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Posts Tagged ‘James Parks’

Help Fight Discrimination Against the Unemployed

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Image: James ParksSome 25 million Americans are unemployed, underemployed or have stopped looking for work, and wages are essentially flat. Workers are struggling to get the few jobs that are available—there are 4.7 unemployed people for every one job open.

As if those odds weren’t difficult enough, jobless workers face another obstacle: Many employers are discriminating against the jobless by prohibiting them from even applying for open positions. Their “Help Wanted” signs come with a caveat—if you are unemployed, you need not apply.

American Rights at Work alerts to an action by the advocacy group USAction, which is taking a stand against this unfair policy. Click here to sign a petition and join USAction in asking the popular job search sites CareerBuilder and Monster.com to stop promoting ads for companies that discriminate against the unemployed.

Last month, The New York Times reported that its review of job vacancy postings on sites like Monster.com, CareerBuilder and Craigslist revealed:

hundreds that said employers would consider (or at least “strongly prefer”) only people currently employed or just recently laid off.

The National Employment Law Project (NELP) also released a report last month that found:

employers and staffing firms continue to expressly deny job opportunities to those workers hardest hit by the economic downturn, despite increased scrutiny and strong public opposition to the practice.

The report coincided with the introduction in the House of the Fair Employment Opportunity Act of 2011, a measure sponsored by Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) to create a level playing field for unemployed job seekers by prohibiting employers and employment agencies from screening out or excluding job applicants solely because they are unemployed.

This blog originally appeared in AFL-CIO Now Blog on August 22,2011. Reprinted with permission.

bout the Author: James Parks – My first encounter with unions was at Gannett’s newspaper in Cincinnati when my colleagues in the newsroom tried to organize a unit of The Newspaper Guild. I saw firsthand how companies pull out all the stops to prevent workers from forming a union. I am a journalist by trade, and I worked for newspapers in five different states before joining the AFL-CIO staff in 1990. I also have been a seminary student, drug counselor, community organizer, event planner, adjunct college professor and county bureaucrat. My proudest career moment, though, was when I served, along with other union members and staff, as an official observer for South Africa’s first multiracial elections.

About the Author: James Parks My first encounter with unions was at Gannett’s newspaper in Cincinnati when my colleagues in the newsroom tried to organize a unit of The Newspaper Guild. I saw firsthand how companies pull out all the stops to prevent workers from forming a union. I am a journalist by trade, and I worked for newspapers in five different states before joining the AFL-CIO staff in 1990. I also have been a seminary student, drug counselor, community organizer, event planner, adjunct college professor and county bureaucrat. My proudest career moment, though, was when I served, along with other union members and staff, as an official observer for South Africa’s first multiracial elections.

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Jobs Crisis Forum: The Time for Excuses Is Over. Create Jobs Now

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

Image: James ParksShonda Sneed of Yellow Springs, Ohio, was laid off in December 2009 and is about to run out of unemployment benefits. Because of state budget cuts, she also could soon lose the health care nurse who helps care for her mother who has dementia. At the last job she applied for, she was told 450 others had also applied for the same position.

Shonda Sneed talks with AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker at the AFL-CIO panel on the jobs crisis.

Shonda Sneed talks with AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker at the AFL-CIO panel on the jobs crisis.

Sneed and Bob Stein, a 60-year-old former salesman who has been out of work since May 2010, are two of the 14 million Americans who are unemployed—and their story is not being told in the midst of the debate over the deficit. Sneed and Stein, who are both members of Working America, spoke to a forum on “The Jobs Crisis—Moving to Action: A Dialogue Between Workers and Policymakers” at the AFL-CIO this morning.

As Sneed said:

All I want is a decent job. I want to work. I love to work. I’m scared. I don’t know what’s going to happen to my mother. I have a home to pay off.

The forum, moderated by Bob Herbert, distinguished fellow at D?mos and an award-winning journalist, drew a sharp contrast between the policies that got our country in this economic crisis and are currently being advocated to get it out, and what is needed in order to spark a real economic recovery.

Stein says it’s frustrating to try and find a job in an economy that generated only 18,000 jobs last month. “I was set to lose unemployment as of the second or third week of December, and [politicians] were fighting back and forth and it was predicated on the Bush tax cuts. I was caught right in the middle of that,” he said.

