Mayoral Candidates Forum co-hosted by WJP

The Workplace Justice Project will co-host a forum featuring mayoral candidates LaToya Cantrell and Desirée Charbonnet on Thursday, November 9, 2017 at Algiers Auditorium in Federal City at 6:30 pm.

The forum, which takes place during the early voting period, asks the candidates to respond to findings and recommendations in the WJP’s report The State of Working New Orleans.

Forum co-hosts are Louisiana Working Families, Oxfam, LiUNA, Local 99, and SEIU Local 21-LA. The forum is open to the public.

Why struggles for criminal justice and living wage are uniting

“Black Lives Matter” doesn’t just refer to cops killing unarmed teens. Here’s why it’s expanding to mean much more. Black poverty is state violence, too. 

“For the second time in a week, the swelling protests against police brutality and an unequal criminal justice system coincided with planned labor strikes at low-wage employers yesterday, and for the second time, protesters joined forces, combining the struggle for a living wage with the struggle for the right to live free of police violence.

Members of Show Me $15 in North St. Louis (Credit: David Nehrt-Flores)

Members of Show Me $15 in North St. Louis (Credit: David Nehrt-Flores)

“Convenience store workers, airport workers, and home care workers joined the actions calling for $15 an hour and a union, broadening the movement still more, but what really gave Thursday its kick was the connection to the emotions (and tactics) of Ferguson activists and their nationwide supporters. Robinson and his fellow workers staged a “die-in” as part of their day of actions, in a North St. Louis convenience store, their bodies stretched between metal racks of chips and candy, clogging the space in an echo both of historic sit-down strikes (that Walmart workers also evoked two weeks back) and a reminder of the way Brown’s body lay in the street for four and a half hours after he was shot.

“Labor struggles have a long, checkered history with struggles for racial justice and particularly against violence. Black workers’ unions were central to the Civil Rights movement… Their struggle—remember the “I Am a Man” signs carried by the workers in Memphis—was always about more than just wages. It was and is about being seen as humans worthy of respect, respect they would demand if it was not freely given.”

Read more from Salon here




NLRB ruling in favor of McDonald’s Workers

“On July 29, 2014 the NLRB ruled that McDonald’s, the world’s largest fast food corporation, which in 2012 earned $27.5 billion and banked $5.5 billion in profits, can be held jointly responsible for unfair labor practices and wage violations made by its franchise operators.”

Demonstrators rally for better wages outside a McDonald's restaurant in New York, as part of a national protest. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Demonstrators rally for better wages outside a McDonald’s restaurant in New York, as part of a national protest. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

McDonald’s fast food workers first dared to strike in November 2012, asking for higher wages. “But when the stores retaliated by firing workers, cutting their hours, arranging inconvenient schedules or otherwise punishing them, the workers took their cases to the NLRB.” The NLRB has ruled that McDonald’s the company, not the franchises which account for 90 percent of its 14,000 stores in the U.S., is responsible as the parent corporation and as a joint employer.

“Unions immediately applauded the ruling, seeing an opening to help them organize workers at all fast food and retail franchises and in many job categories — like janitors, warehouse truck drivers, airport workers and those at dry cleaners and car dealerships — that rely on subcontractors and temp agencies. The ruling is a boon to the Service Employees union, which has worked tirelessly for several years to organize the 4 million fast food workers in this country.”

Read more of this story by Workers World here

Making workers’ rights a civil right

The Hill reports that “leading civil rights figures in Congress are taking steps to outlaw a relatively new form of discrimination: against workers of all races who try to form a union… Discriminating against those trying to organize can be an extremely effective employer tactic, as the union ringleaders are jettisoned from the workplace and most other employees get the message and become paralyzed with fear.”

Getty Images, Union Protest

Getty Images, Union Protest

“Harvard labor economist Richard Freeman completed a large study in 2007 that found if workers were provided the union representation they desired, the overall unionization rate would have been 58 percent, whereas the actual rate was 12 percent. Another study that same year found almost 1 in 5 union activists could expect to be fired as a result of their organizing activity. Many have linked employers’ ability to discriminate against union activity to the significant gap between employee desire for unionization and declining rates of union density. This type of discrimination has increased significantly in the decades since passage of the Civil Rights Act, even as outright discrimination based on race and national origin has declined.”

Read more here