Articles tagged labor
Posted 1 week ago on May 8, 2013, 2:34 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
frieze art fair,
ows arts and labor
To artists, gallerists, workers, and fairgoers attending Frieze Art Fair New York:
For the second year in a row, Frieze Art Fair and its subcontractor Production Glue have hired low-wage, non-unionized workers to construct their fair, bringing in people from as far away as Wisconsin. This breaks with the industry standard: the major New York City art fairs including the Armory and the ADAA, as well as many other cultural and business expositions, employ unionized workers to construct and run their shows.
Frieze is a for-profit private event that takes over a municipal public park for two months to serve a global clientele of wealthy art collectors. The fair pays less than $1 per square foot to lease the land from the city. With a ticket price of $42 per day, Frieze is inaccessible to many working New Yorkers. However, despite the cheap rent and high admission prices to an event that generates millions of dollars in art sales (and not to mention the event's main sponsor, Deutsche Bank), Frieze still claims it cannot afford to pay decent wages to local workers.
Labor organizations including Teamsters Joint Council 16, NYC Central Labor Council, IATSE Local 829, IATSE Local 1, NYC District Council of Carpenters, and District Council 9 have all called on Frieze to employ their union members and guarantee local workers a fair, living wage with benefits. This demand has been repeated by City Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito (representing Randall’s Island), as well as City Councilmembers Jessica Lappin and Mark Weprin, and U.S. Representative Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY12). As Weprin said recently, “Frieze NY Art Fair, or any private business that chooses to use public parks, should hire local New York workers and adhere to fair labor standards.”
If you are an artist or gallerist showing at the fair:
We ask you to refuse to serve as a fig leaf for exploitation. We ask you to decline to lend artistic cachet to an event that does not support New Yorkers, and that desperately needs the stamp of cultural seriousness to justify itself to the public.
Even if you cannot withdraw from the fair at this point, we ask you to consider speaking out publicly against Frieze’s unfair labor practices by making information about this issue available at your booth. We would be glad to provide you with a sign and/or flyers you can display.
We also urge you to tell Frieze organizers that you are an artist or represent artists in the exhibition and that you support organized labor.
If you are attending or work at the fair: Urge everyone you know to contact Frieze to demand they engage in fair labor practices, and consider not attending the fair until Frieze agrees.
It takes courage to speak the truth when many wish to deny it, but rest assured that should you decide to stand up and speak out, you will not be alone.
The arts are an economic engine for New York, bringing millions of people and billions of dollars to the city each year. Yet each year, more jobs become unpaid internships, artists are denied payment for their labor, real wages go down, and benefits are lost; meanwhile, the city becomes more expensive and the distribution of wealth more unequal. We believe in the importance of holding institutions such as Frieze accountable for their impact on New York and the people who live and work here. We want to see art bloom across our city, but we know there is a better, fairer way to foster this growth.
Arts & Labor
To contact Frieze:
Frieze New York Office
41 Union Square West, Suite 1623
New York, NY 10003
+1 212 463 7488
Assistant to Director Amanda Sharp
+1 212 463 7488
Frieze London Office
1 Montclare Street London E2 7EU, UK
+44 (0)20 3372 6111
For more information on this struggle, see:
Arts & Labor, “NYC Labor Leaders Demand that Frieze NY Art Fair Hire Local and Union”
Mostafa Heddaya, “Labor Issues in Spotlight as Frieze NY Prepares for May Art Fair”
Whitney Kimball, “Unions, City Council, Congresswoman Protest Frieze”
Rozalia Jovanovic, “New York Union Members Speak Out at City Hall Against Frieze's Labor Policies”
Posted 1 month ago on April 4, 2013, 9:47 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Today, Thursday April 4 , over 400 fast food workers across NYC are starting a second wave of strikes for better wages and a union, marking the 45th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
Like the sanitation workers that Dr. King marched with in Memphis, these workers are standing up for dignity and respect for all workers.
Will you support these courageous workers by mobilizing your friends, family and colleagues to come out today and Friday?
1) Join a picket line starting at 11am. Key locations:
Wendy’s in midtown Manhattan, 259 34th St.
Burger King in Harlem, 154 E. 116 St.
Wendy’s in downtown Brooklyn 425 Fulton St.
2) Come to the Fast Food Worker Justice rally at 5:30pm in Marcus Garvey Park (124th and Madison). RSVP here
3) On Friday April 5, walk the striking workers back to work. Collective action is protected under U.S. labor law, and the workers are asking the community to be on-site at fast food locations around the city to support them as they return to the job. Sign up here; shifts are available throughout the day.
