How education reform drives gentrificationMarch 8, 2014

Public school teachers in Portland, Ore., and their students are doing a victory lap. Nearly a year after unveiling a contract proposal that would have put the squeeze on the 2,900-member Portland Association of Teachers (PAT), the Portland School Board on March 3 approved a contract that acceded to virtually every demand from the teachers’ union.
The board was acting as a stalking horse for corporate attacks on unions and public education nationwide. It initially wanted to saddle teachers with higher health care costs, fewer retirement benefits, more students and a greater workload in a city where 40 percent of teachers already work more than 50 hours a week (PDF). The board also demanded expansive management rights (PDF) and allegedly wished to link teacher evaluation more closely to standardized testing. The PAT opposed the board, arguing that low-income and minority students would pay the heaviest price as their classes grew larger, more time was devoted to testing and resources for curriculum preparation and teacher development got slashed.
Only after 98 percent of the PAT voted to strike starting Feb. 20 — and students vowed to join the picket line — did the board blink. Alexia Garcia, an organizer with the Portland Student Union who graduated last year, says students held walkouts and rallies at many of the city’s high schools in support of teachers’ demands because “teachers’ working conditions are our learning conditions.”
The deal is a big victory for the teachers’ union in a state where business interests, led by the Portland Business Alliance, call the shots on education policy. The school board had brought out the big guns, authorizing payments of up to $360,000 to a consultant for contract negotiations and$800,000 to a law firm, despite already having a full-time lawyer on its payroll. But, emulating Chicago teachers who prevailed in an eight-day strike in 2012, the PAT went beyond contract numbers, winning community support by focusing on student needs and rallying to stop school closures in underserved communities. 
Most significant, the teachers helped expose the role of education reform in gentrifying the city, making it nearly impossible for every neighborhood to have a strong school. This is a process playing out nationwide, from Los Angeles to Atlanta, Milwaukee to Washington, D.C. But it is particularly striking in Portland, so noted for quirkiness and tolerance it has spawned a hit television show, “Portlandia,” During a public forum on the contract negotiations, one teacher observed that the show was a reflection of how “we march to our own beat in Portland.” This has held true for the teachers’ approach to education.


Test scores by ZIP code


The current fight over public schools began in January 2013 when teachers, parents and students successfully blocked the board from closing or merging half a dozen schools, mainly in the historically African-American neighborhood of Northeast Portland, which had already seen two schools shut down the previous year. This helped to mobilize community support behind a vision of public education that contrasted starkly with the Portland School Board’s ideas.
The tussle over teacher contracts has underscored how cozy the board is with corporate interests that promote school ratings, standardized testing and school choice, which allows students to freely transfer to other public schools. Touted as a way to use market forces to improve schools, school choice instead creates a two-tier system.
The racial effect of school choice is stark in Northeast Portland, where more than 40 percent of the black population has been pushed out since 2000, and which is 70 percent white today. City documents reveal that more white children in the area opt for charter, magnet and public schools in other parts of the city than attend their assigned neighborhood school. For African-American children, barely one-fourth access those choices.
Sekai Edwards is a sophomore at Jefferson High School in Northeast Portland, the only African-American-majority school in the city. It’s ranked in the bottom 15 percent of the state’s schools. Edwards says Jefferson is “portrayed as failing, as having a lot of violence and gang activity, so fewer kids want to come here.” Jefferson has about 500 students, a third of the size of some other high schools in the city. Since funding is tied to enrollment, Edwards says the only foreign language offered is Spanish, and her anatomy and physiology class has 43 students in it. She says, “I just want to focus on schooling,” but with constant fears of her school being shut down, she adds, “I don’t think I’ll get that at Jefferson.”
Full article

How education reform drives gentrification
March 8, 2014

Public school teachers in Portland, Ore., and their students are doing a victory lap. Nearly a year after unveiling a contract proposal that would have put the squeeze on the 2,900-member Portland Association of Teachers (PAT), the Portland School Board on March 3 approved a contract that acceded to virtually every demand from the teachers’ union.

