CWA’s Steve Lawton mc’d the Tax Day protest
(Photo: Thomas Altfather Good / NLN)

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — April 17, 2012. On Tax Day 2012 over 100 members of several New York City unions attended a demonstration outside Staten Island’s main post office — not to protest against paying taxes but to demand that corporations start paying their share.

Steve Lawton , business agent for the Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 1102, mc’d the rally.

Lawton introduced bus drivers from the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), Local 726, Verizon workers from CWA Local 1102, postal letter carriers from Staten Island and the Bronx — National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) Branches 99 and 36 respectively — post office clerks from the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), mail sorters from the National Postal Mail Handlers Union (NPMHU), a teacher from the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), and members of the Middle Class Action Project (MCAP), a community organization.


CWA Local 1102 turned out in force — the union continues to
struggle to negotiate a contract with Verizon
(Photo: Thomas Altfather Good / NLN)

“We’re a group of unions and community organizations that feel that tax day is a very important day, it’s a day of action for workers. We came out here to protest cuts to our community. We came out here to protest the constant attack on workers. We came out here to protest the fleecing of the taxpayer by the one percent and greedy corporations,” Lawton said.


Protester: Boeing, the number 3 U.S. defense contractor,
paid negative 1.8 percent in taxes (2008-2010)
(Photo: Thomas Altfather Good / NLN)

Paul Alexander, of NALC Branch 99 (Staten Island), described the role letter carriers play in safeguarding the communities they serve.

Alexander said that letter carriers report robberies, fires and other events to the police, providing some security to the community. Ending six day mail delivery would deprive the community of more than just mail, he said.


Paul Alexander sees the letter carrier as a valuable part of the community
(Photo: Thomas Altfather Good / NLN)

“When we deliver in the neighborhood we are the guardians of that neighborhood,” said Alexander. “We’re part of the community and we hope to stay that way. With your help we will.”

Alexander’s post office, the Staten Island GPO, is slated for closure. He urged attendees to call on their elected officials to save the post office and thanked the crowd for turning out.

“We hope by your presence we’ll be able to make some kind of an impact on the politicians who naturally control the situation,” said Alexander.


George Botts, ATU: “An attack on one of us is an attack on all.”
(Photo: Thomas Altfather Good / NLN)

George Botts, vice president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 726, called for unity — urging his “cousins” in other unions to come together to save collective bargaining.

“What happened in Wisconsin is happening around the country now and it’s happening here on Staten Island,” Botts said, referring to Wisconsin governor Scott Walker’s attempt to strip public sector workers of their collective bargaining rights.

“You need to go back to your place of work and tell your union brothers and sisters that they all need to be out here with us,” said Botts.

“It’s great to see all you brothers and sisters out here because when it comes down to it we’re one big union family…we’re one big union nowadays and it’s the only way we’re going to survive the future,” he said.


CWA Local 1102 president Ed Luster
(Photo: Thomas Altfather Good / NLN)

CWA Local 1102 president Ed Luster gave a fiery speech calling for “one big union” to resist corporate attempts to cut benefits, eliminate collective bargaining — and avoid paying taxes.

“When a corporation such as Verizon doesn’t pay its fair share in taxes that trickles down to post offices closing and public employees having to take cuts unnecessarily,” said Luster.

“We’re standing in front of a post office that they want to close because they don’t want to pay their share. We’re standing here with our bus drivers, our fellow brothers and sisters from the buses. They say well the City doesn’t have the money — if the companies would pay their share everybody would have their money and we’d all be living better,” he said.


Charles Twist, NALC, saw his processing center closed
(Photo: Thomas Altfather Good / NLN)

Charlie Twist, a NALC shop steward from The Bronx, demanded that a closed facility in his borough be reopened.

Twist said that mail has been delayed since the closure of the 149th Street and Grand Concourse processing center in November. Twist sees this as part of a long range plan to privatize the post office.

“We’re doing our job but they want to sell off the post office to Wall Street and we want to put a stop to that,” Twist said.


Teri Caliari, a teacher, echoed the concerns of CWA workers
(Photo: Thomas Altfather Good / NLN)

Teri Caliari, a teacher, activist, and United Federation of Teachers (UFT) member, told the crowd that teachers and Verizon workers have something in common.

“As you know teachers also don’t have a contract,” Caliari said.

Caliari said that by taking advantage of “loopholes, tax breaks, and accounting tricks,” GE, Boeing, and Verizon all got money back from the government, none paid taxes.

“When the wealthy and corporations do not pay their taxes, we, the middle class, have to pay more or watch our vital services disappear. This is not the American way, this is not the American dream,” Caliari said.

John Kubinsky of the Middle Class Action Project, a community group, said that Verizon and other corporations slashing wages, cutting benefits, and outsourcing jobs is an assault on the middle class.

“It’s not just Verizon people who are unhappy that they don’t have a fair contract, we’re not happy,” Kubinsky said.

His 10-year-old daughter, holding a sign that read, “Support postal workers,” nodded in agreement.


A 10-year-old activist from the Middle Class Action Project
(Photo: Thomas Altfather Good / NLN)

“Every parents’ dream is to for their child to do better, to have more than they had. For the first time since the Depression her [ pointing to his daughter ] generation isn’t going to be able to say that.”


