S.F.: Cruise ship waiters
walk off, win full pay
Dozens of waiters gathered on the dock the night of Jan. 27. Other workers were not allowed to leave the ship, strikers told a local radio station.
The waiters are part of a crew of around 1,000 that staffs the seven-story vessel, serving 2,300 passengers, which left Savona, Italy, Dec. 28.
Before long, several worker delegates and two union officials from the San Francisco Labor Council found themselves in the captain’s quarters discussing the grievance. Participating by phone were representatives of the Federazione Italiana Trasporti FIT-CISL, which has a collective bargaining agreement with Costa Cruises, and the International Transport Workers’ Federation, to which FIT-CISL is affiliated.
The company agreed to pay the waiters their full monthly salary and promised none of the workers involved would be victimized. The ship left San Francisco the next day, bound for Hawaii, Samoa, Fiji, New Zealand and beyond.
Iowa: Strikers at aluminum plant
again reject two-tier wage offer
Drivers passing by honked their horns and shouted support for the picketers.
Ken Allsbrow, a striker on the picket line, described the new offer as “the same sandwich flipped over.”
The rejected offer included concessions that were part of the contract proposal that workers voted down Jan. 20—big increases in medical insurance co-payments and deductibles and two-tier wages that would pay new hires $5 less per hour.
“I could go for two-tier pay if it ended after 60 or 90 days,” Allsbrow said, “but not if the new hires never get up to the same pay. That’s a union-breaker right there.”
Nichols President Tom Brackmann told the Quad Cities Dispatch Argus the company will continue to run the plant with supervisors and strikebreakers supplied by temporary agencies.
D.C. hospital workers
picket in contract fight
It was the second picket called by American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 2094. The local has 1,000 members, which include all hospital workers except nurses and security personnel. A group of hospital nurses participated during lunch.
The hospital workers’ contract expired in October. “They want to take away shift differentials, holiday pay and health benefits,” Local 2094 President Lauretta Stevenson told the Militant.
“We haven’t had a cost-of-living raise or anything,” said hospital worker Pamela Jeffero. “We’re understaffed and they won’t hire more people. The administration is just trying to bust the union.”
Steelworkers rally at Tesoro
refinery in Washington
Although the union has reached a national agreement with Tesoro for the six refineries organized by the Steelworkers, some issues related to pensions, health care, safety and vacations are negotiated separately with each local. No local agreements have yet been reached.
Job safety was a central concern at the rally. Seven workers were killed in an explosion at the refinery in April 2010. According to a union statement, the company has failed to address “on-site emergency response needs.”
“We treated five of the seven people who died in the 2010 explosion and don’t want to see that happen again,” said Julia Weinberg, president of the Washington State Nurses Association.
Minn.: Hotel workers picket over
owners’ drive to cut health care
Workers at the hotel have been in contract negotiations since November. The owners’ proposal would undercut all other hotel contracts in the Twin Cities area, impose a two-tier wage system reducing wages by as much as $5 per hour and have workers pay toward their health insurance.
“Some of the lower-paid workers may have to forgo health insurance,” Desiree King, chief steward and a server at the hotel restaurant, told the Militant. “With contributions ranging from $800 to $1,200, this is almost a month’s pay.”
Saint Paul Hotel workers have had only a 1 percent wage increase since 2007.