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South Carolina

Southern Service Workers Launch A New Union

Columbia, South Carolina - Hundreds of service workers from across the South gathered in Columbia, South Carolina, November 17-19 to launch the Union of Southern Service Workers (USSW), taking their fight to a new level. The new organization grows out of the Raise Up, the Southern branch of the Fight for $15 and a Union, a movement backed by Service Employees International Union (SEIU). In addition to fast food, members work in hotels, gas stations, retail, home care, sit-down restaurants, and more. Some of these workers have been organizing their industries for a decade with Raise Up—fighting for higher wages and better working conditions. Others have only recently joined the effort—including many who felt that the pandemic exposed how essential their work was, and how little corporations and politicians valued them.

These Starbucks Workers Demanded Fair Pay, Then Were Accused Of Kidnapping Their Boss

Anderson, South Carolina - On August 1, Melissa Morris, a manager of a Starbucks location in Anderson, South Carolina, accused unionized workers at her store of kidnapping and assaulting her during her first week on the job. The shocking accusation resulted from workers holding a “march on the boss” to demand that they benefit from the same pay raise the company was providing to non-union stores, and, as a result, 11 workers have been suspended while the company and police investigate the issue. These workers call the allegations “ridiculous” and part of the company’s broader anti-union campaign.

Deep South Baristas Strike Starbucks

Columbia, South Carolina - Starbucks baristas in Columbia, South Carolina, returned to their jobs on Saturday, May 21, following a three-day walkout to protest anti-union retaliation. Managers began denying employees promotions and transfers several weeks ago after 22 of 28 “partners” at the Millwood Avenue store petitioned the National Labor Relations Board for union representation. The workers reached a breaking point on May 18 when a popular store manager was fired for refusing to engage in union busting. Two hours after learning of their manager’s dismissal the entire shift walked out, forcing the store to close early. “She was a large reason a lot of us were still with the company,” said barista Sophie Ryan of her former manager.

High Court Rejects Governor’s Private School Aid Plan

Columbia, SC - The South Carolina Supreme Court ruled Wednesday a program created by Gov. Henry McMaster to allocate $32 million in federal pandemic aid to private and religious schools is unconstitutional because the public money would directly benefit the schools. In the court’s opinion, Chief Justice Don Beatty acknowledged the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the lives of South Carolinians and the state’s education system, and the “unprecedented challenges” faced by state leaders including McMaster.

South Carolina Prisoners Appeal To The UN For Relief From Torturous Conditions

Can you imagine living without sunlight? Many of us experience seasonal affective (SAD) disorder in the winter months, causing symptoms ranging from depression and lethargy to thoughts of suicide. SAD can also exacerbate the symptoms of some mental illnesses, like bipolar disorder. But while grey skies may be depressing, or even hazardous to our health, most of us can’t fathom what it would be like to go over a year without sunlight. For prisoners in South Carolina’s Level 3 prisons, this scenario is all too real.

South Carolina DOC Director Stirling Drafts Facetious Cell Phone Contraband Act

I purposely chose the word facetious, because South Carolina’s Dept. of Correction’s Director Bryan Stirling has absurdly decided to address serious issued in South Carolin’a prisons with impotent legislation. The problem in South Carolina’s prisons is NOT the fact that a few prisoners have obtained access to cell phones. The problem is that South Carolina’s prisons, some of the most dangerous and deadly in country, are in devastatingly horrific conditions and prisoners have been using cell phones to expose the issues that they are forcibly confined to.

Taken: Police Departments Make Millions By Seizing Property

When a man barged into Isiah Kinloch’s apartment and broke a bottle over his head, the North Charleston resident called 911. After cops arrived on that day in 2015, they searched the injured man’s home and found an ounce of marijuana. So they took $1,800 in cash from his apartment and kept it. When Eamon Cools-Lartigue was driving on Interstate 85 in Spartanburg County, deputies stopped him for speeding. The Atlanta businessman wasn’t criminally charged in the April 2016 incident. Deputies discovered $29,000 in his car, though, and decided to take it.

Photos Show Aftermath Of Lethal South Carolina Prison Brawl That Left Seven Dead

Photos obtained by Prison Legal News appear to reveal the bloody aftermath of a riot that occurred at the Lee Correctional Institution in South Carolina around 7:15 p.m. on April 15. The violence, which culminated in the deaths of seven prisoners, was the deadliest event of its sort in the past quarter-century in the United States. A source who requested anonymity and said he is currently imprisoned at the Lee facility in Bishopville provided PLN with a series of photos that appear to have been taken with a cell phone. The images show dead or badly-wounded bodies covered with blood and a blood-soaked floor. PLN could not verify the photos at press time, and our investigation into the authenticity of the graphic pictures remains ongoing.

Utilities Kill Solar Bill Despite Majority Support In SC House

Under pressure from the state's major utilities, the S.C. House killed a solar bill Tuesday that was intended to protect thousands of jobs and save customers money on their monthly power bills. The bill's defeat, a stunning reversal from a House vote last week, brought withering criticism from many lawmakers, who said the House caved in to opposition by Duke Energy and SCE&G, derailing the legislation. Utilities have expressed concern about how competition from solar could affect them. State Rep. James Smith, the bill's chief sponsor, also blamed Republican Gov. Henry McMaster. Smith, a Democratic candidate for governor and potential opponent to McMaster in November's general election, said the Republican urged some lawmakers not to vote for the bill — a point McMaster's office hotly disputed.

