Editor’s Note From Rivera Sun
In Augusta, Maine, ironworkers wanted raises – and everybody heard about it. At “hammer time”, they slammed their hammers on beams, tables, and the columns which supported the company’s second-floor office. The reverberations could literally be felt at the negotiating table. No wonder they won.
Speaking of wins, a historic court victory for youth climate activists in Montana just ruled that the state’s continued investment in fossil fuel extraction violated the youth’s right to a “clean and healthful environment”. It opens the legal door to similar suits and rulings in other states. Meanwhile, in Switzerland, it’s the seniors who are suing the government over climate inaction. Around 2400 women ages 64 and older are arguing that extreme heat and climate disasters are a threat to their health. In addition, there were 2,000 climate-related court cases filed this year, globally, showing that people are using litigation to pressure the system to act faster.
And if legal channels don’t deliver, nonviolent activists will do what they’ve always done: work beyond the law. Civil disobedience and direct action are designed to give people power when other options aren’t working. This week, protesters opposing the Mountain Valley Pipeline locked down to equipment to halt the fossil fuel pipeline. Climate campaigners also used pvc pipe to link and lock arms across a private jet airport in the Hamptons, demanding the ultra-wealthy face up to their role in the climate crisis. A third group, the Church of Stop Shopping, has been arrested over a dozen times for their musical protests at JPMorgan Chase offices in New York. But recently, they’ve noticed a change: bank workers know who they are, why they’re there, and that they’re nonviolent. So, they’ve stopped calling the police. Will that help the creative activists get their message heard? We’ll see.
In other Nonviolence News, Indonesian domestic workers are adding moral pressure to a campaign to get a bill passed through parliament, holding a sunrise-to-sunset hunger strike outside the building. Thousands of Bosnians took to the streets in protest of a femicide that was livestreamed on social media, calling for protection for women, curbing of violent media content and control of police work in cases of violence. The global Summer Strike Wave continues with French emergency line workers, cleaners in Marseilles, autoworkers in Spain, journalists in Turkey, doctors in Portugal, and Romanian civil servants among the many worker groups going on strike.
Be sure to at least scan the headlines this week, there are a number of stories worth spending a little time with. In Los Angeles, academics are having to pick sides after conference organizers willfully violated the hotel workers strike and carried on with their scheduled event. Many academics are now boycotting the conference. In Tunisia, a bread shortage is pitting bakers against government restrictions in a struggle that has led to the arrest of the bakers’ union leader. Syrians are protesting over economic woes. And US authors are speaking out against the rise of AI – and the way it trawls through the authors’ writings.
A favorite story? It’s an example that shows how the power of nonviolent action can work on modest goals in specific workplaces. We share so many large scale stories of toppling dictators, mass labor strikes, and nonviolent revolutions, that this one adds a nice contrast. Thirty-seven UPS Teamsters turned their back on a manager who had been passing out disciplinary actions like they were candy, using this daily action to reduce the reprimands from a dozen a day to under two per day. It’s a good reminder of how versatile nonviolent action is … and that we can all use it when needed.
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Workers At a Chicago Safety-Net Hospital Went On Strike. They Just Won Across-The-Board Raises: Following an 11-day strike that galvanized a Chicago West Side neighborhood, around 200 hospital workers treating uninsured and underinsured patients have won and ratified a new contract they believe will help them better serve the community. Read more>>
Southwest Airlines Strikes Deal with 19,000 Ground Workers for New Contract: After two years of negotiations, Transport Workers Union Local 555, which represents the 19,000 workers in ramp, operations, provisioning and freight at Southwest, reached an agreement on Aug. 9 with the Dallas-based carrier. Read more>>
‘Gamechanger’ – Judge Rules In Favor of Young Activists In US Climate Trial: The judge who heard the US’s first constitutional climate trial earlier this year has ruled in favor of a group of young plaintiffs who had accused state officials in Montana of violating their right to a healthy environment. Read more>>
New 4% Tax on Wealthiest Residents Will Fund Free School Meals in Massachusetts: Twenty-six percent of children in the state are food insecure, according to the U.S. Census Household Pulse Survey. Last year, Massachusetts voters approved a constitutional amendment that imposed a 4 percent surtax on individuals whose annual income exceeds $1 million. Supporters of the ballot initiative included a coalition of labor unions, community organizations and religious groups. Read more>>
Ironworkers’ Loud Contract Campaign Gets the Goods: Ironworkers in Local 807 in Augusta, Maine, marched, organized, and got loud to win a good contract from the steel manufacturing company Cives. To make company negotiators feel their power, ironworkers in Augusta, Maine, got loud—hammering on beams in the plant and leaning on their car horns. “Hammer time” was one of many pressure points they used to win a good contract in May. Another one: when the company dragged its feet in bargaining, workers just stopped putting in extra hours—and stopped going the extra mile when they were there. Read more>>
