Skyline of Richmond, Virginia

Northern Virginia Turns Up Heat on McCain


Northern Virginia Turns Up Heat on McCain

Wherever Sen. John McCain goes, so do we—union members, that is. Yesterday, in the midst of a scorching heat wave, members of Virginia unions and Working America were in Tysons Corner, Va., where McCain was hitting up his corporate and other backers for campaign cash. “We could tell people were surprised by our ‘welcoming committee,’” says Daniel Duncan, president of the Northern Virginia Central Labor Council. He sends us this report.

Some 30 union members and allies braved 100-plus degree temperatures to tell John McCain and his supporters that things will only get hotter in Northern Virginia as Election Day gets closer.

Waving signs and shouting “Outsource McCain Not Jobs,” the group lined the street outside the Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner hotel where McCain was scheduled to speak at a high-end fundraiser Monday evening.

Members from seven unions were joined by members of Working America—the AFL-CIO community affiliate for workers who don’t have unions—to tell McCain the country needs real health care reform, not his recycled Bush proposals.

They also were there to let commuters know about McCain’s abysmal record on other important working family issues, like the Employee Free Choice Act, trade deals that ship U.S. jobs overseas and his McSame economic proposals that under Bush have given the country a recession and soaring unemployment.

Union bus and truck drivers sounded their horns during the rush-hour traffic. Other drivers waved and shouted support as they drove by.

Virginia has become a battleground state in the presidential election because of the efforts waged by the union movement across the Old Dominion since the start of this decade. In 2006, trade unionists led the fight to elect fellow union member Jim Webb (Writers Guild) to the U.S. Senate. In 2007, unions worked together to take back the state Senate for working families.

UAW Reaches Tentative Agreement In Volvo Truck Strike- Democratic Underground Labor Blog


By Doug Cunningham

Striking UAW workers at Volvo have reached a tentative agreement to end the walkout The UAW says the agreement was reached Tuesday evening. The strike at Volvo Truck North America began February 1st. Twenty-six hundred workers were on strike.

UAW Vice-President general Holiefield says the solidarity and discipline of members of UAW Local 2069 are what made this agreement possible. Details are being shared first with the striking workers before being made public. The workers must approve the agreement in a ratification vote to end the strike and return to work at the Volvo truck plant in Dublin, Virginia.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: I walked the picket line with my UAW brothers and sisters in Dublin, Va. along with some other UAW members from Allentown, PA and Hagerstown, Md. I am in the process of writing about how organized labor rallied to the strikers in Dublin, Va. from all over the region and from many diverse parts of the labor movement. This strike could be a model for regional cooperation among all aspects of the labor movement to support high profile strikes.

Unionists rallying to support the UAW 2069 strike


Unionists from all over the region are rallying to support the strike by United Auto Workers Local 2069 in Dublin, Virginia.

Reports have been pouring in from all over the Mid-Atlantic to me about busloads of union activists being organized to support the strikers. It looks like donations for a strike fund are starting to be collected along with food for a food bank to help the families of striking workers.

It looks like groups will be leaving from Hagerstown, Maryland this Saturday. Anyone interested in joining that road trip should call 301-733-6932.

It looks likely that a group will be leaving from the Lehigh Valley (greater Allentown) in Pennsylvania on Saturday March 1, 2008. Details about that effort can be obtained by calling 610-797-7722.

There are unconfirmed rumors of a group getting organized from the Baltimore, Maryland and Delaware areas on Saturday, March 23rd. I will give details when they become available. Anyone with more definite information or interest in organizing a March 23rd trip can contact me (Stephen Crockett) by phone at 443-907-2367.

I have heard that some Steelworkers (USW) trips are getting organized.

I can confirm that some union members from OPEIU Local 277 representing American Income Life Insurance will be joining some of these trips being organized by various UAW locals. American Income is going to help collect food for the food bank.

I spoke with a Regional UAW leader who told me that they would welcome the participation of unionists from all elements of the union movement who would like to show solidarity with the UAW Local 2069 membership. All union activists are welcome to join the picket lines whenever possible.

Here is some important information from the UAW Local 2069 website at about the union:

“The United Auto Workers Local 2069 Represents the workers of the New River Valley Plant of Volvo Trucks North America, Inc. located in Dublin, Virginia. We build class 8 Volvo and Mack trucks.

