On the picket line

Union Kitchen two-day strike 

Dozens rallied at Washington, D.C.’s Union Kitchen stores, as workers there held a two-day strike in February to protest unfair retaliation against union organizing. Union Kitchen workers have formed the United Kitchen Workers union with United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 400. 

Union Kitchen strike, Feb. 5, Washington, D.C.

One striker roused the crowd to cheers by asking “How many of y’all want to make a living wage so you can live in this freakin’ city?” And an even bigger cheer came after this: “How many of y’all want some job security so you can’t get fired for some bullshit?” (tinyurl.com/2wxeaawu) Workers at three stores filed for a union election with the National Labor Relations Board Feb. 3.

Special Metals on strike five months 

Workers at the West Virginia Special Metals plant are in their fifth month striking for better safety and health care. The 450 workers are members of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 40. The plant is the largest of its kind in the world and the oldest employer in Huntington, West Virginia. The strike is impacting the local economy and U.S. defense contractors, who rely on the Special Metals plant’s nuts and bolts used in navy ships and submarines. (tinyurl.com/2p83dzh4)

Retirees win health insurance battle

After a year-long fight against a proposed cost-cutting measure, New York City retirees were victorious and will not be forced to accept an untested privatized health insurance plan or pay almost $200 per month to keep their current health insurance plan. For retirees at the lower end of the city’s pension scale, which bottoms out around $15,000 a year, that cost threatened to become a significant financial burden. A judge ruled that as long as the current health care program exists, it must be offered to retirees free of charge. (cbsnews.com, March 3)

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