Topple the TPP: A Forum on the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Join the Washtenaw Community Action Team and United Students for Fair Trade for:

Topple the TPP: A Forum on the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Time: 7-9 PM, Thursday 9/26/13
Place: Room 1405, East Quadrangle, 701 E. University Avenue, Ann Arbor MI

Join us for a panel and discussion with speakers from United Students for Fair Trade, Washtenaw Community Action Team, Good Jobs Now, and more.
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Map of nearby parking lots (pdf).

Public Citizen describes the Trans-Pacific Partnership as:

“The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) ‘free trade’ agreement is a stealthy policy being pressed by corporate America, a dream of the 1 percent, that in one blow could:

  • offshore millions of American jobs,
  • free the banksters from oversight,
  • ban Buy America policies needed to create green jobs and rebuild our economy,
  • decrease access to medicine,
  • flood the U.S. with unsafe food and products,
  • and empower corporations to attack our environmental and health safeguards.

Closed-door talks are on-going between the U.S. and Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam; with other countries, including China, potentially joining later. 600 corporate advisors have access to the text, while the public, Members of Congress, journalists, and civil society are excluded.”

Parking

Day of Action To End Gap Deathtraps – Southeast Michigan

Join the Washtenaw Community Action Team and other Detroit-area labor and consumer activists for a rally outside The Gap in Farmington Hills, Michigan, as part of the International Day of Action to End Deathtraps. The rally will be from 1:00 to 2:00 PM, outside The Gap at 30825 Orchard Lake Rd, Farmington Hills, Michigan.

Join the Facebook eventThis Must Never Happen Again [image of Rana Plaza building collapse, May 13, 2013, in Dhaka, Bangladesh]. Gap and Walmart could stop factory fires and collapses. June 29 International Day to End Deathtraps.  Visit http://endgapdeathtraps.com to take action..

On Saturday, June 29th, students, consumers, workers, and community members will come together in cities across the world to demand that Gap and Walmart put an end to deathtrap factories in their supply chains.

Real action from Gap and Walmart on fire and building safety is long overdue. In April, over 1,100 garment workers perished in the the Rana Plaza collapse, marking the deadliest industrial disaster in a manufacturing facility in recorded history. Since 2005, more than 1,800 garment workers have died in preventable factory fires and building collapses in Bangladesh alone.

In response to these catastrophes, activists across the world joined with unions to demand that apparel companies sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh. This unprecedented, legally-binding agreement will require independent inspections by trained fire safety experts, mandatory repairs and renovations financed by the brands, and a central role for workers and their unions. 43 brands and retailers, including H&M, PVH, and Abercrombie & Fitch, have signed-on to the program.

But instead of ensuring the safety of its workers, Gap and Walmart have been playing public relations games to undermine the accord. Gap has claimed that a binding agreement poses too much financial risk to the company within a ‘litigious’ US legal system – a claim that US legal scholars have since debunked. And now, after weeks of pressure by people across the globe to sign Bangladesh Safety Accord, Gap put out a press release about its big new plan: partnering with Walmart on a fake ‘safety plan’ that is not accountable to anyone.

There’s too much at stake for Gap and Walmart to continue their business-as-usual approach to fire and building safety. That’s why labor rights advocates have declared an International Day of Action to End Deathtraps on Saturday, June 29th. We will take action at Gap and Walmart stores by picketing and flyering: Gap and Walmart care more about profits than the lives of their workers.

The following organizations have signed the call for an International Day of Action to End Deathtraps:
AFL-CIO
Amalgamated Transit Union
American Federation of Teachers
Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity
Bangladesh Garment & Industrial Workers Federation
Clean Clothes Campaign
IndustriALL
International Labor Rights Forum
Jobs With Justice
Labor Behind the Label (UK)
Maquila Solidarity Network (Canada)
People & Planet (UK)
National Garment Workers Federation (Bangladesh)
Service Employees International Union
United Auto Workers
United Food and Commercial Workers
United Steelworkers
United Students Against Sweatshops
Workers United (SEIU)

For more information, see http://gapdeathtraps.com/ .

