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?

A Woman’s Right To Vote Gives Women A Voice In Their Workplace Too

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Guest Author, Rep Jan Schmidt

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Woman Suffrage Parade of 1913 that marched down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C. It had been organized by a small group of women who were tired of waiting patiently for the government to codify into law what many states already recognized; that women were full citizens of the US and therefore had the right to vote in every state and federal election.

The parade included ten bands, five mounted brigades, 26 floats, and around 8000 marchers, and was met with violence by many in the over 500,000 strong crowd and a police force that did little or nothing to stop the assault.

One of the organizers was a woman by the name of Alice Paul, and one of her quotes will remain in my mind as a warning for the US for both today and tomorrow.

Speaking with immigrant factory workers who toiled in horrendous conditions she was searching for some way to explain why voting rights were important to them personally. She said… “A vote is a fire escape.”

Think what that meant to women who were forced to endure unsafe factories, long hours on dangerous machines, and not only had no voice in the company – but also had no voice in government who could change the laws protecting workers.

When you have the right to vote, you have a voice and the power to shape the future.

A vote is fair wages, a safe environment, control of your own health decisions, its a good education for every child, and help when you need it most.

Your voice has no meaning until it turns into a vote. Help us remember what those women did for us, and remember not to squander their gift.

facebooktopperOn Sunday June 9th from 11:00 to 3:00 on the State House Lawn in Concord, please join us for the Second Annual NH Women United Rally.  There will be music, laughter, new and old friendships and information on organizations that support and enlighten us. We’ll even have a woman owned and operated lunch truck there – Puppy Love Hot Dogs. Bring a blanket or a chair, bring the kids, but mostly come and celebrate how far we’ve come.

Website http://NHWomenUnited.org, Facebook Page, Rally Event Page.

 

Help Fight Back! Medicaid Expansion Pulled from NH Budget

35 inch (support medicaid expansion)

35 inch (support medicaid expansion)On Wednesday, State Senators Bragdon, Forrester, Morse, and Odell voted to pull Medicaid expansion from the state budget, sacrificing billions in federal dollars and hundreds of jobs. But the fight’s not over yet! Please read below about upcoming events where you can help fight back. Even if you can’t make it, please sign the petition.

It appears that these Senators are willing to leave 22,300 more hardworking Granite Staters uninsured for the sake of party politics. They claim that accepting the federal funds is a “gamble” even though they know D.C. has always kept its Medicaid promises, especially during recessions. They also know that New Hampshire can decide to opt-out of Medicaid expansion later, unlike the programs they keep falsely comparing it to. Denying or even delaying Medicaid expansion will hurt the health of Granite Staters.

Rally

protestersNH Citizens Alliance is gathering Medicaid expansion supporters for a rally outside Senate President Bragdon’s $100-per-person fundraiser. Senator Bragdon’s vote on this is especially troublesome because he wouldn’t make time to meet with constituents to discuss Medicaid expansion before his vote, despite multiple requests. There will be plenty of signs, but feel free to bring your own! Be sure to invite your Facebook friends.

Where: Sidewalk outside O Steak and Seafood, 11 South Main St., Concord

When: Wednesday, May 29, 4-5pm

RSVP: Email Jillian at jdubois@nhcitizensalliance.org, call 603-724-4047, or say you’ll come on Facebook.

Phone Banks

phonePlease sign up for a phone bank! You’ll be able to grab a slice of pizza and call fellow progressives in target State Senate districts and patch them through to their Senators to ask them to support Medicaid expansion. Stop in for an hour or stay for the evening.

Where: 3rd floor, 4 Park Street, Concord

When: Wednesday, May 29, 5:15-8:30pm (right after the rally) and Wednesday, June 5, 5-8:30pm

RSVP: Email Jillian at jdubois@nhcitizensalliance.org, call 603-724-4047, or RSVP on Facebook for May 29 or June 5.

Press Conference

microphonesPlease come to the press conference on Medicaid expansion hosted by NH Voices for Health. Hear stories from people who will be impacted by Medicaid expansion’s benefits for NH’s families, communities, and businesses, and show you care! Check out the Facebook event for more information.

Where: Legislative Office Building (LOB), 33 North State Street, Concord

When: Tuesday, June 4, 11am

Hope to see you next week! Don’t forget to sign the petition!

The New Hampshire Unions Come Together To Support Immigration Reform

mayday_final_social

mayday_final_socialOver the last week the NH Labor News has posted a variety of articles on immigration reform.  Topics have ranged from the need to ensure that all workers are treated fairly and paid honestly to raids from Immigrations Customs Enforcement.

