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It Takes Roots

It Takes Roots - Tue, 11/17/2015 - 5:43pm

The post It Takes Roots appeared first on It Takes Roots.

People’s Climate March

It Takes Roots - Thu, 11/12/2015 - 7:32pm

The post People’s Climate March appeared first on It Takes Roots.

Ahead of Paris, Grassroots Activists Demand Real Change: “President Obama: Listen To The People, Not Polluters!”

It Takes Roots - Thu, 11/12/2015 - 7:22pm

Contact: Preeti Shekar at 510-219-4193, preetishekar@gmail.com
Release Date: Friday, November 13, 2015

Ahead of Paris, Grassroots Activists Demand Real Change:
“President Obama: Listen To The People, Not Polluters!”

The Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (GGJ) is excited to announce a delegation of 100 leaders and organizers from US and Canadian grassroots and indigenous communities headed to the upcoming UNCOP21 in Paris later this month. The delegation, titled It Takes Roots to Weather the Storm joins together three powerful alliances of grassroots activists and frontline communities’ leaders: Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), and the Climate Justice Alliance.

As the effects of climate change continue to hit peak levels of catastrophe, global leaders have been promising a new climate agreement through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties (COP). This year, the COP21 will take place in Paris, France, from November 30-December 11, 2015. Thousands of climate justice movements from around the world will converge on the streets of Paris to demand global action to stop the fossil fuel industry’s continued burning of the planet. The It Takes Roots delegation represents cutting edge leadership of communities who have alternative sustainable solutions to the current failed fossil fuel economies that are destroying the planet.

“Everything we are seeing shows that the negotiating text on table right now for the COP21 falls far short of the action needed to avoid global catastrophe. Our communities are already being hit the hardest — from droughts on one coast to floods on the other. The time has come for the US to break with the fossil fuel industry and refuse to accept false solutions and market strategies,” noted Cindy Wiesner, national coordinator of GGJ.

More About the It Takes Roots Delegation

It Takes Roots is a broad, powerful delegation including indigenous communities in North America and Canada, and a wide array of regional grassroots groups tackling environmental and health impacts of fracking, extraction, oil refineries and other hallmarks of a toxic fossil fuel dependant economy.

The delegates and the groups they represent are intergenerational, comprising a mix of youth organizers and veteran community leaders, who hail from working class African American, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander and rural white communities, as this cross-section shows:

Frontline communities mobilizing to Paris comes on the heels of the historic victory last week when President Obama cancelled the Keystone Pipeline project, in direct response to the enormous activism and leadership of several groups that are a part of the It Takes Roots delegation.

“Years of organizing and mounting pressure led by Indigenous communities from North America led to the rejection of the Keystone XL Pipeline. Now frontline Indigenous communities are heading to Paris prepared to use our bodies to draw a red line of resistance to stop extractive industries and fight for a just transition into renewable energies. The question remains — Will President Obama listen to the polluters or to the people?” asks Kandi Mossett, a climate campaign organizer with the IEN.

“From Hurricane Katrina to Superstorm Sandy, recurrent extreme climate change disasters hit our communities first and worst. These storms are the legacy of decision makers lacking the courage to make bold decisions. The time to act is now. We need to stop fossil fuel dependency and look to alternative, sustainable solutions as the only way forward. The KXL pipeline cancellation was a good start, but only the beginning,” notes Elizabeth Yeampierre, a frontline community organizer with Uprose, a New York-based community organization.

In addition to participating in various civil society formations at COP21, the It Takes Roots delegation will be organizing creative and peaceful actions on the streets of Paris, participating in rallies, solidarity marches, leading workshops, and making local and global connections with frontline communities resisting climate change. With art and music, colorful banners and people chanting slogans, the It Takes Roots delegation will be a forceful voice of dissent, calling out on the deep hypocrisies of state leaders, between their rhetoric and actions, and presenting the real, alternative solutions.

Bios of Quoted Delegates:

Cindy Wiesner is the National Coordinator of Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (GGJ) and Co-Chair of the Climate Justice Alliance (CJA), and has been active in the grassroots social justice movement, working on the intersections of labor organizing, environmental justice, ending gender-based violence, queer organizing, and migrant rights for over 20 years.

Kandi Mossett is a leading voice in the Indigenous environmental movement in North America. In her most current role as Native Energy and Climate Campaign Organizer with the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), and through speaking at UN forums, and by testifying in front of the US Congress, she has played a crucial role in making visible nationally and internationally, the devastating impacts of climate change on Indigenous communities and tribal lands.

