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Healthcare Workers In Maryland, Virginia And DC Authorize Strike

Some 3,800 union healthcare workers in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., are threatening to go on strike at the end of this month if the leadership at Kaiser Permanente and the union cannot agree to a new contract addressing staffing shortages and low pay for workers. According to a Monday statement from OPEIU Local 2, which represents 8,000 workers in the region, about 98% of health care workers from the union voted to authorize a strike to protest “unfair labor practices” if no agreement is reached by Sept. 30. The health care workers represented by OPEIU Local 2 union include optometrists, pharmacists, nurses and certified nursing assistants.

Craig Murray Blocked From Assange Courthouse In Virginia

Craig Murray, a former British ambassador and close associate of imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, said he was prevented by a U.S. marshal from entering the courthouse in Alexandria, VA where Assange would be put on trial if he loses his extradition case in Britain. In Washington on a U.S. tour, Murray told a gathering on Wednesday that with some time to kill he decided earlier that day to visit the federal courthouse in Alexandria “just to see what that was like.” “So I found the federal court and I went to enter, as any member of the public is entitled to do,” Murray said, according to a video recording of his remarks.

Old And Young Unite: No Mountain Valley Pipeline

Montgomery County, VA — Early Tuesday morning, two pipeline fighters locked themselves to equipment on a Mountain Valley Pipeline worksite in eastern Montgomery County, VA. They were extracted and arrested by 11:30 AM, with bail set at $2,000 and $3,000. Nearby, a rally of over 20 people gathered to show support for the protest. They held banners with phrases including, "Young and Old Unite: No MVP," "Protect Our Home: No Dirty Pipelines," and "Don't Poison Our Water." In addition to the 2 folks arrested today, 1 person was cited for trespassing and released, and 2 people received traffic violations for stopping briefly in a public road to load and unload passengers.

Virginia Tech Graduate Students And Staff Launch Labor Unions

Two unions are going public Tuesday at Virginia Tech, with a shared goal of creating a better working environment for graduate students, faculty and staff at the state university. It’s an effort that has been in the works for three years, as the groups have quietly recruited members while, across the country, campus labor unions have gained attention. On Tuesday, members of the United Campus Workers of Virginia Tech (UCW-VT) and the Virginia Tech Graduate Labor Union (VT GLU) will team up in a rally on the Blacksburg campus. They hope going public will attract new members and draw attention to their efforts to press university administrators for improvements for campus workers at all levels.

Pipeline Fighter Stops Mountain Valley Pipeline Work For Seven Hours

Montgomery County, VA — Early Saturday morning, a pipeline fighter locked herself to construction equipment at a Mountain Valley Pipeline work site in eastern Montgomery County, VA. The site is where MVP is preparing to bore under Bradshaw Creek and Road. Banners at the site read, "Doom To The Pipeline" and, "Only You Can Prevent Pipelines." Nearby, a rally of nearly 30 people gathered to show their support for the protest. Folks held signs with slogans such as, "No MVP Destruction Zone," "Protect Our Water," and "Water You Doing?" After preventing MVP construction at the site for 7 hours, around 1:15 PM, the person locked to equipment was extracted (cut out of the lock box) and arrested.

Pipeline Fighters Lock To Equipment At Mountain Valley Pipeline Work Site

Roanoke County, VA — Early morning on Friday, August 11, 2023, two pipeline fighters locked themselves to equipment on a Mountain Valley Pipeline worksite on Poor Mountain in Roanoke County, VA, preventing downed trees from being cleared from the pipeline easement. Nearby, over a dozen people rallied to show their support for the protest, holding signs with messages such as "STOP THE MVP" and "DOOM TO THE PIPELINE." Both people who were locked to equipment were arrested in the afternoon, after stopping work on the site for nearly 8 hours. They were charged with misdemeanors and released the same day.

Can Historic Preservation Be A Tool For Environmental Justice?

While serving as a member of the Racial Equity & Environmental Justice Roundtable which helped craft the City of Richmond’s Climate Equity Action Plan 2030, Rev. Monica Esparza never imagined that less than a year later she would find herself fighting local officials to save green space in her own backyard from becoming a burn site. In a departure from Mayor Levar Stoney’s policy of creating new parks on the city’s Southside, his administration is pushing through plans to add a $1 million, 21,000 square-foot fire training facility to Hickory Hill, a majority Black and Hispanic neighborhood south of the James River.

Antiwar Message Is Raised At Norfolk’s Annual NATO Parade

The North American Treaty Organization, or NATO, has two Strategic Commands - one in Belgium, the other in Norfolk, Virginia. And every year Norfolk holds a NATO Festival, complete with a parade, to honor the U.S-led military alliance that supported Portugal in its wars against African anti-colonial liberation movements; led the destruction of Libya and the former Yugoslavia; played leading roles in the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; and helped provoke the present war in Ukraine by expanding eastward to the very borders of Russia. This year, the festival took place on Earth Day - totally ironic, since militaries are the greatest polluters on the planet. But along with the thousands who came out  to watch the parade was a small band of antiwar activists holding a bright yellow 5-foot by 10-foot canvas banner that read “Fight Poverty, Racism + Global Warming, not  NATO’s Wars!”

