Recent Victories

Victory for Workers & Patients at RI Hospital!

Rhode Island needs good jobs and quality healthcare in our community. That’s why RI Jobs With Justice and the Teamster employees at RI Hospital united for a Lifespan that puts people first. Together, we fought for appropriate staffing, fair wages, retirement security, and quality care.

We brought patients into this fight because we know that as the state’s largest healthcare provider and largest employer, decisions made at Lifespan have far-reaching implications for all of us. We’ve brought patients directly to the CEOs of the hospital to air our concerns around under-staffing and disrespect toward workers. And when the hospital’s management team slammed the door in our face, we took the action to the streets with pickets lines drawing hundreds of workers from the hospital and community supporters.

As a sign of new rank and file enthusiasm, workers at the hospital voted overwhelmingly In March, 2015 to authorize their bargaining committee to begin a strike. Fortunately, the hospital’s executives decided to respect the needs of workers and patients, and in April workers ratified a new contract that protects against lay-offs and dangerously low staffing levels, and provides significant raises that benefit the lowest paid workers most.

We won’t give up until Lifespan put the healthcare needs of the community before their executives million dollar pay checks. We won’t stop until Lifespan Puts People First.

RI Ends Most ICE Holds – #Not1More

After 3 years of organizing by RI Jobs With Justice, The Olneyville Neighborhood Association, and other members of the Todos Somos Arizona (We Are All Arizona) Coalition and allies, Governor Chafee issued an executive order last week preventing the RI Department of Corrections from handing people over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. This massive victory will dramatically limit deportations in our state, helping to quell the fear undocumented workers and family members live with everyday.

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Antonio Mejia (center), released from prison after being held nearly 7 months for a charge of driving without a license. Before the executive order, Antonio would have been given over to Immigration Agents if he had paid bail, but today he walks free.

As a member of the Todos Somos Arizona (We Are All Arizona) coalition, RI Jobs With Justice has built strategic alliances between faith, labor and community organizations to show a united front against exploitation and fear. And now, after years of hard work, the tide has shifted in Rhode Island towards justice for immigrants.

Victory for Housing Justice: Just Cause Passes!

The Rhode Island General Assembly has passed the Just Cause bill, which will prevent “no-fault” evictions, evictions of tenants living in foreclosed properties who are paying their rent, and following the rules of their lease. The Just Cause bill protects tenants from the greed of the banking industry and affirms their right to housing, a basic human need. This bill is a huge step forward for tenants’ rights and economic justice, and will help our communities prevent homelessness, blight, and the reduction of property values in our neighborhoods.

RI Jobs With Justice has been a proud member of the Just Cause coalition for a number of years. As coalition members, we organized credit union members to pressure the Credit Union Association to seize from opposing the bill; we engaged faith and labor leaders in the campaign, and provided critical additional community by door-knocking, and achieving phone calls and e-mails to legislators, providing the additional support needed to push this bill to victory.

We are pleased to stand with our sisters and brothers at Direct Action for Rights and Equality in celebrating this monumental victory for working Rhode Islanders.

RI “Bans the Box” on Job Applications

In 2013, Rhode Island became the 10th to pass legislation that bans the box on job applications asking applicants if they have a criminal record. RI JwJ played a key role in the campaign that won this major step forward for working class dignity and inclusion. We engaged our broad membership to sign on to the campaign, recruiting allies from labor, faith and student communities to call on legislators to take a stand for civil rights and workers’ rights. This law will make it possible for thousands of people looking for jobs to get their foot in the door, and present their whole selves to employers. It will also take a step towards a world where employers cannot use workers criminal records as a union busting tool, denying some workers work and dividing solidarity within union ranks.

Justice for Janitors: RI JWJ Contributes to Major Contract Improvements

In 2012, RI JwJ organized coalition support and local actions contributing to a successful campaign to renegotiate the contract of 14,000 primarily Latino and Cape Verdean New England janitors. Through RI JwJ’s Solidarity Committee, our coalition brought more than 300 people into the streets for a series of actions, including a march and multiple leaflets which leveraged strategic community pressure on building owners to negotiate in good faith. The 2012 Labor Day march linked the janitor’s struggle to the campaigns of other coalition partners, including the Todos Somos Arizona (We Are All Arizona) immigrants’ rights coalition, the Behind the Walls Committee and Tenant and Homeowner’s Association of Direct Action for Rights and Equality, creating a united voice for working class people in Rhode Island.