Submitted on Fri, 03/18/2005 - 10:58am
Generation Debt: The New Economics of Being Young - You make chump change. And Congress likes it that way; By Anya Kamenetz - Village Voice, March 18th, 2005.
Just off Coney Island Avenue, in Ditmas Park, among the car washes and Pakistani sweet shops, there sits a lefty coffeehouse that seems to have dropped in from Williamsburg or maybe Seattle. Inside, the walls are painted an inviting shade of yellow; undulating, handmade bookshelves feature local zines. One of the store's bestsellers is America (The Book), by the creators of The Daily Show. A small latte is $3, 10 cents less than at Starbucks.
Vox Pop, as the café is called, is the anti-Starbucks in more ways than one. On March 1, its six employees, led by 18-year-old Emmy Gilbert, announced that they had joined the Industrial Workers of the World's NYC Retail Workers Union, IU 660. "Vox Pop workers decided we wanted to take the shop's motto of democracy to its fullest extent," Gilbert said. "And the IWW doesn't think organizing retail is futile."
Sander Hicks, who opened Vox Pop in November, may be the first boss to summon the revolutionary anarcho-syndicalist forces on behalf of his own workers. He is best known as the founder of Soft Skull Press, the respected underground imprint; the café-bookstore is a physical extension of his ideals about politics and community. After consulting with the IWW, Hicks settled on a starting wage of $10 an hour. "If we pay people $6 an hour we're going to get a low level of job love, people stealing from you, attacking customers," he says. "How can we not afford to pay more?"
Submitted on Wed, 03/02/2005 - 1:55pm
PNC Park Open House. Pittsburgh, PA March 2, 2005 - CONTACT: Kenneth Miller at 412-241- 1339 or Michelle Gaffey at 412-661-6776 of the Pittsburgh Anti-Sweatshop Community Alliance - email@example.com.
Members of the Pittsburgh Anti-Sweatshop Community Alliance will petition, leaflet and talk talk talk to Pirate Fans about sweatshops at PNC Park on March 5. The 2005 baseball season is the 4th for the Best Major League Sweatshop Education in America at PNC Park and the most important year ever for the Pittsburgh Pirates Baseball Club to step up to bat for basic human rights and fair pay for the workers who sew our Pirate Gear.
Sk Nazma, Maksuda and Robina Akther of the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity delivered this testimony to Pittsburghers at Freedom Corner on October 16, 2004. Pittsburgh Pirate Baseball Gear, $27 fitted caps made by American Needle for example, are made in factories where bosses cheat on payroll all the time and workers are made to work 14 hour days 7-days-a-week.
"It is common for our women workers to be forced to work from 8:00 a.m to 10:00 p.m., seven days a week, while being cheated of their overtime pay and even beaten.
Submitted on Tue, 02/15/2005 - 11:03am
February, 15, 2005
The National Labor Relations Board issued a complaint last week against Wild Oats Natural Foods for the firing of union organizer, Tom Kappas. The Industrial Workers of the World has been struggling to re instate Kappas for the past seven months in a campaign aimed at restoring fairness to how the company deals with union organizing. The campaign has turned out several nationwide pickets, a petition with over 500 supporters, and now a complaint from the N.L.R.B.
Kappas was fired on July, 10, 2004 for discounting less than 2 pounds of rotten produce. The produce manager gave permission to discount spoiled produce to all produce employees and then during the firing interview said he never approved discounts. The store director, Fred Meyer, then fired Tom for the discount even after Kappas produced a receipt for the produce. Meyer initiated a random bag search the night before.
The labor board decision is an excellent turning point in a campaign that escalated Wild Oats to make slanderous remarks about Kappas. Wild Oats has received many emails and phone calls made by concerned I.W.W. members and supporters.
Submitted on Fri, 07/30/2004 - 11:06am
By Stephanie Dunlap - Cincinatti City Beat, July 30, 2004
Tom Kappas believes he was fired from Wild Oats in order to suppress his and others' efforts to unionize the Norwood store.
Wild Oats' Norwood store might be more concerned with the fair treatment of coffee farmers a continent away than with fair treatment of its own workers. Though the sign in front of the natural foods store in Rookwood Commons trumpets the fair trade coffee inside, its store director fired Tom Kappas, who'd been openly leading an employee union drive, for what many consider a trumped-up charge: stealing 19 cents worth of fruit.
Before Kappas, a two-year veteran of the produce department, ended his Friday night shift July 9, he rang up a bag of tortilla chips, a bottle of Samuel Smith Organic Lager and $.19 in produce. According to Kappas' written statement -- which he provided to CityBeat -- the manager on duty for the night stopped him before he left and asked to search his bags and see receipts. Kappas produced the fruit and the paperwork.
The manager said Kappas shouldn't have discounted the fruit, but Kappas told him that the produce manager allowed his employees to buy old or damaged produce at 10 cents per pound. Kappas then threw the produce in the trash and left.