UAW Local 2069

P.O. Box 306
5110 Cougar Trail Road
Dublin, Va. 24084

The local office may be contacted by phone at (540) 674-5130 between 8:00am and 4:00pm Monday thru Friday. The fax number is (540) 674-2531.

E-Mail: ”

Please do what you can to help our brothers and sisters in Dublin, Virginia!!!

This site will try to keep everyone informed about the struggle. If your union does anything to support the strike, please send me details at and we will share them with our readers here.

Election Day in Virginia, New Jersey and Pennsylvania


In Virginia, It’s Our Time, It’s Our Day

Pennsylvania Labor Movement Steps Up in 2007 Elections

Important local races in New Jersey as well.

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On Saturday, Delaware voters voted 68% for Democratic State Senate candidate Bruce Ennis in a special election. Ennis had very strong organized labor support.

Virginia—It’s Time for an Intervention!- from AFL-CIO Blog


Virginia—It’s Time for an Intervention!

Eileen Toback, AFL-CIO political organizer in the Voice@Work campaign, updates us on what’s at stake for working families in the November elections in Virginia, where state Senate races are expected to be decided by just a few hundred votes.

Joyce Putnam, a member of Office and Professional Employees (OPEIU) Local 2, is one the superstar activists working on Virginia’s Labor 2007 program. As a working mother, she understands why it is so important to elect representatives who advocate for working families.

Putnam knows she has more opportunities with better pay because of the union. As she notes (see video):

Unions have opened doors for women that have traditionally been closed.

She has benefited from getting a job on a survey crew because she had reliable union seniority.

Union membership helps raise workers’ pay and narrow the income gap that disadvantages minorities and women. Union workers earn 30 percent more than nonunion workers, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Their median weekly earnings for full-time wage and salary work were $833 in 2006, compared with $642 for their nonunion counterparts.

The union wage benefit is even greater for minorities and women. Union women earn 31 percent more than nonunion women. African American union members earn 36 percent more than their nonunion counterparts. For Latino workers, the union advantage equals 46 percent and for Asian American workers, the union advantage is 8 percent.

However, working women in Virginia are not as far along the road to equal pay as women in many states. In 2000, Virginia’s working women earned 75.9 percent as much per hour as men, while nationwide, women earned 77.6 percent as much per hour as men. Virginia ranked 32nd among all states in equal pay.

At the current rate of change, working women in Virginia—as well as working women nationwide—won’t have equal pay until after 2050. This time frame is not acceptable! We need allies in the state legislature to speed up the clock.

It is time for an intervention on Nov. 6! We can make the difference. This Saturday, Nov. 3, all of us need to be at our final labor-to-labor walk—and bring a friend. Click here to find out dates and times for Virginia phone banks and walks.

What’s the Connection Between Fiber Optics and Virginia Elections?


What’s the Connection Between Fiber Optics and Virginia Elections?

Click here to connect to links in the original post below

Eileen Toback, AFL-CIO political organizer in the Voice@Work campaign, updates us on what’s at stake for working families in the November elections in Virginia, where state Senate races are expected to be decided by just a few hundred votes.

We keep talking about the paramount importance of union members getting involved with the upcoming election and about advocating for working families. What does that really mean?

Stacie Adams, president of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 2222 in Northern Virginia, broke it down in real terms (see video).

Adams and Local 2222 are putting a lot of sweat-equity into this election. They are sending out mail to their members, and volunteers are following up by visiting union members at their homes on weekend labor-to-labor walks. They also are running a phone bank from their union hall. (Click here for phone bank and walk info.)

She explains that Local 2222’s largest collective bargaining unit is Verizon. By turning the state Senate completely around to include a majority of elected officials who support working families, CWA will gain more allies for the union’s battles to keep future work for CWA-represented workers. CWA constantly has to go to the Federal Communications Commission to challenge the possible sale of copper lines and to safeguard jobs in the future that will deal with fiber optics (FiOS).

Now, you don’t have to know about fiber optics or copper lines to become an advocate for working families. Union leaders like Stacie Adams are figuring out how to defend good union jobs now and in the future, in an increasingly complex world. What we need to focus on is to create a political landscape that prioritizes and advocates for working families.

Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine Joins Union Members in Voter Mobilization


Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine Joins Union Members in Voter Mobilization
by Tula Connell, Oct 22, 2007

Link to post on AFL-CIO Blog

Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (D) joined union volunteers in Norfolk on Saturday for a get-out-the-vote rally.

