December 7, 2022

Workers’ struggles: the Americas – world socialist web site


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Latin America

Partial strike by Argentine magistrates over working conditions

From December 16, judicial workers in San Luis, capital of Argentina’s central San Luis province, stopped working at noon and demonstrated to demand changes in working conditions. Without a response from management, the justice workers union, the Puntano Judicial Union (SiJuPu), said it would “toughen up” the measures it took.

SiJuPu’s complaints include understaffing, overwork, structural modifications of the tribunal, changes in the examination system and the requirements for passing them, low salaries, poor condition of buildings, lack of dialogue with the direction and schedule changes. The union claims it appealed to ministers at the Superior Court of Justice without a satisfactory response, which necessitated action to draw attention to the workers’ complaints.

In fact, Superior Court officials condemned the court workers when they demonstrated outside the Superior Court building, calling them “cowardly, violent, provocative, provocative and clearly intimidating,” and describing the protest. as a “gang action”, and called the strike an “unfounded, unwarranted and illegal strike”.

SiJuPu called a demonstration for December 17 in the town of Villa de Merlo and raised the possibility of calling a general strike if there is no response to their demands.

Colombian hospital workers strike over unpaid wages

As of December 17, health workers at Luruaco hospital in northern Colombia were still on strike after they started on December 10 over unpaid wages and vacation pay. However, they continued to perform emergency services and COVID-19 vaccinations.

The workers have not received their wages for up to four months. In addition, they did not receive vacation pay or other benefits.

The workers accuse the mismanagement of the director and the chairman of the board of directors of having plunged the hospital into a financial crisis. The Anthoc healthcare workers union called for government intervention to investigate and repair the administration of the hospital.

Uruguayan inter-ministerial transport workers stop working for 24 hours to demand progress in negotiations

Members of the Uruguayan transport union UNOTT went on strike on December 17 during a meeting at the Ministry of Labor and Social Security (MTSS). The workers, who operate roads between the country’s 19 departments, had staged a similar 24-hour strike the week before. During a picket line outside the entrance to the Tres Cruces bus company that day, police fired rubber bullets and injured at least one protester.

UNOTT says the guidelines for increases agreed to by government and business are not enough to offset the erosion of earning capacity due to inflation, which shows no signs of slowing down. The earning power of workers fell 13 percent over the past year, as government and businesses agreed to a meager 1.3 percent increase for the two-year contract.

Tripartite talks took place at MTSS during the shutdown. Later, UNOTT director Juan Arellano told reporters: “We may have come to a final deal if the workers approve it. A meeting was scheduled this week to discuss and vote on the proposed deal. The holding of another day of strike scheduled for December 23 is conditional on the outcome of the meeting.

Workers at a striking bus company in the city of Argentina block roads after attacks on drivers

Following two separate attacks on bus drivers on the outskirts of Buenos Aires on the night of December 15, workers from eight urban bus lines stopped work. At first, a motorcyclist attacked the driver who had asked him to wear his mask. The drunk rider used a bottle to cut off the driver. In the second incident, the driver was cut off by a thief who attempted to rob him.

After hearing about the attacks, workers at a company, Almafuerte, blocked traffic and marched to the municipal palace to demand more security. Workers agreed to return to work later in the morning after provincial police agreed to be more present along the various routes.

The bus drivers union called for assemblies to decide on a course of action.

United States

Pleasant Valley, Pa. Teachers set February strike date

The Pleasant Valley Education Association (PVEA) has informed the Pleasant Valley, Pa., School district that it will go on strike on February 28 unless a new contract is in place. According to the PVEA, the strike authorization was overwhelming.

The union and the district have been negotiating for almost a year without progress. The old contract expired on June 30, 2021. Teachers seek better wages, benefits and working conditions and warn that without them the district will see its best teachers leave. District negotiators do not entertain teachers’ demands, pointing to budget constraints. Superintendent James Konrad responded to the teacher’s threat of strike action: “The council’s objective is clear: to enter into a contract with the association that is sustainable given the financial conditions of the district.

In 2020, the district threatened to dismiss 52 paraprofessionals and 47 teachers and administrative staff due to budget pressures. Negotiations will resume in January with a state mediator.

Euclid, Ohio, teachers protest blocking contract negotiations, authorize ten-day strike

The teachers held a school board meeting in Euclid, Ohio, on December 8 to express their disapproval after 10 months of fruitless negotiations that failed to reach a settlement. Some 400 members of the Euclid Teachers Association (ETA) voted in November to authorize a ten-day strike.

Details of the negotiations were not released. But ETA spokesperson Josh Stephens told the audience: “We would like the board to drop its request for the right to transfer teachers at any time during the school year. We find that this would greatly disrupt education and student success.

In what was seen as a provocation by the board, it took a long time to eat cake to honor the outgoing board members. “We don’t even have lunch,” one teacher protested. “There are no replacements. We don’t have lunch and you eat cake in front of us? “

In 2019, the district handed over its transport operations to giant entrepreneur First Student, which cost 19 of the 72 bus drivers their jobs.

Omaha city workers demand return of jobs after city turns to outside contractor

City workers from the Omaha Housing Authority (OHA) protested outside the agency’s board meeting on December 16 to demand that their jobs be returned. The 18 workers, members of Nebraska Public Employees Local 251, voted 16-2 to reject a number of concessions and the OHA scrapped them and hired a private contractor to replace them.

Workers opposed pay cuts, a new four-day and ten-hour work schedule, and management’s right to impose last-minute Sunday assignments. The OHA also demanded the elimination of overtime on weekdays and weekends.


City workers in London, Ont. Discuss refusals to work as Omicron wave spreads

Significant discontent among workers in the City of London, Ont. Has escalated into growing threats to turn down work assignments due to the failure of city officials to ensure employees are fully immunized. There are 2,800 workers employed by the city. Although there is a mandate for vaccination in most city departments, city officials have allowed a vaccine exemption so broad and unverifiable that workers are unsure which of their co-workers may be unvaccinated.

Therefore, Alastair Bruff, the president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) for Out-of-Town Workers, told the London Free Press last week as vaccinated members of his local union discussed refusals to work.

“We’re going to have a snow event shortly, we’re living in Canada, and I have no idea what’s going to happen that day the snowplows are supposed to come out,” said Bruff. “Vaccinated people (say) loud enough, I don’t go in the truck with them (unvaccinated workers). The union official refrained from supporting such an action, complaining of having to represent the unvaccinated as well as the vaccinated and of not having received sufficient advice from the city management on the matter.

Similar sentiments were expressed by city firefighters and other workers. The brewing movement comes amid the start of an unprecedented surge in COVID infections in the province and across the country as the new Omicron variant spreads aggressively.

City vaccination policy requires workers to provide proof of vaccination, unless they are claiming medical, personal, or human rights exemption. Those requesting an exemption simply need to sign a private “oath” citing one of the exemptions. No doctor’s note or any other justification for refusing to be vaccinated is required. In addition, city officials did not disclose any information on the number of people requesting an exemption. As a result, vaccinated workers are deprived of any knowledge of the vaccination status of the employees they work with.