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Vol. 72/No. 4      January 28, 2008

On the Picket Line
New York cafeteria workers
press for contract

Cafeteria workers on strike at the New York Life Insurance Co. and 55 Water Street building in New York City have been walking the picket lines to press for higher wages and better conditions.

The 80 striking workers, members of UNITE HERE Local 100, are employed by Aramark Corp., the biggest U.S. food service provider, which runs the cafeterias at both locations. The workers went out on strike November 12 after a year of working without a contract.

"With rent and subways and everything else going up, how can we afford to live in this town without a decent raise?" said Cesar Trinidad, a striker, to the Daily News.

Aramark's contract offer includes only a $10-a-week raise. It would cut company payments into workers' pensions by more than 50 percent.

Union contracts at other sites operated by Aramark in New York are set to expire in the coming months, including at the United Nations, Goldman Sachs, Citibank, and JP Morgan Chase.

On December 20, Aramark workers voted to authorize strikes at the Bank of New York building, Fashion Institute of Technology, and Citigroup.

—Róger Calero

Buenos Aires city workers
protest firings

Thousands of city workers in Buenos Aires, Argentina, marched January 4 against the firing of 2,300 municipal employees and plans to cut another 23,000 city jobs.

The demonstration was part of a one-day strike that affected most government operations. It was organized by the city employees unions SUTECBA and ATE, and the General Confederation of Labor (CGT), which organizes some 120,000 city workers. CGT garbage truck drivers also stayed off the job in support of the action.

Buenos Aires mayor Mauricio Macri, who comes from one of the richest families in the country, took office last December and said he would cut what he called patronage jobs from the previous administration. Elected last year on the conservative Republican Proposal ticket, Macri has vowed to follow through on the rest of the firings. "I was chosen to make changes and this means making decisions," said Macri. He also moved to take over union-run health services that provide medical care to city employees.

Union officials said the firings will affect child-care centers, senior citizens homes, cultural centers, parks, and the local radio and television stations. Before Macri took office, on his initiative, the city's legislative body approved a proposal to increase by 40 to 250 percent the fees paid by homeowners for street lights and street cleaning.

—Róger Calero
Related articles:
Minnesota packinghouse workers fight union decertification
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