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On the picket line

August 30, 2002 | Page 11

Courtyard Marriott Hotel
Pajaro Valley Unified School District

United Parcel Service

UPS TEAMSTERS' votes on the proposed national master contract and local and regional supplements were being counted as Socialist Worker went to press. Separately negotiated agreements covering Chicago Locals 710 and 705 will be mailed to members in early September.

While there are some differences, the Chicago agreements have the same problems as the national deal. These include the six-year length of the deal, low starting pay for part-timers, a two-year freeze on the creation of full-time jobs, continued two-tier pay for "combination job" workers doing air package delivery, and few protections against outsourcing to railroads and nonunion trucking companies.

About 60 people attended a contract information August 18 hosted by the Chicagoland chapter of Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU). While TDU has done a good job of explaining what's wrong with Hoffa's proposed contract, the organization hasn't called for a no vote. This is a mistake.

UPS Teamsters should vote this deal down and send negotiators back to the table. Union activists in Local 705 are calling for a "no" vote and calling for several improvements, including higher starting pay, the creation of full-time jobs in the first year of the contract, a single pay scale for combination workers, turning nonunion temporary jobs into full-time union work, and conversion of cross-town rail work for "feeder" semi-truck drivers.

All Local 705 UPS members should attend the UPS Tentative Agreement Review meeting at the Local 705 auditorium (Jackson and Ashland), September 7, 9 a.m.

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Courtyard Marriott Hotel

By Poly Manoli

SAN FRANCISCO--Chanting "No contract, no peace" and "Escucha, escucha, estámos en la lucha," workers at the Courtyard Marriott Hotel on Fisherman's Wharf entered their 75th day on the picket line August 14. The two major issues are decent working conditions and an increase in wages--which haven't changed since 1998.

The hotel was recently renovated, but the wages of the workers--80 percent of whom are nonwhite--remain stagnant and are by far the lowest among hotel workers in Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Local 2. In addition, they are required to clean 16 rooms per day instead of 14--which is the norm for other room cleaners on the Wharf.

The strike has been able to draw increasing support from United Parcel Service and other delivery workers who honor the picket line. "I don't know where these guys are getting their toilet paper from, but they sure won't get it from me," explained a Teamster unloading his truck on the other side of the road.

Most workers support the union, but some think there should be more solidarity with other unions and stronger organization of rank-and-file members. "It's an ongoing struggle," said one worker who didn't want to be identified. "But we are out here getting stronger."

This situation has created a lot of pressure for managers, who are resorting to rumors to try to weaken the workers' determination to win. "It's a strike," said one worker on the picket line. "We are going to be out here one day longer than the bosses."

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Pajaro Valley Unified School District

By Martin Smith

A COALITION of Latino, student and labor activists demonstrated outside the Pajaro Valley Unified School Board's August 14 meeting when the predominantly white school board refused to name a new school after labor leader Cesar Chavez.

Instead, the board decided to name the new predominantly Latino school in Watsonville, Calif., Pajaro Valley--which means bird in Spanish. "Don't humiliate us and lower our representation to that of an animal," fumed one activist.

Watsonville's schools--with a student body that is 75 percent Latino--are typical of California's racist education system with its overcrowded, crumbling facilities and one of the worst teacher/student ratios in the U.S.

Yet the naming of the new school isn't the only disgusting move by the board. Pajaro Valley will be built near a landfill and an airport crash zone--and will be the district's most crowded school.

All of this reeks of the racism at the core of the education system. We must fight this racism alongside the inadequate school funding.

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