From strikes to new union contracts, Labor Day's organizing roots are especially strong this year
NEW YORK (AP) — Labor Day is right around the corner, along with the big sales and barbecues that come with it. But the activist roots of the holiday are especially visible this year as unions challenge how workers are treated — from Hollywood to the auto production lines of Detroit.
The early-September tribute to workers has been an official holiday for almost 130 years — but an emboldened labor movement has created an environment closer to the era from which Labor Day was born. Like the late 1800s, workers are facing rapid economic transformation — and a growing gap in pay between themselves and new billionaire leaders of industry, mirroring the stark inequalities seen more than a century ago.
“There’s a lot of historical rhyming between the period of the origins of Labor Day and today,” Todd Vachon, an assistant professor in the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations, told The Associated Press. “Then, they had the Carnegies and the Rockefellers. Today, we have the Musks and the Bezoses. ... It’s a similar period of transition and change and also of resistance — of working people wanting to have some kind of dignity."
Between writers and actors on strike, contentious contract negotiations that led up to a new labor deal for 340,000 unionized UPS workers and active picket lines across multiple industries, the labor in Labor Day is again at the forefront of the holiday arguably more than it has been in recent memory.
Here are some things to know about Labor Day this year.
Proud Boy convicted of helping spearhead Capitol attack ties Jan. 6 sentence record with 18 years
WASHINGTON (AP) — A one-time leader in the Proud Boys far-right extremist group was sentenced Friday to 18 years in prison for his role in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, tying the record for the longest sentence in the attack.
Ethan Nordean was one of five members convicted of spearheading an attack on the U.S. Capitol to try to prevent the peaceful transfer of power from Donald Trump to Joe Biden after the 2020 presidential election.
"He is the undisputed leader on the ground on Jan 6,” said prosecutor Jason McCullough.
The Seattle-area chapter president was one of two Proud Boys sentenced Friday. Dominic Pezzola was convicted of smashing a window at the U.S. Capitol in the building’s first breach on Jan. 6, 2021. He defiantly raised a fist and declared “Trump won!” as he walked out of the courtroom after being sentenced to 10 years in prison, also among the longest sentences in the Jan. 6 attack.
The 18-year record for a Jan. 6 sentence was set by Stewart Rhodes, founder of another far-right extremist group the Oath Keepers. Members of both groups were convicted separately of seditious conspiracy, a rarely brought Civil War-era offense.
Former Harrods owner Mohamed Al Fayed, whose son died in car crash with Princess Diana, dies at 94
LONDON (AP) — Mohamed Al Fayed, the flamboyant Egypt-born businessman whose son was killed in a car crash with Princess Diana, died this week, his family said Friday. He was 94.
Al Fayed, the longtime owner of Harrods department store and the Fulham Football Club, was devastated by the death of son Dodi Fayed in the car crash in Paris with Diana 26 years ago. He spent years mourning the loss and fighting the British establishment he blamed for their deaths.
“Mrs Mohamed Al Fayed, her children and grandchildren wish to confirm that her beloved husband, their father and their grandfather, Mohamed, has passed away peacefully of old age on Wednesday August 30, 2023,″ his family said in a statement released by the Fulham club. “He enjoyed a long and fulfilled retirement surrounded by his loved ones.″
Al Fayed was convinced Dodi and Diana were killed in a conspiracy masterminded by Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II. He maintained the royal family arranged the accident because they did not like Diana dating an Egyptian. Al Fayed claimed that Diana was pregnant and planning to marry Dodi and that the royal family could not countenance the princess marrying a Muslim.
In 2008, Al Fayed told an inquest the list of alleged conspirators included Philip, two former London police chiefs and the CIA.
Ta'Kiya Young's family urges officer's arrest after video shows him killing the pregnant Black woman
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio authorities on Friday released bodycam video showing a police officer fatally shooting Ta’Kiya Young in her car in what her family denounced as a “gross misuse of power and authority” against the pregnant Black mother.
Sean Walton, an attorney representing Young's family, said the video clearly shows that the Aug. 24 shooting of the 21-year-old woman was unjustified and he called for the officer to be fired and charged immediately. Walton also criticized police for not releasing the video footage for more than a week after the shooting.
“Ta’Kiya’s family is heartbroken," Walton said in an interview with The Associated Press. “The video did nothing but confirm their fears that Ta’Kiya was murdered unjustifiably ... and it was just heartbreaking for them to see Ta’Kiya having her life taken away under such ridiculous circumstances.”
Young’s death follows a troubling series of fatal shootings of Black adults and children by Ohio police and numerous occurrences of police brutality against Black people across the nation in recent years, events that have prompted widespread protests and demands for police reform.
The officer who shot Young is on paid administrative leave while the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation examines the shooting, which is standard practice. A police union official said calls to charge the officer before an investigation is complete are premature. A second officer who was on the scene has returned to active duty. Their names, races and ranks have not been released.
Typhoon Saola makes landfall in southern China after nearly 900,000 people moved to safety
BEIJING (AP) — Typhoon Saola made landfall in southern China before dawn Saturday after nearly 900,000 people were moved to safety and most of Hong Kong and other parts of coastal southern China suspended business, transport and classes.
Guangdong province's meteorological bureau said the powerful storm churned into an outlying district of the city of Zhuhai, just south of Hong Kong at 3:30 a.m. It was forecast to move in a southwesterly direction along the Guangdong coast at a speed of around 17 kph (10 mph), gradually weakening before heading out to sea.
On Friday, 780,000 people in Guangdong were moved away from areas at risk as did 100,000 others in neighboring Fujian province. More than 80,000 fishing vessels returned to port.