The board was acting as a stalking horse for corporate attacks on unions and public education nationwide. It initially wanted to saddle teachers with higher health care costs, fewer retirement benefits, more students and a greater workload in a city where 40 percent of teachers already work more than 50 hours a week (PDF). The board also demanded expansive management rights (PDF) and allegedly wished to link teacher evaluation more closely to standardized testing. The PAT opposed the board, arguing that low-income and minority students would pay the heaviest price as their classes grew larger, more time was devoted to testing and resources for curriculum preparation and teacher development got slashed.

Only after 98 percent of the PAT voted to strike starting Feb. 20 — and students vowed to join the picket line — did the board blink. Alexia Garcia, an organizer with the Portland Student Union who graduated last year, says students held walkouts and rallies at many of the city’s high schools in support of teachers’ demands because “teachers’ working conditions are our learning conditions.”

The deal is a big victory for the teachers’ union in a state where business interests, led by the Portland Business Alliance, call the shots on education policy. The school board had brought out the big guns, authorizing payments of up to $360,000 to a consultant for contract negotiations and$800,000 to a law firm, despite already having a full-time lawyer on its payroll. But, emulating Chicago teachers who prevailed in an eight-day strike in 2012, the PAT went beyond contract numbers, winning community support by focusing on student needs and rallying to stop school closures in underserved communities. 

Most significant, the teachers helped expose the role of education reform in gentrifying the city, making it nearly impossible for every neighborhood to have a strong school. This is a process playing out nationwide, from Los Angeles to Atlanta, Milwaukee to Washington, D.C. But it is particularly striking in Portland, so noted for quirkiness and tolerance it has spawned a hit television show, “Portlandia,” During a public forum on the contract negotiations, one teacher observed that the show was a reflection of how “we march to our own beat in Portland.” This has held true for the teachers’ approach to education.

Test scores by ZIP code

The current fight over public schools began in January 2013 when teachers, parents and students successfully blocked the board from closing or merging half a dozen schools, mainly in the historically African-American neighborhood of Northeast Portland, which had already seen two schools shut down the previous year. This helped to mobilize community support behind a vision of public education that contrasted starkly with the Portland School Board’s ideas.

The tussle over teacher contracts has underscored how cozy the board is with corporate interests that promote school ratings, standardized testing and school choice, which allows students to freely transfer to other public schools. Touted as a way to use market forces to improve schools, school choice instead creates a two-tier system.

The racial effect of school choice is stark in Northeast Portland, where more than 40 percent of the black population has been pushed out since 2000, and which is 70 percent white today. City documents reveal that more white children in the area opt for charter, magnet and public schools in other parts of the city than attend their assigned neighborhood school. For African-American children, barely one-fourth access those choices.

Sekai Edwards is a sophomore at Jefferson High School in Northeast Portland, the only African-American-majority school in the city. It’s ranked in the bottom 15 percent of the state’s schools. Edwards says Jefferson is “portrayed as failing, as having a lot of violence and gang activity, so fewer kids want to come here.” Jefferson has about 500 students, a third of the size of some other high schools in the city. Since funding is tied to enrollment, Edwards says the only foreign language offered is Spanish, and her anatomy and physiology class has 43 students in it. She says, “I just want to focus on schooling,” but with constant fears of her school being shut down, she adds, “I don’t think I’ll get that at Jefferson.”

Full article

54 arrested in LA during Walmart protest
November 8, 2013

Dozens of Walmart workers and activists were arrested last night protesting the company’s labor practices and retaliatory behavior in Los Angeles’ Chinatown last night in what organizers are calling the largest act of civil disobedience in Walmart history.

Workers, clergy and activists sat down in the middle of Cesar Chavez Avenue in a circle outside the company’s new Chinatown store last night. Some 825,000 Walmart workers make less than $25,000 a year, workers say. Richard Reynoso is one of them, despite having a rare-for-Walmart full-time position as an overnight stocker.

“I got arrested today because I believe that taking this step will encourage others to be brave and step forward and stand up to the world’s largest retailer,” Reynoso said in a statement. “Walmart can’t silence me.”

