Black Friday OWS Action Planning

Walmart workers across the country are organizing, and planning strikes and a day of action for Black Friday. We may not have any Walmarts here in New York City, but that won’t stop us from organizing in solidarity!

Join Occupy Wall Street, 99 Pickets, and allies to plan “Wall Street to Walmart”, an OWS-wide series of actions starting before Thanksgiving and culminating on Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year.

Black Friday OWS Action Planning meeting
Saturday, 10/27, 4-6pm
NY NJ Joint Board
33 W 14th St., New York, NY

Learn About: 99 Pickets

99 Pickets, a working group from Occupy Wall Street, seeks to build a mass worker’s movement in New York City and beyond. We are workers, immigrants, artists, the unemployed, students and retirees: the 99%.

Revitalizing the picket line—a tactic with a long and rich history—we use worker-driven, creative action to draw attention to the common struggles of people across the city.

From wage theft, discrimination, abusive employers, food justice, misclassification, exploitive working conditions, retaliation for organizing, to unsafe workplaces, 99 Pickets strives to connect the dots between seemingly isolated conflicts, building a community and a movement to counter the 1%.

Check out upcoming 99 Pickets events!

Another city is possible, but we need to build it.

VIDEO: Labor Law for the 99%

Complete* video from the educational event “Labor Law for the 99%,” hosted by the Labor Alliance, with speakers Dom Tuminaro, Sonia Lin, and Daniel Gross.

[They’re saved as playlists, which for some reason won’t embed on this site…so follow the youtube links…]

COMPLETE: Labor Law for the 99% (1 hr 41 min)

or, watch in sections:

Intro: Michelle C & Amy M (4 min)
Dom Tuminaro on the Taylor Law & international labor law (13 min)
Sonia Lin on the Employer Sanctions Regime (13 min)
Daniel Gross on Solidarity Unionism (28 min)
Discussion (44 min)

*actually I’m missing about 60 seconds of Daniel Gross speaking during the discussion (from when I had to change batteries), so if you have that video, please contact us through the site… -S

Families for Freedom radio show on S-Comm in New York

Our friends at Families for Freedom recently aired a radio show on the activation of DHS’s Secure Communities in New York State.

Check out the show, and support the fight to bring this destructive policy to an end!

From Families for Freedom:

The Secure Communities program was fully activated in New York State on May 15th 2012, almost a year after the New York State Working Group Against Deportation (NYSWGAD) campaigned heavily to stop activation in 2011 and actually did get Gov. Cuomo to reject it.

The Secure Communities program was initiated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2008.Like programs such as the 287(g) program and the Criminal Alien Program (CAP), Secure Communities mobilizes local law enforcement agencies’ resources to enforce federal civil immigration laws. Whereas programs such as 287(g) trained law enforcement agents to assist with immigration enforcement, Secure Communities relies heavily on almost instantaneous electronic data sharing. This data sharing has transformed the landscape of immigration enforcement by allowing ICE to effectively run federal immigration checks on every individual booked into a local county jail, usually while still in pre-trial custody.*

Workers Win Historic Election for Union Representation at New York Restaurant Chain Hot and Crusty

Hot and Crusty workersCiting Company-Wide Wage Theft, Safety Violations, Verbal Abuse and Sexual Harassment, Workers Vote for Independent Union in 12 to 8 Victory

New York, NY–May 24, 2012. Workers at the 63rd street location of Hot and Crusty restaurant voted yesterday to certify an independent union, the Hot and Crusty Workers Association, with 20 of 22 eligible employees submitting their vote at the National Labor Relations Board. After a 4 month-long public campaign to bring attention to injustices in the workplace, workers were overjoyed by news of their victory. Documenting widespread labor violations spanning 6 years, including overtime and minimum wage violations, non-compliance with health and safety codes, and sexual harassment and verbal abuse of female employees, workers began organizing their campaign after approaching grassroots community organization Laundry Workers Center United to assist them in their efforts.

Following multiple attempts by the workers to reach a reasonable agreement with the company, parties came to an impasse when management refused to negotiate in good faith over terms and conditions of employment. Responding to the employers’ threat that “structural changes within the workplace would not happen without a union,” the workers formed an independent labor organization and filed a petition for certification with the National Labor Relations Board.

