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US Postal Unions And Community Activists To Hold “Stop Delaying America’s Mail” Rally In Manchester, NH (and Nationally)

Postal-Unions-Set-Day-of-Action-to-Protest-Service-Cuts-Mail-Delays_blog_post_fullWidth

Postal-Unions-Set-Day-of-Action-to-Protest-Service-Cuts-Mail-Delays_blog_post_fullWidthOn Nov. 14 postal workers across the country will come together for a National Day of Action to tell Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe and the USPS Board of Governors: Stop Delaying America’s Mail!  Please join us! Whether you are postal employee, a small business owner, an individual customer, or someone who simply wants the U.S. Postal Service to survive and thrive, please get involved!

“The Postal Service is set to make severe cuts in mail delivery service that, if implemented, would cause hardships for customers, drive away business, and cause incalculable harm to its reputation,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said.

Why Now?

The Postmaster General is poised to make devastating cuts in service to the American people – cuts so severe that they will forever damage the U.S. Postal Service.

  • On Jan. 5, the USPS is slated to lower “service standards” to virtually eliminate overnight delivery – including first-class mail from one address to another within the same city or town.
  • All mail (medicine, online purchases, local newspapers, church bulletins, letters, bill payments, invitations) throughout the country will be delayed.
  • Beginning Jan. 5, 82 Mail Processing & Distribution Centers are scheduled to close.

These cuts will cause hardships for customers, drive away business, cause irreparable harm to the U.S. Postal Service, and lead to massive schedule changes and reassignments for employees.

Flawed Strategy

They are part of a flawed management strategy that has unnecessarily sacrificed service and failed to address the cause of the Postal Service’s manufactured financial crisis.

  •  More than 140 plants have closed since 2012;
  •  As a result, mail is delivered much later in the day, well into the evening;
  •  Retail work is being sent to Staples, at more than 1,500 stores throughout the country;
  •  Door delivery is being eliminated in most new housing developments;
  •  Chronic understaffing frustrates customers and slows the mail, and
  •  Six-day delivery is under constant threat.

The four postal unions are joining forces to protect service, fight for our livelihoods, and defend our great national treasure, the U.S. Postal Service. We have many allies in the fight against the proposed changes, including more than half the Senate and 160 U.S. Representatives.

Read the letter from the leaders of the four postal unions to Postmaster General Board of Directors.

Are the Cuts Inevitable?

The Nov. 14 date was selected because it coincides with the USPS Board of Governors’ last public meeting of 2014. On that day, the board will release the USPS financial reports for the fiscal year, and undoubtedly will once again bemoan “billions of dollars in losses.”

In fact, the USPS has earned more than $1 billion in profit from operations this year. The “losses” are the result of a bogus pre-funding requirement and have nothing to do with the cost of collecting, sorting and delivering mail.

The four postal unions, the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), National Postal Mail Handlers Union(NPMHU) and National Rural Letter Carriers Association (NRLCA), are urging their members and postal customers to send a message to Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe and the USPS Board of Governors:

Stop Delaying America’s Mail!

For those in New Hampshire, we will be hosting a candlelight vigil (details below) for others click here for a listing of events in your area

New Hampshire Candlelight Vigil

grim-reaperWhen: Friday, November 14, 2014

Where: 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. at City Hall Plaza, 904 Elm St., Manchester.

What: Those attending are encouraged to bring a candle/flashlight/ small light of some sort. Dress in Funeral attire. Even “Grim Reapers” would be appropriate.

Tee Shirts will be provided while supplies last. First come, first served.

Click here to download a sharable flyer for this event.

JUST ADDED! Informational flyers to be given out at Concord Post office and Nashua City Hall Plaza.  CLICK HERE for more details. 

