Tuesday, August 26, 2008
This Labor Day weekend, our supporters will be mobilizing prayer in at least twenty congregations around the city. If you would like to make a prayer requests for these security guards who are fighting to win paid sick-leave at great risk to their jobs, then you can download a packet of information for your pastor at our campaign web-site or join our Cause on
Finally, we are asking supporters to visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art on September 7 and wear a "My Security Guard Deserves Paid Sick Days" sticker into the museum.
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After you've seen the collections, stick around for our Blessing of the Hands Ceremony . This event will include live art, poetry, speech, song and prayer and will lift up the spirit of activists and low-waged workers who are fighting to better their lives.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Posted on Fri, Apr. 4, 2008
Workers echoing the call
By The Rev. Alan JoplinForty years ago today, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot dead in Memphis, where he was fighting alongside trash collectors who were trying to improve their working conditions, wages and benefits through unionization. All of the trash collectors were black.
Today, similar struggles continue.
It is sad to see a new group of black workers who must fight against the odds to win their rights and a voice on the job.
In Philadelphia in 2008, AlliedBarton, a contract security personnel company and among the largest employers of African American workers in Philadelphia, uses economic tactics to disenfranchise its workers.
Private security has been a booming industry since the attacks of 9/11. Thousands of workers in Philadelphia are private security guards; 97 percent of them are black. AlliedBarton, which has a virtual monopoly in Philadelphia security, is making money while paying an average of $9.80 - not a livable wage.
The Philadelphia Officers and Workers Rising (POWR), a project of the national campaign for workers' rights called Jobs with Justice, seeks to win for the guards in Philadelphia an equitable, livable wage and representation by the Philadelphia Security Officers Union.
POWR's demand is that AlliedBarton voluntarily recognize the union. It is asking the Art Museum, the Kimmel Center and Temple University - all big clients of AlliedBarton - to demand that recognition.
POWR has successfully brought together workers, people of faith and college students and has already won paid sick leave for some security guards and a wage increase for others at the University of Pennsylvania and Temple University. These benefits will equal more than $2 million in wages that will flow right back to the city through commerce and taxes.
POWR's call to action on behalf of the security guards is "It Is More Than Just a Dream," referencing King.
In 1968, King and the trash collectors marched through the streets of Memphis to garner support for their cause. On Sunday, local clergy, security guards and activists will march to make their voices heard, echoing King:
"True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar . . . . It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring."
If You Go
What: March with Philadelphia Officers and Workers Rising (POWR)
When: 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday
Where: Begin at Arch Street Methodist Church, 55 N. Broad St., and march to the Kimmel Center, 260 S. Broad St.
Information: Fabricio Rodriguez at 215-670-5855 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
The Rev. Alan Joplin (email@example.com) is an associate pastor at Living Water United Church of Christ on Germantown Avenue.
Monday, August 11, 2008
In solidarity with the independent unionists of SUTEIVP in Potosi
Mexico, Philadelphia Jobs With Justice, Philadelphia Mexican
Solidarity Group, The Defenestrator and Temple Student Labor Action
Project will be hosting a hip hop benefit show "Industrial
Revolutions" on Sunday August 17th at The Rotunda 4012 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA from 5pm-11:30pm.
Date: August 17th
Time: 5 - 10:30pm
Place: Rotunda 4012 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA
Band: Taina Asili y su Banda Revelde
My Space: http://www.myspace.com/tainapoet
Spoken Poet:Eric Yates, Philadelphia Student Union
MC: Rugged and Raw, NYC
My Space: http://www.myspace.com/ruggednrawrnr
Spoken Poet: Daniel Jones, Philadelphia Student Union
MC: Tha Truth, Philadelphia
My Space: http://www.myspace.com/thanonconformists
Spoken Poet: Jacob Weinstein, Philly
My Space: http://www.myspace.com/jacobthepoet
MC: Hasan Salaam, NJ
My Space: http://www.myspace.com/hasansalaam
MC: Son of Nun, Baltimore
My Space: http://www.myspace.com/socialistmc
MC: Lee G
My Space: http://www.myspace.com/leeganddelon
Live Graffitti By: Will Kasso
My Space: http://www.myspace.com/sagecollection
Beats and Grooves By:
Dj Aggro, Dj Sweet and DJ SPAM
$10 Sliding Scale
All proceeds will go towards supporting the ongoing struggle for work place democracy of the SUTEIVP (Mexican Glass Workers Union, Potosi, Mexico)
On Saturday May 3rd, a delegation of US labor and community interests
(including me!) were invited to Mexico City (Districto Federal), via
their local Mexican consulates by the office of SRE (Secretary of
Relations Abroad) and the IME (Institute of Mexicans Abroad) to be a
part of a delegation of Latino U.S. Labor representatives, comprised
of labor activists from throughout the US. This was the 55th year the
Mexican government and the IME hosted this conference, and the first
year that U.S. unions, community based labor interest groups, and
worker centers were invited to attend.
