May Day, the Occupy movement and the 99 percent narrative have raised the voices of low-wage workers who joined together under the banner "Organize, Legalize, and Unionize."
May Day 2012 has come and gone, but the reality is, that for most of us -- especially men and women of color or from immigrant communities -- every day is May Day. Every day brings more economic bad news, more reminders that while the top one percent get richer, the other 99 percent continue to have to struggle to make ends meet and provide for their families.
Every day, all across the city, the fights of the 99 percent -- income inequality, unemployment, a too-low minimum wage and bad employers who take advantage of low-wage workers -- go on, largely unnoticed.
Over the last several months, more than 20,000 workers at JFK Airport, car washes, Cablevision and in the supermarket industry have begun fighting back against unscrupulous employers who cheat them out of minimum wages, overtime and promised benefits.
Many of those low-wage workers -- the people who wash our cars, deliver our groceries, carry our luggage at airports and push wheel chairs at JFK -- have been organizing at some of the 200 car washes around the city, Brooklyn supermarkets and other businesses that make their owners rich while their employees suffer.
Airlines -- some of whom pay their CEOs between $1.2 million and $8 million a year -- frequently outsource the minimum-wage work of assisting wheelchair-bound passengers, baggage handling, non-TSA security, and cleaning cabins and terminals. At Cablevision, workers make significantly less than workers who do similar work at unionized Verizon. Despite $361 million in profits, Cablevision paid no federal income taxes in 2010.
In the next few weeks, there will be a series of large-scale actions and organizing drives across the city on behalf of those workers who have worked silently in the shadows.
These workers are not nameless, faceless people. Each has a story with a similar thread: They are hard-working, taxpaying men and women who can barely make ends meet while being denied basic rights, health insurance and other benefits. Prince Jackson is a security officer at JFK Airport who makes $8 an hour with few benefits. Many of his co-workers work two or three jobs to make ends meet; he volunteers at his church's food pantry just to get enough food to eat.
Roberto Ramirez Martinez is a produce department worker at Golden Farm supermarket in Brooklyn who made less than minimum wage with no overtime until he and 12 co-workers sued in June 2011 and eventually were allowed to elect a union to represent them.
Adán Nicolás has worked at the LMC Car Wash in Queens, putting in 12-hour days six or seven days for $5.50 an hour, with no overtime pay. The 5,000 hard-working men and women in the car wash industry often work in the cold, with no protection from chemicals.
May Day, the Occupy movement and the 99 percent narrative have raised the voices of low-wage workers in this city who have joined together under the banner "Organize, Legalize, and Unionize."
They are the people who were told that if you work hard and play by the rules you can achieve the American Dream, but in far too many cases they have suffered silently at the hands of unscrupulous employers who exploit them every day.
Over the next few days they will come together, organize and speak out for their rights to realize The Dream for themselves and their families.
It is up to all of us to join them.
Link to original article from AlterNet
A luxury condo building on New York City’s Upper West Side has gotten clearance from the city to have a separate entrance, or a “poor door,” for low-income tenants, according to the New York Post.
Extell, which is building the 33-story complex, will build a specific door for the 55 affordable housing units it’s including in order to be allowed to build a bigger building. The low-income units, which are available to people making 60 percent of median income or less, will also be in a segment that only contains affordable...
Bryce Covert | Think Progress 03 Aug 2014 Hits:531 New York
Primary season has begun to roll out across the country, including some hotly contested -- and some just plain bizarre -- races for governor, Congress and other local and state offices. One primary of note is in a State Senate race here in New York, and it has already attracted national attention, as well as mine, as it involves my State Senate district. This race is, in many ways, a microcosm of what is wrong with our political process nationally, as it pits an establishment-supported, "Republicrat" -- aka a Democrat...
Pearl Korn | The Huffington Post 29 May 2014 Hits:800 New York
Bill de Blasio overwhelmingly was elected mayor here Tuesday, becoming the first Democrat to lead New York in 20 years and ushering in a new era of activist liberal governance in the nation’s largest city.
Shortly after polls closed at 9 p.m., several networks projected that de Blasio soundly defeated Republican Joe Lhota, a protégé of former mayor Rudy Giuliani.