Tell Governor Christie No Social Security or Medicare Cuts

Hands off my social security

Hands off my social security Rally to Oppose Cuts to Social Security and Medicare earned benefits

As budget hawks once again turn up the pressure to balance the federal budget on the backs of the nation’s most vulnerable citizens, activists demanding income security for New Hampshire’s seniors will take their case to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and GOP Leaders. Gov. Christie wants to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits. Our rally is to tell Christie and GOP Leaders how important Social Security is to our communities and our lives.  Medicare and Social Security are earned benefits—not welfare—and seniors are counting on our leaders to protect these benefits, not cut them. New Hampshire Seniors deserve better New Hampshire’s economy is threatened by cuts to Social Security benefits which bring $4 billion to our local communities serving 270,000 residents each year.

In New Jersey, Social Security accounts for over $24 billion of spending into the economy for 1.5 million of its residents.Social Security provides a lifeline to beneficiaries, families, and the local businesses which serve them. While some in Washington claim America can’t afford programs like Social Security and Medicare, the truth is states like New Hampshire can’t afford to lose the economic benefits they provide to every community in the state.

WHO:          Volunteers with the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, the Alliance for Retired Americans, the Granite State Organizing Project, and the New Hampshire Citizens Alliance

WHAT:        Rally to Oppose Cuts to Social Security and Medicare

WHEN:        Thursday, July 31 at 5:30pm

WHERE:     Fisher Cats Stadium, 1 Line Dr, Manchester, New Hampshire 03101

With millions of members and supporters across America, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare is the nation’s #1 advocacy group fighting to protect Social Security and Medicare for all citizens from younger workers and baby-boomers to the nation’s 40 million seniors. The National Committee informs its members and other citizens about legislative and regulatory proposals, which will affect their working and retirement life. In turn, we take their concerns directly to the White House and the Congress with our staff of professional lobbyists and grassroots advocates.

For more information about the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare call 1-800-966-1935

The National Committee, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization acts in the interests of its membership through advocacy, education, services, grassroots efforts and the leadership of the Board of Directors and professional staff. The work of the National Committee is directed toward developing better-informed citizens and voters.

Postal Workers to Protest Privatization at Concord Staples Store Today, April 24

apwu logo 300X297

Local Activists Join National Day of Action

Many Details of the Deal Between USPS and Staples Remain a Secret

APWU Logo (small)Concord, NH — Members of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), Manchester Area Local , will protest on Thursday, April 24, against a sweetheart deal between the U.S. Postal Service and Staples that is privatizing USPS retail services and replacing good, living-wage postal jobs with low-wage, high-turnover jobs at Staples. The deal will compromise service to customers and jeopardize the security of the mail. Details of the agreement are being kept secret and have not yet been made available to the public.

Who:         Members of the Manchester Area Local APWU, the National Association of Letter Carriers, The National Postal Mailhandlers Union, and the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association will be joined by the NH AFL-CIO, members of numerous local unions, other working men & women throughout the state, and friends and allies who believe in maintaining a public Postal Service.

What:       Protest at Concord Staples, against privatization of U.S. Postal Service retail services.

When:       Thursday, April 24,4-6 pm

Where:     Staples, Fort Eddy Plaza

The protest in Concord is part of a National Day of Action, where participants will protest the USPS-Staples deal, which in October/November 2013 established postal counters in more than 80 Staples stores in four geographic areas. The Postal Service plans to expand the program to Staples’ 1,500 stores nationwide. All of this is occurring despite problems that make the future of some Staples stores very uncertain.

“Staples employees receive minimal training, and the company’s low pay results in high employee turnover,” said Dana Coletti, president of Manchester Area Local APWU.  “With so many concerns about privacy and identity theft, the U.S. mail should be handled by highly-trained, experienced postal employees, who swear an oath to protect your letters and packages and who are accountable to the American people. This program is compromising service to our customers.

“While many of the details of this pilot program are being hidden from the public, many things remain quite clear. The Postal Service, which is the largest civilian employer of veterans, requires postal employees to pass a test and a background check, to complete intensive training and to take an oath to protect the security and safety of the mail. It should be a matter of concern to the public that packages and letters at Staples stores are not even considered mail until they are picked up by the Postal Service. This program threatens both mail security and good, stable jobs” said Janice Kelble, Legislative & Political Director for Manchester Area Local APWU.  “It’s bad for postal workers, bad for our communities, and bad for our country.”

