Sunday, November 27, 2011

Community and Workers Stand Together to Say No to Verizon Greed and Home Depot Complicity

Atlanta Jobs with Justice teamed up with the Communication Workers of America (CWA) the Teamsters and Occupy Atlanta to first hit Home Depot with a flash mob over the efforts of their contractor Republic Services to undermine their workers union contracts. From the Home Depot we marched to the other end of the shopping center to the Verizon Wireless store. Normally the Atlanta Police Department asks us to leave right away. Because of our numbers and our spirits it was not feasible for them to do this. There were three Atlanta Police Officers watching us from inside of the store. Eventually, two large police vans arrived to the scene along with at least 7 Atlanta Police cruisers. The police officers had zip ties on hand and were ready to arrest folks. When we saw this we left for the front of the parking lot and picketed on the busy street for about 20 more minutes and heard speeches from the CWA, JwJ, Teamster reps and state senator Vincent Fort.

This marked a level of intensity and numbers that surpassed our events even when the CWA and IBEW workers were on strike. These are the events we need to stop the Verizon greed that threatens to undermine decent wages, benefits and working conditions for working families across our country and to stop companies like Home Depot from acting like they have no responsibility for the actions of their own contractors.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Two Corporate Giants, One Saturday Morning.

Atlanta Jobs with Justice sent a message to both Home Depot and Verizon this past Saturday morning for their role in holding down working families across the United States. Home Depot contracts out to a company called Republic Services to haul its garbage. Republic Services is campaigning across the country to undermine the union contracts that keep their employees safe-employees who do hazardous work to protect the health of Home Depot customers and the public at large.

Verizon continues to demand huge concessions from their employees at the bargaining table. A report just came out revealing that Verizon had not paid taxes for the past three years. With the Occupy movement building momentum corporate giants that continue to disrespect their employees become obvious targets.

JwJ members passed out fliers to Home Depot customers and employees before heading over to Verizon Wireless to inform customers about Verizon's treatment of their employees. The Atlanta Police Department was called by Verizon and they asked us to leave the private parking lot.

Atlanta Needs Full Employment Now!

WE HAVE AN UNEMPLOYMENT AND INEQUALITY CRISIS.

WHAT:
Responding to new federal statistics for October, unemployed Atlantans participating in Occupy Atlanta and Jobs with Justice spokespeople will tell their stories and call for aggressive action to end out-of-control economic inequality and unemployment.

WHERE:
In front of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce headquarters
235 Andrew Young International Boulevard NW, Atlanta GA 30303

SPEAKERS:
  • Phillip Clark and Rob Call Unemployed Occupy Atlanta participants
  • Deacon Chester Griffin, Our Lady Of Lourdes Catholic Church
  • Roger Sikes, Organizing Committee Atlanta Jobs with Justice
  • Georgia State Senator Vincent Fort
  • Atlanta City Councilmen Julian Bond

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

WHY: 
  • Atlanta had the widest income gap between rich and poor of all major U.S. cities from 2005 to 2009 (U.S. Bureau of the Census). 
  • The top 1% of U.S. households received 59.9% of income gains from 1979 to 2007, while 8.6% went to the bottom 90% (Economic Policy Institute).
  • The Atlanta region lost more jobs last year than any other metropolitan area (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
  • Georgia has the 3rd highest rate of poverty in the United States, with 1.83 million Georgians living in poverty. (U.S. Bureau of the Census)
  • Georgia’s unemployment rate has been higher than the national average for 50 consecutive months. Atlanta’s September rate was even higher than Georgia’s: 11.5 percent in the city and 10.5 in the metro area (Georgia Dept. of Labor).
  • Unemployment among African Americans nationally (16.%) was double the rate for whites (8%) in September 2011 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
  • 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.”
  • 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.