Remembering the Angelica Strike

10 Dec

In remembrance of the victorious strike that began three years ago today.

Angelica Workers Win Strike

The Boston Anti-Authoritarian Movement Newsletter, Issue # 29 – January 2010

After a five day strike beginning on December 10, 2009, the largely immigrant workforce of Angelica Textile Services in Somerville won a new contract with benefits and higher wages. Angelica, a billion dollar company with over five thousand workers nationally, counting on its board the likes of Jeb Bush (George’s brother and former Governor of Florida) had stalled negotiations with the Somerville workers. The workers, members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1445, were asking for a one dollar wage increase, more company contribution to the healthcare plan, and an extra dime an hour for the pension plan. They voted to strike on December 1. As Local 1445 representative Fernando Lemus told the Boston Globe, they were willing to “sacrifice this Christmas” because “the cost of living is so high.”

Five days later, the company offered a new contract. Hundreds of workers and supporters from other unions and Centro Presente (an immigrant workers center across the street from Angelica) had maintained picket lines from 6 A.M. until midnight. The workers voted to sign the contract, ending their strike and declaring victory. Supporting unions, according to the Party for Socialism and Liberation, included: “the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 35; the International Brotherhood of Operating Engineers, Local 877 Area Trades Council; the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 2222; the American Federation of Government Employees; Unite Here, Local 26; and the Teamsters, Local 25.” Along with the outpouring of support, Local 1445’s impressive unity and resistance to the bosses’ attempts to divide them contributed to the overwhelming victory.

 

From “Nine Years of Anarchist Agitation: The History of the Boston Anti-Authoritarian Movement and Other Essays” by Jake Carman

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