Many of my comrades are up in Chicago right now striking for the “Fight for 15” campaign. Take some time to sign the petition.
Workers walk out at some McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Macy’s in push for higher wages, union
Nabors works at Sears for $9 an hour to support her two children, ages 2 and 5 months. Nabors says she only works about 20 hours a week, though she has asked for a full-time position. She has to supplement her income with food stamps, but she’s struggling to pay $650 a month for the apartment she moved into after staying with family and living in a hotel.
Nabors is among the hundreds of fast food and retail workers in Chicago that community organizers expect to walk off the job Wednesday in a campaign to push for higher wages.
The Fight for $15 campaign, named for its goal of securing $15 an hour for workers, said it expects McDonald’s, Subway, Dunkin’ Donuts, Macy’s, Sears and Victoria’s Secret store in the Loop and Magnificent Mile to be affected.
The rolling strikes began at 5:30 a.m. as workers walked off the job at some McDonald’s restaurants and Dunkin’ Donuts. Strikes are expected later this morning at some retailers. A rally is planned for 4 p.m. at the St. James Cathedral near Huron and Rush Streets.
“Food stamps help but they don’t pay the rent,” the protesting Nabors said, acknowledging the difficulty of searching for work and take public assistance for her and her kids. “I keep this guard up because I look at their faces ever day and I know I have to do what I can do support them.”
While acknowledging that “a few workers may have walked off the job,” a McDonald’s spokeswoman said: “Our downtown restaurants remain open, and it remains business as usual for us.”
Representatives for Dunkin’ Donuts and Subway said that hourly wages are set at the discretion of franchisees who operate their restaurants.
A Macy’s spokesman declined to comment on the strikes.
“Fight for $15, seeks to put money back in the pockets of the 275,000 men and women who work hard in the city’s fast food and retail outlets, but still can’t afford basic necessities,” the group said in a release. “If workers were paid more, they’d spend more, helping to get Chicago’s economy moving again.”
Wednesday’s action follows a nationwide Black Friday strike by Walmart workers and comes just weeks after 400 fast-food workers walked off their jobs in New York City.
Rev. C.J. Hawking, executive director of faith-based workers’ rights organization Arise Chicago, supported the protestors’ cause and passed out bottles of water.
She said she believes that the fight for higher pay among food and retail workers is gaining momentum across the country after protests in New York and recent Walmart worker uprisings.
“We all know that you cannot live on $8.25 an hour,” she said. “We need to stop pretending this is working.”
“Fast food and retail workers bring more than $4 billion a year into the cash registers of the Magnificent Mile and the Loop, yet most of these workers earn Illinois’ minimum wage of $8.25, or just above it,” Fight for $15 said.
In addition to higher pay, Fight for $15 says it is pushing to organize a union for workers.
Athena Mayo, 21, was protesting with fellow Nordstrom Rack employees, where she’s worked since November.
Mayo, who’s also an art and design student at Columbia College, said she wanted to take a stand because many workers might be apprehensive to ask for what they want.
“A lot of people are scared, a lot of people are worried” about reprisal from their bosses, she said. “So I just came out here to represent them and fight.”
“They keep adding more and more tasks and giving us less and less,” added Krista Reese, 22, also an employee at Nordstrom Rack. Reese, who has worked at the store on Chicago Avenue since July, said the store used to have as many as 12 workers close every night and now they’re down to four. She also talked about a pay cut.
Reese says her fellow workers are trying to organize a union there to continue the fight for higher pay and added staff.
Among those participating will be Aimee Crawford, 56, who said she has worked for 14 months at a downtown Protein Bar restaurant for $8.75 an hour.
“I’m using my retirement funds and my savings to bridge the gap between what I bring home and what I need to survive,” Crawford said.
Matt Matros, who founded the Protein Bar chain in 2009, said employees at his company control their opportunities for advancement.
Starting at $8.25 per hour, workers get raises at increments of 50 cents per hour by passing certain skills tests, such as knife safety or nutrition, he said.
The protestors, who are scattered around several Loop locations, are expected to culminate the rallies at St. James Cathedral at 5 p.m.
Tribune reporters Antonio Olivio, Samantha Bomkamp, Emily Bryson York and Corilyn Shropshire contributed to this report.
Rally with Kathy Kelly, Voices for Creative Non-Violence; Debbie Pope, Chicago Teachers Union; Nahla Yafai, a Yemeni student activist; Randy Pouncy, Fearless Leading by the Youth; and Kait McIntyre, Anti-War Committee; followed by guerrilla theater and a march to Boeing Company.
As part of national days of protest against drone warfare, join the Anti-War Committee of Chicago to send a message to Boeing CEO Jim McNerney:
Say “No” – To their plan to manufacture the next killer drone for the Pentagon; To their current production of spy drones; And demand they use their resources to fund research and development of green and sustainable forms of air travel.
The Boeing Company is competing with the other top arms manufacturers for the growing budget for unmanned aircraft for the military. The Pentagon has a $259 billion spending plan that will triple drone purchases over 10 years. This spring, the Navy is asking for designs for a new killer drone. Boeing is expected to propose its Phantom Ray.
