Saturday, August 18, 2007

Dude Gets Arrested for Teh International @narkiiii!!11

American anarchist faces criminal charges in Spain
Associated Press

McLEAN, Virginia: Peter Gelderloos would admit he is not your typical American tourist. While other Americans in Barcelona might be hopping between tapas bars, he was hanging out at a squatters' rights protest, lending support to the protesters.

But police in Barcelona say he was more than an innocent bystander. They charged him with public disorder and illegal demonstration for what they characterize as an instigating role in the April protest that got out of control. He could face up to six years in prison if convicted, an unusually stiff penalty because of the protest's conclusion — the explosion of a massive firecracker.

Gelderloos, 25, of Vienna, Virginia, says the charges are ridiculous. He says he barely knew the protesters and could not have been involved in organizing or leading them. He believes that his political beliefs — he is an anarchist who sometimes dresses the part — caused police to treat him suspiciously.

"The cop was sure I was a terrorist because he was sure I was a squatter, and he was sure I was a squatter because he thought I looked like one (I was wearing a political t-shirt and had some slogans scribbled on my shoes)," Gelderloos wrote in an account of his arrest that has been posted on Web sites dedicated to radical political causes.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Baltimore Stadium Workers Plan Hunger Strike for Living Wage

Baltimore Stadium Workers Plan Hunger Strike for Living Wage

by James Parks, Aug 13, 2007

The workers who clean up plastic cups, peanut shells, spilled beer and hot dogs left by nearly 49,000 fans after games at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore have been fighting for higher wages and better working conditions for three years.

The United Workers Association (UWA), a Baltimore worker center, which represents the nearly 800 mainly immigrant workers, says the subcontractors who employ them have reneged on promises to pay a living wage. The workers make about $7 an hour. The national median hourly salary of janitors and cleaners is $9.58, according to the U.S Department of Labor.

Harriet Tubman at Daily Kos says these workers are fed up with the broken promises. They plan to launch a hunger strike Sept. 3 and continue until they are paid a living wage.

One of the workers is Valerie, a 55-year-old single woman who says she doesn’t make enough to pay her bills and take care of herself. (See video.) She says working for $7 an hour makes me feel real bad. I work hard for my money, and to get paid $7 [means] I don’t even have extra money to treat myself to McDonald’s.

In May, Maryland passed a law requiring contractors to pay workers a living wage. The Maryland law—the first in the nation for a state—requires service contractors doing business with the state to pay employees $11.30 an hour in urban areas and $8.50 an hour in rural areas. The state’s minimum wage is $6.15 an hour.

Although the state owns the stadium, the cleaning crews are not covered by the law, which exempts part-time and temporary workers. As a state agency, the Maryland Stadium Authority, which owns Oriole Park, does not have to follow Baltimore’s living wage ordinance requiring city contractors to pay workers at least $9.62 an hour. The Baltimore ordinance was the first in the nation when enacted in 1994.

Through protests, rallies and concerts, the workers are calling on the Stadium Authority to push for a hourly wage of at least $9.62 when the cleaning contract comes up for renewal next year.

Some 150 day laborers are hired to clean during and after Baltimore Orioles home games. The cleanup takes six to eight hours. Temporary workers also clean M&T Bank Stadium (next door to Oriole Park) after Baltimore Ravens home football games.

The day laborers are hired by temp agencies in Baltimore. Michigan-based Knight Facilities Management, which won the contract to clean Oriole Park and M&T stadium for about $1.9 million a year, subcontracts with the temp agencies to find workers. The state contract expires in January 2008.

The workers also say some subcontractors charge employees a transportation fee, amounting to $6 per round trip. They also say they are not paid for the time they wait to be let into the stadium after the games. Workers say they are told by the subcontractors to be at the stadium up to two hours before their cleaning shift begins. But not all workers who wait are picked for the job, they say.

The bottom line is one of fairness, Kim Thompson told the Baltimore Sun. Thompson, 32, of Baltimore, began working at the stadium a month ago. She said the work can be exhausting, wiping down seats, picking up debris and hauling trash bags.

It’s sickening how much trash is left. We have to come in and clean it up for a little bit of money.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

UFCW Statement: Bush Administration Immigration Program Would Legalize Racial Discrimination

Statement from the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union: Bush Administration Immigration Program Would Legalize Racial Discrimination

Planned Enforcement Actions Threaten to Disrupt Innocent Workers and Communities

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The following is a statement from the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union:

On a hot, quiet August morning in Washington, DC - when the President is on vacation and Congress at recess - the Bush Administration announced an immigration reform package that essentially mandates federal racial discrimination.

The Administration's guidelines would throw the doors open to racial
discrimination to whole classes of people by placing an undue burden
on workers who sound foreign, look foreign and particularly, on the
tens of millions of Hispanic and Asian-Americans who would face
greater scrutiny in the workplace. It is irresponsible to toss out
civil rights for the sake of political gamesmanship.

Considering the circumstances, today's announcement smacks of nothing more than a publicity stunt aimed at terrifying immigrant workers. Further, this program lacks the support and mandate of the American people who have been demanding humane, comprehensive immigration reform that addresses the root causes of illegal immigration. This program offers no solutions, only punishments to workers.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has proven by its past
behavior that it is not beyond their scope to traumatize innocent
workers, including U.S. citizens, under the guise of immigration
enforcement. During its raids at Swift meatpacking plants last
December, all workers, including citizens, legal residents, were held by ICE agents and subjected to unlawful search and seizure. Law
enforcement must uphold and defend the Constitution, not violate it.

Congress and the President promised the American people it would work toward solutions to these problems but both parties have failed. It is time for our elected leaders to get back to work - not with unauthorized, sweeping gestures like this Bush enforcement program.