• Chittenden County Bus Drivers Have Our Support
    Many young Vermonters depend on our hard-working, experienced CCTA bus drivers to get to school every day. These bus drivers fight dangerous weather conditions and aggressive drivers to ensure that our students arrive to school safely. On March 12th, CCTA bus drivers voted to strike after months of being pressured by the transit authority to accept serious (and sometimes dangerous) changes to their contract. The bus drivers already work 12.5-hour shifts, but CCTA wanted its drivers to agree to 13.5-hour shifts. CCTA wanted to transition to more part-time positions, leaving more Vermont families without dependable, full-time employment. CCTA has increased surveillance of drivers for disciplinary purposes by reviewing video footage when anonymous complaints are filed. CCTA also continues to make unilateral changes to working conditions, such as regular access to bathroom breaks while drivers are on their shift. As of March 17th, CCTA drivers are on strike. The strike interrupts bus service for thousands of Vermonters, including many of our students. In Burlington, local school children rely on the public buses to get to school, and the vast majority of students who will struggle to find alternative transportation to school during a strike are students who come from lower socio-economic families. We're calling on CCTA to settle a fair contract for its bus drivers and get the buses back on the road. Our students' public bus drivers deserve safe working conditions and fair treatment. We're speaking up for them, and we hope you'll join us by adding your name.
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  • PNC: Don't Force Employees onto High Deductible Health Plans
    PNC Bank plans to force its 56,000 employees onto high-deductible health insurance plans starting on January 1, 2014. (Source: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/4556664-74/plans-health-deductible#axzz2coL27Yib) The average high-deductible plan requires you to pay up to $2,000 out-of-pocket before insurance coverage kicks in. For a PNC bank teller earning $9-11 an hour, those costs make medical care entirely unaffordable. How many PNC employees will forgo medical care because they can't afford it? These changes to employee health coverage will have a real impact on your employees' lives. It's for that reason we're calling on you to reconsider. It’s no secret that banks made record profits in 2012. The banking industry raked in $40 billion in the first few months of 2012 alone. PNC Bank is strong and its balance sheets proves it. PNC employees have helped the bank increase the number of customers, expand commercial and consumer lending, and grow deposits to $212 billion. Last year, PNC profits were 47% higher than that same period in 2011. Why, then, is the bank punishing employees by slashing health coverage? Employees have helped PNC Bank grow to be the 7th largest bank in America. They deserve health insurance they can depend on. These changes could make health insurance for some of your employees largely unaffordable. As employees, customers, and concerned citizens, we're calling on PNC Bank to treat its employees better. Give your tellers, sales associates, supervisors and other staff health care coverage options they can count on. Creative Commons photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/people/blaineo/
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  • Forever 21: We Demand Full-Time Opportunities
    Forever 21 sent a devastating memo to several hundred of its full-time U.S. employees this week informing them of drastic cuts to their hours and benefits. In addition to losing hours and all of our health benefits, employees are also losing the ability to earn paid time off – and the company gave us less than two week’s notice! I just started working at Forever 21 in New York City, but now I'm not sure how much longer I'll be able to work there, because I need a job that I can actually survive on. When I first applied for the job, I was promised growth and working with the visual team to become a merchandiser. They explained I would be learning and growing and starting off in sales with full time hours. However when I was hired, I suddenly found myself cleaning and organizing the stock room in a part-time position. When I asked what happened with the position I applied for I was brushed off and ignored. I didn't realize that the company treats their employees like that, and now Forever 21 is essentially ending full-time employment for non-management employees altogether. Imagine having a sick child or a chronic illness, then finding out that in less than two weeks, your health insurance will terminated, your paychecks will be smaller, and you won't have any paid time off to take care of your medical issues –All because you are part time. Unstable scheduling in the retail industry is a serious problem. Imagine trying to fit together two part-time work schedules with just days or hours’ advance notice of your shift. To make matters worse, many jobs require you to work "on call" shifts, which means you have to call two hours before your shift to see if you have to work (or you'll face disciplinary action). But if you're not called in, you don't get paid. This practice wreaks havoc in our lives and, in my opinion, amounts to exploitation. Companies claim they can't remain profitable without reducing workers' schedules, but that's a poor excuse because many of these same companies are providing full-time opportunities to workers in other parts of the world. In the Munich, Germany, Forever 21 is hiring full time entry-level sales associates. In Liverpool, England, the job I applied for in New York (a "visual merchandiser") is listed as a full-time position. Why can't these same opportunities be made available in every U.S. location? The Retail Action Project's #JustHours campaign holds companies accountable for forcing workers into unstable unpredictable part time retail jobs, because they can do better. Forever 21 has an opportunity to do the right thing -- to show its employees that it respects the work we do and the valuable contribution we make to the company each day. Every Forever 21 store should have full-time opportunities for hard-working employees. NOTE: The author of this petition has chosen to use a pseudonym to protect her identity. The Retail Action Project has verified that she works for Forever 21.
