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UE and Zenroren March Against Nuclear Weapons

UE - Tue, 04/28/2015 - 4:47pm
28 April, 2015New York City

On Sunday, April 26, UE Young Activists and other UE members participated with thousands of other people in a march in New York City for a nuclear-free, just, and sustainable world. This year is the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. The United Nations holds a conference to review the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty every five years, since the treaty went into effect in 1970.

More than 200 delegates of the Japanese union federation Zenroren came to New York to march for nuclear disarmament, part of a large delegation of 1,000 peace activists from Japan. Along with other U.S. and international peace groups and the UE delegation, they marched from Union Square before marching to Dag Hammarskjold Plaza at the UN Headquarter.  Hundreds of origami cranes were shared with the marchers. In Japanese culture the crane is the symbol of peace, as the dove symbolizes peace in Western culture.

The day after the march, UE and Zenroren members and representatives of U.S. Labor Against the War met at the SEIU 1199 auditorium for a discussion of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and ways to cooperate to advance the goals of peace and nuclear disarmament. That meeting was followed by an exchange between young activists from Zenroren and UE. They discussed the challenges facing young workers and detailed ways to organize other youth. Kathleen Coonrod, chief steward of Local 203, detailed the steps her local is taking to inform and organize members for their upcoming contract negotiations. Autumn Martinez, president of Local 255, proposed to the group a need for solidarity across borders and how the two organizations could connect through social media.

UE Young Activists who participated in these event were Gary DeLuke, Local 170; Kathleen Coonrod, Local 203; Ryan Macdonald, Local 234; Autumn Martinez, Local 255; Emma Paradis, Local 255; Naomi Grayck, Local 255; Cettina Costagliola,  Local 255; Charity Dugener, Local 267; Lyndsey O’Day, national office administrative assistant; and Margot Nikitas, associate general counsel. Other UE participants were Director of Organization Bob Kingsley; Northeast Region President Peter Knowlton; General Executive Board Member Marie Lausch of Local 222; International Strategies Director Leah Fried; Field Organizer Chad McGinnis; and retired International Reps. Carol Lambiase and Leanna Noble.

Categories: Grassroots Newswire

26th Annual Malcolm X Festival

Malcolm X Grassroots Movement - Tue, 04/28/2015 - 4:11pm

It’s time for the Malcolm X Festival!





Categories: Grassroots Newswire

All out for May Day 2015: Here's how you can help!

VWC - Mon, 04/27/2015 - 3:51pm

This Friday is May 1st, International Workers' Day! Join hundreds of community members in the streets of Montpelier for a massive march and rally demanding justice and dignity for all people of Vermont.  Meet at 11:30am at Montpelier City Hall!

We can use your help!

Set Up- Get to Montpelier between 9 and 10am, and help with setting up the Statehouse lawn- putting up tables, tents, etc. Contact Liz: liz@workerscenter.org 802-498-8682 or Megan megan@workerscenter.org 802-505-9315.

Burlington transport team- Help get tables, chairs, banners, materials, etc to Montpelier by helping load cars and drive stuff.  Also especially looking for people with trucks who can help with tables and other large stuff. The Burlington transport team would also need to be able to help bring stuff back to the Burlington office. Contact Hollis hollis@workerscenter.org 404-216-2819.

Barre transport team- Help load tables and chairs at the Old Labor Hall to bring to Montpelier, and then return them after the day is over. Especially need people with trucks! Contact Liz: liz@workerscenter.org 802-498-8682 or Megan megan@workerscenter.org 802-505-9315.

Clean Up- Stick around for 1-2 hours after the rally is over to help pack things back up into cars to go to the Burlington office, pick up trash, make sure we leave the Statehouse lawn as good as we found it. Contact Liz: liz@workerscenter.org 802-498-8682.

Registration- Help work the crowd and check people in on petitions on the Statehouse lawn. We will also be collect donations for the VWC. Contact Hollis hollis@workerscenter.org 404-216-2819.

Crowd Canvassers/Action Station- Organize participants, help people make the biggest impact by taking action and joining the movement! Contact Matt: matt@workerscenter.org 802-373-0133

Trash- Need a few Central VT people to help with hauling away and disposing of trash (probably a few bags each). Contact Liz: liz@workerscenter.org 802-498-8682.

Family Inclusion/Youth tent- Help with art activities, games, etc. Contact Shela shela@workerscenter.org 802-275-2363.

People’s Kitchen- Help prepare and serve food, keep the movement well fed! Contact Matt matt@workerscenter.org 802-373-0133.

March Marshals (6-8 people or more!)- Assist with the march. Contact Kate kate@workerscenter.org 802-825-8399.

Solidarity Singers, Chant Leaders- Help lead the singing and chanting in the march. Contact Kate kate@workerscenter.org 802-825-8399.

Media Team- If you have experience with photography, video or radio, we always need more people to help document the day! Contact Megan megan@workerscenter.org 802-505-9315.

Needs- Let us know if you have any of these things and can lend for the day! Contact Liz: liz@workerscenter.org 802-498-8682 or Megan megan@workerscenter.org 802-505-9315.