In recent weeks, there’s been a lot of talk about the use of killer drones. Drones are controversial because the Obama administration has sent drones to assassinate American citizens in Yemen, for example; and because their use is officially a secret kept from Congress and the people of the US.
We oppose drone attacks for these reasons, but also because in Pakistan and Afghanistan where they have been most heavily used, the majority of their victims are not combatants on the US “kill list,” but civilians, including many children.
No New Wars - on Iran or Syria; No U.S. drones & intervention in Mali
We’re against drones - for spying on Iran and Mali, or for killing people in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen, or in new wars in Syria, Mali or Iran. We also oppose Boeing’s production of other weapons, like the uranium depleted bombs that they supplied Israel to drop on Gaza, resulting in increased birth defects.
Money for Jobs, Healthcare and Education, Not War
We want the tax money being given to Boeing and spent to wage wars to be kept in our community to fund jobs, education and health care.
Anti War Committee - Chicago
PREPARE FOR WAR COMRADES!
UIC School of Public Health
Monday, November 12
Auditorium (Room 109)
6PM — Free and open to the public
Opening remarks by Peter Orris, MD, MPH, Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences at UIC and leader of the American Public Health Association (APHA) delegation to Cuba
Presented by Radical Public Health (RPH), Global Health Student Interest Group (GHSIG), Emergency USA, Public Health Student Association (PHSA) and the Chicago Committee to Free the Cuban Five
Revolutionary Doctors gives readers a first-hand account of Venezuela’s innovative and inspiring program of community health care, designed to serve—and largely carried out by—the poor themselves. Drawing on long-term participant observations as well as in-depth research, Brouwer tells the story of Venezuela’s Integral Community Medicine program, in which doctor-teachers move into the countryside and poor urban areas to recruit and train doctors from among peasants and workers. Such programs were first developed in Cuba, and Cuban medical personnel play a key role in Venezuela today as advisors and organizers. This internationalist model has been a great success—Cuba is a world leader in medicine and medical training—and Brouwer shows how the Venezuelans are now, with the aid of their Cuban counterparts, following suit. - http://www.revolutionarydoctors.com/
“The Cuban medical education model, so eloquently described in this book, has not merely transformed health care in much of Central and South America. It has shown doctors and medical students who work in the unjust and dysfunctional U.S. health care system that another world is possible.”
—Steffie Woolhandler, MD, MPH; professor of public health, CUNY; visiting professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School
The complaint against Roadlink Workforce Solutions is the sixth such lawsuit filed against companies Walmart contracts with to staff or run its warehouse.
Joliet-based Warehouse Workers for Justice assisted the employees in their legal action as part of its campaign to improve working conditions in area warehouses.
Chris Williams, a Warehouse Workers for Justice attorney, said the Chicago lawsuit alleges employees are not being paid wages “they are promised, entitled to by law and that they have earned” at the Elwood warehouse.
The workers are not being paid overtime and, in some cases, they are earning less than minimum wage, he added.
“I worked for Roadlink Workforce Solutions in the Walmart warehouse,” plaintiff Vincent Hoffmann said in a press release. “They had us working 10 or more hours a day lifting heavy boxes, but then didn’t pay me the overtime that I had worked so hard for. It’s hard enough trying to make ends meet and then they cheat us out of what we earned.”
Warehouse Workers for Justice officials say warehouse workers labor under extreme temperatures lifting thousands of boxes that can weigh up to 250 pounds each, workplace injuries are common and workers rarely earn a living wage or have any benefits.
Thursday’s lawsuit is the 11th filed by Warehouse Workers for Justice in the past three years against companies managing or staffing Will County warehouses. The group also has filed complaints with state and federal labor departments in attempt to get employees money they are owed.
Thursday’s complaint in Chicago comes a day after three dozen non-union employees at a Walmart warehouse in Southern California walked off the job to protest working conditions there, said Elizabeth Brennan, a spokeswoman for California-based Warehouse Workers United, which is a group similar to Warehouse Workers for Justice.
Brennan said the workers are protesting unfair labor practices. Starting Thursday afternoon, they will join Warehouse Workers United on a 50-mile, six-day walk from Riverside to downtown Los Angeles to highlight the poor working conditions in warehouses in Southern California. Brennan said Walmart officials continue to say they hire contractors who follow the law when they operate and staff the company’s warehouses.
“But that is just not true,” she said.
Fixing conditions in Walmart warehouses will go a long way to improving conditions in all warehouses, she said.
“Walmart is the largest retailer in the world and it really dictates standards in the logistics industry,” she said.
In late 2011, California labor officials fined two companies, both hired by Walmart, more than $1 million for not maintaining employee time records and failing to give employees itemized wage statements.
Officials at Walmart and Roadlink did not return calls seeking comment for this story.
Solidarity with Chicago Teachers! Get fucked Rahm!
Karl Marx Interviewed for the Chicago Tribune, December 18, 1878Tribune: You and your followers, Dr. Marx, have been credited with all sorts of incendiary speeches against religion. Of course you would like to see the whole system destroyed, root and branch.... ...
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