“But this isn’t just about postal jobs,” said national APWU President Mark Dimondstein said. “Many people are outraged that a tremendous public asset is being turned over to a struggling private company.”  Staples recently announced that it would close 225 stores by 2015.

Note: In NH a Hooksett Staples store suddenly disappeared only months ago. Will the same thing happen with postal services vanishing, based on Staples bottom line, with no regard to the needs of a community? 

“Staples makes business decisions based on the bottom line, not service to the people of the country,” Dimondstein said. “As a nation, we need to decide what kind of Postal Service we want. Are we going to have a vibrant, modern, public mail system that serves all of the people, or are we going to let privatizers kill this great institution?”

Thursday’s National Day of Action follows dozens of protests by postal workers and community allies in Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco and other cities.

For more information about the campaign to stand up for quality service and good-paying jobs, visit Stop Staples.com.  See also “Postal Union Fights Staples Partnership,” in the Huffington Post, and “The Postal Service Outsources Itself to a Company Doing Almost as Badly as the Postal Service,” in The New Republic.

A copy of the agreement between Staples and the USPS – heavily redacted – is available on the APWU website.

 

*  *  *

 

The American Postal Workers Union represents 200,000 employees of the United States Postal Service, and is affiliated with the AFL-CIO.

 

APWU Announces National Protest Of STAPLES Stores On April 24th

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stop-staples-275Postal Workers to Protest Privatization at
More than 50 Staples Stores 
in 27 States on April 24

Message to Staples: The U.S. Mail Is Not for Sale

WASHINGTON – Thousands of members of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) and community activists will engage in National Day of Action on Thursday, April 24, to protest the Postal Service’s sweetheart deal with Staples that is moving mail service into Staples stores.  Events will be held at more than 50 Staples retail locations across 27 states.

In October, the USPS announced a no-bid deal to open postal counters in more than 80 Staples stores. The U.S. Postal Service plans to expand this “pilot” project to Staples’ 1,500 stores nationwide.

Staples employees, who work for low wages and meager benefits – and who have received minimal training – operate these unsecured postal counters.

Although Staples and the Postal Service have worked hard to keep the details of their arrangement a secret, the APWU recently obtained a heavily-redacted copy of the agreement.  Despite the fact that many of the pages were blacked out, the document provides clear evidence that the Staples sweetheart deal will compromise the quality, security and reliability that consumers expect and deserve in the handling of their mail.

tumblr_inline_n44n7aUrw81sz6kfn“The American people have a right to know that their mail is handled by highly-trained uniformed postal employees who have taken an oath to protect the sanctity of the mail and who are accountable to the people of the country – whether it’s at the Post Office or an office-supply store,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein.

Research shows that consumers have high regard for postal employees and are skeptical about the Staples deal, according to InfoTrends, which recently completed a report for the USPS Inspector General. Many postal customers, the firm reported, “were uncomfortable with co-location of Post Offices not staffed by USPS employees, such as with the Postal Service’s recent partnership with Staples stores.”

‘I want a real postal employee to handle my mail,’ said one woman from an urban location. ‘It’s like when you go in to a drug store to get a flu shot. You don’t want to get it from a regular Walgreen’s employee.’

An internal USPS document makes clear that the goal of the program is to replace the good, living-wage jobs held by USPS employees with low-wage jobs in the private sector.

“But this isn’t just about postal jobs,” Dimondstein said. “Many people are outraged that a tremendous public asset is being turned over to a struggling private company.”  Staples recently announced that it would close 225 stores by 2015.

“Staples makes business decisions based on the bottom line, not service to the people of the country,” Dimondstein said.

“As a nation, we need to decide what kind of Postal Service we want. Are we going to have a vibrant, modern, public mail system that serves all of the people, or are we going to let privatizers kill this great institution?” The APWU supports expanding postal service – by improving accessibility as well as the variety of services offered, he said.

Today’s National Day of Action follows protests by postal workers and community allies in Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Berkeley and other cities since January.