Elizabeth Yeampierre is the Executive Director of Uprose, Brooklyn, New York’s oldest Latino community organization. Her organizing prioritizes just transitions, sustainable development, environmental justice, and building community-led climate adaptation and resiliency. A dynamic public speaker, she has presented at the first White House forum on Environmental Justice, and more recently, spoke at the open climate rally for Pope Francis.

Contact: Preeti Shekar, GGJ Media Strategist at 510-219-4193 or preetishekar@gmail.com for more information, to interview delegates, for quotes for articles/profiles, to discuss pitches, and other media inquiries.

The post Ahead of Paris, Grassroots Activists Demand Real Change: “President Obama: Listen To The People, Not Polluters!” appeared first on It Takes Roots.

Action Alert: Sign Petition to Pres. Obama: The Border Patrol Killed my Husband

NNIRR - Wed, 11/11/2015 - 5:31pm
Story Type:  Blog Story Publisher:  Southern Border Communities Coalition

By now you are all aware that the Department of Justice issued an announcement on Friday that they will not be pressing charges on the federal agents who brutally beat and murdered Anastasio Hernandez Rojas in 2010, despite video evidence and eyewitness testimony.  This is unacceptable.

read more

Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Petition to Pres. Obama: The Border Patrol Killed my Husband

NNIRR - Wed, 11/11/2015 - 5:24pm

By now you are all aware that the Department of Justice issued an announcement on Friday that they will not be pressing charges on the federal agents who brutally beat and murdered Anastasio Hernandez Rojas in 2010, despite video evidence and eyewitness testimony.  This is unacceptable.

read more

Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Opinion: Sorry Trump, "Operation Wetback" Was a National Disgrace

NNIRR - Wed, 11/11/2015 - 5:07pm
Story Type:  Article Story Author:  RAUL A. REYES Story Publisher:  NBC News

During Tuesday night's debate, when asked the feasibility of his idea to institute mass deportations of the undocumented, GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump was ready with an answer.

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Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Solidarity Statement with #ConcernedStudent1950

USAS - Wed, 11/11/2015 - 3:35pm

Written by University of Mississippi USAS Local 121

Local 121 successfully pressured their university to remove the Confederate Flag from campus in October.

We, Students Against Social Injustice (SASI), USAS Local 121 at the University of Mississippi, stand in full and unequivocal solidarity with Concerned Student 1950 and all members of the University of Missouri community advocating for equity and inclusion. We applaud the University of Missouri community for its recent victory following the resignations of President Tim Wolfe and Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin. Wolfe’s refusal to recognize the experiences of the marginalized student body and respond effectively exhibited both his lack of empathy and his inability to lead the University of Missouri in the right direction. Our positive thoughts, energies, and prayers are with Black members of the Mizzou community as they continue to combat overt intolerance and challenge implicit racist and exclusionary administrative policies.

Though we celebrate this victory, we recognize the work that lies ahead. Mandatory racial awareness and inclusion curriculum must be implemented, the percentage of Black faculty and staff must be raised from its current percentage to 10%, and the budget must be reconsidered to fund resources and personnel for social justice centers. Students on college and university campuses around the United States grapple with the debilitating legacies of racial oppression and white supremacy everyday. Present day contexts, shaped by these legacies impede students’ ability to navigate campus without fear of discrimination, violence, or exclusion. Institutions of higher learning are spaces for the edification and improvement of students, and their leaders must understand that without dialogue and critical education racism and intolerance will continue.

The activism of students at the University of Missouri is only the latest event in a growing movement. Students will no longer idly stand by and allow leaders of our institutions to ignore and dismiss the cries of the marginalized. For example, students of American University demanded accountability from their leaders and helped pass a bill mandating cultural and sensitivity training for all student government office holders. The students of the University of Mississippi pressured student leaders and administrators to address exclusionary symbols, which led to the removal of the Mississippi state flag. The words inclusion and diversity can no longer be used as progress placeholders to pacify students into silence and submission. The leaders, administrators, faculty, and staff of colleges and universities must be held accountable for institutionalizing a safe, challenging academic space that acknowledges, honors, and embraces its students, faculty, and staff of all identities and backgrounds.

SASI is honored to stand in solidarity with Concerned Student 1950 until all demands are met fully by administration. We draw power from the words of Assata Shakur: “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.” We will win.

Solidarity forever,
Students Against Social Injustice, United Students Against Sweatshops Local 121

Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Join us this Thursday for the #MillionStudentMarch!

USAS - Tue, 11/10/2015 - 3:00pm

Today, students took the streets in solidarity with fast food workers across the country demanding $15 and a union. This Thursday, join USAS for the #millionstudentmarch movement as students across the country take the streets for:

1. $15 for all campus workers

2. Free college

3. Cancellation of all student debt

Find an action near you! Don’t see your school on the map?! Email us at email hidden; JavaScript is required /* */ for help getting involved.


Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Join us TODAY for the biggest strike yet for 15 and a union!

USAS - Tue, 11/10/2015 - 9:07am

By Haley Quinn, NYU Local 44

TODAY, thousands of underpaid fast food workers are launching the largest nationwide Fight for $15 strike in history. Our movement is growing — care providers, adjuncts, and retail workers are all joining fast food workers on the picket lines because they know a fight for a raise in the minimum wage means a better quality of life for all. I’ll be there with students from across New York City to remind workers that students have their backs.

Will you join us for the biggest fast food worker strike in history?

Since winning wage increases from Los Angeles to New York, the campaign for $15 and a union has only grown stronger. Now we’re ready to take this fight to our campuses. Just last month, USAS Local 99 at the University of Washington-Seattle won $15 for all campus workers, including over 5,000 student workers, making UW the first university in the country to have a $15/hour minimum wage for all campus employees! It’s time to spread this country-wide. Here at NYU, USAS Local 44 is demanding $15 for our own campus workers, including almost 6,000 student workers, because we can’t live on less.

The reality is corporate elites are doing everything they can to silence us and deny us the wages we deserve. 64 million Americans are still paid less than $15 an hour. Here at NYU, student workers are struggling to get by while taking on an increasing burden of student debt. We refuse to let our university exclude us and other campus workers from the right to a living wage.

Today there will be actions in over 500 cities, making it the biggest day of action for $15 and a union ever. Help us spread the word by sharing this graphic.

And if you haven’t already, RSVP for a local action near you!

See you in the streets!


Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Beehive Tour this Thursday and Cascade Media Convergence Nov. 14th and 15th

Join PCASC, Portland Rising Tide and KBOO at Reed College 7-9pm this Thursday for a presentation from the Beehive Design Collective!


Many of you have heard about the 2nd Annual Cascade Media Convergence at PSU next weekend (Nov. 14th &15th).  There are a few great Latin American related events at the conference.

Film maker Jessee Freeston will be in town on Friday night (November 13th) for his Portland debut of his latest film Resistencia at Annares Infoshop.  Heres the FB link!

And PCASCers Rachael and Dany are presenting on radio in Honduras too!



Categories: Grassroots Newswire

VWC responds to KKK incident in Burlington

VWC - Wed, 11/04/2015 - 4:51pm

Last Thursday evening, two young women of color in Burlington were targeted by a person or people affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan, who delivered fliers to their doors. These fliers are only the latest incident in an ongoing escalation of racist acts aimed at people of color in our community, and part of a national rise in state and vigilante violence towards communities of color.

The Vermont Workers’ Center denounces this attack and our members will not accept this type of activity in our communities. We understand that far-right groups like the KKK seek to fortify our racist, sexist, and profoundly unequal society by terrorizing those of us who are most marginalized, especially when we organize to demand our rights. These groups often experience support during times of economic crisis, including from segments of the super wealthy, who exploit the economic insecurities of poor white communities to demonize and place blame on immigrants and people of color, rather than the capitalist economy which produces poverty.

In the face of this, we are recommitting to organize and build a multiracial movement fighting for human rights and collective liberation. Our organization and our movement must redouble our efforts in showing up for racial justice and taking steps to ensure that members of our community are safe from racist violence.

Join members of our communities to speak out for racial justice on Thursday, November 5th:

Brattleboro: 5pm @ The Root Social Justice Center. RSVP here on Facebook.

Burlington: 7pm @ Burlington City Hall. RSVP here on Facebook.

Categories: Grassroots Newswire

VWC responds to KKK incident in Burlington

VWC - Wed, 11/04/2015 - 4:51pm

Last Thursday evening, two young women of color in Burlington were targeted by actors affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan, who delivered fliers to their doors. These fliers are only the latest incident in an ongoing escalation of racist acts targeting people of color in our community, and part of a national rise in state and vigilante violence targeting people of color.

The Vermont Workers’ Center denounces this attack and our members will not accept this type of activity in our communities. We understand that far-right groups like the KKK seek to fortify our racist, sexist, and profoundly unequal society by terrorizing those of us who are most marginalized, especially when we organize to demand our rights. These groups often experience support during times of economic crisis -- especially from segments of the super wealthy, who exploit the economic insecurities of poor white communities to demonize and place blame on immigrants and people of color, rather than the capitalist economy which produces poverty.

In the face of this, we are recommitting to organize and build a multiracial movement which can win liberation and human rights for all of us. Our organization and our movement must redouble our efforts in showing up for racial justice and taking steps to ensure that members of our community are safe from racist violence.

