Archive for the ‘Workers Unite!’ Category

~ HOLLY NEAR AND RONNIE GILBERT ~ “Beloved Comrade / Two Good Arms”

“Ferdinando Nicola Sacco (April 1891 – August 23, 1927) and Bartlomeo Vanzetti (June 11 1888 – August 23, 1927) were “anarchists” who were convicted of murdering two men during a 1920 armed robbery in South Braintree Massachusetts. After a controversial trial and a series of appeals, the two Italian immigrants were executed on August 23, 1927.”

Well us old gals are at it again. Traveling in search of a new home. This should be our last trip. We have contacts who have contacts who are in the know of where to live and where to go. Where to stay away from and where to check out.  Someone told us Vermont is full of cows, well we said even if we don’t drink milk, eat cheese or ice cream we love cows. Bonnie said with giggles, “you should see the place during rush hour, cows here, cows there, cows everywhere.” Yeah okay we will be in the city where we are sure there are very few cows. We’ll see some cows from the train give them a moo moo and be glad we don’t have to clean the barn. We love cows even if they do a job on the ozone. “I have to wonder,” said Bessy Marie, “do cows ever escape the field and come and stand on the train tracks?” I really hope they don’t as the train has no cow catcher in the front of it and if we hit such a creature it would be all over for the cow and cause delays. ( 1 ) Let’s hope not said Olga, lets hope the cows know where they at suppose to be and if they go anywhere else they will not hear the dinner bell. Here is a little song to start us on our way.

I am Cow, by Arrogant Worms.

Rush Hour In Vermont.

 

Lots of these on our trip. No worry the train is only 5 cars long. We were happy we weren’t waiting to cross the road or go on through to the other side of the tracks in Springfield as there was a freight train with almost 75 cars passing by.

The train route

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We know that by the time the train gets to us the bathrooms can be and usually are very smelly. Olga is the smart one in the bunch always brings a mask to wear when she is in the toilet. I just can’t sit there and smell that horrid smell, do my business and not have vomited all over the floor. Then the train folks would have another mess to clean up. So I get one of those masks fold it up keep in in my pocket along with a Lysol wipe or two. No telling what germs lurk around in the train. Germs are a funny thing can’t see them but if they get into you man can they do a job. Both of us gals are too old for that and thank our lucky stars we haven’t contracted anything this past winter on top of what either one of us have all ready. We take our Elderberry syrup each and every day. Getting old, now that is a whole other story. We don’t know too many old folks to sit around with and talk about getting old. I wish we did as then we would say, “Hey we don’t have it all that bad.” At the very least we would know what this getting old is all about and if this or that pain is worth complaining about. Maybe it will go away in a couple of days.

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Gals like us love the train. Having never learned to drive we take it all the time. You know the things you see on the train are much different than what you see in a car whizzing by at 60 miles per hour. These highways leave a lot to be desired as far as good scenery is concerned. Trees, cars, trees, cars. We love the train we get to see the backside of the cities, usually the older part, the graffiti along the tracks is always something to marvel at, an art show caught out of the corner of our eyes and then it retreats into the distant. Last time we were amazed at all of the mullein patches along the tracks. Huge Mullein plants, skunk cabbage, and ferns, ferns, ferns all along the tracks edge and into the woods. Something we very rarely see around these parts are white birch trees. The white lines among the green and brown, lovely. We came home last year in October and what a site to see out the windows of the trees changing colors. Never saw such beauty. What will we see in the spring time wondered Bessy Marie, of course we will be north and hopefully the gardens of tulips near the State Capitol will be in bloom. (more…)

Here is a song for this day when we remember workers killed on the job.

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Mike Alewitz artist, revolutionary, teacher posted today on his facebook page this for the upcoming International Women’s Day Strike Action. Many thanks to Mike for this revolutionary work of art.

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Mike has this to say about this his work and the women he has painted.

STREET FIGHTING WOMEN

Some gave their lives, Most went to jail. All understood that change only comes when we take it to the street.

