Labor struggles: the Americas – World Socialist Web Site


the World Socialist Website invites workers and other readers to contribute to this regular column.

Latin America

Honduran transport workers strike and block highways over rising prices

Members of the Truckers’ Association of the Southern Transportation Hub in Honduras went on strike in the early hours of April 7, blocking various highways across the country. Truckers have taken action to protest against soaring fuel prices and crime. The demands included a fare increase, a bonus or subsidy, and a reduction in fuel prices.

Among the blocked roads was one leading to the capital Tegucigalpa and another connecting it to the largest department, Olancho. The actions were taken “to engage in an open and effective dialogue with President Xiomara Castro, in order to resolve the problems that afflict the transport sector in all its forms. This includes urban and interurban transport, taxis and motorcycle taxis,” according to a report by Heraldry.

Castro is the wife of former President Manuel Zelaya, who was overthrown in a US-backed coup in 2009. She ran as a ‘leftist’ candidate last year and took her duties in January while assuring both the American imperialists and the national bourgeoisie that she would pose no danger. She called the strike an “illegal act” which was “totally unjustified” and said: “There is no dialogue until they suspend their strike.”

About nine hours after the strike began, the union called off the strike and the blockades. The platform’s president, Arnulfo Sánchez, said that “we will trust the good will of President Xiomara Castro; we will suspend seizures at the national level, and we will wait for them to summon us.

Peruvian teachers march and demonstrate for a salary increase

The Peruvian Union of Education Workers joined members of the General Workers’ Federation on April 7 in marches and other protest actions to press their demands for a minimum wage increase. In the capital Lima, protesters held up banners and marched to the Congress building, where they staged a rally. Similar mobilizations took place across the country. Although there was a heavy police presence at most of the protests, no violence was reported.

A transportation strike in Huaycan, on the outskirts of Lima, Peru, Monday, April 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)

Panamanian police disperse lab technicians protesting for a raise and arrest four

Lab technicians in the Clayton neighborhood of Panama City staged a protest outside the Social Security Fund (CSS) building on April 8. They had been on strike for five days demanding a $120 pay raise. Laboratory technicians are members of the National Association of Clinical Laboratory Technician Assistants.

A protester told reporters that technicians had to work up to 14 hours a day during the most critical days of the pandemic, some non-stop for months, but despite a meeting with CSS officials, their demand for a raise was ignored. Some were also threatened by CSS authorities.

That afternoon, national police units arrived at the scene to disperse the protest. Four protesters were handcuffed and dragged to jail while the others were chased away by the police.

Strike by Peruvian municipal workers for the application of the collective agreement

Municipal workers in Chimbote, the largest city in Peru’s Áncash region, lowered their tools on April 6 to demand that the city government respect contractual provisions for payment for their time of service. They also call for a “dialogue table” to address other outstanding issues dating back to 2021.

Among the strikers are some 200 public cleaners, responsible for collecting rubbish. The provincial government of the province of Santa, of which Chimbote is the capital, has announced that it will resort to an emergency plan to collect the waste. The head of the public cleaning service claimed he was assaulted by strikers and filed a criminal complaint against the workers, members of the United Labor Union.

Strike of Uruguayan workers of “súpergas” for a better increase

Workers in the production of liquefied petroleum gas, known as “súpergas” in Spanish, went on strike on April 7 to protest against the increase proposed by the National Wage Council during recent negotiations. A day later, workers in assembly voted to extend the strike until at least April 11.

At the last meeting with the Salary Council, the Uruguayan Federation of Commerce and Services Employees (Fuecys) proposed a salary increase of 4.8%, which represents the amount of purchasing power lost in the year last. The Council’s counter-proposal was, in the words of de Fuecys chairman Favio Riveron, “almost worse than the executive’s directives”. In fact, given rising inflation rates across Latin America, Fuecys’ proposal itself is likely to be woefully inadequate.

Supergas workers have resolved to return to work on April 11, but not to work overtime until April 25, the date of the next Wage Council meeting.

United States

Adjunct professor at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, New York, authorizes strike

Adjunct faculty members at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, New York, voted by a 92% margin to grant strike permission unless the administration reaches an agreement by the end of the semester. Service Employees International Union Local 200 United, which represents the 700 adjunct teachers, held 30 bargaining sessions over a two-and-a-half-year period and was unable to reach an agreement on salaries or work security.

Adjunct professors are paid between $3,000 and $3,300 per course, but are looking to increase that amount to $4,700 to bring them in line with other professors at area colleges. Professors also seek job security during a two-year contract. Currently, professors are employed semester by semester and can be fired at the discretion of the administration.

Adjunct professors make up more than 70 percent of the faculty—only 250 professors at the college are full-time—giving an indication of how the administration exploits low-wage, part-time faculty.

University of Southern California guards protest low pay

Janitors at the University of Southern California (USC), members of the Service Employees International Union, staged a second protest on April 8 to pressure Aramark, which provides custodial services on campus, to accept higher wages and improved health care benefits. USC offered workers only a measly 30 cent raise.

Workers have blamed wages for not keeping up with inflation and many have to travel long distances to get to work due to the high cost of living near campus.

Aramark is a Fortune 500 company, which operates in the United States and Canada and 20 other countries and is known for supplying cheap labor to businesses, schools and prisons.

One-day strike at New York City Film Arts Society

Staff at the Anthology Film Archives in New York City staged a day-long strike on March 31 to protest delays by the institution’s board of trustees in negotiations with United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 2110. “Wages are poverty wages, they have been for years,” said Josh, a striker, Washington Square News.

Workers are demanding job security, decent wages, a grievance procedure and severance pay. Staffers first unionized last year under the UAW. Negotiations started about two months ago.

Anthology Film Archives is known for its avant-garde film screenings. Currently, the company is focused on expanding its facilities, and so far it has raised $10 million for the project.

Indiana University Graduate Student Workers Strike Vote

Graduate students at Indiana University in Bloomington vote on whether to strike. The more than 1,000 workers are seeking recognition for their union, the United Electrical Workers-affiliated Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition.

The university administration refused to recognize the union and threatened to fire the workers in the event of a strike. Voting continued until Monday afternoon. A strike is scheduled for Wednesday if the majority votes in favor.

Workers say low wages are a problem as well as fees, which undermine some of workers’ compensation. The IGWC-EU did not raise specific demands, only insisting that university officials enter into negotiations with the union.

More than 450 instructors have pledged not to retaliate against graduates if they walk out, as have 20 departments.


The Sea to Sky bus strike in British Columbia is now in its tenth week

Negotiations remain stalled in the ten-week strike by bus drivers serving routes in the Whistler area north of Vancouver. Eighty Unifor transit workers are on strike on BC Transit routes through Whistler, Squamish and the Pemberton Valley. The strike led to the closure of all public transport in the area, except for the continuation of special services for the disabled.

BC Transit, the provincial transit authority, contracts out operations to Whistler Transit LTD and Diversified Transit in Squamish and partially funds the two private companies.

The workers have been without a contract since August 2021. Their wages, pensions, benefits and job security provisions are far below those in Vancouver and Victoria. In addition, approximately 40% of public transport workers on the Sea to Sky route do not have social security coverage. The Whistler area, a longtime playground for the wealthy, has particularly high house prices, inflated but necessary rents and other consumer items that put additional pressure on the standard of living of working people. public transport.


Comments are closed.