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!

Solidarity with Injured GM Workers Launching Hunger Strike February 11th

Demonstrate Solidarity with Injured GM Workers in Colombia
4:30-6 PM TUES FEB. 11
GM Headquarters, Renaissance Center, Detroit MI (map)
Facebook event

GM-COLOMBIA 8 RESUME HUNGER STRIKE FEB. 11

The GM-Colombia 8 autoworkers announced on February 1st that they are resuming their water-only hunger strike, with their lips sewn shut, on Tues., Feb. 11th. That’s the date in 1937 when militant UAW workers in Flint ended a historic 44-day sit-down strike, after GM agreed to recognize the UAW as the workers’ exclusive bargaining agent.

Their first fast in August 2012 ended after 22 days when GM agreed to a mediation with the workers’ association, ASOTRECOL – which ended without a settlement. Citing the workers’ rejection of their paltry ‘final offer,’ GM has since refused the workers’ demand to go back to the table.

Out of the 68 members who formed ASOTRECOL in 2011, eight are holding steadfast and remain in the fight today. Employed an average of 8 years, they suffered debilitating injuries working 12-14 hours/day on an antiquated assembly line. 4-6 years ago GM devised illegal ways to get rid of them. With no union to turn to, and stonewalled by the Colombian legal system, the workers in August 2011 set up a tent encampment in front of the US Embassy in Bogota – where they’ve been ever since – (as of Feb. 1st) 914 days.

GM: FLINT 1937 = COLOMBIA TODAY

The working conditions in their factory were eerily similar to those in Flint in the 1930s. These include: hazardous and unhealthy work conditions, job insecurity, extreme speedup, firings, anti-union policies including espionage and intimidation, and displacement of workers at an extremely early age – all with the backdrop of no government oversight and weak or no unions. This is what gave rise to the struggle by the GM workers 80 years ago in Flint – and today in Colombia.

After these conditions were exposed by ASOTRECOL, GM made safety improvements, corrected some management practices and changed management personnel at the Colmotores plant. GM must now end its war of attrition against the GM-Colombia 8, and make them whole!

For more background on the injured GM workers in Colombia, see the ASOTRECOL website.GMColombia

Audio From Trans-Pacific Partnership Forum

Couldn’t make it to WCAT’s 9/26/13 “Topple the TPP: A Forum on the Trans-Pacific Partnership”? Listen to the audio below:

Speakers:
0:00 – 14:21 – Ian Robinson (Washtenaw Community Action Team) on the history of free-trade agreements and their impacts. Overhead slides. (Word document)
15:53 – 27:35 – Natalie Yoon (United Students for Fair Trade) on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Slides.
27:35 – 32:20 Mary Gallagher (United Students for Fair Trade – University of Michigan chapter) on the environmental impacts of the Transpacific Partnership. Slides (PDF).
32:20 – 39:22 Vas Jacobs (Good Jobs Now) on the impact of free-trade agreements on labor, both in the U.S. and internationally.
39:20 – John Bohn (United Students for Fair Trade – University of Michigan chapter) on what we can do about the Trans-Pacific Partnership and fast-track. More on the artist and activist coalition against the TPP.

To contact the U-M chapter of United Students for Fair Trade, send a message to umichusft at gmail.com.

For more on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, see Public Citizen’s TPP page.

What’s Wrong with Austerity in the Context of the Ongoing Economic Crisis?

Many Americans believe that our annual budget deficits, and/or our accumulated national debt, are out of control, and that — painful though it will be — we must make substantial cuts to one or both right now. Perhaps you know people who think this way, or have yourself wondered whether there is not some truth to these beliefs.

This short (about 20 minutes) video will give you a well-reasoned, evidence-based way to think through these issues. University of Michigan Emeritus Professor of Economics Tom Weisskopf discusses the economics and politics of the “fiscal cliff” and “debt ceiling” debates in ways we can all understand.

With this week’s government shutdown and potentially another upcoming debt ceiling face-off, this is essential viewing:

Video produced by University of Michigan LSA-ISS Media Center Productions. Copyright University of Michigan, 2013.

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.
TPPNixon

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/ .