Articles tagged labor
Posted 1 month ago on Nov. 13, 2013, 12:14 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
If you want to participate in the Black Friday actions to protest working conditions at WalMart go to: http://blackfridayprotest.org
If you are a Walmart worker involved in organizing and you need financial assistance, please contact us.
If you want to support the workers by paying for essential living expenses, please consider buying the snazzy "Team #WalmartWorkers" tshirt, printed and fulfilled by the OWS Screenprinters.
Support a Striker
If rebranding is more your thing, check out this site for ideas.
If you still need to be convinced this is a good idea, read what Robert Reich wrote last year about the action to understand why strikes are actually good for the economy. Yes, a very good thing is about to happen.
One of the strikers we are currently supporting sent the following to explain why he is dedicated to pushing through for dignity and respect in his workplace:
"I've been living and working southwest of a large Midwestern city. Nearly every available job opportunity at all the temp agencies I applied to were within the warehousing industry and - with the holiday season approaching - one of the first jobs available was at the Walmart warehouse loading and unloading freight. Working in a warehouse doing hard manual labor for $10 an hour with no steady hours puts workers in a precarious situation - basic living expenses such as rent & utilities, gas, food, car maintenance pile up and my co-workers and I never know how many hours we're going to get on our next shift. Sometimes I'll get a call the night before telling me the department I work in has been shut down for the entire weekend. Breathing in the air in the dusty trailers made me sick with congestion after each shift. You can only do back-breaking work with no health insurance for so long, which is why the companies are often able to get away with it - the staffing companies at the warehouses treat their employees like they're disposable and when one employee can't take it any more, they find someone else to take his or her place.
These circumstances are exactly why we needed to organize our co-workers and fight back to win improvements. People move from job to job at warehouses in the area with no benefits and no security is no way to make a living. We started a petition and asked our co-workers to sign it demanding basic improvements with respect to our working conditions: job security, respect, consistent work schedules, safety improvements, and an end to discrimination and retaliation. We delivered the petition and faced retaliation.
We need support to be able to take these kinds of risks if we're going to make any changes. We can't continue this race to the bottom and continuing to organize for improvements now will show people that you can fight back and win at work, leading the way for unionization. But unionization isn't the end goal. Even with a union, it is important to continue to engage members, push for a more democratic union, and hold the elected leaders accountable to the interests of the members. An organized workforce in WalMart paves the way for raising industry standards in retail and warehousing, but that doesn't mean we want to see more Walmarts in neighborhoods in every city and town in the country just to have an organized workforce.
I don't want to win further environmental and economic degradation through unionization of the world's largest employer and the potential push by a union with the intention of growing membership through the company's expansion. I do want to win through an organized workforce, the opportunity to have protection against the employer's intimidation and retaliation that we are currently experiencing and an adequate recourse of action. Looking beyond the shop floor, a unionized and organized workforce also holds potential to improve standards in other countries - from baggers working exclusively for tips at Walmart retail stores in Mexico to the conditions of the factories in China.
Organizing within our globalized economy holds huge potential for improving the lives of millions of people across the globe, but this opportunity must be taken with the right intentions."
Posted 3 months ago on Aug. 20, 2013, 9:52 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
fast food workers
Thousands of workers are going on a national strike on August 29 to demand better pay and better treatment. Low-wage jobs are the fastest growing jobs in the nation and they need to pay more so that workers like us can make ends meet. McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, KFC and other corporations are making billions in profits, but they’re paying poverty wages and keeping the entire economy down. We’ve had enough. And we’re not alone.
If you work in a fast food or retail store anywhere in the country, the most effective thing you can do right now is make plans to take to the streets on August 29. Encourage your friends, family, and neighbors to do the same. The more of us who go on strike that day, the louder our message will be that it is not right for companies making billions in profits to pay their workers pennies.
Email us to let us know you’re in – or if you want to talk with a fellow fast food worker who has already gone out on strike. You can reach us at (347) 974-3944 too.
