Summer Fellows Assist in Worker Protests and Walking Picket Lines

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

Peggy Browning Fellows in Dallas, Philadelphia and Chicago joined the ranks of protestors this summer by gathering at headquarters and joining picket lines in protest.

Peggy Browning Fellow Tom Power joined worker members, staff and supporters of Workers Defense Project of Austin, TX in a campaign in Dallas focused on improving working conditions on construction projects throughout the state.

In Dallas, Texas, worker members, staff and supporters of Workers Defense Project protested in front of Gables Residential properties.  The direct action was part of a larger corporate campaign focused on improving working conditions on construction projects throughout the state.  Peggy Browning Fellow Tom Power joined the protestors urging Gable Residential to "Build it Better" by signing a Code of Conduct Agreement.  The agreement would effectively bind Gables Residential and all other signors to pay living or prevailing wages, provide workers compensation, give periodic rest breaks and to open their doors to on-site monitors.

Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, Sheet Metal Workers Local 19 held rallies at Children's Hospital (CHOP) every Friday for 4 weeks calling attention to its duplicity in hiring a general contractor who utilizes non-union sheet metal subcontractors on their new construction projects and lowering the area wages and standards for sheet metal workers.

In Chicago, Midwest Folding Products has been operating on Chicago's West Side since 1947.  The average employee, members of Teamsters Local 743, has 22 years with the company.  Its parent company, HNI, is one of the largest manufacturers of office furniture in the U.S.

HNI announced that they will close Midwest Folding Products and move the production line to Texas.  HNI has refused to discuss ways to keep the company open, or to pay one week of severance for each year an employee has worked.  More than 120 people showed up for this protest including all of the employees at Midwest Folding Products and Peggy Browning Fellow John Festa with the Chicago Newspaper Guild.

Thomas Power is now a second-year student at City University of New York School of Law; Ryan McCarthy is also a second-year student at Drexel University School of Law and John Festa is a third-year student at Northern Illinois University College of Law.

Pictured below is John Festa with Beth Kramer, Communications Director and Freelance Unit Coordinator for the Chicago Newspaper Guild.


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