Many teachers, who regularly buy school supplies at Staples, have joined the APWU in protesting this attempt to privatize postal services. On April 28, the California Federation of Teachers will vote on a resolution asking their members to buy school supplies from other retailers. This will likely be the first of many similar actions by educators to boycott Staples. It’s estimated that 30 percent of Staples revenue comes from back-to-school sales.

(FOR THOSE IN NEW HAMPSHIRE, CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS ABOUT OUR EVENT IN CONCORD)

 * * * * * *

For more information about the Stop Staples campaign, visit StopStaples.com.  A copy of the agreement between Staples and the USPS – heavily redacted – is available on the APWU website, at www.apwu.org

For additional background information, see these recent stories from the Huffington Post, New Republic and the Associated Press:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/15/postal-service-staples_n_5155270.html?1397597725

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/116968/usps-outsourcing-itself-staples

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/01/19/postal-service-union-wrangle-over-staples-outlets/4647199/

 

# # #

 

The American Postal Workers Union represents 200,000 employees of the United States Postal Service. The union is affiliated with the AFL-CIO.

How Are BAIN Capital, The Staples CEO, and The USPS All Connected?

Image from the Muskegon Chronicle
http://www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/index.ssf/2010/03/no_saturday_mail_delivery_no_p.html

Senator Bernie Sanders told me and other union members last weekend that if conservative ideologues get control of our government, then the Postal Service would be privatized in five minutes. This privatization will put all postal employees’ jobs/retirements in peril and eliminate our country’s most trusted government service that millions of people depend on. It seems like the USPS – Staples partnership may be the first step toward that outcome.

The agreement between the USPS and Staples established postal counters in 82 Staples stores that will be staffed with low-wage, non-union Staples employees. Eventually these knock-off postal centers could be located in all 1580 Staples locations.

“We support the expansion of customer access to USPS services, but we insist that postal work must be performed by uniformed postal workers who have passed a background check, taken an oath of office and are accountable to the people,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein.

This USPS-Staples partnership seems like a dream scenario for the Koch Brothers and their political puppets. Shifting good solid union middle class jobs to a company that pays its workers about $9 an hour is exactly how America’s corporate elite plan to profit from dismantling our Postal Service.

Why Staples CEO Ronald Sargent — who over the last 6 years has averaged $15 million a year in pay — does not pay his sales associates and cashiers more than their $8.64 hourly wage is outrageous to anyone who believes in economic fairness. Considering Staples management roots come from Mitt Romney and Bain Capital this type of behavior shouldn’t be surprising.  It’s also not surprising that Staples employees are required to watch an anti-union video message from Staples when hired.

Ronald Sargent is clearly no friend of working people, or taxpayers for that matter. Sargent has been a long time Board of Directors Member for Aramark, one of the most of the most anti-worker companies in the country.  Aramark’s newest frontier is privatizing state prison food services.  It’s had some disastrous results like prison riots in Kentucky over its terrible product or across the river in Ohio where Aramark  billed the state for 1.7 million meals it never served.  Aramark seems to be a company that symbolizes everything that is wrong with this era of Crony Capitalism. Its RAP sheet of defrauding states and abusing workers is stunning.

Mr. Sargent is the perfect liaison to start the dismantling of the Postal Service. He is close to Romney (contributed tens of thousands of dollars to him) and the privatizers on the political side — and has experience in overseeing the privatization of public services on the business side.

History has shown that Ben Franklin founded the world’s best Postal Service and it united our country both in commerce and in spirit.

Will history also show that Ronald Sargent, the ultimate Crony Capitalist, is the first to profit from its dismantling?

Please join the Postal Workers on Thursday April 24, from 4-6 pm in Concord NH for a peaceful demonstration near the Concord Staples on Fort Eddy Road (across from LL Bean at exit 14 off of 93 N). Help us STOP the privatization & destruction of the U.S.P.S. before it’s too late.

More details here

 

RALLY April 5th: Not One More Deportation, Not One More Family Split Apart

Immigration reform for america

NH groups join thousands across U.S. April 5 to demand an end to deportations now

Immigration reform for americaNASHUA – The NH Alliance for Immigrants and Refugees, the American Friends Service Committee and the NH Conference of the United Church of Christ will join thousands across the country on Saturday April 5, 2014 to demand that President Obama end deportations.

