Posted by TAG - October 19, 2014 | News


EZ Pass Call Center worker, and CWA shop steward, Daniel Quinones wants a living wage
(Photo: Thomas Altfather Good / NLN)

 
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — October 18, 2014. On Saturday, the newest members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 1102 – the EZ Pass Call Center workers – rallied on Staten Island in support of their union’s upcoming contract talks with Xerox.

 




EZ Pass Call Center workers – members of CWA Local 1102
(Photo: Thomas Altfather Good / NLN)

 
The newest members of CWA Local 1102 work at the EZ Pass call center for New York State, located on Staten Island. The call center provides customer support for EZ Pass subscribers.

 
Six years ago the workers voted for union representation, but conditions at the call center rapidly deteriorated after Xerox implemented a piecework scheme called “achievement based compensation.” Customer Service Representatives are paid approximately 87 cents per call. This, combined with frequent computer breakdowns – resulting in slowdowns, means workers struggle to earn $15 an hour.

 




Gina Magarino, CWA Shop Steward for Call Center Workleaders
(Photo: Thomas Altfather Good / NLN)

 
Exacerbating the problem, Xerox has taken an aggressive anti-union position. At its low point the union lost their agency shop and represented only 57 of the nearly 300 EZ Pass workers. After a sustained “old-fashioned” push to enroll individuals, the union has tripled its membership.

 
The union enjoys significant political support. Politicians at the rally included New York State Senator Diane Savino, the Assemblyman representing Staten Island, Michael Cusick, representatives from New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office, and representatives from the Working Families Party.

 




State Senator Diane Savino addressing the Call Center Workers
(Photo: Thomas Altfather Good / NLN)

 
State Senator Diane Savino told them, “It’s never about your hourly pay, but the stripping of your rights. They want you to say, this union’s doing nothing for me. Never allow them to convince you that you can do better on your own.”

 
“Achievement based compensation benefits the company but not the workers,” said shop steward Daniel Quinones. “If you have one bad call 30 percent of your pay is docked…We need an hourly pay rate.”

 
View Photos From The Rally


Roy Murphy and Thomas Altfather Good are members of the National Writers Union, UAW Local 1981

Posted by TAG - October 11, 2014 | News



TWU Local 101 member on the picket line
(Photo: Roy Murphy / NLN)

 
NEW YORK, October 9, 2014 – In a massive show of support, about a third of TWU Local 101 1,500 members rallied in front of National Grid’s headquarters in downtown Brooklyn to protest their giveback demands in current contract negotiations.

 
National Grid, a British-owned international company, is demanding a five-year wage freeze or else it will significantly increase the workers’ health care contributions.

 
TWU International President Harry Lombardo said National Grid (which the union now dubs “National Greed”) wants givebacks from the workers despite US profits of $1.7 billion last year and revenues of $24 billion world wide.

 
He had a fiery response.



(Photo: Roy Murphy / NLN)

 
Lombardo told the rally that last year National Grid’s CEO had a 56 percent pay rise to earn $7.8 million dollars, but it had “nothing for your 1,500 members.” He said its demand is the “worst, slimiest example of corporate greed.”

 
Setting a tough line, Lombardo said, “The time has come. We are with you if we have to shut this company down. We will be with you as long as it takes.”

 
Local 101 President Mike Conigliario declared there will be “no more givebacks. ” The workers had “nothing left to give.”

 
At the beginning of contract talks last month, Conigliario reminded National Grid that “during Hurricane Sandy and for months afterward – through at least January – Local 101 members worked 16-hour shifts, 7 days straight, for weeks” to bring New York’s electricity and gas back on line.

 
TWU Local 101 is asking for a reasonable pay increase, better on-the-job safety rules and the maintenance of current health benefits.

 


Roy Murphy is a regular contributor to NLN and a member of the National Writers Union, UAW Local 1981

Sanford “Sandy” Rubenstein at a protest in New York’s One Police Plaza on May 7, 2008.
At the time Rubenstein was representing the family of Sean Bell, the Queens man shot and
killed by police on November 25, 2006. (Photo: Thomas Altfather Good / NLN)

 
NEW YORK — October 11, 2014. Earlier this week attorney Sanford Rubenstein’s law firm filed a “notice of claim,” indicating the firm’s intent to sue NYC for $75 million, on behalf of the family of Eric Garner. Garner died while being arrested by NYPD officers (the death was ruled a homicide by the NYC Medical Examiner) on July 17, 2014. Also this week – Rubenstein was accused of rape by a top official of Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network. Rubenstein denied the claim but is no longer representing the Garner family, having withdrawn from the case – Sharpton has yet to announce who will represent the family in the pending litigation. Police are investigating the rape claim.