  • Folding tables

  • Pick up truck (and YOU!) at Old Labor Hall at 9am

  • Pop up tents

  • Tarps

  • Extension cords

  • Trash cans

  • Coolers
Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Local 279 Members Ratify Settlement at Weir After Long Fight Including Three-Week Strike

UE - Fri, 04/24/2015 - 11:25am
24 April, 2015Local 279 members on strike last November.Ipswich, MA

After a years-long struggle culminating in a militant three-week strike from November 20 to December 16, the members of UE Local 279 at Weir Valves and Controls, have reached a settlement with their employer which includes the resolution of many outstanding disputes and the ratification of a new contract. Members ratified the settlement on March 6.  The new three-year contract provides wage increases of 1.5 percent, 2 percent and 2.5 percent and stops the company’s attempt to roll back several contractual protections. In addition the settlement resolves other outstanding issues that remained when the strike ended.

Local President Kevin McPherson says money was not the main issue in the strike. “It was more about what we held off, because what we went on strike over was the damaging language on seniority and fair treatment on the shop floor, and overtime distribution, and they wanted to be able to use temps” even during a layoff. When the company backed off these demands, the local decided to end the strike, but other issues remained in dispute. “It was stuff like paid personal days for the other half of the shop that didn’t have it,” says McPherson, as well as unfair distribution of the back pay award from an arbitration the union had earlier won over healthcare premiums. “We cleaned up some other things. They were trying to impose dual operation without additional pay. Now we’re bargaining the additional pay for dual operations.”

The troubles that led to the strike began three years ago when the workers, who manufacture industrial and nuclear valves for a multinational corporation based in Britain, faced new management with a new attitude. The formerly peaceful workplace became a scene of conflict as management picked fights with the union leadership and members at every turn.

Members mobilized and began fighting back, not simply through the grievance procedure, but through militant shop floor action. UE Field Organizer Omar el-Malah, who assists the local, recalls a stewards training for Weir workers scheduled a couple of years ago, with Northeast Region President Peter Knowlton. "Almost a dozen guys showed up from a workforce of about 50, all in matching UE T-shirts. That's one of the first indications I had this group was very self-organized." He says that when the training session got past the basics of writing and processing grievances and got into the tactics of concerted workplace struggle, “the teachers became the students” as the members, “schooled us on all the tactics they'd been using on the shop floor to fight against management attacks."

By the time the contract expired in mid-November of 2014, the UE membership and its committee already had a couple years of experience fighting the boss as a group and was well-positioned for the strike that ensued.


McPherson makes it clear that the strike was not launched in unthinking anger, but as a result of careful strategizing. “It is absolutely imperative for any union whenever they’re coming up to negotiations. We spent a lot of time identifying what tools to use, not only at the table negotiating, but outside and after, if things fell apart, could we use a strike. So going into negotiations, from day one, we knew that was one tool we had to go back on.” He says the union leadership asked themselves additional questions: “If we go on strike, what’s the company’s reaction going to be and how long can they sustain, how long can we sustain? We took a lot of time planning and engineering the possibility of a strike. It was managed so well because we knew it was not necessarily inevitable, but we wanted to go at it as if it was inevitable. So we had it pretty well planned out.”

That planning included looking at the economics of the strike, even though the issues involved were not mainly economic. “We also knew what it was going to cost us to be on strike, and what we needed to win to recoup those losses. What we bargained will pay us back in 2 ½ years for the money we lost,” says McPherson.

“We held everybody to a strict code of conduct” on the picket line, says McPherson. “It helped up win over” the office people and others who were still working, and win their sympathy. “We sang Christmas carols for them during their lunch, and handed out flyers to them as they’re driving by” to explain the union’s position. He says the union’s entire plan worked well. “Nobody got arrested, nothing go ugly, and we shut the plant down,” and part of the union’s planning was how to cut off all routes of supply and shipping for the plant. “We prepared, we called all our buddies, we called in all our favors, and we turned away 90 percent of the trucks.” He added, “This was the longest, most effective strike that a Weir company has endured in the history of Weir.”

Negotiations continued during the strike, and the company dropped its demands on temp workers and overtime. The company then unilaterally imposed its final offer, and while there were concerns about whether this was done legally, the local concluded that since two of the major strike issues were now off the table, they would return to work. The members, who had voted unanimously to go on strike, also voted unanimously to return to work.
But they were under no illusions that the fight was over, so they returned to work without a contract, keeping all options open as they pushed to resolve all the remaining issues. As expected, bosses stirred up new problems starting the day workers returned. The union prepared to file charges against the company with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and members braced themselves to possibly go back on strike over the unfair labor practices. The local was prepared for its long fight to go on much longer.

But then the cooler and wiser heads prevailed within Weir's management structure who concluded that it was time to bring some industrial peace to the factory. Once the company decided to really negotiate, its representatives and the union committee were able to work out an agreement that settled the remaining issues.  In addition to the contract and other issues that the parties resolved through negotiations, at the time of the settlement there were also some changes in management personnel that the union is pleased about.

The union bargaining committee consisted of Kevin McPherson, Chief Steward Jason Gallant, and Jason Dobson, assisted by Field Organizer Omar el-Malah.

Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Appeals court: Family of teen shot in Mexico by US Border Patrol agent cannot sue in US court

NNIRR - Fri, 04/24/2015 - 3:00am
Story Type:  Article Story Author:  Kevin McGill Story Publisher:  US News & World Report

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A U.S. Border Patrol agent who killed a teenager when he fired across the border from Texas into Mexico cannot be sued in U.S. courts by the Mexican teen's family, a federal appeals court ruled Friday.

read more

Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Private companies profit from U.S. immigration detention boom

NNIRR - Fri, 04/24/2015 - 3:00am
Story Type:  Article Story Author:  Kate Linthicum Story Publisher:  Los Angles Times

In the women's wing of the nation's newest immigrant detention center, 28-year-old Silia Ramirez sat Thursday writing a letter to her family.

She described her day so far — yoga with another detainee in the morning, chicken fajitas for lunch — as well as her anxiety about the future. Like the 185 others held in the new facility in downtown Bakersfield, which was opened to journalists for a tour Thursday, Ramirez faces deportation.

read more

Categories: Grassroots Newswire


CAAAV - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 3:17pm

CONTACT: Mark Ro Beyersdorf, mark@caaav.org

New York, NY — More than fifty Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) groups from across the country have released an open letter calling for justice for Akai Gurley, an unarmed, Black, 28-year-old father who was killed by NYPD Officer Peter Liang on November 20, 2014.

Officer Liang was conducting a vertical patrol in the Louis H. Pink Houses in East New York when he fired a shot that killed Gurley, who was visiting the home of his girlfriend.

The 50+ Asian American and Pacific Islander organizations who have signed the letter represent diverse constituencies across all regions of the U.S. They range from prominent national organizations like Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus, the nation’s oldest legal Asian American civil rights organization, and the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), an AFL-CIO affiliate, to grassroots community organizations such as Khmer Girls in Action in Long Beach, CA and Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM) in New York City.

The letter has also been signed by almost 200 leaders in the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, including MacArthur Genius and TIME’s 100 Most Influential people honoree Ai-jen Poo; Executive Director of the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development Lisa Hasegawa; San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar; prominent blogger Phil Yu of “Angry Asian Man”; American Book Award-winning author Jeff Chang; and many more.

The release of the letter follows calls from some Asian Americans for the charges against Officer Liang to be dropped.

In the letter, the organizations and leaders strongly condemn such calls and express support for Akai Gurley’s family and all families impacted by police violence, writing, “We strongly oppose calls coming from some members of the Asian American community to drop charges against NYPD Officer Peter Liang for the death of Akai Gurley. This demand is misguided and utterly hurtful to Akai Gurley’s family and to communities that have been subjected to discriminatory and often deadly policing practices across the country. We stand with Akai Gurley’s family and all those who have lost loved ones to police violence. We firmly believe that Peter Liang must be held accountable for his actions…There is broad support in the Asian and Pacific Islander community for #JusticeforAkaiGurley and for the systemic overhaul of policing practices and other institutional policies that chronically defund and destabilize Black communities.”

For a full text of the letter in English and Chinese, as well as full list of signers, go here.

“Our organizations have released this letter to make clear that there is broad support for Akai Gurley’s family and police accountability in the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, including the Chinese American community,” said Cathy Dang, Executive Director of CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities in New York, NY. “Efforts calling for charges against NYPD Officer Peter Liang to be dropped are divisive, hurtful, and misguided. We should all be standing with Akai’s family, who have lost a beloved brother, son, and father, and should be fighting to reform policing practices so that more families won’t have to suffer the pain they are going through.”

“Akai Gurley’s tragic murder is not isolated. Black bodies are systemically and historically dehumanized in this country in ways the Asian American community will never face. Our solidarity work begins with organizing and transforming our community to understand the reality of anti-black racism,” said Sarath Suong, Executive Director of the Providence Youth Student Movement (PrYSM), a Providence, RI organization that works with Southeast Asian youth. “As Southeast Asians, we experience anti-black racism through invisibility and violence within the Asian American community because we are darker-skinned. We must connect that to the invisibility and violence that the Gurley family is experiencing right now, and not participate in using our systemic privilege as Asian Americans to avoid accountability for the harm we have caused to others.”

“As South Asian communities, we know that we live in a racist society, in which we often are at the receiving end of racism, and sometimes we benefit from the racism. But the only solution to ending such racism is to fight for justice for all communities, not just only when it harms our communities,” said Fahd Ahmed, Executive Director, DRUM – Desis Rising Up & Moving, of New York, NY.

“The fact that Officer Liang is Chinese American doesn’t mean that we as Asian Americans should support him unequivocally. It is quite the opposite — it should compel us to think about what justice looks like and how Chinese Americans and all Asian Americans can contribute to the movement for police accountability and broader racial justice. This is part of our history. Our Asian American identity was and continues to be about building solidarity with other communities of color, especially the Black community,” said Joyce Lam of the Chinese Progressive Association of San Francisco, based in the Bay Area.


Categories: Grassroots Newswire

22 Spring Tenants Speak Out Against Mahfar Properties

CAAAV - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 6:11pm

On Monday, April 20, 2015, tenants from 22 Spring St spoke out against the harassment they face from predatory landlords Samy Mahfar and SMA Equities. CAAAV has been working with the 22 Spring St tenants since 2013 and they have now united with Mahfar tenants from other buildings  to demand housing justice.

We are glad to be working with Cooper Square Committee, Community Development Project of Urban Justice Center New York, and Lawyers for the Public Interest. Thank you to Councilmember Margaret Chin, Councilwoman Rosie Mendez, Daniel Squadron, and Gale A. Brewer for your support!

