Friday, April 27, 2012

The People vs. Verigreedy Verizon. This Thursday May 3rd.

This Thursday May 3rd the Communication Workers of America, the Labor Council and Jobs with Justice are taking busses to Huntsville, Alabama for Verigreedy (Verizon's) annual shareholder's meeting. Recently, we saw how effective the disruption of the Wells Fargo shareholders meeting was.  Despite massive profits and executive compensation, Verigreedy (Verizon) continues to push draconian cuts to their employees at the bargaining table.  It's time for the people to meet these executives face to face.  Busses are filling up fast so please RSVP to Roger Sikes at 404-782-0737 or We will be leaving from CWA Local 3204 (279 Logan St. Atlanta, GA) at 6:00 am.  Yes, 6:00 am on Thursday. We will get back to Atlanta in the afternoon that same day. Meals will be provided for all participants.  More info below.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Emory Students and Workers in Solidarity Turns up The Heat.

The past month has shown a flurry of organizing from Emory University Students and Workers in Solidarity (SWS).

On April 5th SWS hosted a forum titled "What is a Union?"
Panelists included:

Dianne Mathiowetz - Retired United Auto Worker (UAW) member
Dr. Jonathon Prude - Labor Historian at Emory University
Laura Emiko Soltis - Member of SWS speaking about the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW)
Eric Robertson - Political Director Teamsters Local 728
Ernest Talley - Shop Steward at AT&T, Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 3204
Gary Cameron - Former President of International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE)

Elizabeth Hennig a freshman at Emory University and member of SWS moderated the forum.  She posed questions to the panelists and they answered according to their experience.  The dialogue included multiple perspectives on the development of the labor movement in the United States to concrete organizing battles both past and present for dignity and respect on the job.  The speakers weaved a tapestry of experience, concrete struggle, power, and wisdom for a room of students normally isolated to academic exercise.  The audience asked the panelists questions to round up the night.

Building off of the energy of the "What is a Union" forum and an editorial written in the Emory Wheel (The School's Newspaper) about the unaddressed unequal worker treatment on campus and the continued prosecution of 7 Emory students, SWS continues to gain momentum...

On April 11th (one day before the arraignment of the 7 arrested students) SWS held a press conference on the Emory quadrangle where 7 students were arrested while sitting peacefully protesting unequal working conditions on campus.

Students facing up to one year in jail articulated their stance: Students were arrested because the Emory administration did not agree with their political message.  Instead of arresting peaceful student protestors, Emory should take steps to stop the two-tiered labor system on campus where contracted workers are treated as second class citizens.  Contracted workers do not receive free MARTA passes like all other full time campus workers, do not receive any tuition subsidies for their children to attend Emory like all other full time campus workers and have faced aggressive intimidation by management when they try to organize.

This press conference garnered media coverage and public scrutiny around the Emory administration's poor decisions:

Creative Loafing Coverage - "Emory students face charges for congregating where students congregate"

April marks the month where thousands of prospective Emory students come to visit campus with their families.  These campus visits are critical regarding the prospective student's decision to attend Emory or not and therefore Emory desperately wants to portray itself as a perfect institution of higher learning.  Keep in mind that each student will end up paying Emory University about $200,000, or not.

Emory SWS has been leafletting prospective students and their families with pertinent information regarding the prosecution of its own students and the labor inequalities on campus.  Prospective students and their parents are eager to learn more about Emory than what the admission's office wants to tell them.

Follow Emory Students and Workers in Solidarity on Twitter:

Find Emory Students and Workers in Solidarity on Facebook: Here

Monday, April 23, 2012

We Are All Immigrants. We Are All Workers.

Press Release: Immigrant and Community Groups Announce Rally on May Day

Workers Rights are Immigrant Rights are Human Rights 
The Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights is calling for a joint labor-immigrant rally on May 1, 2012 in the tradition of the long standing celebration of May Day as international workers day. Participants will assemble at 11:00am at the Georgia Capitol (Washington St, Atlanta, Ga.).

This May Day will mark a historic coming together of immigrants and working people in the face of the austerity measures faced by the economic depression. Our communities are struggling against anti-immigrant attacks, detention and deportation; union busting and cuts to workers’ wages and benefits; cuts to public services including education, health care, and transportation; and racist violence, police brutality, and mass incarceration. Propelled by strong community based organizations increased labor participation, and leaders have stepped up all across Atlanta to demand the state we deserve.

On May 1, we will rally in solidarity, workers documented and undocumented, and students, around the following demands: 
  • Stop Secure Communities and 287g programs.
  • Stop the Attacks on Workers and Unions!
  • Jobs for All and No to E-verify.
  • End Deportations, End Racism, and End the New Jim Crow era.
WHAT: An immigrant- workers rally for May 1, 2012—May Day, the International Day of the Working Class.

WHO: Representatives from Georgia, immigrant rights movement, labor movement, faith community, student movement, and other community organizations

WHEN: Tuesday May 1st, 2012 11:00 am

WHERE: Georgia Capitol – Downtown

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Broad Coalition of Georgians Kill SB469, Launch Spring Offensive of the 99%

Who: Atlana Jobs with Justice, Labor Unions, Occupy Atlanta, Immigrant Rights     organizations and dozens of everyday Georgians 
What: Press Conference to celebrate victory and launch the Spring Offensive of the 99%
When: Wednesday, April 4th, 11:00am
Where: In front of Senator Balfour's $29,000/year condo: Spire Condominiums 860 Peachtree St. NE. Balfour was the author and sponsor of SB 469 which sought to criminalize actions like protests in front of private residences.  Ethics complaints have been filed against Balfour for his unscrupulous spending of public monies.

News of the 1st amendment crushing, anti-worker SB469 came out just over a month ago.  Word spread like wildfire amongst Georgians of the need to mobilize.  Despite the seeming unconstitutionality of the bill it quickly became apparent that Senator Balfour and his corporate backers ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) and the Chamber of Commerce would stop at nothing to ram the bill through.  The bill was pushed through the senate with no debate allowed on the controversial bill, a rare and undemocratic move.

Thousands of everyday Georgians including trade unionists, civil rights leaders, community members, people of faith rallied at the capitol in clear opposition of the bill.  Civil rights leaders loudly proclaimed that our community would put our bodies on the line to stop this bill.  In response, Balfour pushed harder, leveraging his deep monied connections to hold a back door Industrial Relations Committee meeting on SB469 giving no public notice to slide the bill through to the house and again trying to bypass our democracy.

This blatant attack on free speech, working people and democracy galvanized Georgia to resist.  The tea party came out in support of organized labor against the bill.  Dozens were prepared to commit civil disobedience.  The overwhelming pressure forced cracks in Balfour's ranks, the alliance forged between labor and the Georgia community stopped the bill in its tracks.  The clock struck midnight on the last day of the legislature and the bill had been killed by a historic labor and community alliance.
This victory marks beginning of the 99% spring offensive. Everyday Georgians will gather in-front of Balfour's Atlanta condo to announce our historic victory and plans to go on the offensive to take our state back from corporate giants and the politicians they own like Senator Balfour. As part of the 99% Spring over 100,000 community members in our state and country will be trained in collective non-violent action and people's economics to take our economy and government back from the 1%.  Find a training near you Here.