Walmart Workers & Supporters Can Claim a Victory This Black Friday

Today, Colorado Jobs with Justice activists joined almost 75 supporters of the Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart) associates. True to the Jobs with Justice model, these supporters came from labor, faith, community, and student-youth groups, marching, leafleting, and letting Walmart's customers and associates know that we all support OUR Walmart members' demands for dignity, fair wages, full-time work, and decent working conditions. For more photos, click here.           

See below for a statement from the national Jobs with Justice on this historic day of action.

A Statement of Jobs with Justice
In a historic move, nearly a thousand actions have begun around the country as a part of a rolling series of walk-outs by Walmart’s store associates.  The Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart), called for the strike after numerous unfair labor practices (ULPs) the company committed against worker and in protest of Walmart’s ongoing attempts to silence workers for speaking out for better jobs.  This strike follow successful direct action by warehouse workers and seafood workers along the company’s vast supply chain.
In response, the company continued to make illegal threats to workers in the stores—even going so far as to file a bogus ULP claim with the National Labor Relations Board.
However, public support has been widespread, with many mobilizing to stores over the holidays to support workers who are walking out.  Over $125,000 has already been raised for strike support.  Jobs with Justice coalitions alone are responsible for mobilizing to over 50 store actions around the country.
This new movement of the Walmart 99% is only going to grow, and more rapidly each day.  It has become clear that the company cannot deflect it forever. 
The only solution is for Walmart to sit down with all of its workers, from factory to store, to collectively negotiate better conditions for the people the company depends on.


Adelante! No Papers, No Fear, Ride for Justice

Last week the No Papers, No Fear Ride for Justice took off for a six week tour of the South.  They are stopping in local communities to share challenges undocumented immigrants face and are organizing actions that confronts fear and builds community.  Colorado Jobs with Justice, along with many other organizations, welcome the riders on their first stop in Denver.  For two days, riders and local community leaders shared stories, engaged in strategy sessions and shared laughter over meals.
Coloradans face their own "show me your papers" SB90 which has been in effect since 2006.  SB90 has kept communities under attack and has added more family and friends into ICE's deportation dragnet.  Local leaders shared stories of courage, their commitment to organizing, and the need to overturn SB90 at a rally on the capitol steps.
"When we are made fearful and divided, whether it is in the workplace or in the community, that is when we become vulnerable to exploitation."  Said Joe Thomas of Colorado Jobs with Justice, "But when are organize we shed our fears and become powerful."
This week the riders are in New Orleans meeting with day laborers, civil rights leaders, and to support the Southern 32 in their effort to stop their deportation.  The Southern 32 is a group of immigrant labor organizers and civil rights defenders currently in deportation proceedings for having the courage to stand up for their rights and is another demonstration that we are stronger when we are organized.  Another great example of the courage power that comes from organizing for dignity and respect.  The riders take with them the strength, encouragement, and the stories of the lives they are now connected to all the way their last stop, Charlotte, North Carolina.  Adelante! 
Every day we are posting to FacebookTwitter, and to the blog: http://nopapersnofear.org 


Jobs with Justice & Allies Confront Corporate Power

Today, Colorado Jobs with Justice joined the Denver Area Labor Federation, SEIU, UFCW, and CWA in confronting corporate power. With all of the national conversation around income inequality, we wanted to be clear: The massive and growing gap between the rich and the rest of us is not an accident. It's not the inevitable result of mysterious market forces. It's about corporate bad actors and greedy corporate executives deliberately driving down wages and benefits for their workers so that they can take home ever more massive profits and executive paychecks.

From CWA District 7, Jay Boyle told the crowd of fifty labor and community activists about how Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam took home more than $20 million last year, and their retired CEO gets a pension of millions a year -- while Verizon is demanding to gut pensions for its workers. The crowd all made phone calls to CEO Lowell McAdam's voicemail, just to brighten his day. Then the UFCW's Mark Belkin spoke about efforts at organizing with Walmart associates, as well as a strike at Buckley Air Force Base, where eight barbers have struck at their location of a nationwide chain of barbershops.

