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Days After Settlement, Pickets Return to Insomnia Cookies
insomnia1.jpgPicket lines have returned to Insomnia Cookies, less than two weeks after the company settled with four workers who struck in August of 2013. On Friday, March 14, two dozen union members and supporters rallied in front of the Boston location of Insomnia Cookies demanding the reinstatement with back pay of union organizer and bicycle delivery "driver" Tasia Edmonds. On March 9 the company suspended Edmonds without pay for a month, alleging insubordination, while the union maintains she was disciplined for her union-building efforts.

Video of the picket
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15 Mar 2014 | Filed under: News / Labor : Organizing
URGENT ACTION: Northeastern University Suspends Students for Justice in Palestine
NU_SJP.jpgWith profound disappointment and righteous indignation Northeastern University Students for Justice in Palestine announces it has been suspended as an organization. SJP is disappointed because Northeastern’s claims of creating a diverse learning environment that encourages the free exchange of ideas and promotes Academic Freedom are impossible to reconcile with the university’s decision to suppress our speech and suspend our political group. As if banning our activities from campus and denying us all use of campus resources wasn’t outrageous enough, the university is pursuing expulsion-level sanctions for two students—all for participation in a mock eviction action. SJP is furious to report the only individuals to face our school’s opaque disciplinary process are two young women of color; none of the white or male participants have faced any charges. This unprecedented ban and appalling prosecutions are the latest attempt by the university to suppress pro-Palestine speech, and continues the university’s disturbing history of enacting injustice.
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12 Mar 2014 | Filed under: News / International : Organizing : Race
Insomnia Cookies Forced to Compensate Fired Workers
"...Something told me to stand up for what I believe in. To me,
this victory was worth every bit of the struggle."
- Jonathan Peña, IWW
member and Insomnia Cookies Striker.

Four workers at Insomnia Cookies' Cambridge store went on strike on August
19, protesting poverty pay and wretched working conditions, and demanding
$15/hr, health benefits and a union at their workplace. The company
illegally fired all four. For the next six months strikers, IWW members,
allies, and student organizations at both Harvard and Boston University
held pickets, marches, rallies, forums, phone blitzes, and organized
boycotts, while workers continued organizing at both the Cambridge and
Boston locations. The union also pursued legal charges through the National
Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
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05 Mar 2014 | Filed under: News / Labor : Organizing
Minimum Wage Hikes
raiseupma.jpgReposted from Cradle of Liberty

During the 2014 State of the Union address, President Obama expressed his intent to sign an executive order that would raise the minimum wage for new federal contract workers to $10.10 an hour. Though some very vocal pundits and politicians were outraged by the president’s decision to bypass the legislative branch to enact a wage hike, the executive order he wrote is limited to new contracts starting in 2015 and does not apply to contract renewals unless there are significant changes to the terms of the contract, such as the number of employees or type of work involved. The budget for federal contracts shrinks every year, decreasing the number of new contracts with it. So President Obama’s executive order will actually have very little impact. But the brazenness of a unilateral action to give the lowest-wage earners working for the federal government a little bump called attention to two issues that have been on the minds and placards of many in the past few years: poverty and inequality.
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11 Feb 2014 | Filed under: Commentary / Labor : Organizing : Politics
Immigrant Detainees Struggle for Rights at South Bay
This interview is reposted from Prison Action News 7.1

On October 3rd, 2013, approximately 40 detainees at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center at Suffolk County House of Corrections (South Bay) in Dorchester launched a hunger strike over poor health conditions, among other issues. Organizers in the ICE section, which holds about 200 immigrants, delivered a letter to the prison administration demanding officials "improve food safety [...], equalize access to programs and services [...], and support visitation rights. Detainees then launched a public campaign on September 26, with dozens of supporters rallying outside the prison, and threatened a hunger strike. Following the demand delivery, prison officials held a whole-unit meeting, promising to address the prisoners’ grievances. Prison administration, however, changed little, spurring detainees at all three ICE units in South Bay to go on hunger strike for three days. According to an outside supporter working with the detainees in their struggle, “The formidable power and solidarity built by the united detainees at South Bay has both forced ICE to address many demands and further exposed the inhumane nature of immigration enforcement in the US. Following the hunger strike, at least two detainees were released from detention and at least one released from solitary confinement. Some improvements in sanitary conditions have occurred and conversations for further progress are taking place. Meanwhile though, detainees continue to face retaliation and insufficient access to support, as well as continued sanitary issues.”

In recent years, prisoners at South Bay have complained about sanitation, over crowding, and other issues. Many detainees in the ICE section have ulcers from H. pylori bacterial infections, caused by poor sanitation. In 2010, women prisoners filed grievances and asked supporters to host a phone blitz to prison officials after
South Bay served inmates food contaminated with maggots and rat feces, and refused to address massive flooding of inmates’ cells. The following is an interview with an anonymous Haitian worker and father, currently unemployed and living in Boston, who was detained in the ICE detention section of South Bay in the months before the hunger strike:
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02 Feb 2014 | Filed under: News / Organizing : Police and Prisons
Offensives, Ground Taken and The Assumptions of Frontal Conflict: On Syria and The Material Dynamics of Insurgency
The Institute for the Study of Insurgent Warfare examines terrains of conflict around the globe, independent of the conceptual politics involved, on a material and tactical level. On topics ranging from the security implications of international trade agreements to the dynamics of conflict in virtual networks, from police tactics to the movements of insurgencies globally, we aim to provide regular analysis, release reports and provide overviews of conflicts that are present in the news, mainstream or otherwise. ISIW's latest report is titled Offensives, Ground Taken and The Assumptions of Frontal Conflict: On Syria and The Material Dynamics of Insurgency. (Full report linked below.)
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23 Jan 2014 | Filed under: Commentary / International : Organizing : War and Militarism
HOW EUROPE'S SOCIAL MOVEMENTS CONVERGED IN AMSTERDAM TO PLAN 2014 #EUINCRISIS
Originally published by Transnational Institute

The Transnational Institute hosted in Amsterdam a European strategy meeting in October which brought together different European social movements on the front lines of resistance against the neoliberal E.U. austerity regime.

Austerity, privatization and attacks on social rights, imposed by the European Commission, have become a reality for people across Europe. While there have been many impressive struggles at the national level - especially in Southern Europe - European coordination is still weak apart from sporadic days of joint action.

In recent years European social movements have organized numerous meetings to analyze the situation. However, it also became clear that European social movements required a common strategy. Following the results of the E.U. economic governance assembly organized in the Alter Summit in Greece in June, the Amsterdam strategy meeting was called to coordinate European struggles against the Troika's imposition of neoliberal policies under the new E.U. economic governance regime.
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11 Jan 2014 | Filed under: News / Globalization : International : Organizing
Workers Forum at BU Tonight!
Insomnia driver becomes sixth local worker to declare union membership, speaks at workers' forum.
On Friday, December 6th, Tasia Edmonds, a bicycle delivery driver at the
late-night national cookie chain Insomnia Cookies declared her union
membership with the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). Edmonds'
announcement came the same night as a union picket which drew 30 labor and
student activists to the store at 708 Commonwealth Ave. in Boston, near
Boston University's campus.
Read the full article »
11 Dec 2013 | Filed under: News / Labor : Organizing
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