 


Thomas Altfather Good is editor of NLN and a member of the National Writers Union, UAW Local 1981

NEW YORK — September 21, 2014. Hundreds of thousands of protesters filled Central Park West on Sunday, demanding “system change not climate change.” Photographer Thomas Altfather Good was there, embedded with the labor contingent, and filed this report.


A young UAW supporter – with his dad

 


Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez, RN, president of the New York State Nurses Association

 


Transit Workers Union (TWU), Local 100 Surface Vice President JP Patafio

 


The UAW Contingent – on the move

 


ISKCON adherents (colloquially: “Hare Krishnas”) dancing and chanting

 

As the affluence of society depends increasingly on the uninterrupted production and consumption of waste, gadgets, planned obsolescence, and means of destruction, the individuals have to be adapted to these requirements in more than the traditional ways.

Mass democracy … not only permits the people (up to a point) to chose their own masters and to participate (up to a point) in the government which governs them — it also allows the masters to disappear behind the technological veil of the productive and destructive apparatus which they control, and it conceals the human (and material) costs of the benefits and comforts which it bestows upon those who collaborate. The people, efficiently manipulated and organized, are free; ignorance and impotence, introjected heteronomy is the price of their freedom.

[ ... ]


As the production of wasteful and destructive goods is discontinued (a stage which would mean the end of capitalism in all its forms) — the somatic and mental mutilations inflicted on man by this production may be undone. In other words, the shaping of the environment, the transformation of nature, may be propelled by the liberated rather than the repressed Life Instincts, and aggression would be subjected to their demands.

– Herbert Marcuse (Eros And Civilization)


“Uprose!”

 


Moms marching for the environment

 


“Vote the Environment!”

 


NYPD and marchers…

 


Children – the point of the exercise?

 


Greed – the root cause of Climate Change

 


Students from UMaine

 

Click HERE To See More Photos (Complete Gallery)
 

Posted by TAG - September 13, 2014 | News




Cuomo placards discarded by UAW workers
Photo: Roy Murphy / NLN

 
NEW YORK — September 9, 2014. Several thousand workers marched up Fifth Avenue to Central Park for the annual Labor Day parade in New York on September 6, 2014. They were observing a city tradition more than 125 years old.

 
Teamsters, transit workers, teachers and actors were headed up by politicians, few of whom show their support for workers at any other time.




Frank Hickey, Tim Sheard, Yusef Salaam and president Larry Goldbetter
marching with the National Writers Union banner
Photo: Roy Murphy / NLN

 
Governor Andrew Cuomo was at the head of the Transport Workers union. According to the New York Times, his staff physically blocked his Democratic Primary challenger Zephyr Teachout from meeting him.

 
Unlike their Transport Workers Union counterparts, UAW workers were less inclined to be a vehicle for Mr. Cuomo’s re-election effort. Dozens of Cuomo placards lay discarded on the sidewalk behind the UAW contingent, remaining on the pavement after the march stepped off. Some UAW members commented that they know “whose pocket Cuomo is in” and whose interests he really serves.




The UAW band at work
Photo: Roy Murphy / NLN

 
The march called for the support of organized labor, and celebrated its victories. As Joe Rivierzo of Local 360 said, “We’re the people … that brought you the weekend, the eight-hour day, overtime, healthcare, disability insurance, worker’s compensation.”

Posted by TAG - September 2, 2014 | News

 


Protestors at Cadman Plaza march to the Brooklyn Bridge
(Photo: Roy Murphy / NWU)

 
NEW YORK — More than 700 people marched across the Brooklyn Bridge on August 20, 2014 to protest the slaughter of Palestinians by Israel in Gaza. The message of the march was to promote the boycott of Israel, divestment from its investments and sanctions against the country.

 
The marchers were young and old, ethnically diverse, with a solid contingent of orthodox Jews there in support. Many speakers said they were not there for race, religion or ethnicity, but to protest the inhumane treatment of the Palestinians who are trapped by the Israeli blockade of Gaza.

 


A contingent of orthodox Jews were among the protesters
(Photo: Roy Murphy / NWU)

 
The march came when Israel resumed its six-week offensive in Gaza after a 10-day cease-fire.

 


The ‘Beautiful Surprise’
(Photo: Roy Murphy / NWU)

 
The visual theme of the march was the red, white, and green Palestinian flag waved by many of the marchers. They were given a tremendous boost as they were marching across the bridge when a giant banner was unfurled from the Manhattan Bridge just across the water. The banner was a Palestinian flag, about 100 x 40 feet in size, with the words “Gaza in our hearts Boycott, Divest, Sanction” printed on it.

