Demand Workers’ Rights,
End Corporate Greed
members march through Waynesboro, Va. in support of workers' rights.
Sunday, Oct. 24 was the coldest day yet in fall 1999, with
frigid winds sweeping through the Shenandoah Valley and whipping through
downtown Waynesboro. The unexpectedly bad weather didn’t stop 65 workers
from marching and rallying for a reinvigorated labor movement.
Sponsored by the UE-initiated Shenandoah Organizing Committee,
the march and rally called for a living wage, universal health care, and
improvements in Virginia’s worst-in-the-nation workers’ compensation and
Speakers included leaders of AFL-CIO and independent unions, UE
District One Pres. Connie Spinozzi and UE Local 124 Pres. Maken Dodge.
Donna Huffman, a former Local 124 member, spoke of the
difficulty in finding a job since the closing of the CII operations here.
After 27 years of steady and faithful work, all she can find now are temporary
jobs that have no benefits.
BLASTING CORPORATE GREED
"In this area wages are $7,000 a year below the state
average because we have so many large companies who abuse the use of temporary
employment," she said. "A person retained for any position three
months or more is not temporarily employed but criminally employed. You are
being denied your right to equal employment."
Eicky Woodson Jr., representing the Staunton branch of the
NAACP came to the rally despite the flu because, he said, he wanted to get
involved and help working people. Mark Barbour of the Brotherhood of
Maintenance of Way Employees spoke on behalf of the Labor Party, which his
union endorses. Jim Flickinger of the International Brotherhood of
Dupont Workers blasted the scandalous lack of health care for so many in this
country. "Health care is available only to those who can afford it,"
Independent House of Delegates candidate Sherry Stanley
praised the march and endorsed the unions’ stands on health care and workers’
and unemployment compensation. Ben Walter of Charlotteville’s Labor
Action Group said his organization is working to establish a minimum wage of
$8 an hour at the University of Virginia. While senior people earn huge
salaries, a third of the workers are eligible for food stamps, he said.
Organized in mid-August by UE Field Org. George Waksmunksi
and area UE leaders, the Shenandoah Organizing Committee now comprises several
unions and the NAACP and other community organizations.
UE News - 11/99