ALAA Roots — An Unofficial Site

April 29, 2010

2010.04.29: Tuesday: Rally Against Transit Layoffs

Filed under: Labor Solidarity — nyclaw01 @ 9:48 am

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Thursday, April 29, 2010 9:48 AM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Tuesday: Rally Against Transit Layoffs

From TWU Local 100:

ALL OUT FOR TWU RALLY NEXT TUESDAY, MAY 4!

STOP LAYOFFS! STOP CUTS!

Next Tuesday, May 4th at Penn Station at 5pm Local 100 and many transit unions are uniting to say NO to transit cuts and layoffs. Every single transit worker must be there! (see flyer at bottom and/or open attachment).

The layoffs will affect every single transit worker, whether or not they received a layoff letter, young or old. This is a frontal attack on the future of Local 100. If layoffs and massive job cuts happen, not only will everyone’s seniority be set back years in Station, but the negotiating power of local 100 will be greatly undermined at contract time – that means wages, health benefits and even pension rights!

If these layoffs happen the MTA and their puppet masters in Albany will say that Local 100 will accept anything at contract time.  The MTA will think that all they have to do is threaten us with more layoffs and we will accept zeros.

Do you want this to happen? Do you want a future for you and your family? Join us next Tuesday – no excuses this time!

Please download the attached TWU flyer and make copies for coworkers. You can also go to the TWU hall at 64th Street and West End Avenue to get flyers (please first call the TWU at 212-873-6000 to check on what’s available).

See you at this historic transit worker rally. Lets scare the hell out of ‘em!

Advertisements

April 13, 2010

2010.04.13: Request for Legal Observers

Filed under: Criminal Justice,Racism,Sentencing — nyclaw01 @ 11:43 am

From:  Letwin, Michael
Sent: Tuesday, April 13, 2010 11:43 AM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Request for Legal Observers

Antonia Codling (Bx. CDD) seeks legal observers for the event below. If you are interested, please contact her directly at 718-644-3782.

Rally

Justice for the Central Park 5

Monday April 19, 3 p.m.

100 Centre Street, Manhattan

————

Information about the Central Park 5:

Central Park 5 Are Cleared! Manhattan State Supreme Court Judge Throws Out the Convictions of the Five African-American and Latino Young Men Who Were Imprisoned for Up to 12 Years, http://www.democracynow.org/2002/12/20/central_park_5_are_cleared_manhattan

April 12, 2010

2010.04.12: Why There’s a Labor Boycott Against Coca Cola

Filed under: International Human Rights,Labor Solidarity — nyclaw01 @ 10:25 am

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Monday, April 12, 2010 10:25 AM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Why There’s a Labor Boycott Against Coca Cola

https://nacla.org/node/6504

Coca-Cola Sued for ‘Campaign of Violence’ in Guatemala
Apr 7 2010
Lisa Skeen

All over the world, tabletops, football stadiums, and corner shop windows are branded with its iconographic white-on-red, swirling text. Coca-Cola isn’t just a product, it’s an institution and a corporate behemoth. And right now it is facing a lawsuit in New York brought by two bottling plant workers from Guatemala.

On February 25, José Armando Palacios and José Alberto Vicente Chávez, along with their families, filed a lawsuit against the Coca-Cola Company in the New York State Supreme Court. The company is accused of allowing its bottling and processing plants in Guatemala to engage in a campaign of violence against the two men, both prominent union leaders. Though Coke claims the U.S. legal system is being manipulated, the prosecution maintains that Guatemala’s courts, rife with impunity, are incapable of delivering justice.

Both men were employees of Industria de Café S.A. (INCASA), which owns and operates a coffee and Coca-Cola processing plant in Guatemala City and a bottling plant in Retalhuleu, western Guatemala. At various times, both had been leaders of the INCASA Workers’ Trade Union, known as SITINCA, which is affiliated with the International Union of Food Workers (IUF).

Palacios, a 27-year veteran employee of INCASA, received multiple death threats and survived at least one violent attempt on his life after joining SITINCA. In April 2005, weeks after armed men broke into his house and threatened members of his family, he was fired without cause.

The threats continued for months, as Palacios refused severance and demanded to be reinstated. In early 2006 he fled to the United States after narrowly surviving another attempt on his life. He alleges that assassins mistakenly killed a man who looked like him in front of his house. The prosecution claims that Coke knew of the violence against Palacios, but that business proceeded as usual, and anti-union violence intensified.

