This morning ATU representatives attended the annual Faith/Labor breakfast. There were about 120 attendees, half labor, half religious leaders. The topic was “Reclaiming the American Dream for the Common Good.” The topic of discussion in the small table groups was how American community values differed from the prevailing global corporate values. A short film on the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist fire was also screened. The factory employed about 166 women. To make sure the women stayed at their machines, the employer locked the exit doors. A fire broke out and only 20 women escaped with their lives. The owners ended up having to pay only $75 per dead worker. In 2008, a fire broke out at a Thailand toy factory where U.S. sold toys are made and 188 workers died. The factory’s exit doors were locked. Currently there are 11,000 sweatshops operating in the U.S. and U.S.-based global corporations are moving factories to countries that outlaw unions.
Some interesting facts and statements were made at the breakfast:
- One out of every six American workers is currently unemployed. CEO wages increased 17% last year. In the last few years, 80% of all income growth went into the pockets of 1% of the people.
- “Whatever you do to the least of us, you do to me,” Jesus C. (Spiritual Leader)
- “When I rise, it will not be from the ranks, it will be with the ranks.” Eugene D. (Labor Leader)
- “We need a shift in our common conscience, we need to become more selfless.” Fernando H. (Portland, Unemployed Worker)
Next Important Labor Events:
- March 7, 2011 – Salem, Jobs Rally
- March 11, 2011 – Salem, Single Payer Rally
- March 19, 2011 – End the War Economy Peace Rally
- March 23, 2011 – Portland, Information Picket, TM Board of Director’s Meeting
- April 16, 2011 – Portland, Jobs/No Cut in Benefits Rally