Join members of our communities to speak out for racial justice on Thursday, November 5th:

Brattleboro: 5pm @ The Root Social Justice Center. RSVP here on Facebook.

Burlington: 7pm @ Burlington City Hall. RSVP here on Facebook.

Categories: Grassroots Newswire

UE Local 808 Wins First Contract At Nebraska USCIS Service Center

UE - Tue, 11/03/2015 - 5:18pm
03 November, 2015Local 808 members rally for a contract.Lincoln, NE

A little less than six months after voting to join UE, federal contract workers in Lincoln, Nebraska have their first union contract.  The five-year agreement was reached in just three days of bargaining, which concluded on October 28, and ratified by the members on October 30. It includes substantial increases in compensation and strong language to protect workers’ rights. 

The first agreement for UE Local 808 at the Nebraska Service Center came just days after its sister locals, UE Local 208 in St. Albans, Vermont and Local 1008 in Laguna Niguel, California, reached agreement with their employers on new five-year contracts. All three groups of workers are employed by contractors for the United States Customs and Immigration Services, and they process immigration documents for this federal agency. 

Negotiations in Nebraska were delayed until a new federal contractor, FCI Federal, who also operates the center in Laguna Niguel, California, took over operations at the Nebraska Service Center on October 13.  FCi Federal also operates the California Service Center and employs the members of Local 1008. Workers in Lincoln greeted their new employer with a large rally demanding negotiations begin immediately.  They carried stop signs reading, “FCi: STOP Stalling, Negotiate Now,” but FCi Federal refused to enter negotiations until October 26, leaving just two and a half days to negotiate a first contract.  The day after this rally, FCi responded by suspending without pay three of Local 808’s leaders who are members of the union negotiating committee.  The union immediately filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board for the company’s violation of workers’ rights. The workers held a press conference to make the public aware of the company’s illegal actions. 

In contract negotiations the company agreed to full back pay for the suspended workers, as well as removing the suspensions from their records.  Despite the company’s attacks and stalling, Local 808’s negotiating committee remained determined to fight for a fair contract. The new local built on the foundation laid by the members of Locals 208 and 1008 in their past negotiations and the strong mobilization they had conducted over the past few months to negotiate their latest contracts.  

The top issue for workers in Lincoln was wages, since they had not received a pay raise in over five years.  The new contract guarantees wage increases for each of the next five years, including over 5 percent total increased compensation in the first year of the contract.  Workers are excited to now be protected by “just cause” language against unfair discipline, and they look forward to using a strong grievance procedure to protect workers’ rights. They’re also ready to hammer out some of the policies that were not fully addressed in the abbreviated negotiating sessions. 

As the company’s deadline to complete negotiations neared on Wednesday, October 28, large groups of workers attended negotiations holding signs simply stating “10/29,” showing their willingness to walk off their jobs the next day if agreement could not be reached for a fair contract.  As midnight approached, when second shift workers finish their work day, more than 40 workers marched into negotiations. Members of the UE bargaining committee say this was the point when the company finally started move significantly on the issues, as the possibility of a work stoppage became more serious.  Nearly a dozen rank-and-file observers were still I the negotiation room when final agreements were reached well after 4:00 a.m., less than two hours before first shift workers were prepared to stay home from work.   

On Friday, October 30, workers voted to ratify the new contract, and in just one day, 170 new members signed cards to officially join the union.  Local officer elections are set for later in November.  The hard work and dedication of the negotiating committee, contract support committee, many rank-and-filers, as well as the strong first day sign-up, have positioned  Local 808 to be an active, powerful rank-and-file union in the years to come. 

Members of UE’s negotiating committee included  Zachary Knipe, Andrew Martens, Lacey Harry, Richard White, Bien Nguyen, and alternates Victoria Hilton and Ashley Neukirch.  Local 808 was assisted in negotiations by UE Field Organizers Jack Lassiter and Jason Whisler, Director of Organization Gene Elk, and International Representative Karen Hardin.  

Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Curbing the Unchecked Power of the U.S. Border Patrol

NNIRR - Tue, 11/03/2015 - 4:42pm
Story Type:  Article Story Author:  Daniel Denvir Story Publisher:  The Atlantic City Lab

Search YouTube for "Border Patrol checkpoint refusal" and spend hours watching Americans refuse to answer the question, “Are you a U.S. citizen?”

read more

Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Unity and Militancy in Locals 208 and 1008 Brings Contract Gains for USCIS Workers

UE - Tue, 11/03/2015 - 11:03am
03 November, 2015One of many rallies by Local 1008 in Laguna Niguel during negotiations.St. Albans, VT and Laguna Niguel, CA

Over 700 members of UE Locals 208 in Vermont and 1008 in California ratified new five-year agreements in votes held between October 21 and 23 – agreements that would not have been possible without the strong activism and solidarity of workers at both USCIS locations.

