E aí gente, tudo bem? Greetings from the Burgh, where I feel a lot more energy after getting the booster shot. (See this recent study from the National Institute of Health on how booster shots can somtimes help people struggling with Long Covid)
Help Film Tree of Life Synagogue Massacre Commemoration Tomorrow
Tomorrow marks five years since the “Tree of Life” Synagogue massacre . In 11 Jews were killed for their synagogue’s support of immigrants’ rights. It was the largest Jewish massacre in American History.
As many of you know, I was there that morning while SWAT teams were still retaking the building and later nominated for an Emmy for my work for CNN on the massacre.
With Israel’s attacks on the Middle East, hearing people in the most traumatized Jewish community would be interesting. So, I am going to go down with a cameraman and film the commemoration ceremony. I am hoping to interview folks and see what their reactions are there.
UAW Secures 25% Raise but Leaves Out Electric Vehicle Transition
Last night, the UAW announced that Ford workers would immediately return to work as the union began ratifying the contract. The immediate return to work signaled that the union leadership felt confident that the agreement would be approved by its membership.
The contract includes a 25% raise over the life of the three-year deal and the reinstatement of an annual automatic Cost-of-Living wage increase.
In a video released online yesterday. UAW’s leadership bragged that the contract contained four times as much monetary increases as the union won in its previous bargaining in 2019. The union also boasted that Ford improved the value of their initial contract offer by 50% after going on strike.
Over the contract’s life, temps’ wages will increase by 150%, and the starting salary for the lowest full-time workers will increase by 68% to $28 an hour.
Finally, the union won the “right-to-strike” over plant closures for the first time.
However, while the UAW won the right to have all-electric vehicle plants owned by GM covered by the union contract, the UAW did not win any such provisions in the Ford contract. Indeed, during contract talks, Ford threatened to shut down the construction of a $3.5 billion electric vehicle plant.
4,500 Palestinian Workers Go Missing in Israel
As Israel continues its brutal attack on Gaza, approximately 4,500 Palestinian workers who have permits to work in Israel have gone missing, according to Minister of Labour for the Palestinian Authorities, Dr Nasri Abu Jaish. Nearly all of the workers are being detained by the Israelis under brutal conditions.
“They’re being tortured,” Dr. Jaish told the Indepedent. “They’re beaten, and scarves are tied around their eyes, so they don’t know where they are. Many of them are sick, and they don’t give them medicine. They don’t give them water or food. They’re in open-air camps and aren’t allowed to speak to each other”.
Lula Denounces Israel’s Attack on Gaza as “Genocide”
Yesterday, Brazilian President Lula denounced the attack on Gaza, where more than 5,000 have been killed.
“It’s not a war, it’s a genocide that has killed nearly 2 thousand children who have nothing to do with this war, they are victims of this war. And frankly, I don’t know how a human being is capable of war knowing that the result of that war is the death of innocent children,” Lula said yesterday.
Lula has been meeting with governments around the Middle East in the hopes of arranging a peace deal.
California AFL-CIO Prez Hires Consultant Who Worked Against Unions
California AFL-CIO head Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher is facing criticism for hiring her long-time political consultant, Richie Ross, who has worked against unions in several high-profile political fights. POLITICO has the story:
Ross has spent decades working on behalf of the oil industry — a divisive force in labor regarded by certain trade unions and more conservative members as a crucial partner in creating jobs but viewed by progressives and some public sector workers as out of step with their values. In 2020, the year Ross worked on the successful campaign to fight commercial real estate tax hikes in Proposition 15, he also helped to block an initiative to end cash bail, another union priority.
In both cases, Ross was taking on two labor powerhouses: Service Employees International Union and the California Teachers Association. CTA’s Issues PAC and SEIU State Council spent a combined $25.3 million in support of Proposition 15, which received another roughly $5.3 million from SEIU Local 2015 and SEIU 1021. The measure also was backed by AFSCME, UNITE HERE and the California Federation of Teachers.
“CFT has been on the opposite [side] of Richie’s firm a few times on some very primary issues of CFT’s — teacher due process and Prop. 15,” Jeffery Freitas, president of the California Federation of Teachers, said in an interview.
“Under my leadership,” Freitas added, “CFT will never hire Richie Ross.”
Jack Black Sings Taylor Swift in His Underwear to Raise Money for Strikers
Finally, While the UAW has settled at Ford, SAG-AFTRA is getting ready to enter its 5th month on strike. Yesterday, Jack Black, who has been a constant presence on picket lines, stripped down to his underwear and sang Taylor Swift to raise money for striking SAG-AFTRA members.
Alright, folks, that’s all for today. Keep sending tips, story ideas, comments, and cooking recipes to [email protected]
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Love & Solidarity,