Thursday, December 2, 2010
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Back in October, National Jobs with Justice regional organizer Treston Davis-Faulkner highlighted the rise of shock doctrine union busting tactics--right wing use of economic crises as an excuse to push through radical free-market ideology that cuts jobs, undermines worker power, and undercuts our social safety nets.
Treston wrote about the struggles of ILA Local 1291 dockworkers fighting back against the highly profitable Del Monte Fresh Produce Co., which despite two years of record profits eliminated about two hundred union jobs in the Philadelphia area, replacing them with poorly paying jobs at a nearby Camden port "organized" by a company-controlled sham union. When the laid-off workers protested, Del Monte slammed them with an injunction that effectively gagged the local and its members. Luckily, family members, community supporters, and allies--including Philly JwJ--have stepped up and united in a campaign to fight to restore these workers' jobs.
Another big labor struggle in the area also fits snugly into the shock doctrine model. In the midst of a recession, SEIU Healthcare PA workers continue to fight scheduled facility closures in Bensalem. Is the elimination of these jobs a matter of company survival, somehow a regrettable but ultimately necessary business decision? Nope. Express Scripts hauled in an easy $1.7 billion in profits last year.
SEIU's blog has more on the Express Scripts fight:
According to a new research report, Express Scripts (ESI), the second-largest pharmacy benefit management firm in the country, is alienating clients by engaging in pricing schemes, handling personal data carelessly, expanding so fast the company may be overvalued, and is so loaded with debt its liquidity may be in danger. The report titled "Overdosing on Greed" was issued by SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, which represents ESI workers in Bensalem, PA, and is locked in a dispute with the company.
Express Scripts, racked up profits of $1.7 billion last year while processing 449 million prescriptions -- 12 percent of all prescriptions filled in the United States. Nevertheless, the company is demanding draconian concessions and threatening to close two of its facilities in suburban Philadelphia if the workers don't agree to the concessions by mid-December. The closures would put an estimated 1,000 workers out of jobs in this economically hard-hit community just in time for Christmas.
In the Philly area and across the country, companies are using the recession as an excuse to put more folks out of work. Thankfully, people are beginning to stand up and call these callow tactics what they really are--corporate greed. Those of us who care about workers, their power, and their rights need to be vigilant now more than ever, and it's exciting to see workers like the SEIU Healthcare PA folks and Local 1291 fiercely taking these battles head-on.
Monday, November 29, 2010
In other news, stay tuned for more information about this campaign. If Del Monte thinks ignoring these workers and their families will make this whole thing go away, they're dead wrong.
Denver City Councilman Paul Lopez met the delegation outside in 28-degree weather and stated, “It’s a cold day and a cold night but this is an action of solidarity. We are here because what Del Monte is doing is undermining the fundamental pillars of the work force in America. They are taking us back to the 1920s.”
Councilman Lopez continued, “I personally will boycott Del Monte products until this issue is resolved and in a few moments we will be getting signatures from Denver City Council on a letter to the head of Del Monte.”
Last Monday was only the beginning.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
- Dennis Olson of ILA and Gwen Snyder of Philly JwJ talk about the campaign live on The Union Edge Radio show, right now on 1180 am. Download the show as an mp3 at their site.
- WHYY reports: "Longshoremen protest invades convenience store." Video below:
- "Boycott Del Monte! Protestors block Philadelphia traffic"--National JwJ blogs about our efforts.
- The National AFL-CIO blogged today about the national actions against Del Monte's corporate greed.
- Florida activists from ILA and Central Florida JwJ post pictures up on Flickr from their action at Del Monte Coral Gables HQ solidarity with the laid-off Port of Philadelphia longshoremen.
- The Galveston County Daily News down in Texas covered the efforts of ILA and community allies rallying in solidarity with the laid-off dockworkers yesterday.
- Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO has passed a resolution in support of the Del Monte boycott.
- The ten thousand-strong ILAW also passed a resolution today supporting the boycott.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Workers and supporters block traffic in Center City Philadelphia in protest of Del Monte's efforts to undermine fair workplace standards
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
COINTELPRO all over again? PA government intel agency monitors Philly JwJ, other progressive local state organizations
Just over a month ago, ProPublica broke the story that Pennsylvania's Office of Homeland Security contracted with the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response (ITRR), a private Israeli-based company, to assess terrorist threats impacting law enforcement priorities in Pennsylvania.