Workers stayed at home and students in various cities saw the start of their school year postponed to next week. Trading on Hong Kong’s stock market was suspended Friday and hundreds of people were stranded at the airport after about 460 flights were canceled in the key regional business and travel hub.
Rail authorities in mainland China halted all trains entering or leaving Guangdong province from Friday night to Saturday evening, state television CCTV reported.
Ecuador says 57 guards and police officers are released after being held hostage in several prisons
QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — Ecuadorian authorities announced Friday the release of 50 guards and seven police officers who were taken hostage for more than a day, in what the government described as a response by criminal groups to its efforts to regain control of several large correctional facilities in the South American country.
The country’s corrections system, the National Service for Attention to Persons Deprived of Liberty, said in a statement that the 57 law enforcement officers —who were held in six different prisons — are safe, but it didn't offer details about how they were released.
Early Friday, criminal groups in Ecuador used explosives to damage a bridge, the latest in a series of attacks this week. Nobody was injured in the explosion.
Government officials have described the violent acts as the work of criminal gangs with members in prisons responding to efforts by authorities to retake control of several penitentiaries by relocating inmates, seizing weapons and other steps.
Four car bombs and three explosive devices went off across the country in less than 48 hours. The latest explosion with dynamite happened early Friday on a bridge linking two cities in the coastal province of El Oro, National Police commander Luis García told The Associated Press.
Billionaires want to build a new city in rural California. They must convince voters first
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Silicon Valley billionaires behind a secretive $800 million land-buying spree in Northern California have finally released some details about their plans for a new green city, but they still must win over skeptical voters and local leaders.
After years of ducking scrutiny, Jan Sramek, the former Goldman Sachs trader spearheading the effort, launched a website Thursday about “California Forever." The site billed the project as “a chance for a new community, good paying local jobs, solar farms, and open space” in Solano, a rural county between San Francisco and Sacramento that is now home to 450,000 people.
He also began meeting with key politicians representing the area who have been trying unsuccessfully for years to find out who was behind the mysterious Flannery Associates LLC as it bought up huge swaths of land, making it the largest single landholder in the county.
An all-star roster of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and venture capitalists are backing the project, including philanthropist Laurene Powell Jobs, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, and venture capitalist Marc Andreessen. The New York Times first reported on the group's investors and plans.
California Forever, the parent company of Flannery, has purchased more than 78 square miles (202 square kilometers) of farmland in Solano County since 2018, largely in the southeastern portion of the county, with parcels stretching from Fairfield to Rio Vista. According to the website, Sramek fell in love with the area over fishing trips and he and his wife recently purchased a home in the county for their growing family.
Texas wanted armed officers at every school after Uvalde. Many can't meet that standard
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A vision of armed officers at every school in Texas is crashing into the reality of not enough money or police as a new mandate took effect Friday, showing how a goal more states are embracing in response to America's cycle of mass killings is proving unworkable in many communities.
Dozens of Texas' largest school districts, which educate many of the state's 5 million students, are reopening classrooms without meeting the state's new requirements of armed officers on every campus. The mandate is a pillar of a safety bill signed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who rejected calls this year for gun control despite angry pleas from parents of children killed in the Uvalde school massacre.
Texas has nearly 9,000 public school campuses, second only to California, making the requirement the largest of its kind in the U.S.
“We all support the idea,” said Stephanie Elizalde, superintendent of the Dallas Independent School District, which has more than 140,000 students. “The biggest challenge for all superintendents is that this is yet again an unfunded mandate.”
The difficulties lay bare limits of calls to put armed guards at every school, more than a decade after the National Rifle Association championed the idea in the face of an intense push for stronger gun laws following the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre in 2012.
No power and nowhere to stay as rural Florida starts recovering from Hurricane Idalia
HORSESHOE BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The worst of Hurricane Idalia left residents of a region of tight-knit communities trying to find places to live as they rebuild — if they decide it's even worth it — and waiting potentially weeks for electricity to be restored after winds and water took out entire power grids.
Idalia came ashore Wednesday in Florida's sparsely populated Big Bend region, where places to fish and paddle are connected by swamps.
The scope of the disaster came into sharper focus Friday. A power cooperative warned its 28,000 customers it might take two weeks to restore electricity. Emergency officials promised trailers would arrive over the weekend to provide housing in an area that didn't have much to begin with.
“We’ll build back. We’ll continue to fish and enjoy catching the redfish and trout and eating oysters and catching scallops and eating them," said real estate agent Jimmy Butler, who lives in Horseshoe Beach, which saw some of the worst damage.
Idalia made landfall Wednesday near Keaton Beach with winds of 125 mph (200 kph) and a 6-foot (1.8-meter) storm surge. The fast-moving storm then tore through largely rural stretches of inland Florida and southern Georgia.
After Maui's wildfires, thousands brace for long process of restoring safe water service
Maggie T. Sutrov showered, drank treated tap water and watered her garden before she learned that she shouldn't be using the water in her home on Maui after wildfires devastated the island. Concerned about others making the same mistake, she quickly created a flier on water contamination from guidance she'd found on the county's website and worked with a pop-up community center to get the word out.
“Every day, people were showing up there going ‘What, I can't drink the water? I didn’t know that,’” Sutrov said. Three weeks after the fire, Sutrov and others are anxious to know when the island's water will be safe.
“When is this over?” Sutrov wondered.
So far, tests have found no concerning levels of contaminants in the drinking water. But extensive testing is still needed, with access to most of Lahaina slowed by hazardous conditions and the search for human remains.
Some areas under the unsafe water advisory could be cleared to use their tap water in a couple of weeks, said John Stufflebean, director of the Maui County Department of Water Supply.
The Associated Press