The civil disobedience followed a protest outside a Walmart store in the working class Los Angeles suburb of Paramount, where 100 people gathered. The actions are supported by OUR Walmart, a union-backed workers group which organized the first strike in Walmart history last year. 

Source

Oakland recycling workers walk off job in protest of dangerous work conditionsJuly 30, 2013
Recycling workers are demonstrating at Oakland City Hall in protest of dangerous working conditions and low wages, a union representative said.
Workers for Waste Management and California Waste Solutions walked off the job at 7 a.m. Tuesday at a San Leandro facility and have re-created a recycling process line at Oakland City Hall, International Longshore and Warehouse Union spokesman Craig Merrilees said.
"It’s the biggest strike by recycling workers in history that I’m aware of," Merrilees said Tuesday.
The recycling workers, according to Merrilees, make less than their counterparts in San Francisco and the South Bay. The union is also protesting dangerous working conditions.
Both companies are working to secure new contracts with the city of Oakland, according to the union. A Waste Management representative was not immediately available for comment this morning.
Source

Oakland recycling workers walk off job in protest of dangerous work conditions
July 30, 2013

Recycling workers are demonstrating at Oakland City Hall in protest of dangerous working conditions and low wages, a union representative said.

Workers for Waste Management and California Waste Solutions walked off the job at 7 a.m. Tuesday at a San Leandro facility and have re-created a recycling process line at Oakland City Hall, International Longshore and Warehouse Union spokesman Craig Merrilees said.

"It’s the biggest strike by recycling workers in history that I’m aware of," Merrilees said Tuesday.

The recycling workers, according to Merrilees, make less than their counterparts in San Francisco and the South Bay. The union is also protesting dangerous working conditions.

Both companies are working to secure new contracts with the city of Oakland, according to the union. A Waste Management representative was not immediately available for comment this morning.

Source

Swedish train operators wear skirts as protest to needless work uniform
June 9, 2013

Commuters on a train line in northern Stockholm were met with an unusual sight this week: male train drivers and conductors wearing skirts to work.

Train driver Martin Akersten says he and more than a dozen others at the Roslagsbanan line have started wearing skirts in the summer as a protest against the train company’s uniform policy, which doesn’t allow shorts.

The 30-year-old Akersten said Sunday the response from customers has been only positive.

Arriva, the company that runs the train line, hasn’t stopped the drivers.  Arriva spokesman Tomas Hedenius says the company wants its staff to look “nice and proper,” but can’t stop men from wearing “women’s clothes” if that’s what they want because it would be discrimination.

He didn’t rule out a change of the company’s uniform policy.

Source

Walmart employees gather in Bentonville to show shareholders they will NOT back down, despite severe intimidation from the corrupt corporation
June 3, 2013

Striking workers protested outside Walmart’s home office in Bentonville Monday morning (June 3) as corrupt shareholders began arriving in town for this year’s annual shareholders meeting.

A Walmart spokesman lied, claiming that not all protesters are associates (as if that makes Walmarts’ heinous policies any less horrific), however the protesters report that they are all Walmart employees, and have made clear that they are protesting because they want higher wages, better benefits and more respect from the capitalist juggernaut. 

Source

Spanish firefighters clash with riot police during a protest against proposed spending cuts in Barcelona on May 29. Hundreds of firefighters had earlier gathered in front of the Catalonian parliament building, lighting flares, throwing smoke bombs and burning coffins labelled ‘public services’.The firefighters’ union warned that cuts to staff and budgets proposed as part of Spain’s broader program of austerity would “put at risk the safety of workers and the people of Catalonia.”

Spanish firefighters clash with riot police during a protest against proposed spending cuts in Barcelona on May 29. Hundreds of firefighters had earlier gathered in front of the Catalonian parliament building, lighting flares, throwing smoke bombs and burning coffins labelled ‘public services’.

The firefighters’ union warned that cuts to staff and budgets proposed as part of Spain’s broader program of austerity would “put at risk the safety of workers and the people of Catalonia.”