Check out this article from DNAinfo for a deeper look into the tenants’ living conditions and organizing efforts. Lead levels 3000 times the legal limit. YIKES!

Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Local 896/COGS Wins Milestone Agreement On Reimbursing Fees for Graduate Employees

UE - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 12:46pm
22 April, 2015Local 896/COGS Chief Campus Steward Mish Zimdars as University President "Sallie Mae$on" delivering "lifestyle tips" at a Rally Against Student Debt last fall as the union prepared for negotiations. (Photo by Adam Burke for Little Village magazine.)Iowa City, IA

At the end of a tough seven-month battle, fought with creative tactics and enthusiastic membership involvement, UE Local 896 won a new two-year contract with the University of Iowa that achieves partial reimbursement of student fees and extends 100 percent tuition scholarship to graduate employees in the College of Education. The contract also provides wage increases of 1 percent the first year, 3 percent the second year; blocks concessions sought by the administration; and lowers health premiums for single parents.

UE Local 896/Campaign to Organize Graduate Students (COGS) represents 2,300 graduate teaching and research assistants at the University of Iowa. COGS’s most significant achievement in its 18-year history has been winning, over several contracts, a full tuition scholarship benefit. All members of the bargaining unit are graduate students completing doctoral, master’s, and professional degrees. Before the union organized, the university forced graduate employees to pay back thousands of dollars in tuition out of their meager salaries. As COGS phased in the tuition scholarship, the university began undermining the scholarship by charging mandatory fees, a form of back-door tuition.

On top of student activities fees, student services fees, and student health fees, the university added building fees, a fee for renovations, cultural fees, professional enhancement fees, and a fee for a new recreation center with a climbing wall. By 2014, graduate employees were paying nearly $1,000 in fees each year, a 500 percent increase in less than 15 years.

In a May 2014 bargaining survey, Local 896 members named relief from fees as their top priority, but the union faced obstacles in achieving that goal. Public employees in Iowa do not have the right to strike, and interest arbitrators rarely award new benefits that the parties have not previously negotiated. In addition, the Iowa Board of Regents had insisted that fees are not a mandatory topic of bargaining under Iowa law and refused to negotiate over fees in the past.

COGS has one of the best collective bargaining agreements for graduate employees among Big Ten universities, and the union felt it should try to break new ground for graduate employee unions across the country. At the annual CGEU (Coalition of Graduate Employee Unions) conference in August, Local 896 President Jeannette Gabriel urged other unions to make fees part of a national campaign.


COGS officers decided that an aggressive public campaign would be needed to win this fight. The union started the first week of the fall semester with a press conference at which it released a white paper titled, “Financial Insecurity for Graduate Students Contributes to Debt and Poverty”. The paper highlighted the fact that 33 percent of graduate assistants have 25 percent appointments, or just 10 hours of work per week, and make only $9,040 a year, well below the federal poverty line of $11,670 for a single adult. Fees add up to more than a full month’s salary for these workers, and because fees must be paid before they receive their first paychecks, they are a significant source of student debt.

Graduate employees conducted roving actions across campus. Teaching assistants asked their department chairs and administrators to support COGS’s fees campaign and to call the deans of their colleges to express concern about graduate student fees. The math department faculty voted unanimously to support the union’s demand for fee reimbursement.

Local 896 tapped into national media attention on the high cost of college and student debt as the focus of a major fall semester contract rally. This enabled the local to build support among undergraduate students and to put contract demands in a broad social justice context. The Board of Regents would meet on the UI campus in late October one week before the start of negotiations and the November election, to propose tuition and fee rates for the 2015-2016 academic year.

Weeks before the Regents meeting, University President Sally Mason, one of highest-paid administrators in the country, told an audience full of graduate students that she thought most student debt was “lifestyle” debt because students these days spend too much money on iPhones, iPads, and laptop computers, and students expected to be poor back when she was in college.

This became the theme of the “Rally Against Student Debt”, as Chief Steward Mish Zimdars unleashed a series of flyers depicting “Sallie Mae$on’s Lifestyle Tips”. “Why pay more than $60 per month for a cell phone, when you can train a carrier pigeon practically for free?”  “Save nearly $1,000 by buying a typewriter instead of a laptop computer.” Sallie Mae$on made an appearance at the COGS rally as hundreds of students gathered with thrift store typewriters and signs that read, “I AM NOT A LOAN” to demand a tuition freeze and fees reimbursement.

The rally received state and national media coverage, and the next day the Republican chair of the Board of Regents reversed course on a proposed 1.75 percent tuition increase and publicly said he would support a tuition freeze. In reality, Republicans didn’t want to hand Democrats a popular campaign issue right before the election. The tuition freeze put $14.5 million back into the hands of undergraduate students at Iowa Regents universities, and showed the university administration that COGS could wield political influence.


As bargaining began, COGS proposed full fees reimbursement, a 100 percent tuition scholarship for all colleges within the university that have higher tuition rates than the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, 4.5 percent salary increases in each year of the contract, job security through degree completion, increasing employer contributions to family health insurance, and paid parental leave. The Regents retaliated by proposing to cut the tuition scholarship in half for graduate assistants with quarter time appointments, no fees reimbursement, 0 percent salary increase, a five-year cap on employment eligibility, and reductions in paid leave. Fifty COGS members peppered the Regents attorneys with questions at management’s initial proposal, demanding to know, among other things, why the university wanted to eliminate the human rights policy from the contract.

