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New York City

Workers Speak Out As UPS Continues Retaliation Against Union Activists

New York city, New York - Starting at 8:00 a.m. on September 1, workers and allies began to congregate at the steps of the Metro Queens UPS facility. The rally built on two-days of tabling, where dozens of coworkers posed for solidarity photos and encouraged coworkers to sign a petition defending “all fired activists.” Veterans of the 2014 ‘Maspeth 250’ wildcat strike, a struggle against the unjust firing of union militant Jairo Reyes, were quick to show their solidarity. So far, approximately 150 workers from the two Maspeth UPS buildings signed the petition, with plans in place to get many more signatures.

Palestine Will Be Free!

Workers World Party members marched alongside Palestinian-led organizations, including Within Our Lifetime, Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, the Palestinian Youth Movement and Existence is Resistance, who organized the demonstration in response to the three-day bombing campaign waged by Israel against occupied Gaza, in which 43 civilians were killed, including 15 children. As supporters marched through the streets waving Palestinian flags and chanting “resistance is justified, when people are occupied!” they were met with applause by pedestrians and enthusiastic honks by passing cars. There was a group of pro-Israeli Zionists who tried to disrupt the rally, but they were far outnumbered by the thousands of supporters of Palestine chanting “Palestine will be free, from the river to the sea, within our lifetime!”

NYPD Violently Arrest Five Abortion Rights Activists At A Clinic Defense

New York City, New York - On every first Saturday of every month, anti-abortion protesters gather to harass patients at the SoHo Planned Parenthood in the heart of New York City, supposedly a “safe city” for abortion rights. In response, local activist group NYC for Abortion Rights organizes a monthly clinic defense and counter-protest. The  NYPD always go out of their way to protect the anti-choice crowd, enabling them to harass patients trying to enter the clinic, as well as physically assault abortion rights activists. In that regard, today was no different. But today, the end of the morning, five clinic defenders were in handcuffs. The anti-choice mob usually leads a procession from the Basilica of Old St Patrick’s Cathedral to the nearby Planned Parenthood, but today they chose to forgo the procession.

On The Hudson River, A New Model Of Environmental Stewardship

New York City - Adjacent to the Hudson River, along the west side of Manhattan, are some of the world’s most valuable commercial and residential properties: townhouses and mixed-use developments like Hudson Yards and much-loved public spaces like Hudson River Park and the Hudson River Greenway, which unite city residents and visitors with the river. But those civic and private investments often end at the water’s edge. Just offshore lie neglected and largely dysfunctional shallow water habitats. The Hudson River Foundation, where I serve as president, has long sought to address the myriad problems plaguing this vital waterway. Despite substantial progress over the past 40 years, the river continues to carry the burden of polychlorinated biphenyl compounds, or PCBs, that were frequently dumped into it during the 20th century and are likely carcinogenic to humans.

NYC Teachers Criticize Massive School Budget Cuts

At the end of the school year, Annie Tan, a special education elementary school teacher in Sunset Park in Brooklyn, New York, said teachers typically have a party. This year, however, that celebration was mired by the loss of 16 teachers from her school who are being excessed (ie, moved to different schools and positions) as a result of massive public education budget cuts that are being enacted by the New York City Board of Education and Mayor Eric Adams’ administration.  The loss of those teachers, and the resulting vacancies that will remain unfilled, means that Tan’s students will continue to not have an art program, and dual-language programs will be limited for students who are still learning English. 

Renters Are Being Fleeced With Huge Rent Hikes And Evictions

Gerardo Vidal, who has lived in the same apartment in Queens, New York, with his family for 9 years, recently received a $900-a-month rent increase this year. “It means having to uproot my entire family, given the fact we’re still having a difficult time earning money due to the pandemic and loss of jobs,” said Vidal. “It’s unfair that we are being basically forced out of places we lived in for nine years and that landlords can get away with this.” Vidal is one of thousands of tenants in New York and countless others around the US who are currently experiencing drastic rent increases—a trend that has been decades in the making but, combined with an inflation squeeze and systemic shortage of affordable housing, is causing havoc for renters. These rent hikes are effectively serving as evictions by landlords who know full well that tenants will likely have to move as a result, enabling the landlords to rent out units to new tenants at greater rates.

‘No Justice, No Tacos!’

Midtown, New York City, New York - SEIU Local 32BJ held a rally and march yesterday in support of Chipotle workers seeking unionization, reliable scheduling and a raise in pay to $20 dollars an hour. The purple-clad procession gathered at 6th Ave. and 48th St., near the NewsCorp headquarters and Fox Square. Leaders of the local, including Executive Vice President Denis Johnston, addressed the crowd, alongside members of the New York City Council, the State Senate and the State Assembly. Councilwoman Julie Menin (District 5) and Councilman Lincoln Restler (District 33) voiced their support for the $20 dollar wage. “You all led the fight for $15; now we’re going to lead the fight for $20,” said Councilwoman Julie Menin.