Thousands keep up protest at Cambodian garment factory
May 29, 2013

About 3,500 workers protested on Wednesday at a factory in Cambodia that makes clothing for U.S. sportswear company Nike, refusing to give up their campaign for higher pay despite a crackdown by police this week.

At least 23 people were injured on Monday when police with riot gear and stun batons were deployed to assault about 3,000 workers, most of them women, who had blocked a road outside the factory owned by Sabrina (Cambodia) Garment Manufacturing in Kampong Speu province, west of the capital, Phnom Penh. One woman who was two months pregnant lost her child after military police pushed her to the ground, according to a trade union representative.

The workers walked out on strike on May 21. Sun Vanny, president of the Free Trade Union (FTU) at Sabrina, said about 4,000 workers were expected to join the protest on Thursday. “We will continue the strike to demand what they want,” Vanny said, adding that union representatives had been invited for talks on Wednesday but no agreement had been reached. "We want to know why violence was used against the woman and workers, we want to know who hired these officers to come," he added, referring to Monday’s clash.

A Nike spokeswoman in the United States told Reuters by email on Monday that the company was “concerned” about the allegations that workers had been hurt and was investigating. Nike requires contract manufacturers to respect employees’ rights to freedom of association, the spokeswoman added, but instead of acting in any way that reflects their statements, they have only made decisions to create suffering for workers.

Many Western capitalists, attracted by cheap labor, have turned to Asia to get their garments made at a cost that will make them attractive to customers in the troubled economies of Europe and North America looking for discounted clothing. A series of deadly incidents at factories in Bangladesh, the world’s biggest clothing exporter after China, including the collapse of a building last month that killed more than 1,000 people, has focused the world’s attention on safety standards.

Strikes over pay and working conditions have become common in Cambodia, where garments accounted for 75 percent of total exports of $5.22 billion in 2011, according to the International Monetary Fund.

This month, two people were killed at a factory producing running shoes for Asics when part of a warehouse fell in on them.

Source

“Neoliberalization has not been very effective in revitalizing global capital accumulation, but it has succeeded remarkably well in restoring, or in some instances creating, the power of an economic elite. The theoretical utopianism of neoliberal argument has, I conclude, primarily worked as a system of justification and legitimation for whatever needed to be done to achieve this goal.”― David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism

“This is the permanent tension that lies at the heart of a capitalist democracy and is exacerbated in times of crisis. In order to ensure the survival of the richest, it is democracy that has to be heavily regulated rather than capitalism.”― Tariq Ali, The Obama Syndrome: Surrender at Home, War Abroad

We have people refusing to be wage-slaves working in terribly dangerous, life-threatening conditions who organize democratically in protest and the response of the capitalists, of course, is to hire a brute force to stomp out the democracy. Disgusting. Capitalism is evil.

Wal-Mart workers plan a fresh protest, this time in Bentonville
May 29, 2013

The last time most people heard about OUR Walmart, it was the busiest shopping day of the year and some Wal-Mart employees had walked off the job. They were members of the union-backed group and they had defied the biggest private employer in America by holding protests at stores around the country on the Friday after Thanksgiving. The group’s full name is Organization United for Respect at Walmart, and its members were asking for a greater number of full-time jobs, with predictable schedules and wages that could provide their families a decent life. (I wrote about the movement in December.)

Now OUR Walmart members are planning another protest on another important day: the company’s annual shareholder meeting. It takes place at Walmart’s headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., on June 7. OUR Walmart says about 100 members from the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Denver, Chicago, Washington, Miami, and a dozen other cities will head to Bentonville this week in a bus caravan they’re calling the “Ride for Respect.” They expect to arrive by Sunday, June 2.

“This is the first time in my life I’m standing up for something I know is right,” says Barbara Getz, who is 45 years old and makes $10 an hour as an overnight stocker in Store No. 5334 in Aurora, Colo. “Walmart is the biggest retailer in the world, and we want them to set a high standard.” Among the group’s requests: full-time work for those who want it, with a minimum yearly salary of $25,000. Dominic Ware will be on a bus, too. He’s a 26-year-old part-time employee at Store No. 5434 in San Leandro, Calif. He makes $8.65 an hour. “My plan is to make a lot of noise and be direct and be respectful,” he says.