Post your photos and videos to Facebook and Twitter:
Posted 1 month ago on March 26, 2013, 10:58 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
triangle shirtwaist factory fire,
The Great Hall at Cooper Union in lower Manhattan was packed, standing room only on this November 22nd, 1909 day. Garment workers from all over the city came to the same auditorium where Abraham Lincoln had denounced the proliferation of slavery nearly fifty years earlier. They were there to consider an industry-wide strike in support of the striking Triangle Shirtwaist Factory workers. Union leaders (men) droned on for nearly two hours, when suddenly a 23 year old, immigrant union organizer named Clara Lemlich burst up onto the stage uninvited, and said, “I would like to say a few words.” She then turned to her audience and said, “I have listened to all the speakers and I have no further patience for talk. I am a working girl, one of those striking against intolerable conditions. I am tired of listening to speakers who talk in generalities. What we are here for is to decide whether or not to strike. I offer a resolution that a general strike be declared now!” Her peers were wildly supportive. She then led a modified version of an old Jewish oath, “If I turn traitor to the cause, I now pledge may this hand wither from the arm I now raise.” And so began what was soon known as The Uprising of 20,000.
The next day, all over the city garment workers walked off their jobs, and met in Union Square Park for a solidarity rally. The eleven week strike saw over 700 arrests. Strikers were being beat by company-hired thugs, and prostitutes, and police often turned their backs, and in some cases even participated in the beatings. Finally it ended with a Peace Protocol, with the hundreds of clothing manufacturers making different deals with their workers. Many companies became union shops where only union workers could be hired. The owners of Triangle Shirtwaist Factory resisted, giving in to only modest wage and hour concessions. The unsafe, over-crowded conditions remained the same at Triangle with doors only opening inward, shabbily constructed fire escapes, a barrel of oil stored on the floor, cloth tailings that were not removed on a regular basis, and incredibly exit doors that were locked during working hours.
Then late in the afternoon on a beautiful spring Saturday (March 25th, 1911), while having tea with a friend near Washington Square Park a woman named Frances Perkins suddenly heard screams and sirens going off. She ran across the park and came upon the horrific site of seeing the first of 50-60, mostly women jumping out of the fire engulfed upper floors, of the ten-story Asch building. Triangle Shirtwaist occupied the 8th-10th floors. In the little more than a half hour that fire raged, 146 people died; 129 of them were women; Italian and Jewish immigrants mostly; the average age was 19, and the youngest, Kate Leone and “Sarah” Rosaria Maltese only 14. The bodies were brought to a covered pier on E 26th St so families could conduct the gruesome task of identifying their loved ones, if they could.
New Yorkers were gripped with an immense feeling of grief and mea culpa. A meeting was called on April 2nd at the old Metropolitan Opera House to see what could be done so that these young women did not die in vain. The meeting became tense as people from different socioeconomic groups started squabbling - that until a young, immigrant, union organizer, named Rose Schneiderman started to speak. She held her audience spell-bound with her angry, chastising speech. Decades later Frances Perkins who was in attendance said, “..Wonderful, what a speech she made.” After the meeting, and that incredible oratory, a safety commission was formed. Ms. Perkins became the lead investigator, and their mission expanded into looking at all aspects of factory life in the over 2,000 factories that were inspected in New York state. Over thirty new laws were passed, and many of them were emulated by other states.
At no time were the feelings of guilt and sorrow probably more evident than on a cold rainy April 5th day, when between 80-120,000 people gathered in and around Washington Square Park where a funeral procession was to begin for the victims of the fire. It was led by six horses pulling an empty hearse, followed by victims’ families, survivors of the fire, and garment workers from throughout the city. It is estimated that another 200-400,000 people lined the streets of the route towards, and up 5th Ave.
This tragedy caused union enrollment to soar. People started to feel a sense of empowerment, and knew that there was strength in unity. Religious groups, community groups, unions, radicals, and reformers all banded together, putting aside their differences for the greater shared goal of improving people’s lives. And they did not ask for change, but rather they demanded it.
The social advancements in this era, and in the decades that followed were made possible by people who had courage and were willing to make tremendous sacrifices so that they, and their progeny could live a life with dignity. And it is undeniable that most of us and our loved ones, past and present benefited greatly from the pain that those people endured to secure those gains. What we have forgotten is that - it is a never-ending battle to keep what we had inherited. The crisis that we find ourselves in today begs the questions; Do we have an economic system that can be adapted to a sustainable world in which not only the environment is taken into account, but where the peoples’ well-being is considered more important than profits? And the next more important question is; Do we as a people possess the mettle that our ancestors had to make the changes that we must make? Well..
