Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Take Action to Give Georgia a Raise!

Take Action Now at: bit.ly/RaiseGA

Georgia workers making just $7.25 an hour leaves a family of three stuck below the poverty line. We see everyday families and workers struggling to get by in our communities and neighborhoods for no reason. Workers deserve better pay and we can change their lives by making sure that Georgia State Legislators vote for our communities and our families this year by raising the state minimum wage to $15 an hour.

We deserve better in our state, we deserve leaders and politicians that care about the needs of our families and communities.  We need Georgia State Legislators to walk into the capitol and show us that they have the backs of hardworking Georgians instead of big business and multinational corporations. We need them to vote in the interests of everyday working people and put the needs of our state's residents above all else.

Currently, our state minimum wage is $5.15. If it weren't for the Federal Government Minimum Wage at $7.25 thousands of workers in our state would be making even less than they already do.  All the while some Georgia Politicians claim that there is no need for a minimum wage at all. However, across the nation and especially here in Georgia, workers are standing up and saying that enough is enough.  Workers in our communities are demanding $15 an hour and won't rest until their wages are raised! Thousands of workers making minimum wages are demanding a raise in wages so they can take care of themselves and their families without having to rely on public assistance.

Friday, October 24, 2014

#WageExposed Top 5 Next Steps

1. Vote Early! You can find early vote locations at My Voter Page: www.mvp.sos.ga.gov

2. Talk to your candidates! Call your state reps, senators, and statewide candidates and ask them these questions that matter to working families:
  • ATL Raise Up and Home Care Fight For 15: Will you do whatever it takes to help workers win $15 and hour and a union?
  • UNITE HERE Local 23: Do you commit to fighting for a living wage for all workers at the Atlanta Airport? Also, Where do you stand on raising the minimum wage and what steps will they take if elected to make it happen?
  • 9 to 5 Working Women Atlanta: Do you support policies like Ban the Box and other efforts to end employment discrimination against the formerly incarcerated?
  • IATSE LOCAL 927: What will you do to address the misclassification of Georgian Workers?
  • National Domestic Workers Alliance Atlanta Chapter: If elected, what do you plan to do to address the gap in health care left by our state not expanding Medicaid?
3. Help get out the vote! Tell your friends and neighbors to early vote, and join some upcoming get out the vote events:
  • Souls to the polls this weekend, Sunday the 19th and the following weekend, Sunday the 26th, churches all over Atlanta will be getting members of their congregation and community members out to vote. Locations:
    • First Iconium Baptist Church, 542 Moreland Ave SE
    • Ebenezer Baptist Church, 407 Auburn Ave NE at 11am
  • Get out the vote phone banking every Tues & Thursday 1 to 7pm at the Rush Center at 1530 Dekalb Ave - contact charmaine@9to5.org to sign up
  • Get out the vote phone banking between 4pm and 8pm for the Clayton County Transit initiative - contact angeliawilliams@ymail.com to sign up
  • #TakeOverPolls a march to the polls on Tuesday October 28th
4. Connect with our organizations! You can get more involved with Jobs with Justice, ATL Raise Up, the National Domestic Workers Alliance, 9to5 Atlanta, UNITE HERE Local 23, IATSE 927, AFSCME Local 3 and Workers United. Check them out on facebook and follow them on twitter at:
To get more involved with Jobs With Justice you can sign up for our email list at our website: www.atlantajwj.org, join our monthly meetings every 4th Tuesday of the Month, (next one on October 28th 6 - 8 pm at the Georgia Hill Community Center 250 Georgia Ave Room 309 Atlanta, GA 30312) and finally, if you are a part of an organization reach out to our organizer Neil Sardana (neil@atlantajwj.org | 404-913-9595) if you are interested in having your organization, union, or church join our coalition.

#WageExposed Worker Speakout & Election Forum

Atlanta Jobs with Justice kicked off its Low-Wage Workers Table by hosting the #WageExposed Worker Speakout and Election Forum on October 16th.

To start the speakout we honored our great leader and one of the original founders of Atlanta Jobs with Justice, Reverend James Orange. Our Organizing Director, Neil Sardana read a statement from Atlanta Jobs with Justice detailing his legacy of organizing and building leadership within the Atlanta community and in particular in support in building the Atlanta Jobs with Justice coalition. Reverend Orange's son Cleon Orange was in attendance to receive the dedication and tribute to his father on behalf of the Orange Family.

Reverend Greg Fann from AFSCME Local 3 moderated the #WageExposed event and introduced the panel of workers struggling for higher wages and respect on their jobs. The worker panel consisted of 5 workers who shared their personal struggles and organizing efforts as members of worker organizations that are affiliates of the Atlanta JwJ Coalition.


Speaking on the Worker Panel:
(Pictured above from left to right)
Valerie Redmond - NDWA Atlanta
Bernice Hancock - UNITE HERE 23
Colleen Higgins - 9 to 5 Atlanta
Chanel Simpson - Home Care Fight for 15
Antwon Brown - ATL Raise Up

We had two candidates running for GA statewide elected offices in attendance listening to and hearing testimony from the workers: Robbin Shipp running for Georgia Labor Commissioner and Daniel Blackmon running for Georgia Public Service Commission.


