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Kendall Square Cinema employees join union
kendall.jpgAfter only three months of organizing at the Kendall Square Cinema, the Landmark Theatre chain's biggest theatre, employees voted 17 to one to join the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) local 791 on July 30.

“Kendall Square cinema is now 100% union,” yelled a cinema employee as movie-goers left the theatre, “wall to wall union!”

The vote comes as a result of recent management changes, lack of full-time status even for employees who average over 35 hours per week, small and sporadic raises, and a starting wage of $7.25 that hasn't changed since 2002, according to employee and organizer Lauren Ryder.
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31 Jul 2005 | Filed under: News / Labor : Media
Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) Will Spread Factory Farming and Threaten Wildlife in Central America
pigs6.jpgAUDIO: A coalition of 102 animal rights groups around the U.S. has formed to call attention to the cruelty that the Central American Free Trade Agreement is expected to inflict upon farmed and wild animals in Central America. National non-profits such as In Defense of Animals, Farm Sanctuary, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and Wetlands Preserve are among the groups in the coaliton.

CAFTA was ratified by an extremely narrow margin in the U.S. House of Representatives during the wee hours of Thursday morning, July 28th. Pattrice Jones of the Eastern Shore Chicken Sanctuary and Adam Weissman of Wetlands Preserve talk about what this agreement means for animals' lives.
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31 Jul 2005 | Filed under: News / Environment : Globalization : Human Rights : International
Holyoke Mall Now a Weekend No-Teenager Zone
Having spent a childhood hanging out, working at, loving, and hating local malls, it was with disbelief that this commentator read a piece in the July 13 edition of The Republican (Springfield, MA) that says that the Holyoke Mall at Ingleside has instituted an "MB18" ("Must Be 18") policy on Fridays and Saturdays from 4 p.m. to closing at the facility--after some "success" with similar rules at other malls owned by The Pyramid Companies.

Any teenagers under 18 during those periods who are not accompanied by an adult, will be targetted by mall cops and escorted from the premises. Mall owners claim that racial profiling will not be involved in such targettings, but interestingly, Pyramid is instituting the policy in the relatively urban Holyoke mall frequented by that city's burgeoning Latino population, but not at the Hampshire Mall in more rural Hadley, MA, which it also owns. The Eastfield Mall in urban Springfield, MA, owned by Mountain Development Corp. of New Jersey, is planning to implement a similar policy.
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25 Jul 2005 | Filed under: Commentary / Globalization : Human Rights
Proposed Lab Feels the Heat: July Update on the Grassroots Campaign against B.U.'s Biolab
bsl401.jpgAUDIO: A coalition of local grassroots groups recently held a rally in the South End against the BioSafety Level 4 lab that Boston University is trying to build there. Only a handful of such high-risk labs exist in the U.S. Locals say the lab would be cruel to animals as well as an act of environmental racism.
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19 Jul 2005 | Filed under: News / Environment : Human Rights : Race : Social Welfare
Plans for Women's Jail May Meet an Early Fate: Statewide Coalition Calls for Moratorium on New Jails
Hampden.jpgAUDIO: The state wants to build a new women's jail to replace part of the existing Hampden County jail. The Statewide Harm Reduction Coalition, a group that works on drug policy and rehabilitation, held a press conference last week to raise objections to the construction of the proposed Chicopee women's jail in western Massachusetts. People spoke out about the overwhelming number of prisoners charged with drug-related crimes, the racial dynamics of incarceration in Massachusetts, and the misuse of state funds for what they feel is an unnecessary new jail. They called for a moratorium on all new jail and prison construction in Massachusetts.
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19 Jul 2005 | Filed under: News / Human Rights : Organizing : Race : Social Welfare
Nurses Demand Safe Staffing Ratios During Statehouse Hearings
ma nurses pic.jpgBOSTON -- Hundreds of nurses and health care activists from across New England rallied at the statehouse July 14 to demand legislators pass state legislation mandating safe nurse-to-patient ratios.

The one-day action sponsored by The Massachusetts Nurses Association union was a continuation of mass state-wide actions in an effort to pass House Bill 2663 “An Act Ensuring Patient Safety,” (www.massnurses.org).

Similar to California state mandated nurse-to-patient ratio legislation won by the California Nurses Association, the MNA supported bill would mandate safe staffing levels based on specific hospital location and specialties. In intensive care the bill calls for one nurse to two patients while in medical and surgical units the nurse-to-patient ratio would be 1-to-4.
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18 Jul 2005 | Filed under: News / Labor : Social Welfare
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
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