Great Turnout for Ann Arbor Public Schools Custodians

On Wednesday July 24, a substantial and diverse group of people — union, community and religious leaders and activists, and a number of candidates running in local and state elections — gathered in front of Ann Arbor’s downtown library to demonstrate our support for the AAPS custodial workers of AFSCME Local 1182. This photo, contributed by Adam Zemke, captures quite a few of us.

It was a great rally, followed by an even more spectacular School Board meeting. Public comment, followed by a direct action Mic Check, won us a meeting Thursday morning 6/25

Labor and community supporters of Ann Arbor Public Schools custodians, June 25 2014.

Union and community members supporting Ann Arbor Public Schools custodians on June 24, 2014. Photo by Adam Zemke.

. We’ll keep you posted as to what comes out of that meeting and what our next steps will be.

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Conference: GOOD JOBS FOR ALL (U of M)

Welcome, welcome! The WCAT will host it’s second ‘Good Jobs for All‘ Conference at the University of Michigan on Wednesday April 9th from 6:00-8:00 p.m. Here is the link to the Facebook event. Here is the Flyer.

Below you will find a thorough description of the event:

I. Summary: The Good Jobs For All conference brings together four organizations dedicated to improving the lives of the working people. The purpose of this interactive conference is to unify the efforts of these four organizations, provide participants with quality information about working struggles/movements, educate them on how to get involved, and encourage both the faculty and student body to become leaders within their community. At a bare minimum, we will all walk away from this conference with an advanced understanding of organizational structures, dynamics, and strategy. If you ever wanted to learn how to run an organization, what it takes to be a leader, and/or further your understanding of the economic/political complexities of the working people, this is the conference for you.

II. Brief Agenda:

1. Walk in, grab some grub, get comfy.

2. Next, participants will listen to a very short presentation from each organization. Based on these presentations, participants will pick which organization they would like to learn more about.

3. We will break up into discussion groups based on the organization of your choosing (i.e. if you chose the WCAT, you will go with the WCAT group). Here participants will get to share stories, experiences, or information about the organizations they are currently apart of and learn more about the organization they chose to learn about. Here is where participants will get to further their understanding of the organization’s current campaign as well as other organizational nuances (such as effective recruiting and tactics, maintaining membership, building leadership, and just about anything else you want to learn about).

4. Wrap-up, survey, and a T-SHIRT GIVEAWAY!

We hope this conference fulfills your desire to learn, engage, and act.

III. Conference Subjects/Topics:

Raise The (Minimum) Wage: Launched by Michigan United, this ballot initiative strives to gradually raise the minimum wage in the state of Michigan from $7.40/hr to $10.10/hr by 2017. This will also raise the minimum rate for tipped employees 85 cents per year until it reaches parity with the regular minimum wage. The current minimum rate for tipped employees is $2.65/hr. If successful, this initiative could potentially increase the wage of over 1,000,000 people and pull over 350,000 people out of poverty. The WCAT is partnering with Michigan United on this campaign.

D15: Good Jobs Now is also working towards raising the minimum wage within the corporate, fast food sector to $15/hr. The idea is that these fat-cat corporations have the money to pay their workers a living wage, and they ought to. If done right, it’s possible to raise the wage without all of the negative repercussions traditional economists theorize. Good Jobs Now has focused most of their work in Detroit, though they are looking to expand their efforts out to Washtenaw County. Their main focus is D15 right now, though they have done a ton of other work as well and will gladly share all of this at the conference on Wednesday.

AAATA Millage Increase: With the slogan “More Buses, More Places, More Often,” WeROC recently jump-started their own ballot initiative to increase the millage for the Ann Arbor Transit Authority (public transportation). This means that, with a slight tax increase, the AAATA will reach more areas in Ypsilanti, Ypsilanti Township, and Ann Arbor more often. WeROC will come ready with a diagram that shows all of the additions to be made. Not only will this increase the number of jobs in these areas, but it will also get people to their jobs faster and more efficiently. It is for this very reason we included them in this conference; this is definitely a working interest.

Ban the Box: WeROC will also discuss issues surrounding the Ban the Box Campaign. Ban the Box is an initiative to remove the criminal history question from the application-stage to give returning citizens a fair chance at employment. Many other organizations have been tackling this issue, but at this conference you will get to hear WeROC’s unique experience in this field.

Working America: Working America is a national labor organization that aims to educate, assist, and mobilize working Americans to improve their working conditions, job security, and health care. The WCAT is a local hub for Working America where people can come every two weeks to talk about their working challenges – or challenges they’ve heard – and possible responses to take. The goal is to run a number of campaigns, like the Raise the Wage Campaign, that consistently fight for the integrity, equality, and protection of the working people.

We hope to see everyone there. Bring a friend! The more the merrier, there’s a lot to talk about.


Good Jobs For All Conference (University of Michigan)

WCAT Ypsi and Thank you SEPE

First off, if there is anyone out there that went to Cafe Ollie on Thursday, April 3rd and could not find the WCAT meeting in the back, do not hesitate to email Bo Bradarich (bobrad@umich.edu) or Eleni Kastanis (kastanis@umich.edu) to let us know you are still interested in joining the WCAT. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused and will have a sign up that says “WCAT” next time so it is easier to find us. You may email us with questions. We will meet again on April 17th @ 5:30pm at Cafe Ollie, 42 E. Cross St. Ypsilanti, MI. Hope to see everyone there.

Secondly, thank you to all of the members in the Students for an Ethical and Participatory Education (SEPE) at Eastern Michigan University for helping schedule and run a tabling event at EMU last Thursday. We collected about 30-40 signatures and had a few really great conversations with the students passing by. If you would like to learn more about SEPE, you may visit their Facebook or their EMU Page or attend one of their meetings on Tuesdays in the Student Center at EMU.