“We came together, we stayed together, and we prevailed together. We won a fair contract, and it was our solidarity that made it possible. Out of this battle came a greater sense of camradery.” Local 208 Negotiating committee member Kelly Levick said, “Together  we can and together we did!” Local 1008 President Joel Faypon, who headed up the workplace mobilization in Laguna Niguel, said, “The campaign brought out the best in a lot of the members from the local. We have become more militant. The members have realized how much power they have as a collective.”

The new union contract is with the members’ new employers – The Oryza Group (in Vermont) and FCi Federal (in California).  UE Local 208 and 1008 members provide critical clerical support for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) in facilities known as service centers.  Every few years the contract for this work is put out to bid, and 208 and 1008 members get a new boss. Oryza and FCi took over in early August as the federal contactors operating the Vermont and California Service Centers.

With every change of employer at the service centers, a new union contract must be negotiated.  These contracts are bargained according to the provisions of a federal law called the Service Contract Act (SCA).  The SCA governs certain terms of employment for contract workers who provide services to the federal government.  Under the SCA, contractors are reimbursed for the wages and for “health and welfare” benefits for employees so long as certain conditions are met.  In order for workers to receive wage increases, bargaining has to be concluded by a certain date – in this case it was necessary to reach an agreement before October 31.

UE Locals 208 and 1008 began joint bargaining for mirror contracts in late August.  The locals surveyed their members on bargaining priorities, and the responses were clear: The members wanted decent wage increases, stronger seniority language for job postings, and to protect and improve their benefits.  Bargaining sessions alternated between the two locations, and members of the negotiating committees travelled back and forth across the country.

It became clear early on that the new companies were going to resist any real improvements and that a fair contract would only be possible if members mobilized on both coasts.  After first proposing a four-year wage freeze, the employers increased their offer to a .75 percent (three-quarters of 1 percent) pay raise in each year of the contract.  Members felt disrespected and unappreciated.  It is, after all, the workers who remain year after year doing this critical work while the contractors come and go, but they go after amassing significant profits.

 Over the course of bargaining from late August to late October, members at both locals demonstrated that they were prepared to do what it took to win a decent contract. Members held union T-shirt days and button days several times a week.  Both locals used their Facebook pages extensively to inform members about the issues in negotiations, to organize support, to publicize activities and to share what members were doing in both locations, including photos and videos.

Members in California and Vermont signed a petition and presented it to management at the bargaining table and to the USCIS directors of both centers. 


For the September 14-15 bargaining session held at the California Service Center, Local 1008 mobilized workers to attend the negotiations as observers, as many as 25 at a time, during their breaks, lunch and after their shifts. Joel Faypon says the look on management negotiators faces when observers showed up was “priceless.”

During the third bargaining session in Vermont, September 21-23, the majority of Local 1008 workers wore red UE T-shirts and UE buttons. At the fourth session in California, September 28-29, the company proposed a four-year wage freeze in front of a roomful of member observers. The members got up and walked out of the room. This seemed to have an effect; the companies came back from a break and offered raises (although far too small.)

Local 1008 also held lively rallies on the street in front of the federal building where members work, and received media coverage. When the CEO of FCi sent out a memo to workers, the union organized members to write a reply on the memo, then collected them and mailed them back. They called this their “Return to Sender” drive, and Joel Faypon even posted a video about it on the Local’s Facebook page.

Local 1008, representing more than 300 USCIS contract workers in Laguna Niguel, reached out to Local 1200 of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), which represents more than 1,000 federal employees, including workers directly employed by USCIS, in the same building. Yosef Yacob, the AFGE local president, strongly backed the struggle of Local 1008 members and said they were “an inspiration” to the federal workers.

The local also reached out to public officials and got Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez and Bao Nguyen, the mayor of Garden Grove where many members live, to send letters to FCi supporting the union.

After a break from street rallies, the local resumed them on October 13 with bigger turnout than ever. Workers were preparing to strike if they needed to. Faypon says that one concerned supervisor asked him what the bosses should do if the workers walk out. He replied, “Nothing, just sit back and watch the show.”


In Vermont, Local 208 also held a rally which was covered by local television and print media. Letters to the editor from UE members were published in the local newspaper, and the local received a letter of support from the AFGE local that represents federal employees at the facility.  With Senator Bernie Sanders’s help, a letter to USCIS, jointly signed by Senator Sanders, Senator Patrick Leahy and Congressman Peter Welch, expressed the concern of Vermont’s congressional delegation with Oryza/FCi’s low wage proposals.

