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New Hampshire's Exploited Foreign Student Workers
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Last year I had the pleasure of talking with many of the foreign student workers imported into the Lakes Region for the Summer. These students come from overseas, brought in by their employer/sponsors, to work during the Summer, helping local businesses meet the needs of the vacationers flocking to the region for this brief period upon which many of New Hampshire's small business's depend. This year is no different and many of these students, each of whom has paid around one thousand dollars for transportation to our neck of the woods, are back again, hoping to earn enough money to get them through the school year back home. What most locals do not understand is how terribly exploited, underpaid and under-respected many of these student are. They can be found working in the local fast food outlets, super markets, gas stations and hotels. A few of these businesses treats these workers very well, but the vast majority exploit their eagerness to work and the difference in pay between their homelands and New Hampshire. The result of this exploitation is overwork, underpay and frustration.
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04 Jul 2004 | Filed under: News / Globalization : International : Labor
The John Kerry Has Been Fumbled!
The Sport of Boston’s Labor Woes

“The John Kerry has been fumbled!” Menino has dropped the John Kerry! And right there to pick it up is Thom Nee… he’s got a good line of BPPA defenders and… they're taking it down the field… to the Mayor’s 20… the 30… and Menino’s got him now! Down at the Mayor’s 42-yard line. More of the big game after this message…”

At first, the frat-like chanting coming from the BPPA informational picket in front of the Mayor’s conference last Sunday sounded “like a football game,” as one of the attendees of the conference put it. But this was no football game.

Or was it?

Maybe the situation in Boston IS a game: a big, expensive, ego-jostling, contest. One team is comprised of star quarterback Mayor Thomas Menino and city hall, arguing that Boston lacks the funds for a 17 percent pay raise for the police and playing a great defensive game. The other team, with coach Thomas J. Nee of the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association (BPPA), BPPA union members and other city unions without contracts, is arguing that the police have gone long enough without a contract and won’t be silenced any longer.
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02 Jul 2004 | Filed under: Commentary / DNC : Labor : Politics
Protesting the MBTA search policy
02 08-19 01 JFKUMass.jpgToday, July, 1st at 8am civil liberties advocates gathered at the Park St. Station to protest the MBTA’s new policy of random bag searches. The protest was attended and organized by groups including the American Civil Liberties Union of Mass., the National Lawyers Guild, the T Riders Union, and the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition. A group of street actors put on a fake search where they confiscated papers with “the Constitution” and “the Fourth Amendment” written on them. Many protesters also sang “Searching Charlie on the MTA”, a new rendition of the classic. Approximately 50 people attended the demonstration.
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01 Jul 2004 | Filed under: News / Human Rights
Communal Bikes During the DNC
anarcho-bike.gifhttp://blackteasociety.org/bikes.php

Imagine streets clogged with traffic, unending train delays, parts of our city under martial law, and random ID checks and searches by police on public transportation. This is the city we'll be living in during the week of the Democratic National Convention and Mayor Menino along with DNC organizers are making no qualms about it. It's obvious that we won't be able to rely on public transportation or cars to get around during the DNC. Those who do ride public transport will face random bag searches and ID checkpoints.

There is an alternative though, Biking. Biking is fast, fun, and environmentally friendly. For these reasons we will be collecting and fixing up bikes to be used during the DNC by activists, medics, food providers, and Bostonians who just need to get around. This is a call to everyone from bike mechanics to hobbyists, from folks who have a bike they'd like to get rid of to people with a dozen to help us create a communal bike system for use during the DNC. This will include bikes with carts for available for medics, media, and food. The bikes will be available at the convergence center for anyone to use. After the convention the bikes will be donated to local bike programs.
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03 Jul 2004 | Filed under: Announcement / DNC : Technology
Boston to Comcast: "Stop Abusing Workers' Rights!"
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Boston telephone workers and community supporters will release a report on Wednesday, June 30 calling on Comcast to end its costly interference in employees' freedom to unite for a voice at work and to negotiate in good faith with its union members. The report – authored by the National Workers' Rights Board – features testimony provided by Comcast employees along with evidence provided by their unions indicting Comcast Corporation for systematic abuse of workers' rights.
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29 Jun 2004 | Filed under: News / Labor
"Bridge the Gap" actions on June 19 spur movement for health care for all
Bridge Walk from above.JPGOver a thousand people from 85 labor and community organizations marched across the Longfellow Bridge from Cambridge to the Boston Common on Saturday, June 19 calling for a political solution to the mounting crisis of health care cost, quality and access. As costs continue to skyrocket, employers are shifting more of the burden to workers or abandoning health care coverage entirely. The trend is leaving record numbers of Americans uninsured – and many more underinsured. The Boston 'Bridge Walk' was one of 165 actions that occurred in every state calling for quality, affordable health care for all
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29 Jun 2004 | Filed under: News / Labor : Social Welfare
Rich White Men Throw A Fit: Boston Police and Firefighters Picket the Mayor’s Conference
chicken1.jpgUninformed tourists enjoying a bite to eat in the Back Bay Monday witnessed an unusual spectacle. A synchronized, frat-like chant was coming from around the corner on Dalton St. It sounded “like a football game,” as one of the attendees of the Mayor’s Conference put it. But this was no Patriots game.

            Rather, the aggressive chants were coming from the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association (BPPA) and the Boston Firefighters Union. The BPPA has been working without a contract for over two years and the firefighters are also in contract talks. The riled up “public servants” took to the sidewalks and a portion of Dalton St. just outside the Sheraton Hotel where Mayor Menino was hosting some functions as part of the United States Conference of Mayors. The cops worked in shifts (switching roles between policing and picketing) from 7am until 11:30am and again at 5pm to 7:30pm.

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29 Jun 2004 | Filed under: News / DNC : Labor
Security on the T & Criminalization of Dissent for the DNC
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If Boston residents haven't realized that we live in a culture of fear - they will during the Democratic National Convention. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) has released a "Security Statement" that outlines using fear tactics to allow police and transportation authorities to search bags and personal possessions during the Democratic National Convention. This policy comes on top of similar measures that the MBTA has announced that it is undertaking that allow other measures such as allowing "police officers to randomly search T riders' bags" to protect riders from "bombs" and "terrorism". The Massachusetts Chapter of the National Lawyer's Guild (NLG) has provided a series of resources for people who are concerned about this violation of American rights. The NLG has provided a simple explanation of your legal rights while riding the T or other public transportation in Boston.
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26 Jun 2004 | Filed under: News / DNC : Human Rights
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