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Victory to the Quincy Teachers: The Fight for a Just Contract is Our Fight as Well
DSC_0051.jpgI must apologize at the outset for not having posted a solidarity statement with the Quincy, Massachusetts Education Association (QEA) before today, June 11, 2007 the second day of their walkout. This is doubly egregious as I was born in Quincy-the City of Presidents (John Adams and his son John Quincy Adams). The Quincy teacher walked out on Friday June 8, 2007 after taking a vote. From the news that I had heard I believed that their action was a one day affair a fairly familiar way to deal with stalled contract negotiations. However, these brothers and sisters are for real and seem determined to make their point and get a just contract. This in the face of a state Labor Relations Board decision that their walkout is illegal and the determination of the Quincy School Committee to seek a court injunction to force the teachers back to work.
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11 Jun 2007 | Filed under: Commentary / Labor
Hundreds March for Mumia Abu-Jamal Outside Court Hearing in Philadelphia
070517 Phila Mumia demo.jpgOver 500 people turned out to demonstrate on behalf of Mumia Abu-Jamal outside the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia May 17. Inside the packed courtroom another 200 observed the proceedings in which the justices peppered prosecution and defense lawyers with questions about the deliberate exclusion of blacks in jury selection during Mumia’s 1982 trial, the instructions to the jury on the death sentence, and evidence of judicial bias against Mumia. In court, the prosecution demanded that the death sentence against Jamal be reinstated while defense lawyer Robert Bryan asked for a new trial. Outside, hundreds of demonstrators circling the courthouse chanted over and over, “Brick by brick, wall by wall, We’re gonna free Mumia Abu-Jamal.” While some had illusions that a new trial could be fair, many declared that the entire “justice” system was racist to the core.
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20 May 2007 | Filed under: News / Human Rights : International : Labor : Organizing : Politics : Race : War and Militarism
Harvard Hunger Strike Ends
DSC_0225.jpgDon't consider this post exhaustive, because I don't think I can do it justice, but the hunger strikers broke their fast today.

At the 1 PM rally today, we heard from a couple of members of the guards' bargaining committee who thanked the hunger strikers for everything they'd done and asked them to keep their health in mind. Then Michael read parts of a public statement issued today after the strikers' meeting with Marilyn Hausammann, the University's vice president for human resources. It affirmed Harvard's commitment to a living wage (in sort of ambiguous terms - I believe the phrasing was that the wage should ensure a "minimally decent" standard of living) and stated that Harvard does not intend to use outsourcing as a means for busting unions or lowering wages. The University will publicize the results of its audit of AlliedBarton's compliance with the parity policy sometime next week, probably Monday, and meet with SLAM representatives and other community members shortly after.

VIDEO: Watch interviews, the end of the strike, and more at (thanks to Aaron Tanaka):
http://youtube.com/profile?user=freedomisnot
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11 May 2007 | Filed under: News / Labor
Students Hunger Strike at Harvard Forces AlliedBarton to Negotiate with Workers Union
IMG_0110.jpgCambridge, Mass—Today is the seventh day of the student hunger strike at Harvard University, where as many as 11 students are protesting the administration’s lack of involvement in wage negotiations between security guards and an outsourced contractor, AlliedBarton. One of the students, Javier Castro, was hospitalized Tuesday for dangerously low sodium and electrolyte levels; a second student was not allowed to leave the hospital premises and is currently under medical supervision.

“The strike has made an extreme difference,” said Milton Scope, a security guard at Harvard’s Longwood Campus. “The contractor was just going in circles. It’s only now that they are trying to seriously sit down at the negotiating table.” Nine guards came personally to thank the students for their sacrifice and confirmed that negotiations with AlliedBarton that same morning were moving along, although the main issue of wage increases was not addressed and re-tabled for tomorrow morning.
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09 May 2007 | Filed under: News / Labor
Fifth Day of Hunger Strike: Harvard President’s Administration Vacates the Premises
IMG_0113.jpgCambridge, Mass.—On the fifth day of the students hunger strike at Harvard to pressure its administration to raise security guards pay, protesters found the President’s Office empty guarded by two university police. The students were not allowed to speak to university officials nor enter the building as there was no one there to meet them, yet they left behind a 24-page report detailing the Harvard Stand for Security Campaign. A banner that read “Living Wage Now” hung undisturbed from the third floor, as the students vowed to return. “Two more days of rational discourse and then it’s irrational action,” voiced one of the hunger strikers to the crowd gathered there in support.
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07 May 2007 Modified: 09 May 2007 | Filed under: News / Labor : Organizing
Harvard Hunger Strike for Workers Rights
StandforSecurity11.JPGCambridge, Mass--Yesterday, 11 students at Harvard University began an indefinite hunger strike in support of hundreds of newly unionized security guards at Harvard, in their fight to win a first contract with fair wages, steady full-time work, fair procedures, and the right to organize for all workers.

The strike coincides with yesterday's decision by AlliedBarton, a private security firm contracted by Harvard, to walk away from the bargaining table. The strike will last until Harvard takes responsibility for the conditions of workers on its campus and makes a public statement supporting the basic standards demanded by guards and students.
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04 May 2007 | Filed under: Announcement / Labor
Immigrants March to Stop the Raids, Full Legalization Now
IMG_0101.JPGBoston, Mass--It was 4:30 a.m. when they came banging on her door, waking her and everyone else in the house. She went to see what was going on. “Get down!” called out one of her housemates in a loud whisper, “La migra! Get on the floor!” She could barely see the men face down on the carpet but saw the shadows on the window and a bright flashlight that began scanning inside her living room. She ran back to her 4-year-old and locked herself up in the bedroom. She grabbed her child who immediately started whimpering sensing his mother’s panic. “Don’t cry, don’t make a sound. There are policemen outside who want to take us, take me away. We can’t let them hear us. Don’t say a word.” The child understood. Immigration officers had been raiding homes for days in his neighborhood, going after someone with an expired visa and arresting everyone within it without proper documentation. Mothers talked about it in corner stores, in laundry mats, at the playground.
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02 May 2007 | Filed under: News / Globalization : Human Rights : International : Labor : Race
Hundreds March for CORI Reform
cori-march.jpgOn Thursday, April 19th, hundreds of people marched from Roxbury Crossing to the state house, demanding passage of the Public Safety Act of 2007. The act seeks to end arbitrary discrimination against people with criminal records, shorten the length of time that records are open, and train employers on properly reading CORIs.
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24 Apr 2007 | Filed under: News / Labor : Organizing : Politics : Race : Social Welfare
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