Immigration reform has been a politic football for decades.  The GOP has gone back and forth on the issue of immigration reform.  First they wanted to build a wall to keep people out, then they wanted people to self deport.  Now after the presidential election the GOP is trying to welcome latino voters by pushing for immigration reform.  What ever their reasoning, I am happy to support their efforts for real immigration reform.  The time is now.

On May 1, the New Hampshire AFL-CIO, the State Employees Association (SEIU 1984) and community activists will come together to rally for common sense immigration reform.  We need to help build a path to citizenship for the 11 million immigrants and their families.

Join us May 1st at 12:00-1:00pm on the State House Plaza in Concord. 

There will be speakers from labor organizations, as well as faith leaders, Dream Act students, and others representing the immigrant and refugee communities.

Together we can make immigration reform a reality. We must work together to provide a path to citizenship for the 11 million immigrants fighting to become American citizens.

Nashua: Activists Rally For Immigration Reform (From Arnie Alpert)

Immigration rally Nashua 4-6-13 (credit Arnie Alpert)

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“The Time is Now”nashua 4-6-13 012 crop

More than a hundred immigrants rights supporters rallied today at Nashua City Hall  and marched to the offices of Senators Kelly Ayotte and Jeanne Shaheen to call for reforms centered on a clear and direct path to citizenship for the millions of undocumented immigrants living in the USA. 

Rally speakers included Eva Castillo of the NH Alliance for Immigrants and Refugees; the Rev. Tom Woodward of the Granite State Organizing Project; Juan Zamudio, a student at Derryfield School in Manchester; Marisol Saavedra, a Nashua student; and Carols Escobar of SEIU  nashua 4-6-13 040cropLocal 615.

In many years of working across the US, I saw time and time again bosses use the broken immigration system to mistreat, intimidate, underpay and over work undocumented workers,” said Escobar, an Ecuadoran immigrant who works as a janitor in Nashua. 

“When employers pay lower wages to some workers, all workers are affected and standards are lowered for everyone,” the Local 615 member added.

Participants included union members, faith community leaders, and otnashua 4-6-13 014cropher social justice activists adding their bodies and voices to the movement calling on Congress to act now for humane immigration policies. 

Following the brief rally, the crowd marched north into Nashua’s downtown shopping district and crossed over to the east side of the road by the office of Senator Kelly Ayotte.  There, they taped a giant letter to the window, where marchers added their signatures to a statement calling for commonsense immigration reform that fosters unity.

nashua 4-6-13 031“The time for action is long overdue and there is bipartisan agreement on moving forward,” the statement said.  “A reform package that includes a path to citizenship makes economic sense and is true to our ideals as a nation.  Taking action now makes sense politically, as well, since the American public supports immigration reform.”

Marchers continued northward to Senator Shaheen’s office where another letter was taped to the window for signatures. 

The program concluded with a statement from Germano Martins, a member of the State Employees Association (SEIU Local 1984) followed by a prayer led by the Rev. Sandra Pontoh of the Maranatha Indonesian United Church of Christ. nashua 4-6-13 109

The organizing committee included SEIU Locals 615 and 1984, the NH AFL-CIO, NH Civil Liberties Union, Lutheran Social Services, the Granite State Organizing Project, the NH Alliance for Immigrants and Refugees, the United Church of Christ Immigration Working Group, and the American Friends Service Committee.

Another rally will take place at State House Plaza in Concord at noon on Wednesday, May 1.

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All images credit to Arnie Alpert and Inzane Times.

Reposted with permission from InZane Times (Original Link)

Come Support Your NH USPS Workers on March 17th In Manchester

NALC Save Americas Postal Service

Rally to Protect Saturday Mail Delivery and Strengthen the Postal Service at Manchester City Hall Plaza at 12:00pm Sunday March 17th.

NALC Save Americas Postal Service

Concerned Citizens throughout America will rally in other states on March 24 to protect Saturday mail delivery and demand that Congress deliver a better plan to strenghten the Postal Service for the future.  The New Hampshire rally in Manchester will take place at City Hall Plaza on March 17 at noon because of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on the 24th, and all members of the community are invited to attend.

The Postal Service’s plan to shrink the Postal Service and end six-day service is an attack on the future of this great institution, on the customers who need it, and on the employees who support it.  Many Americans – especially smaill-business owners, senior citizens and rural resident-would suffer if the strength and reach of our Postal Service is compromised.  In addition, cutting Saturday mail would delay important household and business transactions, including bills, invoices and personal communications, and may force customers to shift to high-cost competing services.

The US Postal Service is America’s only universal communications network reaching every address in America six days a week.  Established by the Constitution and using no taxpayer funding for its operations, the Postal Service is a vital public institution that New Hampshire cannot afford to be dismantled.

For more information contact Wayne Alterisio