Monday, June 28, 2010

(DC labor)Tour staff at the U.S. Capitol know a lot about the building's history. Friday they added their own chapter to that history, filing for a union recognition election. The filing came after a brief 3-week campaign initiated by the workers themselves, reports Carl Goldman, Executive Director of AFSCME Council 26, which is organizing the new unit. "To able to file for an election so quickly with a large amount of support is itself a victory," said Goldman, "We're sending a message to management that their workers want a union." The tour guides and visitor assistants, who lead tours of the U.S. Capitol and Capitol Visitor's Center, organized around a wide range of issues, including worker rights, health and safety, and security protocols. The new Capitol Visitor's Center has been the target of many worker complaints, including the handling of suspicious packages - one supervisor recently dealt with a package marked "anthrax" by simply flushing it down the toilet instead of calling the police - weather-inappropriate clothing and lost benefits. Workers have also reported attempted intimidation by CVC managers during the organizing drive. Goldman called the tour staff organizing committee "one of the best I've ever worked with... a very energetic group of folks." - Jack Arlook, AFL-CIO Union City Intern; photo courtesy


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