Former Police Officer Sentenced To 20 Years In Prison For Death Of Walter Scott

By Marina Fang for The Huffington Post - Slager, then an officer in North Charleston, South Carolina, shot Scott while Scott was running away from him. A bystander captured the death on cell phone video. The killing was one of many high-profile cases of police killing unarmed black men in recent years. At Thursday’s sentencing hearing, Slager said that he takes responsibility for Scott’s death, and Scott’s mother, Judy, expressed forgiveness. In May, Slager pleaded guilty to violating Scott’s civil rights by using excessive force. Two other federal charges and a murder charge from the state were dropped in exchange for the guilty plea. “Law enforcement officers have the noble calling to serve and protect,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement Thursday. “Officers who violate anyone’s rights also violate their oaths of honor, and they tarnish the names of the vast majority of officers, who do incredible work. Those who enforce our laws must also abide by them — and this Department of Justice will hold accountable anyone who violates the civil rights of our fellow Americans. On behalf of the Department of Justice, I want to offer my condolences to the Scott family and loved ones.”

Disputed East Coast Pipeline Likely To Expand

By Sarah Rankin for Associated Press - RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The developers of a disputed natural gas pipeline on the U.S. East Coast are considering a major expansion of the project into South Carolina, according to remarks made by an energy company executive and interviews with others in the industry. Opponents of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline said that raises questions about whether Dominion Energy, the project's lead developer, has withheld important information from the public and whether the pipeline is even needed as initially proposed. But business leaders say the pipeline would help lower energy costs and boost economic development in South Carolina. Dan Weekley, Dominion Energy's vice president and general manager of Southern pipeline operations, told attendees at a recent energy conference "everybody knows" the Atlantic Coast Pipeline — currently slated to pass through Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina — is not going to stop there, despite what the current plans say. "We could bring in almost a billion cubic feet (28 million cubic meters) a day into South Carolina," Weekley said, according to an audio recording The Associated Press obtained from a conference attendee. The attendee requested anonymity out of concern for not wanting to harm business or personal relationships. The remarks appear to be the Richmond, Virginia-based company's most direct public signal to date that it intends to expand the pipeline, though industry analysts said the potential has been discussed for years.

The Nuclear Power Rip-Off Billions Lost More Bills Due

By Seanna Adcox for AP News - This week, having spent more than $10 billion, executives with South Carolina Electric & Gas and Santee Cooper acknowledged that all their assumptions were wrong. Worse still: Consumers may have to pay billions more on the rusting remains of two partially-built reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station north of Columbia. “When we started, there was talk of a nuclear renaissance restarting a whole industry in the U.S.,” said Santee Cooper’s chief financial officer, Jeff Armfield. He was among several executives recommending the project be abandoned. The board of the state-owned utility unanimously agreed at a public meeting Monday. “When we started, there was talk of a nuclear renaissance restarting a whole industry in the U.S.,” said Santee Cooper’s chief financial officer, Jeff Armfield. Most of the 18 nuclear projects pending before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission a decade ago have been aborted or suspended indefinitely. None of the 7 projects the NRC licensed are operational. Only one is still being built, in Georgia, at a cost of $100 million a month. Southern Company financial documents filed Wednesday say the project, slated to cost $14 billion, could cost $25 billion or more if completed.

Trooper Pleads Guilty To Shooting Black Man Who Followed His Orders

By Thandisizwe Chimurenga for Daily Kos - Sean Groubert, a former South Carolina state trooper, has pleaded guilty to assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature for the shooting of Levar Jones at a Columbia gas station in September of 2014. Video from Groubert’s patrol car went viral at a time of heightened scrutiny and anxiety of police executions of unarmed African Americans—immediately after the murders of Mike Brown in Ferguson, John Crawford in Ohio and Eric Garner in New York and just prior to the murder of Tamir Rice in Cleveland and the non-indictment of Darren Wilson for Brown’s murder.

S. Carolina Teen Who Filmed School Cop’s Assault Arrested

By Adam Johnson for AlterNet - WLTX reports that Kenny was trying to "stand up for her friend" when she filmed the assault, telling Loren Thomas of WLTX, "I was crying, screaming and crying like a baby. I was in disbelief." Both Kenny and her mother are understandably skeptical as to why she was arrested for "disturbing schools." "But looking at the video, who was really disturbing schools?" Kenny's mother told WLTX. "Was it my daughter or the officer who came into the classroom and did that to the young girl?" Ben Fields, the South Carolina police officer whose attack on a black student went viral in a video Monday, has faced previous abuse allegations.

Sky High Activism, Wedding Pics, Rainbows & Flags

By Eleanor Goldfield for Occupy.com. Congrats to all the couples who can now tie the knot! But now that you’ve ridden the rainbow to marital bliss, allow me to bring you back down to everything else we gotta fix in this country. A Chinese company stunningly and scarily showcases sky-high activism while a Chinese couple offers up some dystopian and creative wedding pic ideas. Bree Newsome shows the South Carolina legislature it’s actually not that hard to take down the Confederate flag. July 4th is this weekend so go enjoy a celebratory march with some rebels. Let’s get serious and blunt about the global corporate takeover. And finally, Naomi Klein and Pope Francis join forces to battle climate change.
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