The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday allowed key parts of one of the most restrictive voting rights laws in the nation to go forward. A federal appeals court had enjoined the provisions and North Carolina officials asked the Supreme Court to stay that ruling.
On Labor Day, leaders from across the movement for the rights of working families spoke about both the history of the labor movement and the challenges we face in the current hostile environment created by extreme interests that place profits over people. From rallies across the country to online essays, the message was clear: Working families aren't taking the attacks on their rights lightly and they will not only fight back, they will win.
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 persons 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.
Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) recently got a firsthand look at deplorable working and living conditions that thousands of tobacco farm workers in North Carolina endure. She was part of a delegation that included two members of Britain’s Parliament, Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) President Baldemar Velasquez, AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre and several AFL-CIO Union Summer interns who are taking part in FLOC's "Respect, Recognition, Raise" campaign and fight for a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work, respect in the workplace and union recognition. Kaptur wrote about her findings in a column for The Nation.
AFL-CIO Union Summer interns have joined members of the Farm Workers Organizing Committee (FLOC) in a drive to organize thousands of North Carolina tobacco farm workers as part of FLOC's "Respect, Recognition, Raise" campaign and fight for a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work, respect in the workplace and union recognition. Many farm workers who harvest and tend tobacco often live in labor camps with inadequate or nonfunctioning toilets and showers and other substandard conditions, suffer from illnesses resulting from nicotine poisoning and exposure to dangerous pesticides and work long hours for below-poverty wages.
Fifty years ago this week, the U.S. Senate passed the version of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that would be passed by the House and signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. The bill faced a filibuster of 14 hours and 13 minutes by the late Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia. Between the passage by the Senate and debate by the House, three young civil rights workers—Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Earl Chaney—disappeared into the night on June 21, 1964, driving in the rural area near Philadelphia, Miss. Schwerner, Goodman and Chaney were later found dead, having been murdered for trying to register African American voters in Mississippi.
After a North Carolina judge struck down the “imminent disturbance” gag rule aimed at silencing Moral Monday demonstrators, more than 1,000 rallied for workers’ rights at the state Capitol yesterday evening. Several hundred, led by North Carolina union members, marched into the building loudly chanting and singing their demands that the legislature roll back its extremist measures that have attacked voting rights, education, the environment, unemployed workers, health care and women's rights.
On June 16 when Moral Monday actions reconvene at the state Capitol in Raleigh, N.C., the spotlight will shine on workers’ rights that have been under attack by the extremist North Carolina legislature.