The thing that was so upsetting is when you heard about the number of people about to lose their unemployment check. I thought, “OK, I understand that you’re adamant about this Bush tax cut thing, but you’re holding us all hostage. You’re playing politics with people lives. People use their unemployment. This will stimulate and help the economy.”

The panel also included AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.) and Heather Boushey, a senior economist at the Center for American Progress.

Panelists noted that many in Washington continue to push deregulation and tax cuts as the way out of the economic hole the country is in, without acknowledging the role that those policies played in creating the current economic conditions. The strategy to encourage corporations to spend their billions of dollars in profits is doomed when politicians don’t first acknowledge the truth that working people drive the economy as consumers. Without good jobs or shared prosperity, corporations won’t spend and our economy can’t prosper.

Trumka said working people are frustrated with both political parties.

The time for excuses is over. People don’t care about why it [creating jobs] isn’t getting done. They just want to get it done. We can create jobs if we want to. It’s a matter of political will.

More and more economists are coming around to the idea that the economy is faltering because of a lack of demand, said Boushey. The best ways to increase demand, she said, is to invest in things that generate demand, like infrastructure aid to the states, education and long-term unemployment benefits.

Levin said the nation’s trade policies must be a part of any jobs policy. It’s important, he said, for trade agreements to include enforceable labor standards to develop a strong middle class in the nations we trade with who can then buy U.S. products. It also is important to ensure that American workers don’t compete with workers who are oppressed, he said.

Noting that the middle class is the engine of our economy, Franken said retaining tax breaks and loopholes for the rich, as Republicans have proposed, won’t increase demand. Rich people can only buy so much stuff, Franken said, then they save their money.

The idea that those at the top who are richer than anyone has ever been in history—why they can’t pay a higher percentage in taxes is crazy.

This Blog originally appeared in AFL-CIO Now on July 11, 2011. Reprinted with Permission.

About the Author: James Parks’ first encounter with unions was at Gannett’s newspaper in Cincinnati when his colleagues in the newsroom tried to organize a unit of The Newspaper Guild. He saw firsthand how companies pull out all the stops to prevent workers from forming a union. He is a journalist by trade, and worked for newspapers in five different states before joining the AFL-CIO staff in 1990. He also has been a seminary student, drug counselor, community organizer, event planner, adjunct college professor and county bureaucrat. His proudest career moment, though, was when he served, along with other union members and staff, as an official observer for South Africa’s first multiracial elections.

Puerto Rico Reinstates Collective Bargaining for Public Employees

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Members of the UAW and Puerto Rico’s Servidores Públicos Unidos (SPU)/AFSCME Council 95 and other public employees celebrated May 17 when Gov. Luis Fortuño signed into law a bill reinstating collective bargaining for public employees.

Unlike legislatures in states like Wisconsin and Ohio, which are trying to take away workers’ rights, Puerto Rico’s House and the Senate passed this bill unanimously.

Gov. Luis Fortuño signs a bill restoring collective bargaining rights to Puerto Rico’s public service employees.

Gov. Luis Fortuño signs a bill restoring collective bargaining rights to Puerto Rico’s public service employees.

Says SPU President Annette González:

This law is very important for workers since in essence it includes two clauses that allow us to attain two fundamental goals: Restore the acquired rights through the restitution of collective bargaining contracts [and] negotiate the economic aspects that will do justice to workers and their families.

The law ends a policy imposed in March 2009 when the administration enacted a fiscal emergency law that mandated a two-year freeze on the economic clauses of all collective bargaining agreements. The new law extends the non-economic clauses of the contracts until 2013 and allows workers to negotiate for salaries, benefits, bonuses and other economic aspects.

This article originally appeared in AFL-CIO blog on May 18, 2011. Reprinted with permission.

About the Author: James Parks’ first encounter with unions was at Gannett’s newspaper in Cincinnati when his colleagues in the newsroom tried to organize a unit of The Newspaper Guild. He saw firsthand how companies pull out all the stops to prevent workers from forming a union. He is a journalist by trade, and worked for newspapers in five different states before joining the AFL-CIO staff in 1990. He also has been a seminary student, drug counselor, community organizer, event planner, adjunct college professor and county bureaucrat. His proudest career moment, though, was when he served, along with other union members and staff, as an official observer for South Africa’s first multiracial elections.

NLRB Issues Complaint Over Boeing’s Move to S.C.

