December 22, 2011
By Jason Cherkis of the Huffington Post:
WASHINGTON — In a tangible victory by the Occupy movement, Occupy Atlanta has successfully helped save an Iraq War veteran from foreclosure.
Activists began occupying Brigitte Walker’s home on Dec. 6. By the end of that first week, JPMorgan Chase, which owns her mortgage, began discussing with the activists and Walker the possibility of a loan modification. Chase’s modification offer became official Monday morning. The offer will result, Walker tells The Huffington Post, in hundreds per month in savings.
Before Occupy Atlanta set up its tents on her lawn, Chase had set an eviction date for Jan. 3. Now, Walker, who lives with her girlfriend and her two children, will get to stay in her Riverdale, Ga. home.
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December 18, 2011
Over the past month, Occupy Wall Street has chalked up a large number of bold actions against both government and private authorities; it has led an attempted general strike, raucous marches, occupations of banks and abandoned buildings, disruptions of political speeches and press events, and a massive West Coast shut down of major port terminals.
The actions, moreover, have already achieved limited successes – besides having created space for Americans to come together outside of the established political system, they have rightly been credited with having stopped fee increases amongst the largest banks in the country, as well as having widely validated the American public’s fury over increasing inequality, generating massive media exposure. Largely, however, the only real material victory of Occupy so far – its having stopped increased bank fees – has been incidental, and was in no way a conscious objective of the Occupy Movement.
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December 14, 2011
A short article arguing against the US labor movement’s reliance on contracts and acceptance of the ‘no strike’ clause.
Originally posted: December 13, 2011 at Labor Notes Troublemaker’s blog
ILWU Local 21 Longview president Dan Coffman Speaks At Occupy Oakland
When leaders of the Occupy movement’s most reliable labor ally, the Longshore Union (ILWU), declared the union would not participate in Monday’s shutdown of West Coast ports, they illustrated a great weakness plaguing our unions.
Labor is confined by contract unionism, whose core is the no-strike clause.
Recall that during the 1999 mass protests against the World Trade Organization, the ILWU used its power to shut down all West Coast ports for a day, a stroke of exemplary solidarity.
The decision not to support the current call was influenced by the fact that, like almost all unions that sign collective bargaining agreements, the ILWU is bound by a clause barring strikes during the life of the contract. The last time ILWU supported a shutdown of the Oakland port, it suffered a fine of $65,000.
For more than 75 years, the labor movement has been enclosed by law and custom by collective bargaining, whose goal is to achieve a contract that seals in wages, benefits, a grievance procedure, and work rules. In return, workers and their union agree, crucially, to surrender their right to withhold their labor.
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December 13, 2011
By Marisol Bello, USA TODAY:
One in 45 children in the USA — 1.6 million children — were living on the street, in homeless shelters or motels, or doubled up with other families last year, according to the National Center on Family Homelessness.
The numbers represent a 33% increase from 2007, when there were 1.2 million homeless children, according to a report the center is releasing Tuesday.
“This is an absurdly high number,” says Ellen Bassuk, president of the center. “What we have new in 2010 is the effects of a man-made disaster caused by the economic recession. … We are seeing extreme budget cuts, foreclosures and a lack of affordable housing.”
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December 10, 2011
In the Dec. 12 port shutdown campaign, the rank and file are leading organized labor, not the other way around
As Occupy Wall Street groups stretching from San Diego to Anchorage mobilize for a multi-port shutdown of the North American West Coast, union members are finding the mobilization offers more than just support against union busting and unfair contracts. Activists and rank-and-file workers say the movement is teaching them what the bureaucratic infrastructure of organized labor has made them forget: collective power.
On Dec. 12, general assemblies (the decentralized governing bodies of OWS) in Los Angeles, Oakland, Calif., Tacoma, Wash., Santa Barbara, Calif., Portland, Ore., Seattle, Longview, Wash., San Diego, Anchorage, California’s Port Hueneme region, and dozens of smaller camps plan to blockade ports and halt commerce for a day. There is a combined Dallas-Houston effort to demonstrate at the port in Houston. Japanese rail workers, who are sympathetic to longshoremen, who work a partner company of Bunge — the company Occupy is protesting — will be demonstrating in Japan.
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December 6, 2011
Liberté Locke, a Starbucks Workers Union organizer, writes about how violence at work and in our personal lives are similar, how domestic abusers and bosses use the same techniques of control and that we need to fight both.
TRIGGER WARNING: sexual violence
I was raped by a boyfriend on August 18th, 2006. The very next day I held back tears while I lied to a stranger over the phone about why I was unavailable to go in that day for a second interview for a job that I desperately needed. When I hung up the phone I saw a new text message. It was from him. “It’s not over. It will never be over between us…”
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