Labor struggles: the Americas – World Socialist Web Site


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Latin America

Bridgestone workers in Argentina stage limited strike over wages and conditions

After the failure of the twentieth meeting between the Single Union of Tire Workers (Sutna) with Pirelli and the management of the Bridgestone factory at the Argentine Ministry of Labor, the union called a strike on September 8. only lasted until September 12.

Sutna and the three tire makers have been in talks for months and the workers have gone on short-lived strikes, most recently in June.

The main demands, according to Sutna general secretary Alejandro Crespo, are “a salary increase above inflation and an additional 15% for hours worked on weekends”. The improvement of working conditions is also on the list of demands.

Brazilian autoworkers strike over planned layoffs

Workers at Brazil’s Mercedes-Benz plant in São Paulo went on strike on September 8 after news broke that the German luxury car company planned to lay off around 3,600 workers. The company said it would lay off 2,200 employees and not renew the contracts of 1,400 temporary workers.

Mercedes-Benz plans to outsource the production of front axles and medium transmissions, as well as logistics and maintenance services and focus on bus chassis and trucks.

The Metallurgic Syndicate do Grande ABC has scheduled the walkout to end on September 12.

The fact that the strike call was only of limited duration indicates that it was largely aimed at allaying workers’ anger, not stopping the layoffs.

Uruguayan bus drivers strike for wage demands

Drivers employed by Uruguayan public transport provider Copsa in Montevideo began an indefinite strike on September 6 over wage demands. The drivers are members of the Copsa Workers Association (ATC).

That evening, the Ministry of Labor and Social Security (MTSS) called a meeting the following day. ATC was present, but the stop remained in effect. Workers gathered outside the Executive Tower that day as a delegation delivered a letter to be delivered to President Luis Lacalle Pou.

The problem that precipitates the walkout is the recurring delays in the payment of wages. ATC President Adolfo Silvera told reporters at the protest that the problem dated back to 2014, with Copsa “still negotiating, putting in place a good [face] but the company continues with the same position that there is no money. If that position doesn’t change, Silvera added, “the strike continues.”

Colombian taxi drivers protest lack of control over digital driving platforms

Hundreds of taxi drivers in their vehicles converged on Medellín, capital of the Colombian department of Antioquia, and paralyzed traffic on Route 65, a major artery, on September 8. Secretariat at the administrative center of the city.

The mobilization was part of a global protest by taxi drivers against app-based transport services that taxi drivers blame for destroying their livelihoods.

The Association of United Taxi Drivers of Medellín claimed that app-based private vehicles and motorcycles are able to circumvent regulations and expenses, such as registration fees and insurance, that taxis must comply with. comply, while posing a risk to passengers. Unions have demanded tighter restrictions on digital businesses, requiring insurance, a formal process and an official pass to operate as a public service.

Other demands from taxi drivers’ unions related to safety issues. They demanded more “photodetection” cameras at key locations in the city and greater police presence and investigations into crimes committed against taxi drivers, who are frequent victims of robbery, kidnapping and violence.

Mexico’s VW workers’ union delays walkout for pay raise

On September 8, negotiators for the Independent Automobile Workers-Volkswagen Union (SITIAVW), which has 7,000 members, announced that they had extended the deadline for a strike originally set for September 9. VW workers have already voted twice to reject the company’s proposed raise, which currently stands at 11%, 9% in wages and 2% in benefits.

On August 9 and September 2, the majority of VW workers rejected the company’s offer of a two-year contract, as they recognized that record inflation, which shows no signs of abating, would swallow rapidly increasing. After the second vote, SITIAVW and VW were summoned to the Federal Labor Court of Collective Affairs in Mexico City.

In a press release, SITAVW said it had agreed to an extension until September 14.

However, VW has not budged from its offer of a raise, which it has described since July as “adequate”, adding only the meager 2% benefit increase after the first rejection vote. The Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare ordered the parties to continue negotiations on September 9, the deadline for the strike.

United States

Florida hoteliers vote to authorize strike after two months of unsuccessful talks

Hotel workers at the giant Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, Florida, voted overwhelmingly to grant strike permission on September 2 after a two-month extension of the old agreement expired on September 31. August without a new agreement to replace him. No strike date has been set by UNITE HERE Local 355, which is bargaining for 450 cleaners, bellhops and restaurant staff.

Maids receive an abysmal starting salary of $13.95. The workers are demanding a minimum wage of $20, but union secretary-treasurer Wendi Walsh told WLRN radio: “We told the company they don’t need to get there all in same time, but that we have to get there by the end. of the contract and that we need significant increases for current workers to provide some relief.

Management said it had reached an agreement with the union on wage increases for the first year of the contract, but would not reveal the percentage.

Le Diplomate closed for 14 months during the pandemic. Ines Santisteban, a housekeeper at the hotel for 20 years, said WLRN hotel management had reduced housekeeping staff from 100 to 60 and rooms would no longer be cleaned daily. Santisteban said it now takes “three times longer to clean up because you have piles of garbage, dirty sheets, piles of dirty towels. One person does the work of three people.

Brookfield Asset Management, owner of the Diplomat Beach Resort, generated net income of $12.4 billion last year. Bargaining between the union and the Diplomat will resume in September.

High profile talks fail to reach agreement in Peoria, Illinois schools contract negotiations

The second round of federally mediated talks between the Peoria Teachers’ Federation (PFT) and District 150 negotiators for schools in Peoria, Illinois broke down early Sept. 8 without a resolution. The 850 teachers, whose salaries are nearly $7,000 below the national average, participated in 19 bargaining sessions before the union accepted a federal mediator.

District 150 President Martha Ross released a statement saying the two sides have reached an agreement on compensation. The PFT responded, calling it a “lie”. Meanwhile, teachers in Peoria voted 780 to 7 to authorize a response on Sept. 1.

Under Illinois law, the union would have to request a third-party investigation process and follow-up report for an additional 30 days to allow all parties to review the report. However, the PFT did not request an investigation. Another mediation session is scheduled for September 15.


1,800 shipyard workers in Vancouver and Victoria grace the picket lines of tug crews

Seaspan tug towing barge full of sawdust [Photo by Jason Vanderhill (CC-BY-2.0)]

A thousand welders, pipefitters, electricians and other tradespeople at the Seaspan shipyard in North Vancouver and a nearby dry dock refuse to cross the picket lines set up by the captains and engineers of the tugboats in strike. In addition, another 800 tradesmen from the Seaspan shipyard in Victoria also graced the picket lines. Work has been stalled since last Thursday at both sites.

BC tug captains and engineers, members of the Canadian Merchant Marine Guild, went on strike Aug. 25 against Seaspan, the largest tug and berth company on the west coast of Canada. The workers have been without a contract since September 2019, with management refusing to make a serious wage offer. Workers told reporters that a paltry 2% a year wage offer from the company is completely unacceptable.

In addition to mooring ships, guild crews provide tanker escorts and emergency towing services, with a fleet of 30 tugs. Seaspan also operates a fleet of over 100 specialized and versatile barges that transport many of the province’s largest industries and marine construction projects. The strike by tugboat crews has worsened traffic congestion and delays at the ports of Vancouver and Victoria, which had already increased due to the COVID pandemic.

The dispute has impacted the work of two Canadian Navy support vessels and a Coast Guard vessel in North Vancouver and delayed work on permanent repair and maintenance contracts for naval vessels and other vessels at Victoria Dockyard.


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