Saturday, May 29, 2010

IATSE Organizes "Doonby" Film Crew

On May 25, Locals 484 and 600, of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Arts and Allied Craftsof the Unites States, its Territories, and Canada(IATSE) successfully organized the crew of the film Doonby. This was accomplished after the crew staged a one day strike when management failed to live up to its agreement.

Read the press release from IATSE here:

Thursday, May 27, 2010

European Nations Cutting Public Sector Jobs & Benefits

Public sector workers in several European countries have been taking to the streets after several governments went public with plans to raise the retirement age, slash wages, and cut benefits.

In Spain, President Zapatero announced a 5 percent reduction in public-sector salaries. This is in addition to a previous announcement that the retirement age would be raised from 65-67.

In Great Britain, the new coalition government announced that $8.7 billion in civil service jobs will be eliminated.

Read more here:

As is pointed out in the linked article, civil servants in the United States, such as myself, are still paid lower than their private sector counterparts.

The Little Town That Could

Local 3968 of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees recently won their first contract after a two year struggle. Local 3968, which represents approximately 80 city workers in Yankton, South Dakota, persevered through union-busting and stall tactics by the city government officials.

The contract includes a 4 percent retroactive pay increase and structured grievance process. Read more here:

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

AFL-CIO Endorses Meek Despite Crist Appeal

The Florida AFL-CIO has endorsed Kendrick Meek(D) in the Florida Senate race. The AFL-CIO endorsed Meek even though Governor Charlie Crist(I) made a personal appearance to ask for their endorsement.

I personally think the AFL-CIO made the wrong decision by endorsing a candidate who, in my opinion, is toast in this election. Crist will win this election, and the AFL-CIO could have benefitted in two different ways by giving Crist their endorsement.

1. Crist is running as an independent, but has been a lifelong Republican until his split last month. Like it or not, Crist will be the next US Senator from Florida. Had the AFL-CIO endorsed Crist, they would be in the position of backing a newly elected Senator when not many other organizations did.

2. Big Labor has gotten a well deserved reputation for only endorsing Democrats, and endorsing Crist would have helped them with their base in Florida.

Read more from the AP:

Virtual Picket Line Podcasts

I will be uploading podcasts from many of our past entries, as well as our new ones. I will also be posting some interviews and podcasts on extra topics that may not show up as posts. Enjoy, and please feel free to leave feedback if you enjoy them(or think they're terrible).

Friday, May 21, 2010

Fort Benning Food Service Workers Ratify New Contract

The 900 food service workers who serve our military members at Fort Benning, Georgia ratified their new contract yesterday. The new contract guarantees the best pay levels ever achieved for this unit, which is represented by Unite Here!

Here is the official press release:

Thursday, May 20, 2010

AFL-CIO Young Workers Summit

The AFL-CIO will hold its first ever Young Workers Summit in Washington, DC on June 10-13. Young union members and labor activists from around the country will gather to share their experiences and put forward their ideas for the future of the labor movement.

On a personal note, I will be attending the conference with the goal of advancing the cause of the employees in the Veterans Canteen Service. I hope to see you there!

You can register for the FREE conference here:

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

AFGE Endorses Vincent Gray For Mayor of DC

The American Federation of Government Employees, which represents over 600,000 federal and D.C. city employees, endorsed Vincent Gray for mayor of Washington, DC.

This is not surprising given the virulent, anti-union administration of incumbent, Adrian Fenty.

You can read the official statement here:

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Changing of the Guard at the SEIU

With the retirement of Andy Stern, the SEIU has several choices to make as to which direction the largest labor union in the United States will take. Mary Kay Henry has several big organizational questions to answer as the new head of the SEIU:

Will she attempt to reunite the labor movement through reconciliation with the AFL-CIO?

Will Henry be able to return the SEIU back to it's roots as a miltant voice for low-wage workers?

A more in depth analysis by In These Times after the jump:

Settlement Reached in California ILWU Strike

After 107 days, the miners in Boron, California voted overwhelmingly to a six-year agreement that was much more favorable than the management proposed changes that would have gutted benefits and seniority.

This victory should serve as a blueprint for successful strikes everywhere. More coverage from Labor Notes here:

Saturday, May 8, 2010

We're on Facebook!

Join us on facebook:!/group.php?gid=120126594676087

Why We're Here

I created the Virtual Picket Line because I am tired of the lack of communication between various unions in the labor movement.

Tired of holding a visibility event for your union and having a handful of people? Send us an email at and we'll post it here so other labor movement activists can show up to show some solidarity.

Want to get involved but don't know where to look? You're at the right place!

In Solidarity,

Joseph Riedel