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   Vol. 70/No. 41           October 30, 2006  
On the Picket Line
Scotland garment workers
on strike counter boss threats

EDINBURGH, Scotland—“We’ll be here until we get our pay raise” said striker Bessie Roy, while on the picket line October 12, day five of a strike by knitwear workers at Mackinnon Mill at Coatbridge, near Glasgow. Roy and other strikers described their anger at how the previous day Paul Gerrard, a director of Edinburgh Woollen Mill, had called them into the works canteen to tell them not only that they would not get a pay increase but if they continued with their action the plant would be closed. The 110 members of the Community trade union began their protest actions September 28 and are now striking two days each week. They have received warm solidarity from other workers. Strikers described how a coachload of pensioners coming to the company’s retail store turned back after seeing the picket line. They then signed a petition in support of the trade unionists’ fight.

—Peter Clifford  
Transit workers in Ontario strike
over company’s cutback demands

OSHAWA, Ontario—Some 300 bus drivers, mechanics, and clerical workers, members of Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) Local 222, went on strike against the Durham Regional Transit System here October 5. Management is demanding extensive benefit cuts for both retirees and active employees, and that workers give up their cost-of-living adjustment clauses and the right to refuse the contracting out of many full-time jobs.

On the picket line October 15, a number of workers expressed anger over the company’s refusal to negotiate with the union. “Their first offer was their final offer. We want them to get back to the table,” said striker Ray Kelly. Strikers report that they are getting a lot of support from fellow CAW members on their way to work at GM’s two big auto plants nearby. In addition, retired unionists who used to work for the Toronto Transit Commission and the Durham region have joined the picket lines.

—Beverly Bernardo  
Teachers rally in Miami
to demand pay increases

MIAMI—Several thousand Miami-Dade County teachers, members of the United Teachers of Dade union, rallied in front of area schools and the building where the school board was meeting on October 11. They chanted, “More than praise, we need a raise,” to press their demand for a pay increase during negotiations over a proposed three-year contract.

A new teacher in Miami-Dade receives $34,200. The school board, headed by former New York school superintendent Rudy Crew, has offered to increase pay by a just couple of thousand dollars. Teachers say this is lower than New York, Chicago, and neighboring Broward County. The top pay for a veteran teacher is $62,225.

Jessica Soria, 25, a teacher for three years, said, “The union is asking for $40,000. They should give at least $37,000 to match Broward. I’ve thought about moving because of the low pay and the increasing workload.” Soria said that while the class size is supposed to be a maximum of 25, her class has 31 students.

Maggie Trowe
Related articles:
Goodyear tire strikers win solidarity
Tentative accord ends five-month teachers’ strike in Mexico  
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