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    Created by Trisha A.
  • Tell Medford School District Management to Rebuild the Trust with Our Community
    In order for the Medford Public School District to meet the educational needs of our students, we must foster a culture of mutual trust and respect among all stakeholders—parents, educators, education support professionals, school administration, the Medford community, and our elected school board. When the Medford School District’s bargaining team abruptly abandoned the bargaining table and hired a Salem lawyer to lead negotiations with teachers, they reinforced what many members of our community were already feeling… that our voices are not respected and valued by our School District Management. When educators began asking how others feel about their relationship with the district, it revealed other actions that harm the community’s trust in the District, including: *District Management committed to preserving an early retirement option, yet have continually attempted to rollback this benefit in bargaining beginning in 2009. * District Management promised students, staff and the community equitable funding for both high schools from the 2006 bond project, yet dramatically reduced the allocation to North Medford High School. Other schools were also neglected but the administrative building was remodeled. * District Management continues to allow class sizes in Medford to remain among some of the highest in the valley. * Earlier this year, District Management approved salary increases for all administrators, but demanded cuts from other employees. These decisions and others like them create a climate of distrust and disrespect which interfere with Medford Public Schools’ mission to provide all students with a fantastic public education. By signing this petition, you are taking the first step in holding the Medford School Board accountable for the deteriorating relationships with their staff, parents, and community. When this petition is delivered, members of our school board will know the community is paying attention to their actions and that we expect better for Medford students.
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  • Help Employees Save the Tabard Inn
    The Tabard Inn was established in 1922 in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, DC. Neighbors and employees have played a major role in the survival and success of the Tabard Inn. Today, it's seen by many as a DC institution. Its infancy survived the Great Depression. During WWII, the Tabard served as a boardinghouse for Navy Women Accepted Volunteer Service (WAVES). In the 1970's, neighbors lobbied the zoning board and purchased minority shares to save the Tabard from demolition. And in 1975 Edward and Fritzi Cohen purchased the Tabard Inn, and it's been a beloved family-run business ever since. In 1993, the Tabard's owners (Edward and Fritzi Cohen) recognized the employee role in Tabard's success and created an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) that granted employees 30% ownership. At that time (and as recently as spring 2013), they stated a desire for employees to eventually have 100% ownership of the Tabard. Unfortunately, a significant change in philosophy is threatening the Tabard's legacy, character, and very existence. In one month, the Tabard Inn lost eight hardworking career employees from its leadership team. * General Manager (20 years at the Tabard) * Hotel Manager (7.5 years at the Tabard) * Accounts Payable Clerk & Floor Manager (20 years at the Tabard) * Design & Project Manager (32 years at the Tabard) * Restaurant Manager (5.5 years at the Tabard) * Special Events Manager & Wedding Director (10.5 years at the Tabard) * Housekeeping Manager (13.5 years at the Tabard) * Special Events Coordinator (3 years at the Tabard) More than 110 years worth of institutional knowledge, experience, and vendor and patron relationships have been drained from the Tabard in just one month. This loss has left a significant void in Tabard's employee leadership. We, the employees, are proud to work at the Tabard Inn. However, we are deeply concerned with the decisions being made during this internal restructuring. Many of us go to work at Tabard every day in fear of losing our jobs. The new manager described firing as, "a favorite part of my job." We have expressed our concern, but received no reassurance. We have proposed a solution, which would increase employee ownership and allow the employees who treasure the Tabard to serve as its protectors, but for over one month we have not received a response. There has been no communication. Meanwhile, policy changes and terminations put the Tabard in an increasingly vulnerable position. Despite being shareholders in the company, the employees no longer have a voice. This is a dramatic change for a business known for valuing its employees. Employees believe the Tabard belongs in the hands of those who know it and love it. As employees who love the Tabard, it is with great consternation that we share this story. We seek to increase employee ownership to a majority in order to preserve the Tabard's character and reinstate the values as described by Tabard's mission statement: "The Tabard Inn provides attentive service in a relaxed environment where guests can feel comfortable in casual or formal attire. We strive to make every guest either a repeat customer or someone who will still recommend us heartily as a restaurant with great food, excellent service, and a romantic and charming atmosphere. We want to be everyone's favorite place to go in Washington, DC. We achieve this