“This Administration is deporting more than 1,000 immigrants every day.  It’s time to stop the practice of tearing families apart. President Obama can and should act immediately to halt deportations. The purpose of this action is to strengthen his will to do so,” said Eva Castillo of the NH Alliance for Immigrants and Refugees.

The New Hampshire event will be held in the parking lot at St. Aloysius of Gonzaga Church, 48 W. Hollis Street, Nashua from 10 to 11 am, with art, music and reflections from families who have experienced deportation.  There will be parking available in designated areas.  In case of rain, the event will be held indoors.  All are welcome.

Across the country, immigrants and allies are taking action – including detainees refusing food in Tacoma, WA and Conroe, TX detention centers operated by for-profit GEO Group, Inc. – to stop the destruction of communities and the erosion of civil and human rights.

“New Hampshire people are raising our voices in support of our immigrant brothers and sisters who simply want to work hard and be with their families.  We say ‘Not one more deportation,’ ” said Maggie Fogarty of the American Friends Service Committee’s NH Program.

The USPS Teams Up With Staples: Taking Good Union Jobs And Turing Them Into Part-Time, Low Wage Jobs

Image by Nicholas Eckhart Flikr
Image by Nicholas Eckhart Flikr

Image by Nicholas Eckhart Flikr

The US MAIL IS NOT FOR SALE. The manufactured crisis that is being used to destroy the postal service is taking a new turn this spring. As ongoing efforts to eliminate Saturday mail delivery have come to a standstill in our deadlocked Congress. The USPS is moving forward with a plan to place postal counters, without postal employees in 8o Staples stores. In time they want to expand this misguided plan to over 1500 stores nationwide.

These Staples stores will be manned strictly by non-union Staples employees. This is the right-wing dream scenario of turning thousands of solid middle class union jobs into part-time/low wage jobs. Would you rather have a trusted postal worker, who is sworn to protect the mail,  handling your transaction or would you rather roll the dice on the credibility of a  low wage staples worker?  Its one step closer to dismantling the worlds best Postal Service, and one more affront on the war on workers.

The Postal Service is kicking the door open to privatize retail operations,” APWU President Mark Dimondstein said. Staples is not a Mom-and-Pop operation, he pointed out, and, “If we don’t stop this program, we will soon get a letter from the Postal Service telling us management plans to contract out all of retail,”

A few weeks ago Staples announced its planning to close over 200 stores nationwide. This news did not deter USPS plans to pursue this contracting out program. This proves, more than ever,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein, “that it’s a bad idea to turn public services over to a private company that can close stores at will, with no public input and no public comment.

It’s easy to envision a scenario where a local post office is closed and its services placed in a nearby Staples store. Then without warning that Staples closes. Why would the Postal Service theoretically place its customers in that dire situation?

Instead of pursuing this misguided union busting partnership with Staples the USPS would be better off by working with Congress to provide banking services at the local Post Office. This would provide a valuable public service for millions of Americans, while at the same time providing a new revenue stream for the USPS.

There is a growing need for a postal banking system. With over 25% of the American public without bank accounts the demand is abundant. Currently they are being forced to pay exorbitant fees to non traditional banking services just to accomplish routine banking tasks.  These 68  million “unbanked” citizens paid over $89 billion in fees and interest in 2012, on average 10% of their income. The USPS is the only entity positioned in a way to provide these services.

The situation is especially acute in economically disadvantaged areas where banks have moved out leaving behind these shady businesses that profit off the misery of the poor. It is quite clear that establishing postal banking services is an idea whose time has come.

It’s not surprising to see in a country that is obsessed with money and power, that Congress would not take action on any legislation, like postal banking, that would help mitigate the exploitation of those in difficult economic situations.  Power rules in DC the marginalized are always further marginalized.

At a time when the USPS is making an operational profit you would expect them to look to build on that success. Instead, astonishingly,  they are looking at ways to dismantle the most efficient and popular agency of the US Government. The time is now to get involved and stop the next step of the sell off.

