Raleigh-Durham Fight Imperialism Stand Together (FIST)

Revolutionary socialist youth in the US South

Archive for the ‘Gender System’ Category

2 Durham Events: Free CeCe/End Transphobia Friday, Pastors for Peace/Cuba Caravan on Tuesday‏

Posted by raleighfist on July 4, 2012

Friday, July 6 at 6pm: Free CeCe! The Fight to End Transphobia & the Criminalization of LGBTQ People! w/ guest speaker Imani Henry


Tuesday, July 10 at 7pm: Defend the Cuban Revolution! Pastors for Peace Cuba Caravan Comes to Durham!

Free CeCe! The Fight to End Transphobia & the Criminalization of LGBTQ People w/ Imani Henry

Friday, July 6 at the Durham Solidarity Center (331 W Main St, Durham)

Potluck @ 6pm
Forum @ 7pm

Fight to End Transphobia & The Criminilization of LGBTQ People!
Overturn North Carolina’s Anti-LGBTQ Marriage Amendment 1 Now!
Free our LGBTQ political prisoners CeCe McDonald & Bradley Manning!


Join FIST and Workers World Party as we discuss the case of CeCe McDonald and the LGBTQ movement in North Carolina and the US South. We’ve invited prominent New York City-based LGBTQ activist, organizer, and performer Imani Henry to speak on the nationwide movement for equality. LGBTQ people are targeted for violence, discriminated against in housing searches, and paid less as workers. We’ll hear from local activists about the movement in North Carolina, and its ties to the continuing fight against racism, xenophobia, and sexism.

CeCe McDonald is a young African-American transgender woman from Minnesota. After defending herself against unprovoked racist and transphobic slurs and violent street harassment from white onlookers, she has sustained injuries and also been falsely accused of murder. Cece had been into solitary confinement at a Minnesota prison for men, and had to wait almost two months for a much-needed follow up appointment with a doctor. Her supporters are calling for the Minnesota District Attorney to label the case as a hate crime, reducing the charges against Cece.

FIST will join over 70 other organizations in a March on Wall Street South in Charlotte, NC during the Democratic National Convention on Sat. Sept 2. Brief discussion about how to build an LGBTQ and international solidarity contingents in the march. This June marks the 43rd anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion, which was also led by trans women of color. Workers World Party joins together to celebrate the struggles that women like Cece have led for decades.


RSVP on Facebook!

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Defend the Cuban Revolution! Pastors for Peace Caravan comes to Durham!

Tuesday, July 10 at 7pm

Shephard’s House United Methodist Church (107 N Driver St, Durham)

Defend the Cuban Revolution! The IFCO/Pastors for Peace Cuba Caravan will be challenging US laws and attacks on Cuba.

Potluck dinner and discussion! Bring some food!

This year we will be commemorating the 20th Anniversary of the Friendshipment caravans to Cuba. We will also continue to lift up the life of Rev Lucius Walker, Jr., the founding director of IFCO/Pastors for Peace, who for 18 years gave prophetic and visionary leadership to our caravans to Cuba in defiance of the US blockade, and who died peacefully in September 2010.

Despite some steps taken by President Obama to allow Cuban-Americans to more freely visit their families, and to allow colleges, churches and others to more easily get licenses to go to Cuba, the travel ban remains for most US citizens and the economic blockade remains in full vigor. The work started by Rev Walker must therefore continue!

So in July we will visit cities across the US and Canada, challenging the US government to revoke the blockade and establish a foreign policy based on mutual respect between the two countries. Over 100 people will travel to Cuba with construction, medical, school and other supplies collected from groups across the US, refusing US Treasury Department licenses, as a collective challenge to the blockade and travel ban.

Hear the voices of these young folks talk about why they are traveling to Cuba!

FIST will join over 70 other organizations in a March on Wall Street South in Charlotte, NC during the Democratic National Convention on Sat. Sept 2. Brief discussion about how to build an international solidarity contingent in the march. See http://wallstsouth.org for more info

Bring your questions about the Cuban revolution!


RSVP on Facebook

Posted in Cuba, Gender System, General, Imperialism, Socialism | Leave a Comment »

People’s Victory in Charlotte as March on Wall Street South Wins Permits

Posted by raleighfist on June 2, 2012

The Coalition to March on Wall Street South announced a major victory on May 29. The city of Charlotte granted conditional approval for permits for the Sept. 2 March on Wall Street South — after more than eight months of march and parks permit requests, a national petition campaign and threats of legal action. The march will take place one day prior to the Democratic National Convention.

While coalition organizers must still meet and negotiate with officials, the march route passes the major targets in uptown Charlotte: Bank of America’s world headquarters, Wells Fargo’s eastern headquarters, the Bank of America Stadium and the Time Warner Cable Arena, site of the DNC.

With permits won, the stage is now set for the Sept. 2 demonstration. Thousands of activists are expected to flood the streets of Charlotte to raise a people’s agenda to the big banks and Democratic Party delegates. Their program calls for jobs, human needs, workers’ rights, justice and equality for Black, Latino/a and Native peoples, women, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities. The Call to Action also raises the need to fight for economic and environmental justice, while opposing wars, anti-immigrant repression, racial and political profiling, incarcerations and foreclosures.

Mass campaign key to victory

The coalition launched a national petition campaign in May, after numerous delays and administrative runarounds, unreturned phone calls and being put through bureaucratic hoops. Petitions demanded that the city grant the permits, repeal newly passed repressive protest ordinances and immediately make public the permitting process for actions during the DNC.

More than 1,500 people across the country signed the petition, including prominent leaders from unions and community organizations. Every signature triggered emails to city, county and national officials.

Coalition organizers planned to deliver the petitions to the May 29 Charlotte City Council meeting. Just two hours before the meeting was to start, officials called coalition organizers to inform them that the permits had been granted. Even with this major victory, plans to pack the meeting and speak out moved forward. More than three dozen activists from Occupy Charlotte; Occupy Winston-Salem; United Electrical Workers Local 150; Raleigh Fight Imperialism, Stand Together; Students for a Democratic Society; and other organizations turned out.

“This is a huge victory for democracy,” said Scottie Wingfield, of Occupy Charlotte. “We want to thank the more than 1,500 people from across the country who signed the petition. The eyes of the world are on Charlotte and on how the city will treat those who do not have lobbyists to represent their interests. Our work goes on, and we will continue to call on the city of Charlotte to repeal the repressive protest ordinances they passed earlier this year that grant police extreme power and endanger people’s rights to freely demonstrate.”

The coalition was also preparing to take legal action to secure the permits for the right to demonstrate in Charlotte. Affidavits had been collected from nearly two dozen leaders of organizations from across the U.S., including Marilyn Levin, co-coordinator of the United National Antiwar Coalition; John Parker of the Southern California Immigration Coalition; George Friday of Move to Amend; the Rev. Cortly C.D. Witherspoon, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Baltimore chapter; Steve Gillis, vice president of Steelworkers Local 8751, the Boston School Bus Drivers Union; and Sara Flounders, International Action Center co-director.

Alissa Elliss of Occupy Durham stressed: “This is a great success. We want to thank the legal team for the amount of work they put in, not only in preparation for the petitions, but also all the preparation that went into facing likely litigation. It was only through the legal team’s hard work and the mass support of petition signers that we were finally able to make the city and county of Charlotte recognize the power of the 99% and give us our right to protest.”

Stage set for March on Wall Street South

March organizers have issued an all-out call for this major demonstration and others during the DNC:

“We welcome all working people who have suffered during this economic crisis to come down to Charlotte on Sunday, September 2,” said Matt Hickson of University of North Carolina/Chapel Hill Students for a Democratic Society. He emphasized: “Bank of America and Wells Fargo are responsible for kicking people out of their homes, plunging students and families deep into debt, funding the prison-industrial complex and destroying the environment.

“The Democrats and the Republicans have not addressed the dire situation faced by working people and families in this country. We need jobs, an end to deportations and money for housing, education, health care and people’s needs, not for wars and jails. These are some of the issues we’ll be raising at the March on Wall Street South on September 2 and throughout the week of actions during the DNC.”

For information, see wallstsouth.org, Twitter: @wallstsouth or call 1-704-266-0362.

Posted in Counter-Recruitment, Cuba, Economic Crisis, Education, Gender System, Imperialism, Labor, Libya, Occupy Movement, Socialism, South, White Supremacy, Youth in Action | Leave a Comment »

All out to protest the KKK! Saturday, May 26 @ 1pm

Posted by raleighfist on May 25, 2012

Raleigh FIST is working with organizations from across NC to organize this counter-demonstration to oppose the KKK rally that is being planned for this Saturday, May 26 in Harmony NC. Please help to spread the word as far and wide as possible so we can build broad solidarity to stand against the violent racism and white supremacy espoused by the KKK, especially now during this time of severe economic crisis.

 

NC Against the KKK–Unity in Harmony, NC


Gather at 103 Jackson St in Yadkinville, NC to caravan to Harmony, NC

The KKK has begun holding publicized meetings throughout NC this spring, including May 8 in Eden, NC.  The next scheduled cross burning is set for tomorrow, May 26, in Harmony, NC and a coalition of groups and individuals will protest the event.

In the spirit on nonviolent, anti-racist protest, NC Against the KKK: Unity in Harmony will hold a peaceful rally against racism and hate tomorrow.  Activists have organized caravans from a meeting point in Yadkinville, NC, which will leave from 103 Jackson Street at 1 PM.

We will not allow the Klan to further divide the people of North Carolina.  Instead, we will show them we stand together against racism and bigotry.  Our peaceful demonstration will focus on bringing a diverse and multiracial group of North Carolinians together as part of the continuing struggle against racism and injustice in this state.

Posted in Economic Crisis, Education, Gender System, Imperialism, Labor, South, White Supremacy, Youth in Action | Leave a Comment »

Anti-gay Amendment spurs solidarity

Posted by raleighfist on May 24, 2012

By Andy Koch

Progressive-minded people across the United States watched with dismay on May 8 as North Carolina became the 30th state to pass a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman. However, the feeling here in North Carolina is not one of defeat, but of power and hope. The struggle against the amendment was one of the broadest and most dynamic the state has seen in years, involving hundreds of community and faith-based groups and more than 16,000 volunteers.

“Our win is humongous,” said Kai Lumumba Barrow, Southerners On New Ground organizer, in a video the group released on May 9, “because our dialogue is not just about gay marriage. It’s moving toward a dialogue about what does it mean for poor people, people of color, queer people coming together to fight for each other’s liberation. This amendment made that possible.”

North Carolina already had a statute on the books prohibiting gay marriage. So why pass this new constitutional amendment?

For one thing, the wording of the amendment not only bans same-sex marriage, but would wipe out legal protections for women and children in physically abusive unmarried partnerships, as well as numerous other rights that such couples currently hold.

The amendment’s right-wing authors in the state Legislature would tell you that a constitutional amendment ensures that the conservative definition of marriage is protected from being altered in the future. Such reactionary beliefs were a motivator for legislators and supporters of the amendment.

Building solidarity is key

But in order to understand these kinds of oppressive attacks as a social phenomenon, we have to look at the class forces at work. The capitalist ruling class is in some serious hot water right now. Their system is in crisis. They’ve had to pull out every trick in their book to keep profits up — like starting new wars and the huge bank bailouts — yet they are still struggling. Importantly, the people of the U.S. are fighting back against their rulers on a scale not seen in decades. This is what scares the capitalist ruling class most of all.

So what does the ruling class do? Everything they can to put the working class and oppressed people on the defensive. They take back welfare protections that people won through mass struggle. They slash state budgets for public services and education. They smash unions and collective bargaining rights.

Intensifying the oppression of lesbian/gay/bi/trans/queer people by putting discrimination into the state constitution is also part of their strategy. Capitalists across the country and in North Carolina hope the people will be too busy defending themselves against new attacks on their human rights to wage an offensive struggle against the ruling class. They hope that the working class and oppressed people will be further divided by LGBTQ oppression.

And this division is a very real danger — the U.S. South has had a historically weak labor movement due to the divisive effects of white supremacy. The only way that this division can be overcome is through unconditional solidarity among the working class and all oppressed people. The progressive people of North Carolina don’t feel defeated at the passage of this anti-­LGBTQ amendment because the struggle against it has been a shining example of this kind of solidarity.

Posted in Economic Crisis, Education, Gender System, Labor, South, White Supremacy, Youth in Action | Leave a Comment »

99% Spring Targets Wall Street South

Posted by raleighfist on May 16, 2012

By Dante Strobino
More than 1,000 people defied police threats and arrests to protest the Bank of America shareholders’ meeting here May 9. Their three main demands were to end home foreclosures, end the financing of dirty coal, and assert workers’ rights against banks’ control of politicians and the electoral system.

The action showed that a fighting movement is brewing across the United States. This movement is passionately fighting for people’s needs to be placed before the needs of private profits of the banks and corporations.

Protesters in Charlotte included domestic workers from Atlanta, migrant workers from New Orleans, state workers from across North Carolina, and public housing residents from New York City to Durham, N.C. Students, workers, the structurally unemployed, immigrants and many others joined. Three issue-based feeder marches joining the protesters symbolized the three main demands of the protest.

This action was part of the “99% Spring” protests against shareholder meetings of such major corporations and banks as General Electric, Wells Fargo, Walmart, RJ Reynolds Tobacco and others all across the country. The recently formed North Carolina Coalition Against Corporate Power coordinated the Charlotte protest.

Charlotte’s city government used the May 9 protest to trigger a new repressive ordinance that restricted people’s ability to assemble and speak freely. The ordinance was passed in response to Occupy Charlotte and in preparation for the upcoming Democratic National Convention.

Raul Jimenez Arce, member of Raleigh-Durham Fight Imperialism, Stand Together (FIST), told Workers World, “I joined the protest against Bank of America because I am tired of big corporations deciding our future, buying politicians and creating their own agenda at the expense of the working class.”

Despite the new restrictions, protesters bravely marched into the streets without permits and occupied two different intersections for a few hours, shutting down traffic to stop business as usual. Since Bank of America and Wells Fargo own most uptown buildings, this was truly a bold step.

Demand end to foreclosures

By 9 a.m., the marchers had taken over the intersection at 5th and College streets in uptown Charlotte, directly in front of where the rich shareholders were meeting and where they had just passed a pay package of $7 million for CEO Bryan “Big Banks” Moynihan.

The occupiers assembled behind a 10-foot-tall ball and chain marked “debt.” This symbolized all the debt that state and city governments, students, homeowners and others are strapped to because of the Bank of America’s capitalist, predatory practices. Trapped also by long-term unemployment, many marchers will never be able to pay back their debt.

Bonita Johnson, a low-wage kitchen worker in a state mental health facility in Butner, N.C., and member of the North Carolina Public Service Workers Union, Electrical Workers (UE) Local 150, told WW: “These big banks are making mega money and not paying any taxes. We, as state employees, are struggling, working two and three jobs and paying taxes even on the little that we do have. I knew I had to join this protest.”

Sylvia Sanchez was the first speaker at the rally. A member of a community group, Action NC, Sanchez is a Latina mother of a disabled child. Bank of America is about to foreclose on her Charlotte house.

Marchers demanded that Sanchez’s home be saved and that principal loan costs be written down on all “underwater” loans to help keep families in their homes. Some demanded the federal government put a moratorium on foreclosures altogether, so families can stay in their homes while payment terms are negotiated.

“Let Johnny in, let Johnny in!” chanted the marchers in support of Johnny Rosa, an African-American man whose home BOA was foreclosing on. Rosa was simply asking for a voice at the table to be heard by the bank’s top executives. Cops swarmed Rosa, threw him to the ground and quickly arrested him, but not without the crowd standing up for him.

Four other courageous protesters were also arrested throughout the course of the day, most in planned civil disobedience.

Many other movement leaders spoke, including members of All of Us NC, a lesbian, gay, bi, transgender, queer organization that led a grassroots fight against a state constitutional amendment that banned all civil unions and rights of domestic partners. This reactionary amendment passed during the May 8 primary ballot.

Protesters take the streets

Protesters then began marching up Trade Street and south on Tryon Street, completely blocking one direction of traffic as they marched toward the Bank of America stadium, where President Barack Obama will give his acceptance speech during the September Democratic National Convention. Environmental activists, who draped a huge banner over its facade days before the protest, now call this arena “Bank of Coal stadium.”

Yen Acala, member of Occupy Charlotte and leader in the Coalition to March on Wall Street South, underlined the significance of the May 9 event, saying it will help spark people’s enthusiasm to demonstrate an even bigger challenge to the big banks, corporations and both corporate parties during the DNC.

All regions of the country will have their own face, their own struggles. That such a struggle movement is now brewing in the U.S. South has epic potential, especially since this region is home to well over 60 percent of all foreign direct economic investment — the construction of industrial productive factories — and a vast unorganized, non-union, low-wage work force who offer a vast potential for organization.

The time is ripe for a mass, militant march on Wall Street South — Charlotte — that can truly unite all sectors of the working class from across the region. This will be the next giant step forward for full democratic rights and ownership over all the factories, the schools, the banks and all institutions that make society run. It can truly challenge the ownership and property rights of the 1% and begin to leverage power and democratic control of these institutions in the hands of the 99%.

Organizers call on people from all over the U.S. to join them in the streets of Charlotte from Sept. 2-6 during the Democratic National Convention. You won’t want to miss it!

For more information, visit wallstsouth.org.

Posted in Economic Crisis, Education, Gender System, General, Imperialism, Labor, Occupy Movement, South, White Supremacy, Youth in Action | Leave a Comment »

Get on the bus! Protest Bank of America Shareholder’s Meeting in Charlotte on May 9

Posted by raleighfist on April 30, 2012

Join the 99% to Fightback at the Bank of America Shareholder’s Meeting in Charlotte

Converge for Justice – Occupy Wall Street South

Demand a Moratorium on Business as Usual!

May 6-9, Charlotte, NC 


GET ON THE BUS MAY 9

GET YOUR TICKETS FOR THE SHOW DOWN IN CROWN TOWN! Only $5

Tickets going fast, sign up today!

 

On May 6-9 people from across the country and world will be converging in Charlotte, NC, home of Bank of America’s Headquarters and their annual Shareholder meeting, to demand an end to their practices that are bankrupting our economy and wrecking our climate.

Homeowners, students, immigrants, environmentalists, workers, women’s groups, peace activists and more will be in Charlotte, bringing their stories, hearts and communities to the fight against Bank of America and the economic inequality, racial injustice and environmental destruction they have wrought.
Not only is Bank of America and the other big banks responsible for the crash of the entire world capitalist economy, but they also are:

  • #1 forecloser of homes in the US,
  • #1 funder of the US coal industry,
  • Job killer by letting go of nearly 100,000 workers over the past several years,
  • Bonus Buster paying its top five executives over $500 million in bonuses,
  • Saddling students with a lifetime of debt, and
  • Financing the war machine.

Bank of America, and its profits-over-people-and-planet business model, is drowning our democracy through huge financial contributions to lobbyists that are serving the interests of the 1% and are participating in corporate-funded groups like American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the Financial Services Roundtable.

As a global community united for real economic and racial justice, it is time that BoA is held accountable, invest in public needs and services, or face being broken up to achieve the justice we need. Whether you are a community member, homeowner, worker or student, we need to come together to challenge corporate power and create an economy and democracy that works for all of us.

Get on the Bus with FIST in Durham!  One Day trip to Charlotte to join the Show Down on May 9!

Members of Raleigh-Durham FIST are helping to organize a bus from Durham!  We are loading buses at 4:30am sharp at the Main Library at 300 N. Roxboro Street DurhamNorth Carolina 27701.  We will be expecting to arrive back in Durham before 7pm. Please RSVP by emailing RaleighFIST@gmail.com and calling 919-539-2051 to get a ticket!

Sign up for tickets from Durham here !

May 9th BOA Shareholder Meeting Action Plan:

On the morning of May 9 at 8 am, people from around the state, country and world will converge on the “Wall Street of the South” to participate in creative, mass non-violent direct action to “Break Up Business As Usual for Bank of America.” Our marches will carry our call for justice to the doors of the Shareholder meeting and surrounding areas.  On the day of the Shareholder meeting, people will have the opportunity to engage in a variety of creative educational, cultural, theatrical, visibility, and nonviolent direct action activities.



There are also other buses coming from cities across the state:

Asheville bus: jim brown,  Jim@P-e-a-c-e.org
Raleigh bus: Adam Orlovich” <adam@aflcionc.org>  + nick wood: nickwood1979@gmail.com
Fayetteville bus: bryan conlon,  bryan.p.conlon@gmail.com
Wilmington van: keenen,  keenen25@gmail.com
Greensboro bus: todd warren, toddafwarren@gmail.com
Chapel Hill bus: tait chandler, tait.chandler@gmail.com

March Assembly Sites:

Housing Justice Now! – Bank of America, N. Tryon @ 9th St.
Stop Funding Coal and the Militarization of Our Communities! – The Green, Tryon @ Levine Ave of the Arts
Worker’s Rights! Corporations Out of Politics:  Pay Your Taxes Not Your Lobbyists! – Old City Hall, Davidson @ 4thSt

For more information on how to get involved in organizing for the Bank of America Shareholder’s protest, visit www.ncagainstcorporatepower.org

Facebook event: Protest the Bank of America Shareholder Meeting
https://www.facebook.com/events/283287288413972/

Twitter: #MakeBoAPay

Posted in Economic Crisis, Education, Gender System, General, Imperialism, Labor, Occupy Movement, Socialism, South, White Supremacy, Youth in Action | 1 Comment »

May 3: March on Reynolds Shareholder Meeting in Winston Salem

Posted by raleighfist on April 30, 2012

Join us in Winston Salem on May 3 as we rally and march for justice for tobacco farmworkers! For over 4 years the Farm Labor Organizing Committee has asked Reynolds American to meet with the farmworkers who harvest their tobacco to discuss how to put an end to the human rights abuses occurring in NC tobacco fields. While Reynolds continues business as usual, farmworkers continue to suffer from sub minimum wages, pesticide and nicotine poisoning, uninhabitable housing, lack of water and breaks at work, and fatalities.
10:00am Meet at Lloyd Presbyterian Church
748 N Chestnut St., Winston Salem, NC 27101


Free parking is available at Lloyd, or pay lots are available 
downtown. Nearest lot to Reynolds is across from the front 
entrance on Main St. between 4th and 5th.

10:30 Demonstration at Reynolds Headquarters
401 N Main St, Winston-Salem, NC 27101

Followed by Rally at 4th and Trade St. and march through downtown Winston Salem, ending back at Lloyd Presbyterian. Lunch will be provided.

Did you know?

Reynolds is also a corporate sponsor of ALEC, and Reynolds exec David Powers sits on ALEC’s corporate board.

Reynolds made nearly 1.5 billion dollars a year in profits last year while most farmworkers continue to live in poverty. Last year, Reynolds CEO Daniel Delen made 8.5 million dollars.

At the same time the company was raking in billions, it also slashed thousands of jobs from it’s processing plants in Winston Salem, leaving thousands of hard working families without a paycheck.

Tell Reynolds it’s time to take responsibility for it’s actions and it’s supply chain. We will not stand by as Reynolds turns a blind eye to human rights abuses, puts profit over people, and supports anti-worker, anti-immigrant corporations like ALEC.

RSVP ON FACEBOOK 

Posted in Economic Crisis, Gender System, Imperialism, Labor, South, White Supremacy | Leave a Comment »

Mental Health Workers Challenge Lawmakers

Posted by raleighfist on April 5, 2012

By Dante Strobino

Public mental health workers from across North Carolina, members of United Electrical Workers Local 150, the North Carolina Public Service Workers Union, with support from Rev. William Barber II, President of N.C. NAACP, and members of Occupy Raleigh converged on the state legislature on March 13 to deliver a message to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services.

Workers in UE 150 have been fighting for the state to pass House Bill 287 (SB 481), the Mental Health Workers Bill of Rights. However, even after months of written requests, State Rep. Nelson Dollar and Sen. Louis Pate denied front-line workers even five minutes to share their expertise and concerns.

Since the workers were not allowed to address the meeting, they went inside the committee room with one letter pinned to each worker’s shirt, spelling out “LISTEN TO WORKERS.” They stood before the committee in silence making their statement that the workers must have a voice to ensure standards for quality care.

The workers delivered packets of information and a letter about the poor working and service conditions that workers and patients currently face, including 1) continuously and outrageously high rates of worker injuries at Cherry Hospital; 2) the sudden release of several hundred agency-hired, privatized workers without immediate replacement with state workers at Central Regional Hospital, causing severe understaffing and forced overtime; and 3) the unfair discharge of 10 workers whom UE 150 helped reinstate over the last 18 months, along with six more cases still pending.

These cases have cost the state more than $2 million in back wages, legal fees and training, and have forced workers to bear a huge burden of upfront costs, including cashing out their retirement funds early.

To address the issues that face all workers in the Department of Health and Human Services, the Mental Health Workers Bill of Rights would give workers the right to adequate staffing levels, training, a fair grievance procedure, the right to a safe workplace and the right to refuse excessive overtime, among other rights.

UE 150 members around the state have collected more than 2,000 postcards (and plan to collect over 10,000 before the legislature opens in May) and many resolutions from churches calling for passage of the bill.

At a press conference called by UE 150, Kevin Yancey, a youth program assistant 2 at Murdoch Developmental Center in Butner, N.C., explained why they went to the legislature. “The more we would call the legislative members, the less we would hear from them. We’d hear from their staff that they’d ‘get back to us,’ but they’d never get back to us.”

Cuts cause workplace injuries

Occupational Safety and Health and injury logs at Cherry Hospital in Goldsboro, N.C., showed that workers had more than a 40 percent chance of getting a bad injury in 2010 and a 32 percent chance in 2011. Workers’ recent complaints there led to an investigation that is currently being conducted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. These logs show a large increase in total days missed from work due to injuries at all state-operated facilities in the DHHS.

“There are a number of serious injuries at Cherry Hospital recently, bones have been broken, one staff was choked unconscious, and the severity of the injuries is horrible. That is part of the reason that I will be retiring early at age 62, after 21 years of service to the state. I want to be able to enjoy my retirement and not suffer from workplace injury,” stated Larsene Taylor, health-care technician at Cherry Hospital and Chair of UE 150 DHHS Council. “All the issues that workers spoke out about today are core elements of our Mental Health Workers Bill of Rights. Our voices must be heard!”

DHHS has cut 1,179 positions in state mental health facilities since the 2001 Mental Health Reform plan was implemented, which contributed further to already severely understaffed units. This includes 321 positions cut since June 2010.

“Several hundred agency-privatized workers were let go by Central Regional Hospital. However, they did not hire nearly enough state workers to replace them. Most units are understaffed by a handful of workers,” stated Bernell Terry, health-care technician at Central Regional Hospital, and UE 150 Chapter Vice President. “We were already understaffed before all the agency workers were let go. This has forced us to be severely understaffed.”

The lack of adequate resources and fair standards, as described in the Mental Health Workers Bill of Rights, is the true cause of the serious problems undermining the efforts by workers to provide quality care to mental health patients and patients with disabilities. The department and the media like to blame the workers.

The letter delivered by UE 150 members calls on the committee to do the following before the beginning of the May legislative session: 1) recommend passage of the Bill of Rights to the standing committees; 2) investigate the number of workers who have been unfairly fired, who quit or who have retired early over the last two years as a result of poor working conditions and a hostile work environment; and 3) send delegations of legislators to all state mental health facilities to hear directly from the workers, without interference by management, about the working conditions they face that make it too difficult to provide quality care.

The workers in the union will be meeting to discuss the next steps to assure their voices are heard.

Posted in Economic Crisis, Gender System, General, Labor, South, White Supremacy | Leave a Comment »

March 24: NC Defend Education Coalition statewide organizing conference

Posted by raleighfist on March 13, 2012

The future is ours! A fight back and organizing conference of the NC Defend Education Coalition
With a keynote address from Waldemiro Vélez Soto, a leader of the student movement in Puerto Rico

Saturday, March 24 // 9am – 6pm
NC A&T University, Greensboro

On February 10, hundreds of students from across NC marched against tuition hikes and budget cuts.
On March 24, we’ll be gathering again to chart out the next steps for our movement.
The NC Defend Education Coalition will be hosting a statewide student organizing conference called “The Future is Ours!” at NC A&T University. Students, young people, and community activists from across the state will be getting together to strategize about how we can continue to build the movement for justice, for education, for workers’ rights, and against budget cuts and attacks on our communities. There will also be organizing and skills workshops, and opportunities to network with student organizers from across NC.
We will also be joined by Waldemiro Vélez Soto, a leader of the student movement in Puerto Rico, who will be delivering the keynote address of the conference. Students in Puerto Rico have been leading an incredible struggle for the past several years against tuition hikes, budget cuts, and privatization, and have led a series of successful strikes that have shut down the university system there.
For a full schedule of the conference, please visit our website.
You won’t want to miss this! Register today!

Tuition is skyrocketing.
Class sizes are getting larger.
Public education at all levels is being privatized and resegregated.
The banks are pushing us deeper into student loan debt.
The legislature wants to make more budget cuts to education and public services.
SB 575 is yet another attack on workers’ rights.
What are we going to do? Stand up. Fight back!

NC DEFEND EDUCATION COALITION
ncdefendeducation@gmail.com | ncdefendeducation.org | @NCDefendEdu

Posted in Counter-Recruitment, Economic Crisis, Education, Gender System, Imperialism, Labor, Occupy Movement, Socialism, South, White Supremacy, Youth in Action | Leave a Comment »

The Ides of Love: March against the proposed Amendment One // Thurs, March 15 @ 11am

Posted by raleighfist on March 13, 2012

The Ides of Love: March against proposed Amendment One
Thursday, March 15 @ 11am
Gather at the NCSU Bell Tower

On Thursday, March 15th, we will march from the N.C. State Bell Tower to the General Assembly Building AGAINST Amendment One! 

We want to show our State and our Nation that the people of North Carolina do not support amending our Constitution with this ban, and that we will virulently defend the right for a union to be recognized by the state. In the past, we have codified language that excluded both women and minority races; let us learn from our history and not repeat those same mistakes on May 8, 2012. The motto for the fine state of North Carolina has always rung with heraldic clarity: we are a state that lives according to principle and truth; to be rather than to seem. Sadly, the stable foundations of our state have been put to the test, and we stand in the face of those who would restrict base civil rights. We honor the primary statement of the original document of our governance with its assurance of equal rights for all, regardless of creed or orientation.

If you are against amending the North Carolina State Constitution with discrimination, come join us on March 15th, 2012. If you are proud to live in the state that launched civil rights to the forefront of our national discussion, join with us for the march. We believe that only through an expression of solidarity can we give a voice to the voiceless, to those the state would seek to exclude from the civil right of marriage.

“A vote on the same sex marriage amendment has nothing to do with your personal and religious opinion on same sex marriage but everything to do with whether or not you believe discrimination should be codified and legalized constitutionally. We should never seek to codify discrimination into the very heart and framework of our Constitution.”
-Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II

All faiths, all religions, all races, and all people are welcome.

For more information, and further updates on the day of action and change, please visit honestnc.org.


Posted in Counter-Recruitment, Economic Crisis, Education, Gender System, Labor, Occupy Movement, South, White Supremacy, Youth in Action | Leave a Comment »

 
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