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August 29, 2011

2011.08.29: Further Report on Rikers Urgent Hurricane Response Campaign

Filed under: Civil Rights,Criminal Justice,Prisoners' Rights,Racism — nyclaw01 @ 10:24 am

From:  Letwin, Michael
Sent: Monday, August 29, 2011 10:24 AM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Further Report on Rikers Urgent Hurricane Response Campaign

Many thanks to everyone who responded to the action request to demand an emergency hurricane evacuation plan for prisoners at Rikers.

Fortunately, an evacuation turned out not to be necessary this time. But the online campaign gave this issue high visibility around the world (see below*). NY1 was particularly aggressive in raising the issue in one of the Mayor’s televised news conferences: http://www.ny1.com/content/145927/city-officials-say-rikers-island-is-safe-from-storm

To join the urgent response network for NYC prisoners (and related issues) in the future, please RSVP at https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=204139589646258

———–

*News stories

http://www.google.com/search?q=%22rikers%22%20%22hurricance%22&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&source=hp&channel=np#q=%22rikers%22+%22hurricane%22&hl=en&safe=off&client=firefox-a&hs=zti&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=np&tbs=qdr:w,sbd:1&tbm=nws&prmd=ivnsu&source=lnt&sa=X&ei=j55bTqmpOY680AHusYiUCQ&ved=0CBYQpwUoAQ&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&fp=6d29f7ad0a3b8852&biw=1024&bih=589

*Overall web results

http://www.google.com/search?q=%22rikers%22%20%22hurricance%22&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&source=hp&channel=np#q=%22rikers%22+%22hurricane%22&hl=en&safe=off&client=firefox-a&hs=zqi&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=np&tbs=qdr:d3,sbd:1&prmd=ivnsu&source=lnt&sa=X&ei=1Z1bTqn9M6Tv0gG3hsG-CA&ved=0CBMQpwUoAQ&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&fp=51a43e6026140833&biw=1024&bih=589

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August 27, 2011

2011.08.27: Follow-Up: Take Action for Rikers’ Island Prisoners!

Filed under: Civil Rights,Criminal Justice,Prisoners' Rights,Racism — nyclaw01 @ 2:45 pm

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Saturday, August 27, 2011 2:45 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Follow-Up: Take Action for Rikers’ Island Prisoners!

Please forward widely!

http://tinyurl.com/3vnkzco

August 27, 2011

Take Action for Rikers’ Island Prisoners!  Demand the City Create an Emergency Evacuation Plan

Mayor Bloomberg has announced that in the event of a hurricane, that he will not evacuate prisoners at Rikers’ Island, claiming instead to have a “contingency plan” in place. The experience of prisoners in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina shows that city authorities will abandon the basic rights of prisoners in the face of disaster.

We can’t let Bloomberg get away with this!

(1.) Demand the city create an emergency evacuation plan by 5pm today to evacuate prisoners at Rikers Island in the event that other areas in Zone B or C around Rikers Island are evacuated.

Call NYC Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs at (212) 788-2485

lgibbs@cityhall.nyc.gov

Twitter: @NYCMayorsOffice

(2.) Call on NY1 to investigate the status of the “contingency plan” for Rikers Island prisoners:

http://www.ny1.com/content/contact_us/

Tel.:  212-691-6397

(3.) Submit evacuation plan demand to city’s website:

-Go to http://nycsevereweather.crowdmap.com/reports/submit/  –this is a website set up by the city for people to submit weather-related service problems.  Locate Rikers Island on the map and drag the red marker there.

-Copy and paste this text (or write your own!):

Title: Evacuation plan needed

The city has no evacuation plan for Rikers Island, despite its low elevation and its nearly 13,000 prisoners. Please do not let these individuals, or the ones at the nearby floating Vernon C. Bain Correction Center, suffer.