Walmart will be opening new stores in Denver and across Colorado in the coming year, and UFCW and Jobs with Justice will be there to stand up to their greed. Last but certainly not least, we heard from Celia, a proud SEIU 105 member and janitor, who -- along with her sisters and brothers at Local 105 -- are fighting for a fair contract this year. The cleaning companies and the property owners of the building 105's members clean are making huge profits -- again -- and again they want to work their employees even harder for too little pay.

Thanks to all those who joined us today, but this is only the beginning of these campaigns. With Walmart expanding, Walmart associates organizing under the banner of OUR Walmart (Organization United for Respect at Walmart), CenturyLink looking to follow in Verizon's footsteps in attacking CWA members hard-earned middle-class jobs, and SEIU's Justice for Janitors campaign officially launching in April, there will be many opportunities to be there, standing up for workers and against corporate greed! See you next time!


Jobs with Justice Rallies to Support Verizon Workers

This past Saturday, December 10th, more than forty activists from Colorado Jobs with Justice rallied to tell Verizon to bargain fairly with its workers. All across the East Coast, forty five thousand CWA and IBEW members are trying to hold on to middle class jobs, but the massively-profitable Verizon wants to cut starting pay, force retirees to pay up to $6,000 a year for healthcare they've already earned, make it easier to outsource jobs, and cut pensions. Jobs with Justice coalitions across the country have been taking action in solidarity.

Here in Denver, in front of the Verizon Wireless store on the 16th Street Mall, the gathered crowd heard from Mary Taylor, Vice President of District 7 for CWA, Brother David Garner of Interfaith Worker Justice, and Seth Donovan, Co-Chair for Colorado Jobs with Justice. Mary Taylor said CWA is "proud of the fact that [we've] worked hard to make sure our member have stable middle-class jobs. . .what Verizon is doing is not just an attack on its own workers, but an attack on working people across the country." Brother David Garner emphasized that this struggle "must be seen in a moral context" because "we believe in people over profits. . .but profits over people is in the corporate DNA."

Last but not least, Seth Donovan from Jobs with Justice spoke to why JwJ turned out for our sisters and brothers at Verizon: We all took the Be There Pledge to show up for others' fights as well as our own, to stand against corporate greed and for workers' rights, and Jobs with Justice promised to show up to support Verizon workers. Thanks to everyone who showed up to help us keep that promise!

For more pictures from the rally, go here.


Time to stand up for Jeanette Vizguerra

by David Garner
posted orginally at examiner.com
Jeanette Vizguerra, a Colorado leader and mother of four, faces what may be her final court date on July 13. She faces deportation as an undocumented alien. Jeanette has lived in Colorado for over 14 years. She has 3 small children who are all US citizens
During her time in Colorado, she started a small business with her husband and has given selflessly as a community activist. She worked for SEIU as a labor organizer and currently volunteers at her children’s schools. She is part of the the Aurora Neighborhood Watch Program, and Rights for All People.  During the time she was doing all of this, her husband was diagnosed with cancer and the family incurred over twenty eight thousand dollars in medical bills. By working sometimes as many as three jobs at one time, this debt was retired. Not one dime of tax payer money went toward helping the family because, in Jeanette’s words, “It wouldn’t have been right.”  In any other situation, and most any other country, all of this would have qualified Jeanette for a Citizen of the Year award.  But not in our community and not in this country at this time in our nation’ history.
Jeanette’s story exemplifies our broken immigration system in which mothers, fathers, students, and workers are criminalized for minor violations. In her case, it was a matter of an expired emissions sticker. When she was pulled over, the first question asked was “Are you in this country illegally?” With that traffic stop, she entered the criminal justice system and became a statistic.
In testifying before the US Senate Committee on the Judiciary on March 9 of this year, Secretary of Interior Janet Napolitano said the following: “Likeour actions at the border, our interior enforcement efforts are achieving major results. In Fiscal Years 2009 and 2010, ICE removed more illegal immigrants from our country than ever before, with more than 779,000 removals nationwide in the last two years. Most importantly, more than half of those aliens removed last year – upwards of 195,000 – were convicted criminals, the most ever removed from our country in a single year.”There is a good chance that Jeanette Vizguerra will join that number.
Mark Twain once wrote that “there are three kinds of lies: plain lies, damned lies and statistics.” Our immigration policy is based upon the third kind of lie. It is time we change that. There will be a demonstration prior to Jeanette’s court appearance. It will be at 7:30Am in front of the federal court building at 17th and Welton in downtown Denver. It is your chance to help in this change.