Walmart has been opposed to unions since Sam Walton opened his first store in Rogers, Ark., in 1962. And, though OUR Walmart says it isn’t seeking legal recognition, executives have criticized its efforts. “Our annual shareholders’ meeting is a celebration of our 2.2 million associates who work hard every day so people around the world can live better,” says Walmart spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan in an e-mail. “The Union and its subsidiary, ‘Our Walmart,’ is comprised of a few number of people, most of whom aren’t even Walmart associates and don’t represent the views of our associates. This latest publicity stunt by the unions to generate attention for their fleeting cause won’t impact the festivities.”

Source

Outraged against austerity, students & teachers in Philadelphia resist the machine of capitalism
May 17, 2013

Dozens to hundreds of Philadelphia students, teachers and school staff protested outside one of the city’s premiere high schools in an effort to fight proposed budget cuts to the district.

Wearing signs and handing out pamphlets to drivers, members of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers lined the sidewalk outside the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts along South Broad Street Friday morning. The teachers are fighting a series of severe budget cuts proposed by the district to close a more than $300 million funding gap. The proposed cuts include ending arts and music programs, sports and cutting auxiliary staff like secretaries, librarians and counselors.

"With the austere budgets schools have received, schools will not be able to provide a high-quality education for Philadelphia’s children," said Jerry Jordan, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. Jordan says the teacher’s union has been discussing labor concessions with the district. However, he says a concession that results teachers taking a pay cut is a non-starter.

"The school district is asking for salary cuts for all PFT members of anywhere between 5, 10 and 13-percent," he said. "I don’t think that you’ll find employee in the school district and the PFT…who are going to tell you that they can afford to take that kind of pay cut."

The teacher protest is just the first of many demonstrations planned Friday over the funding flap.

Students from Philadelphia public schools around the city have also walked out of class and are marching on the School District of Philadelphia and Philadelphia City Hall. Similar walkouts were organized last week by students, who also marched on the same spots.

District spokesman Fernando Gallard says staff will not stop students from walking out, but says officials have asked principals remind students that leaving early will results in being marked as cutting. “Schools will follow the district’s attendance policy and will take the appropriate action which triggers at least a phone call to parents to notify them of the student’s absence, a request for a parent conference at the school, or after school detention,” he said.

Students are using Twitter to organize and document their protests. The group Philly Student Union is promoting the hashtag #walkout215 as a digital rally point during the event.

Source

tywyllwch-tachwedd
tywyllwch-tachwedd:

dreadful-record-of-sin:

thepeoplesrecord:

