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Not Playing Around: Video Game Testers Aim To Unionize

Albany, New York - Workers at Blizzard Albany want to democratize their workplace, seeking improved work-life balance, fair compensation, and improved benefits, as well as open communication between employees and Activision Blizzard King. To get there, quality assurance (QA) testers at Blizzard’s studio in Albany announced in late July they want to form a union at the company with the help of the Communication Workers of America (CWA). The workers have chosen to organize under the name Game Workers Alliance Albany. If successful, QA testers in Albany would continue the momentum initiated by testers at Wisconsin-based Raven Software, another subsidiary of Activision Blizzard King (ABK). The team at Raven won their union election decisively back in late May, signifying the first successful union drive at one of the largest video game companies in history.

US Open Immigrant Workers Say Wages Were Stolen

Every year for two weeks between late August and early September, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, home to the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, is transformed into a glitzy playground for the U.S. Open. Tickets to tennis matches range between $93 to $8,807, and fans sip cold $22 Honey Deuce cocktails. The median income of U.S. Open attendees is about $182,000. But that glamor does not extend to the workers who keep the U.S. Open running. On Tuesday, 71-year-old Maria, her sister Luz, and members of New Immigrant Community Empowerment rallied in the shadow of the U.S. Open tennis arena to demand that they receive the wages that were stolen from them.

Geico Workers Organizing In Amherst

Amherst, New York -  Workers at Geico, one of Western New York’s largest employers, are attempting to organize a labor union, an effort that, if successful, would be the insurance company’s first-ever union. But workers told Investigative Post that Geico is attempting to stop their organizing, an effort that could bring union representation to some 2,500 employees. Two emails sent by company vice presidents last month show the company attempting to dissuade workers from signing a petition for a union election. In one email, the company officials even suggested that employees should call the police on their coworkers if they ask them to sign a union petition.

African Heritage Food Co-Op

The African Heritage Food Co-op(AHFC) was formed so that Black communities in Western New York State, including Niagara Falls and Buffalo, can take ownership of their food system, create jobs and use resources to improve the health and well-being of residents. For too long, the economic and political structures have failed Black residents creating little or no access to supermarkets, banks and political representation. AHFC is working to change that by overcoming systemic obstacles, empowering inner city neighbourhoods and reversing systems of oppression and discrimination. Founder Alex Wright explains how this community-owned, community-operated co-op began and how it works to build a local economy that includes everyone!

Refugees Are Being Stranded In NYC

For several days, buses have been dumping refugees from Texas in New York City, along with buses that have been going to Washington D.C. for months. Mutual aid groups are receiving these refugees and providing them with mental health, legal support, and other resources. This mutual aid has formed in the absence of a citywide policy to welcome refugees. In recent years, more and more refugees from Latin America are migrating to the United States. This increase in migration is a direct result of the climate crisis and centuries of imperialism ravaging and underdeveloping the Global South. Wealthy countries in the Global North are responding with callous disregard for the basic right to migrate, even as they create the conditions for it. For example, many of the refugees are migrating from Venezuela, a country being economically devastated by some of the most intense U.S. sanctions regimes.

Healthcare Profits: Montefiore Hospital Closes Bronx Center

Montefiore Hospital System is set to close its Family Health Center (FHC) at 1 Fordham Plaza which has provided primary care to a community in the Bronx for over 30 years. At the same time, Montefiore is slated to open a large, upscale primary care clinic for wealthy patients living around Hudson Yards. This is healthcare under capitalism: shut down primary care in poor areas serving patients of color and instead open more profitable centers in wealthy areas serving predominantly white patients. The FHC has been providing primary care services to over tens of thousands of low-income residents in the surrounding community, most of whom are Black and Brown/Latinx. The center also is one of the primary training locations of the Family Medicine department’s Family and Social Medicine Residency outpatient training program.

A ‘Tax The Rich’ Climate Protest Shuts Down The East Hampton Airport

New York - East Hampton Town police arrested six people today (July 11) protesting higher taxes for the wealthy outside the East Hampton airport. The demonstration was organized by advocacy group New York Communities for Change, the latest in a series of Hamptons protests over the past few days. New York Communities for Change is focused on climate emissions caused by wealthy Hampton residents. Around 25 people gathered outside the airport this morning, holding signs that read “tax the rich” and “make billionaires pay.” In addition to linking arms in front of the entrance, one demonstrator stood atop a wooden tripod blocking traffic into the airport. The protest lasted for approximately an hour and a half, said Alice Hu, a climate campaigner for New York Communities for Change, in a phone interview.

Onondaga Nation Regains 1,023 Acres Of Land From New York State

The Onondaga Nation will recover more than 1,000 acres of forest lands in the Tully Valley through an historic agreement with New York State and the federal government. This property, identified for restoration and preservation as part of the Onondaga Lake Natural Resource Damages and Restoration process, will now be returned to the care of the Onondaga Nation. “It is with great joy that the Onondaga Nation welcomes the return of the first substantial acreage of its ancestral homelands. The Nation can now renew its stewardship obligations to restore these lands and waters and to preserve them for the future generations yet to come.

