from COLLECTIVE ACTION #10/11 - U.S. strikes

Curtis Price (
Tue, 16 Apr 1996 05:45:58 +0000


AUG. 95 - FEB. 96

POB 22962
Baltimore, Maryland 21203

fax: (410) 685-8983

AUG. 1: Members of Operating Engineers struck gravel, sand and rock
sites in 11 southern California counties. Workers had worked without a contract since Sept. 15th 1994 and contract talks had stalle
d when the companies suddenly cut wages and benefits by 25%

EARLY AUG.: After police shot and killed a 14 year old Chicano youth
in the Lincoln Heights section of Los Angeles, residents threw bottles and rocks at police. As a show of
force, over 100 officers occupied the neighborhood for the next two
days, arresting 25 residents in the process.

AUG. 7: West coast longshoremen shut down ports from Vancouver to San
Diego in a 24 hours strike that halted all loading and unloading of dozens of ships. Strikers were protesting the Pacific Maritim
e Association's intereference in internal union affairs and this
owners association's plans to close several smaller port facilities

AUG. 16: Philadelphia longshoremen blocked the unloading of a Chilean
ship in protest of work being subcontracted outside their union local.

AUG. 19: A court injunction halts a ten hour strike by railroad
maintenance workers at CSX Transportation, which had halted nearly 400 trains in 10 southern states in a dispute over senoirity rights
and supervisors being assigned maintenance tasks.

AUG. 20: Spraying pepper gas, 100 police attack hundreds of
parishioners at a Pentacostal church in South Jamaica, Queens (a borough of NYC) after cops attempted to arrest a church member. Seven peop
le were charged with rioting and obstructing justice and 28 church
members and 7 police were injured in the fighting.

AUG. 31: Warren Consolidated Industries (WCI) in Warren, Ohio locked
out 1700 steelworkers in a dispute over pensions and the future of the company as rumors spread that WCI intends to sell this faci
lity. The lockout ended 7 weeks later when the union approved a new
4 year agreement which increased wages and benefits.

SEPT. 4: Striking Detroit newspaper workers mobilize 3,000 union
members and supporters to successfully blockade a major distribution center for the scab papers in the suburb of Sterling Heights. Two
hundred police were called in, who used pepper gas to push strikers
back from plant entrance.

SEPT. 6: Clerical support staff at Hofstra University in NYC have
gone on strike to protest steep takebacks demanded by university officials. On Sept. 13., Teamsters representing drivers, mechanics
and other personnel announced that they
would honor the picket lines.

SEPT. 7: Teamsters strike Ryder Sytems, the largest company in the
carhauling industry, in a dispute over Ryder wishing to use non-union subcontractors in the new terms of the proposed contract. The
strike, involving 5,000 drivers and dockers, halted shipment of an
estimated 500,000 new cars nationwide. The strike was finally settled on Oct. 7 with the Teamsters union declaring victory, claimi
ng that Ryder had agreed to union control over any company expansion
into using non-teamster labor as well as conceding pay and benefit increases.

SEPT. 8: Workers at the California and Hawaii Sugar Co. refinery in
northern California strike over company proposals to freeze pay and increase their health care premiums.

SEPT. 18: Emergency room nurses at County-USC Medical Center in Los
Angeles staged a sick-out in protest of 6,700 impending lay-offs, demotions and transfers being proposed as part of the local budge
t crisis.

SEPT. 19: Nursing home workers at 9 Hillhaven Homes, a chain of
nursing homes in California held a one day strike protesting management attempts to switch the existing
facilites to sub-acute care. Sub-acute care is the latest trend among
for-profit nursing homes - an arrangement where seriously ill patients are transferred out of hospitals to
nursing homes where staff is forced to provide care with no extra

SEPT. 20: West coast dockers instituted picket lines and "go slow"
campaigns against Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK Line) after company attempted to prevent the union (ILWU) from representing vessel plann
ers in NYK's Yusen terminal in Los Angeles. When dockworkers in L.A.
refused to unload 2 NYK ships in protest, the company diverted 2 other ships to Seattle and Portland. In solidarity, Portland dock
workers showed up for work but worked so slowly that the Pacific
Marintime Association filed a grievance with arbitrators charging that the low productivity was intentional.

OCT.6: Aerospace workers, represented by the machinists union strike
Boeing's plants nationwide in a fight over company attempts to outsource work to low-wage areas of the world and the company's las
t minute introduction of health care concessions into contract talks.
Workers were particularly incensed over Boeing paying out millions of dollars to top CEO's at the same time it was crying broke i
n negotiations. Seven weeks after the strike began, by a 61% thumbs
down vote, workers rejected the latest management contract offer, which was approved by union officials and voted to continue
striking. Finally, on Dec. 13 - 69 days later - the strike ended when
workers voted to accept Boeing's fourth contract offer.