 
“It was a beautiful surprise,” said one of the organizers of the march.

 
Police raced to the bridge, and after fluttering in the breeze for about 20 minutes the flag was dragged back up into the bridge. Police have not found who was responsible for the “beautiful surprise.”

 


July 24, 2014 Protest (NYC)
(Photo: Bud Korozter / NLN)

 
The Brooklyn Bridge march was one in a series of demonstrations against the military actions of Israel. On August 9 several hundred demonstrators marched from Columbus Circle to the United Nations headquarters. On August 1, hundreds of pro-Palestinian demonstrators rallied in Times Square after a 72-hour cease-fire broke down in Gaza.

 
And on July 24 hundreds of protesters, including many Jews holding signs saying “Boycott Israeli Apartheid” and “New York Jews Say: Not in Our Name,” marched through lower Manhattan demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in Gaza.

 


Gaza, August 3, 2014
(Photo: Anne Paq / Active Stills)

 
My favorite sign read:
Warsaw Ghetto 1943
Gaza Ghetto 2014
Palestine Will Win

 


May, 1943, Warsaw Ghetto, Occupied Poland
(Photo: Jürgen Stroop Report to Heinrich Himmler)

 
The Brooklyn Bridge march was organized by Occupy Faith NYC

 


July 31, 2014: March to the Israeli Consulate, NYC
(Photo: Michael Nigro / Flickr)

 




Protesters at the “We Won’t Go Back” march on Staten Island
(Photo: Thomas Altfather Good)

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — August 23, 2014. The Reverend Al Sharpton led a crowd of three to four thousand in Staten Island on Saturday, marching in protest at the death of Eric Garner. Garner died when New York City police applied a chokehold on him on July 17.



“Support NYPD — Stop Police Brutality”
(Photo: Thomas Altfather Good)

Sharpton appeared with Garner’s widow, Esaw. Other relatives of people killed by New York City police, present at the march, included Kadiatou Diallo, whose son Amadou, an unarmed Guinean immigrant, was fatally shot by police outside of his Bronx apartment in 1999, and Constance Malcolm, the mother of Ramarley Graham, an unarmed 18-year-old pursued and shot in his own bathroom in the Bronx by a New York City police officer in 2012.





Gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout with National Writers Union president Larry Goldbetter
(Photo: Thomas Altfather Good)

Supporters included Zephyr Teachout, a Fordham University law professor who is running against Governor Andrew Cuomo in the 2014 Democratic gubernatorial primary, former Governor David Paterson, and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.





New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito at the Garner march
(Photo: Thomas Altfather Good)

Protesters shouted slogans including, “Hands up don’t shoot,” a chant that originated in Ferguson in protests against the police shooting of Michael Brown, and “I can’t breathe,” Garner’s last words.





“I Can’t Breathe” — Eric Garner’s last words
(Photo: Thomas Altfather Good)

A grand jury will meet next month to determine whether anyone should be criminally charged in Garner’s death. The city’s medical examiner ruled the death a homicide.





“Hands Up, Don’t Shoot…”
(Photo: Thomas Altfather Good)

The United Federation of Teachers and 1199 SEIU, a healthcare workers union, co-sponsored the march, along with the National Action Network and the NAACP. There were no incidents or arrests.





Labor was well represented in the march
(Pictured: UAW members Scott Sommer, Joel Schlemowitz, and George Albro)
(Photo: Thomas Altfather Good)





Part of the NAACP contingent
(Photo: Thomas Altfather Good)

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Photo Reprint Policy: Reuse encouraged, attribution required — “Thomas Altfather Good”


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© 2014 Thomas Altfather Good




STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — July 19, 2014. Photo: Reverend Al Sharpton (of the National Action Network) with Esaw Garner, widow of Eric Garner, at a protest held on Saturday, in the Staten Island neighborhood where Mr. Garner died while in police custody.

Eric Garner died on Thursday, July 17, while being pinned to the ground by police during an arrest – a video shot by a friend of Garner’s shows the man being choked and crying out, “I can’t breathe” several times before he stopped moving or speaking. The Saturday rally and march was attended by hundreds of Staten Islanders. Police blocked traffic on Victory Boulevard and Bay Street, in the busy Tompkinsville section of the Island, to allow the large procession to march from the Mt. Sinai church rally site to the 120 Precinct.

Two of the officers who arrested Mr. Garner are being investigated by the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau – for using a chokehold on the victim.

Below: New York City Public Advocate Letitia James at the Garner protest.





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Reprint Policy: Reuse encouraged, attribution required — “Thomas Altfather Good”


all images are available under the terms of the
GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL)

© 2014 Thomas Altfather Good