Local 208 members also held sign-making events and made small “picket” signs out of cardstock and Popsicle sticks.  These signs were used to decorate work areas.  Many of the signs said “10/16” the date the old contract expired along with its “no strike” provision. 

As October 16 approached, the local leadership spent a lot of time speaking with members about the possible need to strike if no agreement was reached.  Stewards and other leaders surveyed the members and held a social event to discuss this in detail.  When management distributed letters designed to urge the membership to come to work on October 16, the local replicated Local 1008’s  “Return to Sender” action.  The chief stewards asked members to write responses on the letters management distributed, collected these letters and gave them back to the site manager.

The local also worked on turning out observers for the final day of negotiations scheduled on October 15 in St. Albans Vermont.  On this day, over 80 members attended the negotiations.  The bargaining had to be moved to a larger meeting space at the hotel where bargaining was taking place.  Second shift workers came to bargaining before they started their shift.  First shift workers arrived in droves after their shift ended, and second shift workers arrived again after their shift ended at 11:30 p.m.  These observers held signs that said “10/16” that they raised whenever management entered the room after a caucus.

Locals 208 and 1008 also coordinated their activities with Local 808, the newly-organized USCIS workers at the Nebraska Service Center in Lincoln who are fighting for their first contract, and with Local1118 at the USCIS Field Office in  Chicago.

The result of all of this activity, determination and solidarity was a tentative agreement reached in the early hours of October 16. 

Tammy Levick, a member of the 208 negotiating committee said, “I am really proud of how our membership came together when it counted.  Our members let the contractors know that we would settle for nothing less than a fair contract.  Because of the solidarity shown, we were able to win a contract we can feel good about.  This was my first time negotiating, and I learned so much.  I found it stressful and exhausting but very rewarding in the end.”


The terms of the new agreement included stronger seniority language, wage increases and increases in health and welfare benefits.

Members of both locals had prioritized raising the wages for workers in the lowest paid classifications at their centers.  The new contract raises these rates through a combination of wage and H&W increases by between 4.8 percent and 7 percent in the first year of the new agreement.  In Vermont, this will result in the lowest paid classifications receiving the same amount of pay as most of the other workers as of December 1 of this year, and in California workers in the lowest paid classifications will receive higher increase in both the first and second year of the contract. 

Wage increases for other employees range from 1.7 to 2.5 percent the first year and between 2.3 to 4.4 percent over the remaining years of the agreement.

Increases to health and welfare benefits accounts for part of the wage increases.  Under the SCA, the Department of Labor sets a health and welfare (H&W) benefit amount that the employer receives from the federal government for every employee for every hour paid (excluding overtime).  This H&W rate has historically increased each year. Currently the H&W rate is $4.02 an hour; this rate will rise for 208 and 1008 members on December 1, 2015 to $4.27 an hour.  Contractors use this money to pay for benefits like health insurance, sick leave, life insurance and other benefits.  Each employee has an account, and if there is money left over, the money is placed in a 401(k) or 401(a) account in the employee’s name.  Historically, employees have not been able to receive this H&W money as wages.

Under the new contracts, members will receive higher H&W benefits than those set by the DOL and will have the option to take a portion of these benefits as wages.  For example, in the first year of the agreement, 208 and 1008 members will receive an H&W benefit of $4.52 per hour (27 cents above the DOL set rate).  Members can use this increase to pay for benefits, to increase their retirement fund contributions, or to receive up to 50 cents per hour in wages.  The amount members receive in H&W benefits increases each year of the contract.  By the final year, the rate received will be 52 cents above whatever rate the DOL has set for that year.

The locals bargained a five-year agreement which will run until after their services are put out to bid again.  There are wage increases in all five years. 

Other highlights of the agreement include the removal of all discipline as of October 16 from members’ personnel records, preservation of time-off benefits, a six- month cap on the use of temporary employees at any given time, and modifications to the attendance policies.  Preserving time-off benefits was especially important as the contractors wanted to eliminate employees’ one paid personal day per year.  Members kept this and all other paid time-off benefits.

The negotiating committee members consisted of Noemi Dickeroff, Julia Nguyen, Sharon Flannery, Laura Guzman and Tiffany Anderson from UE Local 1008.   Claire Boutah, Kelly Levick, Tammy Levick, Gina Reed and Cortney Lefevbre made up the Local 208 committee.  The committees were assisted by Kimberly Lawson, UE International Representative.  Field Organizer Fernando Ramirez assisted Local 1008 with member mobilization.