objective by working as a team whose primary interest is our customers' satisfaction. Rather than be interested solely in how much money we can make today or tonight, our team members actively determine whether their actions will help everyone profit in the long run. We take actions which nourish and clean the environment, and we support local businesses and charitable causes. Tabard Inn employees are career employees who strive for continuous improvement. We're proud and protective of our diversity, and we treat employees and guests with respect. We demand excellence from our employees and vendors, and we have fun at what we do." Already signed by the following current, recent, and former Tabard Inn employees: Erin Claxton Carolyn E. DeWitt Stephanie Granger Veronica Hunter Holly Learmouth Shannon MacDonald Irene Mayer Paul Michel Travis Miller Camille Smiley Janelle Treibitz Jared Wilyato We truly appreciate all your support! Thank you for joining our effort to preserve the Tabard. Sincerely, The Tabard Inn Employee Committee
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    Created by Carolyn DeWitt
  • Mia Birk, Play Fair: Bikeshare Owes Backpay & Benefits
    Mia, do you remember when you shipped us free copies of your book, Joyride: Pedaling Toward a Healthier Planet? It was inspiring to read that we must, "See the bicycle as a tool for empowerment and social change, not just sport or transportation." We couldn't agree more. However, the title left some of us wondering where we fit into that “healthier planet” as we worked without healthcare, doing dangerous jobs on busy streets and in a filthy warehouse by the Superfund section of Southwest DC. Given our situation, we were surprised to discover that Alta repeatedly signed a Federal contract with DDOT, agreeing to pay specific prevailing wages and health & welfare benefits to all Capital Bikeshare workers in compliance with the McNamara-O'Hara Service Contract Act. These wages and benefits apply to all workers under the contract regardless of full or part-time status (29 C.F.R. § 4.176). We helped build Alta's flagship bikesharing program in DC and we're proud to see Alta landing big contracts all over the USA as a result of our hard work: Citi Bike in New York, Divvy in Chicago, Hubway in Boston; Puget Sound Bikeshare in Seattle; San Francisco, Columbus, Baltimore, Portland... It would be a shame to see bad labor practices pollute the growth of such a socially and environmentally important industry. Mia, it's time for Alta Bicycle Share to play fair and set an example as a leader in good green jobs. Here's how: 1) Honor the Alta-DDOT contracts and immediately pay full back-pay for all unpaid wages and unpaid health & welfare benefits. 2) Comply with the letter and the spirit of the Service Contract Act, from here on out. 3) Commit to paying strong living wages and benefits to Bikeshare workers at every Alta-operated Bikesharing program from New York City to the San Francisco Bay. We trust that you will take prompt action to address these challenges as we all pedal together towards a sustainable future. Capital Bikeshare Workers past & present, Samuel D. Swenson 9/2011-8/2012 Bernard F. Smith 8/2010-9/2012 Omar Estrada 10/2010-10/2012 Spencer Turner 10/2010-10/2012 Anibal Apunte 4/2011-7/2012 Scott Brumbaugh 11/2011-4/2013 Jamal Hicks 2011 Khalil Brown 2011 Jeff Bertolet 2012-present Fhar Miess 7/2011-present Greg Washington 2011-present Zeek Manago 3/2012-present John Farmer 6/2012-present Kermit Demus 8/2012-present Douglas Tyrone Jones 1/2012-present Robert Apunte 2011-present * 2 current long-time workers asked to sign anonymously Kevin Gordon, 4/2013-present Gerald Sinclair, 7/2012-present Veltrick Copeland, present Jason Frantz, Bike Checker, 2012-present Alejandro Fuentes
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  • Deaconess: Give Us Our Paychecks
    My name is Edith Kimbrough, and I love being a home care worker. Believe it or not, I’ve had twelve kids of my own, so I know a thing or two about taking care of people! As a home care worker for Deaconess Home Health in Milwaukee, I travel to the homes of sick and elderly folks and make sure they have everything they need. I took excellent care of people for Deaconess. But Deaconess has not taken such good care of me. On April 30, my coworkers and I were abruptly told that Deaconess had lost state funding and that we should all go home and not come back. The state tells a different story: that Deaconess is under investigation for fraud. We were all shocked and upset by this news. In fact, some of us even kept taking care of our patients, because we knew that if we didn’t show up, no one else would. Things went from bad to worse. Deaconess did not pay us for the second half of April, so I wasn’t able to pay my rent for May and lost my apartment. Now my 3-year-old daughter and I are staying at a friend’s house, sleeping wherever we can find the space. My coworkers are in similar situations -- we were already paid so little that many of us were one paycheck away from homelessness, and that last paycheck still hasn’t come. We’re not going to stop fighting until Deaconess gives us the backpay we are rightfully owed. Last weekend, we held a rally at Deaconess headquarters that was taped for the news. Deaconess is feeling the public pressure to meet its commitment to its employees, and we know that if thousands of people sign our petition, Deaconess will realize that we’re going to keep that pressure on high until we get what we need. Please sign my petition demanding that Deaconess Home Health pay me and other home care workers the backpay we are owed.
