Austin Labor Demonstrates Solidarity with Occupy

Our Texas comrades recommended this article from the Left Labor Reporter as an update on the Occupy movement in Austin. Have local updates? Send ’em our way! Reprinted with the author’s permission.

Five hundred union members marched through downtown Austin Sunday chanting, “What do we want? Union jobs” and “They got bailed out, we got sold out” during the Occupy Austin Labor Solidarity March. Ironworkers, sheet metal workers, electricians, telecom workers, and transit workers marched alongside teachers, state and local government workers, and EMS technicians.

Postal workers carried signs reading, “Save Our Postal Service, Save Saturday Deliveries” in reference to the United States Postal Service’s proposal to cut mail delivery services and lay off thousands of postal workers. Teamsters carried signs reading “Stop the War on Workers.”

Phil Bunker, vice-president of Teamsters Local 657 explained to me how the war on workers is affecting local Teamsters who work for Yellow Freight, a regional trucking company. Recently, the company threatened to file bankruptcy unless the union agreed to re-open and re-negotiate the contract. When the union reluctantly agreed, the company reduced wages by 15 percent, stopped making contributions to the workers’ pension fund, and reduced their health care benefit. “The members are very demoralized now,” Bunker said.

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