Tag Archives: protest

Uber and Lyft Drivers Protest Ahead of IPO

Uber and Lyft drivers in more than a dozen cities around the world are participating in an international day of protest, calling for better wages and working conditions days ahead of Uber’s estimated $91 billion IPO. Spearheaded by Rideshare Drivers United, a Los Angeles-based association of drivers, many are calling on passengers to temporarily boycott the ride services by turning off the apps.  

Cofounder and former CEO Travis Kalanick’s stake may be worth as much as $5.9 billion. But the IPO will not be life-changing for most drivers, who Uber insists are independent contractors, not employees.

From Melbourne, Australia, to New York City, drivers and supporters rallied to protest the business model that many say exploits workers. The fact that drivers in different cities were able to gather and protest on the same day, creating headlines around the world, appeared to be major feat of the organizing capacity of drivers. It’s one of the largest coordinated protests by gig economy workers in recent history.

According to Chicago driver Lenny Sanch, who helped organize a rally outside City Hall, “The day of action was already a success prior to it starting. We caused an organic rising in a short amount of time.”

AFM Locals Participate in May Day Rallies Across the US

Rally to Save the Arts in New York City

Members of Local 802 (New York City) joined other unions, including Actors Equity Association, for a Rally to Save the Arts in front of City Hall in New York City.


Local 802 President Tino Gagliardi was one of the speakers at the April Save the Arts Rally.


Hundreds of arts leaders, workers, and supporters turned out for a Rally to Save the Arts held April 3 in NewYork City.


Among the speakers at the New York City Rally to Save the Arts was Local 802
(New York City) member David Byrne, a founding member of the Talking Heads.

may day

Groups Call for May Day Work Stoppage

Workers around the country are planning to participate in labor stoppages and rallies on May 1, under a national call to action. “May Day is rooted in the struggle for workers’ rights, dignity, and respect. This includes all workers, especially immigrant workers in this country who are more likely to work hazardous jobs with low wages and without union representation. On May Day we will take to the streets and demand justice for workers and our families,” says Martin Unzueta, executive director of Chicago Community and Workers Rights.

Almost 350,000 service workers plan to strike, demanding among other things:

  • Stop to the criminalization, mass incarceration, and deportation of particular people of color.
  • Defense of the right to organize and earn a living wage.
  • Defense of the rights of women, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ communities.
  • Act on climate change, especially to protect the migrant, poor, and other communities disproportionately affected by pollution and climate change.
  • Defense and fully funding of public services, including education and health care.

Among the workers and organizations who have committed to collective action on May 1 are: members of Chicago Community and Workers rights, tens of thousands of members of the California SEIU, a thousand Rural Community Workers Alliance workers in Milan Missouri, and the Restaurant Opportunities Center United food industry worker advocacy group.

Labor Groups Stand with Native Americans in Opposition to Dakota Access Pipeline

The Labor Coalition for Community Action has announced its support for Native Americans in protesting against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and defending Native lands from exploitation by corporations and the US government. Though pipeline proponents cite it would bring 4,500 jobs, the DAPL also threatens tribal sovereignty, sacred burial grounds, and the water supply of the Standing Rock Sioux and potentially 17 million others.

“We remain committed to fighting the corporate interests that back this project and name this pipeline ‘a pipeline of greed.’ We challenge the labor movement to strategize on how to better engage and include Native people and other marginalized populations into the labor movement as a whole,” the Labor Coalition said in a press release. “Lastly, we applaud the many labor unions working to create a new economy with good green jobs and more sustainable employment opportunities for all. We also encourage stakeholders—labor unions including the building trades, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, and others who would be impacted—to come together to discuss a collective resolution.”

The Labor Coalition for Community Action includes the AFL-CIO constituency groups: A. Phillip Randolph Institute, the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, the Coalition of Black Trace Unionists, the Coalition of Labor Union Women, the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, and Pride at Work.

Global Airport Workers Join Protest

On June 1-2 airport workers from around the world held the first-ever global day of action to draw attention to the airline industry’s continued push to drive down wages and working standards, while raking in record profits of $36 billion in 2016. The protest was organized to coincide with the International Air Transportation Associations (IATA) annual general meeting in Dubin, Ireland.

While some workers traveled halfway around the world to deliver their message directly to the IATA executives in Dublin, others stayed home and staged protests in airports in Brazil, Argentina, Korea, England, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, and Sweden. In the US there were rallies, press conferences, and banner drops in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, and other cities.

One report by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) finds that workers in security, wheelchair assistance, fueling, cargo and baggage handling, cabin cleaning, and passenger check-in face a working environment of stress, irregular work patterns, and insufficient wage levels. This global worker action was spearheaded by a new coalition called Airports United that is determined to secure economic justice and higher standards for airport service workers everywhere.  

Supporters of Hartford Symphony Orchestra Rally at Connecticut State Capitol Building

playing to prepare for rallyOn September 8, Hartford musicians, Local 400 President Joseph Messina and Secretary Candace Lammers, and their supporters gathered outside the Connecticut State Capitol building to rally in support of Hartford Symphony Orchestra, which is fighting for a fair contract. Their last contract expired in 2013, and management has asked them to concede to fewer services and 40% pay cuts.

Among those who came to the Connecticut Capitol to show their support were AFM President Ray Hair, Secretary-Treasurer Sam Folio, and Symphonic Services Division Director Jay Blumenthal; ROPA Treasurer Donna Loomis; ICSOM Chair Bruce Ridge; Connecticut AFL-CIO Executive Secretary Treasurer Lori Pelletier; Connecticut AFL-CIO President and Executive Director AFSCME Council 4 Sal Luciano; Connecticut AFL-CIO Trustee Mark Espinosa; Connecticut AFL-CIO President Emeritus and longtime leader John Olsen; representatives of Danbury and Hartford Central Labor Councils; State Representative Andy Fleischmann who is a longtime friend of the labor movement, as well as arts in the schools; Connecticut Education Association representative and former House speaker Chris Donovan; workers from IATSE, AFSCME, United Food and Commercial Workers, AFT Connecticut, and FCIU; plus retirees and other concerned citizens.

Ray Hair gave a rousing speech at the rally where he called out David Fay, president and chief executive officer of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra for trying to cut the musicians’ already meager $23,000 salaries, and in effect, destroy the orchestra.


“Nobody can live on $23,000 a year,” explained Hair. “That’s why they schedule rehearsals at night, during the week, to allow symphony musicians to supplement their jobs with daytime teaching and other things. Management wants to cut the workload down to about 115 [from 185] services annually for about $15,000 a season—a reduction of 38%. And what’s worse, that 38% pay cut is in the context of having daytime services. That forces musicians who make ends meet with multiple employers to choose between one job or the other. It’s a no win situation.”

All this is despite perfect concerts, recordings, and sold out shows, he continued. “The spirits that we raised here in the community and the money that we made for the businesses here are not enough for David Fay anymore.” Hair went on to detail more figures: Fay earned $400,000 last year; The Bushnell, Hartford’s performance venue, has assets of $43 million and posted profits last year; and the symphony has assets of nearly $10 million.

people at rally

“I think it’s time for David Fay to face the music in Hartford,” concluded Hair. “The concessions that David Fay is asking this orchestra to concede are completely and totally unjustified. For the employer/employee relationship to function there has to be a fair bargain. If we don’t put a stop to this union busting attitude, not only here in Hartford, but everywhere else, nobody’s ever going to do it. It threatens to destroy what much of labor has achieved over the past century and it’s about to destroy the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.”

Following the rally, Hartford Symphony Orchestra musicians and their supporters marched to The Bushnell and back while carrying signs and chanting.