Please take part in the National Day of Action and join us at the  STOP STAPLES PROTEST – Thursday April 24th at the Staples on Ft Eddy Rd in  Concord from 4-6 PM

 

Manchester Newspaper Guild Plans Informational Picket To Protest Horrendous Contract Offer

The Newspaper Guild

NHLN Fans, the Manchester Newspaper Guild needs our help.  We need people to stand with the MNG and show our solidarity against the NH Union Leader and their horrendous contract proposals including an 18% pay reduction among other things.   Details below in the Press Release from the MNG.

The Newspaper Guild

Manchester Newspaper Guild Plans Informational Picket To Protest Horrendous Contract Offer

            Members of the Manchester Newspaper Guild — employees at The New Hampshire Union Leader — will take to the streets of downtown Manchester Sunday to protest a contract “Final Offer” from the newspaper that is one of the cruelest contract proposals ever.

            Guild members  will hold an informational picket and will leaflet outside The New Hampshire Union Leader’s annual sports banquet, “The Leaders: A Celebration of New Hampshire Sports Champions,” beginning at 11:15 a.m. in front of the Radisson Center of New Hampshire on Elm Street in downtown Manchester, the site of the banquet.

The Guild, which represents workers in the news, accounting, advertising, circulation, information technology and new media departments at The NH Union Leader and at Neighborhood News, was presented a contract proposal that includes an 18 percent, retroactive pay cut, a more than doubling of health insurance deductibles, elimination of job security language and a rehire list for laid-off employees, and an attack on the union’s ability to defend its members and the contract.

            Since 2009, Guild members have already agreed to pay cuts totaling 14.63 percent, a longer work week, elimination of personal days, reductions in sick time, and increases in health insurance contributions. In addition, they have agreed to a freeze on severance and have taken two weeks unpaid furlough.

            Currently, non-union and management employees have seen a smaller increase in health insurance deductibles but have not faced a pay cut.

            Guild members in the newsroom are in the middle of a 10-day byline strike, and are withholding their bylines and credits from their stories and photographs to protest and bring attention to the draconian company proposal. The local also has created a web page at http://www.wtf-ul.org where the potential effects of the proposal are explained and where people may send an email or tweet to Union Leader publisher Joseph W. McQuaid.

Let’s Drive Veolia’s Union Busting Out Of Boston! Rally Sat 2-1-14 1PM

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Reposted from Ma AFL-CIO 

Despite signing an agreement to honor all terms and conditions of the USW 8751 contract on June 18, 2013, since Veolia took over management of the Boston School Bus transportation on July 1, 2013 they blatantly and systematically violated nearly every article regarding wages, benefits and working conditions and repudiated the established grievance and arbitration procedures. From July to October over 175 individual and class action grievances were filed. In September the Steelworkers filed 18 Unfair Labor Practices charges with the National Labor Relations Board. On October 7th the company attempted to force the drivers to fill out new hire applications. The members also knew that due to the Federal Government shutdown at the time they had no redress available. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

On the morning of October 8th the drivers reported to work and demanded a meeting with Veolia, whose top management as well as BPS officials were onsite at the bus yards, concerning their total failure to honor the contract. They refused for hours, then at 11:00 am locked the gates and evicted the drivers under threat of arrest for trespassing. The workers request for a meeting is protected concerted union activity and the company’s lockout was not only a violation of the contract but of federal law. There never was a wild cat strike. This was a cruel hoax perpetrated against the union by Veolia with the aid of former Mayor Menino and his School Department and the Boston media. When Boston City Council called a hearing to investigate the events of October the 8th Veolia, the Administration and Boston Public School officials boycotted. The City Council has vowed to continue the investigation. Veolia in a clear attack on the organizational backbone of the union singled out the four leaders for firing. They have been out since the first week of November.

Date: Sat, 02/01/2014 – 1:00pm

 

Location Name: 
Veolia Bus Yard and Corporate Offices

 

 

Address: Hoyt and Dorchester Street, Dorchester, MA

 

Sponsored by the United Steelworkers International, USW 8751 and endorsed by the Mass AFL-CIO, Greater Boston Labor Council, Coalition for Equal Quality Education, City Councilor Charles Yancey, Chuck Turner, Charles Clemons, Founder TOUCH 106.1 Radio and a broad coalition of Labor and Community.

