Yesterday, the two top officials of Zimbabwe’s union movement were arrested by Zimbabwe police and charged with “inciting people to rise against the government and reporting falsehoods about people being killed.” Arrested were Lovemore Matombo, president of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), and Wellington Chibebe, ZCTU general secretary.
Zimbabwe and its president Robert Mugabe have a long record of worker and human rights violations. In the aftermath of the controversial presidential election in March, which observers say Mugabe lost, but which he is contesting, the Mugabe government has unleashed a new wave of violence and arrests against unions and other opponents in the past several weeks.
By Doug Cunningham
GM said this week in a government filing that it’s ready to come up with up to $200 million to help end a 10-week strike at American Axle. The UAW is on strike there after the company demanded wages be cut in half and pensions and health care benefits ended for future retirees.
GM has recently said it would not get involvd in the strike. But American Axle supplies GM with key auto parts and the strike has shut off the flow of those parts to GM factories.
The $200 million GM is willing to spend would go to cushion the impact of reduced wages and fund early retirement buyouts for American Axle workers.
The nearly 600 adjunct faculty at Henry Ford Community College in Dearborn, Mich., made a strong statement this week for better pay and benefits by voting for the Adjunct Faculty Organization (AFO), an affiliate of AFT.
The faculty members are concerned about low pay scales that maxed out at $1,700 a course, lack of job security and health insurance and no access to office space for preparation work or to meet with students.
Even though AFT represents regular faculty at the college, Henry Ford officials fought the adjunct faculty’s desire for a voice, says Mary Beck, AFO’s interim president. But the workers overcame the school’s anti-union campaign the old-fashioned way: with shoe leather and door knocking.
The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) has endorsed Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) for president.
The union, which represents 600,000 federal and District of Columbia government employees, made the endorsement after extensive member polling and a meeting of its national Executive Council.
John Gage, president of AFGE, says Obama’s energetic campaign and support of working families will mobilize voters around the country and help pro-working family candidates up and down the ticket in the fall. Gage said Obama would tackle the challenges facing the federal workforce and all working families, including job privatization and underfunding and understaffing of Social Security and veterans’ programs.