For almost a year, ITTR provided bi-weekly intelligence briefings to Pennsylvania Homeland Security which focused in equal part on "jihadist" communications and trainings throughout the world, and also social justice organizing and protests across the country.Pennsylvania Homeland Security, in turn, distributed this information to 800 federal, local and state law enforcement agencies, along with "relevant stakeholders" like local businesses. Information provided included the political views and movement building strategies of hundreds of law-abiding groups and individuals.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Phila. Federation of Teachers providing FREE bus seating to 'One Nation' Rally in Washington on Oct. 2
Friday, September 17, 2010
On September 15, Jobs with Justice coalitions and allies in more than 100 cities nationwide brought the voices of workers, community members, and the unemployed into the debate on how to move forward on a jobs plan that would put people back to work immediately. With 15 million people out of work and one in seven Americans living below the official poverty line, the time is now for Congress to take bold action to move the country towards full and fair employment and to ensure that Wall Street pays their fair share.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Could you imagine a Philadelphia without libraries, firefighters, trash collection, or even basic after school activities for our children?
Could you imagine a city that serves only its billionaires, and taxes only its poor?
Could you imagine a city without livable jobs?
That's the Philadelphia that C.E.O.'s at big businesses like Comcast, Verizon, and Sunoco would love to make a reality.
Tomorrow, with our neighbors, our co-workers, we fight back.
Tomorrow, we take our fight for jobs and a fair economy to the streets.
Tomorrow, we tell big business: pay your fair share.
Join us in part of a nationwide Emergency Day of Action for jobs.
When:: 12 pm - 1 pm, Wednesday, 9/15/2010
Where: : Corner of Broad and Walnut Sts., Philadelphia
What:: SOS Jobs: A Rally for Jobs
Don't let City Council forget that this is a city of people, not corporations. Let's remind them what a fair city economy looks like: funding for city services, fair employment, and an end to tax breaks for millionaire and billionaire corporations.
Endorsed by AFSCME District 47, Philadelphia NAACP, Philadelphia One Nation Organizing Committee, Coalition for Labor Union Women, Media Mobilization Project, Philadelphia Unemployment Project, Coalition for Essential Services, Act Up Philadelphia, National Jobs with Justice, and Progressive Democrats for America.
Corporate America isn't going to know what hit 'em.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Link: Banker's Song (we didn't see it coming) (Autotune The News)
Link: How Wall Street made the crisis worse (NPR and ProPublica)
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Here's what sustainers will help us accomplish this fall:
- Kick off an exciting campaign to win rights for local workers and community members up in the area around Temple;
- work alongside city residents and public service workers in a fierce direct action campaign to keep city workers fairly employed, and keep essential services like libraries, pools, after-school programming, and more free and open;
- fight alongside workers and unions in solidarity during contract fights and other workplace disputes;
- connect faith leaders and labor with our September Labor in the Pulpits program in coordination with Philadelphia AFL-CIO, Interfaith Workers' Justice, and dozens of congregations in and around the city;
- build student leadership and training the next generation of organizers through our Student Labor Action Project;
- push for local, state and national legislation to guarantee full employment, fair jobs, and funded public services in coordination with National Jobs with Justice; and
- mobilize for direct actions on 9/15, 10/2, and more to force big business to pay its fair share.
We have an amazing movement full of excited volunteers, staff, interns, and allies, all ready to launch this full slate of programming. Help make our vision for Fall 2010 a reality by signing up as a monthly sustainer with Philadelphia Jobs with Justice.
Thank you for your support--you are what makes this movement happen.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
- Immokalee Workers: McDonald's and Sudexo down, Wal-Mart and Publix to go. Coalition of Immokalee workers--the Floridian tomato pickers who visited Philly a few weeks ago with their chilling touring exhibit about contemporary slavery in the U.S.--recently had a victory in their struggle against mega-food company Sudexo. Next stop: big chain supermarkets like Walmart and Publix. (Via United Steel Workers' blog)
- Everyone's getting psyched for the One Nation Working Together March on Oct. 2: CWA's Larry Cohen warns us not to miss the bus, and Mayor Nutter threw his weight behind it at a press conference yesterday (not to brag, but JwJ was definitely namedropped!). SEIU, AFL-CIO, AFSCME, AFT, NAACP, and a long and illustrious list of other allies are also on board.
- UFCW continues its struggle up at Motts.
- In the not-particularly-surprising department, a new report on the current economic situation finds that "New England states have too long viewed funding for public services and economic development as competing interests"--wrongly. In other words, we need to save our economy by targeting Wall Street, not by firing our librarians and social workers.
- And finally, SEIU's fight for basic workers' rights at Express Scripts Inc. rages on. Says Express Scripts Inc. employee Ray Teachey:
"We're not asking to be millionaires, we're just asking for fair wages, good healthcare and just a little bit of a better lifestyle," said Express Scripts Inc. employee Ray Teachey to the crowd assembled behind the Boilermakers Local 13 building.