At the bargaining table union committee members made detailed presentations backed up with data. Yellow Area Steward Nicole Filloon and former COGS officer Kate Kedley testified about family health care and parental leave. Much to the administration’s chagrin, COGS brought faculty members to the bargaining table to explain how fees reimbursement could help the university attract and retain quality grad students.

The union released another white paper in December, “Tuition by Another Name: Student Fees Lack Transparency and Contribute to the Student Debt Crisis”. The paper exposed the administration’s refusal to provide detailed public information on how they were spending millions in fees revenue. As a result, an editorial by the Des Moines Register called for transparency on fees and urged legislators to consider fees in discussions of state appropriations to the Regents Universities.

Still insisting that they didn’t have to negotiate over fees, the Regents filed a petition with PERB (Public Employment Relations Board, the state labor board) seeking a ruling on whether fees were a mandatory subject of bargaining. The union fought the case aggressively, and PERB issued a preliminary ruling in January in the union’s favor, determining that the union’s fees proposal was a mandatory subject of bargaining.

Meanwhile, over 1,100 COGS members, bargaining unit employees, and supporters signed an online petition demanding that the university provide 100 percent fees reimbursement to graduate assistants. Dozens of union members wrote personal letters to the Daily Iowan detailing their struggles with debt, poverty, lack of job prospects, and calling for fees reimbursement as part of the COGS contract. COGS Political Action Chair Shawn Harmsen and Chief Campus Steward Mish Zimdars helped members contact their legislators about fees and visited the capitol in Des Moines.

When negotiations resumed at the start of the spring semester, the Regents initially offered a flat dollar amount on fees. The COGS bargaining team insisted on a percentage, and the university proposed 25 percent fees reimbursement. After several more sessions it was clear that the university would not agree to full fees reimbursement in one contract, but COGS President Jeannette Gabriel used this to move another top bargaining priority. She told the administration that the only way the union would trust the administration to make gradual progress on fees would be if they extended full tuition scholarship to graduate employees in the College of Education. Just as COGS achieved a full scholarship at the College of Liberal Arts rate, the University had increased tuition in the College of Education to a higher rate, leaving them with thousands of dollars in bills each year. College of Education grad students have been joining the union and fighting tuition increases ever since. This contract finally makes them whole.

At the last negotiations session, 50 COGS members again flooded the room, making their resolve known to the administration. The final agreement – unanimously ratified by the membership in mid-February – provides 25 percent fees scholarships for all bargaining unit members and 100 percent tuition scholarships for the College of Education, as well as salary increase both years. UIGradCare premiums for single parents will be reduced by rolling them into the family plan. The union successfully fought back concessions, including university efforts to reduce leave, pro-rate the tuition scholarship for quarter time graduate employees, and an attempt to remove the human rights policy from the contract. The battle will continue, through coalition building, to achieve better health insurance for families and transgender employees as well as parental leave.

The Local 896 bargaining team consisted of President Jeannette Gabriel, Chief Campus Steward Mish Zimdars, Blue Area Steward Naoki Izumo, Yellow Area Steward Nicole Filloon, Red Area Steward Judah Unmuth-Yockey, and Bargaining & Grievance at Large member Sarah Raine. They were assisted by UE Field Organizer Jennifer Marsh.





Categories: Grassroots Newswire

UN's François Crépeau on the refugee crisis: 'Instead of resisting migration, let's organise it'

NNIRR - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 3:00am
Story Type:  Article Story Author:  Gabrielle Jackson Story Publisher:  The Guardian

François Crépeau, the UN special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, is urging the west to adopt a global humanitarian plan to resettle refugees and regulate migrant mobility.

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Categories: Grassroots Newswire

API People’s Solidarity Statement on the Indictment of NYPD Officer Peter Liang (Chinese)

CAAAV - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 11:28pm


April 3, 2015 – API People’s Solidarity (APIPS) 首先想對Akai Gurley的家人與親友表達我們的關愛與團結,去年11月紐約市警察彼得.梁(Peter Liang)奪走了Akai Gurley的性命。APIPS讚揚布魯克林地方檢察官起訴梁警員的決定,也支持Akai Gurley的家人追求正義。

CONTACT: Meejin Richart, mrichart@caaav.org or Bernadette Ellorin,chair@bayanusa.org

洛杉磯、矽谷、費城、波士頓與紐約市當地社群已計畫舉辦支持彼得.梁的遊行,而我們的聯盟選擇站在對立面。他們的理由是梁警員的亞裔身分使他成為替罪羊,他們引用Darren Wilson與Daniel Pantaleo的例子,此二人分別造成佛格森(Ferguson)市的Mike Brown與史坦登島的Eric Garner的死亡,卻未獲起訴。身為泛亞裔社群的一份子,我們了解這種想要照顧我們自己人的情感,以及想反對不公正的司法體系以死威脅我們社群成員之一的心情,他可能是某人的兒子、兄弟與孫子。在梁警員的案子,我們確信,支持起訴他就是站在司法同一邊。梁警員必須為他使用造成Akai Gurley死亡的致命武力而負責。