Chávez worked at one of INCASA’s bottling plants in Retalhuleu and had been a prominent union leader since the 1990s, for which he had been threatened regularly. In early 2008, after participating in collective-bargaining negotiations in Guatemala City, Chávez returned home to his family, who planned to pick him up at a bus stop. While waiting, they were attacked by four armed men who brutally killed his son and nephew, and gang-raped his 16-year-old daughter. The remaining family members have been forced to remain in hiding ever since.

Anti-union violence is widespread and epidemic throughout much of Latin America. In Guatemala, it is not only widespread, but effective: Only 8% of Guatemala’s formal workforce is unionized. It is hard to determine exactly how much of the country’s pervasive violence intends to discourage unions because so few cases are investigated. However, it is clear that anti-union violence has seen a sharp increase in the last few years, with one report cited by the U.S. State Department estimating that incidents of anti-union violence increased by 255% between 2008 and 2009.

This is not the first lawsuit involving labor rights of Latin American subsidiary employees of Coca-Cola. The plaintiffs are represented by Terry Collingsworth, a veteran labor and human rights attorney who brought a similar case to court on behalf of Colombian union leaders who alleged that Coca-Cola subsidiaries had collaborated with right-wing paramilitaries to intimidate and kill labor organizers. In August an appeals court upheld the dismissal of the case, claiming that the plaintiffs did not provide sufficient evidence of Coke’s liability for the violence. Like its predecessor, the Guatemala case hinges on the plaintiffs’ ability to convince the court of Coke’s “control and direct stake” in the operations of its subsidiaries, in this case, INCASA.

As in the Colombia case, Coke denies responsibility. In a statement to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Coke spokeswoman Angela Harrell said, “We maintain there is no truth in these allegations. The fact of the matter is, we haven’t been involved. No knowledge of the violence, no involvement in the violence.” To date, Coke does not appear to have substantially responded to the allegations in the lawsuit.

The case builds on anti-corporate sentiment that has roots in student, labor, and “localist” activism. Thanks in large part to student activist groups like the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke, Coke has in recent years made attempts to bolster its public image with respect to human rights. Coke’s director of global labor relations claims that all of the company’s bottlers are required to adhere to the company’s workplace rights policy, a vague statement that touts Coke’s adherence to international rights treaties.

The latest complaint argues that in annual meetings since 2005, Coke has claimed that it “has control over all of its bottlers and that it exercises this control. . . . Coke can inspect these bottlers for whether they abide by international human rights conventions and local laws, and can force them to abide by such conventions/laws upon penalty of stripping them of their bottling franchise.” While Palacios was hiding in Guatemala in January 2006, Coke released a memo regarding an agreement between SITINCA and INCASA and pledged to “take urgent action” if the labor agreement was breached.

While Coke’s commitment to human rights may be nothing more than a self-serving publicity ploy (the company’s corporate responsibility office is managed through its Public Policy and Corporate Reputation Council), it may have unwittingly backed itself into a legal corner. If a court does find Coca-Cola guilty, the case could bring the company to task for the anti-labor violence and further establish a legal precedent for international corporate responsibility. Palacios and Chávez are not the first to sue Coca-Cola, and they are unlikely to be the last.

April 7, 2010

2010.04.07: In Memory of Zuss: Billie Holliday Birthday Broadcast Today

Filed under: ALAA History,Zuss — nyclaw01 @ 10:26 am

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Wednesday, April 07, 2010 10:26 AM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: In Memory of Zuss: Billie Holliday Birthday Broadcast Today

http://kanga.college.columbia.edu/ramgen/broadcast/wkcr.rm

—–Original Message—–

From: Robert Zuss [mailto:RZuss@legal-aid.org]

Sent: Friday, April 01, 2005 3:20 PM

To: ALAA MEMBERS

Subject: Billie holliday

WKCR-FM 89.9. it’s the Billie Holliday birthday broadcast,now until 4/15.tune in.

 

April 6, 2010

2010.04.06: RE: Interesting Article

Filed under: 1994 Strike,ALAA History,Indigent Defense,Key Documents,Scabs — nyclaw01 @ 10:41 am

From:  Letwin, Michael
Sent: Tuesday, April 06, 2010 10:41 AM
To: ALAA MEMBERS

Subject: RE: Interesting Article

There’s nothing accidental about Robin Steinberg’s denigration of The Legal Aid Society. As head of a Giuliani scab (nonunion) defense contractor, she has a long history of undermining our work. See, e.g.:

*Tell The Nation: No Scab Defenders (January 2, 2007), https://alaa2325.wordpress.com/2007/01/02/tell-the-nation-no-scab-defenders/

*NDS v. ALAA (June 16, 2004), https://alaa2325.wordpress.com/2004/06/16/nds-v-alaa/

*Letter to NYLJ About Bronx Defenders (February 16, 2000), https://alaa2325.wordpress.com/2000/02/16/letter-to-nylj-about-bronx-defenders-february-16-2000/

_____________________________________________

From:  A.

