Monday, October 31, 2011

Remove the Ban on Undocumented Students.

Atlanta Jobs with Justice supports the campaign to remove the ban that prevents undocumented students from attending 5 prominent public colleges in Georgia. Education is a human right.

October 24, 2011

Office of the Chancellor
Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia
Suite 7025
270 Washington Street, SW
Atlanta, GA 30334

Dear Chancellor Huckaby,

I hope this letter finds you well. I write to convey the Georgia Undocumented Youth Alliance’s request to appear before the Board of Regents, at the meeting scheduled for November 8-9, to propose that the Board re-address Policy 4.1.6.

Given the University of Georgia Student Government Association’s passage of Senate Resolution 24-04 urging the Board to repeal Policy 4.1.6, the Franklin College Faculty Senate’s unanimous approval of a similar measure, and the economic and ethical precedent said Policy creates, the following organizations publicly endorse this request to appear before the Board:

American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia
American Friends Service Committee
Athens Immigrant Rights Coalition
Atlanta Jobs with Justice
Dignidad Inmigrante en Athens
Economic Justice Coalition
Freedom University
Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights
Georgia Students for Public Higher Education
Georgia Undocumented Youth Alliance
Southern Center for Human Rights
Southern Poverty Law Center
Southerners on New Ground
University of Georgia GLOBES

We would appreciate a response by Monday, October 31.

Please address all correspondence to Allie McCullen, PO BOX 49706, Athens, GA 30604, and all electronic correspondence to a.mccullen@gmail.com.

Respectfully,

Allie McCullen
Representative, Georgia Students for Public Higher Education

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Union Power. Occupy Atlanta.

The following unions (rank and file members, shop stewards, organizers and union presidents) came out to Woodruff Park (Troy Davis Park) yesterday to stand up against arrests:
  • American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees Local 1644 (AFSCME)
  • Amalgamated Transit Union Local 732 (ATU)
  • Communication Workers of America Local 3204 and District members (CWA)
  • The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades
  • The Teamsters Local 728
  • Fulton County Teachers
  • Atlanta North Georgia Labor Council
  • The AFL-CIO
  • Atlanta Jobs with Justice
  • Senator Vincent Fort
When it was clear that arrests were not going to take place, we had the chance to hear from each union member about why they came out to Troy Davis Park. Sam Howell from the ATU said that "Unions stand for unity. We must come together as a people for good jobs and respect." Eric Richardson from the CWA said, "These corporations have been outsourcing our jobs to other nations, slashing wages and benefits at home while receiving huge tax breaks and record profits. Corporations must be held accountable to our local communities, it's time we come together." Ben Speight from Teamsters Local 728 said that "if Kasim Reed sent in the police he would have to drag out the hard working union members that got him elected." Charlie Fleming President of the Atlanta North Georgia Labor Council said, "Labor stands with Occupy Atlanta. Labor stands with the community."

Union members were eager to support Occupy Atlanta and engage with the people organizing at the park while Occupy Atlanta folks were overjoyed to feel union support. It was easy to see that corporate greed impacts all of the 99% and we must come together to get some justice in this city. Folks began discussing a unifying event to combine the power of Occupy Atlanta and labor. Details TBA.

Vicious anti-union campaigns and the outsourcing of good union jobs encouraged by a lack of governmental protections for working people have contributed to Georgia having the second lowest union density in the country at just 4% of employed workers. It comes as no surprise that Georgia also has the third highest poverty rate in the country at 18.7% or 1.83 million people. Our community needs good jobs now. Our local and state governments cannot cut budgets and lay off public sector workers that largely support jobs for communities of color. The USPS must not lay off 120,000 union workers that largely represent communities of color. JOBS NOT CUTS.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

iWon't Upgrade Action in Solidarity with Verizon Workers

TIME: Friday, October 14 · 7:45 AM

LOCATION: Midtown Verizon Wireless
650 Ponce De Leon Ave NE Atlanta, GA

Atlanta Jobs with Justice is taking action in solidarity with the 45,000 Verizon Workers fighting for a fair contract. We will be flyering at the Verizon Store on Ponce de Leon at 7:45 AM in conjunction with the release of the new iphone.


The Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, joined by allies including MoveOn.org, the AFL-CIO, US Action, Jobs with Justice, and National People’s Action are launching the nationwide iWont Campaign, asking Americans to delay upgrading to the new iPhone 4s on Verizon Wireless until the company agrees to a fair contract with its workers.

Since August, 45,000 Verizon and Verizon Wireless workers have been fighting to protect their health care coverage and other standard employee benefits against company demands for massive takebacks that threaten tens of thousands of middle class families.

The coalition will also work to expose the “Verizon Tax Loophole” – the tricks and tax dodges Verizon and Verizon Wireless use to pay nothing at all in federal corporate income taxes even as they make billions in profits, pay their top 5 executives hundreds of millions of dollars, and undermine the American Dream of good middle-class jobs. As Congress considers ways to close the deficit, the CWA and its partners will lead a grassroots campaign calling on lawmakers to force companies like Verizon and to pay their fair share in federal taxes and respect workers’ rights.

Monday, October 10, 2011

JOBS NOW! Coverage and Report Back.