Indonesian Protesters Begin Hunger Strike As Bill To Protect Domestic Workers Stalls In Parliament: Indonesian domestic workers and activists began a hunger strike on Monday to protest against the parliament’s delay in passing a bill to protect domestic workers. Sunrise-to-sunset fasting protests were happening simultaneously in the capital, Jakarta, and other major cities and will be held every day until the bill is passed, said Lita Anggraini of the National Advocacy Network for Domestic Workers. Read more>>
As Fires Destroy Native Hawaiian Archive in Maui, Mutual Aid Efforts Are Launched to Help Lahaina: The mutual aid group in Maui has mobilized. We’re working with them. We’ve got medics, food distribution. We’re working on organizing housing for people. But one of the issues that we’re having is we’re being prevented access. Read more>>
Tunisia Bread Shortage Protests: Amidst a bread shortage, authorities arrested Mohamed Bouanane, head of the National Chamber of Bakery Owners, “on suspicion of monopoly and speculation with subsidized foodstuffs” in addition to money laundering, local media reported on Thursday. The action comes after the Tunisian government earlier this month banned the sale of subsidized flour to 1,500 privately owned bakeries that produce European-style breads and pastries. In response to the ban, hundreds of bakers went on strike and staged a sit-in to protest the decision they say will put them out of work. Read more>>
Thousands In Bosnia Protest Against Violence After Man Livestreamed Killing of Ex-Wife On Instagram: Thousands of Bosnians took to the streets on Monday to demand authorities act to curb violence against women after a man last week shot and killed his ex-wife while streaming the slaying live on Instagram. Protests were held simultaneously in several Bosnian cities. In Sarajevo, the capital, a huge crowd of people walked through the city center to press for more protection for women, curbing of violent media content and control of police work in cases of violence. Read more>>
WGA, SAG-AFTRA Strike Remains Strong After Over 100 Days on the Picket Line: The striking unions have pledged to continue its work stoppage until it reaches a fair deal. Over 100 days after declaring a strike, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) remains unwavering in their commitment to securing a fair contract for its 11,000 members. The WGA made it clear last week that after a non-starter meeting with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which represents major television studios, they will not end the strike until their terms are met: “Rest assured, this committee does not intend to leave anyone behind, or make merely an incremental deal to conclude this strike.” Read more>>
Los Angeles: Some Academics Boycott Annual Meeting To Support Hotel Workers Strike: Academics are boycotting their annual meeting after they say leadership spurned a union request to move online or cancel. The union representing thousands of hotel workers on strike in Los Angeles is clashing with a group of political scientists over a request to move its gathering out of the city. It has sparked tensions within the professional group, as members – experts in power and politics – are dissenting over how they ought to respond. Read more>>
How We Turned Our Backs on an Abusive UPS Manager: “So after an hour of Brian dragging in innocent, hardworking drivers for frivolous discipline, I decided that maybe we should teach him a lesson. I thought maybe that Friday, after our practice picketing demonstration, we should all turn our backs on him as a group at the morning meeting. Brian said ‘Good morning,’ and with zero hesitation, like dominos, we all turned. Thirty-seven Teamsters showed huge solidarity by turning their backs on a center manager who thinks he’s the guy that runs the building. From more than a dozen disciplinary actions a day, they have now creeped below a dozen a week.” Read more>>
‘FriendlyJordies’ Brings New Attention To West Papuan Occupation Ahead of Independence Day Arrests: In the latest chapter of this struggle, 27 West Papuan National Committee (KNPB) activists, handing out leaflets for an independence rally in West Papua, were arrested by Indonesian occupying forces, on August 12. Three days later, West Papuan activists took to the streets on August 15, calling on the United Nations to review the New York Agreement. Indonesian security forces responded to the peaceful rallies with violence, attacking demonstrators and using water cannon. West Papua is the home of some of the largest gold mines in the world. Read more>>
‘Long-Delayed Justice’: Judge Rejects Right-Wing Effort to Block Student Debt Relief for 800,000+ “The Biden administration needs to actually discharge this debt immediately before more lawsuits or judicial bullsh*t happens,” said the Debt Collective. A federal judge in Michigan has rejected an effort by a pair of right-wing think tanks to stop the Biden administration from canceling the student debt of roughly 804,000 borrowers who have been making payments on their loans for more than two decades. Read more>>
Authors Call For AI Companies To Stop Using Their Work Without Consent: Margaret Atwood, Viet Thanh Nguyen and 8,000 others have signed an open letter asking that permission is obtained and compensation given when a writer’s work is used by AI. Read more>>
ASHA Workers In India’s Bihar Demand Fair Pay, Pensions: ASHAs are trained female health workers who perform a range of tasks and act as key intermediaries between the village community and the public health system. “We do not want a reward of INR 1,000 (USD 12) per month, we are here to fight for a monthly honorarium of INR 10,000 (USD 120) and pension after retirement,” Kamla Devi, a protesting ASHA worker. Read more>>
Protests In Southern Syria Over Economic Woes: Protests occurred in southern Syria on Thursday as anger grows at the government over the dire economic situation. The demonstrators blocked roads, burned tires and chanted anti-government slogans. Hundreds of people participated in the protests. The unrest was specifically motivated by rising fuel prices. Read more>>