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

Image: James ParksA complaint issued on April 20th by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against the Boeing Co. is a victory for all American workers—particularly aerospace workers in both Puget Sound and South Carolina, officials with the Machinists (IAM) said.

NLRB Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon issued the complaint, which alleges that Boeing’s decision in 2009 to locate a Dreamliner 787 final assembly line in North Charleston, S.C., represented illegal retaliation against IAM members who work for the company. The NLRB is seeking a court order requiring Boeing to operate the second 787 line, including supply lines, with union workers in the Puget Sound

“Boeing’s decision to build a 787 assembly line in South Carolina sent a message that Boeing workers would suffer financial harm for exercising their collective bargaining rights,” said IAM Vice President Rich Michalski.

Federal labor law is clear: It’s illegal to threaten or penalize workers who engage in concerted activity.

The decision by Boeing to locate the assembly line in South Carolina followed years of 787 production delays and an extraordinary round of mid-contract talks in which the IAM proposed an 11-year agreement to provide Boeing with the labor stability it claimed was necessary to keep 787 production in the Puget Sound area.

The board’s action reinforces the fact that “workers have a right to join a union, and companies don’t have a right to punish them for engaging in legal union activities,” said Tom Wroblewski, president of Machinists District Lodge 751 in Seattle, which represents Boeing workers.

Taking work away from workers because they exercise their union rights is against the law, and it’s against the law in all 50 states.

The board’s complaint comes in response to an unfair labor practice charge filed in March 2010 by District 751. Wroblewski added:

Had we allowed Boeing to break the law and go unchecked in their actions, it would have given the green light for corporate America to discriminate against union members and would have become management’s new strategic template to attack employees.

“A worker’s right to strike is a fundamental right guaranteed by the National Labor Relations Act,” the NLRB’s Solomon said.

We also recognize the rights of employers to make business decisions based on their economic interests, but they must do so within the law.

About the Author: James Parks’ first encounter with unions was at Gannett’s newspaper in Cincinnati when his colleagues in the newsroom tried to organize a unit of The Newspaper Guild. He saw firsthand how companies pull out all the stops to prevent workers from forming a union. He is a journalist by trade, and has worked for newspapers in five different states before joining the AFL-CIO staff in 1990. He also has been a seminary student, drug counselor, community organizer, event planner, adjunct college professor and county bureaucrat. His proudest career moment, though, was when he served, along with other union members and staff, as an official observer for South Africa’s first multiracial elections.

This blog originally appeared in AFL-CIO on April 20, 2011. Reprinted with permission.

Mexico’s Mineros to Receive Meany-Kirkland Award

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Image: James ParksOver the past five years, the Mexican government has unleashed a systematic attack on workers’ rights. Despite the continuing repression, Mexico’s independent, democratic unions organize and represent the rights of workers. Some of the most egregious attacks have been on the Mine, Metal and Steel Workers Union (SNTMMSSRM), also known as Los Mineros.

The AFL-CIO Executive Council, meeting in Washington, D.C., last week, awarded Los Mineros and their leader, Napoleón Gómez Urrutia, the 2011 George Meany-Lane Kirkland Human Rights Award. The award will be formally presented later this year.  Click here to read the resolution in English and here for Spanish.

Gómez was first elected general secretary of the SNTMMSSRM in 2002 and immediately began challenging government policies of low wages and flexible labor markets, and building alliances with the global trade union movement.

When a February 2006 explosion at Grupo Mexico’s Pasta de Conchos mine killed 65 mineworkers, Gómez publicly accused the government of “industrial homicide.” In response to this criticism, the government filed criminal charges against Gómez and other union leaders, froze the union’s bank accounts, assisted employers to set up company unions in SNTMMSSRM-represented workplaces and declared the union’s strikes illegal and sent in troops to suppress them.

Four union members were murdered and key union leaders were jailed. In the face of this campaign of repression, Gómez left Mexico for Vancouver, Canada.  From there he has waged a five-year effort to win justice for his union and for all democratic unions in Mexico.

Despite massive repression, the SNTMMSSRM has continued to bargain contracts and organize new workplaces with the help of trade union allies around the world.

Gómez has won major legal victories. Mexican courts have thrown out all of the criminal charges against him and rejected the government’s appeals.

