Greetings from Burgh, where the first Starbucks in Pittsburgh’s Bloomfield neighborhood moved to unionize.
20,000 Teachers in Puerto Rico Strike
In Puerto Rico, 20,000 teachers (nearly three-quarters of the island’s teaching workforce) went on strike yesterday to demand higher wages, better pensions, and better working conditions.
The minimum wage for teachers in Puerto Rico is $1,750 a month, which has left many teachers working second and third jobs.
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I do tutoring in the afternoon and I also give classes at night at the university,” said Juan Ruiz Goyco, a teacher from Arecibo. “I have a Ph.D. and I barely even make it to $2,000 with the Department of Education. I have to look for other jobs to survive. It’s just not enough.”
Pablo Mas Oquendo was another teacher who had to get a second job as a tutor and a third job as a security guard to survive. While driving back from his guard shift in the early morning of February 1, he fell asleep at the wheel and hit a truck, dying instantly.
For many striking teachers, his death has become a symbol for everything they’re fighting for.
“Day Without Immigrants” Protests Could Fuel More Strikes
On Monday, thousands of immigrants across the U.S. are expected to take off work and skip school to push Congress into passing immigrants’ rights legislation.
Over 80,000 people have signed up online to take part in the action organized by online activist Carlos Eduardo Espina, who has 2.5 million followers on TikTok.
“We’re not going to go to school. We’re not going to spend it. Instead, we will take to the streets peacefully to raise our voices,” Espina said in one of his many TikTok posts promoting “A Day Without Immigrants” protests.
Kentucky American Water Workers to Strike
In Lexington, Kentucky, 68 Kentucky American Water workers are going on strike.
The workers say that the company is refusing to give a 3% raise each year of the contract and is trying to weaken union security.
“Our members, the workers that provide safe drinking water to the Lexington, Fayette County area, are asking the company to bargain in good faith,” said Robert Smith, NCFO secretary-treasurer. “To address the workforce’s concerns and meet the needs of the workers that have faithfully provided non-stop service through the pandemic and some of the most trying times in the past years.”
Strikes & News Happening Elsewhere
- Orange County Transportation Authority drivers announced they would go on strike next week on Feb. 15, nearly a year after their last contract expired.
- Seattle Times’ surprise firing of reporter Marisa Ingemi spurs union petition demanding her reinstatement.
- Teamsters in St. Could, Minnesota, are on strike at Sysco.
- St. Paul teachers to take strike authorization vote next week.
- Target directs store managers to prevent workers from unionizing.
- Finally, Joe Calhoun, who helped make the iconic “I Am a Man” signs, recalls the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Strike.
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