De Blasio campaigned on a mantle of progressive change following Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s 12 years in office, highlighting what he saw as “a tale of two cities.” The moneyed Manhattan elite have...
Phillip Rucker | The Washington Post 05 Nov 2013 Hits:554 New York
A US federal appeals court has blocked a previous ruling against New York City’s stop-and-frisk policy. In addition, the judge who made the ruling was removed from the case, the AP reported.
The appeals court alleges Judge Scheindlin “improperly urged plaintiffs’ counsel to file suit as ‘related’ to a 1999 case previously assigned to her and because of certain media interviews,” S.D.N.Y. Blog reported Thursday.
Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled in August the New York Police Department’s policing method was unconstitutional under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments.
Scheindlin found the NYPD’s 4.4 million stops...
RT 31 Oct 2013 Hits:394 New York
In writing about last night’s raucous NYC mayoral debate between Bill de Blasio and Joe Lhota, Michael Powell of the New York Times nailed de Blasio as a Nation sort of guy, but suggested that he might not be so forever.
“The man likely to be the next mayor, Mr. de Blasio now sometimes seems less suggestive of a Nation magazine star than a savvy, even cool-eyed pol. (It’s worth noting that he barred reporters from his fund-raiser and declined to make public a list of the guests),” writes Powell. He’s...
Leslie Savan | The Nation 24 Oct 2013 Hits:447 New York
Prepared to remember next November, nearly 40 protesters demonstrated Tuesday outside Rep. Chris Gibson’s, R-19, Kinderhook office for him to “stop the madness” and act before tomorrow when the federal government may no longer be able to pay its bills.
Protesters later marched on Gibson’s office to shred a $174,000 check made out to him by American taxpayers “for doing nothing,” Susan Weber, a MoveOn.org regional organizer, added.
“This is Chris Gibson’s congressional salary that he’s not earning because he’s voted to shut our government down,” she said.
Protest leaders from MoveOn.org assembled...
Joe Gentile Columbia-Greene Media 16 Oct 2013 Hits:580 New York
Leroy Downes, a plaintiff in the stop-and-frisk trial, spoke at a news conference after a federal judge ruled that the practice violated the rights of minorities. (Ruth Fremson/The New York Times
In a repudiation of a major element in the Bloomberg administration’s crime-fighting legacy, a federal judge has found that the stop-and-frisk tactics of the New York Police Department violated the constitutional rights of minorities in New York, and called for a federal monitor to oversee broad reforms.
In a blistering decision issued on Monday, the judge, Shira A....
Joseph Goldstein | The New York Times 12 Aug 2013 Hits:545 New York
Our friends in New York at PNHP NY Metro, IATSE Local 1, Single Payer New York, and Metro New York Health Care for All Campaign were organizing a model of collaboration that will advance the cause of Health Care for All in every district. In Albany that day they forged agreements for the majority of the Assembly to sign as co-sponsors toNEW YORK HEALTH!
New York Health is legislation introduced byAssemblyman Gottfried and Senator Perkins (A. 5389-A / S. 2078-A), that if passed, would establish a universal, single payer health program...
Healthcare for All Issue Team 25 Jun 2013 Hits:620 New York
Early Tuesday morning, the New York Times broke the news of the arrest of a state senator and a city councilman in a major federal corruption probe. They are accused of attempted to rig the city’s upcoming mayoral election. Four other New York political figures from both sides of the aisle were arrested as part of the alleged scheme.
Intrigued? Confused? Us too. Here’s everything you need to know about the case.
What happened? The probe involves both the New York City mayoral race and a development project in Spring Valley, New...
Rachel Weiner | The Washington Post 03 Apr 2013 Hits:717 New York
Tony Bennett and Al Sharpton joined a rally in Harlem to demand nationwide gun control legislation.
Each time Milagros Ortega saw a city council member pass by her on Thursday at a rally against gun violence, she stopped them and held up the picture she was wearing around her neck.
“This is my son Francisco. He was shot and killed two months ago at the Queensbridge Houses. Please make other politicians pass gun control around the country,” she told politician after politician at a Harlem gathering to encourage other states to pass...
