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Prudential Laundry Workers Go On Strike
by Unite HERE
Saturday Sep 15th, 2007 12:00 PM
Scores of Prudential Overall Supply employees walked off the job this week at facilities in Milpitas and Vista, California. The workers left in protest of alleged unfair labor practices at their employer, and were joined by community and labor supporters on the picket line.
September 12, 2007

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Vol.13, No. 30

Prudential Laundry Workers Go On Strike

Scores of Prudential Overall Supply employees walked off the job this week at facilities in Milpitas and Vista, California. The workers left in protest of alleged unfair labor practices at their employer, and were joined by community and labor supporters on the picket line.

Across the western United States, Prudential Overall Supply workers are seeking to improve their working conditions and earn a living wage. Prudential's response has included threats, coercion and intimidation. Twenty unfair labor practices charges have been filed with the National Labor Relations Board for violations at eleven Prudential facilities in California and Arizona, with charges including alleged illegal suspension, surveillance, discrimination, intimidation and harassment. Far from working to resolve these issues and come into compliance with the law, workers have seen Prudential escalate its alleged illegal activity in recent weeks. More than half of the charges were filed in the last month.

"After we started working to change things, the company suspended one of my coworkers and they started threatening people who spoke up," said Leticia Santos, an overall sorter at Prudential?s Milpitas facility.

Prudential holds millions of dollars in contracts with federal, state and local government agencies. Elected leaders from cities and counties across California and Arizona, as well as the state legislature have written or called Prudential to urge them to follow the law and avoid a strike.

In Northern California, Prudential's customers include a number of cities and counties, and the campaign has generated support from elected officials throughout the state.

Municipalities have taken issue with Prudential, particularly around the issue of the living wage. San Diego, responding to complaints filed by workers, announced that it would terminate Prudential?s contract. Los Angeles and Oakland are investigating similar complaints.

Prudential is the largest regional uniform and cleanroom laundry company based in California. The company employs approximately 1700 people in 10 states.
Victory for Landmark Sweatfree Resolution in Portland

Last week was an historic one for the city of Portland, Oregon. Portland, Oregon?s Sweatfree Procurement Resolution was unanimously passed by City commissioners. Over 130 sweatfree supporters including union and community members and a former sweatshop worker crowded City Hall to testify in support of the resolution.

The Sweatfree Resolution sets in motion a process to create the City of Portland Sweatshop Free Procurement policy for uniforms and clothing purchases. The policy will require disclosure of supplier factory names and locations, provide $20,000 in funding for the State and Local Government Sweatfree Consortium to pool resources for investigations and monitoring of supplier factories, and establish a committee to craft a code of conduct for the city?s contractors, subcontractors, and vendors.

Commissioner Sam Adams articulated that the resolution's goal is "to act on our community?s values and improve conditions for sweatshop workers." The policy, which will be implemented next year, is a strong step in that direction.
Economic Impact of China on Textile and Clothing Industries Focus of Federal Commission

UNITE HERE Southern Region Leader Harris Raynor provided key testimony to a federal panel looking at the increasing impact of China on a variety of industries, including textile and clothing.

The panel was part of a day-long session by the government's U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission focused on Chinese impact on the economy of North Carolina. It included sessions assessing a range of impacts on the state economy, including on textile and clothing. Also presenting were corporate executives, economists from Duke University and the University of North Carolina and state officials.

The commission's goal is to report to Congress on the national security implications of the trade and economic relationship between the United States and the People?s Republic of China, and to provide recommendations, where appropriate, to Congress for legislative and administrative action. To that end, Mr. Raynor's testimony provided the critical perspective of those workers most impacted by global changes in the textile industry.
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Laundry workers strike, claiming unfair practicesMilpitas PostSaturday Sep 15th, 2007 12:01 PM

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