The annual Meany-Kirkland award, created in 1980 and named for the first two presidents of the AFL-CIO, recognizes outstanding examples of the international struggle for human rights through trade unions. Previous winners have included Wellington Chibebe of Zimbabwe, Ela Bhatt, the founder of India’s Self Employed Women’s Association, the Liberian rubber workers, Colombian activist Yessika Hoyos and the Independent Labor Movement of Egypt.

About the Author: James Parks first encounter with unions was at Gannett’s newspaper in Cincinnati when his colleagues in the newsroom tried to organize a unit of The Newspaper Guild. He saw firsthand how companies pull out all the stops to prevent workers from forming a union. He is a journalist by trade, and has worked for newspapers in five different states before joining the AFL-CIO staff in 1990. He also has been a seminary student, drug counselor, community organizer, event planner, adjunct college professor and county bureaucrat. His proudest career moment, though, was when he served, along with other union members and staff, as an official observer for South Africa’s first multiracial elections.

This blog originally appeared in AFL-CIO on April 18, 2011. Reprinted with Permission.

Join March 29 Rally to Support Wal-Mart Women

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Image: James ParksHundreds of people will show their support outside the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday, when the High Court hears oral arguments in what could become the largest class-action civil rights suit in U.S. history.

The Stand with the Women of Wal-Mart rally will take place as the nation’s highest court hears arguments on Wal-Mart v. Dukes to decide whether the case can move forward as a class action.

Ten years ago, a group of women who worked at Wal-Mart stores, led by Betty Dukes, filed a lawsuit alleging the corporation engaged in company-wide gender discrimination by paying women less than men, promoting fewer women to management positions and promoting male employees more quickly. The case, now a class action, has made its way to the Supreme Court.

Wal-Mart is challenging the decision by a lower court to allow the women employed at Wal-Mart stores across the country to join together in a class action lawsuit to challenge pay and promotion practices that discriminate against women.

If Wal-Mart succeeds in keeping these women from joining together, the already uphill battle for women to fight pay discrimination will get even worse. But If the women prevail, their case will become the largest class-action civil rights suit in the nation’s history, with some 1.6 million female Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club employees.

A coalition of women’s, workers’ and religious groups are sponsoring the rally, including the AFL-CIO constituency group, the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW).

In a statement, the American Association of University Women (AAUW), another rally sponsor, says class action can send a strong message to employers to follow the law in the first place. Lisa Maatz, AAUW’s director of public policy and government relations, says:

This case illuminates the dirty little secret that women know all too well — that pay discrimination is alive and well and undermining the economic security of American families.

About the Author: James Parks’ first encounter with unions was at Gannett’s newspaper in Cincinnati when his colleagues in the newsroom tried to organize a unit of The Newspaper Guild. He saw firsthand how companies pull out all the stops to prevent workers from forming a union. He is a journalist by trade, and has worked for newspapers in five different states before joining the AFL-CIO staff in 1990. He also has been a seminary student, drug counselor, community organizer, event planner, adjunct college professor and county bureaucrat. His proudest career moment, though, was when he served, along with other union members and staff, as an official observer for South Africa’s first multiracial elections.

This blog originally appeared in ALFCIO on March 28, 2011. Reprinted with Permission.

UNITEHERE! Reaches Tentative Deals with Hilton Hotels

Friday, March 11th, 2011

Image: James Parks

After many months of bargaining, UNITEHERE! and Hilton Worldwide have reached tentative agreements at hotels in three major markets—Chicago, San Francisco and Honolulu. The tentative agreements cover nearly 4,000 workers.

While terms of the settlements vary in each city, the contracts include wage increases, improved job stability language and reduced workloads for housekeeping staff and others. Significantly, the new contracts also preserve low-cost, high-quality health care and pension benefits for Hilton workers and their families at a time when, nationwide, these employee benefits are being cut.

UNITEHERE! President John Wilhelm said in a statement:

We are pleased to have achieved a fair settlement for all sides—one that allows workers to move forward and share in the robust recovery that the hotel industry is experiencing.

The contracts for Hilton workers expired in Chicago and San Francisco in August 2009 and in Hawaii in June 2010. Bargaining continues for contracts at other hotel chains, affecting thousands more workers in those three cities and several other cities across North America.

Nationwide, the hotel industry is already rebounding faster and stronger than expected. PKF Hospitality projects that hotel revenues will rise an average of 8 percent annually from 2010 through 2014.

This blog originally appeared in blog.aflcio.org on March 7, 2011. Reprinted with Permission.

About the Author: James Parks first encounter with unions was at Gannett’s newspaper in Cincinnati when his colleagues in the newsroom tried to organize a unit of The Newspaper Guild. He saw firsthand how companies pull out all the stops to prevent workers from forming a union. He is a journalist by trade, and has worked for newspapers in five different states before joining the AFL-CIO staff in 1990. He also has been a seminary student, drug counselor, community organizer, event planner, adjunct college professor and county bureaucrat. His proudest career moment, though, was when he served, along with other union members and staff, as an official observer for South Africa’s first multiracial elections.

International Women’s Day: U.S., South African Union Women Share Strategies

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Image: James ParksThe problems facing working women extend across national boundaries, and today, International Women’s Day, women organizers on opposite sides of the world shared ideas and inspiration. In a live teleconference, AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer Liz Shuler and four young women organizers in the United States talked with a roomful of women organizers in Johannesburg, South Africa. Shuler began by saying:

With the global jobs crisis increasing unemployment…young workers, young women workers entering the workforce struggle to find decent work.  Given the challenges facing young women workers around the world, the AFL-CIO, ITUC [International Trade Union Confederation] and [the South African trade union federations] hope to use International Women’s Day as a way to shine a spotlight on the important role unions can play in the lives of young women workers.

Organizers in both countries spoke about rising unemployment and precarious work as key challenges to organizing women workers. Unemployment among women around the world is growing. In a special report, Living With Economic Insecurity: Women in Precarious Work,” the ITUC, found that while the initial impact of the crisis was equally detrimental to men and women, increasing numbers of women are now either losing their jobs or being forced into temporary and informal forms of work. To read the full report, click here.intl_womens_day_wp

During the teleconference, Jacquelyn Jones, an AFSCME organizer in Baltimore, said unions can play a major role in helping women find good jobs. But many young people don’t know about unions and it is important to educate them.

Although the workers in both countries face similar problems of discrimination, low pay and balancing work with family, the South African workers said they have a particular problem with sexual harassment. In many industries, such as textiles, women have to perform sexual favors often to get a job and get promotions.

The South African women included members from three union federations: Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA), and the National Council of Trade Unions (NACTU).

The South African women described how their labor laws protect their freedom to join a union on paper, employers often ignore the rules in practice. They fire workers who join unions.

Women in both countries said the teleconference energized and inspired them. Alista Hubbard and Karin Firoza, both AFSCME organizers, described how organizing has changed their lives. Nafisah Ula, a researcher in the AFL-CIO’s Center for Strategic Research, said her organizing experience showed her how much power working people can have when they come together.

Participants said they will continue to work to create change, despite the challenges. As Gertrude Mtsweni, COSATU’s gender coordinator, said:

Touch a woman, you touch a rock. If one woman gets weak, one comes to lift her up. Together we came and together we can do more.

Shuler added:

Though we are far apart in distance, we are together in courage.

This blog was originally posted on http://blog.aflcio.org on March 8, 2011. Reprinted with permission.

About the Author: James Park’s first encounter with unions was at Gannett’s newspaper in Cincinnati when his colleagues in the newsroom tried to organize a unit of The Newspaper Guild. He saw firsthand how companies pull out all the stops to prevent workers from forming a union. He is a journalist by trade, and has worked for newspapers in five different states before joining the AFL-CIO staff in 1990. He also has been a seminary student, drug counselor, community organizer, event planner, adjunct college professor and county bureaucrat. His proudest career moment, though, was when he served, along with other union members and staff, as an official observer for South Africa’s first multiracial elections.

Unemployed Can’t Get Jobs Because They Are…Unemployed

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

Image: James ParksAs if finding a job isn’t hard enough, unemployed workers now face the added hurdle of being discriminated against because they don’t have a job. Speaking today before the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project (NELP),  said that practices barring the unemployed from job availabilities have been growing around the country—and place a disproportionate burden on older workers, African Americans and other workers facing high levels of long-term unemployment.

“There is a disturbing and growing trend among employers and staffing firms to refuse to even consider the unemployed for available job openings, regardless of their qualifications,” said Owens.

Excluding unemployed workers from employment opportunities is unfair to workers, bad for the economy and potentially violates basic civil rights protections because of the disparate impact on older workers, workers of color, women and others. At a time when we should be doing whatever we can to open up job opportunities, it is profoundly disturbing to see deliberate exclusion of the jobless from work opportunities.

