As the convening organization for May 1st, 2017 RI Jobs with Justice finds itself in a complicated but welcome position. May 1st has so many vital and relevant meanings. May 1st is the International Day of Workers Struggle. Originally organized during the protests and martyrdoms of the 8-hour movement 130 years ago. Today we find ourselves in much the same position and with new urgency. We call on our ancestors to help inform us as we bring the struggle back to the streets. We call on Lucy Parsons to draft our map to chart a new course of liberation.
With the manifestation of Trump, it as though he scales have fallen from so many people’s eyes. The threats that Black people, Immigrants, LGBTQA people, Women have been facing for time immemorial are made real for the rest of settler society. We welcome this. We are calling on May 1st to be a people’s inauguration of a new Popular Front that is truly committed to building an intersectional movement of revolt and love.
All the people and organizations who have been working on the planning for the May1st events have made a commitment to each other that they would be there for each other. We all agreed that this May 1st we needed to accept that Our economy as it stands is failing us. That we are need to build a new economy that centers on people.
-We agree that Black Lives Matter and that anti-blackness is the thread that unites so much that is horrific in Rhode Island, the nation and the world.
-We agree that white supremacy is manifest in all parts of our society, it takes its ugliest form in our criminal justice system, and schools.
-We agree that the Earth cannot survive the path we are on. Our children deserve a life in a clean beautiful world.
-We agree that the worlds indigenous community have over millennia developed strategies and tactics for survival that can show the rest of us a path to building resilient societies.
-We agree that a woman is human being and that we all must be active and vigilant in all the myriad ways the state, capital, and society can seek to destroy a Woman’s agency and power.
-We agree that labor is entitled to all it produces, and this includes un-compensated emotional, sexual, and reproductive labor that we need to continue as a
We agree that we have a right to love, and to be loved, and are committed to freeing desire.
-We agree that nationalism is a toxic narcotic that can blind otherwise good people into cruelty.
-We agree that only a new internationalism rooted in community can build a new world.
-We agree that all people have a right to housing.
-We agree that all people have a right to beauty.
-We agree that al people have a right to food.
-We agree that all people have a right meaningful work.
-We agree that no one should live in the shadows, that all our world travelers are to be fully welcomed and fully included into our lives.
-We agree that the current criminal justice system is a failure and call for its abolition.
-We believe all workers have a right to collectively bargain and strike.
-Most importantly we believe another world is possible.
It is the honor of RI Jobs with Justice to help facilitate and make this real. It is the honor of my life to be in SOLIDARITY with my community.
-Mike Araujo, Executive Director, Rhode Island Jobs with Justice.
Como organización convocante para el 1 de mayo de 2017, RI Jobs with Justice se encuentra en una posición complicada pero bienvenida. El 1 de mayo tiene tantos significados vitales y relevantes. El 1 de mayo es el Día Internacional de la Lucha de los Trabajadores. Originalmente organizado durante las protestas y martirios del movimiento de 8 horas hace 130 años. Hoy nos encontramos en la misma posición y con una nueva urgencia. Hacemos un llamamiento a nuestros antepasados para que nos ayuden a informarnos mientras llevamos la lucha a las calles. Pedimos a Lucy Parsons que elabore nuestro mapa para trazar un nuevo curso de liberación.
Con la manifestación de Trump, como si hubiera escalado los ojos de tanta gente. Las amenazas que los negros, inmigrantes, personas LGBTQA, las mujeres han estado enfrentando durante tiempo inmemorial se hacen reales para el resto de la sociedad de los colonos. Damos la bienvenida a esto. Estamos llamando el 1 de mayo a ser la inauguración popular de un nuevo Frente Popular que está verdaderamente comprometido a construir un movimiento interseccional de rebelión y amor.
Todas las personas y organizaciones que han estado trabajando en la planificación de los eventos del 1 de mayo se han comprometido mutuamente a estar allí el uno para el otro. Todos estuvimos de acuerdo en que este 1 de mayo necesitábamos aceptar que Nuestra economía, tal como está, nos está fallando. Que necesitamos construir una nueva economía que se centre en la gente.
