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Vol. 78/No. 33      September 22, 2014

On the Picket Line
Rally backs Teamsters on strike
against Chicago moving company

SKOKIE, Ill. — About 150 people rallied at Golan’s Moving and Storage, Inc. here Aug. 30 in support of 75 Teamsters union members who went on strike July 27, during peak moving season.

In December, workers voted 62-11 to join Teamsters Local 705 and have been trying to negotiate a contract with wage increases and improved work conditions ever since. Union officials said the company has repeatedly canceled negotiating sessions.

According to workers at the rally, about 14 drivers have crossed the picket line, half after the company met with them individually and gave them wage increases.

“The company steals our wages by making us show up at 6:30 a.m. to get our trucks ready, but we don’t get paid until around 8 a.m. when we arrive at the customer’s house,” striker Martín Cortez told the rally. “When we drive between jobs, we don’t get paid either. We don’t get a lunch break.”

“We have many reasons to be on strike,” Javier Torres told the crowd. “We have no benefits. We don’t get paid vacations. We don’t get any bonuses.”

“There is strength in unity and we will be on strike until we get a fair contract,” added striker Omar Torres.

Other speakers included representatives of several area locals of the American Federation of Teachers; American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 31; two Service Employees International Union locals; Chicago Federation of Labor; and Teamsters Local 705.

“This is my first time doing anything like this,” Jaleel Smith, who started working at Golan’s two months before the strike began, told the Militant. “It feels good standing up for something, for everybody here. It gives me a sense we can change things for others.”

“Everybody was here when I arrived,” said Silvio Radu, describing the start of the walkout on a video posted on the Skokie Review website. He was hired at Golan’s a month ago. “All the people that work hard and that you can trust when you work with them, when you have to pick up something heavy. Everybody was here. So these are the people I trust.”

— Dan Fein and Laura Anderson

Railcar workers reject contract
at Ontario Bombardier plant

CALGARY, Alberta — A month and a half into their strike, at Bombardier’s Thunder Bay, Ontario, plant 81 percent of railcar manufacturing workers voted down the company’s latest contract offer Aug. 26. Some 751 out of a workforce of 900 cast ballots.

Two hundred workers protested in front of Thunder Bay City Hall the day before the vote.

“Bombardier thought that members would accept the offer because the union’s bargaining committee was being ‘too hard,’” Unifor Local 1075 President Dominic Pasqualino said by phone.It’s the same offer as before. They still want to divide the workers by imposing a much weaker pension plan on the new employees. The only difference is that they give us a few more nickels on the wages.”

— Félix Vincent Ardea

San Francisco Hyatt workers
fight for union recognition

SAN FRANCISCO — Hundreds of workers marched through downtown Sept. 1 to back the fight for union recognition at the Hyatt Fisherman’s Wharf hotel.

Members of UNITE HERE Local 2 have won union contracts at the overwhelming majority of hotels here. Hyatt Fisherman’s Wharf and Le Meridien have been holdouts.

“Hotels workers have to support each other,” Alberto Caamal, a server at Hotel Vitale, said during the Labor Day march. Hotel Vitale workers have been waging a fight against management demands to cut benefits. “Workers from other hotels supported our struggle,” Caamal said. “So I’m here today.”

— Betsey Stone

Related articles:
Fast-food workers: ‘It’s not just wages, we need a union’
Quebec: Workers framed up for rail disaster win union support
Only workers control can enforce job safety

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