After the worker panel, we hosted an election forum for the candidates in attendance. They were each asked 6 questions by the workers on the panel representing the concerns and issues facing the organizations those workers represent. 
  1. ATL Raise Up & Home Care Fight For 15: Will you do whatever it takes to help workers win $15 and hour and a union?
  2. UNITE HERE Local 23: Do you commit to fighting for a living wage for all workers at the Atlanta Airport? Also, Where do you stand on raising the minimum wage and what steps will they take if elected to make it happen?
  3. 9 to 5 Working Women Atlanta: Do you support policies like Ban the Box and other efforts to end employment discrimination against the formerly incarcerated?
  4. IATSE LOCAL 927: What will you do to address the misclassification of Georgian Workers?
  5. National Domestic Workers Alliance Atlanta Chapter: If elected, what do you plan to do to address the gap in health care left by our state not expanding Medicaid?
  6. Atlanta Jobs with Justice: Are you willing to push for the reversal of unemployment benefit cuts to Georgia's School Workers? In what ways would you be willing to support these workers who will in crisis when they no longer will receive their unemployment benefits?

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Low-Wage Economy Exposed: Atlanta Workers Speakout!

October 16, 2014 - 7:00 pm
First Iconium Baptist Church: 542 Moreland Ave SE, Atlanta, GA 30316
Contact: neil@atlantajwj.org | 404-913-9595


In Atlanta, we workers will gather to speak out about the low-wages, the tough working conditions, and the lack of respect at our jobs, but also our dreams, our hopes, and our vision for a better future.

We invite all with under paying jobs to join us. We will come together from different community groups, workplaces, and unions to fight together to change our economy and our communities.

#WageExposed


Low-wage jobs have become the norm in Atlanta and across our nation. As our economy rebuilds after the economic collapse in 2008 caused by the big banks, low-wage service sector jobs are the majority of jobs being created with more Americans relying on these jobs to make a living. Its getting harder and harder to get by working these jobs due to their low-wages, lack of benefits, poor job security, short hours, and irregular schedules.

Every that goes by we workers in low-wage jobs are struggling to put food on the table, pay rent, afford transportation, and access healthcare. Our people are losing their homes, their cars, their health, and even in some extreme cases their lives, working on starvation wages. All while our corporate bosses of companies like Walmart, McDonalds, Gap, Target, Starbucks, and several others reap billions of dollars in profits and bonuses on the backs of we workers plus our families and our communities.

Enough is enough, we are worth more and we demand more! Corporate America needs to be held accountable and we the workers are the only ones who can make them. Make them pay for the exploitation and inhuman treatment that has caused us much stress and suffering all for their limitless quest for greed and profit. We are standing up fighting for a fair economy with jobs with justice for all. We won't stop fighting until our rights are respected, we are treated with dignity, and we are paid a decent living wage.

WE THE WORKERS WILL FIGHT AND WE WILL WIN!

#WageExposed

Friday, September 12, 2014

McDonald's Can No Longer Hide From Its Workers! Fight For $15 AJC Op-Ed

By: Neil Sardana, Atlanta Jobs with Justice Organizer


Last month, the National Labor Relations Board general counsel found McDonald’s Corp. to be a “joint-employer” alongside its franchisees. This legal decision could allow the corporation to be held responsible for the treatment and conditions of its franchisees’ workers and let workers unionize nationally across all stores.

It is common sense that McDonald’s should be held responsible for treatment of its workers. This is a victory for the fast-food workers movement that is fighting for a decent wage of $15 an hour, fair working conditions and the right to organize unions.

McDonald’s continues to challenge the notion it is responsible for its workers and plans to appeal the NLRB decision. However, McDonald’s and other fast-food franchisers understand the franchise model is designed to create a false barrier between the corporate entity and its workers. This allows the corporation to pay minimal wages while shifting the blame and responsibility for workers to franchisees.

Franchisers including McDonald’s have invested billions of dollars to build brands, structure franchise models, promote and sell products and establish customers across the world.

Given this, it would be ridiculous to believe corporations do not have direct control, or at least compelling influence, over the structure and operations of its franchisees. This control is needed by the corporation to protect and maintain a consistent brand and sell the same Big Mac coast to coast. This franchise model is a “godfatheresque” management style, where the corporations have all the money and power but utilize those lower on the chain (the franchise owners) to do the dirty work of keeping workers underpaid and under control.

The recent NLRB finding challenges this structure. It places accountability where it belongs, right at the top. Workers should be able to negotiate with, and hold accountable, corporations that are the ultimate beneficiaries of their labor. In this case, they are responsible for pay inequity at rates over 1,000 to 1 of compensation for CEOs vs. fast-food workers.

The franchise model hurts workers because it allows corporations to squeeze them dry while denying any responsibility. However, it also puts small franchise owners at a disadvantage and leaves them with little control over their own stores and livelihoods. Franchisees are squeezed out of their profits to pay rent, advertising and marketing costs and other mandatory franchise fees to the corporation.

Some franchise owners have spoken out against the bottom-barrel wages and absolute control McDonald’s exerts over its franchisees.

Kathryn Slater-Carter, owner of a McDonald’s franchise in Daly City, Calif., challenged the inability to offer health insurance and the low wages she was pressured by McDonald’s to pay. She worked with the California Legislature to pass a bill enabling greater rights of independent franchise owners, allowing them to control certain elements in their businesses without fear of corporate headquarters threatening to suspend their franchise.

In the “Fight For $15,” we are absolutely clear that fast-food corporations are determining how their franchisees operate. The corporations are responsible for the extremely low wages and the utilization of public welfare benefits to subsidize their work forces. This is why, from the outset, corporations and not franchisees have been the clear target for fast-food workers’ demands of $15 an hour and the right to form a union.

We celebrate this decision by the NLRB as a step in the right direction. The struggle for fair wages and respect for fast-food workers and all underpaid workers moves forward. Join us at 11:30 a.m. Thursday at 660 Boulevard NE, Atlanta, for the next ATL #FightFor15 worker rally.