The Jobs Now Press Conference put out a strong message: our community needs jobs not cuts. On the day when the unemployment figures were released highlighting that Atlanta continues to face crippling unemployment and underemployment, especially in communities of color, we had the opportunity to hear the stories of our community members.




We heard from George Steed a working father that despite working two jobs still relies on federal assistance to support his family and to pay the rent. George says that we need quality jobs with decent wages. "I'm smiling but I'm crying on the inside."

Tonya Pinkston has been searching for a job for two years. Tonya wants to work at a job that doesn't put her in a position to have to choose between feeding her daughter or putting shoes on her daughter's feet. "We want to go back to work, we want to help restore America." Tonya wants to work so that she can pay off her student debt. Tonya asked, "am I being picky if I want a job that allows me to keep my lights on? Am I being picky to strive for a job that enables me to reach the American dream?"

Adam Valdez is a recent college graduate struggling with debt. He was turned away from a job because he was "overqualified." Adam believes we need jobs that offer a fair wage to their employees.

Kennith Beasley representing the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) spoke about the manufactured crisis for the United States Postal Service (USPS). The USPS receives no tax dollars from the US government. A Bush era policy forcing USPS to "pre pay" health care costs for folks not yet hired is the source of the Post Office budget issues. Our country needs good middle class USPS jobs, it is not the time to cut 120,000 USPS jobs. Support HR 1351.

Senator Nan Orrock highlighted the fact that local public sector jobs are being cut. Public sector jobs and USPS jobs largely support workers of color. During an unemployment crisis it is not the time to cut good public sector jobs, nor is it the time "for the labor commissioner to cut the unemployment check of those looking for work."

Senator Vincent Fort highlighted Bank of America's role in the economic and unemployment crisis. Just this morning he called Bank of America to stop them from foreclosing the home of a couple in their 80's. Fort says the Georgia Labor commissioner's solution to the unemployment crisis is to cut back on unemployment benefits to those looking for work. This is not the solution our community needs. "There is a war being declared on the dreams of working people."

Georgia State Professor Frederick Brooks III, spoke of the broader perspective of unemployment across various sectors and the reality of the situation: "The economists tell us that the recession ended 1.5 years ago yet in the real world of America, there's 14 million people looking for work"

Charmaine Davis the lead organizer for 9 to 5 Working Women and Atlanta Jobs with Justice co-chair facilitated the Press Conference, she highlighted that the Atlanta Metro Area had lost more jobs in 2010 than any other Metro Area in the United States. "Georgia continues to have the 3rd highest poverty rate in the country."

Ben Speight the lead organizer for the Teamsters local 728 and Atlanta Jobs with Justice co-chair spoke about the connection between Georgia having the 2nd lowest union density in the US to Georgia having the 3rd highest levels of poverty in the US. The Occupy Wall Street movement and other Occupy movements sprouting up in Atlanta and other cities that are shining a spot light on corporate greed, union busting and the banks foreclosing on working people must grow in strength and cohesion. Our communities depend on it.

Press Coverage:
CBS Atlanta

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

JOBS NOW! Press Conference and Rally.

ATLANTA JOBS WITH JUSTICE RESPONDS TO NEW UNEMPLOYMENT NUMBERS, DEMANDS ACTION ON JOBS CRISIS

WHAT:
Unemployed Atlantans will tell their stories; spokespeople for Atlanta Jobs with Justice will call for an aggressive jobs creation program and
protection of workers rights.

WHEN:
10:30 a.m., Friday, October 7, 2011

WHERE:
In front of the Georgia Department of Labor headquarters 148 Andrew Young International NE, Atlanta GA

SPEAKERS:
  • Adam Valdez recent college graduate, unemployed
  • Tonya Pinkston, 9 to 5 member, laid off for two years, unemployed
  • Alicia Newton, 9 to 5 member whose background has presented a major barrier to employment, unemployed
  • Kennith Beasley, President, American Postal Workers Union, Local 32
  • Frederick Brooks III, Ph.D., Associate Professor, GA State Univ. School of Social Work
  • Charmaine Davis, Organizing Director, 9 to 5
  • Georgia State Senator Vincent Fort
SPONSOR:
Atlanta Jobs with Justice, a coalition of 19 labor, community, student and faith-based organizations.

WHY:
  • The Atlanta region lost more jobs last year than any other metro area (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
  • Georgia¹s unemployment rate has been higher than the national average for 49 consecutive months.
  • Unemployment among African Americans nationally (16.7%) was more than double the rate for whites (8%) in August 2011 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
  • Georgia has the third highest poverty rate in the U.S. (1.83 million people), its highest rate of poor folks since 1983(U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
  • Georgia is tied for the second lowest union member density rate in the U.S.-- with only four percent of all employed workers being union members in 2010.
  • The recession has been declared over and many corporations are realizing record profits, yet millions of working people are unemployed nationwide - more than half for over 26 weeks - and many have lost their homes and become dependent on public support for the first time.
  • Further cutbacks of public jobs are planned on the federal, state and local level, crippling public education and health and social services for those most in need.
  • Tax cuts for the rich and corporations, attacks on collective bargaining, and austerity budgets will only contribute to our economys downward spiral.
  • We demand 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.
  • We also demand strengthening of all workers’ right to organize for better wages, working conditions, and legal status for undocumented immigrant workers.