U.S. labor represented a wide variety of trades and community groups
including, TIRRC (Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition),
UFCW Local 881 (Chicago IL), Chicago Workers Collaborative, LCLAA
(Chicago Metropolitan Labor Council for the Advancement of Latin
Americans), ILA AFL-CIO (Houston, TX), KIMARI (Kentucky Institute of
Mexican American Relations), SEIU ULTCW6434 (Los Angeles CA), SEIU
Local 721 (Los Angeles CA), AFL-CIO Solidarity Center (Mexico), UFCW
Local 271 (Omaha NE), Jobs With Justice (Portland OR), Glaziers Union
Local 1324 (Saint Paul MN), Teamsters Local 136 (San Diego CA),
AFL-CIO State Building and Construction Trades (San Jose CA),
Carpenters Local 217 (San Jose CA), Carpenters Local 405 (San Jose
CA), Teamsters Local 952 (Santa Ana CA) UBC Local 9144 San Jose CA),
and the Philadelphia chapter of Jobs With Justice.
On the second day of our visit, U.S. labor representatives and
community allies were informed by Country Program Director, AFL-CIO
(Mexico) of several examples of labor/human rights abuses currently
being faced by Mexican independent unionists. That same night, we
attended a separate discussion hosted by LCLAA and the AFL-CIO
Solidarity Center with Mexican workers/independent unionists of
SUTEIVP at the Vidriera Potosi (bottle manufacturing plant workers in
San Luis Potosi, Mexico). We discovered that Grupo Modelo, (producer
of Corona), has launched an all-out assault on the independent union
at its Vidriera Potosí bottle-making plant in San Luis Potosí, Mexico.
Grupo Modelo's, main shareholder is Maria Asunción Aramburuzabala,
who's estimated net worth is $2 billion, according to Forbes, making
her the richest woman in Latin America, and wife of the U.S.
Ambassador in Mexico, Tony O. Garza Jr. Beginning in January 2008, the
company has fired some 300 workers, including the leadership of the
independent union SUTEIVP (Sindicato Unico de Trabajadores de la
Empresa Industria Vidriera del Potosí, S.A. de C.V.), in violation of
the collective bargaining agreement, as well as Mexican and
international law. These layoffs affect over 1,500 women, elderly and
children. The company also gave a pro-employer union, the CROC (
Confederation Revolucionaria de Obreros Campesinos or Revolutionary
Confederation of Workers and Peasants), unfettered access to the
workplace. On May 9, with less than 48 hours' notice to the union, the
Federal Labor Board called an election between the CROC and the
SUTEIVP. While CROC leaders were able to hold captive audience
meetings with workers inside the plant, the fired SUTEIVP workers were
not allowed in, and the plant was surrounded by some 200 heavily armed
The independent democratic worker led union became a political problem
for the owners of the beer company, the government of San Luis Potosí,
the Mexican federal government, the leaders of the company run unions,
and the major corporations, because word traveled quickly among Potosí
workers and across the country that this worker led organization had
recently become democratic and independent of the CTM (Confederation
of Mexican Workers). The independent union had also succeeded in
substantially bettering working conditions and raising salaries an
average of 19% in its first year of activity. The SUTEIVP became an
example for many Mexican workers, and because of their successes in
creating a democratic voice for the workers, the bosses of the
corporations, government officials, and leaders of co-opted unions
decided to destroy it.
JwJ Volunteers (Brandon Slattery, Jay Strong, Colleen Hall, Miguel Williams), and JwJ organizers (Eduardo, Fabricio)
City employees live in every Philadelphia neighborhood. They work in every neighborhood. They serve in every neighborhood. They benefit every neighborhood. Money they earn here, they spend here. Download brochure by clicking on image to read about how our city workers' contract negotiations affects you.
City employees impact nearly every aspect of our lives from providing Birth Certificates to nursing the sick to ensuring clean drinking water to saving homes and saving lives.
Every City worker lives in Philadelphia, pays personal and property taxes in Philadelphia and spends their hard earned wages on Philadelphia housing, goods and services. Their family sustaining jobs and wages help keep property values higher and local businesses stable.
When salaries, health benefits and pensions are cut, less money goes into our local economy, where it is needed to provide jobs for many others.
Significant cutbacks reduce taxes collected to fund our schools and to maintain the city’s infrastructure. Any reduction in tax collection results in an immediate cut in city services.
And, significant cutbacks mean the loss of decent job opportunities in our City for our own kids as they graduate and seek family-sustaining employment of their own. Once the jobs are lost or privatized, they are hard to replace.
What you can do to help protect city services
The Big Business tax decisions made by City Council and the Mayor directly impact the delivery of services in your neighborhood. The loss of tax dollars from big business will require cuts in services in the coming months and years.
Call the Mayor and your Councilperson and tell them to put the needs of Philadelphia’s citizens and workers first -- ahead of WalMart.
Mayor Michael Nutter – 215-686-2181
Call today, before it’s too late!
Minh, Dorian, Wes Weaver, Liz Young, Matt Ryan, Kevin Paris, Quyen Ngyuen, Brandon Slattery (JwJ SLAP and volunteers!)
Photos by Dave Garrett Sarrafian