Employing provisions contained in New York State’s newly enacted Wage Theft Prevention Act, championed by community organizations and State Senator Diane Savino (D-SI/Brooklyn), a civil lawsuit was simultaneously filed for overtime and minimum wage violations, as well as liquidated damages. Gene Eisner of Eisner and Mirer, P.C, counsel to the workers, emphasized the importance of the Act’s “stiffened penalties, liquidated damages and critical protections for the undocumented in reclaiming what is rightfully owed to these hardworking individuals.”

Applauding the workers resolve in rejecting multiple settlement offers that failed to address continued violations in the workplace, Laundry Workers Center Founder, Virgilio Aran, said “this was a struggle completely led by the workers, and the decisions were made collectively to address structural issues that many immigrant workers in this country face. We have all learned a great deal from their courage and determination to organize.”

Mahoma Lopez, a leader in the campaign who has worked at Hot and Crusty for over 7 years, stressed the importance of workers coming together in their workplace to stand up against injustice, saying “this is a victory for us all, particularly for immigrant workers. We have shown the bosses that when we organize, there is no stopping us. When we come together, we are strong.”

The company has responded to the workers organizing efforts with threats, intimidation, and offers of monetary compensation, all of which are unlawful under the National Labor Relations Act. Workers at other Hot and Crusty locations have subsequently come forward with similar wage and hour violations, which are currently being investigated. Recently the company hired a union-busting firm and forbid workers from speaking to the press in response to the success of the organizing of the Laundry Workers Center.

For more information, contact:
Nastaran Mohit (914)557-6408
Virgilio Aran (347)394-8350

Winning @ Work: Labor Law for the 99%

Wednesday, May 23, 2012
CWA 1180, 6 Harrison Street


Daniel Gross
Brandworkers International,
author “Labor Law for the Rank and Filer”
… Sonia Lin
Attorney, Immigration and Employment Law

“If it’s effective, it’s illegal”. This is common wisdom for anyone trying to organize in workplaces today.

The Taylor Law, Taft-Hartley regulations, employer sanctions and numerous other regulations of workplace labor all stand as hurdles organizers face in taking on the 1% where it counts most – at work. Often the courts, laws, and stables of lawyers stand between workers and justice.

But the history of working class struggle is a history full of examples of how people overcame these challenges through creative methods of using, avoiding, or breaking the law.

Presented by the OWS LABOR ALLIANCE

2nd Assembly of the OWS Labor Alliance

Saturday, May 12th, 1pm in Zuccotti Park
(rain location: DC37, 125 Barclay St., Rm. 12 – downstairs)

Congratulations on a great, unified May Day! Time to dig deep and keep up the struggle! Last month we had a great Labor Alliance meeting including members of all OWS labor-related working groups – let’s keep the conversation going…

  • How can we foster better coordination between groups?
  • What are the various labor working-groups’ goals & ongoing projects?

All members of labor working groups are specially invited: Immigrant Worker Justice, Arts & Labor, Occupy Your Workplace, Rank & File Committee, Occupy the DOE, and Labor Outreach.

Saturday, May 12th, 1pm
Zuccotti Park/Liberty Plaza

Broadway & Liberty Street
Subway: A,C,2,3,4,5 to Fulton Street, N,R to Cortlandt Street
(rain location: DC37, 125 Barclay St., Rm. 12 – downstairs, A,C,1,2,3 to Chambers St)

Labor in the U.S. is suffering from a 30-year decline. Wages as a share of the economy are at historic lows, unemployment remains stuck close to record highs. This weakness stems directly from the fact that labor has never been more divided – between union and non-union, immigrant and native-born, young and old, North and South, private sector and public sector; by race, language, creed, color, education, and industry. As militants in the labor movement, we reflect this unevenness of class development in the different forms of organization we take on – but this is no excuse for disunity!

Join a discussion of how labor activists within OWS can make our work more unified, act in greater solidarity, and increase the space for workers to get their issues heard within OWS as a whole.
Sponsored by the Labor Outreach Committee, Immigrant Worker Justice Working Group, Occupy Your Workplace, the Rank-and-File Committee, and Arts & Labor