safe environment for workers and riders. We are all in this together. We won’t be able to flatten the curve unless everyone does their part.

Respectfully,
Linda Averill, Streetcar Supervisor, Shop Steward;  Cheryl Jones, East Base (EB) Part-time Transit Operator (PTTO); Mohammad Bazargan, North Base (NB) Full-time Transit Operator (FTTO), James Pratt, Component Supply Center (CSC) Mechanic; Todd Jader, CSC; Adam Arriaga, CSC Mechanic; Doug Frechin, NB PTTO, Shop Steward; Tim Wong, Equipment Service Worker (ESW) CSC; Julian Marquez, CSC Mechanic; Brian Cabera, CSC Mechanic; Lenneth Richard; Robert Bonina, Link Light Rail Operator (LLR), ATU 587 Executive Board Officer; Issiac Dickens, Streetcar Track Maintainer, shop steward; Stan Straker, Atlantic Base (AB) Mechanic, Shop Steward, Safety Committee member; Hassan Osman, NB FTTO, shop steward; Jose Rosado, South Base (SB) FTTO, shop steward, Tyrone Dumas, Streetcar Operator; Francis Lebel, Bellevue Base (BB); Karen Berry, TO, Lisa Randle, TO; Daryoush Hakki, Link Light Rail Supervisor; Brian St. Pierre, TO; Patricia Keels-Venable; Dionna Anderson, TO; David Elleby, TO; Thomas Nary Hayes,TO; Brenda Schwald, Streetcar Operator, shop steward; Juanita Baker, BB FTTO; Josey Woods, NB TO; Betty Park, SB TO; Nick Ryan, Ryerson Base (RB) TO; Arwin Apolonia, NB TO; Kathy McMahon; Aries Dial; JoAnn Oligario, CB FTTO; Rodolfo Franco, Streetcar Operator; Fredrick Coats, First-line Supervisor; Mary Montgomery, CB FTTO; Vlash Naidu, CB FTTO; Heidi Barack, AB FTTO; Michael Fox CB FTTO; Emily Paine, AB PTTO; Albert Galange, CB FTTO; Kahurangi Pere, Atlantic Base Safety Team, PTTO; Mary Buada RB FTTO; Stephanie Jacobs, CB; Mike Cannon, CB FTTO; Ed Duncan, NB FTTO; Tanisha Labossiere; Juan G. Hood III, Facilities Custodian, Shop Steward; Craig Aperton; Patricia O’Brien, AB PTTO; Tracy Nys, AB FTTO; Charito Mattson, CB FTTO; Luis Guanlo, RB FTTO; Kelvin Kelley, AB FTTO