-Estamos de acuerdo en que Black Lives Matter y ese anti-blackness es el hilo que une tanto que es horrible en Rhode Island, la nación y el mundo.
– Estamos de acuerdo en que la supremacía blanca se manifiesta en todas partes de nuestra sociedad, toma su forma más fea en nuestro sistema de justicia penal y en las escuelas.
– Estamos de acuerdo en que la Tierra no puede sobrevivir al camino en el que estamos. Nuestros hijos merecen una vida en un mundo limpio y hermoso.
-Conocemos que la comunidad indígena de los mundos ha desarrollado durante más de milenios estrategias y tácticas de supervivencia que pueden mostrar al resto de nosotros un camino hacia la construcción de sociedades resilientes.
-Estamos de acuerdo en que una mujer es un ser humano y que todos debemos ser activos y vigilantes en todas las miríadas de maneras en que el Estado, el capital y la sociedad pueden tratar de destruir el poder y la agencia de una mujer.
-Aceptamos que el trabajo tiene derecho a todo lo que produce, y esto incluye el trabajo emocional, sexual y reproductivo no compensado que necesitamos para continuar como un
Estamos de acuerdo en que tenemos el derecho de amar, y de ser amados, y estamos comprometidos a liberar el deseo.
-Estamos de acuerdo en que el nacionalismo es un narcótico tóxico que puede ciego de otra manera buena gente en la crueldad.
-Estamos de acuerdo en que sólo un nuevo internacionalismo arraigado en la comunidad puede construir un nuevo mundo.
-Estamos de acuerdo en que todas las personas tienen derecho a la vivienda.
-Aceptamos que todas las personas tienen derecho a la belleza.
-Estamos de acuerdo en que todas las personas tienen derecho a la comida.
-Estamos de acuerdo en que todas las personas tienen un trabajo correcto y significativo.
-Estamos de acuerdo en que nadie debe vivir en las sombras, que todos nuestros viajeros del mundo deben ser plenamente acogidos y plenamente incluidos en nuestras vidas.
– Estamos de acuerdo en que el actual sistema de justicia penal es un fracaso y piden su abolición.
-Creemos que todos los trabajadores tienen derecho a negociar colectivamente y hacer huelga.
-Más importante es que creemos que otro mundo es posible.
Es el honor de RI Jobs con Justicia ayudar a facilitar y hacer esto real. Es el honor de mi vida estar en SOLIDARIDAD con mi comunidad.
-Mike Araujo, Director Ejecutivo, Rhode Island Jobs con Justicia.
The rush to criminalize and punish has led to a draconian culture. There is an irrevocable nature to our penal system that has created a class of people that are marked, stigmatized, and isolated. We cannot propose on the one hand that all mistakes are permanent, and on the other hand we cannot live with the pretense that we live in society that believes in redemption. So rarely is being humane part of our criminal justice system, Ban the Box is an attempt to inject humanity into and often cruel system. When a debt to society is paid, it must be considered paid in full. When a sentence is over we must keep our promise not make a life sentence out of every conviction.
Rhode Island stepped up and provided a path for the formerly incarcerated to engage in the full economic life of RI. It is common sense, after all we believe that when a debt is paid then it is paid. Rhode Island took a bold step to undo the damage of mass incarceration. The tool to do this was Ban the Box. This is a law that prohibits a box on an employment application that asks about a criminal record. This was done because that little box became a short cut to a rubbish bin. Ban the Box allowed an applicant to discuss their status directly with an employer. This provides a path to a relationship, a chance to explain circumstance, a chance to move on.
In my role at Jobs with Justice as Director I am lucky enough to meet and spend time with Rhode Islanders from all over, mostly working people at all points of life. It is the barriers that working people face can be massive and building a life worth living requires the full spectrum of our shared humanity to make it. We cannot afford people on the outside of our society. Ban the Box as good as it is, it still needs a chance to work. Representatives Slater and Diaz have made a proposed a change will provide employers to be armed with the information they need to comply with Ban the Box, and give prospective employees the tools they need to get employed.
