What do actor James Cromwell and United Streetcar have in common? Workers’ rights

On June 20, American Rights at Work will pay tribute to those who have fought for workplace justice at our 7th Annual American Rights at Work Awards Celebration. In addition to recognizing the founders of the organization, the Awards Celebration will honor actor James Cromwell and Oregon’s United Streetcar.

Although one of his most beloved characters, the kindly farmer Arthur Hoggett of “Babe,” was a man of few words, actor James Cromwell has long been an outspoken and dedicated defender of workers’ rights. Beyond serving as a leader within his own unions, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and the Screen Actors Guild, he has advocated for the freedom to form unions and the Employee Free Choice Act, and stood alongside film crews and lyricists to improve working conditions.

The native Californian has also picketed alongside striking California grocery employees as they demanded a fair contract to protect middle-class jobs. Cromwell has also appeared in parody commercials critiquing Walmart’s labor practices to promote Brave New Films’ documentary: Walmart: The High Cost of Low Price.

United Streetcar is reviving and reinventing an American industry while contradicting claims that a business must be labor-unfriendly to succeed. Recognizing a growing demand for U.S.-manufactured products, Oregon Iron Works formed the company to produce state-of-the-art streetcars to help ease our cities’ congestion and reduce carbon emissions. In 2009, United Streetcar rolled out the first American-made streetcar in nearly 60 years.

Workers represented by the Ironworkers and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers engage in shop-floor design meetings, and the company actively solicits employee feedback to increase efficiency. But United Streetcar is doing more than creating good jobs within its own operation – by manufacturing at home, the company has helped open the doors for more than 200 vendors in 20 states to produce streetcar parts. Company president Chandra Brown describes this as “in-sourcing”—bringing streetcar manufacturing jobs back to the United States from Eastern Europe—and believes it’s key to revitalizing the nation’s economy.

American Rights at Work is delighted to honor James Cromwell and United Streetcar along with its founders on June 20. The Awards Celebration begins at 5:30 p.m. at the National Museum for Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. To purchase tickets or to sponsor a student attendee, click here.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 1st, 2011 at 4:19 pm and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “What do actor James Cromwell and United Streetcar have in common? Workers’ rights”

  1. Jim Murnan says:

    This was a great article. The more people get involved with things like this, the more America will once again become the power house of the industrialized world.

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