Fast food strike wave spreads to Detroit, St. LouisMay 10, 2013
St. Louis, and last month’s in New York and Chicago, today’s work stoppage is backed by a local coalition including the Service Employees International Union, and the participants are demanding a raise to $15 an hour and the chance to form a union without intimidation.
Organizers say that over a hundred workers joined the St. Louis strike between Wednesday and Thursday. That included a group of Jimmy John’s workers who alleged that management humiliated them by requiring them to hold up signs in public with messages including “I made 3 wrong sandwiches today” and “I was more than 13 seconds in the drive thru.”
“Sometimes I walk for more than an hour just to save my train fare so I can spend it on Ramen noodles,” St. Louis Chipotle worker Patrick Leeper said in an e-mailed statement Thursday. “I can’t even think about groceries.”
A spokesperson for Jimmy John’s declined to comment on Thursday’s strike; McDonald’s and Wendy’s did not respond to inquiries last night.
As I’ve written elsewhere, the fate of the fast food strike wave carries far-reaching implications: Fast food jobs are a growing portion of our economy, and fast food-like conditions are proliferating in other sectors as well. Organizers say the fast food industry now employs twice as many Detroit-area workers as the city’s iconic auto industry. These strikes also come at a moment of existential crisis for the labor movement, a sobering reality that was brought into sharp relief in December when Michigan, arguably the birthplace of modern US private sector unionism, became the country’s latest “Right to Work” state.
Along with a shared significant supporter—SEIU—the campaigns in New York, Chicago, St. Louis and Detroit have apparent strategies in common. Rather than waiting until they’ve built support from a majority of a store’s or company’s workers, they stage actions by a minority of the workforce designed to inspire their co-workers. Rather than publicly identifying the campaign and its organizers with a single international union, these union-funded efforts turn to allied community groups to spearhead organizing. Rather than training all their resources on a single company, they organize against all of the industry’s players at once. And—faced with legal and economic assaults that have weakened the strike weapon—these campaigns mount one-day work stoppages that are carefully tailored to maximize attention and minimize, but not eliminate, the risk that workers will lose their jobs.
Whether these strategies can ever compel a fast food giant to negotiate with its employees remains to be seen.
“After what I would consider well over three decades of wage suppression, workers in this particular industry—and then I think it’ll go to others—are realizing that their only way up the wage ladder is through their own organizations,” CUNY labor studies lecturer Ed Ott said Wednesday. Ott, a board member of the community organizing group that spearheaded the New York fast food strike, added, “The only way these workers are going to be able to advance these jobs is through unionization. And I think that idea has finally gotten traction.”
Update (9:15 AM Friday): According to the campaign, a walkout by twenty workers at Detroit’s 10400 Gratiot Avenue McDonald’s prevented the store from operating. Some workers brought in as strikebreakers to replace those striking workers chose to join the strike instead.
Organizers say that by day’s end, today’s strike could be the largest fast food work stoppage yet, topping last month’s 400-strong strike in New York.
Source

Fuck yeah.

I have to say, considering Jimmy John’s is featured here, I’m disappointed the IWW hasn’t been remotely mentioned, but of course I’m also not surprised. (I’m furthermore hoping this doesn’t get picked up by the SEIU or any trade unions because not even SEIU has a concept of total militancy…) But still, this is a fantastic development. Solidarity with all the strikers!

Fill our inbox and/or email with information about the IWW. I’ve heard bits and pieces about the organization (things I’ve heard that may or may not be true: was syndaclist, now isn’t; was problematic, now isn’t). Anyway, ya’ll’ve got a strong enough internet presence to peak my curiosity. 

tywyllwch-tachwedd:

dreadful-record-of-sin:

thepeoplesrecord:

Fast food strike wave spreads to Detroit, St. Louis
May 10, 2013

St. Louis, and last month’s in New York and Chicago, today’s work stoppage is backed by a local coalition including the Service Employees International Union, and the participants are demanding a raise to $15 an hour and the chance to form a union without intimidation.

Organizers say that over a hundred workers joined the St. Louis strike between Wednesday and Thursday. That included a group of Jimmy John’s workers who alleged that management humiliated them by requiring them to hold up signs in public with messages including “I made 3 wrong sandwiches today” and “I was more than 13 seconds in the drive thru.”

“Sometimes I walk for more than an hour just to save my train fare so I can spend it on Ramen noodles,” St. Louis Chipotle worker Patrick Leeper said in an e-mailed statement Thursday. “I can’t even think about groceries.”

A spokesperson for Jimmy John’s declined to comment on Thursday’s strike; McDonald’s and Wendy’s did not respond to inquiries last night.

As I’ve written elsewhere, the fate of the fast food strike wave carries far-reaching implications: Fast food jobs are a growing portion of our economy, and fast food-like conditions are proliferating in other sectors as well. Organizers say the fast food industry now employs twice as many Detroit-area workers as the city’s iconic auto industry. These strikes also come at a moment of existential crisis for the labor movement, a sobering reality that was brought into sharp relief in December when Michigan, arguably the birthplace of modern US private sector unionism, became the country’s latest “Right to Work” state.