Br. David received his doctorate in religious studies from Emerson Theological Institute. Dr. Garner also holds an MBA from Fairleigh Dickinson University and a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Denver. Br. David is a member of the Interfaith Worker Justice Council of Colorado and serves on the Steering Committee of the Abrahamic Initiative here in Denver. He was recently recognized by the Denver Area Chapter of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement for his commitment to the community and to the Latino Movement. Author, teacher and social activist , he is currently Abbot of St. Dunstan's Benedictine Abbey in Denver, Colorado.


Regis University Ends Relationship with Sodexo

by Victoria Harris

After a student and faculty campaign to raise awareness about Sodexo’s practices, Regis has ended its relationship with Sodexo.

Students on campus were concerned that they weren’t getting what they were paying for.  Regis students described the campaign “ 'I Love Sodexo Workers’  as an effort to bring awareness to the fact that Sodexo, one of the biggest food service providers for college campuses here in the US, and also at Regis, has been accused of paying poverty wages, cutting hours, and offering its employees unaffordable health insurance.  Meanwhile students are paying high prices for low quality food, and contributing their money to a corporation that mistreats its employees.   The purpose of the campaign is that we want to show Sodexo workers that we appreciate them, but find that Sodexo as a company does not fit in with the Regis motto of 'How Ought We to Live?"

Students wore purple on campus to show support for workers rights and to send a message to Sodexo management and university decision makers.  Students also filled out hundreds of comment cards, reflecting on the poor quality of food and their continuing support of the workers.  "The workers are the only reason why I still eat at Sodexo. The food is AWFUL! But the workers try to make your eating experiences better,” said one Regis student. Another student comments, “"The workers here deserve better. We are a Jesuit University, let's start acting like one!"

In a speech to classmates in the Sodexo dining hall, Jon Denzler stated, “Workers have a right to organize, have decent pay, and affordable health care benefits. We think at Regis University, as a Jesuit School, when we ask “How Ought We to Live?” maybe our campus food providers should fit into that model as well.  We also think that whoever the food service provider is, the workers should be hired back.  These aren’t just workers, they are our friends.”

The new food service provider, Bon Apetit, will be on campus beginning in July.


Build Power. Fight Back. Win!

Corporations want to use the failing economy as an excuse to reverse every worker protection put in place over the last century, but we are standing together and fighting back!
Come to the Jobs with Justice conference to learn from and strategize with labor leaders, rank & file workers, students, religious leaders, community activists, workers excluded from labor law protection, and many, many more about how to build a powerful movement of working people to defeat the corporate agenda! Join us as we explore:
  • Establishing a new framework for collective bargaining rights in the 21st century

  • Building a new economy that supports full & fair employment

  • From the Middle East to the Midwest, building a culture of resistance – what’s next?

  • Defending, promoting, & expanding collective bargaining rights

  • Defeating attacks that divide workers by turning the tide on immigration criminalization & enforcement

  • Forging successful coalitions to defeat the corporate attack on working people

  • Kickoff to the Jobs with Justice 25th Anniversary Celebration

  • REGISTER NOW! Early bird rates in effect until June 24th.