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Virginia Marchers
Demand Workers’ Rights,
End Corporate Greed


March and rally in Virginia ...
Union members march through Waynesboro, Va. in support of workers' rights.
... demanding 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 unemployment compensation.

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.


"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," he said.

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

Home -> UE News -> 1999 Archives -> Article

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