Unrest in Iraq is heating up and once again we sadly hear about horrifying destruction and increasing brutality among the factions. Yet, where are the workers? Professor Michael Zweig, the Director of Stony Brook’s Center for the Study of Working Class Life, recently helped develop a film about workers in Iraq. He had rare opportunities to talk to Iraqi workers and shares his insights on our program. Next, we speak with TWU 100’s Charles Jenkins who heads the union’s apprenticeship program and also serves as President of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists NY. Although decades have passed since the most challenging days of the civil rights movement, unfortunately political and societal trends, at times, seem to be stagnating or even reversing. Jenkins describes difficulties black workers still face and the importance of coalition building in addressing racial, gender and economic disparities.
Voices of Iraqi Workers
Violence in Iraq once again is on the front page with the focus on political instability and the advance of terrorist groups. However the voices of Iraqi workers are nowhere near a microphone. Professor Michael Zweig helped produce a film entitled “Iraqi Workers after the War” which depicts everyday Iraqi workers and union leaders attempting to rebuild the country. Iraq has a dark history of strict anti-labor laws that continue to stymie many attempts to organize. Zweig describes how the very same laws that Saddam Hussein developed to control unions remain in place so that the continuation of Hussein’s policies only has served to further divide people who would just want nothing more than to go to work every day, take care of their families and move their society forward. Check out the film below
CBTU Pushing for Equality
Few would argue that the rights of all minorities improved significantly as a result of the civil rights movement. Unfortunately, curtailing of voter rights, gerrymandering, perpetuation of segregated communities and persistent low rates of graduation for minority students, have resulted in deteriorating conditions for many members of minority groups. TWU 100’s Charles Jenkins, President of the New York Chapter of The Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU) discusses initiatives to improve conditions for all minorities. Jenkins argues for the increasing importance of all worker groups to focusing on coalition building to address common problems.
Bonus segment from the Editor’s Desk, Richard Steier, Editor of the Chief weighs in on the DC-37 Contract.
1) Joel Shufro, 34 years of achievement at NYCOSH – How Class Works: Michael Zweig talks about a conference in Stonybrook about the role of class in society
2) Educating Future Female Leaders – Minority Workers in Unsafe Workplaces: Perils minority workers face in the workplace
3) Access to Occupational Medicine. Organizing in Mississippi: Labor rights as civil rights in Mississippi
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