Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Fast food protests to go global May 15

Fast food protests to go global May 15
From People's World
by: Mark Gruenberg
May 12 2014

NEW YORK - Fast food workers around the U.S., energized by past protests and fed up with low wages, erratic hours, no benefits and management wage theft, plan to take their protests global on May 15 in their latest one-day walkout.

Demonstrations are planned for New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and 147 other U.S. cities and also on five other continents, organizers from New York City-based Fast Food Nation told a May 7 press conference in midtown Manhattan.

The Service Employees support Fast Food Nation. Fast Food's leaders met with leaders of the International Union of Food, Agricultural and Restaurant Workers - a federation of 126 unions worldwide - to discuss strategy the week before the press conference.

The object of the protests is two-fold: To shame the employers - McDonald's, Burger King, Yum! Brands, KFC and others - into paying U.S. workers a living wage of $15 hourly, and to attain the right to organize without employer interference.
The past protests have had some impact. They led Democratic President Barack Obama to issue an executive order mandating that any fast food restaurant in a federal facility must, to get its contract renewed, pay workers a minimum wage of $10.10 hourly. Obama's own Navy Department, however, is protesting his order for the increase. It wants the Labor Department not to enforce the hike on Navy bases or PXs.
Elsewhere, the protests, plus a victorious local referendum in a suburb, led Seattle's new mayor to back a $15 hourly wage for fast food workers there. And McDonald's recently admitted, in a required federal financial filing, that the protests could impact its future earnings.

Past protests also led the CEO of Subway, the largest U.S. fast food chain in numbers of outlets, to reverse course on May 7 and support an increase in the federal minimum wage to $10.10 hourly. Thousands of his workers now make that federal minimum of $7.25 hourly. Obama and organized labor have been campaigning to raise it to $10.10 by 2016 and then index it to inflation. Adamant GOP congressional opposition has killed the bill so far.

"I'm not concerned," CEO Fred DeLuca told CNBC. "Over the years, I've seen so many of these wage increases. I think it's normal. It won't have a negative impact hopefully, and that's what I tell my workers.

"I personally think that if I were in charge of the government, I would index the minimum wage to inflation so that way everybody knows what they can count on," DeLuca added.

Other U.S. protests are scheduled for Philadelphia, Miami, Orlando, Sacramento, St. Louis, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Oakland and Detroit, among other cities. Protests abroad are planned for May 15 in Karachi, Casablanca, London, Sao Paulo, Bangkok, Buenos Aires, Geneva and elsewhere. On May 16, workers want to shut down McDonald's in Rome, Milan and Venice.

Photo: Nick Ut/AP

Friday, May 9, 2014

Pope Francis Calls For 'Legitimate Redistribution' Of Wealth To The Poor

Associated Press by NICOLE WINFIELD
Posted: 05/09/2014 8:35 am EDT

VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Francis called Friday for governments to redistribute wealth to the poor in a new spirit of generosity to help curb the "economy of exclusion" that is taking hold today.

Francis made the appeal during a speech to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the heads of major U.N. agencies who are meeting in Rome this week.

Latin America's first pope has frequently lashed out at the injustices of capitalism and the global economic system that excludes so much of humanity.

On Friday, Francis called for the United Nations to promote a "worldwide ethical mobilization" of solidarity with the poor in a new spirit of generosity.

He said a more equal form of economic progress can be had through "the legitimate redistribution of economic benefits by the state, as well as indispensable cooperation between the private sector and civil society."

Francis had a similar message to the World Economic Forum in January and in h is apostolic exhortation "The Joy of the Gospel." That document, which denounced trickle-down economic theories as unproven and naive, provoked criticism in the U.S. that he was Marxist.

Francis has denied he's Marxist, and spent years in Argentina battling Marxist excesses of liberation theology. But he has said from the outset that he wants a church that "is poor and for the poor" and ministers to the most marginal of society.

On Friday, he urged the U.N. to promote development goals that attack the root causes of poverty and hunger, protect the environment and ensure "dignified" labor for all.

"Specifically, this involves challenging all forms of injustices and resisting the economy of exclusion, the throwaway culture and the culture of death which nowadays sadly risk becoming passively accepted," he said.

"Inequality is the root of social evil."

— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) April 28, 2014

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Cesar Chavez – A Hero for All Americans


From Tri-State Public Radio

Everyday people holding voter-registration drives, partnering with faith communities, organizing corporate campaigns and fasting in protest all may be so familiar that their revival by Cesar Chavez a generation ago is overlooked.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Social Justice Unionism Seeks Can Build Labor And Student Movements

From TheRealNews.com:
SUNDAY, 20 APRIL 2014 14:59
By Roshan Bliss

Interview with Michelle Gunderson co-founder of the Network for Social Justice Unionism

Earlier this month at the Labor Notes Conference, rank and file labor leaders announced for the first time the creation of the Network for Social Justice Unionism (NSJU), a new infrastructure that unionists concerned with advancing social justice beyond the workplace hope to use to organize for a shift in the way the labor movement operates.(see more)