March Protests Union-Busters

The June 7 Starbucks union win in Memphis, Tennessee, showed that the bosses’ tried-and-true, union-busting tactics aren’t working like they used to. In the face of the February racist firing of the Memphis 7, election tampering by the bosses and constant anti-union interference, workers at that store still voted 11-3 for the union. Workers’ victories at Starbucks, Amazon and other workplaces are happening in the face of anti-union retaliation campaigns, with more firings and cuts in workers’ hours and benefits. That’s why activists with Workers Assembly Against Racism (WAAR) hit the streets June 9 with a ‘March on Union-Busting Billionaires.’ The raucous, militant protest — accompanied by the steady, pro-worker beat of the Rude Mechanical Orchestra — started at the penthouse of Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and ended at the luxury apartments of Amazon boss Jeff Bezos.

Mounting Public Pressure Forces DA To Drop All Charges Against Queens Man

On June 6 on the steps of Queens Criminal Courthouse, community members celebrated a hard-fought victory after nearly eight years of struggle: the dismissal of all murder charges against 22-year-old Prakash Churaman. Those celebrating with Churaman included his attorney, family members, members of the press as well as community organizations that have worked closely with Churaman over the years he had been fighting the charges, including Desis Rising Up and Moving, the Party for Socialism and Liberation, How Our Lives Link Altogether, Voices of Community Activists and Leaders New York, and the Free Prakash Alliance. In 2014 a then-15-year-old Churaman was arrested and coerced by New York Police Department into a false confession for the murder of his friend Taquane Clark during a robbery.

Starbucks Workers Rally After Unionized Store Abruptly Closes

Ithaca, New York - Outside of a soon-to-be-closed Starbucks in Ithaca, N.Y. a series of union organizers, Starbucks Workers United members, local activists, political figures, and supporters, rallied in protest against Starbucks’ announcement to close the location, which they say is due to the store’s recent attempts to unionize. Speakers at the press conference urged an Ithaca-wide boycott of Starbucks and its cafés until the company negotiates to keep the Collegetown store open. Some employees still haven’t gotten word from the company about whether they’ll have jobs after the closure. “We can’t let Starbucks decide to close a union store two months after we won a vote just because all of the workers here won’t let managers talk to us however way they want to, or put us through hell,” said Benjamin South, a Collegetown Starbucks worker and one of the union’s local leaders, at the rally.

Albany Passes ‘Right To Repair’ Law For Electronics

It may soon be easier to get your busted iPhone fixed. Under a bill passed by the state legislature last week, digital electronics manufacturers – such as Apple or Samsung – will be required to make repair instructions and parts available to both consumers and independent technicians. The “right to repair” legislation, which still needs to be signed into law by the governor, is believed to be the first of its kind in the United States. It follows a year-long campaign by tech and environmental activists, who accused manufacturers of intentionally restricting the ability to repair their products – a strategy known as planned obsolescence. “This legislation ends what is a monopoly on the repair market by corporate actors and incentivizes competition within the industry,” said Assemblymember Patricia Fahy, the bill’s sponsor.

The New White Supremacist Consensus Part Two

The incidents of mindless, mass carnage in the United States have become so routine that they do not even make national headlines unless the incident has a potential attention-grabbing twist. One of those dramatic twists is when the victims of a mass-shooting are from a common social identity and the perpetrator appeals to be motivated by hatred of the targeted group. This is what makes the shooting in Buffalo stand out. The authorities could not hide the fact that it was a hate crime and the media saw a juicy story, if only for a day or two. However, for those of us who are members of communities and peoples who are increasingly finding ourselves on the receiving end of state and private racially motivated violence, we have a life-or-death requirement to attempt to understand the complex political and socio-cultural elements that are producing this dangerous environment.

Buffalo Starbucks Workers Strike Against Unfair Labor Practices

Buffalo, New York - On Thursday, workers at a downtown Starbucks in Buffalo, New York went on strike after the company announced it was planning to withhold proposed wage increases and benefits from employees at newly unionized stores. The one-day strike, which shut down the entire store, was a direct response to the announcement by CEO Howard Schultz that proposed raises and benefit increases at corporate-owned Starbucks cafes would not apply to locations that had already unionized or which are planning to unionize. Schultz, who founded the company and now has a net worth of almost $4 billion, claimed that his hands were tied and that Starbucks is legally unable to make changes to wages and benefits at stores that have organized or which are currently involved in collective bargaining. But this is a lie.

Drone Resisters’ Charges Dismissed ‘In The Interest Of Justice’

On April 28, 2022, in DeWitt, NY night court, Judge David Gideon presiding, pro se defendants Mark Scibilia-Carver and Tom Joyce of the Ithaca Catholic Worker and the Upstate Drone Action Coalition, had their 2019 violation charges for blocking, with several others, the main entrance of Hancock drone base, home of the 174th Attack Wing of the NYS Air National Guard. dismissed “in the interests of justice.” According to Sujata Gibson, stand-by counsel and Cornell Law School faculty, the dismissal “was significant, not just to this movement but to our collective conversation about the role of non-violent peaceful action in our democracy.” Gibson continued, “It was an honor to witness the thought that Judge Gideon put into his decision and deeply moving to hear the words of those who put themselves on the line to bring attention to these issues.”
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