If you want to collect signatures, please email Bo Bradarich at bobrad@umich.edu.

Sign the Petition, Raise the Wage | Washtenaw Community Action Team

President Barack Obama to visit Ann Arbor next week in support of increased minimum wage

 Raise the Wage

Obama will be here Wednesday! Come one, come all! Please contact Trellis Mercer from Michigan United to volunteer to petition at the Obama event. Trellis’ Contact info: 734-834-0660 or trellis@miunited.org

This is huge for the campaign. We hope to see everyone out there, and collect those signatures! Go Blue!

MLive LINK: President Barack Obama to visit Ann Arbor next week in support of increased minimum wage


 

Good Jobs For All Collaborative Conference

The WCAT Presents: Good Jobs For All

Co-Support: Good Jobs Now, Michigan United, and the Washtenaw Regional Organizing Coalition (WeROC)

Date/Time: Wednesday March 26th from 4:00-6:00 pm

Location: Eastern Michigan University’s Halle Library Room 300

Description: The Good Jobs For All conference will cover three main topics: The Raise the Wage Campaign, AATA Millage Increase, and Working America. The point of this conference is to unify the efforts of the four participating organizations, provide participants with quality information about working struggles/movements, educate them on how to get involved, and encourage both the faculty and student body to become leaders within their community.

Raise The (Minimum) Wage: Launched by Michigan United, this ballot initiative strives to gradually raise the minimum wage in the state of Michigan from $7.40/hr to $10.10/hr by 2017. This will also raise the minimum rate for tipped employees 85 cents per year until it reaches parity with the regular minimum wage. The current minimum rate for tipped employees is $2.65/hr. If successful, this initiative could potentially increase the wage of over 1,000,000 people and pull over 350,000 people out of poverty. The WCAT is partnering with Michigan United on this campaign.

Good Jobs Now is also working towards raising the minimum wage. Their work mostly focuses on fat-cat, corporate employers like McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Subway. They do a ton of work in other areas as well and will gladly share all of this at the conference on Wednesday.

AATA Millage Increase: With the slogan “More Buses, More Places, More Often,” WeROC recently jump-started their own ballot initiative to increase the millage for the Ann Arbor Transit Authority (public transportation). This means that, with a slight tax increase, the AATA will reach more areas in Ypsilanti, Ypsilanti Township, and Ann Arbor more often. WeROC will come ready with a diagram that shows all of the additions that will be made. Not only will this increase the number of jobs in these areas, but it will also get people to their jobs faster and more efficiently. It is for this very reason we included them in this conference; this is definitely a working interest.

Working America: Working America is a national labor organization that aims to educate, assist, and mobilize working Americans to improve their working conditions, job security, and health care. The WCAT is a local hub for Working America where people can come every two weeks to talk about their working challenges or challenges they’ve heard and possible responses to take. The goal is to run a number of campaigns, like the Raise the Wage Campaign, that consistently fight for the integrity, equality, and protection of the working people.

There will be FREE FOOD and a T-Shirt give-away at the end of the conference. We hope to see all of you there!

Washtenaw Community Action Team 2012 Ballot Proposal Guide

UPDATE: If you want to help with one very important ballot proposals on the list below, Proposal 2, Protect Working Families is making a huge canvassing push this weekend in Michigan. Please contact Michael at 734-707-9069 if you’re interested.

Washtenaw Community Action Team Values:

  • Democratic participation
  • Fair compensation and respect for workers
  • Racial and gender equality
  • Quality and accessible resources for communities
  • Clean air and environmental sustainability

Positions on Proposals

Proposal 1 – Emergency Manager Law

NO
Authorizes the Governor to appoint an unelected Emergency Manager to make all decisions in financially distressed communities or school districts. The appointed Emergency Manager would have the power to void or change contracts, sell assets, and essentially dismiss local elected officials or school boards. This measure would eliminate accountability and a basic democratic right — the right to vote for elected officials.

Proposal 2 – Collective Bargaining

YES
Guarantees the right of all workers to join a union and collectively bargain with public and private employers regarding wages, hours, working conditions, and other terms of employment without interference from the legislature.

Proposal 3 – Standard for Renewable Energy

YES
Requires utilities to obtain at least 25% of electricity from renewable sources by 2025. Limits consumer rate increases of renewable-related costs to no more than 1% per year and creates incentives to employ Michigan workers and equipment, leading to thousands of new jobs.

Proposal 4 – Home Health Care Workers

YES
Establishes the Michigan Quality Home Care Council to register, perform background checks, and provide standards and training for home health-care providers. Ensures that seniors and people with disabilities have an affordable, safe choice of living at home, and ensures collective bargaining rights for home health-care workers.

Proposal 5 – Supermajority Tax Vote

NO
Would amend the constitution to require a 2/3 majority vote of the legislature, or a statewide vote of the people at a November election, to impose new or additional taxes, expand the base of taxation, or increase the tax rate. A minority of just 13 state senators could stop any tax legislation. No tax increase would ever be passed again, leading to less funds for schools, universities, fire departments, libraries, and other vital community resources.

Proposal 6 – Building New International Bridges

NO
Would require a statewide vote on building a new bridge in Detroit. This proposal is being funded and pushed by the private company that owns the current bridge and wants to hold onto their monopoly. A new bridge is needed to handle the huge volume of truck traffic. Southwest Detroit residents want a new bridge to reduce the truck traffic through their community and the noise, air pollution, and lung problems it causes.

Adopted from the American Federation of Teachers of Michigan Ballot Proposal Guide
By the Washtenaw Community Action Team – http://www.washtenawcat.org