The Militant (logo)  

Vol. 78/No. 33      September 22, 2014

(front page)
‘Militant’ kicks off fall
subscription campaign
Supporters of paper respond to workers’ fights
Militant/Laura Anderson
Alyson Kennedy talks with Steelworker on strike against Sloan Valve in Franklin Park, Ill., July 9.
The New York Labor Day Parade this year was marked by the participation of unorganized workers fighting to unionize as well as union workers involved in recent struggles. Trade unionists who support the Militant were among those who marched in the parade, which was a good place for fighting workers to meet each other and took place on the opening weekend of the socialist paper’s international subscription drive. Twenty participants signed up for subscriptions to the Militant and several also bought books on special for subscribers. (See ad on page 3.)

Through the course of the subscription campaign, which runs through Oct. 28, supporters of the Militant in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand will be bringing the working-class paper to doorsteps, actions of labor resistance and social protests.

Carwash workers who recently won representation by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union were part of the New York Labor Day march. Workers at nine car washes have voted to unionize since the WASH New York campaign started two years ago.

Many New York-area airline contract workers won a $1 an hour raise this year after protests, bringing their wages to $9 an hour or more, but JetBlue has refused to go along with the raise. JetBlue workers took part in the parade, marching in the Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ contingent.

Also marching in the SEIU contingent were fast-food workers, some of whom had taken part in the Sept. 4 national day of actions for $15 per hour and a union.

Workers at Mrs. Green’s Natural Market in Mt. Kisco, New York, who make between $8 and $10 per hour, are planning to resume their organizing drive next month in their fight for a union and higher wages, said Aly Waddy, director of organizing for United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1500 in Westbury, New York. As a result of a fight that included picketing from January to July, “eight workers fired for their support for the union drive have won reinstatement and back wages,” said Waddy. But the store has been cutting workers’ hours to punish them for their union activity, she said.

“In Yonkers we have fought for day laborers to receive unpaid wages owed them by bosses,” said Janet Hernández, wife of a UFCW organizer marching in the UFCW contingent. Hernández works through Catholic Charities with Obreros Unidos de Yonkers (United Workers of Yonkers), an organization of some 300 day laborers who gather every morning seeking work from construction contractors. “There are many day laborers’ organizations in the New York area,” Hernández said, “and the different groups are sending representatives to a conference this month.” Hernández, who subscribed to the Militant, suggested the paper cover the conference.

“We’re trying to organize more grocery workers,” said Glenroy Alexander, who works in a group home for mentally disabled and is a UFCW organizer. He had signed up for a Militant subscription after meeting supporters of the paper a week earlier at the West Indian Day Parade in Brooklyn. This time he bought a copy of Malcolm X, Black Liberation, and the Road to Workers Power, one of nine books on special for subscribers.

Construction worker subscribes
Sharon Lessington was marching in the large Laborers International Union of North America contingent. She has been a construction worker for 30 years. “At first I was one of the few, but now there are a lot more women in construction,” said Lessington, who got a Militant subscription.

Trade unionists Rachele Fruit and John Benson brought the Militant with them when they joined a Sept. 4 rally in Atlanta of fast-food workers and their supporters demanding $15 an hour and a union. They met Eddie Foreman, 40, a McDonald’s worker from Opelika, Georgia, who drove 100 miles to the rally with four others. They also met Judy Johnson, a member of American Postal Workers Union Local 32, who had subscribed to the Militant at a picket line at Staples. Johnson said the fight against the union-busting effort to run mini-post offices in Staples’ stores is not over. “We are picketing in front of two or three Staples a day,” she said.

Rail worker Glenn Gales, a member of the Transportation Communications International Union, went to a recent protest in the Washington, D.C., area against the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. “Two supporters of the Militant from D.C., went to Ferguson to join the protests,” Gales said, “and the Militant Labor Forum tonight was canceled so that attendees like me could go to the Michael Brown rally.”

Ray Parsons, an electrician in Albany, New York, a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and long-time reader of the Militant, said he went to an IBEW picnic Sept. 6 where a new Militant subscriber, David Ward, introduced Parsons to co-workers involved in a large construction project in nearby Malta, where a worker died in June while installing an air conditioning unit. After discussion, three signed up for the socialist paper.

Mary Martin and John Naubert knocked on the door of Christian Schmorhun, a coffee shop worker, who renewed his subscription for the second time. “I’ve been feeling complacent without the Militant for the past few weeks since my subscription expired,” he told them. “I especially like the coverage on Ukraine,” adding his family has Ukrainian roots. “The Militant is the source of news I tend to trust on all these developments.”

To help the Militant get around, look up distributors near you in the directory on page 8 and give them a call.  
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