U.S: Immigrant Detainees Strike Over $1 a Day Pay, Working Conditions

Alejandra Quintero

Labor Notes | August 09, 2022

Detained workers participate in a supposedly volunteer working program while locked up. They use their earnings to pay for the exorbitant cost of phone calls and commissary items like dental floss and tortillas. Photo: Peg Hunter (CC BY NC 2.0).

At two federal detention centers in California, more than 50 immigrant workers are on strike over unsafe working conditions and low wages.

“We are being exploited for our labor and are being paid $1 per day to clean the dormitories,” said strikers at a central California detention center in a June statement received by public radio station KQED.

Detained workers, known as “housing porters,” participate in a supposedly volunteer working program while locked up. They use their earnings to pay for the exorbitant cost of phone calls and commissary items like dental floss and tortillas.

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Proletarian China: A Century of Chinese Labour

Made in China Journal | December 01, 2021

In 2021, the Chinese Communist Party celebrated a century of existence. Since its humble beginnings in the Marxist groups of the Republican era to its current global ambitions, one thing has not changed for the Party: its claim to represent the vanguard of the Chinese working class. History, however, tells a more complex story. Spanning from the night classes for workers organised by student activists in Beijing in the 1910s to the labour struggles during the 1920s and 1930s; from the turmoil of the Cultural Revolution to the social convulsions of the reform era to China’s global reach today, Proletarian China reconstructs the contentious history of labour in China from the late imperial era. Each chapter revolves around a specific historical event, making the volume a mosaic of different voices, perspectives, and interpretations of what being a worker meant, and how it was experienced, in China over the past century.

The book, co-edited by Ivan Franceschini and Christian Sorace, is available for purchase from Verso Books or for free download from our website.

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2022 Labor Notes: ‘A Special Moment for the Labor Movement’

Angela Bunay

Labor Notes | July 21, 2022

“The stage of the Labor Notes conference tonight is arguably the epicenter of the U.S. labor movement,” tweeted New York Times labor reporter Noam Scheiber during the Friday night plenary, which included Chicago Teachers Union President Stacy Davis Gates, Nolan Tabb of the UAW at John Deere, Michelle Eisen from Starbucks Workers United, Teamsters President Sean O’Brien, and Amazon Labor Union President Christian Smalls. Photo: Jim West, jimwestphoto.com

Despite nationwide flight cancellations due to weather conditions and labor shortages, the 2022 Labor Notes Conference drew a huge and diverse crowd of more than 4,000 workers from across the globe.

They heard daring tales of organizing, learned strategies for getting a first contract, and joined a joyous Juneteenth celebration. Many workshops were packed, standing room only.

“We are in many ways living through a very hard time, and yet the outlook for working people is hopeful,” said Alexandra Bradbury, editor of Labor Notes, at the Friday night main session. “The terrain has shifted, and there’s a new spirit of resistance. We all feel it. There’s hope in the air.”

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UK: ‘We’re back,’ unions declare in resounding message to the bosses

‘It is time for the trade union movement to be reborn,’ huge crowd at Durham Miners’ Gala hears

Peter Lazenby

Morning Star | July 10, 2022

RMT members at the Durham Miners’ Gala Photo: Neil Terry Photography / neilterryphotography.co.uk

UNIONS declared “we’re back!” in a resounding message to employers at the Durham Miners’ Gala on Saturday as a crowd of more than 200,000 roared their approval.

The declaration came from RMT general secretary Mick Lynch and was backed by speaker after speaker, including Unite’s Sharon Graham, who told the mass gathering: “It is time for the trade union movement to be reborn.

“We must organise, we must mobilise and, crucially, we must act as one.”

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Oil and Gas Workers Strike In Norway, Europe’s Energy Crisis May Escalate

Countercurrents | July 05, 2022

Oil and gas workers at state giant Equinor are on strike in Norway, the largest producer of oil and gas in Western Europe. The strike is escalating Europe’s natural-gas crisis a week before a key pipeline with Russia shuts for maintenance. Benchmark Dutch natural gas futures surged 10% on Monday on news of the strike in Norway.

Operator Equinor has initiated a shutdown of three fields in the North Sea as a result of the strike, the company said on Tuesday.

The striking workers are demanding wage increases to deal with rising inflation, which hit 5.7% in May — the highest since 1988, according to Norway’s statistics agency.

The strike that has started on Tuesday is expected to cut Norway’s gas production by 13% from Wednesday. Norway supplies 20% to 25% of EU and UK’s natural-gas demand, according to Norway’s Ministry of Petroleum and Energy.

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Strike Shuts Down Rail Network Across Britain In Workers’ Battle To Protect Jobs, Pay And Safety

Countercurrents | June 22, 2022

The biggest rail strike in a generation in the UK went under way after last-ditch talks failed to reach agreement. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has rejected demands for a pay rise of at least seven per cent

Entire cities and towns were cut off from the train network as strike action closes half of Britain’s rail lines.

Huge swathes of Britain were without any rail services on Tuesday, with further strikes also taking place on Thursday and Saturday, as 40,000 RMT members walked out in a dispute over pay and jobs. Network Rail confirmed on Wednesday that about 80 per cent of services would have to be scrapped.

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Tens Of Thousands Of Workers March In Brussels Protesting Rising Living Cost And NATO’s War

Countercurrents | June 21, 2022

March in Brussels on June 20, 2022 protesting rising living cost and NATO’s war

Tens of thousands of workers demonstrated against the rising cost of living, with many linking the crisis to the NATO’s war and Russia policies. Many demonstrators condemned the US-led NATO alliance and its involvement in the Ukraine war. Many linked their dire economic straits to the EU’s sanctions regime on Russia and with the NATO’s rush to arm Ukraine.

Protesters demanded that their leaders “spend money on salaries, not on weapons,” and chanted “stop NATO.”

Media reports said:

Workers marched through Brussels on Monday demanding government action to tackle sharply rising living costs, as one-day strikes at Brussels Airport and on local transport networks nationwide brought public travel to a near-halt.

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Ecuadorians continue to resist as national strike enters second week

Defying the state of emergency, enduring brutal police and military repression, hundreds of thousands of Ecuadorians continue to remain on the streets against neoliberalism

Tanya Wadhwa

People’s Dispatch | June 21, 2022

Since June 13, hundreds of thousands of Ecuadorians have been mobilizing across the country as a part of an indefinite national strike against the right-wing government of President Guillermo Lasso and his regressive economic policies. Photo: Alexander Crespo

Since June 13, hundreds of thousands of Ecuadorians have been mobilizing across the country as a part of an indefinite national strike against the right-wing government of President Guillermo Lasso and his anti-people economic policies. The strike was called for by various Indigenous, peasant and social organizations, with a set of ten demands that address the most urgent needs of the majority of Ecuador’s population.

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Britain: Tens of thousands demand action to combat cost-of-living crisis

Morning Star | June 19, 2022

Thousands of protesters gathered in Parliament Square

TENS of thousands of protesters gathered in central London on Saturday to demand action to combat the cost-of-living crisis.

Trade unionists and campaigners from across the country marched from Portland Place to Parliament Square for a TUC-organised rally.

Banners such as “Cut war not welfare,” “End fuel poverty” and “Insulate homes now” highlighted widespread concern over soaring bills and spiralling inflation.

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