Along with a shared significant supporter—SEIU—the campaigns in New York, Chicago, St. Louis and Detroit have apparent strategies in common. Rather than waiting until they’ve built support from a majority of a store’s or company’s workers, they stage actions by a minority of the workforce designed to inspire their co-workers. Rather than publicly identifying the campaign and its organizers with a single international union, these union-funded efforts turn to allied community groups to spearhead organizing. Rather than training all their resources on a single company, they organize against all of the industry’s players at once. And—faced with legal and economic assaults that have weakened the strike weapon—these campaigns mount one-day work stoppages that are carefully tailored to maximize attention and minimize, but not eliminate, the risk that workers will lose their jobs.

Whether these strategies can ever compel a fast food giant to negotiate with its employees remains to be seen.

“After what I would consider well over three decades of wage suppression, workers in this particular industry—and then I think it’ll go to others—are realizing that their only way up the wage ladder is through their own organizations,” CUNY labor studies lecturer Ed Ott said Wednesday. Ott, a board member of the community organizing group that spearheaded the New York fast food strike, added, “The only way these workers are going to be able to advance these jobs is through unionization. And I think that idea has finally gotten traction.”

Update (9:15 AM Friday): According to the campaign, a walkout by twenty workers at Detroit’s 10400 Gratiot Avenue McDonald’s prevented the store from operating. Some workers brought in as strikebreakers to replace those striking workers chose to join the strike instead.

Organizers say that by day’s end, today’s strike could be the largest fast food work stoppage yet, topping last month’s 400-strong strike in New York.

Source

Fuck yeah.

I have to say, considering Jimmy John’s is featured here, I’m disappointed the IWW hasn’t been remotely mentioned, but of course I’m also not surprised. (I’m furthermore hoping this doesn’t get picked up by the SEIU or any trade unions because not even SEIU has a concept of total militancy…) But still, this is a fantastic development. Solidarity with all the strikers!

Fill our inbox and/or email with information about the IWW. I’ve heard bits and pieces about the organization (things I’ve heard that may or may not be true: was syndaclist, now isn’t; was problematic, now isn’t). Anyway, ya’ll’ve got a strong enough internet presence to peak my curiosity. 

Fast food strike wave spreads to Detroit, St. LouisMay 10, 2013
St. Louis, and last month’s in New York and Chicago, today’s work stoppage is backed by a local coalition including the Service Employees International Union, and the participants are demanding a raise to $15 an hour and the chance to form a union without intimidation.
Organizers say that over a hundred workers joined the St. Louis strike between Wednesday and Thursday. That included a group of Jimmy John’s workers who alleged that management humiliated them by requiring them to hold up signs in public with messages including “I made 3 wrong sandwiches today” and “I was more than 13 seconds in the drive thru.”
“Sometimes I walk for more than an hour just to save my train fare so I can spend it on Ramen noodles,” St. Louis Chipotle worker Patrick Leeper said in an e-mailed statement Thursday. “I can’t even think about groceries.”
A spokesperson for Jimmy John’s declined to comment on Thursday’s strike; McDonald’s and Wendy’s did not respond to inquiries last night.
As I’ve written elsewhere, the fate of the fast food strike wave carries far-reaching implications: Fast food jobs are a growing portion of our economy, and fast food-like conditions are proliferating in other sectors as well. Organizers say the fast food industry now employs twice as many Detroit-area workers as the city’s iconic auto industry. These strikes also come at a moment of existential crisis for the labor movement, a sobering reality that was brought into sharp relief in December when Michigan, arguably the birthplace of modern US private sector unionism, became the country’s latest “Right to Work” state.
Along with a shared significant supporter—SEIU—the campaigns in New York, Chicago, St. Louis and Detroit have apparent strategies in common. Rather than waiting until they’ve built support from a majority of a store’s or company’s workers, they stage actions by a minority of the workforce designed to inspire their co-workers. Rather than publicly identifying the campaign and its organizers with a single international union, these union-funded efforts turn to allied community groups to spearhead organizing. Rather than training all their resources on a single company, they organize against all of the industry’s players at once. And—faced with legal and economic assaults that have weakened the strike weapon—these campaigns mount one-day work stoppages that are carefully tailored to maximize attention and minimize, but not eliminate, the risk that workers will lose their jobs.
Whether these strategies can ever compel a fast food giant to negotiate with its employees remains to be seen.
“After what I would consider well over three decades of wage suppression, workers in this particular industry—and then I think it’ll go to others—are realizing that their only way up the wage ladder is through their own organizations,” CUNY labor studies lecturer Ed Ott said Wednesday. Ott, a board member of the community organizing group that spearheaded the New York fast food strike, added, “The only way these workers are going to be able to advance these jobs is through unionization. And I think that idea has finally gotten traction.”
Update (9:15 AM Friday): According to the campaign, a walkout by twenty workers at Detroit’s 10400 Gratiot Avenue McDonald’s prevented the store from operating. Some workers brought in as strikebreakers to replace those striking workers chose to join the strike instead.
Organizers say that by day’s end, today’s strike could be the largest fast food work stoppage yet, topping last month’s 400-strong strike in New York.
Source