HOW TO GO ON A ONE-DAY STRIKE
15 steps for $15 an hour and the right to form a union
Before you strike for $15:
1 - Talk to coworkers you trust and ask them to join you.
2 - Set the time to meet outside the store on the day of the strike.
3 - Call everyone you know to support you: friends, family, local social justice organizations, pastors, priests, and politicians and ask them to come to your strike line.
4 - Ask at least one of your supporters to walk back into to work with you at your next regularly scheduled shift after the strike.
Day of the strike for $15:
5 - Make signs that say why you are on strike.
6 - Print out and deliver the “Strike” letter to your manager (everyone who is on strike should sign it).
7 - Start your strike! Stand outside your store with your supporters and let people know you all are standing up for $15 an hour and the right to organize a union because low pay is not ok!
8 - Call the local TV station and newspaper and let them know you are on strike at your store.
9 - Call or text family and friends who aren’t there yet to come and support you.
10 - Chant, march, sing and let everyone who is on strike explain why they are there.
11 - Ask supporters to come with you when you and your coworkers return to work.
12 - Post pictures of your strike on Facebook at Facebook.com/LowPayIsNotOK and tweet them to @lowpayisnotok with the hashtag #strikefor15
After the strike for $15:
13 - Meet up with your supporter who is walking with you to work.
14 - Go back to work at your next regularly scheduled shift with your head held high.
15 - Tell your coworkers how it felt to stand up for $15 an hour and the right to form union with thousands of other workers across the country! Sign them up at LowPayIsNotOK.org.
Posted 5 months ago on June 26, 2013, 4:06 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
After the tragic deaths of over 1,200 Bangladeshi garment workers in factory fires and building collapses, U.S. retailers must take responsibility for the conditions at the factories that produce their clothing. The groundbreaking "Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh", will take meaningful steps towards ensuring safe working conditions in garment factories. Unfortunately, most U.S. companies won't sign the agreement.
Gap, Banana Republic, North Face, Timberland, American Eagle, Target, Sears, Old Navy, Walmart: STOP THE BLOODSHED. Sign the Accord.
Join 99 Pickets, Desis Rising Up & Moving (DRUM), United Students Against Sweatshops, NYNJRJB Workers United, the YaYa Network, Student Labor Action Movement, UAW, New York CLC, and the Rude Mechanical Orchestra in a mass funeral march to shame and call out U.S. retailers that haven't signed the Accord.
WHEN: Saturday, June 29 at 1pm
WHERE: Petrosino Square, near Spring St. & Lafayette St. in Manhattan.
Dress for mourning
We'll let SoHo shoppers know about these corporations' murderous inaction. It's not as if the agreement is unworkable: H&M, Joe Fresh, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Zara, Primark and 40 other apparel and retail companies that have signed on to the Accord.
More about the Accord
The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, a new agreement between global union federations and 40 prominent apparel and retail companies, requires companies to participate in and fund a program of independent safety inspections, remediation, and worker safety trainings with the involvement of trade unions.
Visual map of the agreement: http://www.laborrights.org/sites/default/files/publications-and-resources/Visual_explanation_of_the_Bangladesh_Safety_Accord.png
The time for individual and ineffective “corporate social responsibility” programs is long over. The legally binding, multi-stakeholder Accord is the kind of framework that is much more likely to result in safer factories and better jobs for garment workers.
For more info, go to:
Posted 7 months ago on May 8, 2013, 2:34 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
frieze art fair,
ows arts and labor
To artists, gallerists, workers, and fairgoers attending Frieze Art Fair New York:
For the second year in a row, Frieze Art Fair and its subcontractor Production Glue have hired low-wage, non-unionized workers to construct their fair, bringing in people from as far away as Wisconsin. This breaks with the industry standard: the major New York City art fairs including the Armory and the ADAA, as well as many other cultural and business expositions, employ unionized workers to construct and run their shows.
