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Proman Manufacturing Co. Laying-Off Chinatown Workers without Severance Pay
pic2.jpgOn July 16, 2005, a picket line of workers took over the entrance of Proman Manufacturing Company to protest unfair labor practices by this 61-year-old sportswear manufacturing company in Chinatown. Its owner, Joseph Proman, recently confirmed the company will be closing by the end of July and laying-off all of its 40-plus Chinese and Latino workers without severance pay.

Alice Leung, community organizer for the Chinese Progressive Association Workers Center (CPAWC), said that Mr. Proman did not give any formal notice to its workers who learned the company is moving to China from one of their supervisors. Since then, CPAWC and the American Friends Service Committee have helped Proman Co. workers organize themselves to defend their labor rights and be treated with dignity.
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18 Jul 2005 | Filed under: News / Globalization : Human Rights : Labor : Organizing
Somerville Art Fest Excludes Palestinian-Rights Divestment Group
On Wednesday July 6th in the afternoon Christina received an email from the director of the Somerville Arts Council indicating that Somerville Divestment Project would not be allowed to participate in this year's festival to occur on July 16th

On Thursday, in a phone call to the Somerville Arts Council, made while Somerville Divestment Project members were present, the mayor indicated that SDP would not be allowed to participate in this years ArtBeat Festival.

SDP's rights to participate in a community group along with other cultural, artistic and political groups was short-circuited by the mayor of Somerville Joe Curtatone. This issue may raise concerns about first amendment issues, and equal protection under the law. Legal officials have been contacted by SDP on this matter.
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13 Jul 2005 | Filed under: News / Human Rights
Anti-Corporate Campaigners Call on TIAA-CREF to Dump Wal-Mart and Coke Stock as Unethical Investments
TIAA-CREF picket 1.JPGOn Monday, July 11, 2005, a dozen people gathered for half-an-hour starting at noon outside TIAA-CREF’s offices in Boston’s financial district. They were protesting and passing out informational fliers as part of the lead up to next week’s TIAA-CREF annual shareholders meeting, where members of the Make TIAA-CREF Ethical Coalition will press TIAA-CREF, one of the country’s largest pension funds, to divest from Coca-Cola, Wal-Mart and other corporations that do not do business ethically. Wal-Mart is well known for its exploitive labor practices, while Coke is guilty of a number of socially irresponsible practices, ranging from marketing junk food to children in the US to complicity with death squads in Colombia.
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11 Jul 2005 | Filed under: News / Environment : Globalization : International : Labor : Social Welfare
CORI Checks Haunt Millions in Massachusetts
Around 2 million people in Massachusetts have criminal records that are accessible by potential employers, public housing officials, and sometimes any member of the public. Last Wednesday, the local Union of Minority Neighborhoods kicked off a campaign to change the Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) system by holding a public organizing meeting. In this radio piece, Ronald -- a Boston native who's spent 25+ years in jail -- talks about the difficulties, underlying racism, and possible reforms to CORI checks in Massachusetts.
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11 Jul 2005 | Filed under: News / Human Rights : Race
Second Case of Mad Cow Disease Hits the U.S.
cow_downed3.jpgAUDIO: A year and a half after the first case of mad cow disease was discovered in this country, the U.S. government came forward Friday, June 24th, with news of the second case of Mad Cow Disease in the US. According to an initial report, this cow, at least eight years old, was found crippled and covered in manure, apparently suffering from dementia. She was discovered last November. U.S. officials took tissue samples, incinerated her corpse, and declared her free of the disease after initial tests. However, a recent round of tests conducted at a lab in England determined this cow did have the disease.

Meanwhile, outbreaks of the bird flu loom on the horizon. While relatively harmless levels of the flu, which is carried by chickens, cycle through U.S. farms on a regular basis, very harmful levels may appear in U.S. chickens soon. Two bird flu pandemics actually claimed the lives of over 100, 000 people in the U.S. during the 20th century. Some researchers are warning that another pandemic is coming again.
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03 Jul 2005 | Filed under: News / Environment : Social Welfare
Millionaires and War
Was there ever a time when Congressional tax cuts for multi-millionaires were more unseemly?

Recently President Bush spoke about the war in Iraq on national TV, asking Americans to be patient and to bear in silence the heavy sacrifice of American soldiers’ lost lives. That number is getting close to 2000.
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02 Jul 2005 | Filed under: Commentary / Politics : Social Welfare
Child-care providers in RI fight for union rights
melida 1.gifOn June 22, Rhode Island governor Donald Carcieri vetoed the Family Childcare Providers Business Opportunity Act of 2005. The act would have allowed the state's 1,300 licensed and hundreds of other unlicensed home-based day care providers, members of the union SEIU 1199, to bargain collectively with the state for wages and benefits.

As wages fall behind inflation for most workers, and welfare payments are eliminated, the home based day care workers have become essential for working parents in Rhode Island. The day care fees are subsidized for thirteen thousand parents by the state, although these subsidies are being cut to pay for tax cuts for the richest Rhode Islanders. But the day care workers are poorly compensated for their central role in the state's economy. The Day Care Justice Co-Op, an organization of day care workers that preceeded the union drive, found that after deducting for the cost of childrens' toys, books, food, safety equipment, and sometimes assistants, the day care workers, mostly black and latina women, ended up with a wage of only $2.76 per hour, less than the legal minimum wage.
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28 Jun 2005 | Filed under: News / Gender : Labor : Race : Social Welfare
Food Not Bombs Holds 25th Anniversary Gathering in Philly
Audio: Philadelphia was recently the home of the 25th anniversary gathering of an international, grassroots, volunteer-run free-food project called Food Not Bombs. Food not bombs shares free food in cities all around the country – from Portland, to New York, to San Antonio – by rescuing waste from markets and redistributing it to hungry people. Homefries in Boston has more on the gathering -- including several interviews -- in the posted mp3.
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26 Jun 2005 Modified: 27 Jun 2005 | Filed under: News / Human Rights : Politics : Social Welfare
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