(4.) Please repost:

http://solitarywatch.com/2011/08/26/locked-up-and-left-behind-new-yorks-prisoners-and-hurricane-irene/\

Locked Up and Left Behind: New York’s Prisoners and Hurricane Irene

James Ridgeway and Jean Casella | August 26, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Tags: Bloomberg, evacuation, Hurricane Irene, Rikers Island | Categories: New York, politics of punishment

2011.08.27: Quick Web Action re: Rikers Island Evacuation Plan

Filed under: Civil Rights,Criminal Justice,Prisoners' Rights,Racism — nyclaw01 @ 2:11 pm

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Saturday, August 27, 2011 2:11 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Quick Web Action re: Rikers Island Evacuation Plan

From: “Beth Baltimore”

Date: Aug 27, 2011 1:34 PM

Subject: quick web action re: Rikers Island evacuation plan

To: <nlg-nyc-nextgen@googlegroups.com>, “NLG NYC Anti-Racism Committee” <nlg-nyc-anti-racism-committee@googlegroups.com>

———- Forwarded message ———-

From: Ella Spottswood

Dear various NYC NLG-affiliated groups,

I hope you are all well and hunkered down for the upcoming storm.

I have come to understand that the city has no evacuation plan for some of its most vulnerable residents: those housed at Rikers Island and the Vernon C. Bain Correction Center (which is actually a floating barge)–or if they do, they’re not talking about it.  I propose a humble but fast web action to let them know we’re watching.  Here’s the plan:

1.  Go to http://nycsevereweather.crowdmap.com/reports/submit/  –this is a website set up by the city for people to submit weather-related service problems.  Locate Rikers Island on the map and drag the red marker there.

2.  Copy and paste this text (or write your own!):

Title: Evacuation plan needed

The city has no evacuation plan for Rikers Island, despite its low elevation and its nearly 13,000 prisoners, many of whom have yet to face trial. Please do not let these individuals, or the ones at the nearby floating Vernon C. Bain Correction Center, suffer. Please repost.

http://solitarywatch.com/2011/08/26/locked-up-and-left-behind-new-yorks-prisoners-and-hurricane-irene/

3.  Spread the word and repost these instructions wherever good activists are found.  Posts can be made anonymously or with identifying details.

2011.08.27: Take Action for Rikers’ Island Prisoners! Demand the City Create an Emergency Evacuation Plan

Filed under: Criminal Justice — nyclaw01 @ 1:38 pm
Tags: ,

Take Action for Rikers’ Island Prisoners!  Demand the City Create an Emergency Evacuation Plan 

Mayor Bloomberg has announced that in the event of a hurricane, that he will not evacuate prisoners at Rikers’ Island, claiming instead to have a “contingency plan” in place. The experience of prisoners in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina shows that city authorities will abandon the basic rights of prisoners in the face of disaster.

We can’t let Bloomberg get away with this!

(1.) Demand the city create an emergency evacuation plan by 5pm today to evacuate prisoners at Rikers Island in the event that other areas in Zone B or C around Rikers Island are evacuated.

Call NYC Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs at (212) 788-2485

lgibbs@cityhall.nyc.gov

Twitter: @NYCMayorsOffice

(2.) Call on NY1 to investigate the status of the “contingency plan” for Rikers Island prisoners:

 http://www.ny1.com/content/contact_us/

Tel.:  212-691-6397

(3.) Submit evacuation plan demand to city’s website:

Go to http://nycsevereweather.crowdmap.com/reports/submit/  –this is a website set up by the city for people to submit weather-related service problems.  Locate Rikers Island on the map and drag the red marker there.

-Copy and paste this text (or write your own!):

Title: Evacuation plan needed

The city has no evacuation plan for Rikers Island, despite its low elevation and its nearly 13,000 prisoners. Please do not let these individuals, or the ones at the nearby floating Vernon C. Bain Correction Center, suffer.

(4.) Please repost:

http://solitarywatch.com/2011/08/26/locked-up-and-left-behind-new-yorks-prisoners-and-hurricane-irene/\

Locked Up and Left Behind: New York’s Prisoners and Hurricane Irene

James Ridgeway and Jean Casella | August 26, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Tags: Bloomberg, evacuation, Hurricane Irene, Rikers Island | Categories: New York, politics of punishment |

August 19, 2011

2011.08.19: 5 p.m. Today: Stand with the People of Gaza

Filed under: Antiwar,International Human Rights,Palestine — nyclaw01 @ 9:43 am

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Friday, August 19, 2011 9:43 AM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: 5 p.m. Today: Stand with the People of Gaza

Friday, August 19 · 5:00pm – 8:00pm

Emergency Demo NEW YORK – Israeli Embassy 800 2nd Avenue, New York

“The Israeli airforce commenced and attacked targets in Gaza yesterday evening killing 6, among them was this 2 year old kid in the picture below. Should I presume he/she was a terrorist? Was he/she one of the masterminds behind Eilat attacks?”