Fast food strike wave spreads to Detroit, St. Louis
May 10, 2013

St. Louis, and last month’s in New York and Chicago, today’s work stoppage is backed by a local coalition including the Service Employees International Union, and the participants are demanding a raise to $15 an hour and the chance to form a union without intimidation.

Organizers say that over a hundred workers joined the St. Louis strike between Wednesday and Thursday. That included a group of Jimmy John’s workers who alleged that management humiliated them by requiring them to hold up signs in public with messages including “I made 3 wrong sandwiches today” and “I was more than 13 seconds in the drive thru.”

“Sometimes I walk for more than an hour just to save my train fare so I can spend it on Ramen noodles,” St. Louis Chipotle worker Patrick Leeper said in an e-mailed statement Thursday. “I can’t even think about groceries.”

A spokesperson for Jimmy John’s declined to comment on Thursday’s strike; McDonald’s and Wendy’s did not respond to inquiries last night.

As I’ve written elsewhere, the fate of the fast food strike wave carries far-reaching implications: Fast food jobs are a growing portion of our economy, and fast food-like conditions are proliferating in other sectors as well. Organizers say the fast food industry now employs twice as many Detroit-area workers as the city’s iconic auto industry. These strikes also come at a moment of existential crisis for the labor movement, a sobering reality that was brought into sharp relief in December when Michigan, arguably the birthplace of modern US private sector unionism, became the country’s latest “Right to Work” state.

Along with a shared significant supporter—SEIU—the campaigns in New York, Chicago, St. Louis and Detroit have apparent strategies in common. Rather than waiting until they’ve built support from a majority of a store’s or company’s workers, they stage actions by a minority of the workforce designed to inspire their co-workers. Rather than publicly identifying the campaign and its organizers with a single international union, these union-funded efforts turn to allied community groups to spearhead organizing. Rather than training all their resources on a single company, they organize against all of the industry’s players at once. And—faced with legal and economic assaults that have weakened the strike weapon—these campaigns mount one-day work stoppages that are carefully tailored to maximize attention and minimize, but not eliminate, the risk that workers will lose their jobs.

Whether these strategies can ever compel a fast food giant to negotiate with its employees remains to be seen.

“After what I would consider well over three decades of wage suppression, workers in this particular industry—and then I think it’ll go to others—are realizing that their only way up the wage ladder is through their own organizations,” CUNY labor studies lecturer Ed Ott said Wednesday. Ott, a board member of the community organizing group that spearheaded the New York fast food strike, added, “The only way these workers are going to be able to advance these jobs is through unionization. And I think that idea has finally gotten traction.”

Update (9:15 AM Friday): According to the campaign, a walkout by twenty workers at Detroit’s 10400 Gratiot Avenue McDonald’s prevented the store from operating. Some workers brought in as strikebreakers to replace those striking workers chose to join the strike instead.

Organizers say that by day’s end, today’s strike could be the largest fast food work stoppage yet, topping last month’s 400-strong strike in New York.

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