View Photos/Videos From The Rally…





(Photo: Bud Korotzer / NLN)


While the trade unions and community organizations on Staten Island were rallying, their counterparts on the other side of New York harbor were also protesting. The War Resisters League, The Granny Peace Brigade, The Rude Mechanical Orchestra and even Billionaires for the One Percent were all on hand to mark the passage of another tax day. The WRL and friends carried signs that read: “End the wars, then tax the rich…”


(Photo: Bud Korotzer / NLN)


Click HERE To View Photos From The Manhattan Protests…


(Photo: Bud Korotzer / NLN)


Demonstrators making their opinion public
at 11th and Market in St. Louis yesterday.
(Photo: Jason Sibert / NLN)


ST. LOUIS, Mo. — April 15, 2012. Although their numbers were small members of the People’s Organization for the Advancement of Society took to the streets of St. Louis yesterday to express their alarm over inaction on global climate change.

The young demonstrators gathered at 11th and Market Street and displayed signs with messages like “There’s No Planet B,” “The Answer is Blowing in the Wind: Renewable Energy Now,” and “Climate Change Inaction, Global Catastrophe.” Most of the participants were members of the People’s Organization for the Advancement of Society. The organization is an activist student group at Crossroads College Preparatory School founded in November by junior Peter Thacher as a conduit to fight for change on global warming and the environment and also on gay rights, excessive military spending, and labor rights. The April 15 demonstration was the group’s first action.


People’s Organization for the Advancement of Society founder Peter Thacher.
(Photo: Jason Sibert / NLN)

“I just felt helpless about a lot of things our world and the lack of action being taken,” Thacher said on thefounding of the People’s Organization for the Advancement of Society. “Most of the kids here are in our group and
it’s great to see them.”

Approximately 21 people participated in the demonstration. Tia Rounsobille, 15, a student at Crossroads, was among those who participated.

Tia Rounsobille, 15, left, and Kiera Warren, 9, work on a sign for the demonstration.
(Photo: Jason Sibert / NLN)

“I wanted to support my friends, I got involved in this a month ago,” she said. “I think this is something that means a lot to a lot of people. Without our environment, we couldn’t live on this earth.”

Charlotte Sechriste, 14, a freshman at Crossroads, said she thought the demonstration was an exercise in consciousness raising.

“There’s a lot of people downtown and a lot of people will see our signs,” she said. “People might think about what we are saying.”

The young demonstrators marched from 11th and Market to the Arch Grounds holding their signs and chanting for action on climate change.


Demonstrators showing their support for action on global climate change march through St. Louis.
(Photo: Jason Sibert / NLN)

“What do we want?” they asked. “Climate change action now!”

Some motorists honked their horns in approval and a few bystanders heckled. The activists eventually arrived at the Arch Grounds and gathered to listen to a speech from People’s Organization for the Advancement of Society Member Justin Enoch, but Park Ranger Jay Brown notified the demonstrators that they couldn’t hold a demonstration without a permit. The young activists quietly turned around and left the park.


Enoch said the speech he intended to give was about acting on deeply held beliefs.

“We know this (climate change) is very real and apparent,” Enoch said. “We heard some hecklers on the way down here. But there is so many things that we can do and that are being done”

Enoch said he was impressed with Fed Ex Chief Executive Officer Fred Smith switching the company’s fleet to biofuels and electricity and he also said the fight against climate change was about transitioning to non-petroleum based fuels.


(Photo: Jason Sibert / NLN)


NEW YORK (Borowitz Report) — Political observer and satirist (if that isn’t redundant these days) Andy Borowitz “reported” on two recent developments that may be of interest to NLN readers:

On April 3, Borowitz revealed that “the Supreme Court decided today that annual physicals were unconstitutional and should be replaced by random strip searches conducted by the nation’s police.”

On April 5, Borowitz reported that “In yet another public relations setback for the beleaguered cruise industry, Somali pirates today said they would no longer board cruise ships, citing ‘unsafe working conditions.'”

[ There are some pundits who believe that Andy’s work is fictitious but this reporter is of the opinion that more fact checking goes into a single piece by Borowitz than the entire body of work produced by Fox News. — Editor ]

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — On Tuesday, March 27, City Council Member Debi Rose (District 49) held her second annual event celebrating “Women in History.” The event was held at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center’s Veterans Memorial Hall.


The Curtis High School Guitar Ensemble
provided the music at the event
(Photo: Thomas L. Miles / NLN)

The event opened with Reverend Susan Karlson offering an invocation and the Curtis High School Guitar Ensemble performing.


Lynn Kelly speaking the event
(Video: Thomas Altfather Good / NLN)

Following a welcome from Snug Harbor CEO Lynn Kelly, Council Member Debi Rose spoke.


Historian Patricia Salmon was the keynote speaker
(Video: Thomas Altfather Good / NLN)

The event’s keynote speaker was Patricia Salmon, Curator of History at the Staten Island Museum, who offered a brief compendium of the many gifted and generous women from the “Forgotten Borough.”


Rev. Maggie Howard (right) was this year’s honoree
(Photo: Thomas L. Miles / NLN)

The Women In History Celebration honoree this year was Stapleton pastor Reverend Maggie Howard.


The Curtis High School Guitar Ensemble
(Video: Thomas Altfather Good / NLN)

Concluding the celebration was another impressive performance from the Curtis High School Guitar Ensemble

You can see the event on NLN YouTube – click HERE to access the playlist (5 Videos).