Saturday, August 27, 2011

Workers get their protest on in NY, WI, CA, IL, MN

Teamsters protest Sotheby's in New York City.
"It's been the worst decade for American workers in a century. That hardly calls for a celebration."

That's what former Labor Secretary Robert Reich said in his blog.
According to Commerce Department data, private-sector wage gains over the last decade have even lagged behind wage gains during the decade of the Great Depression (4 percent over the last ten years, adjusted for inflation, versus 5 percent from 1929 to 1939...
Perhaps there would still be something to celebrate on Labor Day if government was coming to the rescue. But Washington is paralyzed, the President seems unwilling or unable to take on labor-bashing Republicans, and several Republican governors are mounting direct assaults on organized labor (see Indiana, Ohio, Maine, and Wisconsin, for example).
So let’s bag the picnics and parades this Labor Day. American workers should march in protest. They’re getting the worst deal they’ve had since before Labor Day was invented – and the economy is suffering as a result.
Plenty of workers are protesting, actually. Teamsters rallied in New York City yesterday outside of Sotheby's, the highly profitable auction house that locked out our brothers and sisters from Local 814.

They've got their protest on in Wisconsin, as well. There was Thursday's "We Won't Pay For Your Crisis" rally at the Statehouse and the week-long occupation of premium wine enthusiast Paul Ryan's Kenosha office. That protest spread to Ryan's other three office. And hundreds protested against Koch whore Gov. Scott Walker on Friday. 

Poorly paid workers marched yesterday along Chicago's tony Magnificent Mile. Reports the Associated Press:
Low-wage Illinois workers and their advocates marched along north Michigan Avenue Thursday morning to campaign for an increase in minimum wage...

The march was sponsored by Raise Illinois (which) ... wants Illinois lawmakers to increase the minimum wage from the current $8.25 an hour gradually over four years to more than $10.
And let's not forget the United Farmworkers march that's going on right now. Farmworkers are on a 13 day, 200 mile march to Sacramento to press for enactment of the Fair Treatment for Farm Workers Act and the right to be paid overtime after 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week. (Teamsters will be joining them along the way.)

And then there are the Members of Congress who don't hold Town Hall meetings to talk to their constituents. All over the country, protests are held outside their offices. And if they've been voting against workers, their Town Hall meetings tend to erupt into chaos, as Minnesota Rep. Chip Cravaack found out to his sorrow.