Fighting Back Against Austerity in the Public Schools

Join the Washtenaw Community Action Team for a community forum on “Fighting Back Against Austerity in the Public Schools”. At the forum, you’ll hear from local teachers on WCAT_Education_05162013myths about public education, and from a representative of the American Federation of Teachers-Michigan on the effect of recent state laws on public education. Join us to discuss ways that teachers, parents, and students can fight back against the privatization of public education in Michigan. Light refreshments will be provided. “Fighting Back Against Austerity” will be held at 7 PM, Thursday May 16th, at the LEO/GEO Office, Suite 3F, 330 E. Liberty Street, Ann Arbor.

Tom Weisskopf on Budget Crises and Debt Myths

U-M Professor (Emeritus) of Economics Tom Weisskopf provided an outline of his talk at the 3/28/13 WCAT Forum “Fighting Back Against Austerity in Michigan, Part 2: Protecting Community Services”. Professor Weisskopf gives an excellent overview of the recent manufactured budget crises, and helps to demolish some of the debt myths that austerity hawks use in their attacks on public services and the common good.


>>Read the talk here
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Fighting Back against Austerity in Michigan, Part 2: Protecting Community Services

Fighting Back against Austerity in Michigan, Part 2
Protecting Community Services

When: 7:30 PM, Thursday, March 28
Where: LEO/GEO Office, Suite 3F, 330 E. Liberty St, Ann Arbor MIImage

Join local activists and community members in an informal panel discussion about the roots of the series of budget crises (debt ceiling, fiscal cliff, sequestration), and their effect on community social services. We will also have a group discussion about strategies for fighting back against cuts to public education, fighting back against cuts to Social Security and Medicare, and fighting back against attacks on labor. This is the second in a series of public events discussing the effects of austerity programs on Michigan.

Contact: washtenawcat@googlegroups.com,

Facebook event

Contract Now for Lecturers’ Employee Organization!

Join the Lecturers’ Employee Organization (LEO), the union of non-tenure-track faculty at the University of Michigan, at the U-M Regents’ meeting on Thursday, February 21, to support LEO in bargaining with U-M!

Time: 3:00 PM, Thursday, February 21
Place: Anderson Room, Michigan Union, 530 S State St, Ann Arbor

Join us in delivering our Contract Now poster to the regents! Join the event on Facebook

For more information on LEO and their current campaign, please refer to their website. LEO and Washtenaw Community Action Team members and supporters took part in a flash mob at the Fishbowl on Central Campus at noon on Wednesday, January 30, 2013. Donning bright yellow LEO t-shirts, they sang and danced to an adaptation of Aretha Franklin’s “Respect.” As their revised lyrics indicated, LEO seeks “respect for [their] teaching” via a contract that gives them equal pay for equal work, good benefits, and job security.

Salsa for Justice! A Fundraiser for the Striking Workers of GM Colombia

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UPDATE: Thank you to everyone who attended Saturday’s fundraiser! Special thank you to dancer Angeline Burrell who provided free salsa lessons. We raised $668 for the families of the injured GM workers who’ve been camped out since Aug. 2011 demanding health care, compensation, and job rehiring.

Join Washtenaw Community Action Team and friends for…

Salsa for Justice! A Fundraiser for the Striking Workers of GM Colombia
Time: 7 PM, Saturday February 16, 2013
Place: Hathaway’s Hideaway, 310 South Ashley Street (near Liberty St), Ann Arbor
Price: $5 suggested donation at the door

Come and party with us to express solidarity with the workers and their families who have led a tent encampment outside the U.S. embassy in Bogota for over a year and a half to demand justice. Jorge Parra, injured GM worker was on hunger strike for 72 days, from Nov. 20th 2012 to January 31st 2013, demanding negotiations. As the president of ASOTRECOL, the association of injured and ex-workers of GM, Jorge wants to meet with GM to work out a settlement as soon as possible. GM has refused to meet them.

