The Johns Hopkins Hospital became the first area hospital
hit by an apparent organized walkout when more than 150
non-professional workers left their jobs about 11 A.M. Cautioned repeatedly by officials of
the Drug and Hospital Workers Union that Baltimore's hospitals
would be targets for another drive for wage increases and other
fringe benefits by the union, Hopkins officials said they were
"astonished" by the brief walkout.
Last month the union, with the close cooperation of the
Southern leadership Conference, maneuvered the hospitals in
Charleston, S.C. Into many concessions, but only after hundreds of
arrests, protest marches and charges of police brutality.
Today's walkout was short-lived and appeared to be orderly
and without incident. The majority of the demonstrators, dressed
in hospital uniforms, were back on their jobs before noon.
The workers trickled outside the hospital after 11 A.M. and
paraded around the building chanting "when the union comes
marching in," to the tune of the Old Dixieland song,
"When the Saints Go Marching In."
The workers, primarily employees of the kitchen, nurses'
aides, maintenance workers and lab technicians, were almost 100
percent Negro. About 50 percent of the demonstrators were men.
While the peaceful demonstrators strolled around one of
America's most prestigious hospitals, doctors, patients and
administrators peered from windows and leaned over balconies for a
Shortly after the start of the walkout, demonstrators
gathered around Fred Punch, a 33-year-old union organizer from New
York, who jumped on the hood of his car to address the workers.
"We're showing them you want to be free, that you want
to have something to say about what goes on in the hospital,"
Punch shouted to the workers.
Then he demanded free hospitalization and insurance
"as a compensation for the occupational hazard of working
around people with diseases."
He also demanded a "real" grievance procedure,
with employee representatives sitting on the panel.
Warming up, Punch charged hospital supervisors with
"arbitrarily firing and suspending" workers politicking
for the union.
Then Punch leaped from the car and with about 20 of the
demonstrators charged into the hospital and headed for the office
of the hospital president, Dr. Russell A. Nelson.
Outside the door of the president's office, the union
representative and the workers met hospital administrator David L.
"When will you meet with me?' Punch said to Everhart.
Everhart replied, "I will meet with the union at their
The two then set a meeting for Friday at 9 o'clock at the
Sheradon Baltimore Inn, across the street from the hospital.
Everhart said he was "astonished" by the walkout.
he said he had sent a letter to Punch last Friday informing
him that he (Everhart) would be glad to meet
Everhart also said the hospital had consented to allow a
secret ballot election to determine if the workers wanted to be
represented by the union.
Earlier, Punch admitted the hospital's concession to the
secret ballot election, but charged that officials had scheduled
meetings "at which employes are urged to vote against a
"We believe the hospital's position to be fair and
responsible,' a statement by the hospital said. "The hospital
has offered to meet a union representative. We believe the
demonstration was unnecessary and disruptive to this hospital's
work, which is to care for sick people."
The Union has demanded of several Baltimore hospitals that
they increase wages and offer fringe benefits to their
Hopkins raised its minimum wages to $1.80 per hour two
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Sex at the Margins
Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry
By Laura María Agustín
This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label 'trafficked' does not accurately describe migrants' lives and that the 'rescue industry' serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. "Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality."—Lisa Adkins, University of London
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Debt: The First 5,000 Years
By David Graeber
Before there was money, there was debt. Every economics textbook says the same thing: Money was invented to replace onerous and complicated barter systems—to relieve ancient people from having to haul their goods to market. The problem with this version of history? There’s not a shred of evidence to support it. Here anthropologist David Graeber presents a stunning reversal of conventional wisdom. He shows that for more than 5,000 years, since the beginnings of the first agrarian empires, humans have used elaborate credit systems to buy and sell goods—that is, long before the invention of coins or cash. It is in this era, Graeber argues, that we also first encounter a society divided into debtors and creditors. Graeber shows that arguments about debt and debt forgiveness have been at the center of political debates from Italy to China, as well as sparking innumerable insurrections. He also brilliantly demonstrates that the language of the ancient works of law and religion (words like “guilt,” “sin,” and “redemption”) derive in large part from ancient debates about debt, and shape even our most basic ideas of right and wrong. We are still fighting these battles today without knowing it. Debt: The First 5,000 Years is a fascinating chronicle of this little known history—as well as how it has defined human history, and what it means for the credit crisis of the present day and the future of our economy. Economist Glenn Loury /Criminalizing a Race
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posted 24 July 2008