Labor struggles: the Americas – World Socialist Web Site

Latin America

The World Socialist Web Site invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular column

Haiti rocked by protests over high cost of food and fuel

On August 29, a protest march against the high cost of food, necessities and the scarcity of fuel in the town of Petit Goâve in western Haiti was savagely attacked by police and masked gang members. loyal to newly installed President Ariel Henry. One demonstrator was killed and 11 others were injured, two of them by bullets. The dead protester suffered from asthma and was suffocated by tear gas.

Demonstrations also took place in Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti.

Faced with the intense social and economic implosion currently affecting Haiti, educators are calling for the postponement of the start of the school year (scheduled for September 5). The educators denounced the insalubrity, the tripling of the price of fuel and the extreme poverty which affects most households and which makes it impossible to buy school supplies and transport children to school.

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), more than 250,000 children have no school to go to one year after the earthquake that devastated southern Haiti last year.

Nationwide protest strike by Uruguayan teachers

On August 23, teachers led a nationwide protest strike in Uruguay against education budget cuts and a government plan to reform education.

“Government officials condemn us for abandoning students for these protest strikes, but forget that they are responsible for the brutal cuts in education, affecting poor children and students,” said Cecilia Klein of the teachers’ union. Training.

Together with teachers and students, private sector health workers joined the protest strike to demand higher wages and better health care for all Uruguayans. The Uruguayan Health Federation, which represents workers employed in the private health sector, led this national strike to demand better wages and working conditions and improved health care for the citizens of this nation.

In Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, strikers marched on the Ministry of Labor and staged a protest rally. Marches and rallies took place in several other cities in Uruguay. Striking teachers marched and rallied on the campus of the University of the Republic, supporting the demands of university students to occupy the university and denouncing the budget cuts.

Parents of 43 missing students protest in Mexico City

Last Friday, the parents of the 43 missing students from Ayotzinapa University marched in Mexico City to demand that their fate be determined. A spokesperson for the protesters said: “We need to find out what happened to our children and where they have been taken.

The protesting parents have made it clear that they demand objective, scientific evidence of what happened to the students on the night of September 26, 2014, an account they have not yet received,

Police kill and injure protesting artisanal miners in Peru

On August 25, artisanal miners clashed with police in the Amazon region of Peru. The demonstrators demanded an end to the attacks and the taking of their tools and equipment by government agents, including boats and gold mining instruments. Two people died in this last confrontation, 17 were injured.

United States

Teachers in Niles, Ohio, will strike this week if the latest bargaining session fails

The teachers’ union and public school board in Niles, Ohio will hold another bargaining session on August 31. The union said failure to conclude a contract would lead to a strike on September 1. The Niles Education Association (NEA), which is negotiating for 151 teachers, is demanding a salary equal to that of other districts in Trumbull County in Ohio.

NEA spokeswoman Traci Kempe confirmed that salaries were the problem. “It definitely pays off. Again, we’re just asking to be paid fairly. We want to be paid fairly [on a par] with the school districts around us.

Currently, Niles’ teacher base salary is the second lowest in Trumbull County and trails by as much as $9,000 per year behind some districts.

Teachers narrowly rejected a deal in March. Then in July, a modified contract was rejected by an even greater margin. The NEA claims that the loss of the second contract was due to board members leaking to some teachers at one-on-one meetings that they had more money to put on the table, but the NEA never said so. demand.

The NEA filed a complaint with the State Employee Relations Commission which complained that the leak disrupted the union’s plans to impose an inferior contract. “Which member of the bargaining unit would vote for (a tentative agreement) when the members on the other side of the bargaining table claimed that there was more money to give? If teachers go on strike on September 1, the board has announced it will close schools and implement a remote learning plan.

More than 6,000 healthcare workers at Buffalo-area hospitals expected to vote on strike authorization

The two unions representing more than 6,000 healthcare workers at seven Kaleida Health hospitals in the Buffalo, New York, area informed their members Aug. 23 that a vote to authorize a strike will be held Sept. 13-15. Beginning March 16, when negotiations began, Kaleida Health and CWA SEIU Locals 1168 and 1199 maintained that progress on a new deal was underway and the unions agreed to two monthly contract extensions after the contract. expiry of the old agreement on May 31.

But when the contract extension expired on July 31, the unions refused another extension. “We really heard from our members that they don’t want to sign another extension,” said CWA 1168 President Cory Gambini.

Kaleida Health issued a statement last week saying that with respect to “wages, benefits and staffing levels…Our current proposed economic offering already meets each of these objectives…”

But the unions were forced to deviate from their previous positive assessment. James Scordato, vice president of 1199 SEIU, admitted: “We are still way off economically and from safe staffing levels.” Before the pandemic, the bargaining unit of the two unions covered 8,000 employees. Currently, it sits at 6,300.

Management and unions were haunted by last fall’s six-week strike at Kaleida’s healthcare competitor, Catholic Health. This contract guaranteed medical-surgical staffing ratios of 1:4 during the day and 1:5 at night. Whatever the limits of the agreement, it has galvanized workers at Kaleida, who have no contractual clause governing staff ratios.

Catholic Health lost $89 million during the strike, or 55% of its $160 million operating loss in 2021. It has lost $230 million over the past two years and Moody’s Investors Service downgraded its rating credit from Ba2 to B1. In 2020, Kaleida reported just under $61 million in losses on revenue of $1.3 billion, despite receiving $87 million in federal aid.

Canada

Strike by tug crews at the ports of Vancouver and Victoria

British Columbia captains and engineers, members of the Canadian Merchant Navy Guild, went on strike Aug. 25 against Seaspan, the largest tug and berth company on Canada’s west coast . The workers have been without a contract since September 2019, with little progress in resolving multiple (but still unspecified) contract issues.

In addition to ship mooring, guild crews provide tanker escorts and emergency towing services with a fleet of 30 tugs. Seaspan also operates a fleet of over 100 specialized and versatile barges that transport many of the province’s largest industries and marine construction projects. Crews working on the company’s ferry system and in shipyards and drydocks are unaffected by the strike.

Ship mooring services at the country’s largest port, Vancouver, are essential to international trade. The last contract dispute in 2014 was dismissed and sent to binding arbitration minutes before a strike began. In the current dispute, traffic at the Port of Vancouver has already been slowed due to congestion at sea and on adjacent rail lines due to logistical difficulties initially caused by the COVID-19 crisis.

The current labor unrest at the ports follows another dispute at Seaspan’s commercial ferry services arm last January that resulted in a brief strike that was resolved just minutes into a strike.

Comments are closed.