Monday, August 30, 2010
September 15 is National JwJ's Jobs Emergency Day of Action.
Join Philadelphia Jobs with Justice as we demonstrate outside the Greater Phila. Chamber of Commerce. We need to tell big business that enough is enough: it's time for fair jobs, full employment, and funding for all of our essential city services.
When: 12:00 pm noon, Wednesday, September 15
Where: City Chamber of Commerce, 200 S Broad St. (NW Corner of Broad and Walnut, at the Bellevue)
Together, let's send a clear message to the millionaires and billionaires protected by the Chamber of Commerce: it's time to start hiring and end corporate tax breaks.
- RSVP on Facebook
- Flyer for the 9/15/10 action in Philly
- Background info from National Jobs with Justice
Friday, August 20, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
That doesn't mean, of course, that we aren't keeping our ear to the ground when it comes to labor issues in the news. Here are some pieces from today that we thought were interesting:
- Willie Brown of TWU Local 234 sat down with Plan Philly for an interview about SEPTA's stubborn unwillingness to cooperate with labor. Contrary to what Nutter and other city officials tried to tell us during the strike last fall, TWU is on the riders' side on most issues. Brown argues for increased safety standards, a more sensitive approach to customer service, and for finding sources of revenue other than fare hikes.
- The Chamber of Commerce celebrated the 19th Amendment this week by quoting a letter suggesting that women seeking equal pay are infected with "a Scrooge-like fetish for money." Classy stuff, CoC.
- Global youth unemployment has reached record levels. But hey, canvassing subcontractors are always prepared to hire desperate, unemployed kids. For a day or two, anyway.
- No surprise , but Glenn Beck is at it again, this time suggesting unemployed workers are irresolute pinkos who just need to suck it up and get a job at McDonald's. Beck seems to subscribe to the same delusional school of thought as Tom Corbett: he just can't get it through his head that there simply aren't enough jobs out there.
Sorry to be such a downer. Here's a video of penguins chasing a butterfly at the Philadelphia Zoo to make you feel better.
AFSCME Local 752 represents zoo workers, so it's totally relevant.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Some choice material from the report:
- Glenn Beck claims unions have "raped" police and firefighters. First of all, it would be remiss of me not to point out that this comment trivializes rape. Second, Beck's implication about unions and their relationship with public workers is is just wrong. Unions are the front line in the fight to preserve public funding for social services--and as we've seen in the fight against fire station brown outs this summer in Philadelphia, both the community and rank-and-file public workers support them.
- Pretty much everybody on Fox seems to think unions are composed entirely of fat cats and thugs. Limbaugh's take on the Employee Free Choice Act, a piece of legislation that might have evened the playing field a bit for workers: "The Union Brass Knuckles Busting On Your Knees Act."
- And my personal favorite, another Beck-ism: "even the Boy Scouts aren't safe from SEIU's thuggery."
Chances are that if you're reading this post, you've got at least a little bit of a workers' rights sensibility to you. If we want to win this fight, we need to be aware of the kind of virulent disinformation that the corporate-funded right wing media is spreading about the labor movement. Workers' rights are under attack. What do we do? Stand up, fight back.
But first, we need to know what we're up against.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Monday, August 2, 2010
Last week in a column titled "A Sin and a Shame," Bob Herbert detailed the ways in which corporations have exploited the economic downturn, using the recession as an excuse to take advantage of workers even as worker productivity has increased dramatically. Writes Herbert,
The recession officially started in December 2007. From the fourth quarter of 2007 to the fourth quarter of 2009, real aggregate output in the U.S., as measured by the gross domestic product, fell by about 2.5 percent. But employers cut their payrolls by 6 percent.
Today, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman sounded additional warning bells. It's a bad scene, he says--1 in 6 unemployed or underemployed, average length of unemployment 35 weeks and growing. We can, and we have to, do something now--but he fears that politicians are biding their time until it's too late, waiting until a moment where they can call unemployment structural and unavoidable.
Concludes Krugman, "I’d like to imagine that public outrage will prevent this outcome. But while Americans are indeed angry, their anger is unfocused."
If ever there was a time for action, it's now. It's time to stand up and remind our elected officials that they are ultimately accountable to us, and that we, their constituents, demand aggressive action on job creation. Congress returns from recess September 10th, and the Jobs with Justice network is gearing up for a September 15th National Day of Action to let Congress--and our local officials-- know that America demands the creation of good jobs now.
Join us as we remind Congress: their bosses live on Main Street, not K Street.