In support of the upcoming actions for International Women’s Day, some of the amazing, militant women that I’ve had the honor to paint:

Frida Kahlo (Activist Artist), Elizabeth Gurley Flynn (IWW Agitator), Harriet Tubman (Armed Abolitionist), Louise Michele (Commune Insurrectionist)

Emma Goldman (Anarchist), Mother Jones (Mine Workers Organizer), Rosa Luxemburg (Socialist Revolutionary), Sojourner Truth (Abolitionist/ Feminist)

Clara Lemlich (Strike Leader), Lucy Parsons (Labor Organizer), Lucille Thornburg (CIO Organizer), Rachel Corrie (Solidarity Activist)

Audre Lorde (Feminist/ Poet), Grace Lee Boggs (Marxist Philosopher), Karen Silkwood (Union Activist), Coretta Scott King (Civil Rights Leader)

STRIKE MARCH 8/ INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

“You know as well as I do,” said Mickey to Moe “that there is a stool Pigeon in every bunch of workers. They come in all shapes, sizes, colors, sexes and anything else you can imagine. But they have one thing in common they all have that brown on the end of their nose.” “Yeah,” said Moe, “we got one at work that we never expected to be like that. Always on the left side of liberal, seen it all, can call out whats happening in this country with the best of us but loves that boss so much that you can smell the poop if you get too close.” He’s been stooling around, finking and ratting to the boss about us trying hard to form a union, which we as workers so desperately need. We are talking among ourselves about why we would benefit from a union and all the checks are in the box marked YES.

Hey Stoolie this one is for you and anyone else thinking about loving the boss and sticking with his bull.

We will tell you right up front, at the job we are at now, we lost our vacations, 2, 3, 4 weeks it doesn’t matter, the new company doesn’t even use that word. But wait hasn’t the boss promised that he will make a deal with the new company so we can retain that benefit? Yeah but you know bosses come and bosses go and if there is money coming out of someone’s pocket book pretty soon they are going to squeal, Too Much!, we gotta cut back. We need real protection not singing and dancing to the song Promises, Promises.

Let’s talk about pay rates. You start at anywhere from minimum wage in your state, or maybe get $10.00 per hour, here a person starts at $12.00 and generally gets 25 cents a year. The union is offering $14.00 per hour. We say give us $20.00! Do the math folks and any one who is coming from a privileged position and argues against is a part of the problem and probably is playing kiss kiss with the boss and doesn’t even know it. Another tool of the ruling class.

We have no personal days, and holidays with pay forget it if you don’t work you don’t get paid. But how about this one, the boss wants his friends and former colleagues in positions here and hasn’t a qualm about saying it out loud. Who will be the first to go? Who will stand up for us? Who will stand up as each one of us are picked off one by one?  How about insurance? Well with the union we get free insurance for the worker their spouse and dependents. Take that $68.00 a week fee for insurance that the company has to offer and shove it. You know that is the price for you only, shit how much for the wife, husband and kids. Up Up Up. Yeah shove it, Yeah real deep. (more…)

For our weekend music enjoyment is the song Pastures of Plenty written by Woody Gutherie in 1941. This version is sung by Holly Near and Ronnie Gilbert.

 

In a recent television interview, featuring Baldemar Velasquez – a vigorous farm worker organizer – Bill Moyers summarized the period since the movie Harvest of Shame: “Believe it or not, more than fifty years later, the life of a migrant laborer is still an ordeal. And not just for adults. Perhaps as many as half a million children, some as young as seven years old, are out in the fields and orchards working nine to ten hour days under brutal conditions.” (See the full interview here.)

Among the conditions Moyers was referring to are the daily exposures to pesticides, fertilizers and the resulting chemical-related injuries and sicknesses. Far more of these pesticides end up in the workers’ bodies than are found in our food. President of Farmworker Justice, Bruce Goldstein writes: “Short-term effects include stinging eyes, rashes, blisters, blindness, nausea, dizziness, headache, coma and even death. Pesticides also cause infertility, neurological disorders and cancer.”

¡Viva La Huelga! ¡Viva La Huelga!

For readers who would like to know the battles that United Farm Workers are still fighting check out the Home Page which is found HERE. On their site is an excellent history of the United Farm Workers. The fight for decent living wages, decent housing, and for the right to be represented by a union continue. Today a bill to expand overtime rules for farm workers has been resurrected in the California legislature. Hear this from one campaign of the United Farm Workers. Hear this and shake your heads and get up and help in this fight against may we saw greedy capitalism. Today in 2016 there should be no need for even having to introduce this bill anywhere in the U.S.

“We currently have a new bill, AB1066, which is in the CA Senate. As bill author Rep. Lorena Gonzalez said,“Tens of thousands of farm workers are toiling in the fields without the same overtime protections that other hourly workers in our state receive. They deserve better. California can do better. That’s why we amended ‪#‎AB1066 — to once again try to get an eight hour day for farm workers. We won’t stop until this bill passes.” 

Go to HERE to support the Phase in Overtime for Agricultural Act of 2016.  (We will support this bill but have to say, this should not be a phase in. These workers deserve overtime now not in any type of phase in. Most american workers would not allow this if it was happening to them.

The Fight is far from over for the agricultural workers and their supporters. Join them.

Lettuce pickers work in a field in the Imperial Valley. (Tim Tadder/Associated Press)