As striking trash haulers in Montgomery and Howard counties in Maryland head into the second week of their strike for fair wages and benefits, their employer, Unity Disposal, appears to have resorted to sending out temporary replacement workers as “helpers” without required safety equipment and perhaps without required safety training as well. Helpers are the workers who ride on the vehicles and heave garbage and recycling into the back of the trucks.
Support the striking trash haulers by calling Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett at 240-205-7176.
The newly formed Montgomery County Professional Drivers Union (MCPDU) will affiliate with the National Taxi Workers Alliance (NTWA). The group signed a memorandum of understanding Thursday to affiliate by Aug. 10. NTWA President Bhairavi Desai said:
In our regular weekly feature, we'll be taking a look at the winners and losers of the week in the struggle for the rights of working families. The winners will be the people or organizations that go above and beyond to expand or protect the rights of working families, while the losers will be whoever went above and beyond to limit or deny those rights.
Yesterday, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) signed a bill that protects taxpayers by prohibiting private contractors who have broken the law from obtaining contracts with the state. SB 669 would prevent companies from signing contracts with the state if they have been convicted of a variety of offenses, including tax evasion, conspiracy to defraud the federal government, or willful violation of state prevailing and living wage rates, state wage and hour laws or state occupational safety and health laws.
When Washington, D.C., Mayor Vincent Gray (D) recently vetoed the Large Retailer Accountability Act, which would've required big-box stores like Walmart to pay their workers living wages, his veto message explicitly called for a raise in the minimum wage for all District of Columbia residents. D.C. Council members Vincent Orange, Yvette Alexander and Chair Phil Mendelson also have called for an increase in the local wage. The current minimum wage in the district is $8.25, except for tipped workers, whose minimum wage is $2.77.
While many of the country's most active working family advocates were in Los Angeles for the AFL-CIO national convention, the rest of the country continued to operate, with legislation, elections and judicial decisions of significant importance continuing to move forward. Here are eight stories you might have missed while the media's attention was focused on the convention.
Despite a slate of state legislation attacking the rights of voters, a number of states are advancing legislation that would enhance the ability of U.S. citizens to exercise their right to choose their representatives. Among the most likely advances in voting rights in the states:
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) and Columbia University Professor Dorian Warren both say the best way to solve the nation’s economic crisis is to grow the middle class rather than allowing wealth to concentrate in fewer and fewer hands. Unions, they say, will play a vital role politically and economically in building a strong middle class.
O'Malley and Warren spoke on a conference call with reporters Friday to counter recent attacks by Republican lawmakers on workers and their unions.