5:25pm: Interfaith clergy for economic justice getting ready to speak and crowds are still pouring in to Union Square. Huge turnout so far. If you are in New York, it isn't too late to head there now! In Chicago, the teachers union is picketing the school district while preparing for the #RaiseTheWage rally.
6:00pm: Labor leaders giving shout-outs to #OWS, saying "we are car wash, airport, supermarket, laundry, retail, ConEd and restaurant workers - and we are all together! We are the 99%!" Meanwhile in Philly, Occupy Philadelphia reports: "The livable wage rally is currently occupying The Gallery." (Photos below)
6:30pm: Massive cheers echo in Manhattan as TWU (the transit workers union) joins the lively march of thousands on way to ConEd to support locked out workers there.
7:15pm: NYPD are keeping the demo at ConEd HQ penned in behind barricades; undeterred, the coalition of union labor and low-wage workers continues to make tons of noise. Despite the demo having a permit, NYPD spotted with riot gear and flexi-cuffs around the corner.
7:45pm: Marchers headed to various area car washes to demand owners stop stealing wages from workers, and to Capital Grille to protest wage theft and discrimination. Tons of photos from the march added below the cut! Check back later for even more. What an amazing day of actions!
Why are we marching today? For one, Obama promised during his campaign to raise the minimum wage each year after he took office. He has yet to do it even once. In every state in the United States, it is literally impossible to afford rent while working minimum wage even if you have a full time job. The minimum wage has been increased only 3 times in the last thirty years – not even enough to account for inflation.
It is time: We demand a living wage now! Here are a few more facts about the minimum wage, also courtesy of NY Workers Rising:
Over the past 10 years the minimum wage has remained stagnant while CEO pay has increased by 725%
Minimum wage jobs are the fastest growing sector in New York, with the number of workers being paid minimum wage increasing ten-fold over the past five years to 91,000.
66% of Car Wash workers interviewed reported receiving the legal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Only 5 workers reported being paid the difference if their tips and salary didn’t amount to $7.25 per hour.
Over 55% of those earning less than $8.50/hour statewide and 58% of those earning less than $8.50 per hour upstate are female.
In New York State, approximately 487,000 women would be guaranteed to get a raise if the minimum wage were to be increased to $8.50 per hour.
In New York City, 78% of those earning less than $8.50 per hour are people of color.
Latino residents of New York City are the most likely to see an increase in pay, with nearly 49% of all Latino workers earning less than $8.50 per hour.
African Americans in New York City would be the second largest beneficiary of a higher minimum wage, with over 22% of African American residents making less than $8.50 per hour.
Even with two incomes, a family of 4 where both parents earn minimum wage, earns about $30,160 per year, assuming no time off. Not much about the $23,050 poverty line, especially if a family member gets sick and one person has to take time off.
Over 84% statewide and 92% in New York City of the residents making less than $8.50 an hour are 20 years of age or older.
New Yorkers ages 16-19 make up barely 16% of the statewide and 8% of the New York City workforce making less than $8.50 per hour.
Average estimated all-in costs (including tuition, room and board, books, personal expenses, transportation) for a SUNY student living on campus is $21,120. A student attending classes and working 20 hours per week would make merely $7,540. This guarantees that a student would require significant financial aid, if they were able to afford school at all.
The current pre-tax annual income of a worker earning minimum wage ($7.25) for a full-time (40 hours/week) job – assuming no time off – would provide $15,080.
Posted 3 years ago on July 24, 2012, 3:48 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
In June, U.N. envoys called on the U.S. government to protect the rights of peaceful protesters. However, the rights to free speech and freedom of assembly to demand redress of grievances by the government continue to be met instead with police violence and efforts to intimidate and deter protesters. From Seattle to Los Angeles to Minneapolis to New York, police are increasing their aggression towards peaceful Occupy protesters by their presence in large numbers dressed in riot gear, the use of weapons such as rubber bullets and pepper spray and escalating charges against those who are arrested.
On the morning of July 10, a SWAT police team in Seattle, WA, raided an apartment where organizers of the Occupy Movement were staying. The organizers were working on the “Everything 4 Everyone Festival.” There were no arrests but the apartment was ransacked.
In Los Angeles, police are escalating their attack on Occupiers and others who are using chalk messaging to increase awareness about a dispute between a development corporation and small businesses, people of color and homeless people who are being forced out of the area near Skid Row in downtown. There have been more than a dozen arrests, outrageous bails set and aggression, including rubber bullets and bean bags that have caused serious injuries to peaceful protesters. In Anaheim, police opened fire with rubber bullets on a crowd and turned an attack dog loose on a woman holding a baby.
Occupy Our Homes protesters in Minneapolis are now being charged with serious crimes in an effort to prevent more protesters from defending people being forced out of their homes.
Recently in New York, Occupiers who walked 99 miles from the Occupy National Gathering in Philadelphia to New York City as part of the Guitarmy March were greeted with police aggression. [See below]
These recent events come on the heels of possible high profile entrapments of Occupiers in alleged incidents in Chicago and Cleveland. All of this seems to be a co-ordinated law enforcement clampdown against Occupy.
Tarak Kauff, a U.S. Army veteran, a member of Veterans For Peace and one of the founders of the Veterans Peace Team, says, “We are now and always have been a country led by wealthy politicians and business interests addicted to war and violence as a source of wealth and power. They instigated and waged war on indigenous peoples living relatively peacefully on this continent and the wars have continued unabated from there. Violence now permeates practically every aspect of our culture but we are seeing it manifested most by those who carry weapons and badges, those very people and institutions we depend upon to 'keep the peace.'"
