CTW unions stage rallies in 40 U.S. cities

The Change To Win (CTW) federation of unions organized a series of rallies in 40 U.S. cities April 24-28.

CTW press releases said the rallies were to be the start of a “Make Work Pay” campaign, characterized as “a new national movement to restore the American Dream — a paycheck that supports a family, affordable health care, a secure retirement, a voice on the job, and a better life for their children.”

Portland, Salem, Beaverton and Vancouver were some of the cities, with five themed rallies organized by six CTW unions over a four-day period.

The Change to Win federation includes the Teamsters, Laborers, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), UNITE HERE, Carpenters, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) and the United Farm Workers of America (UFW).

Monday, April 24, was designated by Teamsters Local 162 as a protest of Ferguson plumbing supply showrooms in Beaverton and Vancouver because drivers there have yet to win a first union contract a year after they voted to join the Teamsters.

Tuesday, April 25, UFW supporters announced a picket of the Bank of the West in Portland for lending money to Boardman, Oregon-based Threemile Canyon Farms dairy, which has declined to recognize the union.

Wednesday, April 26, Laborers and Carpenters sponsored another in a long series of protests at the downtown Portland Benson Tower condominiums, where one contractor has brought in nonunion workers from out of state and fired local union construction workers who hired on to try to unionize. Some then marched to Pioneer Courthouse Square, joining UFCW members who gathered for an anti-Wal-Mart rally.

UFCW and its affiliated wakeupwalmart.com declared April 26 a “national day of action to help cure the Wal-Mart health care crisis,” and staged events in 35 cities. UFCW represents grocery workers, whose employers must compete with low-wage, nonunion Wal-Mart superstores. Speakers at the rally promoted a union-backed initiative in Oregon that would make Wal-Mart provide health coverage to its employees — or pay the state to do so.

And Thursday, April 27, was SEIU’s day. Supporters rallied at the Salem headquarters of the Oregon Lottery, where a union election is scheduled later this month.

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