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    Created by Edith Kimbrough
  • Stop Posting Illegal Unpaid Internships!
    *************UPDATE***************** In response to this petition, NYU has responded! After negotiating with NYU officials as a result of the petition, NYU has heightened its protections against illegal unpaid internships on its career site (all changes effective as of January 2014). Employers must now verify that their internship positions comply with the US Department of Labor guidelines before posting, among several other measures. (Read more here: http://college.usatoday.com/2014/02/20/nyus-new-internship-oversight-raises-questions-about-unpaid-internships/) Thank you for putting your signature on this petition and creating the first successful student-led movement against the university's involvement in contributing to illegal unpaid internships. More progress is on the way! To get involved in future campaigns on this issue, email fairpayforinterns@gmail.com. **************************************** Unpaid internships are illegal* and unfair; many violate federal and state labor laws. They deny people the pay they earn, the rights they are entitled to, and the opportunities they deserve. By posting illegal unpaid internships, the Wasserman Center is perpetuating issues in the following categories: --Economic: unpaid internships displace employees, take away jobs, and devalue work (unpaid interns at the average company receive only a 1% advantage in getting a job at that company than an applicant who has never worked there) --Legal: unpaid interns are not protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, and therefore have no standing in court against discrimination or sexual harassment --Class: only those who can afford unpaid internships can have them --Race: minority groups are almost systematically at a disadvantage with lower economic support and face discrimination without legal protection --LGBTQ: face discrimination without legal protection --Gender: 77% of unpaid internships are held by women while more paid positions are awarded to men, which widens the gender income gap (women make $0.78 for every dollar a man makes) --Human Rights: if workers are treated as employees, they should be compensated fairly for their work. NYU’s Wasserman Career Center would never post positions that were not open to women, or LGBT people, or people of color. They should not post positions that are not open to people who cannot afford to work for free. Join us in our fight against illegal labor exploitation. Sign this petition to stop NYU’s Wasserman Career Center from posting ads for illegal unpaid internships. *Unpaid internships are illegal if the internship is FOR-PROFIT and does not follow the six criteria outlined by the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor. Therefore, this campaign specifically targets unpaid internships in the for-profit sector that violate these provisions. The following six criteria must be applied when making this determination: 1.The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment; 2.The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern; 3.The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff; 4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded; 5.The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and 6.The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.
