Stand in Solidarity with the ILA

by on December 24, 2012

“At the last gathering of the Southern Workers Assembly in Charleston, SC on December 7-9, 2012, during the Southern Human Rights Organizing Conference, we resolved to stand in solidarity with the ILA in its negotiations for a fair contract for its more than 14,000 members representing thousands more families and communities who will be affected by the contract.”

“Furthermore, that SHROC will build solidarity committees and actions especially in the East and Gulf Coast cities where the 14 main ports are located;”

“That SHROC calls on unions, worker and community and faith-based organizations to pass resolutions in support of the ILA in its efforts to gain a fair contract;”

“That SHROC calls on all unions, worker and community and faith-based organizations and supporters to send emails to U.S. Maritime Alliance Chairman and CEO James A. Capo, jcapo@usmx.com, calling on them to negotiate in good faith and to protect jobs for working people. Send copies of emails to James A. Capo to SHROC at rightsms@bellsouth.net.”

This is footage of the attack on the Charleston, South Carolina ILA 1422 dock workers in January 2000.

Southern Workers Assembly 2012

by on December 17, 2012

The Southern Workers Assembly was held in Charlotte, NC on Sept. 3, 2012 and brought together more than 300 mainly rank-n-file workers from throughout the South that were members of trade unions, worker organizations, worker centers, loose groups of workers seeking to organize, along with allies.

Statement of Solidarity from Eastern Region Executive Board

by on November 30, 2012

Greetings of Solidarity!

We bring this exciting message following our historic Southern Workers Assembly on September 3rd – Labor Day in Charlotte, NC. Despite the criticisms voiced by many of the big unions against the Democratic Party holding its Democratic National Convention in North Carolina because it bans collective bargaining rights for public sector workers and is an anti-union right-to-work state, the Southern Workers Assembly (SWA) was the main and most organized voice for labor leading up to and during the time of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Charlotte, NC. Continue reading »

Ninth Bi-Annual Southern Human Rights Organizers’ Conference

by on November 10, 2012

SHROC

Join human rights and social justice activists, students, youth faith leaders, workers, and union leaders in Charleston!

A two-part Southern Workers Assembly Strategic Planning meeting will be held at SHROC. This meeting will further tighten up the SWA and map out next steps to become an active and visible movement to organize a labor movement in the South.

The first part of the Strategic Planning meeting will start on Friday Dec 7 at 12pm – 2pm and the second part will by on Saturday Dec 8 at 2pm – 4pm.

Conference Location: International Longshoreman’s Association Local 1422 Union Hall

1142 Morrision Drive Charleston SC 29403

For more information and to register visit www.southernhumanrights.org

Memphis Students and Workers Fight for Union Rights and a Living Wage

by on November 1, 2012

October 9, 2012

Workers at the University in Memphis, like many public workers in the south, have no collective bargaining rights and face “right to work” labor law. Much of this state law can be traced straight back to Jim Crow...

This report comes to us from the USAS Campus Worker Justice Tour, a series of visits to campuses around the country where students and workers are fighting back against corporate outsourcing and the exploitation of campus workers.

By Vanlyn Ramsay and Jeffrey Lichtenstein

Where We’ve Been

Workers at the University in Memphis, like many public workers in the south, have no collective bargaining rights and face “right to work” labor law. Much of this state law can be traced straight back to Jim Crow policy, often quite literally (in North Carolina, the law that explicitly bars public workers from collective bargaining was passed by the last Jim Crow legislature in session). At the University of Memphis, where for the first 48 years in operation Black workers kept the school running but only white students could attend, poverty wages have long been the status quo.

12 years ago at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, several students and workers, appalled by the wages of many campus housekeepers, and frustrated by previous living wage efforts that put students in the lead ahead of workers, kicked off a campaign that culminated in the formation of a new union. United Campus Workers is now a healthy and growing bright spot in the otherwise labor gloom of Tennessee and the south. UCW draws a good portion of its leadership from many former USASers who made the intentional choice to become rank and file campus workers, and it struggles not only on behalf of workers, but on behalf of all working class people who are affected by higher education, including students and the community.

Two years ago United Campus Workers began to grow in Memphis and the grinding poverty of its new members there could not be denied; UCW soon called for a living wage for U of M workers. The passion of the union laborers drew the attention of students, and led to the re-formation of the Progressive Student Alliance (PSA), and the official launch of the living wage campaign on campus.

In the first few months of the campaign a speakout, organized by the union, PSA, and community allies drew the better part of 100 people, and for the first time low-wage workers spoke out about the poverty University of Memphis traps them in.

Since that time the campaign has grown. The PSA and the union have both grown stronger, the issue has been covered in the campus and the local media many times, and a diversity of tactics, such as petitions, delegations, and rallies, have been used.

Because workers have organized themselves into a powerful force in their union, and students have done the same in the PSA, we have won multiple victories: Air conditioning that previously was left off only until administrators arrived is now (usually) turned on when the custodial staff arrives. An abusive supervisor was dismissed. And though workers still make well below a living wage, for two years running now campus workers have received raises, with the lowest paid workers receiving a larger percentage rate increase than middle and high income employees.

Read the rest of this article…