Sunday, December 18, 2011

Caroling for Workers' Rights at Verizon.

On Saturday morning, we learned that our crew has a knack for singing carols, especially when it's about justice for working families. Community members came out to send a message to the Verizon upper management: our community will not support companies that are trying to slash the wages, benefits and working conditions of thousands of its employees, while the company's profits are high. Great to have Atlanta JwJ coalition members including the CWA local 3204, CWA local 3250, Teamsters local 728 and the Metro Atlanta DSA out there working it.

We delivered our message in the form of song:

No More Cuts (Jingle Bells)

Slashing basic health
And cutting worker pay
The company’s not broke
Stop bargaining this way (Ow! Ow! Ow!)

Enough is enough
We are here to stay
It’s time to show respect
That’s what we’re here to say

Oh! No more cuts
No more cuts
No more cuts—no way!
We need all of our benefits
To make it through the day!
Oh! No more cuts

No more cuts
No more cuts—no way!
Until we get our benefits
Well make Verizon pay!


Rudolph the Union reindeer
Pulled the sleigh for old St. Nick
He signed a Union contract
He knew North Pole politics.

All of the other reindeer
Worked long hours around the clock
They paid no heed to Rudolph
They worked in non-union shops.
Then one year on Christmas Eve
They all came to say,
"We will do what you advise
Rudolph, help us organize!"
Then how the reindeer loved him
As they lined up with their sleigh
Now when they work on Christmas
They’re all getting premium pay.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Fulton Foreclosure Auction Disrupted by Occupy Atlanta, JwJ and the CWA.

Every month, hundreds of foreclosed homes are auctioned off on the steps of the Fulton County Courthouse steps.  Yesterday morning, the auction was shut down by Occupy Atlanta, the Communication Workers of America (CWA) and Atlanta Jobs with Justice (JwJ).

Auctioneers stand on the steps of the courthouse and read details about the foreclosed home including the name of the person(s) losing the home, the bank that is responsible for taking the home, the cost of the home among other information.

In a few cases, the previous homeowner was in the crowd listening while her home was auctioned off. The most common banks trying to auction off foreclosed homes today were Chase, Wells Fargo and Bank of America.

Today however was not business as usual for the banks and their home auction.  As a gift to the city of Atlanta, the foreclosure auction was disrupted and a press conference hosted by Reverend Lowery declared the need for a national moratorium on foreclosures.

Atlanta Jobs with Justice has been working with Occupy Atlanta and Atlanta labor leaders to identify union members that are under the threat of foreclosure. The CWA came out in support of a retired member whose home was supposed to be auctioned off today.  The labor movement in Atlanta is taking steps to lift up working families not only in the workplace, but in our communities.  The war on workers takes place not only on the shop floor, but throughout our daily lives.  We will fight back on all fronts.

(The Jobs with Justice whistles got some really good use at this action)

"Dignity for the Unemployed?" Or Deception? Jobs Now Speak Out & Delegation to Gov Deal's Office

The recently filed Senate Bill 294, deceptively titled the "Dignity for the Unemployed Act" would require any individual trying to receive unemployment benefits to first volunteer for 24 hours/week before being eligible to receive the benefits.  This Act would inhibit our community members from searching for employment and highlights how out of touch some Georgia Dome politicians are with the realities facing our community: 11% unemployment in the city of Atlanta, the largest wealth gap between rich and poor for all cities over 100,000, threatened closure of post offices and thousands of middle class public sector jobs.  We need Jobs Not Cuts.

Atlanta Jobs with Justice along with a strong contingent of allies including members of ABLE (Atlantans Building Leadership for Empowerment), Occupy Atlanta, Interfaith Worker Justice, Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), Heroic Veterans of Georgia and more performed a delegation to Governor Deal's office to demand good jobs in our community and for policies that support community members that can't find jobs. (see 11% unemployment).

We then heard stories from Balewa Alimayu about the barriers that veterans face to finding employment.  We heard from George Kimbro Johnson about the power in having meaningful employment and health insurance, especially for disabled community members. 

We were then led by Jane DeJournette and La'Marcus Cook in lifting up our thoughts and prayers for good jobs and justice within our communities.  We lifted up the thoughts and prayers of the needed change in our communities and the organizing and coalition building that must happen to make it so.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

MEDIA ALERT: Unemployed Workers and Our Economy Need Help Now!


Responding to new federal statistics for November, unemployed Atlantans and Jobs with Justice spokespeople will call for aggressive action to turn our economy around through a public hiring program and extending unemployment insurance benefits.

1 p.m., Friday December 2, 2011

Room 403, Georgia State Capitol

Unemployed Georgians
Balewa Alimayu, director, Heroic Veterans of Georgia
Larry Pellegrini, executive director, Georgia Rural Urban Summit

Atlanta Jobs with Justice, a coalition of 19 labor, community, student and faith-based organizations.

  • Deceptively named legislation pre-filed by Senators John Albers and  Chip Rogers called Dignity for the Unemployed would in-fact stigmatize the unemployed by singling them out for an unpaid community service requirement.
  • Georgia's unemployment rate of 10.2 in October was higher than the national average (9 percent) for the 51st month in a row.
  • Atlanta's October unemployment rate was even higher than Georgia's: 11 percent in the city, although it dropped to 9.9 in the greater metro area (Georgia Dept. of Labor).
  • Georgia is the fourth most distressed state in the nation, measured by unemployment, housing, credit, household budgets and net worth (CredAbility's Consumer Distress Index)
  • Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler proposes lowering the maximum unemployment insurance benefit from $330 to 300 per week and possibly reducing the number of benefit weeks, to make up for a shortfall caused by the Georgia legislature giving employers a tax holiday.
  • The United States Postal Service is under pressure to shut down needed community post offices in Atlanta and cut hundreds of thousands of public sector jobs, disproportionately impacting communities of color.
  • Atlanta Jobs with Justice demands an aggressive, large-scale public program to create good jobs, especially for the hardest hit populations: communities of color, youth, older workers, and the long-term unemployed, paid for by taxes on the most affluent individuals and corporations, and extension ­ not reduction ­ of unemployment benefits. Unlike budget cuts and layoffs, this would stimulate our economy, preserve vital public services and help families remain independent.
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