Sent: Monday, April 05, 2010 7:21 PM

To: ALAA MEMBERS

Subject: RE: Interesting Article

The case the NY Times piece is referring to occurred in Elmont, Long Island. Robin should have made it abundantly clear that she was referring to Nassau County and not the NYC Legal Aid Society. She didn’t and the article creates the unfair impression that LAS is not properly counseling clients regarding collateral consequences–particularly immigration. I doubt there will be any correction. This is more about promoting her organization than anything. LAS isn’t using the catchy, new-age ‘holistic defense’ phrase, but hasn’t that been our practice for many years? We counsel and assist client’s with all types of issues unrelated to a criminal case. The public should not be left with the notion that LAS neglects clients in this manner.

In terms of the substance of her promotional piece, although her points are valid, she fails to take into account that plea policies in many suburban counties are considerably more harsh than NYC.  I worked at the Nassau County Legal Aid Society from 1995-97 before working for Ms.Steinberg’s organization for three years. It was far more difficult to work out a favorable disposition in Nassau County in the years I was there than anywhere I’ve practiced in NYC (Bronx, Manhattan and Brooklyn). Although a client must be properly advised of collateral consequences, declining a violation and going to trial in some places is an even worse decision. Steinberg used to work for Nassau County Legal Aid in the early to mid-eighties I believe and she should have presented a more complete picture.

_____________________________________________

From:  L.

Sent: Monday, April 05, 2010 1:25 PM

To: ALAA MEMBERS

Subject: RE: Interesting Article

A defendant with the name Jerry Lemaine had a marijuana possession case with Legal Aid in Brooklyn in 2006, where he plead guilty to Disorderly Conduct and was sentenced to Community Service.

_____________________________________________

From:  R.

Sent: Monday, April 05, 2010 1:21 PM

To: ALAA MEMBERS

Subject: RE: Interesting Article

I think we are the only one in the country with “THE” and no city qualifier, as in The Legal Aid Society.  Robin wrote this with the intention of puffing up her own organization at the expense of THE Legal Aid Society.  Have no doubt.  She is not competing with Nassau County for funding.  It is deceiving, but also unprofessional even if true.

_____________________________________________

From:  K

Sent: Monday, April 05, 2010 1:18 PM

To: ALAA MEMBERS

Subject: RE: Interesting Article

Someone should have trademarked “legal Aid Society” like 100 years ago!

K.

_____________________________________________

From:  P.

Sent: Monday, April 05, 2010 1:17 PM

To: ALAA MEMBERS

Subject: RE: Interesting Article

I don’t doubt for a minute she did it intentionally, but she is quite smart — the public defense office in Nassau County is “The Legal Aid Society of Nassau County” so it should be capitalized.  But the whole article is written as though her office is the first in the world to talk about immigration consequences, when she knows very well that we have an immigration unit and always give this kind of advice.

_____________________________________________

From:  K.

Sent: Monday, April 05, 2010 1:14 PM

To: ALAA MEMBERS

Subject: RE: Interesting Article

I kind of think she should be called on to issue a retraction/clarification.  Since she is from Bronx Defenders, it would be  a natural assumption to identify the NYC based Legal Aid Society as the culprit, especially since she capitalized Legal Aid.

This may not be a pissing match we want to get into, but it smarts.

K.

_____________________________________________

From:  P.

Sent: Monday, April 05, 2010 1:11 PM

To: ALAA MEMBERS

Subject: RE: Interesting Article

This is the most self-serving article I have read in a long time.  And by the way, that “Legal Aid” case she talks about was in Nassau County, not the city.

_____________________________________________

From:  L.

Sent: Monday, April 05, 2010 12:52 PM

To: ALAA MEMBERS

Subject: Interesting Article

Robin Steinberg, head of Bronx Defenders, talking about the “new age” of public defense ushered in by Supreme Court in Padilla v. Kentucky

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robin-steinberg/supreme-court-ruling-spea_b_522044.html

 

Blog at WordPress.com.