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Sun Dec 18 2016 (Updated 01/20/17)
Mobilization Against the Coronation of Trump
A large coalition, including CrimethInc. Workers’ Collective, is calling for a bold mobilization against the inauguration of Donald Trump. In addition to Washington D.C., protests will also be held in Oakland, San Francisco, San José, Palo Alto, Santa Cruz, Monterey, and communities throughout the so-called United States. A widely circulated call to action states, "On Friday, January 20, 2017, Donald Trump will be inaugurated as President of the United States. We call on all people of good conscience to join in disrupting the ceremonies."
Mon Jan 16 2017 (Updated 01/20/17)
Reclaiming King's Legacy in the Age of Trump
For the third year in a row, actions will be held across the Bay Area to “Reclaim King’s Radical Legacy." In previous years, protests and rallies culminated with a large march in Oakland on Martin Luther King Day. This year, with Trump set to be inaugurated as the President of the United States on the Friday after MLK Day, protests will be held over five days, from MLK Day on January 16 through to the inauguration of Donald Trump on January 20. A diverse coalition will engage in 120 hours of direct action, coalition building, and campaign launching against white supremacy.
Sun Dec 18 2016 (Updated 12/20/16)
Low-Wage Workers Rise Up at SFO
Hundreds of workers marched and rallied at SFO on November 27 to demand $15 an hour and a union. The San Francisco International Airport — which makes hundreds of millions of dollars — has workers who make far less than living wages. Young workers have no future and families cannot survive on the low wages they are paid. The demonstration was part of a national day of action supported primarily by the SEIU International. Burger King employees, UBER drivers, and home care workers marched to the International Terminal and discussed their struggle for survival in the Bay Area.
Korean Port Truck workers have struck against deregulation and union busting by South Korea President Park Geun-hye. They were attacked, beaten, and the leaders were jailed by the government. Many union leaders including the president of the KCTU have been jailed by the government. Supporters of the Korean general strike against the government spoke out at the San Francisco South Korean consulate on November 30.
On November 22, hundreds of Japanese Americans, Japanese, and supporters of human rights rallied to call for unification against racism, xenophobia and attacks on immigrants, LGBT and other disenfranchised communities. The rally was held at the Peace Plaza in San Francisco's Japan Town. Participants reflected on the effect on themselves and their families of the incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans, Peruvian Japanese, and Japanese in concentration camps during the Second World War.
Yvette Falarca of BAMN helped prevent the neo-Nazi rally on the steps of the capitol in Sacramento this summer — and was one of several people who were stabbed by the fascists. Following the action, threats were made against the school at which she teaches if she was not fired. The Berkeley Unified School District caved and suspended her. On November 1, Yvette announced victory in that she has been reinstated as a teacher at Martin Luther King Middle School, although there are still outstanding issues, including the district's refusal to restore back pay.
A protest was held at the corporate headquarters of Well Fargo bank in San Francisco on October 26 calling for jailing the executives and managers who oversaw the illegal opening of two million accounts in customers' names without their knowledge as well as setting up credit card accounts. The Obama administration refuses to press criminal charges. Speakers at the protest called for the jailing of Wells Fargo bankers for criminal fraud and for the expropriation of the bank and for it's transformation into a public bank for the people.
On October 15, about 40 people, including students from UC Santa Cruz, San Francisco State University, and Watsonville High School, as well as community members from Santa Cruz and Watsonville, came out to the Driscoll's Distribution Center and Berry Store in Aromas, California, to relay the message that the boycott of Driscoll's continues until Driscoll's negotiates a union contract with the farmworkers in San Quintín, Mexico who harvest the lucrative berries. Currently, farmworkers receive as little as $6 a day for 12-15 hours of work, with no benefits or job security.
Thu Sep 22 2016 (Updated 10/13/16)
Driscoll’s Boycott in Full Force
Labor groups have issued a statement clarifying the Driscoll's berries boycott is still in full effect and farmworkers in San Quintín, Mexico continue to work for the recognition of their union in order to negotiate the signing of a collective bargaining agreement. In Washington State, the results of an election on September 12 confirmed the independent union Familias Unidas por la Justicia as the formal representatives of farm workers at Sakuma Brothers Farm, a supplier to Driscoll’s. A rally and protest will be held at the Driscoll's distribution center in Aromas on October 15.
The National Labor Council for Latin American Advancement passed a resolution in solidarity with farmworkers at the 21st LCLAA National Membership Convention held August 18-20 in Orlando, Florida. In the resolution, the Sacramento LCLAA Chapter went on record in support of "the struggle of the 70,000 farmworkers in San Quintin and the 468 farmworkers in Skagit County, Washington, for better wages, working conditions, and the recognition of their fighting unions..."