Alyssa Figueroa | AlterNet 24 Mar 2013 Hits:538 New York
The New York State Assembly has approved, by a 95 to 40 vote, a two-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in New York. While it's unlikely to be passed in the Senate, the action reflects state lawmaker's growing worries about potential health impacts from the natural gas drilling process.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has led the way in recent days to ban hydrofracking for at least another two years in New York. The Speaker says right now, there are too many unanswered questions....
Karen DeWitt | North Country Public Radio 08 Mar 2013 Hits:707 New York
The Town Board of Woodstock, New York at its meeting on January 15 reviewed and adopted a resolution in support of a NY State law to criminalize hydraulic fracturing and related activities. The Town will submit its resolution supporting NY Public Law #1 to the New York State Legislature for implementation. Some 40 citizens in attendance resoundingly supported the decision.
This resolution (attached) is in support of NY Public Law #1, which makes hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas and all related activities crimes under the state penal code. NY Public...
Linda Leeds | Sovereign People's Action Network 17 Jan 2013 Hits:2937 New York
Two hundred workers from dozens of fast food outlets in New York City—including McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, Domino's, and Taco Bell—walked off their jobs Thursday morning to demand $15 an hour in pay and the right to form their own independent union, according to the organizers of Fast Food Forward.
It is the largest strike ever in the United States against the $200-billion-a-year fast food industry and represents the latest in a wave of collective actions by low-wage workers to change conditions in their...
David Moberg | In These Million 30 Nov 2012 Hits:840 New York
On Wednesday night, as a fierce northeaster bore down on the weather-beaten Rockaways, the relief groups with a noticeable presence on the battered Queens peninsula were these: the National Guard, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Police and Sanitation Departments — and Occupy Sandy, a do-it-yourself outfit recently established by Occupy Wall Street.
This stretch of the coast remained apocalyptic, with buildings burned like Dresden and ragged figures shuffling past the trash heaps. There was still no power, and parking lots were awash with...
Alan Feur | New York Times 12 Nov 2012 Hits:1055 New York
NEW YORK -- A federal appeals court in Manhattan has become the second in the nation to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued its ruling Thursday. The decision upholds a lower court judge who ruled that the 1996 law that defines marriage as involving a man and a woman was unconstitutional.
The three-judge panel says the law violates equal protection. A federal appeals court in Boston earlier this year also found it unconstitutional.
The issue is expected to be decided by the...
Huffington Post / AP 18 Oct 2012 Hits:907 New York
In Westchester County, a television advertisement accused a Democrat running for the State Senate of using campaign money to treat himself to fancy dinners. In Rochester, a commercial branded a…
Fired by a union-busting boss, the workers occupied their restuarant and then opened their own sidewalk cafe--forcing their owner to cede to their demands.
The restaurant workers who were…
On Thursday, the Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity arrived in New York City, one of the tour's last stops in the United States. The caravan is…
As foreclosures continue to put historic pressure on the nation’s rental market, slumlords now have more opportunity than ever to prey on the most vulnerable of tenants.
Andrea Evans (l.) is the only black representative on the 11-member state Parole Board after Gov. Cuomo refused to renew the term of the panel's lone black male,…
Rep. Charles Rangel’s victory in the Democratic primary for New York's 13th Congressional District shows that – despite demographic changes in his district, ethics woes, and a censure vote…
Picture by Sarah Seltzer
Momentum has been building in the movement to end stop-and-frisk, but many were still amazed at the size of the crowd Sunday.
A Father’s Day crowd that some…
Last September 22, when Occupy Wall Street was just five days old, labor activists from the encampment at Zuccotti Park disrupted an auction at Sotheby's in support of…
The groundswell of opposition to the dirty and dangerous practice of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in New York has come from all corners of the state and from…
For support in organizing within your state, contact:
Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
New York City Want to bring progressive change to New York? Start a PDA chapter; send us an email and we'll get you started.
PDA is organized around several core issues. These issues include:
Each team hosts a monthly conference call. Calls feature legislators, staffers and other policy experts. On these calls we determine PDA legislation to support as well as actions and future events.