Música y Baile: Una recaudación de fondos por los huelgistas de GM Colombia

Lugar: Hideaway’s Hathaway, 310 South Ashley Street (cerca de Liberty St), Ann Arbor
Hora: 7pm, sábado 16 de febrero 2013

¡Demuestre su amor verdadero!
Vengan a festejar con nosotros para expresar su solidaridad con los ex-trabajadores de Colmotores (filial de General Motors en Bogotá, Colombia) y sus familias. Desde Agosto del 2011, los trabajadores y sus familias llevan un campamento exigiendo justicia enfrente la embajada estadounidense en Colombia. Jorge Parra, presidente de ASOTRECOL, la Asociación de Trabajadores y Extrabajadores Enfermos de General Motors Colmotores, está en Detroit exigiendo una reunión con GM para elaborar un acuerdo tan pronto como sea posible. GM se ha negado a reunirse con él.

Fighting Back against Austerity in Michigan, Part 1: “Right to Work” (for less) and Other Scams

Fighting Back against Austerity in Michigan, Part 1: “Right to Work”
(for less) and Other Scams
Time and Date: 7 PM, Thursday February 7
Place: 1427 Mason Hall, University of Michigan campus, 419 S. State
St. Ann Arbor

Join local activists from the Lecturers’ Employee Organization, the Student Union of Michigan, and others to learn about “right to work” in Michigan and what local organizations– and you– can do to fight it. This is the first in a series of public events discussing the effects of austerity programs (deep social spending cuts, anti-labor laws, anti-democratic laws, and anti-women laws) on Michigan.

RTWDec2012
(Photo: Jamee Urrea, via Twitter: http://t.co/kkFAJ8DK )

The nearest public parking is the Maynard Street public lot on Maynard, between E. Liberty and E. William. There is also limited street parking on State Street. Enter Mason Hall via the Diag entrance (closest to the Graduate Library)– see http://uuis.umich.edu/cic/map/central/index.cfm?region=B4 .

Contact: washtenawcat@googlegroups.com
Facebook event

Sponsored By: Graduate Employees’ Organization, Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, Lecturers’ Employee Organization, Student Union of Michigan, Washtenaw Community Action Team

Event flyer

Rally at Michigan’s Capitol Against “Right to Work” and Snyder’s Threats to Democracy

The Washtenaw Community Action Team calls on its supporters to join us in Lansing on Tuesday, December 11 for rallies against Governor Snyder’s latest attempt at union-busting– “right to work” legislation.
There will be numerous rallies going on, but one organized by the Working Michigan coalition will be starting at the Lansing Center (333 E Michigan Ave, Lansing, Michigan 48933) at 8 AM on Tuesday (see Facebook event).

Parking and logistical information from U-M GEO.

Join WCAT in protesting not only “right to work for less” bills, but also new right-wing legislation that gravely attacks women’s rights in Michigan. According to Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan, the legislation introduced will:

“Regulate women’s health centers out of existence;
Limit abortion access for women in rural areas;
Prevent private insurance companies from covering any abortion services;
Give a tax credit for fetuses, but not children;
Allow providers to deny any health care service they deem objectionable.”

Showing once again how democracy does not fit into Governor Snyder’s idea of running Michigan like a business, the state Capitol was locked down for several hours on Thursday to block protestors from making their voices heard. (This lockdown was later ruled unconstitutional.)

For more on “right to work” in Michigan and the events of Thursday 12/6/12, see these articles:
What ‘Right to Work’ Would Mean for Michigan” (PDF), by Roland Zullo, University of Michigan Institute for Labor and Industrial Relations
Mother Jones: “Michigan’s Own Scott Walker-Style Showdown Is Coming”, by Andy Kroll, 12/7/12
Detroit Free Press: “Protesters allowed back in to state Capitol after being locked out for hours“, 12/6/12
American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan: Capitol Lockout: An Open Letter to Governor Snyder From Our Executive Director, 12/7/12
Labor Notes: Right to Work Looms in Michigan, by Alix Gould-Werth, 12/7/12