Thu Aug 4 2016 (Updated 08/14/16)
Boycott Driscoll's Won't Stop
On August 6 and 7, 2016, local activists engaged thousands of people at the 22nd Annual Watsonville Strawberry Festival to raise awareness about the Driscoll's Boycott and the harsh realities of farmworkers who pick the precious berries. A banner declaring "No More Blood Berries" was displayed from the third-story of the Lettunich Building on Saturday and from the roof of the Mansion House on Sunday while shouting, "Boycott Driscoll's" and "No More Blood Berries." The buildings are the most iconic structures in downtown Watsonville and stand as subtle reminders of the apple growing, packing, and export industry in the Pájaro Valley. Both buildings are Santa Cruz County Historical Trust Landmarks on Main Street and overlook the Watsonville Strawberry Festival.
A member of the Bus Rider's Association writes: The Santa Cruz Bus Rider's Association brought some successful defense work to protect bus riders from the "harsh cuts" that initially threatened us riders and our bus system. These cuts started out looking like they would be a kind of conflagration that would burn down much of our bus system, taking a lot of jobs and bus line with it. We were alarmed, naturally.
The Watsonville Brown Berets are keeping the pressure on Driscoll's, the world's largest distributor of fresh berries, who are headquartered in Watsonville, California. On July 2, the Saturday before July 4th BBQs, the Brown Berets and other community members demonstrated in front of the Safeway on Freedom Blvd. in Watsonville to raise awareness and show solidarity with farmworkers in Washington state and Baja California leading the worldwide boycott of Driscoll's berries, including all products made with strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, or blueberries sold by Driscoll's.
The National Coordinating Body of Education Workers (CNTE) began an indefinite strike on May 15, primarily against plans by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to implement neoliberal reforms to the country’s education system. Peña Nieto has attempted to privatize and standardize the Mexican education system, along with instituting policies to disempower Latin America’s largest union, the National Union of Education Workers (SNTE), and its dissident and more radical faction, the CNTE.
Mon Jun 20 2016 (Updated 06/22/16)
“Welcome to Oaxaca” 2016
The looming federal police attack on the people and striking teachers of Oaxaca, Mexico has begun. There are reports of between six and eight demonstrators killed on the morning of Sunday, June 19 at the highway blockade in Nochixtlán, northwest of the city of Oaxaca. They were shot and killed when police opened fire with live ammunition on the blockade. At least 45 others have been hospitalized with injuries, the majority gunshot wounds, and 22 have been disappeared.
On May 31, students at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA voted overwhelmingly to endorse resolutions expressing support for freedom and equality for Palestinians and labor justice for migrant workers at Sakuma Bros farm in northern Washington. The three resolutions asked students to condemn the presence of Caterpillar Inc. equipment on campus, to de-shelve Sabra hummus, and prohibit the use of Sakuma Bros berries from campus dining services.
Why won't the United Farm Workers of America (UFW) support the Driscoll's Boycott? That's one of the questions UFW Vice President Lauro Barajas would not answer after he spoke at Hillary Clinton's rally in Salinas on May 25. The UFW will not reveal when their friendship with Driscoll's began. However, a photograph from May 2013 reveals their relationship with Reiter Affiliated Companies, an Oxnard-based subsidiary of Driscoll's.
Leading fair trade advocacy organization Fair World Project joined over thirty other organizations in signing a letter asking Driscoll’s, the largest distributor of berries in the world, to make good on its commitment to enforcing the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining. At Sakuma Brothers Farm, a Washington farm that grows blueberries and blackberries for Driscoll’s, management has refused to negotiate a contract with Familias Unidas por la Justicia.
Wed Jun 1 2016 (Updated 06/02/16)
Bus Riders in Wheelchairs: Don't Leave Us Stranded
A group of bus riders and drivers staged a rally at the Santa Cruz downtown METRO station on May 21 in protest of planned cuts to the county bus system. METRO plans to reduce service across the county and cut more than 40 driver positions. According to documents provided at a METRO public comment meeting on May 3, “METRO needs to reduce its annual operating budget by $6.5 million for the next fiscal year.”
The California Strawberry Festival in Oxnard is one of the largest outdoor annual events in California that celebrates the success of the multi-billion dollar global agricultural industry. However, this success has come at the great economic, social and overall health expense to those who pick the berries. On May 22, a protest outside the Strawberry Festival challenged the industry and governmental efforts to overlook the social and environmental costs of strawberry production, and questioned the logic of charity festivals.
On two consecutive Saturdays, May 7 and May 14, farmworkers called for an international day of action to bring attention to the ongoing struggles in the berry fields in Washington State and San Quintin, Mexico. May 7 was initiated by Familias Unidas por la Justicia in Washington state, while Sindicato Independiente Nacional Democratico De Jornaleros Agricolas (SINDJA) farmworkers in San Quintin, Mexico called for a global day of action on May 14. Demonstrations took place in many locations, including Mexico City; Burlington, WA; Portland and Eugene, Oregon; and Eureka, Rohnert Park, Fairfield, San Leandro, Santa Cruz, Watsonville, and San Diego, California.
iCal feed From the Calendar:
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