Below: Local 208 members fill the bargaining room on Oct. 15, the final day of negotiations. 







Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Boletín de Octubre 2015

Padres & Jovenes Unidos - Fri, 10/30/2015 - 5:51pm
Padres de familia y jóvenes se unen en la lucha por tener un nuevo director en la escuela elementaria de Cheltenham. Padres de Familia ganan en la lucha por un nuevo director en Cheltenham:

En agosto, La directora Kalpana Rao resignó a su cargo en la escuela elementaria Cheltenham Elementary. La directora Rao no cumplía con las expectativas de los profesores, de los padres de familia y de los alumnos en diferentes aspectos. Los comentarios y prácticas de Rao llevaban consigo connotaciones raciales, las cuales faltaban al respeto a los padres de familia y los estudiantes mexicanos. El aspecto académico en Cheltenham también sufrió daños, ya que 2 de cada 3 estudiantes estaban reprobando en cada una de las materias más importantes, esto aunado a que Cheltenham estuvo entre el 10% de las escuela con los niveles más bajos en el estado de Colorado. Padres de familia estuvieron de pie en frente de los miembros de la junta escolar con imágenes y testimonios sobre la vida cotidiana en Cheltenham. También llevaron a cabo una conferencia de prensa fuera de la sede de DPS, colectaron más de 150 firmas en una petición y contribuyeron en la ayuda para un acercamiento masivo de la comunidad. Las Escuelas Públicas de Denver no hicieron nada al respecto, hasta que la asociación de padres de familia de la escuela Cheltenham llamó a Padres & Jóvenes Unidos para convertirse en miembros de su organización y quisieron aprender cómo pelear. Los padres líderes se unieron y exigieron un cambio. Su persistencia ha dado sus frutos y ahora esperamos poder cambiar esta escuela. Las Escuelas Públicas de Denver tienen que hacer algo más que eliminar a un director; tienen que reformar las prácticas de aprovechamiento y disciplina académica de esta escuela. Se necesita a un director que unifique y que apoye a los maestros, a los estudiantes y a los padres de familia en la transformación de esta escuela. Los padres líderes han exigido formar parte del comité de contratación para elegir un director altamente eficaz para nuestros hijos; ya han ganado 5 lugares en la mesa de decisiones. La lucha por una educación equitativa para cada niño en el suroeste de Denver está lejos de terminar. ¡Creemos que esta renuncia de la directora significa un paso más en la obtención del poder de los padres la cual representa una fuerza organizada para ganar reformas y ganar el cambio institucional! Lincoln Lancers y Jóvenes levantan sus voces en las afueras de la sede de DPS durante una conferencia de prensa. Los estudiantes se oponen a la Escuela Secundaria (media) en la Escuela Preparatoria Lincoln High School:

Los estudiantes de la escuela preparatoria Lincoln High School se oponen activamente a la adición de una nueva escuela secundaria. La educación en la escuela Lincoln está sufriendo y los recursos deben ser utilizados para mejorar la escuela Lincoln High School, en donde la tasa de graduación es sólo del 66%. ¡Arreglen Lincoln primero! El 15 de octubre, la Junta de consejo de las Escuelas Públicas de Denver emitieron sus votos y anunciaron que la escuela secundaria se colocaría dentro de la escuela Lincoln High School. Todo esto aun después de que el 96% de los encuestados dentro del cuerpo estudiantil declaró que no quieren una escuela secundaria en Lincoln. Agregar una escuela media e incrementar el número de ocupación del edificio con 300 alumnos más, sólo afectará aún más la falta de recursos. Los estudiantes de Lincoln levantaron su voces y preocupaciones en la reunión de la junta de consejo realizada en septiembre, en donde compartieron testimonios personales en todas las formas posibles para hacerles ver que esta adición podría afectar aún más la capacidad del estudiante para aprender. Nuestros estudiantes se han manifestado, han hablado ante el consejo, se han presentado ante la prensa, han reunido firmas y han demostrado su poder. Nuestros estudiantes merecen más. Tenemos el poder si estamos juntos. ¡No nuevas escuelas y Arreglen Lincoln Primero! Tome acciones ahora poniéndose en contacto con Karissa a Padres & Jóvenes Unidos 303-458-6545 o por correo electrónico a karissa@padresunidos.org

"!Las madres se están movilizando!"