我們為Akai Gurley與全國各地遭警察殺害、毆打、侵權的人爭取正義,這些犯行的加害者多半未被起訴,也極少遭到定罪。回顧黃永新(Yong Xin Huang)的案子:他是一個16歲的男孩,1995年3月紐約市警察Steve Mizrahi在Bushwick殺害了他。黃遇害後,亞裔社群有充分的理由發出強烈抗議。由黃家人帶領的抗議者也有充足理由要求起訴Mizrahi。在梁警員的案子裡,亞裔站在另一面(加害者)。作為一個社群,我們應該與Akai Gurley哀悼中的家人站在一起,為Akai與所有被警察奪走性命的受害者要求正義。


我們也認為紐約市的軍事化政策與警方執法,與發生在我們亞太地區的母國與全球的有罪免責(impunity)息息相關。我們持續為了在菲律賓被美國海軍Joseph Pemberton謀殺的Jennifer Laude爭取正義。這是我們作為泛亞裔離散社群的責任,確保所有殺害平民的軍人不會有罪免責。我們將繼續組織與發聲,直到所有警察與軍人為他們殘殺非裔、拉丁裔、跨性別、移民、街友(無家可歸者)、原住民、穆斯林與被認為是穆斯林社群成員的行為負起責任。

APIPS與Akai Gurley的家人與社群一起呼籲紐約州長庫莫(Andrew Cuomo)、紐約市長白思豪(Bill de Blasio)與整個紐約司法部(重新)檢視過去15年來與紐約市警察有關的179件殺人案,其中只有3件起訴。我們將繼續對抗針對非裔與拉丁裔的種族歧視警察謀殺,而且我們拒絕讓我們的社群遭到利用、成為削弱更高層次的終結警方謀殺運動的工具,這些殺戮與美國在亞太地區、甚至全球的帝國主義侵略環環相扣。

Bayan USA National Alliance
CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities
Civilian-Soldier Alliance
Eclipse Rising
Iraq Veterans Against the War
Island X
Nodutdol for Korean Community Development
Sloths Against Nuclear State – SANS

#JusticeforAkaiGurley #BlackLivesMatter

Categories: Grassroots Newswire

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Padres & Jovenes Unidos - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 2:07pm
Address: CO
Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Llama de Accion: Marcha Anual de 1ro de Mayo

SWU - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 11:47am

En el 1ro de Mayo del 2015 San Antonio y muchas ciudades en todo el mundo van a tomar las calles en conmemoración del Día Internacional de los Trabajadores, también conocido como May Day. Marcharán para exigir el derecho a organizar, por salarios justos y por el derecho a migrar en el estado contemporáneo. 
Viernes, 1ro de Mayo a las 6pm Plaza del Zacate/ Milam Park 500 W. Houston (la marcha se acaba en la oficina de SWU, 1416 E. Commerce)  
El 1ro de Mayo es una retrospectiva que data hasta 120 años del movimiento obrero. Una fecha que une los trabajadores, los sindicatos y las organizaciones para conmemorar una lucha obrera, de clase y de género en el pasaje de los derechos laborales, derechos humanos y la tragedia de la masacre de Haymarket de 1886 en Chicago; donde la policía ataco a trabajadores durante la huelga. Organizaciones laborales demandaron para establecer, el derecho a sindicalizarse y prohibir la explotación de clase y género. Generaciones más tarde y el movimiento laboral sigue en la lucha para proteger estos derechos. 
Mientraslos precios para las necesidades humanas básicas siguen aumentando a un ritmo inimaginable, bajos salarios para los trabajadores son prácticamente ignorados por una sociedad capitalista. Durante los últimos 26 años, La Unión de Trabajadores del Suroeste ha organizado para los derechos laborales en el sur de Texas. Junto a trabajadores clasificado de la escuela pública , trabajadoras domésticas y jóvenes líderes están en el frente para exigir justicia en sus lugares de trabajo. 
En 2006, La Unión de Trabajadores del Suroeste presencio represión nacional hacia los trabajadores indocumentados. Esta ocurrencia reformuló el Día Internacional de los Trabajadores en los Estados Unidos por reconocer e incluir ciudadanía universal como un ser humano y laboral. La economía actual sigue en rumbo capitalista y colonial dejando una estructura marcando a la gente de color a través de clase, por cuestión en género, edad, otras habilidades y  agresiones a personas indocumentadas. Los efectos del capitalismo son perjudiciales para los trabajadores indocumentados y la clase obrera. La Unión tiene una visón de una economía transformadora que respeta la salud y la dignidad del trabajador.
A dar marcha por la Plaza Del Zacate Todas y Todos como inmigrantes, trabajadorxs, muxeres, LGBTQI, indígenas, juventud, sindicatos, y organizaciones en la comunidad…vamos a defender y luchar por nuestros derechos, marcharemos el 1ro de Mayo!
La Unión va dar espacio para una Asamblea de Trabajadores el 25 de Abril a las 9am y un Taller sobre los Derechos Laborales el 26 de Abril de 2p a 4pm. Ambos eventos son el La Galería del Movimiento, 1412 E. Commerce, donde presentamos un exhibición de fotos. 

Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Call to Action! Annual May Day March

SWU - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 11:24am


On May 1st, 2015 San Antonio and many cities across the world will be taking the streets in remembrance of International Workers Day, also known as May Day. We will be marching to demand the right to organize, fair living wages and to fight for the right to migrate in the contemporary state.
Friday, May 1st at 6pm Plaza del Zacate/ Milam Park 500 W. Houston (march ends at SWU offices 1416 E. Commerce)  
May Day is a retrospective narrative dating 120 years of the labor movement. A date unifying workers, unions, and organizers to commemorate a struggle of labor, class and gender in the passage for labor rights, human rights, and the tragedy of the Haymarket Massacre of 1886 in Chicago; where police attacked workers while striking. Labor organizing voiced a demand to establish the eight-hour workday, the right to unionize, and prohibit exploitation of class and gender. Generations later, and the labor movement continues in the fight to protect these rights.
While prices for basic human needs keep rising at an unimaginable pace, low-wages for workers are disregarded by a capitalist society. For the past 26 years, Southwest Workers’ Union has organized for labor rights in South Texas. Currently, along with public school classified workers, domestic workers, and youth leaders are at the front to demand justice in their perspective workplaces.
In 2006, Southwest Workers’ Union witnessed a national retaliation towards undocumented workers. This occurrence reshaped the framework of International Workers Day in the United States by recognizing and including universal citizenship as a human, and labor right. The modern capitalist, and colonial economy is a layered structure, which exploits people of color through class, gender, age, other abilities, and a narrow aggression towards undocumented people. The effects of capitalism are detrimental to the undocumented worker and the working-class. Southwest Workers’ Union envisions a transformative economy that respects the health and dignity of the worker.
Through the Plaza del Zacate, we will march! All immigrants, all workers, all womyn, all LGBTQI, all indigenous, all youth, all unions, all community organizations...we will defend, we will fight, we will have rights, we will march on May 1st!
SWU will also be hosting a Workers Assembly on April 25 at 9am and a Know Your Rights Workshop on April 26th both events take place at The Movement Gallery, 1412 E. Commerce, where we will be running a worker photo exhibit through the month of May.
Categories: Grassroots Newswire

OpEd: Profit-based healthcare system has to go

VWC - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 11:17am

This OpEd was written by VWC member Bekah Mandell, who lives in Burlington. It's run so far in the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus.

$587,206.  That’s what Blue Cross Blue Shield CEO Don George made last year -- before his bonus.  

That makes Don George one of the highest paid executives in the state of Vermont and puts him at the top of state’s 1%.      

BCBS’ six other executives made between $270,000 and $350,000 before bonuses last year, putting many of them in the 1% too. 

Seems like a lot of money to pay the top executives at Vermont’s non-profit health insurance company, doesn’t it?  By law, non-profits are required to provide a broad public benefit and cannot be organized for the individual profit of those involved in the organization.  

$587,206 a year before bonuses sure seems like a lot of individual profit to me.  

In addition to paying its CEO more than 10 times the average Vermonter’s salary, Blue Cross Blue Shield uses its non-profit status to shirk more than $15 million in taxes to the state of Vermont.  

At a time when lawmakers are struggling to balance the budget, that $15 million in lost tax revenue could help thousands of families get the healthcare and services they need.  

Earlier this year, the state of California revoked California Blue Cross Blue Shield’s tax exempt status.  It’s time to recognize that like BCBS of California, BCBS of Vermont does not deserve to be treated like a non-profit.   

It’s time to treat health care as a public good and not a cash cow for a handful of wealthy executives.  We’ve got to do more than just revoke BCBS tax exempt status, we’ve got to get rid of the system that allows BCBS to treat healthcare as a for-profit commodity in Vermont.  

I’m not advocating for an expansion of Vermont Health Connect.       

My husband and I have been struggling to navigate the Vermont Health Connect system and I know we’re not alone.  Between the two of us, we’ve spent dozens of hours on the phone with them trying to sort out our coverage.  We’re expecting our first baby in May, so we’re terrified that some glitch in their system is going to end up costing us hundreds or thousands of dollars in hospital fees.

After dealing with the Vermont Health Connect bureaucracy, it’s tempting to throw in the towel on the whole idea of a universal health care system if the State is going to have anything to do with it.  

But that’s just it.  Vermont Health Connect and BCBS of Vermont are part of the same broken system.  Don George and his fellow executives are profiting from the mess that Vermont Health Connect is making of our healthcare system.  

When the Vermont Health Connect website is down for the 5th time in a week, it’s hard to remember that Vermont Health Connect is really just in the business of collecting premiums for BCBS -- but that’s the reality.  The workers at Vermont Health Connect got stuck with all the hard work of figuring out complex new systems while Don George and the folks at BCBS just sit back and reap the benefits.

The good news is that we don’t have to rely on Vermont Health Connect to provide our healthcare or stop at stripping BCBS of its tax-exempt status.  We can move forward with an accountable and truly universal healthcare system that treats our healthcare as a public good and not a commodity for private profit.  

In a truly universal healthcare system, nobody will have to spend hours on hold because our care won’t be contingent on whether we filled out the correct change of circumstance form.  Instead, we’ll be able to access the care we need when we need it without thick layers of bureaucracy wasting our time.   

We’ve already taken major steps on the path to creating a truly universal system here in Vermont with the passage of Act 48, Vermont’s universal healthcare law.  Now, it’s up to us to make sure we finish the job.  

