• Stop Walmart & Whole Foods from Sourcing Forced Labor
    My name is Olivia Guzman. For 17 years, my husband Fausto and I have been coming to the U.S. each season from our hometown in Mexico as H-2B guestworkers. We worked with thousands of other guestworkers who process and pack seafood for big retailers like Walmart and Whole Foods. The guestworker visa requires us to work for only one employer. The name of our boss is inscribed in our passport, and if we are fired or leave to seek work somewhere else we can be detained and deported by ICE. Our employers paid us a piece rate—by the weight of seafood we cleaned—that often came out to be less than the minimum wage no matter how fast we worked. They housed us in decrepit labor camps on company property where snakes crawled up through cracks in the floor. Bosses and managers surveilled us in the camps, humiliated us, and even physically abused us. To keep us silent, they constantly threatened us with firing, deportation, and blacklisting so we could no longer find work as guestworkers. There comes a time you can’t take the abuse any more, and in spite of the threats, you have to speak up. I did that when I became of member of the National Guestworker Alliance (NGA). I traveled across the Gulf Coast and organized my fellow guestworkers into committees to try to change conditions in the industry. I traveled to Washington, DC, and Mexico City to tell political leaders about the abuse. But when I hosted NGA meetings in my house, the recruiter spied on us. She said we were all trouble makers and threatened to have us blocked from coming back to the United States. And I learned that the threats were real, because this year, my employer blacklisted me in retaliation for my organizing. I was removed from the employment list, accused of being a trouble maker, and blocked from coming back on an H-2B visa to my employer. Walmart says it wants to stop forced labor on its supply chain, but continues to buy from suppliers who abuse guestworkers every day. Whole Foods tells customers all about where its fish were caught, but not that the fish were packed by workers who were trapped in severe labor abuse. Walmart and Whole Foods set the standards that thousands of suppliers follow. My fellow NGA members and I are calling on them to sign the NGA’s Forced Labor Prevention Accord. The Accord is a binding agreement that would ban retaliation and blacklisting, ensure basic labor standards, and create a binding dispute resolution process that includes employers and workers. We are urging retailers to sign the Accord to ensure that their suppliers don’t trap guestworkers in exploitation and forced labor.
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    Created by Olivia Guzman
  • Before Buddy Passes & priority on our own metal!
    As it stands, active non-wholly owned crew members will go after Buddy Passes on stand-by. Be it wholly or non-wholly owned, we all operate under the American banner. It is important to the integrity of the entire operation. Commuting crew members need to get to work so they can operate American flights. In the past American Airlines hasn't had very many non-wholly owned employees, so this hasn't been much of an issue. The new American Airlines now has thousands of non-wholly owned commuting employees. It is to everyone's benefit that working crew go ahead of friends traveling on a pass. This is our Livelihood! Also, having priority on one's own metal has always been accepted as an industry standard. Under the new rules we will lose this. We ask that we retain the right to have priority on our company owned and operated aircraft.
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    Created by Elisabeth Vance Picture
  • Zara: Treat retail employees with respect
    UPDATE: Thanks to you, our efforts are starting to #ChangeZara! In December, Zara workers in NYC received a letter from the US Managing Director, Dilip Patel, saying that workers will receive raises of up to $3 an hour and access to full-time positions. This is a major victory for our campaign and demonstrates that when workers come together, we can make real changes! Our campaign is gaining great momentum, but we still need your support to help bring Dilip Patel to the table and hear our concerns. Please read our petition below and sign and share! ***** First off, let me introduce myself. I’m Jedidiah Labinjo and I work at Zara in New York City. Sharlene Santos, one of the original leaders of the campaign, recently moved out of state so I’ve been inspired to step up and help move the campaign along with my Zara coworkers -- and you! I’ve worked as a sales associate at the Zara store in SoHo for a year. I have been commended by my supervisor for my work ethic and customer service skills, but I’ve yet to see an increase in my pay of $10.50 an hour. I live with my mother and contribute to my family’s bills. I’m also in school full-time studying pre-law, which has helped me think about my rights at work. It’s hard to juggle my priorities of work, school, and family when I have a constantly changing schedule at Zara. Managers are full-time, but we sales associates have a very hard time getting more hours, even though Zara continues hiring more part-time associates. Many associates feel that there is a lot of favoritism in determining who gets the promotions that would make us full-time. Many of my coworkers are students or parents with young children. We all work hard to get by. We earn so little at Zara that many of us can’t even afford to buy the clothes that we sell. With these kinds of poverty schedules, we are forced to choose between bills, rent, and food. So my coworkers and I circulated a petition to address our issues at Zara: low wages, not enough hours, favoritism, and disrespect. When we presented our concerns to a store manager, she said there was nothing she could do. Since we first launched this petition, a delegation of Zara workers from the US traveled to Spain to take our concerns directly to the top company executives as US Management has not agreed to sit down with us collectively for substantive discussions. We’ve been told to discuss problems at work on a one-on-one basis with our managers. But these issues aren’t individual -- they are company-wide. We want Zara’s management to come to the table to hear our #ChangeZara committee’s collective concerns about scheduling, wages, and opportunities for advancement. Zara's hugely profitable parent company, Inditex, is proud of its reputation as a socially responsible business. Zara workers in Spain have a union that grants them a voice at the table -- don't we deserve the same respect here in the US? Join us in our fight to #ChangeZara.