OCT. 7: Despite having been on strike for over a year, grocery
workers at Albertson's supermarket in Rock Springs, Wyoming voted to continue their strike after company shut down and then attempted to
re-open using non-union workers.

OCT. 9: In a dispute over sub-contracting work to non-union outside
contractors, railroad workers walked out of the Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis, which transfers cars among regional rai
lroads. Strike ended several hours later when comaony obtained a
court injunction ordering workers back to the job.

OCT. 10: Bus drivers and mechanics in Minneapolis/St. Paul in their
first strike in 26 years, struck the cities transit system forcing the system to shut down entirely. Strike
issues were increased wages and opposition to the transit authority
using more part-time drivers. Strike ended on Oct. 28 in a compromise contract when the union accepted the
company's new offer of hiring part-time drivers for up to 24% of the
transit authority's driver positions. The Governor of Minnesota had threatened to intervene if strike had lasted into late Nov. b
y creating a fleet of privatized buses, vans and taxis and bringing
in the National Guard to protect this privatized scab fleet.

OCT. 15: A social ills index devised by social scientists at Fordham
University to measure social distress has registered its sharpest increases since the index was first set-up in 1985, according to
a report issued today. The six social ills monitored which showed
the greatest increases were child abuse, the gap between rich and poor, the number of children living in poverty, the number of medi
cally uninsured, average
weekly earnings and the amount of out of pocket expenses paid by
elderly people for health care.

OCT. 18: Pilots at Phoenix, Arizona based America West airlines have
been staging a rolling sick-out, forcing cancellation of up to 20 flights a day in a protest against overwork.

OCT. 19-22: Riots swept through 4 federal prisons as inmates set
fires, broke windows and fought guards. Inmates were protesting a House vote to maintain the racial disparity in sentences for crack p
ossession, which unduly affects Black defendents (as opposed to more
lenient sentences granted for other forms of cocaine which are used more frequently by whites.)

OCT. 22: Union workers at the General Electric Co. plant in Erie,
Pennsylvania, one of the country's largest locomotive builders, held a pre-announced limited three day strike in protest of company p
lans to lay-off 1500 workers in the upcoming nine months.

OCT. 28: Welfare workers in the greater Atlantic City area walked off
the jobs as negotiations failed to resolve a year long dispute over pay increases.

OCT. 30: In one of the first protests directed against the growing
private for-profit prison sector, North Carolina inmates currently being housed in Tennessee rioted demanding
to be sent back to North Carolina. Under an arrangement with the
Corrections Corp. of America , North Carolina was housing more than 100 inmates hundreds of miles away from their families.

OCT. 30: Production workers at Dutch multinational-owned Koppert in
Ann Arbor, Michigan, which breeds bees and other insects for agricultural use, strike for union recognition and a decent contract.

OCT. 31: Protesting abysmal working conditions, a convoy of thousands
of independent truckers blocked Los Angeles streets with a demonstration that stretched nearly 30 miles before surrounding City H
all. The super-exploited independent truckers are considered
"independent contractors" and thus exempt from normal labor law protections.

NOV. 1: U.A.W workers at Chrysler's McGraw Glass plant in Michigan
struck in protest over company outsourcing of work to non-union subsidiaries; the latest in a series of limited token strikes at Big
Three parts facilties.

NOV. 2: Five thousand students held a "Death of Education" march in
Honolulu to protest budget cuts of 8.9% to the University of Hawaii budget. Protestors shouted the Governor down as he attempted to
defend the cuts and a few threw rocks as he left the rally.

NOV. 7: Workers at the Kaydon Corporation (makers of piston rings and
seals for trains) in Baltimore went on strike over a management initiated proposal to outsource work and deny the union any notic
e of potential plant closings.

MID-NOV.: Workers at Avery Heights Nursing Home in Hartford,
have struck over management attempt's to cut health benefits and
wages. On Dec. 10, hundreds of community people rallied in support of the strikers.

NOV. 22: International Association of Machinist members at the A.
Finkl & Sons steel forging plant in Chicago went on strike over company attempts to transfer health insurence payments to workers.
Although picket lines were honored by the Teamsters, the second major
union represented in the plant -the Boilermakers -at the onset of the strike refused support.

NOV. 23: Workers at the French-owned Chemetals chemical plant in Anne
Arundel County, Maryland (about 20 miles outside Baltimore) are out on strike over the terms of wage increases in a proposed cont
ract. Workers contend that they are paid substantially less than
prevailing wage rates for similar work in other local chemical companies.

NOV. 24: Pilots at Federal Express, the country's largest overnight
delivery service, have announced they intend to pursue "job actions" unless the company agrees to union
proposed terms of a new contract. Pilots are following a strategy of
work-to-rule, including refusing to work overtime and have said they will consider hit-and-run strikes in the near future.

EARLY DEC. Nearly 100 municipal trash truck drivers use their trucks
to successfully block a heavily trafficked intersection of Washington, D.C. during rush hour to protest what they called "unjust"
and "ivory-tower"demands from a federally-appointed panel to impose
cuts in severence pays for drivers to be downsized due to the city's near-bankruptcy.

