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Monday, April 14, 1997

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  • Trade Union Activism

    Tens of thousands of strawberry workers, their families and
    supporters, including AFL-CIO leader John Sweeney, staged a
    massive rally yesterday in Watsonville, California.

    The issue — fairness for the 20,000 strawberry pickers in
    California, who produce about 80 percent of the country’s
    crop. The pickers say they work at very low pay with little
    protection against dangerous pesticides. Many of the women
    workers say that sexual harassment is common.

    Led by the United Farmworkers Union, the strawberry workers
    are now demanding "5 cents for fairness." They say that the
    handful of industry corporations that bring in $650 million
    a year can afford to pay pickers 5 cents more per pint of

    It was no accident that AFL-CIO President John Sweeney was
    in Watsonville yesterday. The strawberry worker’s campaign
    is just one example of a new drive by the AFL-CIO leadership
    to revitalize the trade union movement.

  • Statues of Women Leaders

    Last year, Congress approved moving a 13-ton statue of three
    female suffragists from the Crypt of the US Capitol to the
    grand Rotunda, which for seven decades has been the
    exclusive residence of sculpted men.

    But now, as plans are being finalized to move the statue, a
    leading African-American women’s group is arguing that any
    monument in the Capitol commemorating the women’s suffrage
    movement should include Sojourner Truth, a black
    abolitionist and 19th century feminist.