It’s great to see grassroots momentum building in Virginia, where the state legislature has a good chance of becoming far more working family-friendly after the Nov. 6 elections. Hundreds of union volunteers have turned out in Northern Virginia over the past few weekends to get out the vote among union members and their families, and the union movement picked up more steam this past weekend when Gov. Tim Kaine (D) joined union members in Norfolk.

Speaking to union members at the Iron Workers Local 79 hall, Kaine said, “Politics needs still to be about person-to-person contact.”

And about that kind of ground effort of neighbor convincing neighbor and friend convincing friend. We should never lose that.

Back up in Northern Virginia, Tony Perez, government affairs coordinator for United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 400, is psyched about the possibilities of this election and urges everyone in the area to come out and join the walks over the next two weekends before the elections (see video). Says Perez:

We have a real opportunity to make change here. We’re going to be out here every Saturday for the next three weeks, walking, knocking on doors, talking to our members, making a change. It really does make a difference. I’ve had great experiences talking to our members, going door to door. One member came out and…wanted to talk to me for 10 minutes because they were so excited to have labor out here and taking these elections very seriously.

You have to ask people to volunteer. If you’re doing it, then talk to your friends. All it takes is one asking another to make a change….If we’re going to change the labor movement in Virginia and keep moving forward, we have to get involved.

Weekend Walks Reach 900 Union Households in Virginia


Eileen Toback, AFL-CIO political organizer/Voice@Work campaign, took part in the union movement’s kickoff walks over the weekend in Virginia, where dozens of union members turned out.

Northern Virginia had a great get-out-the-vote kickoff this past Saturday with more than 70 activists knocking on the doors of union members who this November have a chance to elect many working family-friendly candidates to state offices.

Nearly 900 households were greeted by members from AFGE, AFSCME, Communications Workers of America, Electrical Workers, Food and Commercial Workers, Laborers, Iron Workers, Office of Professional Employees, Operating Engineers, Painters and Allied Trades, Plumbers, Seafarers, Sheet Metal Workers and Transport Workers.

The morning began with steaming cups of coffee, donuts and appreciative and inspiring words from the candidates. Chap Peterson, a Democrat running for the State Senate in the 34th District, addressed the crowd by reminding folks that their critical volunteer work will directly support working family priorities once he and his colleagues are in office.

Also on hand to greet us were: state Sen. Mark Herring (D-District 33); House of Delegates incumbents David Poisson (D-District 32) and Chuck Caputo (D-District 67); House of Delegates candidate Rex Simmons (D-District 40); Gerry Connolly, chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors; Mike McClanahan, candidate for Fairfax County Board of Supervisors; and Gerry Hyland, incumbent Fairfax County supervisor.

Tony Perez, government affairs coordinator for UFCW Local 400, brought 11 of his brothers and sisters to the walk and told the volunteers:

We all believe Virginia is ready for change. We don’t just feel the wave–we have seen it with the governor’s race and last year’s U.S. Senate race. Now it’s time to change the face of the state legislature.

CWA Local 2222 President Stacie Adams added:

We are going to hit the streets to take the Senate. Contracts are coming in 2008, and we are battling the State Corporation Commission’s deregulation on service quality. Politics has a direct effect on our contracts and our members’ lives.

(Click on link above for original article which lets you see live video)

Come to Williamsburg for Justice @ Smithfield to Protest Smithfield Foods’ Annual Shareholders Meeting


Come to Williamsburg for Justice @ Smithfield
to Protest Smithfield Foods’ Annual Shareholders Meeting

Wednesday, August 29th at 11:00 AM
First Baptist Church
727 Scotland St, Williamsburg, VA 23185

Smithfield Foods in Tar Heel, NC is
responsible for:
• Widespread environmental degradation;
• Retaliation against workers who stand-up
for their rights;
• Assaults and false arrests of workers;
• A record of racial tension between
African American and Latino workers.
Stand with Smithfield workers on Aug.
29th to demand an end to the abuse!

Wilmington, Delaware Bus
6:30 AM Depart UFCW Local 27 - Newark, Delaware Office
1501 Casho Mill Rd, Suite 11
Newark, DE 19711

Contact: Courtney Foley - Local 27
Office: 302-292-6670 Ext. 12