It was said, “The New Deal began March 25th, 1911,” and the woman who said that was the first woman Cabinet member, Secretary of Labor, Frances Perkins - Yes that same Frances Perkins whose tea was interrupted on that fateful, shocking, life-changing day for her, all those years ago.
Posted 5 months ago on Dec. 10, 2012, 5:36 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Update: 12/11: This is what Lansing looks like this morning as around 15,000 people have converged on the capitol:
“In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, such as ‘right to work.’ It is a law to rob us of our civil rights and job rights. Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining by which unions have improved wages and working conditions of everyone…Wherever these laws have been passed, wages are lower, job opportunities are fewer and there are no civil rights. We do not intend to let them do this to us. We demand this fraud be stopped.” —Martin Luther King
Last Thursday, nearly a thousand union members and supporters gathered inside the Michigan capitol building in Lansing to protest lawmakers' decision to ram through "right to work" legislation. The day ended abruptly when police began assaulting and pepper-spraying protesters, provoking an evacuation and lockdown of the capitol building. The protests have continued, and at least eight people have been arrested. This Tuesday, thousands more will descend upon Lansing to protest the 1%-backed "right to work" legislation, the most extreme anti-union law Michigan has ever seen. Nurses, teachers, autoworkers, service sector employees, iron-workers, and many other workers (including the unemployed), plus their families, allies, and communities, have already spoken out. Many have also received training and are preparing for nonviolent civil disobedience.
Occupy stands staunchly in solidarity with these days of action. The unfolding events in Michigan are the latest assault on workers' rights in the U.S. and across the globe. Government policies such as the cynically-named "right to work" legislation will lower living standards for the 99% and benefit the elite who profit from our labor. In the face of these blatant attacks on low-income and working people, we must show sustained and escalating resistance. Together, we can defeat the Wall Street, corporate agenda of consolidating wealth in the hands of the few at the expense of the many.
Therefore, we call on all Occupiers in Michigan, the Midwest, and beyond, to join in solidarity and Occupy the Capitol. Now is the time to activate the networks we've created and begin organizing for mass action. The lesson of Wisconsin's failed recall vote was that election politics are not enough — we need to put everything on the table: sustained physical occupation, mass civil disobedience, even the option of general strike. From the Flint Sit-Down Strike of 1936-37, to the West Coast Port Shutdowns of 2011-12, history has shown time and time again: direct action gets the goods.
RSVP for Tuesday's Day of Action on Facebook
Twitter hashtags: #saveMI #NoRTWMI
more facts on why 'right to work' is wrong for everyone
"light brigade" solidarity message from Wisconsin
Posted 5 months ago on Dec. 10, 2012, 5:26 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
When: Tuesday, December 11 @ 4:30pm
Where: Harold Pratt House, 58 East 68th Street, New York, New York 10065
RSVP on Facebook
Just weeks after the massive demonstration of the #WalmartStrikers Black Friday day of action, Walmart CEO Mike Duke is visiting NYC on Tuesday, Dec. 11 to give a speech for the Council on Foreign Relations entitled "The Responsibility to Lead" - talking about women's economic empowerment, food security & the global middle class.
That's ironic, since Walmart represents the epitome of corporate greed: from use of sweatshop labor, to the poverty wages it pays associates, to discrimination, to illegal retaliation against workers who organize. Mike Duke has no right to speak about the "global middle class", and IT'S TIME WE TAUGHT HIM THE MEANING OF RESPONSIBILITY.
Join ALIGN, 99 Pickets, Walmart Free NYC, Occupy Bergen County, Retail Action Project, MoneyOut/VotersIn, and allies for an afternoon of action -- picket lines, street theater, and more.
Text "@pickets" to 23559 for day-of text message alerts.
We will publicly hold Mike Duke accountable for:
- The deaths of 120 workers from a fire at Bangladeshi sweatshop producing clothing for Walmart in incredibly unsafe conditions.
- Paying Walmart workers poverty wages, forcing many to file for public assistance, and for retaliating against workers when they began to organize and speak out about working conditions.
- Mistreatment of workers across Walmart's supply chain, especially warehouse workers and immigrant workers at Walmart suppliers