“The Strikes continued after midnight, a family in Gaza were stricken while safe at their home, the victim now is the 13 year old Mahmoud Abu Samra, as you can see him left in this picture.”

“Collective punishment is a war crime, what Israel is doing today is terrorize the population living in the Gaza strip! This is inhumane! absurdity! Just like shooting fish in a barrel, Palestinians have nowhere to escape to!”

http://electronicintifada.net/blog/jalal-abukhater/hearbroken

August 18, 2011

2011.08.18: Yesterday: Video: Speaking against city complicity with Verizon’s union-busting

Filed under: Labor Solidarity — nyclaw01 @ 10:06 am

From:  Letwin, Michael
Sent: Thursday, August 18, 2011 10:06 AM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Yesterday: Video: Speaking against city complicity with Verizon’s union-busting

Speaking against city complicity with Verizon’s union-busting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2aC-v0-7jw&feature=share

August 15, 2011

2011.08.15: Strikers seeing red over Verizon’s greed

Filed under: Labor Solidarity — nyclaw01 @ 10:20 am

From:  Letwin, Michael
Sent: Monday, August 15, 2011 10:20 AM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Strikers seeing red over Verizon’s greed

http://socialistworker.org/2011/08/15/strikers-see-red-at-verizon

Comment

Strikers seeing red over Verizon’s greed

A member of Communications Workers of America Local 1106 reports on the first week of the Verizon strike–with reports from picket lines up and down the East Coast.

August 15, 2011

ONE WEEK into the strike by 45,000 members of Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electricians (IBEW), Verizon has shown exactly how nasty it plans to fight.

Verizon has launched an offensive of media lies and legal attacks to undermine public support and hobble union mobilizations. Full-page ads and court injunctions against pickets came fast and furious this week, infuriating strikers and their supporters.

But union members are determined not to let the company dictate the terms of this fight. Striking locals are taking a three-pronged approach to the battle.

The first prong is the traditional picket line at workplaces, where strikers heckle and delay management and scabs as they enter and leave.

Second is following the work–literally following scab trucks as they go from job to job, and picketing where they work: poles, manholes, terminals and customer premises. Mobile picketing has been used since 1989 to harass and embarrass under-trained managers, who sometimes just give up and leave.

Third is picketing Verizon Wireless (VZW) retail stores, which are technically part of the strike–though only 50 of the more than 50,000 VZW employees are covered under the collective bargaining agreement.

Mass pickets at large workplaces have numbered more than 500 workers at times. A lunchtime rally of CWA Local 1101 members at Verizon’s headquarters at 140 West St. in Lower Manhattan overflowed sidewalks, causing traffic delays. More than 500 members of Local 1106 flooded the quiet streets of Springfield Gardens, Queens, almost knocking down a metal fence surrounding a Verizon garage in response to management bullying of pickets.

Members have also taken it upon themselves at times to stand down individual trucks as they leave to work. Replacement workers, who are often out-of-state managers rushed through training, have been seen using ladders upside down, failing to figure out how to open terminals, and almost falling off poles. Mobile pickets jeer and humiliate them, often drowning out test tones, making the job impossible.

But most satisfying have been the VZW pickets, which have tapped into the widespread anti-corporate sentiment on the street. Loud crowds numbering 50 or more have impeded business or outright shut down stores.

In New York, the Manhattan 34th Street store had to close for the day because of relentless chanting. For two days running, the Astoria, Queens, location had to lock its doors to stop supportive pedestrians from holding doors open while picketers with a bullhorn and sound system chanted, sang and made speeches to disrupt business.

In Massachusetts, the presence of CWA Local 1400 picketers kept one location empty for three days. In every case, passersby have honked, cheered, given the thumbs up or stopped to join chanting and asked how to lend their support. Verizon management’s claim that “no one will support overpaid union members” is clearly not true.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

THE COMPANY returned fire at the first opportunity–using the courts to try to stop the unions.

First came an injunction in Pennsylvania after strikers allegedly chained a work location door shut. Then injunctions in Delaware, New York and now New Jersey. These court orders limit the number of pickets in most places to between six and 50 people, depending on the size of the workplace, and they require pickets to stay 15 feet from entrances or exits.

Bizarrely, some injunctions attempt to ban the presence of pets or children–apparently anything that would humanize the strikers and get sympathy.