Categories: Grassroots Newswire

OpEd: The time is now for a real democracy

VWC - Fri, 04/17/2015 - 10:46am

NOTE: This OpEd by VWC director James Haslam as so far run in the Rutland Herald, Barre-Montpelier Times Argus, and VTDigger.

Vermont seems like a different place these days. We have a growing crisis of inequity in our state, yet politicians turn the other way. The commitment to solving problems together and ensuring dignified lives for all people has been replaced by divisive measures that will leave many of us behind.

In this new harsh climate, this year’s May Day march and rally at the Statehouse in Montpelier take on a different flavor. People have become deeply disillusioned with a political system whose soft façade is crumbling. Is the Statehouse still the People’s House, or have political parties become so distanced from us that they simply renege on public agreements and promises, ignore state law, and make decisions behind closed doors with a small circle of big business advisers? Can we count on our representatives to represent us, or have they forgotten about people who struggle in the ongoing economic and health care crisis? The recent onslaught of proposals to slash jobs, cut public services, and drop universal health care has undermined people’s trust.

In the not-so-recent past, people’s disillusionment was mainly directed at the federal level, where corporate influence on political campaigns and congressional proceedings has long undermined the credibility of what we call “democracy.” Many people used to think that things are different in Vermont. Yet after several years of cuts to jobs, wages and public services, the illusion is fading. Whether it is abandoning our universal health care law, refusing to raise revenue in an equitable way to fund our public goods, attacking public sector unions, or supporting fossil fuel expansion like the fracked gas pipeline, we realize that Vermont’s major political decisions are benefiting only a few and harming the rest of us. Why don’t our representatives develop a budget that addresses people needs and advances equity, as state law requires? Why don’t we make decisions that are aligned with the basic values of dignity and equity and that benefit our communities?

Universal health care is a big part of this vision. Only if we treat health care as a public good rather than a corporate profit source can we ensure that everyone gets the care they need and pays what they can. The federal Affordable Care Act has made things worse for many in Vermont, driving up premiums and co-pays for low-income people while bringing more revenue to insurance companies and big hospitals. The market-based insurance system is a significant cause of inequity in our state: those with small incomes pay proportionally more for health care than the wealthy, while making do with bare-bones insurance plans. This injustice harms people’s health and increases the gap between the rich and the rest of us. That’s why Vermont passed the country’s first universal health care law in 2011, which politicians now feel free to ignore. Yet they are utterly misguided in their refusal to act: both the governor’s financing report and an independent financing plan released by the Healthcare Is a Human Right Campaign show that the vast majority of people would be better off in a universal health care system. On May Day, people will send a loud and clear message: universal health care is essential to creating a healthier, more equitable Vermont.This May Day, people will take to the streets to demand a real democracy that is accountable to our human rights and prioritizes the well-being of our communities.

Public health care financing must be a key part of a state budget that meets people’s needs and raises revenue equitably. Yet politicians have opted for the opposite approach: an unfair tax system that disadvantages low-income people and underfunds our public goods, resulting in more unmet needs and greater income inequality. As it turned out, abandoning universal health care was only the starting shot in a barrage of assaults against low and middle-income people. Proposed austerity measures include cuts to a wide range of public services, layoffs of public workers, even an attempt to eliminate the right to strike. Furthermore, written into the budget bill is an explicit threat to continue the same assault next year.

Faced with all of this, poor and working people have no choice but to fight back. From the strikes by teachers, Fairpoint workers and CCTA bus drivers, to the civil disobedience actions for universal health care during the inauguration and to stop the pipeline, and the “Fight Back” rally at the Statehouse, people’s outrage has been growing steadily in the run-up to this year’s May Day rally and march. The time is now to reclaim our democracy and stand together in solidarity as we fight for our rights.

Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Appeals Panel Weighs Fate of Obama’s Immigration Overhaul

NNIRR - Fri, 04/17/2015 - 3:00am
Story Type:  Article Story Author:  Michael D. Shear Story Publisher:  New York Times

NEW ORLEANS — The immediate fate of President Obama’s sweeping immigration overhaul now rests with a three-judge appeals panel after an intense legal clash on Friday between

read more

Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Immigrant Youth Empowerment Conference Flyer

CAAAV - Thu, 04/16/2015 - 8:18pm
  • Download Color flyer here to share online.
  • Download Black and White flyer here to print and share.



Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Video: Tax Day Action at Blue Cross Blue Shield VT!

VWC - Wed, 04/15/2015 - 4:32pm

This morning on Tax Day, dozens of people marched on Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont in Berlin, delivering a $15.7 million invoice for taxes they've avoided by masquerading as a non-profit, while profiting enormously off of our health.

BCBS Vice President Kevin Goddard -- who made somewhere between $288,000 to $370,000 last year, putting him in Vermont's top 1% of wage earners -- accepted the invoice, while CEO Don George made an appearance outside.

Jessica Ruben shared her story of being forced to pay back hundreds in taxes for bungled healthcare subsidies today, while Bekah Mandell reflected on healthcare costs which have skyrocketed in the transition from Catamount to Vermont Health Connect.
Reverend Earl Kooperkamp pulled it together with the moral case for moving beyond the insurance company's failing market-based system towards universal, publicly-financed healthcare as a public good and a human right.

For more information, go to www.workerscenter.org

Categories: Grassroots Newswire