France “Black Thursday” General Strike – Chattanooga Machinists Strike – Journalist Killings Rose 50% in 2022

French workers to engage in a general strike on Thursday (REUTERS - GONZALO FUENTES)

Folks, 

Greetings from the Burgh, where I am getting back in the swing of things after spending the last two weeks off while I was sick.

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France’s “Black Thursday” General Strike Over Pension Reforms 

Tomorrow, workers in major industries in France are engaging in a massive general strike. The general strike is being called over Macron’s government’s attempt to raise the minimum retirement age from 62 to 64. 

Already ¾ of schools are expected to shut down throughout the country. Major rail lines are shut down, and flights throughout the country are also canceled. 

“This is the first strike and it means that there will be others,” Philippe Martinez, head of the CGT union, told RFI. “I hope to see several million people striking and demonstrating because this reform affects everyone.”

For more, check out RFI. 

Chattanooga Machinists Strike for 1st Time Since 1976

Back down in Chattanooga, over 100 Machinists are out on strike at Mueller Mufflers for the first time since 1976. The workers are striking over a contract proposal that would shift them to schedules of 10 hours a day, four days a week. 

“They’re trying to shift our work schedules and take away a lot of our overtime,” David Combs, a skilled maintenance worker who has been employed at the plant for 45 years, told the Chattanooga Times-Free Press. “I think the pay package was pretty decent, but we just don’t want them changing the hours of work.”

For more, check out the Chattanooga Times-Free Press. 

Homeland Security Allowing Non-Citizens to Report Labor Violations 

Under a new directive issued by the Biden Administration, the Department of Homeland Security will allow undocumented immigrants to report violations without jeopardizing their immigration status. 

“Individuals should feel free to come forward to complain about labor conditions, because they have certain rights, and their vulnerabilities will not be exploited,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told ABC News in an interview. “Exploitative employers better beware because we are using our investigative and prosecuting authorities to hold them accountable.”

For more, check out ABC News. 

U.N.: Killing of Journalists & Media Workers Surged 50% in 2022

According to a new report by the U.N., the killing of journalists rose by 50% in 2022. From CBS News: 

Statistics from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Observatory (UNESCO) of killed journalists released Monday showed that a total of 86 journalists and media workers were killed globally in 2022, a sharp increase from the average of 58 killings per year from 2019–2021. 

While numbers rose all around the world, Latin America was the deadliest region, with 44 journalists or media workers being killed in 2022. Asia and the Pacific, which saw 16 killings, was the second deadliest followed by Eastern Europe with 11 killings, the U.N. reported. 

Mexico was the deadliest individual country with 19 journalists killed, the U.N. figures showed, followed by Ukraine, where Russian forces continue to attack, with 10 dead. Nine were killed in Haiti, according to the U.N. 

While there was a small increase — from 20 in 2021 to 23 last year — in the number of journalists killed in countries in conflict, the general increase was primarily driven by killings in non-conflict countries, doubling from 35 killings in 2021 to 61 in 2022, the U.N. reported. The deaths in non-conflict regions accounted for three-quarters of all killings last year, according to the U.N.

For more, check out CBS News. 

News & Strikes Happening Elsewhere

Alright folks, that’s all for today. Please, donate to help us cover workers fighting back in 2023. Please, if you can, sign up as one of our 739 recurring donors today. 

Keep sending tips, story ideas, and comments to [email protected]. Thanks for all the suggestions and support. 

Love & Solidarity, 

Melk 

About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter, who covered everything from the Brazilian labor movement to major league baseball and spent years covering union organizing in the South for The Guardian. In 2015, he used his NLRB settlement from being fired illegally for union organizing at Politico to start the crowd-funded Payday Report. He lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh and speaks Portuguese which he learned in journalism school in Rio de Janerio. Email: [email protected]

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