This legal offensive will undoubtedly reverse what had so far been an often-friendly atmosphere among strikers and police. Despite supportive sentiments from individual cops–include advice about how to avoid being charged with harassment by scabs–the law is coming down hard on the side of Verizon. And the company is pushing for an interpretation of the law that limits unions as much as possible.

The company also knows that, even with its legal advantages, if the public turns on them, they could lose. So they’re stacking the deck with an ad campaign depicting union members as greedy–and possibly criminals. One ad claims that technicians make $91,000 a year with $50,000 in benefits and four weeks of vacation–which would only be possible if a worker did 200 hours of overtime at top pay and had more than 15 years on the job.

Another ad offers a $50,000 reward for anyone found sabotaging Verizon equipment–a not-too-subtle suggestion that strikers are vandals.

But it’s management that’s responsible for injuring strikers time and again. Over two dozen strikers were hit by Verizon trucks in the first week–a handful of them wound up in the hospital.

With tensions rising, strikers will need to think strategically about the legal challenges–and when and how to break the law with mass mobilizations and civil disobedience to confront the company–especially if the trickle of scabs increases to a more serious level. Verizon might be willing to take some hits on service for a while, but it could eventually decide to try to permanently replace union members. In that case, confronting scabs to shut down production will be back on the table.

With the company’s overall workforce now majority nonunion, CWA and IBEW members need to see workers at VZW as potential allies and future union brothers and sisters. We need to turn the tide back toward a majority union company. Many (if not all) in-store technical workers will lose their jobs at the end of the month when the company reorganizes tech support, so there has never been a better time to demonstrate the benefits a union can provide.

Unions also need to go back to the tactics from 1989 and encourage customers not to pay their bills in solidarity with the strike. Now, with online billing, the company has a rock-solid income–but a campaign of de-enrolling in Easy Pay by the union could make waves. The 45,000 union members themselves are customers, with connections to literally hundreds of thousands of other households.

In addition, we need to highlight the toll Verizon’s greed is taking on our families. Not only are strikers losing pay, but on August 30, we lose our health care. Rallies with children and dependant family members could expose the blatant greed of a profitable company depriving thousands of people of necessary care.

Besides reaching out to VZW and the public, we need to focus on the kind of aggressive, disruptive tactics that can win this strike. The outcome of this strike strike is unwritten, but the pieces are there for an important victory for labor.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

THROUGHOUT NEW York City, picket lines have been strong and spirits high during the first week of the strike–boosted by visits from teachers, transit workers and other union and non-union supporters.

Strikers also report that UPS drivers, members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, have refused to cross picket lines, forcing UPS to send managers out to deliver to Verizon stores. “I’m shocked by the solidarity from other workers,” said Pete D’Esposito, a CWA Local 1101 chief steward at the 13th Street building in Manhattan. “It’s a very different attitude existing in this society compared to the 1980s and ’90s. We’re their horse in this race.”

Some workers emphasized that Verizon can’t claim poverty in the same way as state governments demanding concessions from public-sector workers. “Everyone else is cutting back, pulling themselves up by their bootstraps,” said Kim, another 1101 chief steward. “That’s not the case here. It’s a prime example of corporate greed.”

Other strikers drew connections with the wider labor movement. Nicole, a New York City Verizon worker for 11 years, said, “If you break one union, you break them all. You start shifting the work into cheaper countries. The middle class and the working class are the backbone of this country.”

Unlike most American workers, many CWA and IBEW members have ample strike experience, since their unions have struck Verizon six times in the past 30 years. Laverne Sparrow, a 30-year veteran, talked about how “the 1989 strike was very hard–17 weeks–but the union really fought and hung together. We got a great contract out of it.”

Local 1101 chief steward Dominic Renda described the 2000 strike: “Technicians set up flying pickets to follow around scabs doing installation work or repairs. They would tell the customers that the person showing up to do work was a scab. Many times, the customers would refuse to allow the scab to do work or repairs.”

As in many strikes, workers on the picket line talked to supporters not just about the disputed issues in the contract, but also about the many ways their job has gotten harder and more pressured in recent years. Call center workers complained about management pressure to limit phone calls to four minutes, which often makes genuine customer service impossible.

“The company has hired managers who don’t know the work but only know how to pressure us to meet numbers,” said Lana, a customer service representative from Forest Hills and member of CWA Local 1105. “We’re supposed to overcome objections from customers to get them to buy more products. Right now, I have a problem with my own Verizon account, but I’m afraid to call because these people have no idea what they’re doing.”

