Union and workers’ rights supporters rallied in front of Congressman Morgan Griffith’s district Office at 17 W. Main St. in Christiansburg Thursday afternoon waving signs and singing.
The effort, hosted by IUE-CWA Local 82160 and the Coalition for Justice, sought to raise public awareness of three bills coming up for vote in Congress and to urge Griffith to vote ‘no’ on.
The Congressman was not in his Christiansburg office and could not be reached for comment. It is not known whether he was aware of the rally or its issues.
The three bills of concern for the group are H.R.986, Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act of 2017 introduced by Todd Rokita Representative from Indiana, H.R. 2776, Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act introduced by Tim Walberg, representative from Michigan, and H.R 2775 the Employee Privacy Protection Act introduced by Joe Wilson of South Carolina.
All three bills were introduced Sept. 25 to the Union Calendar, the separate US House of Representatives calendar that schedules bills involving money issues.
“When people open up a shop to a union, incomes go up, tax revenue goes up, and school systems are supported,” Penny Franklin, president of IUE-CWA Local 82160, at Hubbel Lighting said.
The union holds that H.R. 986, would take away workers’ rights if they work at tribal casinos or on any part of tribal land, no matter what job they are performing.
H.R. 2776, would give employers the right to set the date for union representation elections, enabling them to postpone these votes for months at a time.
H.R. 2775, would cut off workers’ access to key information before an election, denying workers the opportunity to get all the facts and make an informed decision about joining a union,” according to Chuck Simpson, President of the CWA Local 2204,
“All three of these bills are trying to take away workers’ rights,” said Mark Barbour, former union organizer. “It starts with one thing.”
When asked about the importance of tribal labor sovereignty to Virginia workers, Margaret Breslau Coalition for Justice representative said, “We believe that all oppression is connected. If you start talking about casino workers, you start taking away those rights, you can see the erosion of rights and you can start talking about issues of race and class, sovereignty. It’s all connected. That’s why we’re a coalition. We work across different fights. We are often partnered with unions.“
For more information, visit www.elections.virginia.gov/voter-outreach/whats-ballot.html.