In the 3 years since implementation Ban the Box we have seen serious improvement in the treatment of our formerly incarcerated neighbors, now it is time to take another step and fully implement the law through better information and better agency engagement. Serious discussion about streamlining the process of reporting Ban the Box violations, with the changes that are proposed an applicant can report Ban the Box violation directly to the Dept. of Labor and Training. Many of the violations happen because of simple lack of knowledge, with improved notification, the vast majority of violations would simply go away. Egregious violations or multiple issues will go to the RI Human Rights Commission for investigation.
The Human Rights Commission, Dept. of Labor and Training, RI Jobs with Justice, DARE, and the ACLU and the bill’s prime sponsor Representative Scott Slater negotiated a clear path to make Ban the Box a meaningful law and that is why we urge passage of House Bill 6141.
Former Wells Fargo Employees Call for Elaine Chao’s Senate Nomination Hearings to Explore What She Knew About Systemic Fraud Scandal at Bank
New Letter Asks Senators to Explore What Elaine Chao, Member of Wells Fargo Board of Directors Since 2011, Knew About Systemic Fraud at Wells Fargo
Washington, DC – Former Wells Fargo employees have issued a new letter to the U.S. Senate asking that the upcoming Senate confirmation hearings for Secretary of Treasury nominee Elaine Chao include questions to explore her knowledge of the fraud scandal at Wells Fargo, in which up to two million fake accounts were created by Wells Fargo bankers in order to meet sales targets and for which the bank has been fined more than $180 million. Ms. Chao has been a member of the Wells Fargo Board of Directors since 2011.
The letter, from the Committee for Better Banks, states, “We believe that Ms. Chao’s confirmation hearings should address this issue to provide the American public with a fuller and truer sense of when, exactly, members of Wells Fargo’s board became aware of this systemic fraud and why it took them so long to act to rectify the problem. In particular, we hope that you will use the opportunity of her nomination hearings to ask her directly when she was made aware of the allegations raised by workers prior to the action taken by the CFPB. Getting this information is also crucial as you assess whether Ms. Chao has the appropriate management approach to lead an effective and responsible Department of Transportation.”
Ms. Chao is scheduled to have a confirmation hearing before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on Wednesday, January 11th. The letter from the Wells Fargo employees to the Senate is pasted below:
“As former employees of Wells Fargo, we are writing you regarding the nomination of Elaine Chao to serve as Secretary of Transportation. As you likely know, Ms. Chao has served on the Board of Directors of Wells Fargo since 2011, which we believe merits your attention as you consider her nomination.
Much attention has rightfully been paid to the scandal in which up to two million fake accounts were created by Wells Fargo bankers in order to meet unrealistic and unfair sales targets. We are grateful to banking regulators, particularly the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, for their work exposing this scandal and to rectify the harm done to consumers. We are similarly appreciative of the members of Congress and the U.S. Senate who have supported efforts to rectify consumer harm and hold Wells Fargo executives accountable.
Unfortunately, former Wells Fargo CEO and Chairman John Stumpf and other members of Wells Fargo leadership have worked to evade accountability and to shift blame to the very same workers whom they forced into the pressure cooker environment that ultimately led to this scandal. In particular, we do not believe that there has been an honest accounting regarding when and how Wells Fargo leadership became aware of the widespread creation of fake accounts.
We can personally attest that Wells Fargo supervisors directed bankers to meet unrealistic sales quotas by any means necessary. These same supervisors were fully aware that it was exceedingly difficult for any banker to hit these targets while treating customers fairly, and it is implausible that many of these supervisors were totally unaware of the fraud resulting from their own directives. Yet, Mr. Stumpf and others have insisted that they had very little knowledge of the scope of this problem until recently.