Brooklyn’s Maison Jar Is One Of Many New Zero-Waste Grocery Stores

New York City, New York - At Maison Jar – a new grocery store located in Greenpoint, Brooklyn in New York City – silos of dry goods line one wall. Dried beans, grains, pasta, nuts, and coffee are beside bins of cooking staples like flour, baking soda, baking powder, and sugar. A refrigerator on the wall opposite holds industrial-sized jars of olives, racks of eggs, and metal trays of fresh produce, and a freezer is stocked with plastic bins of frozen fruit and vegetables. Prepared snacks like dried mangos, wasabi peas, gummy bears, and chocolate-covered nuts fill glass jugs on the center tables. The back of the store has shelves of metal dispensers filled with oil and liquid condiments – like soy sauce and vinegar – glass jars of loose spices, and a table of multi-gallon pump bottles of laundry detergent, shampoo and conditioner, body lotion, and other personal care products.

Filipinos Fight For Democracy

New York City, New York - Starting the morning of Monday, May 9, Filipinos and allies across the tri-state area began hosting a vigil outside of the Consulate General of the Philippines. They committed to stay until the results of a historic election were announced. The Northeast Vigil for Democracy was one of dozens across the U.S. calling for a fair election as Filipinos voted for a variety of different positions. All eyes are on the presidency as two main candidates fight it out - Bongbong Marcos and Leni Robredo. While Marcos ran on a robust social media campaign based on rewriting history of his family, Robredo brought forward the people in effort to affect positive change. At 7 p.m. that day, a rally began with close to 100 protesters.

Apple Retail Workers At The Grand Central Store Are Trying To Unionize

New York City, New York - From Activision to Amazon, historic union elections are changing the way that Americans think about work. Now, Apple is the next tech giant to reckon with an employee-driven labor movement. Calling themselves the Fruit Stand Workers United (FSWU), employees at Apple’s Grand Central Terminal retail location launched a website designed to educate their fellow workers about why they want to unionize their store. “Year over year, the cost of living in New York City has not kept pace with our wages,” the FSWU’s mission statement reads. “Meanwhile, Apple has grown to be the most valuable company in the world. Why should its retail workers live precariously?” The collective will be affiliated with Workers United, the same group that has helped over 20 Starbucks locations form unions since December.

New York Luxury Building Workers Rally And Authorize Strike

Thousands of porters, doorpersons, superintendents, concierges, and handypersons with SEIU Local 32BJ gathered on Park Avenue in Manhattan on Wednesday for a rally to demand a fair contract. These essential residential workers are currently in contract negotiations with the Real Estate Advisory Board and are demanding wage increases and fully employer-paid health insurance for their families. The workers also raised the slogan of “no givebacks,” in response to bosses demanding they pay into their own health insurance and take cuts to paid time off. These workers deserve what they have already — and far more.

Grassroots Unionism: Lessons From The Victory At Amazon

Amazon workers in Staten Island defeated one of the wealthiest and most anti-union corporations in the world. Their victory is a repudiation of the failed strategy of the labor bureaucracy and shows the power of real rank and file organizing.

Beyond Con Ed: For New York, Public Power Is The Past And The Future

In the past year, Elsa Martinez has seen utility bills from New York energy monopoly Con Edison soar to as much as $300 per month. The costs seemed inexplicable to Martinez, a disabled Harlem resident. “​​Half the time I wasn’t home! That’s what threw me off.” Martinez mentions that the high bills may stem from her grandkids watching television. And the fact that she has to leave her hallway light on to make sure she does not miss steps when she gets up in the night — things she fears giving up. Martinez had to turn to Adult Protective Services to keep her lights on, though Con Ed has shut off her power multiple times since the start of the pandemic. “They’re the pits to me, I call them a bunch of crooks,” said Martinez about Con Ed.

Workers Used Amazon’s Captive Audience Meetings Against Amazon

Amazon workers in Staten Island, N.Y., astonished the world last week when they voted to form the first-ever U.S. union at the e‑commerce behemoth, which is known for ferociously opposing its workers’ efforts to organize. The Amazon Labor Union (ALU), which won the effort at the JFK8 fulfillment center, had been targeted by such anti-union efforts, and its co-founder, Chris Smalls, had been called “not smart or articulate” by Amazon officials. (Smalls co-founded the union after he was fired for organizing for safer conditions during the pandemic.) Workers and organizers across the country are looking to this campaign for lessons on how to overcome such aggressive tactics from Amazon, which has long proved difficult to organize.

Amazon Workers In Staten Island Clinch A Historic Victory

It’s the magical stuff of Disney movies. But yesterday, the improbable became the most probable when the scrappy band of workers who make up the Amazon Labor Union took the lead in a union election at a warehouse in Staten Island, New York, putting within reach a historic labor win at the corporate behemoth. Before the vote count most reporters had dismissed the independent union’s chances, treating the organizing as a curiosity at best. “I think we have been overlooked,” said ALU Treasurer Madeline Wesley Thursday night. “And I think that that ends tomorrow when we are victorious.” The ALU clinched a decisive victory today, winning by a wide margin to create the first unionized workplace in Amazon’s extensive network of fulfillment, delivery, and sortation centers across the U.S.
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