At every picket line, Verizon workers warmly welcomed supporters and urged them to return and bring others. “We want people to bring their families and friends to build up the picket line,” said Renda. “We don’t want people to cross. The stronger our presence, the more likely we will be able to convince people not to cross the picket line. I’m encouraging members to do more than the minimum number of hours [on the picket line].”

In other cities where Verizon workers are striking–along the East Coast from Massachusetts to Virginia–they are also finding support for their struggle.

— In Providence, R.I., a striker explained, “This is a fight for working families–this is a fight for our livelihoods. Everyone should have a union and the benefits we have.”

David Robitaille, a Verizon worker who was laid off in 2008, said, “In 2008, they had big profits. Yet they laid off 13,000 workers across the country. They said that with [fiber optic service], they were going to keep the call centers in the U.S. Yet they have opened up one in Tijuana and one in India.”

Members of the Rhode Island community showed their solidarity by going to the picket line from a Jobs Not Cuts rally held at the statehouse earlier in the day.

— At a picket line in Baltimore, several retired CWA members, concerned about keeping their health care, turned out. A 12-year veteran of Verizon walked the line with her 4-year-old daughter and 1-year-old son, with a homemade placard reading, “Union Busting Is a No-No.”

Three generations of women from the same family were walking the picket line. Workers were ready for a serious fight, and some said that their managers told them to clean out their desks when the strike began. One woman said that she had been trying to prepare for this strike for the last year by filing grievances and building solidarity in her workplace.

Ben Dalbey, Paul Hubbard, Gary Lapon, Bill Linville, Chris Murphy and Sherry Wolf contributed to this article.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Published by the International Socialist Organization.

Material on this Web site is licensed by SocialistWorker.org, under a Creative Commons (by-nc-nd 3.0) <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0>  [1] license, except for articles that are republished with permission. Readers are welcome to share and use material belonging to this site for non-commercial purposes, as long as they are attributed to the author and SocialistWorker.org.

1. [1] http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0 <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0>

August 8, 2011

2011.08.08: Support Verizon Strikers: Sign the Petition

Filed under: Labor Solidarity — nyclaw01 @ 9:58 am

From:  Letwin, Michael
Sent: Monday, August 08, 2011 9:58 AM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Support Verizon Strikers: Sign the Petition

[More solidarity information to follow, but this for now]

http://action.cwa-union.org/c/1153/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=2657

Tell Verizon: Stop Attacking the Middle Class

Sign the Petition

45,000 Verizon workers are now on strike to stop the attack on the middle class.

The reason? Despite record profits, Verizon is refusing to bargain and is demanding that its workers add to those profits from their own pockets.

In the last four years alone, Verizon made more than $19 billion in profits and compensated their top five executives more than a quarter of a billion dollars. But apparently that’s not enough.

Now they’re refusing to bargain. Starting on June 22 Verizon pushed proposals that would let them outsource more jobs, including sending jobs overseas, slash sick days, eliminate benefits for workers who get hurt on the job and cut the healthcare benefits they promised retirees. And they haven’t budged.

That’s why 45,000 CWA and IBEW members walked out on Sunday August 7th. To force Verizon to abandon its Wisconsin-style tactics and come to the bargaining table and negotiate.

America has had enough of corporate greed. Now is the time for Verizon to do the right thing and come to the bargaining table in good faith instead of trying to kill the American dream for 45,000 middle-class workers.

Send a letter now to tell Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam to stop Verizon’s attack on the middle class and share his company’s success with those who made it possible.

August 5, 2011

2011.08.05: West Indian Day Parade: We Got Our Permit!

Filed under: Criminal Justice,Police Abuse,Racism — nyclaw01 @ 2:02 pm

From: Arafa, Noha
Sent: Friday, August 05, 2011 3:54 PM
To: ALAA MEMBERS; 1199 Members
Subject: West Indian Day Parade: We Got Our Permit!

Thank you to those of you who have already volunteered. For those of you who haven’t seen my previous e-mail, ALAA is planning on having a “Know Your Rights” table at the West Indian Day Parade. If you are interested in participating please let me know. We did this three years ago and it was a lot of fun. People were very receptive and appreciate. The parade is on Labor Day, September 5th.

Thanks,
Noha

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