Underpaid And Insulted, Maximus Call Center Workers Organize

Their effort to unionize really got underway in 2018 when thousands of workers came forward to allege wage theft totaling $100 million. Eventually the Department of Labor found wage and hour violations affecting 2,224 workers. The federal contractor at the time, General Dynamics Information Technology, agreed to pay $553,131 in back wages, according to a CWA spokesperson. Maximus bought the company out in November 2018. But despite the hefty settlement, the organizing began to fizzle because of high turnover. Then last year, workers walked off the job in Louisiana, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Virginia in March, May, and November, demanding voluntary recognition of their union and higher pay.

Transit Workers Have Been On Strike For Three Weeks; No Agreement Reached

A strike by transit workers in Loudoun County is now in its third week with no clear end in sight. A county spokesperson said service for Loudoun County Transit began being affected by the strike on January 11. As of Friday, commuter buses that travel between various parts of Loudoun County and D.C. and Arlington, Va. had not been running for more than two weeks. “We have prioritized transit services to optimize any available drivers daily, prioritizing paratransit services, local bus routes serving the Leesburg and Sterling areas, and Silver Line bus routes ahead of commuter bus service at this time,” Loudoun County spokesperson Glen Barbour wrote in an email to 7News. “The impact to bus routes and transit services continues to be updated regularly on our website at Subscribers to our notifications are also receiving the updates directly (sign up at”

Virginia Transit Strikers Fight Privatized Race To The Bottom

Loudoun County, Virginia - Around 130 workers who operate, fix, and dispatch buses in Loudoun County, Virginia, went on strike Wednesday morning. They’re up against Keolis, a French multinational and one of the largest private operators of public transit systems in the U.S. The company has challenged the union’s right to strike, its right to a contract, and even its existence. The Loudoun County workers join a movement of bus operators, mechanics, dispatchers, and call center operators striking around greater Washington, D.C. It’s the eighth transit job action in the region in just over three years. Hundreds of strikers have faced down major private contractors—not only Keolis but also Transdev, MV Transportation, and RATP Dev. For Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689, these fights are not just over bad behavior from this or that private operator, they’re about whether buses should be a public service or a source of private profit.

Maximus Call Center Workers Contracted To Support ACA Open Enrollment Strike In Four States

Call center workers employed by Maximus went on strike at four locations—in Louisiana, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Virginia—on Tuesday, Nov. 1. Maximus is a federal contractor, and during the open enrollment period, workers there handle a nonstop stream of high-stakes calls from people trying to navigate the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, and Medicaid systems, but they have been pushed to their limit. As stated in a Twitter thread posted by Call Center Workers United, “We’ve been saying for years: during ACA open enrollment, we’re dealing with constant back-to-back calls. Some frustrated callers become abusive and subject us to racist and sexist slurs. We’re paid wages so low it’s nearly impossible to support a family. We’ve had enough.

Walkouts Underway In Virginia Against Attack On Trans Students

Chanting "trans rights are human rights," "DOE, let us be," and other slogans, students at scores of schools took part in demonstrations calling for the rejection of model Virginia Department of Education policies proposed earlier this month by Youngkin that, if approved, would force schools to categorize pupils according to scientifically dubious notions of "biological sex." The proposed changes would reverse existing trans-affirming guidelines that some students have credited with saving their lives. In what some opponents have called another attempt to erase trans people, the proposal limits the definition of "transgender student" to someone "whose parent has requested in writing, due to their child's persistent and sincere belief that his or her gender differs with his or her sex, that their child be so identified while at school."

NLRB Demand For UMWA To Pay Warrior Met Coal Strike Costs Is ‘Outrageous’

Triangle, Virginia - The United Mine Workers of America today made it clear that it will vigorously challenge an outrageous assessment of damages made by the National Labor Relations Board Region 10 regarding the UMWA’s 16-month strike against Warrior Met Coal in Alabama. “This is a slap in the face not just to the workers who are fighting for better jobs at Warrior Met Coal, but to every worker who stands up to their boss anywhere in America,” UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts said. “There are charges for security, cameras, capital expenditures, buses for transporting scabs across picket lines, and the cost of lost production. “What is the purpose of a strike if not to impact the operations of the employer, including production,” Roberts asked.

The ‘Divisive’ Ban Whitewashing Virginia’s Classrooms

There's a recent painting that sums up what's happening to public education in Virginia: A white man, white paint roller in hand, is covering up Black historical figures—Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X—their bodies whitewashed, faces stoic. The piece by Detroit artist Jonathan Harris, titled "Critical Race Theory," stuck with Cassandra Newby-Alexander, a professor at Norfolk State University, a Historically Black University, since she first saw it online. Newby-Alexander is the former co-chair of the African American History Education Commission (AAHEC), a group of educators and historians brought together by former Governor Ralph Northam in August 2019 to recommend changes to add more Black history to Virginia's K-12 curricula. The state Board of Education implemented their recommendations in the fall of 2021.
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