Workers’ struggles: the Americas – world socialist web site


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Latin America

Mexican farm workers revolt against deplorable conditions in Sonora state

On Friday, November 26, more than 300 striking farm workers revolted in the state of Sonora and took control of the “los pozitos” migrant camp in Hermosillo, the capital of Sonora. The protest strike targeted appalling working conditions. The workers set fire to the cafeteria, two buses and some barracks to protest the conditions they are forced to endure.

The municipal and state police, as well as the National Guard, decreed a “red code” and repressed the demonstrators under the pretext that it was about a fight between bands of workers which had become uncontrollable.

Iris Sanchez Chiu, leader of the General Union of Agricultural Workers (GUFW), refused to support the workers’ demands or address the conditions which provoked the protest of the agricultural workers. The corporatist GUFW, like other Mexican unions, is an arm of the state and the producers to help keep farm workers in poverty and oppression.

Health workers gather in Buenos Aires

On Wednesday, November 24, dozens of health workers gathered in Buenos Aires. What is at issue are the dire working conditions they face while battling the coronavirus pandemic, poverty-level wages and the destruction of permanent jobs. In addition, health workers ask for recognition as professionals.

Protesters denounced the starvation wages many of them receive, placing them in the line of poverty. Representatives of the provincial government in Buenos Aires are accused of ignoring the six-hour-a-day standard for jobs that threaten the health of workers.

Buenos Aires public transport workers protest

On November 26, Buenos Aires bus drivers staged a 24-hour wildcat protest strike. The drivers are demanding salary increases, an end-of-year bonus and improved benefits. Drivers of private bus lines demand an initial monthly salary of 150,000 pesos (US $ 1,000) for all transit workers.

A bus stop in Buenos Aires, Argentina (Wikimedia Commons)

National protest by Chilean Wal-Mart employees

Last week, workers employed by Wal-Mart across Chile and its subsidiary, Lider Supermarkets, protested the contingent nature of their jobs and intend to load cashiers with other “as needed” duties as well. than a salary review that will reduce net income. wages for many workers. The Wal-Mart union in Chile estimates that the implementation of these acceleration measures will result in the dismissal of 5,000 workers as well as wage cuts.

Walmart estimates that these changes will result in savings of $ 3.6 million.

United States

Philadelphia hotel workers strike for wages and working conditions

Hospitality workers quit their jobs Nov. 21 at the Wyndham Philadelphia Historic District, demanding better wages and working conditions. Unite Here Local 274 members say the Wyndham pays up to $ 3 less than the Philadelphia hospitality industry’s $ 18 hourly wage.

Workers also complain about the heavy workload. Housekeepers are expected to clean 14-16 rooms per day. Instead, they are pushing to reduce that number to 10 rooms per day.

Renee Holmes told Philadelphia Investigator, “When I get home my feet are swollen, my feet hurt, my wrists hurt, to the point that I have to take a Motrin almost every day.”

According to a 2019 report from Black Work Matters, “73% of hotel workers earn less than $ 25,000 per year.” Unite Here also drew attention to the fact that Wyndham was the beneficiary of the $ 100 billion federal bailout that was distributed to the hospitality industry.

Local 274’s contract with Wyndham expired in 2019 in the run-up to the pandemic, however, workers were forced to continue working. The workers ultimately rejected the company’s contract offer and authorized a strike towards the end of October. Unite Here represents some 4,000 workers in hotels, airports and food services in the greater Philadelphia area.

Workers for New York Times Wirecutter site goes on strike to raise wages

Staff workers for the New York Times Product review website Wirecutter went on strike on Black Friday, November 26, and will extend it for four days until Cyber ​​Monday. The 65 workers push back the Times Management’s proposal to limit wage increases to one percent per year with merit increases and instead push for a 2.5 percent per year wage increase and minimum wages increase.

The News Guild of New York, which represents the strikers, highlighted the New York Times’ second quarter profit of $ 93 million based on revenue of $ 499 million. “Our staff work around the clock during Black Friday shopping week, our busiest and most profitable time of the year, putting in overtime during the holidays to serve our readers,” a press release said. union. “Our work continues to generate record revenues for the Times and helped grow Wirecutter by 10,000 subscribers in the last quarter.

Workers raised $ 35,000 as early as last Thursday through a GoFundMe campaign to provide a strike fund for the picket lines.

Sanitation workers authorize strike in Orange County, California

More than 400 sanitation workers for Republic Services in Orange County, Calif. Voted overwhelmingly on Nov. 24 to authorize the strike. Members of Teamsters Local 396 are protesting long hours and harassment in the recycling industry, which is ranked the fifth most dangerous job in the United States.

“While Republic calls me and my colleagues ‘heroes’, the company doesn’t treat us that way,” said mechanic Michael Dominguez. In fact, they don’t even treat us like human beings or valued employees. We can’t take it anymore. “

In a press release, the Teamsters say they are negotiating on behalf of 1,000 Orange County workers who work in the waste management industry which, in addition to Republic services, includes CR&R, Waste Management, Park Disposal and WARE Disposal. Nationally, the Teamsters represent approximately 7,000 Republic Services employees.


Scabs were airlifted to striking Sarnia toxic waste facility

Seventy-six workers, members of Unifor, are in the second week of a strike at the Clean Harbors toxic waste dump in Sarnia, Ontario. Already, the company has sent scab crews by helicopter on at least four occasions to avoid the picket lines. The workers, who have been without a contract since April, voted 100 percent in favor of the strike after management failed to respond to any of their demands.

A salary increase that matches current inflation rates and the recognition of basic contract terms are central issues in the conflict. The management did not respect the provisions of the professional promotion contracts, bypassing the rights to advance by seniority, in particular for women.

Known as the “Chemical Valley” of Canada, Sarnia is home to more than 60 chemical plants and oil refineries within a 15 mile strip around the city. Workers pointed out that helicopters carrying scabs stir up plumes of toxic dust as they land and take off inside hazardous areas of the complex. The plumes then blow on the strikers as well as on the agricultural lands and farms of the surroundings.


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