Trade unionists joined the Portland, Oregon demonstrations outside the Justice Centre on Saturday night, with many protesters wearing similar coloured shirts as part of an organised effort.
Now the trade unions have begun to mobilise to defend the Portland protesters against brutal attacks from the state forces.
Teachers were wearing red, health care workers were wearing scrubs, and other union members were wearing their own union-related gear.
‘I do feel like it is something that in the future kids are going to ask “where were you?” and it’s very important that we stand for elevating all voices,’ said Barry Cochran, an Oregon English and History teacher marching on Saturday.
Lisa Turner spoke on behalf of her daughter, a nurse who was also protesting, she said: ‘I think it’s just not as nurses, we’re here for the main reason to support the Black Lives Matter movement and doing what we can to support that.
‘The risk that the stand that they are taking with their jobs and coming out here are both equally admirable.’
Bryan Vazquez, a teacher from Washington state, said: ‘I’d rather be teaching, but as a movement right now this is showcasing what teachers stand for.’
Earlier last week, a ‘Wall of Moms’ joined the Protect Portland’s BLM protesters following the sinister sight of federal agents in camouflage snatching demonstrators off the streets.
Post office mail worker Jennifer Bradly, who was wearing a ‘Union Proud’ badge, said: ‘I’m not crazy about the Feds sweeping people off the streets.
‘I’ve been active with Black Lives Matter but these demonstrations looked too violent to me until I saw the Wall of Moms.
‘It’s a big group of like-minded people. It feels like people are not going to give up. This time feels different,’ she said.
- The international president of the Machinists union joined a rally of striking workers at Bath Iron Works on Saturday, urging them to stay strong and proclaiming: ‘There’s no way in hell we are backing down from this fight.’
Robert Martinez Jr delivered the message to Machinists Local S6 as their strike passed the one-month mark.
He accused the shipyard, a subsidiary of General Dynamics, of ‘corporate greed.’
‘This is the largest strike in the United States of America right now,’ he told the crowd of hundreds outside the union hall, across the street from the shipyard.
‘The eyes of the nation are upon us.’
The group, which included strikers, spouses and children, marched from the shipyard’s north gate to the south gate in a show of solidarity.
The 4,300 production workers went on strike on June 22 after overwhelmingly rejecting the company’s final contract proposal.
The strike is centred around subcontractors, work rules and seniority.
The union accused the company of hiring ‘scab’ workers from Alabama and Mississippi and putting them up in local hotels, which Martinez called a ‘slap in the face’ for workers.
It’s the first strike in 20 years at Bath Iron Works, which is one of the Navy’s largest shipbuilders and a major employer in Maine, with 6,800 workers.
The shipyard builds guided-missile destroyers, which are described as ‘the workhorse of the fleet’.
The strike threatens to put production further behind at a time of the United States’ growing competition with Russia and China.
The company was already about six months behind schedule when the strike began.
It needs to be able to hire subcontractors to catch up, the shipyard’s president claims.
- Members of the Maine State Nurses Association at Calais Regional Hospital (CRH) recently signed and delivered a petition to their employer protesting against the hospital’s relaxation of its visitation policy, just as Covid-19 cases are on the rise in Washington County.
Last week, CRH responded to the workers’ demands and reversed some of its relaxed policies, handing the unionised workers a victory for their patients and themselves.
‘We are concerned for all of our patients, of course, and also for our families to whom we go home every night,’ said Registered Nurse Alison Monaghan.
‘So far, we have prevented community spread here, and we hope to keep it that way.’
- Dozens of Chattanoogans marched throughout downtown on Saturday to protest against low wages, dangerous working conditions and other plights of low-income workers, essential workers and workers of colour.
The Workers for Black Lives rally and march was the most recent in a series of a couple of dozen protests in Chattanooga after a chain of anti-police brutality and criminal justice reform protests in June.
Saturday’s march centred around a demand for better wages, benefits and working conditions during and after the Covid-19 pandemic for all workers, especially the Black and Latino communities.
Members of those communities make roughly half of the average wage of their white counterparts in Chattanooga, but account for disproportionately high rates of the coronavirus and unemployment, statistics show.
Others called for assistance for undocumented Latino labourers who are disproportionately impacted by the virus and for the city to raise the minimum pay of its employees to $15 in order to put pressure on other local companies to be competitive.
- The USA Actors’ Equity Union dispute with Disney continues, as it releases a new Video mocking Disney in Walt Disney World!
It wasn’t long ago that Inside the Magic reported the Actors’ Equity Association speaking out and asking Walt Disney World in Florida to follow Disneyland’s decision in postponing the reopening date.
Following the significant spike in the ongoing pandemic, they felt this was the safest thing to do.
‘If Disneyland has postponed, it is unclear how Walt Disney World can responsibly move toward reopening when coronavirus cases are much worse in Florida,’ said Mary McColl, executive director of Actors’ Equity Association.
‘For weeks, we have made it clear to Disney that testing is a fundamental part of maintaining a safe and healthy environment for everyone, from the guests to the cast.’
Now, the Actors’ Equity Association has just taken the protest a step further, releasing a new video calling Walt Disney World out.
The new video, which was posted to Facebook, closely resembles the ‘Welcome Home’ video Disney World recently released as they were eager to welcome guests back to the theme parks.
The Actors’ Equity Union’s version of the video starts off with the original video and background music as suddenly a case count appears as cast members say ‘Welcome Home’ in the background.
They also modified the colouring of the video from the bright bold colours to now showcasing dull colours throughout the entire video (almost black and white).
The Facebook caption, along with the video, states ‘There’s nothing magical about Covid-19.
‘With over 388,500 cases in Florida, why has Disney locked us out and rejected masks and testing for Equity performers?’
The union wrote to members on Friday stating ‘Moving forward, we are asking that the grievance with Disney be expedited.’
The union’s message also stated: ‘Earlier this week, staff had a meeting with Walt Disney World to discuss our grievance, and renew a request that Disney provide masks and testing.
‘Disney refused on both counts. That means the Equity members are being offered a lesser safety standard than other park workers. That isn’t right.’
In what threatens to lead to a major escalation, a Disney spokeswoman stated that ‘the Disney company has the right to reopen without Equity performers.’