The EEOC, which is responsible for handling complaints of employment discrimination, began to receive reports of systematic and often blatant exclusion of unemployed workers from consideration for jobs early last summer. Many ads for jobs often specify that only currently employed candidates will be considered, or that no unemployed candidates will be considered, regardless of the reason for unemployment, or that no candidate unemployed for more than a certain period will be considered.

The job market is tough because the economy is not creating enough jobs. There are still roughly five officially unemployed job seekers for every new job opening.  The economy would need to add roughly 11 million jobs just to return to employment levels at the start of the recession.

Refusal to consider candidates simply because they are unemployed imposes an especially harsh burden on people of color, especially African Americans.  In January 2011, when the official unemployment rate overall was 9.0 percent, the unemployment rate for African Americans was 15.7 percent, compared with only 8.0 percent for white workers.

Similarly, long-term unemployment is far more severe among older Americans than younger workers, which means the impact of excluding unemployed workers from job consideration is greater for older workers.

Owens told the commission:

The dire job market has made it essential that Congress and the administration maintain the most robust program of unemployment insurance benefits in the nation’s history. But what’s needed most—and what all unemployed workers most want—is jobs.

Click here to see Owens’ full testimony before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

This post originally appeared in AFL-CIO blog on February 16, 2011. Reprinted with permission.

About the Author: James Parks-My first encounter with unions was at Gannett’s newspaper in Cincinnati when my colleagues in the newsroom tried to organize a unit of The Newspaper Guild. I saw firsthand how companies pull out all the stops to prevent workers from forming a union. I am a journalist by trade, and I worked for newspapers in five different states before joining the AFL-CIO staff in 1990. I also have been a seminary student, drug counselor, community organizer, event planner, adjunct college professor and county bureaucrat. My proudest career moment, though, was when I served, along with other union members and staff, as an official observer for South Africa’s first multiracial elections.

Day of Action: Workers, Activists Call for Democracy in Egypt

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Image: James ParksUnion members from all parts of the world today joined with community activists in a Day of Action for Democracy in Egypt. In actions outside Egyptian embassies and government buildings, they pressed their governments to demand a democratic transition in Egypt and guarantee that those responsible for the violent repression of peaceful demonstrations be brought to justice.

In the United States, AFL-CIO union members will join the Egyptian American community and human rights organizations in a demonstration in Washington, D.C. The AFL-CIO and the Metropolitan Washington Council are calling on union members in the area to demonstrate their support for the people of Egypt at 6:30 p.m. in front of the White House (Lafayette Park side).

The desire of Egyptian workers to make their voices heard through their unions played a key role in laying the groundwork for the protests. Click here to see video messages of support for Egyptian citizens and workers from world union leaders.

In other actions today around the world:

  • In Brussels, Belgium, an international trade union delegation led by Sharan Burrow, general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), and including Jan Eastman, deputy general secretary of Education International, together with representatives of three Belgian trade union organizations held a protest at the Egyptian Embassy.
  • In Dakar, Senegal, TUC-Africa General Secretary Kwasi Adu-Amankwah and TUC-Africa President Mody Guiro led an international trade union delegation to the Egyptian Embassy.
  • Union members also are taking part in protests in Australia, Korea, Bahrain, Jordan, Lebanon, France, Tunisia, Canada, Sweden and Italy.

“The demands of the Egyptian population are legitimate,” said the ITUC’s Burrow.

After years of dictatorship, the Egyptian people, including the country’s trade union movement, yearn for a change of regime and democratic transition. The violent response of Hosni Mubarak’s regime is totally unacceptable. Those responsible for the killings, attacks and intimidation must be brought to justice without delay. The impunity must end!

*This post originally appeared in AFL-CIO blog on February 8, 2011. Reprinted with permission.

About the Author: James Parks – My first encounter with unions was at Gannett’s newspaper in Cincinnati when my colleagues in the newsroom tried to organize a unit of The Newspaper Guild. I saw firsthand how companies pull out all the stops to prevent workers from forming a union. I am a journalist by trade, and I worked for newspapers in five different states before joining the AFL-CIO staff in 1990. I also have been a seminary student, drug counselor, community organizer, event planner, adjunct college professor and county bureaucrat. My proudest career moment, though, was when I served, along with other union members and staff, as an official observer for South Africa’s first multiracial elections.

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