DEC. 4: Striking Caterpillar workers ordered back to work after 18 national UAW leadership despite a 78.5% rejection of the company's latest offer. One hundred and fifty workers were told t
hat they would not be rehired due to their conduct on the picket
lines. When other workers demanded that the 150 workers be rehired, they were told by UAW head Steve Yokich that 150 workers should no
t hold 9000 workers hostage from returning to work!
One week later, 88 of the returning workers had been suspended
already for
petty infractions; the result of stringent company demand's for
'rules of conduct' governing the former striker's contact with the scabs still working inside the 8 Caterpillar plants that were struck
. nationwide, including the CAT plant at Decatur, Illinois. Since the
return to work, several suicides have taken place among CAT workers; tragic acts widely attributed to the working conditions prev
ailing inside the plants.

DEC. 10: More than 100 tractor-trailer drivers in the Texas panhandle
staged a drive -slow to protest two-tier speed limits on Texas highways. The truckers cruised Interstate 40 side-by-side at 40 mi
les per hour in a deliberate attempt to prevent all other traffic
from passing.

DEC. 11: Railroad workers struck Conrail Inc. rail branch lines in
Central Pennsylvania to block the dismemberment of the railroad line by Conrail selling off portions of the line to smaller companie
s and private owners who would cut jobs, wages and working
conditions. The strike lasted for 5 days until the company successfully won a court injunction ending the strike.

DEC. 14: Striking workers at Farmland Diaries in Wallington Turnpike,
New Jersey smashed windows and threw rocks at delivery trucks halting all deliveries for about 4 hours until riot police were bro
ught in to disperse the workers. Nearly 500 workers were involved in
this confrontation. Strike involves members of Teamsters Local 660 and is over salary and benefits (no details on when strike bega

DEC. 22: Staley workers in Decatur, Illinois end their 18 month
battle against a company lock-out, by accepting poison-pill settlement of either an unconditional return to work under company terms or
a severence package. Company demands were nearly the same as those
that provoked the lock-out which workers refused to accept: mandatory 12 hour shifts and cuts in union jobs. Even so, the vote in f
avor of accepting the company offer was surprizingly close: 286 for
and 226 against. Of nearly 600 workers who still remained on strike, only 349 jobs are being offered for those returning to work.

DEC. 27: Thousands of utility workers at the government -owned
electric power facillities in San Juan, Puerto Rico staged a 24 hour strike and picketed the Governor's mansion protesting attempts to s
lash health-care benefits.

JAN. 4: Cleaning and maintenance workers strike 1,000 office
buildings through-out New York City in protest of mangement attempts to impose a two-tier wage contract
and slash various benefits.

JAN. 10: Nearly 120 people were arrested for blocking a street near
Yale University
in a show of support of graduate student teacher's demands for union
recognition. Graduate students, who teach many courses for a fraction of the pay of a full-professor have been protesting the pove
rty-level wages by going on a "grade strike" i.e. witholding
grades, which has led to Yale management holding disciplinary
hearings against 3 strikers. The 13 day 'grade strike' ended Jan. 15 when Yale threatened severe disciplinary action.

JAN.21: Nearly 1000 workers were locked out of the Trailmobile plant
(manufacturers of truck trailers) in Charleston, Ill. after the worker's rejected the company's 'offer' of an additional three-yea
r wage freeze to follow the already existing four-year wage freeze in
effect under the previous contract. The union involved, UPIU (Paperworkers) was just involved in a similar lock-out at Staley 50
miles away in Decatur.

FEB.1: Public school teachers went on strike in San Diego, California
demanding a 15% pay increase to be spread out over 3 years, shutting down the school system in the nation's eigth largest school

FEB. 7: Clerical and technical staff went on strike against Yale
University rejecting
the universitie's attempts to force through a two-tier wage system, a
whole package of benefit takeaways and bring in more casual workers. The clerical workers, in a joint campaign strategy with serv
ice and maintenance staff will strike for 4 weeks while the
service workers local will continue to work and donate to the
striker's relief fund. Graduate student teachers (see Jan. 10 item) have planned to move their classes off campus in support of the strik

FEB.13: The Baltimore SUN reported "SACRAMENTO, Calif.: A man fired
from Packard Bell for urging armed rebellion against his bosses shot up his former workplace with 40 rounds of ammunition yesterday
until he was wounded in the shoulder by a security guard.", a
further confirmation of our thesis in CAN # 5 ("Smith and Wesson As Shop Steward") on the growth of workplace violence in the U.S.

FEB.20: A weekend wildcat strike in protest of the firing of two
local union leaders shut down a Chrysler truck assembly plant in Warren, Michigan. The two had been fired for leading what Chrysler ca
lled an illegal work stoppage earlier this month.