Veterans For Peace and the Veterans Peace Team call on law enforcement officers to use restraint, common sense and negotiation when encountering peaceful protesters and to cease using violence upon them. We recognize that individual law enforcement personnel are working people, and we urge them not to protect the vested corporate interests exploiting people and poisoning the planet, but to honor their commitment to serve and protect the people.
The Veterans Peace Team (VPT) was created earlier this year "to nonviolently confront, document, and thereby expose the inherent or actual violence of those institutions that would use violence to impose their will on others." The Veterans Peace Team is a national project of Veterans For Peace in response to increasing police and other law enforcement crackdowns on peaceful Occupy encampments and marches.
Video: The Occupy Guitarmy 99 Mile March peacefully returns to Wall Street from the National Gathering in Philadelphia and is attacked by the NYPD. Trigger warning!
Posted 3 years ago on July 24, 2012, 3:24 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
via the Coalition of Immokalee Workers: On July 25th, conscientious consumers from New York to Oakland and more than twenty cities in between are calling on Chipotle to respect the rights of farmworkers who pick the tomatoes that go into Chipotle burritos by demanding that Chipotle commit to a Fair Food Agreement. For a full list of locations in the U.S., see here. For more info on the NYC action, see below.
Community/Farmworker Alliance is continuing the NYC campaign against Chipotle on July 25th at the Chipotle by Union Square.
CHIPTOLE- It’s time to stand true to your “sustainable” image and Sign the Fair Food Agreement with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers today!
Join us as we make a wall of postcards to drop off to the manager and hold a rally outside the Union Square store, so that they can see how many people in new york are fed up with their chipocrisy! We’re also encouraging folks to hold up a sign and get their pictures taken for the CHIPOCRISY tumblr!
For six years, Chipotle has refused to come to the table with Coalition of Immokalee Workers to sign a Fair Food Agreement, securing labor protections for workers in the fields of Florida. Despite all of the promotion of having “sustainable vegetables” and cage-free, anti-biotic free meat, Chipotle is still selling Food WithOUT Integrity.
CEO Steve Elis said that “we feel that we do not need to sign a contract to do the right thing. We do the right thing because that’s the kind of company we are…” We all know that corporations don’t just “do the right thing” without contracts that hold them accountable to their purchasing and practices.
Join us in telling CEO Steve Elis and Chipotle that we won’t listen to any more excuses. Sign the Fair Food Agreement NOW! See you there!!
Picket line outside Chipotle in NYC during the Day of Action for Low Wage Workers, 7/24
Where: Herald Square to Union Square, Starts at Broadway & 32nd St, New York, NY
Fight for better jobs, better wages and the rights of all workers!
Across New York, our livelihoods are under attack. After years of massive layoffs and high rates of unemployment, wages and benefits are being cut from what used to be middle class jobs. On top of that, workers are working longer hours without overtime pay, health insurance or any retirement benefits.
Meanwhile minimum wage jobs are the fastest growing sector in the state growing ten-fold over the past five years.
A minimum wage earner employed full time makes just of $15,000/ year. That’s hardly enough to get by in New York. And many low-wage workers have tips and wages stolen by employers, forcing them to survive on even less.
Full-time work shouldn’t keep you in poverty. It’s time for workers to band together and demand respect in our work places. It is time to tell our elected officials that New York needs a raise. It’s time for broader prosperity across the country.
Posted 3 years ago on July 23, 2012, 7:57 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
The labor/Occupy/ActUp contingent
Updated, 7/24, 1pm ET: Livestream of Robin Hood / Tax Wall Street with National Nurses United march added below. Protesters currently massing around Bank of America with large banner reading "End Poverty, End AIDS!" Occupy & ACT UP! contingent present. Everyone in D.C. should head down ASAP! Follow #endAIDS for updates. 1:25pm: March now in front of U.S. Chamber of Commerce on way to White House. Speaker explaining need for Robin Hood Tax: "They do have the money to fund treatment and prevention. It's on Wall Street. Wall Street got bailed out, people with AIDS got sold out." 1:30pm: All 5 branches of the mobilization have converged in Lafayette Park. 2pm: As thousands gather at the White House, speakers from around the world continue to lead crowd in song and chants of "Power to the People!" Speakers calling for policies that address HIV/AIDS by protecting sex workers, drug users, LGBTQ people, and other vulnerable communities, and demanding that leaders stop caving in to right wing pressure to criminalize these same communities. 2:40pm: Sit-in on White House lawn while large crowd chants in support: "ACT UP and OCCUPY, how many more have to die?" "Pills cost pennies, greed costs lives!" "Pills not prisons!!" ""AIDS can be defeated, if the people are treated!" 2:55pm: Many more photos added below the cut.
AIDS WILL NOT END WITHOUT HUMAN RIGHTS, HARM REDUCTION; THOUSANDS MOVE FROM THE IAC CONFERENCE AND TAKE TO STREETS DEMANDING ACTION
The Robin Hood Tax march will assemble at Mt. Vernon Place and 9th St. NW (across the street from the conference site at the Convention Center) and proceed along New York Ave. before concluding with a rally in front of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce at 1615 H St. NW (across the street from Lafayette Park). The Robin Hood march will then join four other marches involved with the “We Can End AIDS” day of action converging in front of the White House for a final civil disobedience.
For background on Occupy's support for the struggle to Tax Wall Street and End AIDS, see here.
Harm reduction contingent arrives at White House calling for an end to the Drug War and criminalization of sex workers, which hinder the fight against AIDS