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    Created by Jedidiah Labinjo
  • Protect MVU Jobs
    Last fall, rumors of privatizing (also called sub-contracting) the MVU cafeteria to The Abbey Group circulated. The MVU cafeteria staff and many other staff are concerned that the school-run program may simply be “eliminated” to save a few dollars. This is not fair. The food service employees are long-term, loyal and committed employees. They have a collective 66 years of service to the school, performed high quality work, and often go above and beyond what they are expected to do, especially for students. All the staff at MVU bring the same level of commitment to the school and the students. The MVU cafeteria workers are being proactive and are asking the MVU Board for something very simple – to adopt a policy that it will not privatize the food service jobs at MVU or any of the work currently being performed by its staff. This is perfectly legal. It doesn’t violate the existing union contract. It doesn’t violate the Municipal Employees Labor Relations Act. It is well within the rights of the Board to pass such a policy. The policy wording we propose would be as follows: “It will be the policy of the Missisquoi Valley Union School Board of Directors to not sub-contract any work currently being performed by employees of the Board.” Contractors, like the Abbey Group, are in business to make money/profit. If they’re going to make money from the school, they will have to cut corners somewhere. Either they will cut services, or the wages they pay to workers, or both. If they cut services, the quality of school food program, in this case, goes down. And if they cut wages, they will get people in to work who are not very qualified, or who will leave as soon as they get a better job. Contractors like Abbey Group often offer no paid sick days or benefits, making the jobs even less livable for working people, causing more turn over in staff. High turnover hurts quality of the food program and it hurts the relationships staff have with the students. Low standards for the food program and its employees are not consistent with the MVU’s values. We encourage you to add your name to encourage the board to adopt this policy. Thank you.
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    Created by Vermont NEA Picture
  • Help Us Change MSP Airport: Dignified Jobs Not Poverty Wages
    The MAC’s goal is to provide travelers at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport “the best airport experience in North America,” and we are the workers who make that experience possible. We take pride in our work, doing important jobs like providing wheelchair and electric cart service to passengers with disabilities and senior passengers, yet we are struggling to survive on poverty wages with no benefits and little training or support. We are calling on the MAC to ensure the workers who provide essential services for rich corporations like Delta are allowed to form a union so they are can get proper training, increase staffing levels, and get paid a living wage and benefits. Please join with us in our fight to end poverty wages at MSP so we can make it an Airport that Works for ALL of Us.
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    Created by Alemsaged, Darcy and Ali
  • Fair Wages and Working conditions at Logan Airport
    This is Massachusetts. We are the "Athens of America" and "A city on a Hill." How can our first-rate airport treat its workers as second-class citizens?
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    Created by Joseph McHugh Picture
  • Your Payroll Cards Are Rip-Offs
    When I started working at Burlington Coat Factory in 2013, the company recommended that I get paid with their payroll debit card. They made it sound like a good deal for me -- so I was shocked when I realized the card included hidden fees. It turns out there was a lot I didn't know about the card. We never got paper pay stubs. If we wanted them for any reason, we had to pay $3 per stub to have a hard copy sent to us. That's a lot of money when you just make $8.55 an hour like I did. Burlington uses an online payroll system we can log on to, but many of us can't afford a smartphone, a computer, or internet access. We also had to pay a fee to use an out-of-network ATM -- so the ATM would charge us a fee, then the card company charges another fee. You could pay $7.50 just to get your own money! People shouldn't have to pay just to get paid! Employers shouldn't be able to push their employees to participate in a payroll system that doesn't always work. We ought to have a choice about whether to get paystub records, paper checks, direct deposit or payroll cards. We ought to receive all the information about any fees associated with these cards. And when things go wrong, we need to know who we can hold accountable. And things do go wrong -- it took a month for me to get my first payroll deposit, and instead of getting help resolving the issue I just got the runaround. The card company said to talk to Burlington Coat Factory. My supervisor at Burlington Coat Factory told me to talk to the card company. No one accepted responsibility for getting me the money I had earned. I borrowed money for a month just to get by. I couldn't even help my godmother pay our rent. When there's no accountability, workers like me are caught in the middle. Thing is, more and more employers are switching to these payroll cards every day, and some of these cards have even worse terms than the ones we got from Burlington Coat Factory. This madness has to stop somewhere. It's time for us to take a stand. I'm calling on Burlington Coat Factory to lead the industry in implementing a fair and transparent pay system. Whether you shop at Burlington Coat Factory or work in retail, please add your name. Together, we'll convince Burlington to do what's right and begin changing this industry-wide practice. Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/people/jeepersmedia/
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    Created by Melvin J. Picture
  • American Airlines Employee Travel Benefit Changes
    This issue is vitally important to our future travel planning. Please sign our petition.
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    Created by Russell Adams
  • McDonald's: Stop Theft of Worker Pay in the East Bay
    “Wage theft has been going on at fast-food restaurants for years but no one has had the courage to speak up about it because they’re afraid they will be let go.” Rhonesha Victor, Oakland resident, East Bay Fast Food Worker On top of paying thousands of workers an hourly wage of just $8 -- McDonald's appears to have routinely stolen their employees' pay. A class action lawsuit filed by employees in the state of California alleges that McDonald's engaged in "altering or condoning the alteration of time records to avoid paying [employees] for time they work and for overtime premiums they earn." The lawsuit also alleges McDonald's failed to pay workers wages for missed meal breaks and rest periods as required by California law. We already know that fast-food workers can barely get by on the low wages they are paid -- with over half needing some kind of public assistance to make ends meet. We will not tolerate corporations like McDonald's -- with 5.5 billion in profits last year -- adding to these workers' struggles by stealing their pay. We're calling on community members, elected leaders, and crew members from McDonald's locations across the state to come together in opposing wage theft from California food service workers.
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    Created by East Bay Fast Food Workers
  • 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.