We are members of the Committee for Better Banks (CBB) a coalition advocating for improvements in the banking industry. We identified unreasonable and excessive sales goals, quotas and metrics as a significant issue in the industry and supported a petition started by Wells Fargo workers several years ago. In both 2014 and 2015 members of CBB went to Wells Fargo shareholder meetings delivering the petitions and a message about the impact of the excessive sales goals on employees and customers. We did demonstrations and protests around the country that received a great deal of publicity and we were part of a congressional briefing on the issue. It is hard to imagine the members of the Wells Fargo board was not aware of this festering problem.
We believe that Ms. Chao’s confirmation hearings should address this issue to provide the American public with a fuller and truer sense of when, exactly, members of Wells Fargo’s board became aware of this systemic fraud and why it took them so long to act to rectify the problem. In particular, we hope that you will use the opportunity of her nomination hearings to ask her directly when she was made aware of the allegations raised by workers prior to the the action taken by the CFPB.
Getting this information is also crucial as you assess whether Ms. Chao has the appropriate management approach to lead an effective and responsible Department of Transportation. So, we hope that you will consider this issue strongly as you evaluate Ms. Chao’s nomination.
Thanks in advance for your consideration of our request.”
April 4, 2016 MLK Would Have Been 86
In Rhode Island 14% of our neighbors live in poverty. In Rhode Island 27% of our children live in poverty. This is an outrage to my heart. I am asking that we recommit ourselves to asking more of society and be wholly dissatisfied with the current structure. A new commitment to bring equity and justice for all of us. This means a new fearlessness a new unbowed and bold face must be presented. We must answer Dr. King’s question: “What is to be done?” with a resounding answer of……
“I want to say to you as I move to my conclusion, as we talk about
Where do we go from here, that we honestly face the fact that the movement must address itself to the question of restructuring the whole of American society. There are forty million poor people here. And one day we must ask the question,
Why are there forty million poor people in America? And when you begin to ask that question, you are raising questions about the economic system, about a broader distribution of wealth. When you ask that question, you begin to question the capitalistic economy. And I’m simply saying that more and more, we’ve got to begin to ask questions about the whole society. We are called upon to help the discouraged beggars in life’s marketplace. But one day we must come to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. It means that questions must be raised. You see, my friends, when you deal with this, you begin to ask the question,
Who owns the oil? You begin to ask the question,
Who owns the iron ore?You begin to ask the question,
Why is it that people have to pay water bills in a world that is two-thirds water? These are questions that must be asked.”
Dr Martin Luther King Jr.
The images we have of the working classes in America are surprisingly uniform. The popular cultural image right now is a Mike Rowe like character in a hard hat spouting some bootstrap bullshit. We know otherwise, we know our history and we take it to heart. For African american workers it is the history that is unsurprisingly uniform. What is thought of as neo-liberal global capitalism now is and has been the experience of African Americans from the very beginning. The mercenaries who raided African villages were employed by various nations and companies, dragged to ships owned by a corporation, and manned by crews from around the world. Their bodies insured by international insurance companies, sold by brokerage houses that traded in the “stocks and bonds” of the captives, often they were sold several times before arrival. Investors in specific voyages stood to make fortunes on the miserable human cargo. Sold onto plantations, factories, boats, and mines that were owned by international conglomerates that owned portions of the individual captive. There is very little neo in this globalization.
Black workers in America have resisted and struck from the moment of birth to the moment of death. This working class power is the legacy that belongs to all of us. Working Class power is personified in the captive African American. White Workers must learn to share this heritage and lift it up. It is time to retire the word slavery in the context of white employment, there is simply no comparison in the horror.
As a Black worker I am keenly aware of the heightened risks that we face, both inside and outside labor. Our History is shared and we can go so far but only if we do it together.
BLACK WORK MATTERS
Centers health Care made an insulting offer. Out of State nursing home chain Centers Health Care tried to decrease compensation and set up a two tiered system. The WORKERS said HELL NO! on December 28th they voted unanimously to reject CENTERS unfair and divisive offer. These committed and steadfast workers further voted unanimously to authorize a STRIKE if the bosses don’t start negotiating in good faith. Come out and stand in SOLIDARITY with the brave women and men on January 11th at 2pm 135 Dodge St Providence RI.
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.