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Teachers support Stella D’Oro strike

Published Apr 30, 2009 7:31 PM

The following excerpted resolution in support of striking Stella D’Oro workers was passed by the New York State United Teachers on April 4. NYSUT organized a busload of 50 teachers from Westchester, N.Y., to join the picket lines and present a $2,500 check for the Stella D’Oro strike fund on April 27.

Whereas, NYSUT members, their families and their students are experiencing the real effects of economic recession in this state, with teacher locals facing the threat or the reality of layoffs; and

Whereas, State AFL-CIO President Denis Hughes [called] for an end to “the distinction between public and private because it’s what we can do together that makes a difference,” and further observed, “These are historically bad times and they demand a historic push-back”; and

Whereas, the eight-month-long strike of a small local of bakers in New York City offers an opportunity to build toward that “historic push-back”; and

Whereas, the 135 members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union Local 50 have been on strike for more than eight months—and in eight months, not one union member has crossed the picket line; and

Whereas, the strikers are working-class people in the Bronx, New York City, largely people of color, immigrants, and including many who are parents of children in New York City public schools and of students in [City University of New York]; and

Whereas, when the union contract for the Stella D’Oro workers expired in the summer of 2008, the new owners, private equity company Brynwood Partners, demanded huge concessions—such as a reduction in wages every year of the contract, the elimination of all holidays, vacation days and sick days; and

Whereas, on August 13, the members of BCTGW Local 50 went on strike in response to the new owner’s demands and their refusal to engage in good faith bargaining; and

Whereas, the Stella D’Oro strike is gaining wide support within the New York City labor movement: the [Professional Staff Congress] and the [United Federation of Teachers] have passed resolutions of support and made contributions, as have other NYC unions and the New York City Central Labor Council; and

Whereas, Local 50 of BCTGW has called on its supporters to boycott all Stella D’Oro products (one of the strikers’ chants is “No contract, no cookies!”); and

Whereas, members of Local 50 have reciprocated by supporting public-sector unions, joining thousands of public-sector employees for the March 5 demonstration at City Hall in New York and participating in other actions to save State funding for public education; and

Whereas, labor resistance to concessions anywhere strengthens labor’s resistance to concessions everywhere; therefore be it

Resolved, that as NYSUT responds to the immediate needs of its own members facing the effects of the current recession, NYSUT also support the Stella D’Oro strike by publicizing it in New York Teacher and calling on NYSUT’s membership to join the boycott of Stella D’Oro products until the strike is over; and be it further

Resolved, that the NYSUT Board of Directors be encouraged to make a contribution to the strike fund of BCTGM Local 50.