Los padres líderes de Padres & Jóvenes Unidos se están movilizando para conseguir 12 cocinas y comedores para DPS. El año pasado, los padres líderes investigaron la escuela media de Kepner Middle School y descubrieron la horrible condición de los alimentos. La escuela estaba sirviendo las mismas hamburguesas picantes de pollo todos los días, no había variedad en el menú, el pan estaba quemado y la carne estaba cruda. Desde entonces, después de saber la verdad de lo que realmente se estaba cocinando en el programa de almuerzo en la escuela Kepner Middle School, UPJ se ha inmiscuido en una investigación detallada. Los padres líderes están visitando las cocinas y comedores para documentar la comida que se está sirviendo, el saneamiento, la preparación de los alimentos y el trato del personal. En una región como la del suroeste de Denver, en donde 6 de cada 10 estudiantes tienen sobrepeso u obesidad es fundamental que nuestros niños tengan acceso a por lo menos dos comidas saludables, frescas y comestibles durante el día escolar. Esta lucha en el suroeste de Denver por comida saludable, es parte de una mayor batalla a nivel nacional por nuestros hijos. Mire esta información (a la derecha) sobre lo que usted puede hacer para unirse a la campaña nacional de medios de comunicación social para el programa de Escuelas Saludables para la Juventud (Youth 4 Healthy Schools).

DPS añade un indicador de equidad para su Marco de Desempeño Escolar: La administración en las Escuelas Públicas de Denver añadió una nueva dimensión al Marco de Desempeño Escolar (SPF por sus siglas en inglés). FPS tiene la intención de alentar a todas las escuelas para que den un buen servicio a todos sus estudiantes, y como una forma de hacer que las escuelas se hagan responsables. "Hacerse Responsable" es un término vago y no demuestra cómo las escuelas van a estar al día en la solución de todos los problemas. Las cuatro maneras para medir el desempeño de una escuela ahora son; Compromiso, Crecimiento, Estado y Equidad. Estas maneras, se dice, ayudarán a identificar las brechas que hay entre los grupos de estudiantes dentro de las escuelas. Sin embargo, este Marco de Desempeño Escolar no da detalles de lo que estas medidas realmente cubren o de cómo se van a utilizar para exponer las disparidades. Por ejemplo, el indicador de compromiso no especifica lo que se cuenta como "compromiso" ante los ojos de DPS. El verdadero incentivo es el impacto financiero de las puntuaciones finales para el personal y la administración, ya que el Marco de Desempeño Escolar guía las decisiones más importantes del distrito, como son los contratos de las escuelas Charter, la asignación de los recursos financieros y de personal, retribución a empleados, y valoraciones de acreditación estatales. Esto es lo que está motivando a los líderes escolares. La inequidad se refleja concretamente en los siguientes elementos que DPS no menciona: la brecha que hay de logros en resultados de exámenes, las diferencias en la manera de disciplinar por las mismas conductas, la falta de preparación para la universidad y las bajas tasas de graduación. Es de vital importancia diseñar un "SPF" que utilice indicadores relevantes en nuestro clima de racismo sistémico. El actual SPF se utilizará para evaluar el éxito o el fracaso de las metas propuestas en el Plan 2020 de Denver. Estos dos niños del suroeste de Denver muestran su apoyo a la escuela preparatoria Lincoln High School. ¡Mostrar su apoyo a la CEPE!

Los padres de familia del Suroeste de Denver llevan a cabo investigaciones de respuestas: ¡El 90% de todos los niños de las zonas con más afluencia de personas blancas están en la Educación Infantil Temprana (CEPE por sus siglas en inglés), mientras que sólo el 22% en el suroeste de Denver están inscritos! El pasado mayo, Padres & Jóvenes Unidos organizó un foro de Educación Infantil Temprana (CEPE) para discutir y explorar el trabajo realizado por muchos proveedores de ECE en el suroeste de Denver y para generar discusión acerca de las desigualdades en las escuelas. Desde entonces, UPJ ha hecho investigaciones a través de una encuesta diseñada para explorar temas como acceso, calidad, disciplina y opciones en las inscripciones que los padres de familia tienen en suroeste de Denver para entrar a CEPE. A través de esta investigación, Padres Unidos ha desarrollado alianzas estratégicas en torno a temas de la CEPE con otras organizaciones locales, incluyendo el programa de la Campaña de los Niños de Colorado (Colorado Children’s Campaign). También se ha ido formando un grupo específico de padres líderes del suroeste de Denver, quienes seguirán haciendo crecer el movimiento en la zona. Su objetivo es la calidad en el ECE para todos los niños en el suroeste de Denver. En los próximos meses, los padres de familia estarán analizando la investigación y viendo lo que los datos revelan. ¡Estate pendiente de la publicación que se compartirá sobre esta investigación, y sobre el análisis y las soluciones para la ECE en el suroeste de Denver en enero 2016! Campaign: Padres & Jóvenes Unidos
Categories: Grassroots Newswire