Today’s Fighting Unions! Feb 8th @ 6 pm, Encuentro 5, 9 Hamilton place, Suite 2A Boston, MA 02108

30 Jan

Today’s Fighting Unions! Feb 8th @ 6 pm, Encuentro 5, 9 Hamilton place, Suite 2A Boston, MA 02108

 Today's Fighting Unions! *

 Feb 8th @ 6 pm, Encuentro 5, 9 Hamilton place, Suite 2A Boston, MA 02108

In these times of economic stagnation and rising inequality, union rights
and working conditions are under attack. What we need is militant, fighting
unions to push back against low pay and unsafe work! This event brings
together activists who are directly engaged in struggles against corporate
greed and union-busting. Participants will detail their organizing work,
answer questions, and help interested attendees get plugged into ongoing
campaigns. Panelists include:

*Dreadsen* (Chicago)- Dreadsen recently helped organize the first IWW Union
in the railroad sector in 80+ years. He helped lead a strike against
retaliatory firings that united service workers, Teamsters and Locomotive
engineers, shutting down work in multiple rail yards across Illinois and
Wisconsin. Dreadsen and his fellow workers at Mobile Rail Solutions (a
specialized truck company servicing locomotives), have fought for employer
recognition under the banner of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).
With an overwhelming majority of employees supporting the union, activists
first pushed for voluntarily recognition by the company. Rebuffed,
supporters of the Mobile Rail Workers' Union handily won a subsequent
election, and now act collectively to push for improvements on the job.
From the beginning of their struggle, employees at Mobile Rail have held
workplace safety, utterly disregarded by management, as their most
important demand. The union continues its fight against hazardous
conditions that have featured the lack of basic equipment such as proper
gloves and respirators, as well as pressing for better pay.

*Steve Kirschbaum and Fred Florial* (Boston)- Steve, a founding member of
United Steelworkers' Local 8751, and Fred, Shop Steward and Organizer for
Team Solidarity, will describe the union's struggle against the Veolia
Corporation. Veolia, a French based global conglomerate, has left a trail
of union-busting and corporate ruthlessness around the world. Veolia
businesses include transportation, energy, environmental and water.
Veolia's standard tactics are to low bid city management contracts, then
force concessions and cutbacks in violation of existing union contracts.
When the workers and their unions resist, they threaten, harass, discipline
and fire the union leaders and activists. Despite signing an agreement to
honor all terms and conditions of the USW 8751 contract on June 18, 2013,
since Veolia took over management of the Boston School Bus transportation
on July 1, 2013 they blatantly and systematically violated nearly every
article regarding wages, benefits and working conditions and repudiated the
established grievance and arbitration procedures. When bus drivers demanded
a meeting with management to address the attempted shredding of their
contract, Veolia's response was to lock the workers out, then accuse them
of conducting a wildcat strike, aided and abetted by local politicians.
Veolia has since fired four leaders of the union including Steve, all of
whom have been out of work since November. More background at:

*Johnathan Pena* (Boston)- Johnathan is one of the four Insomnia Cookies
workers who launched a strike at the Harvard Square store on Aug 21.
Insomnia Cookies refused to provide a legally mandated half-hour break for
shifts longer than six hours. Insomnia Cookies also did not meet the legal
requirement to ensure their drivers made minimum wage when their tips and
commission were insufficient. Bakers and cashiers at Insomnia Cookies were
being paid $9 an hour, while drivers were paid $5 an hour in addition to a
$0.50 commission and tips (adding up to just $6/hr). Workers at Insomnia
Cookies contacted the Boston IWW, joined the union, and have continued to
struggle for better pay, union recognition and decent working conditions
ever since. Terminated by Insomnia for his union activity, Jonathan
continues to press for justice for himself and his fellow workers.

*Tasia Edmonds* (Boston)- Tasia's activism includes defending civil
liberties, rape crisis center work and campaigning for environmental
justice. She has gone public with her IWW affiliation and remains employed
at Insomnia Cookies. Management at the company has been more careful about
paying minimum wage and providing breaks since the union drive began, but
bike delivery workers and bakers still live check-to-check and struggle to
make ends meet. Insomnia also refuses to pay Workers' Compensation
benefits. Employees report that when they get hurt making deliveries in
traffic, the boss's only response is to ask "Why are you late?" As an IWW
member, Tasia advocates for improved conditions in her store, and is
engaged in building the union.

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