Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Low-Wage Strikes Starting to Improve Jobs

Reprinted from www.teamsternation.blogspot.com
 A number of fast-food and retail workers say their jobs improved after they walked out on their employer in a wave of one-day strikes over the past few months.
Fast-food workers in Seattle walked out of dozens of restaurants on Wednesday night and Thursday, marking the seventh one-day strike in the past eight weeks. Low-wage workers have gone on strike in New York, Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, Washington, D.C., and Milwaukee. Now the workers say they are seeing some improvement in their jobs after returning. The Huffington Post reports:
Conditions, hours, positions and pay have improved for a number of workers who participated in strikes in the last two months, organizers say. They point to Krystal Collins in Chicago, who got a 0.25 cent hourly raise and was switched from part-time to full-time after walking off her job at Macy's in April, and to Claudette Wilson, Romell Frazier and Khalil Dorris in Detroit, who forced their Burger King to close for the day in early May and subsequently saw their hours increase.
Here are a few more examples, brought to you by CNN Money.
Before the strike:
Eddie Guzman needed to work at least 20 hours a week to be eligible for welfare programs, such as food stamps and affordable housing. But his requests for more hours at the Brooklyn Burger King were met with deaf ears. Guzman's managers kept his working hours between 12 and 15 a week. After the strike he was fired, but then: ...community organizers and New York city council member Brad Lander went to the Burger King (BKW) to ask for his job back... Within days, Guzman had his job back and was scheduled to work at least 20 hours per week.
Robert Wilson, a Chicago McDonald's employee, before the strike:
(He) spent eight years showing new employees the ropes and training others to get better positions at McDonald's. But he was never able to move up the ranks himself. That was until he and other workers rallied on Black Friday outside of the location where he worked in Chicago's Navy Pier. His managers saw Wilson protesting. The very next day, they told him that the position he had been gunning for was finally open.
One day longer, one day stronger!

McCain and Obama Administration pledge support for Al-Qaeda Terrorists

John McCain on his recent trip to Syria. Standing behind him is Mohamed Nour, a known terrorist
In preparation for plunging the US into another bloody and senseless war overseas, Sen. John McCain visited with Syrian “rebels” last month to pledge support in their campaign to overthrow the democratically elected government of Syria. For over 2 years, the “Free Syrian Army”, a disparate collection of Al-Qaeda linked jihadists and a handful of deserters from the Syrian Army, have waged an unremitting war of terrorist violence against the Syrian civilian population, sending out waves of suicide bombers and car bombs in Damascus and surrounding areas, as well as more conventional urban battles with the Syrian army. By far the most horrific attacks by the FSA were in Alleppo, where the jihadists used chemical weapons in their attack on March 19th.

The US has been supporting the attempt to overthrow the Syrian government since the beginning of the conflict, as the US has imposed economic sanctions on the Syrian state since 1975. Last year, the New York times revealed that the CIA had been funneling weapons to the opposition, despite a prior EU arms ban to either side in the region. The Obama Administration has openly supplied the “rebels” with over $250 Million in cash, as well as bringing in supplies, armored troop transports, and other “non-military” aid in the past two years.  Now that the EU has lifted its arm embargo on the conflict, the US and its European NATO allies are planning to openly send weapons and air support to the Syrian Al-Qaeda forces.
By forcing the collapse of the Syrian government, the US will be able to deprive Iran of one of its strategic allies, and a destabilized region would allow US corporate industries to exploit the country’s resources without local government opposition. Syria is a major oil producer in the region, and according to the Oil and Gas Journal, Syria had 2,500,000,000 barrels of petroleum reserves as of January 2010.

Moore City Manager Eddy: Storm Shelters in Public Schools too “Costly”

Following the horrific aftermath of the EF-5 tornado last month, the second to hit the town in the past 14 years, the necessity for providing adequate storm protection in public schools and community shelters should be obvious, but as the ongoing debate in Moore city government proves, students could continue to be at risk for some time to come. 
The majority of the debate seems to be raging on the topic of the site for the reconstruction of Park Plaza Elementary and Mayor Lewis’ campaign to require new home construction to include storm shelters, but other than  School Superintendent Pierce’s expressing that she is “hopeful” that a saferoom will be included in the  construction of the new school, there are no guarantees from the city government. There are no state requirements for storm shelters in schools and public buildings, and state emergency managers do not even track which schools are unprotected. 
In a radio interview with NPR, when asked about safe rooms being required for schools, City Manager Steve Eddy replied, “Lives, you can't count the cost or the value of lives, but you can count the cost of construction. It adds a significant amount of cost to construction. The taxpayers would have to determine whether they're going to pay that or not.” The City of Moore had no qualms in allocating over $700,000 in corporate tax incentives to Target and IMAX theaters in 2012. Let’s hope the City considers children’s lives more valuable than corporate kickbacks, or the price could be much higher when the next storm hits.

Labor Unions Work to Bring Relief to Disaster-hit Families in Oklahoma

In a spirit of true solidarity, trade union locals and other organized labor groups from around the country are raising funds and collecting donations for families affected by the May 20 Tornadoes.  Among the many efforts underway, here are a few examples of labor in action:
Oklahoma City IBEW local 1141 established a relief fund, and are collecting supplies to be donated to the relief effort.
On May 29th, the Central Oklahoma Labor Federation mobilized dozens of volunteers for cleaning up debris . 
When Jim Pulley, a UAW member in Spring Hill, Tenn., saw the devastation caused by the tornadoes that hit Moore, Okla., he jumped into action and set up collection boxes at all of the General Motors Co. (GM) plant entrances in his hometown, resulting in three semi-trailer truckloads of supplies headed to help the tornado survivors.
Teamsters provided volunteers for driving forklifts to haul and manage the rapidly accumulating supplies donated to the Red Cross. Local 523 also set up trailers to collect member’s donations of food and supplies.
International Association of Fire Fighters Communications Director Tim Burn said first responders, including those from his union, are busy helping their neighbors in digging out and reassembling their lives after the May 20 tornadoes. But some 30 IAFF members are victims, too, he said. "Some 1,700 IAFF members are located in the path of the massive tornadoes that devastated Moore, Okla., and a number of other Oklahoma cities, as well as communities in Kansas. The international has begun damage assessments, and the need for relief to IAFF members affected by the storm is critical," he said.
The United Food and Commercial Workers and the National Association of Letter Carriers said members in Moore lost homes, goods and cars. UFCW said checks should go to Local 1000's regional headquarters in Grapevine, Texas. NALC President Fredric Rolando said his union's members should funnel contributions to Branch 458 through the union's Postal Employees Relief Fund. "When a storm like this hits, we must match its ferocity with our own generosity to help our brothers, sisters and co-workers rebuild after this tragedy," Rolando said.
These are just a few examples of the combined efforts of union brothers and sisters working together to help Oklahoma in its time of need. To find out more about what you can do to help, contact the Oklahoma State AFL-CIO at 405-528-2409 for more information.