by Bob Roman
It was just days before our annual Debs-Thomas-Harrington Dinner when we got an email from a DSA member on the staff of the Communication Workers of America. Union members at some AT&T divisions had been working without a contract for up to a year and wanted to end management stalling on negotiations. Another sore point was the frequent outsourcing of work to overseas call centers. To that end, they were declaring a three-day strike for that weekend. Could we help with the picket lines in Chicago?
This is where having working groups is a major asset. Patrick Winegar, coordinator of the labor working group in Chicago, sprang into action to have graphics, already prepared by DSA’s national office, turned into union printed posters. The original plan was to adopt a particular AT&T store for DSA’s attention, but most Chicago stores did not survive the strike: They were closed for the duration. Consequently strikers and DSA focused on those few that were open.
Given the catch-as-catch-can nature of Facebook and email communications, Chicago DSA nonetheless mobilized dozens of members to spend at least a part of their weekend on the picket line. Our neighbors in the West Suburban Illinois DSA chapter also turned out in the ‘burbs.
The next week brought Fight for 15’s annual attempt at talking sense to the McDonald’s corporation that was having its annual shareholders meeting at the McDonald’s campus out in Oak Brook on May 24. Fight for 15 always makes sure to have a vocal presence there. The day before, however, was a rally and march in Chicago to focus attention on the issue of a $15 / hour wage and union rights. The Chicago demonstration began at Daley Plaza, wandered up to Trump Tower, and ended at the Rock’n’Roll McDonald’s on North Clark Street.
Banners! The folks at Fight for 15 wanted banners, the more representation the better. So we brought the Chicago DSA banner. Dozens of DSA members may have been at the demonstration, but the official Chicago DSA delegation ended up being only three of us toward the rear of the march. For all the cameras, I wasn’t able to find any suitable photos. The Pilsen Alliance Facebook page, however, has a video that captures several glimpses of a sodden Aaron Dellutri, Bob Roman, Frank Smith and the DSA banner.