Today in Labor History July 27, 1919 Coal miner and labor leader Albert Ginger Goodwin is shot and killed by Canadian police. Although he had been ruled unfit for military service during World War I because he had lung disease, the conscription board reversed its decision just days after Goodwin led smelter workers on strike for the eight-hour day. Opposed to the war, Goodwin fled and for months avoided capture by the authorities. His death inspired Canada's first general strike on August 2 in Vancouver. ~Today in Labor History
Black lives matter. Black workers matter. Equal pay for equal work.
Local launches campaign to fight unequal treatment of Sun mailers Aug. 7, 2015 | After many months of bargaining for a new contract without significant movement, the Local Union, with the assistance of the International Union, is ramping up a campaign to educate the public about The Sun's wage discrimination practices of mailer trainees. The Sun's refusal to abandon its wage discrimination program under which black mailers are paid less than half of what it pays their white coworkers is unacceptable. This separate and unequal treatment is a step backwards for civil rights. All workers deserve fair and equal treatment, regardless of the color of their skin. Black and white mailer employees have joined together to tell The Sun, "Black Workers Matter. Equal pay for equal work." More inside…
Aug. 7, 2015 | (continued from Main Page)
In June at the African-American Heritage Festival at Camden Yards, and in July at Artscape, local members showed up with banners and leaflets to educate the public about The Baltimore Sun's wage discrimination against mailer trainees.
The Sun, sponsors of both festivals, was once a quality employer that paid family-supporting wages to Baltimore's working class employees. But things have changed.
Sun mailers haven't had an annual raise in eight years. Health insurance rates and copays have risen every year. And, The Sun created a three-tier wage scale for its mailers. The bottom tiers – mostly black workers – are paid less than half of what The Sun pays its top-tier white works who do the same job.
Last year, The Sun applauded Johns Hopkins for a new contract guaranteeing workers $15/hour. But the newspaper calls many workers "trainee", paying them $10/hour or less. Most of these workers remain "trainees" for years. Six workers have been "trainees" for over 10 years.
When white workers offered wage concessions to help raise everyone's pay, The Sun still refused to abandon its wage discrimination program.
"Many trainees don't know that our union is fighting hard to change the wage discrimination against mailer trainees," said Linda Brice. "It's unconscionable that so many workers don't make a living wage. If we start showing up to community events we will win. The public is outraged when they hear our story."