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  • Juicy: Take Care of Your Workers
    My name is Duane, and I’m a proud father of my beautiful five-year-old daughter. I worked at Juicy Couture’s flagship store on 5th Avenue in New York City for almost four years in the stock department. I started this petition with my coworker Darrell, because while we stock & sell Juicy Couture’s $200 jeans and sweaters, the company decided they don’t want to take care of their workers. Darrell was a successful full-time sales associate for two and half years, until the company started pushing full-time workers out. When I started, I also got 40 hours a week, but I struggled along with my coworkers as our hours were cut. Eventually, I was down to 14 hours each week. When I asked for more hours, they said they couldn’t give them to me because I didn’t have open availability – because of my daughter. When we began working at Juicy Couture, many of us were full-time. Now, only 19 of the store’s 128 employees are full-time! Not only are they firing full-time workers and replacing us with a part-time workforce, just this month Juicy capped all part-time workers hours at 21 hours per week. We quickly realized that Juicy Couture is doing everything they can to not take care of its workers. See, it was hard enough for us to make ends meet in New York City as full-time retail workers. But by keeping hours under 30 per week, Juicy Couture will no longer be required to offer their workers affordable health care – part of the Affordable Health Care Act’s plan to make sure more working Americans have basic health care. Further, we were told we’re only eligible for paid time off in case we’re sick or have other responsibilities if we work 1400 hours in one year. We did the math, and realized part-time workers reach that at 21 hours per week. This means that the vast majority of Juicy Couture’s workers will not ever get one single paid sick day. Darrell and I are just two of the full-time employees that have been forced out of Juicy Couture by having our hours cut or being fired. Now we’re speaking out on behalf of my coworkers who remain at the store, because we all deserve Just Hours. We know from experience that Juicy has loyal customers and dedicated employees -- if enough of us speak out and demand Just Hours, they'll have no choice but to act.
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    Created by Duane and Darrell
  • Change Our Leave Company
    This is important because many of us here at Apple have had to take a leave of absence from work for various reasons. The leave process is challenging and draining. Most, if not all of the process is put on the employee. The employees may already be under stress, anxiety, or intense pressure due to their own personal situation. When we were hired, we were guaranteed these benefits but we aren’t all receiving them. This is especially true for those of us suffering with mental health problems which I believe are usually disregarded by the leave company and never seriously considered a disability. The government finds many mental health issues to be disabilities, so, why is it different when dealing with a leave company? Perhaps because the leave company believes the employee just wants to get paid to be out of work and to do whatever they want. However, the reality is that when on a leave for mental health issues, those issues are exacerbated due to the added stresses of being out on a leave, and mental health does not improve. There is no fairness when leave claims are handled between those with physical health leaves and mental health leaves. Physical and mental health do correlate. Personally, I have found Sedgwick to be a one-sided company whose only objective is to save Apple money by not paying their employees while out on a medical leave of absence from work. More specifically, in relation to medical leaves involving mental health. They also do not employ doctors to interview employees or review the documentation to verify their reason for the leave. They employ nurses, who are not qualified to make medical decisions, to make decisions regarding ones claim. Sedgwick is an unfair company with unfair business practices and many complaints regarding this company have been filed in recent years.
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    Created by Taralynn Ruiz
  • Stand with Vermont's Restaurant Workers!
    Vermonters love to dine out, experience new things, and try new foods and flavors. So do the many tourists that visit our beautiful state each year. The restaurant culture and service industry isn’t going anywhere and neither are the amazing humans who work in and sustain it. Not only is it not going anywhere, it has been growing and expanding rapidly. The service industry has grown 80% since the 1990s, more than any other sector of our economy in America. Nationally, 1 out of every 2 people currently works or has worked in the service industry. Under current Vermont law, tipped workers bring home $5.39 an hour before tips. This leaves a large section of Vermont’s workforce - 12,300 people, nearly 80% of whom are women - vulnerable to inconsistent and unreliable pay, low wages, and harassment. This year, we're fighting to raise the standards for thousands of Vermont's tipped service workers and fight for One Fair Wage, improving the security of those who work in Vermont's profitable food service industry by raising wages across the board to at least $15 an hour before tips, phased in over several years. As someone who has worked in the industry for many years, I enjoy and take pride in this work. I also know firsthand the challenges that we face as a result of poverty wages. Elsewhere, others have also begun to recognize these challenges. Many states such as Minnesota, California, Washington, and Oregon have already agreed to One Fair Wage: a single minimum wage for all restaurant workers with tips as usual. Will you stand in support and solidarity with Vermont’s tipped workforce and let our legislators know that you support #OneFairWage? Let’s be on the right side of history together. Join me in signing today. Andy Sebranek Burlington, VT
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    Created by Andy Sebranek
  • Better Pay and Old Surge for Uber Drivers
    Many drivers have lives, just like the CEO of Uber. For some drivers, rideshare driving is their only source of income. By reducing the rates and getting rid of the multiplier surge on Uber, it makes it harder for drivers to make good money daily. And remember, drivers have to spend their own money to purchase gas, oil change, brakes, tires, and other expenses. It's time for Uber to look out for the drivers!
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    Created by Brandon T