Frieze is a for-profit private event that takes over a municipal public park for two months to serve a global clientele of wealthy art collectors. The fair pays less than $1 per square foot to lease the land from the city. With a ticket price of $42 per day, Frieze is inaccessible to many working New Yorkers. However, despite the cheap rent and high admission prices to an event that generates millions of dollars in art sales (and not to mention the event's main sponsor, Deutsche Bank), Frieze still claims it cannot afford to pay decent wages to local workers.
Labor organizations including Teamsters Joint Council 16, NYC Central Labor Council, IATSE Local 829, IATSE Local 1, NYC District Council of Carpenters, and District Council 9 have all called on Frieze to employ their union members and guarantee local workers a fair, living wage with benefits. This demand has been repeated by City Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito (representing Randall’s Island), as well as City Councilmembers Jessica Lappin and Mark Weprin, and U.S. Representative Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY12). As Weprin said recently, “Frieze NY Art Fair, or any private business that chooses to use public parks, should hire local New York workers and adhere to fair labor standards.”
If you are an artist or gallerist showing at the fair:
We ask you to refuse to serve as a fig leaf for exploitation. We ask you to decline to lend artistic cachet to an event that does not support New Yorkers, and that desperately needs the stamp of cultural seriousness to justify itself to the public.
Even if you cannot withdraw from the fair at this point, we ask you to consider speaking out publicly against Frieze’s unfair labor practices by making information about this issue available at your booth. We would be glad to provide you with a sign and/or flyers you can display.
We also urge you to tell Frieze organizers that you are an artist or represent artists in the exhibition and that you support organized labor.
If you are attending or work at the fair: Urge everyone you know to contact Frieze to demand they engage in fair labor practices, and consider not attending the fair until Frieze agrees.
It takes courage to speak the truth when many wish to deny it, but rest assured that should you decide to stand up and speak out, you will not be alone.
The arts are an economic engine for New York, bringing millions of people and billions of dollars to the city each year. Yet each year, more jobs become unpaid internships, artists are denied payment for their labor, real wages go down, and benefits are lost; meanwhile, the city becomes more expensive and the distribution of wealth more unequal. We believe in the importance of holding institutions such as Frieze accountable for their impact on New York and the people who live and work here. We want to see art bloom across our city, but we know there is a better, fairer way to foster this growth.
Arts & Labor
To contact Frieze:
Frieze New York Office
41 Union Square West, Suite 1623
New York, NY 10003
+1 212 463 7488
Assistant to Director Amanda Sharp
+1 212 463 7488
Frieze London Office
1 Montclare Street London E2 7EU, UK
+44 (0)20 3372 6111
For more information on this struggle, see:
Arts & Labor, “NYC Labor Leaders Demand that Frieze NY Art Fair Hire Local and Union”
Mostafa Heddaya, “Labor Issues in Spotlight as Frieze NY Prepares for May Art Fair”
Whitney Kimball, “Unions, City Council, Congresswoman Protest Frieze”
Rozalia Jovanovic, “New York Union Members Speak Out at City Hall Against Frieze's Labor Policies”
Posted 8 months ago on April 4, 2013, 9:47 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Today, Thursday April 4 , over 400 fast food workers across NYC are starting a second wave of strikes for better wages and a union, marking the 45th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
Like the sanitation workers that Dr. King marched with in Memphis, these workers are standing up for dignity and respect for all workers.
Will you support these courageous workers by mobilizing your friends, family and colleagues to come out today and Friday?
1) Join a picket line starting at 11am. Key locations:
Wendy’s in midtown Manhattan, 259 34th St.
Burger King in Harlem, 154 E. 116 St.
Wendy’s in downtown Brooklyn 425 Fulton St.
2) Come to the Fast Food Worker Justice rally at 5:30pm in Marcus Garvey Park (124th and Madison). RSVP here
3) On Friday April 5, walk the striking workers back to work. Collective action is protected under U.S. labor law, and the workers are asking the community to be on-site at fast food locations around the city to support them as they return to the job. Sign up here; shifts are available throughout the day.
Post your photos and videos to Facebook and Twitter: