Fight Back! - News and Views from the People's Struggle http://www.fightbacknews.org/ This newspaper exists to build the people's struggle! We provide coverage and analysis of some of the key battles facing working and low-income people. en Stocks and other financial markets in sharp decline http://www.fightbacknews.org/2018/11/21/stocks-and-other-financial-markets-sharp-decline <p>San José, CA - On Tuesday, November 20, stocks and other financial markets staged a broad retreat. Stocks tumbled for a second day in a row, wiping out virtually the gains for 2018. The broad S&amp;P 500 index of 500 large corporate stocks fell 1.8% and is now down 10% from its record high set in October. But the downturn went far beyond the stock market. Oil prices fell more than 6%, while corporate bonds also fell, pushing up interest rates. Bitcoin prices took another hit, falling to $4200, almost 80% down from its high less than a year ago.</p> <p>Despite record corporate profits boosted by the Trump and Republicans’ corporate tax cut, the markets are looking at a perfect storm of economic problems. The Federal Reserve, the U.S. central bank, is raising interest rates, pushing down corporate bond prices. This is turning off the tap of cheap credit that fueled corporate profits. The housing market is showing growing signs of weakness as rising prices and mortgage interest rates make homes more and more unaffordable. Big corporations such as Apple, General Electric and Target are reporting disappointing sales after years of strong growth.</p> <p>It was not just the U.S. stock market, as stocks lost ground from Asia to Europe to Latin America. Economic weakness is showing in both Japan and Germany, the second and third largest capitalist economies, which both contracted in the third quarter (July to September) of this year. There is increasing concern over the Trump administration’s escalating trade war with China, which is throwing a wrench into the increasingly globalized economy.</p> <p>There are growing worries that the weaknesses across many financial market may be signaling an economic slowdown next year. There are also other signs, such as growing debt problems among U.S. households that may signal fewer purchases in the future.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2018/11/21/stocks-and-other-financial-markets-sharp-decline#comments People's Struggles Capitalism and Economy stock market Wed, 21 Nov 2018 14:35:49 +0000 Fight Back 7096 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Airbnb commits to removing rentals in illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank http://www.fightbacknews.org/2018/11/20/airbnb-commits-removing-rentals-illegal-israeli-settlements-west-bank <p>Washington, D.C. – On November 19 AXIOS reported that after years of controversy, Airbnb will remove all home-sharing lists - roughly 200 - in illegal Israeli settlements built on occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank. According to a blog post, Airbnb said they have developed a five-part checklist to evaluate how it handles listing in occupied territories and based off that checklist, they "concluded that we should remove listings in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank that are at the core of the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians."</p> <p>The announcement comes after years of sustained advocacy from a coalition of groups known as the StolenHomes Coalition - which included organizations like SumOfUs, CODEPINK, American Muslims for Palestine, the US Palestinian Community Network, the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, Friends of Sabeel North America, Up Lift and Jewish Voice for Peace.</p> <p>More than 150,000 people from around the world joined onto a petition urging Airbnb to stop listing vacation rentals in Israeli settlements built on stolen Palestinian land and deemed illegal under international law. Thousands of people also left reviews on a microsite parodying Airbnb rental listings and calling attention to the fact that the vacation rental company continues to list Israeli settlements in the West Bank.</p> <p>Coalition members held a protest at Airbnb’s European headquarters in Ireland, and in other cities around the world. Coalition members also called on Fidelity Investments, one of Airbnb’s largest owners, to push the company to stop the illegal rentals and released a video campaign called “We Can’t Live There. So Don’t Go There,” featuring Palestinians speaking directly to Airbnb’s new marketing campaign “Don’t Go There. Live There,” and urging potential travelers not to rent vacation homes in settlements, which are often not clearly identified as such in the website’s listings.</p> <p>“There’s no delicate way to say this: for years, Airbnb has profited from rental suites built on top of the ruins of Palestinian lives and livelihoods,” explained Angus Wong , Campaign Manager from SumOfUs.org. “While it is good that Airbnb finally recognized the illegal nature of these listings and pulled them from their website - this decision took way too long. By listing these stolen homes for years, Airbnb directly helped Israeli settlers legitimize their occupation of stolen Palestinian land, contributing to the Israeli government's decades-long policies of occupation, discrimination and dispossession. We will be monitoring Airbnb to make sure that no more illegal rental properties built on Palestinian land are listed on the site - and urge Airbnb to take steps to make amends to the Palestinian people by donating profits from these illegal listings to Palestinian organizations working to provide services to people amidst the Israeli occupation.”</p> <p>"The U.S. Palestinian Community Network (USPCN) celebrates the decision by Airbnb to finally act on its stated values of inclusiveness and anti-discrimination," said Hatem Abudayyeh, National Coordinating Committee member of USPCN, "especially since Israeli settlement listings are the exact opposite of these principles. "They represent exclusive, militarized ethnic enclaves, illegal under international law, that Airbnb helped normalize as tourist destinations. For visitors to Palestine, we hope Airbnb rentals continue to be an important avenue for our people in Occupied Palestine to showcase their hospitality and history. We are happy now that they can do so without the shadow of colonialism as competition."</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2018/11/20/airbnb-commits-removing-rentals-illegal-israeli-settlements-west-bank#comments People's Struggles Antiwar Movement Airbnb Anti-racism Israel Palestine Palestine West Bank Tue, 20 Nov 2018 21:16:34 +0000 Fight Back 7095 at http://www.fightbacknews.org LA jury enters phase one of Jesse Romero case http://www.fightbacknews.org/2018/11/19/la-jury-enters-phase-one-jesse-romero-case <p>Los Angeles, CA - The civil trial by Jesse Romero's parents against LAPD officer Eden Medina and the City of Los Angeles started at the U.S. Courthouse on November 13. After five days of dramatic testimony and police video recordings, as of mid-day November 19, the jury has reported they are not agreeing yet on a decision. It appears the jury is split and the judge has asked them to continue deliberating.</p> <p>Jesse Romero was 14 years old when LAPD officer Eden Medina shot and killed him. This happened on August 9, 2016, at a very busy intersection in Boyle Heights. Testimony during the trial included an eye-witness who saw Romero surrendering with his hands up, as Officer Medina shot him twice. Officer Medina killed two young Chicanos within two weeks, Romero being his second victim.</p> <p>The eight-member jury began deliberations into Friday evening, and returned today, Monday, November 19. Around 11:30 this morning, the jury stated they were not unanimous on a decision. As of now the jury has returned to deliberations in the hopes that a unanimous decision is made. If there is not a unanimous decision, a mistrial or hung jury may occur.</p> <p><em>Sol Márquez is a member of Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Centro CSO, and a fighter for Chicano liberation. </em></p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2018/11/19/la-jury-enters-phase-one-jesse-romero-case#comments People's Struggles Police Brutality Anti-racism Jesse Romero LAPD Los Angeles Police Brutality In-Justice System Tue, 20 Nov 2018 04:46:20 +0000 Fight Back 7094 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Community holds memorial vigil for Jamar Clark, storms city councilor’s meeting http://www.fightbacknews.org/2018/11/19/community-holds-memorial-vigil-jamar-clark-storms-city-councilor-s-meeting <p>Minneapolis, MN - A defiant crowd shut-down Plymouth Avenue in North Minneapolis, November 15, to mark the third year since the police murder of Jamar Clark. The evening began with a vigil, “at the place where Jamar Clark took his last breaths,” according to an invitation from the organizers, Twin Cities Coalition for Justice for Jamar (TCC4J).</p> <p>In 2015, 24-year-old Jamar Clark was shot in the head within 61 seconds of an encounter with Minneapolis police. Plymouth Avenue outside the Fourth Precinct was the site of an 18-day occupation, complete with tents, bonfires and thousands of people taking a historic stand against police crimes, all in protest of the sickening murder of Clark.</p> <p>Clark’s family started gathering in the early evening, laying out dozens of votive candles spelling out his name, “Jamar,” at the site where he died. Community members joined in, with signs, more candles, and banners, growing to more than 200 people.</p> <p>After chants demanding “Justice for Jamar,”, Minister Toya Woodland, an organizer with TCC4J, opened the program with prayer calling for justice. Jamar’s nephews and nieces shared a rap dedicated to him, and then Cassandra Tucker - whose son Isaiah was killed last year by police in Oshkosh, Wisconsin - shared a song dedicated to Jamar’s memory. Jamar’s mother, Irma Burns, spoke, urging the crowd to never give up, and to remain united. TCC4J organizer Angel Smith El closed the vigil with the words of Assata Shakur.</p> <p>Then the vigil took over both sides of Plymouth Avenue and marched to the Fourth Precinct police station, holding high signs reading, “Prosecute Ringgenberg and Schwarze!” in reference to the two police officers who murdered Jamar Clark, and “Justice Thru Jamar Community Control of MPD Now.”</p> <p>Someone launched several fireworks over the roof of the cops’ building as the march passed. The protesters then stormed into a neighboring building, where a local city council person was hosting a ward meeting.</p> <p>Earlier in the week, Councilmember Jeremiah Ellison, son of the career politicians Keith Ellison and Kim Ellison, planned a community meeting for that night. Organizers from TCC4J, community members, and family members of Jamar Clark asked the councilmember to change the date of his meeting, which was the same night as the vigil. They pointed out that it was the murder of Jamar Clark that caused several local politicians to be unseated, due demands made by the local movement against police crimes in exposing negligence of politicians who refuse to hold killer cops accountable.</p> <p>TCC4J organizers and community members were outraged at how tone deaf Councilmember Jeremiah Ellison was to hold such a bland event just blocks from where Jamar Clark was murdered, on the third anniversary of his death. Minister Toya Woodland, an organizer with TCC4J, led the charge into the meeting in which protesters outnumbered attendees eight to one. Organizers and community members Nekima Levy Armstrong, Sam Martinez, Raeisha Williams, Kim Handy Jones, Angel Smith El, Monique Cullor-Doty and several family members of Jamar Clark held the politicians accountable, while Minister Toya kept the crowd going with chants. The event was broadcast live by Dani VanPelt, a&nbsp; TCC4J youth member. Link to video: <a href="https://www.facebook.com/TCC4J/videos/2142792959370803/" title="https://www.facebook.com/TCC4J/videos/2142792959370803/">https://www.facebook.com/TCC4J/videos/2142792959370803/</a></p> <p>The November 15 vigil was one day in a week of action for #JusticeThuJamar. The demands for the week of justice included: Reopen the case surrounding the murder of Jamar and prosecute Minneapolis Police Department officers Dustin Schwarze and Mark Ringgenberg; stop police terror in our communities – justice for all victims of police violence; Community Control of the Police - actual, community control, not the current rubber-stamp systems that exist; and justice for Travis Jordan, a native Hawaiian killed last week by Minneapolis police.</p> <p>For more information, see tinyurl.com/tcc4j or Facebook @tcc4j.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2018/11/19/community-holds-memorial-vigil-jamar-clark-storms-city-councilor-s-meeting#comments People's Struggles Police Brutality Jamar Clark Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar Mon, 19 Nov 2018 21:34:46 +0000 Fight Back 7093 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Salt Lake rallies for Cody Belgard, shot in the back and killed by SLCPD http://www.fightbacknews.org/2018/11/19/salt-lake-rallies-cody-belgard-shot-back-and-killed-slcpd <p>Salt Lake City, UT - Cody Belgard was a protector, a gentle man, a talented emcee, a loving and playful father, a loyal brother. These are just some of the ways family members described Belgard as they mourned his death at the hands of a Salt Lake City officer, who shot him in the back.</p> <p>Despite cold rain and even a few flakes of snow, they stood in front of a Salt Lake City Police Department station, along with more than 50 supporters, on November 17 to demand answers: What happened? Why did offices shoot? What ‘altercation’ occurred? Where is the footage? Why did police wait for days before allowing the family to view his body? Where is the justice for Cody?</p> <p>The rally was organized by Utah Against Police Brutality (UAPB), the Rose Park Brown Berets, and the family.</p> <p>“My brother didn’t deserve to be shot,” said sister Sena Belgard. “He was unarmed. He was shot in the back. Nobody deserves to be killed that way.”</p> <p>Police have not offered any information about the shooting itself, only saying in a statement that “due to his actions shots were fired.”</p> <p>SLCPD claims that Belgard “rammed” a police car and then fled earlier on the night of the shooting. The department says he was “noncompliant” when they approached him later. However, they refuse to offer explanations for why he was stopped and pursued in the first place.</p> <p>Nomi Armijo, a witness near the shooting and friend of Belgard, told the<em> Salt Lake Tribune</em> that she saw Belgard walking near her home, carrying nothing, shortly before he was shot. An officer with his gun drawn then approached Armijo and demanded she “Stay in the car, don’t move.” A police vehicle with no lights or sirens then sped by.</p> <p>Moments later, Belgard was shot in the back.</p> <p>“How do you have an altercation with somebody when their back is turned?” Sena Belgard asked. “I’ve seen his body. There were only shots in his back.”</p> <p>Belgard was also a well-known emcee in Salt Lake’s hip-hop scene, known as SEE-SMOKE. His rhymes often focused on life on west side of the of the city. Rally attendees paused to listen to one of his tracks, his now-silenced voice echoing around the buildings and streets he had loved.</p> <p>Utah Against Police Brutality organizer Dave Newlin demanded that the city adopt the group’s proposed ordinance, which would give control over police back to the people through an independent, elected oversight board. The Salt Lake Civilian Police Accountability Council (SLCPAC) could investigate shootings like Belgard’s and fire officers who kill people. The SLCPAC would also have broad authority to investigate and discipline police for all forms of misconduct, as well as take residents’ complaints, release body camera footage and other records to the public and reject bad departmental policies.</p> <p>The shooting is currently being investigated by the nearby West Valley City Police Department, the most notoriously corrupt agency in the valley. West Valley City Police Department’s narcotics unit was disbanded in 2013 when they were found to be stealing money from crime scenes and mishandling evidence, leading to more than 100 cases being thrown out. It has since been reinstated.</p> <p>More recently, West Valley police killed Elijah Smith, who was raising his hands in the air when an officer shot him.</p> <p>Brown Berets organizer Anthony Fierro specifically called out Salt Lake City Council member James Rogers, who represents the Rose Park area of the city, where Belgard lived and ultimately died. Rogers recently voted to spend roughly $6 million to hire new police officers, and he has welcomed increased police presence in Rose Park as the neighborhood begins to gentrify. Fierro called on Rogers to start supporting community control and asked residents to contact Rogers and bring up SLCPAC at local council meetings.</p> <p>“Ultimately, we need to take power back for yourselves,” said Nick Godfrey, a labor organizer and member of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization. “That’s what SLCPAC is about. These cops can’t just investigate themselves and declare themselves innocent.”</p> <p>Longtime family friend Marvin Oliveros connected the shooting to misplaced police priorities and needless criminalization of marginalized people.</p> <p>“They continue to get more funding to hire more police officers to criminalize addicts, to criminalize homelessness, and to criminalize the general public - and anything they deem in opposition to their goals,” Oliveros said.</p> <p>UAPB organizer Deb Blake said that the group will continue to stand by Cody Belgard and his family for the long term to demand and ultimately win justice.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2018/11/19/salt-lake-rallies-cody-belgard-shot-back-and-killed-slcpd#comments People's Struggles Police Brutality Cody Belgard SLCPD Utah Against Police Brutality Mon, 19 Nov 2018 21:31:15 +0000 Fight Back 7092 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Jacksonville high school, police, fair management target Black youth with racist dress code http://www.fightbacknews.org/2018/11/18/jacksonville-high-school-police-fair-management-target-black-youth-racist-dress-code <p>Jacksonville, FL – Students at a local Jacksonville high school are calling foul on a racist dress code policy implemented by administration last week.</p> <p>On November 14, administrators at Robert E. Lee High School issued a new interpretation of the dress code that prohibits students from wearing memorial clothing on campus or at school-sponsored events. Citing prohibitions of “gang-related paraphernalia,” the school administrators banned any clothing with the acronym “RIP,” or “Rest in Peace,” even if the person commemorated has no proven gang affiliations.</p> <p>The move comes on the heels of a major local controversy a week before involving several African American students from Lee High School at the Jacksonville Fair. Two Black teenagers were harassed and ejected by Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO) after purchasing tickets and entering the fairgrounds. Video footage taken by the teens shows JSO officers yelling at the students to “pull up their pants,” to which the students complied. The officers then instructed one of the students remove or conceal a memorial necklace bearing the image of his deceased mother, ejecting the two soon after.</p> <p>JSO claimed they were enforcing the Jacksonville Fair’s dress code prohibiting “memorial clothing and jewelry.” Fair management doubled down on this fake policy by posting a sign the day after ejecting the students. An investigation by News4Jax found that no such policy existed prior to the incident.</p> <p>These policies against “memorial clothing” are thinly veiled racist rules targeting African Americans. Black communities across the U.S., including in Jacksonville, have a history of wearing airbrushed t-shirts, photo-print jewelry and other clothing items as memorials to deceased friends and family, particularly those killed by police.</p> <p>The incident sparked community outrage, and many took action to challenge it by flooding the fair with memorial attire ranging from deceased celebrities to pets. One women, a white teacher who knew the students personally, exposed the racist nature of this policy by wearing a t-shirt in remembrance of ‘fallen veterans’ a few days later. She took photos with JSO officers and fairgrounds staff, who complemented and praised her shirt. These same officers later expelled more Black teenagers from the fairgrounds right in front of her.</p> <p>To date, the Jacksonville Fair management has refused to issue a refund to the expelled students. They issued an insincere apology that recognized “hurt feelings” while reiterating their racist, arbitrary policy.</p> <p>After several news reports exposed the JSO’s blatant racial profiling and the coverup, fair management went into overdrive attacking the Lee High School students from their social media account. JSO reportedly spoke to Lee High School administrators, prompting this new, racist interpretation of the dress code.</p> <p><strong>Hypocrisy and hope at Lee High School</strong></p> <p>Many students and community members have pointed out the double standard of a school named after a slave-owning Confederate general - Robert E. Lee - banning ‘memorial clothing.’ Jacksonville, like many cities across the U.S. South, had a string of schools, public parks and monuments named after racist Confederate Civil War figures in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. Pushed by white supremacist groups like the United Daughters of the Confederacy, these ‘memorials’ were created in response to desegregation and the successes of the Black freedom movement.</p> <p>Students at Lee High School have a recent history of activism and organizing in the community. The EVAC Movement consists of 15 African American students who meet regularly to learn about the law, social change, and activism with their mentor and teacher, Amy Donofrio. These students, rejecting the label ‘at-risk’ in favor of a more proactive ‘at-hope’ approach, have earned national recognition for their activism, even visiting the White House and meeting President Barack Obama several years ago.</p> <p>“I’ve met several of these students from Lee High School’s EVAC program,” said Michael Sampson, a lead organizer with the Jacksonville Community Action Committee. “These young people have a real spark for making positive change in their classrooms and communities. The way the school, the police, and the fairgrounds management have targeted them is flat-out disgusting. We’re demanding nothing less than accountability across the board.”</p> <p><strong>Racism and national oppression in Jacksonville</strong></p> <p>Jacksonville is home to nearly 270,000 African Americans, making it one of the largest concentrations of Black people in the United States. But while African Americans make up 30.3% of the city’s population, they comprise 47.9% of those living in poverty.</p> <p>The Black community in Jacksonville, heavily concentrated on the city’s Northside, has suffered from over-policing and economic strangulation by the city’s ruling class of Dixie capitalists. From 2009 to 2016, Black males made up 76% of those shot and 68% of those killed by JSO officers, according to research by News4Jax’s investigative team. The same investigation found that from the earliest available data in 1996 to present day, not a single shooting by a JSO officer has ever been ruled ‘unjustified’ or resulted in indictments.</p> <p>The JSO’s long history of racial profiling goes beyond police shootings. In 2017, a study by Ben Conarck of the <em>Florida Times Union</em> and Topher Sanders of ProPublica found that JSO deliberately targets Black communities for “jay-walking.” Black people received 55% of all jay-walking tickets issued by the JSO, making them “nearly three times as likely as whites to be ticketed for a pedestrian violation.” According to the study, “Residents of the city’s three poorest zip codes were about six times as likely to receive a pedestrian citation as those living in the city’s other, more affluent 34 zip codes.”</p> <p>Jacksonville sits at the outskirts of the Black Belt, a region that stretches across the U.S. South originally named for its rich soil. Home to the transatlantic slave trade, this region was ground-zero for chattel slavery and Jim Crow in the U.S. From the 1700s to present day, the Black Belt has the highest concentration of Black people in the U.S., making it a historic home of both national oppression and Black resistance.</p> <p><strong>Fighting for police accountability</strong></p> <p>In the last decade, Jacksonville has seen a rising Black freedom movement pushing back against racist police crimes and other discriminatory policies. Activists forced the Duval County School Board to change the name of Nathan Bedford Forrest High School in 2013, which had been named after the founder of the Ku Klux Klan. In 2016, the Black community and its allies removed State Attorney Angela Corey from office. Corey had worked closely with the JSO to incarcerate a record number of Black youth.</p> <p>Since that time, Black-led groups like the Jacksonville Community Action Committee (JCAC) have launched a campaign for community control of the police. Organizers want the creation of an elected Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC), which would have the power to hire and fire officers, rewrite conduct policies, subpoena evidence, and investigate police crimes. If created, the CPAC could investigate police misconduct, like the incident at the Jacksonville Fair, and hold the officers involved accountable.</p> <p>National oppression of the Black community in Florida runs deep, making the fight for police accountability in Jacksonville difficult. Florida statute 112.532 establishes a “Law Enforcement Officer Bill of Rights,” known as LEOBOR, which grants extra protections to police and prevents the community from holding them accountable. The JCAC, along with other community organizations, have called on lawmakers in the Florida state legislature to repeal LEOBOR and create a Civilian Police Accountability Council.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2018/11/18/jacksonville-high-school-police-fair-management-target-black-youth-racist-dress-code#comments People's Struggles Police Brutality Anti-Racism Anti-racism Florida students In-Justice System Student Movement Mon, 19 Nov 2018 00:44:46 +0000 Fight Back 7091 at http://www.fightbacknews.org New York emergency action for Gaza http://www.fightbacknews.org/2018/11/18/new-york-emergency-action-gaza <p>Brooklyn, NY - Forty activists and community members gathered in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn on November 17 in response to the Palestinian protesters killed and wounded in Gaza this past week. The Palestinian protesters were part of the Great Return March, and were met by Israeli Occupation Forces at the border.</p> <p>To start off the event, the names of seven murdered by Israel were read aloud, followed by a moment of silence. The crowd then chanted and heard from different speakers.</p> <p>Despite the fact that numerous Palestinians were murdered, continuous protesting has resulted in some setbacks for Israel. Nerdeen Kiswani from Within Our Lifetime - United for Palestine emphasized how Israel has been forced to make concessions because of the resistance, including a ceasefire on Palestinian terms.</p> <p>“They were so humiliated that the Israeli Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman actually resigned,” said Kiswani. </p> <p>Other organizations, such as Project Solidarity and Committee to Stop FBI Repression, made the connection between what’s happening in Palestine to U.S. wars abroad, the migrant caravan, and the NYPD. They also emphasized the need for continued organization for Palestine and other movements. </p> <p>The call was put out by NY4Palestine, a coalition of Palestine and solidarity organizations.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2018/11/18/new-york-emergency-action-gaza#comments People's Struggles Committee to Stop FBI Repression-NYC Great Return March International Middle East NY4Palestine Palestine Oppressed Nationalities Sun, 18 Nov 2018 20:41:19 +0000 Fight Back 7090 at http://www.fightbacknews.org JusticeThruJamar: Community Control of the MPD - making it real http://www.fightbacknews.org/2018/11/18/justicethrujamar-community-control-mpd-making-it-real <p>Minneapolis, MN - For the final event in a week marking three years since Jamar Clark was killed by police, the Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar (TCC4J) hosted an organizing meeting, November 17, titled, “JusticeThruJamar: Community Control of MPD - Making it Real!”</p> <p>Minneapolis activists are the early stages of drafting legislation they call MPAC, similar to Chicago’s CPAC (Civilian Police Accountability Council). After TCC4J presentations on the history of the struggle for community control of the police, nationally and locally, attendees discussed what community control should like in Minneapolis, and how to win it.</p> <p>They discussed how to ensure an elected council would not suffer from the same politicking that prevents the mayor and City Council from holding police accountable today; policies MPAC could enact to end racist over-policing in some parts of the city, and how MPAC could take power back from the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis and its white supremacist president, Bob Kroll.</p> <p>Community activists and newly-active community members were joined by family members of Jamar Clark and Isaiah Tucker, both killed by police officers.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2018/11/18/justicethrujamar-community-control-mpd-making-it-real#comments People's Struggles Police Brutality Anti-racism CPAC Minneapolis Police Department Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar In-Justice System Oppressed Nationalities Sun, 18 Nov 2018 20:00:03 +0000 Fight Back 7089 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Teamsters Local 705 outmaneuvers Hoffa, wins improvements http://www.fightbacknews.org/2018/11/17/teamsters-local-705-outmaneuvers-hoffa-wins-improvements <p>Chicago, IL - Negotiations ended with a tentative five-year agreement, November 16, for the over 10,000 Chicago-area UPS workers represented by Teamsters 705. Ballots, including contract changes, will be sent out shortly for members to review and vote.</p> <p>After watching the national contract be imposed, with major concessions, Local 705 found itself in a difficult position. Teamsters President James Hoffa, for political reasons, was determined to not allow Local 705 to negotiate a better contract than the U.S. national agreement.</p> <p>Facing a battle with Hoffa and UPS, who were willing to fight at any cost for concessions, Local 705 was able to wait out negotiations until the busy season for UPS, when a strike would hurt the most, hoping to win gains where the national agreement fell short. As UPS dragged its heels, Local 705 revoked their contract extension so it would end just after ‘Cyber Monday.’</p> <p>Local 705 was able to win major pension increases, $15 an hour for existing part-time workers, stiffer penalties for supervisors working and harassing, and more full time jobs, among dozens of other improvements, all by raising the threat of a strike and tough negotiating.</p> <p>A major point of contention with the national language was a proposal to hire in 25% of all new drivers under a two-tier wage scale with less benefits and protections. While Hoffa collaborated with UPS management to get that proposal through at the national level, ultimately approving a contract through that was voted down by 54%, Local 705 Secretary Treasurer Juan Campos led a campaign to keep that contract language out of Chicago.</p> <p>As Hoffa and UPS made it clear to Local 705 that Chicago would be forced to accept the two-tier drivers, Campos strategically bargained in work rules to the language that protects the original package car driver job and enhances benefits to new two-tier workers, making it the best language in the country and difficult for UPS to implement.</p> <p>Teamsters are currently debating the gains and shortcomings on the internet, in the workplace, and at after-work hangouts. What is clear is that Teamsters everywhere need to come together in 2021 to kick out Hoffa and his lackeys in order to launch a national contract campaign and get ready for a strike in 2023, because UPS made it quite clear that’s what it will take to save better-paying jobs and improve life for part-timers.</p> <p>In the meantime, Local 705 members will have the best UPS contract in the country because they showed what a strike threat and tough bargaining can accomplish. Local 705 members will live to fight another day and are ready to take on Hoffa and join a national movement to lift part-timers out of poverty and strike out two-tier wages for good.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2018/11/17/teamsters-local-705-outmaneuvers-hoffa-wins-improvements#comments People's Struggles Teamsters Teamsters Local 705 UPS Sat, 17 Nov 2018 23:57:17 +0000 Fight Back 7088 at http://www.fightbacknews.org UPS Freight vote http://www.fightbacknews.org/2018/11/16/ups-freight-vote <p>Washington, D.C. - The UPS Freight contract was ratified November 12 following a campaign of scare tactics carried out by UPS and the leadership of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT).</p> <p>The company had slowed down its operations and stopped picking up new cargo in the week leading up to the vote, resulting in most Freight employees being laid off. Simultaneously, the IBT had not effectively prepared for a strike, leaving many members unconfident about a strike’s outcome.</p> <p>Many UPS Freight employees are still laid off and it is unknown at this time how many will be hired back on as the company begins picking up new shipments. In fact, Teamster leader Denis Taylor stated on the IBT conference call announcing the results that laid-off Freight “members who are not called back should file for unemployment compensation just like any layoff.” “It’s my understanding that the other union freight companies are hiring,” added Taylor.</p> <p>With a tight labor market in the less-than-load shipping market, and UPS Freight’s busiest season approaching, a strike would have had favorable conditions. However, due to UPS and the IBT misleaders working together to force a subpar contract, UPS Freight employees will suffer for the next five years.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2018/11/16/ups-freight-vote#comments People's Struggles Teamsters UPS UPS Freight Fri, 16 Nov 2018 15:17:18 +0000 Fight Back 7087 at http://www.fightbacknews.org