For more info: bostonschoolbus5.org

 

 

NH Labor Supports Rally At McDonalds For Higher Wages

Image from Jennifer Kenney
Image from Jennifer Kenney

Image from Jennifer Kenny

Taking part in a national day of action to support fast food workers, thousands of people nation-wide protested Mcdonalds, Wendy’s, Dunkin Donuts, Burger King, Subway, and many more restaurants across the country.  They are asking for a living wage and the right to form a union.

In Manchester labor supporters including the NH AFL-CIO, American Friends Service Committee, the Alliance for Retired Americans, and the Socialist Alternative rallied together for workers at the McDonalds on South Willow Street.

The Nashua Patch posted a great video with interviews of local advocates calling for a higher minimum wage in New Hampshire.  Carol Robiboux of the Nashua Patch also captured the supporters singing a modified version of the classic Christmas carol ‘Deck the Halls,’ entitled ‘Deck the Halls With Higher Wages’.  (You can read the lyrics to the song in Arnie Alpert’s post here on the NHLN.)

Below are a couple of quotes as reported by the Nashua Patch.

The franchisees are all rich, the executives are all rich, and they don’t want to share it with the people who do the real work,” said Steve Kloppenburg, a protestor affiliated with the NH Chapter of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations(AFL-CIO), NH-Alliance for Retired Americans, and Veterans for Peace.

There’s currently legislation filed that would raise the minimum wage incrementally to $9 over two years. New Hampshire doesn’t have a minimum wage – that was taken away by the Republican legislators two years ago.  We default to the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour,” (Kurt) Ehrenberg (NH AFL-CIO) said.

We also support workers’ right to form a union and go to the negotiating table and ask for a raise. Organizing means they have a seat at the table, to determine what a fair wage should be. Right now, these workers have no voice. They also have no healthcare benefits, no retirement, and no way to save and send their children to college,” Ehrenberg said.

Lisa McComb the regional McDonalds spokesperson responded to the Nashua Patch by saying:

“McDonald’s and our owner-operators are committed to providing our employees with opportunities to succeed.  We offer employees advancement opportunities, competitive pay and benefits.”

Really, competitive pay and benefits?  Since when are poverty wages competitive?

Lets not forget that McDonalds even gave their employees help in creating a household budget that included getting a second job.  McDonalds does offer a healthcare option for workers at $14 a week, however the plan has a $10,000 cap and is deemed insufficient by many.

In a brief statement to the Nashua Patch, Greg Moore, State Director of the Americans For Prosperity, stated:

“The reality is that many 16 and 17-year olds – the folks who often take minimum wage jobs – simply can’t create over $10 per hour in value for an employer, and simply won’t get hired.”

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, however the fact remains that the overwhelming majority of low-wage workers are women and are older that 20. In fact in New Hampshire only 22% of minimum wage earners are teenagers.  On top of that, “more than a third (35.8 percent) are married, and over a quarter (28.0 percent) are parents“. We are not talking about teenagers, we are talking about families trying to survive.

On average McDonalds only spend 30%-35% on labor costs.  Obviously if McDonalds raised the wages for all of their employees that would mean either a loss in profits (not going let that happen), or an increase in prices.  When you take into account the vast number of products sold by McDonalds alone, that would mean the $1.00 menu would have to become the $1.17 menu.  $.17 cents more is all that is need to double the current wages to $15.00 for all McDonalds workers.

McDonalds is by far the worst abuser of low-wage workers.  After raking in billions in profits, they still refuse to pay workers a living wage.  The wages are so low that many of the workers are forced to rely on government assistance programs.

Americans are subsidizing the billions of dollars in profits McDonalds brought in last year.  In 2012, McDonalds even spent $6 billion in stock buyback programs and dividends.

Do you want to support the hard working Americans that are working everyday and barely getting by or do you want to support the Wall Street hedge fund managers who already some of the wealthiest people in the world?

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