Romanian Civil Servants Protest Austerity With Walkout: As many as 15,000 employees of the Romanian finance ministry began a wildcat strike on August 10, against austerity measures which will lead to job cuts and will cost each worker around 700 lei per month. Read more>>
Portugal Doctors Strike: A new strike by doctors will be affecting State health services in the centre of the country today and tomorrow, as nationally syndicates are locked in battle over pay and conditions with the government which they claim ‘is not listening’. Further strikes by medical interns are scheduled for later in the month. Read more>>
Summer Strikes – French Emergency Line Workers, Cleaners In Marseilles, Autoworkers in Spain, Journalists In Turkey: From unsafe work conditions to pay disputes, workers are walking out and going on strike. Here’s a round-up of reports from Europe and the Middle East. Read more>>
UAW Ramps Up Pressure on Biden to Protect Workers in Electric Vehicle Transition: “The government should invest in U.S. manufacturing but money can’t go to companies with no strings attached,” said United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain. “There should be labor standards built in, this is the future of the car industry at stake.” The president of the United Auto Workers on Tuesday called on U.S. President Joe Biden to use his position of power to help ensure a just transition to electric vehicles—pushing for a major investment in green technology that would also guarantee that workers in the U.S. can earn a decent living in the evolving auto industry. Read more>>
In a Summer of Record Heat, These Striking Workers Are Making Climate Demands: Pennsylvania workers represented by United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America have been on strike since late June. They’re fighting for a green overhaul of the rail industry and modeling how unions — and workers walking off the job — can make climate justice demands of an employer. Read more>>
Swiss Seniors Are Suing Over Climate Change’s Threat To Their Health: A group of senior women from Switzerland are suing their government over its climate change inaction, alleging the country’s climate policies violate their human rights and health. KlimaSeniorinnen Schweiz, a Greenpeace-backed group of 2,400 women ages 64 and older, filed a lawsuit that was heard in Europe’s top human rights court in March. Read more>>
Pipeline Fighters Lock To Equipment At Mountain Valley Pipeline Work Site: Early morning on Friday, August 11, 2023, two pipeline fighters locked themselves to equipment on a Mountain Valley Pipeline worksite on Poor Mountain in Roanoke County, VA, preventing downed trees from being cleared from the pipeline easement. Nearby, over a dozen people rallied to show their support for the protest, holding signs with messages such as “STOP THE MVP” and “DOOM TO THE PIPELINE.” Read more>>
New York Advocates Rally Against Dumping of Radioactive Waste in Hudson River: “We have spent decades cleaning up the Hudson, and now the river is, once again, a major economic driver for the region and the state as a whole,” said one state lawmaker. “Let’s keep protecting the Hudson!” Groups including Riverkeeper and Physicians for Social Responsibility warned that the wastewater could be contaminated with the isotope tritium, which is linked to cancer, miscarriages, and genetic defects. Read more>>
New York Activists Descend on the Hamptons to Protest the Super Rich Fueling the Climate Crisis: From the airport to a golf course, museum gala and private mansions, activists confronted the extreme wealth driving global warming, and the challenges facing grassroots organizations that stand up to billionaires. Read more>>
Campaign Hits The Road To Halt Oil Drilling in Ecuador: After ten years of effort, campaigners hit the road in Ecuador ahead of a vote to halt oil drilling in a national park. Indigenous people and environmentalists set out Monday on a tour of a dozen Ecuadorian cities to urge a “yes” vote in the Aug. 20 referendum on ending oil production inside a national park in Amazonia. Read more>>
Feeling Hopeless About Climate Change? Reverend Billy Would Like a Word With You: “It is well known that JPMorgan Chase is the dirtiest bank because of all the funding it provides to fossil fuel projects around the world. The Earth Church invades the Rockefeller Center JPMorgan Chase a lot, 15 times in the last two years. We do this at lunch-time so that the singers who have jobs can use their lunch break for our “Radical Lunch.” The managers inside the bank often grimace when they see us parade through the door with anthems about the Earth. But last week, JPMorgan Chase did not call the police. Our reception seems changed.” Read more>>
Climate Defiance Disrupts VP Harris: “We profoundly disrupted a speech by United States Vice President Kamala Harris. As we cried out about the tragic deaths in Hawaii and condemned her fossil fuel crimes, Kamala stood there and laughed. Horrendous. We deserve – and we need – actual climate leaders.” Read more>>
On a ‘Toxic Tour’ of Curtis Bay in South Baltimore, Visiting Academics and Activists See a Hidden Part of the City: Curtis Bay may be Baltimore’s most polluted community, surrounded by industrial facilities strangling the rowhouse neighborhood. The city now wants to close a local recreation center to make way for even more industry, continuing what activists say has been decades of environmental racism. Read more>>
BlackRock Is A “Modern Day Dutch East India Company” Say Activists: US-based organizations gather in front of the BlackRock headquarters in New York City to demand the asset holder cancel USD 220 million of Zambia’s debt. Read more>>
Groups Press Biden EPA to Take Emergency Action Amid Jackson’s Ongoing Water Crisis: “Water is life,” said one organizer. “This petition is about making sure our voices, and our needs as residents, are centered in this process.” A coalition of Mississippi and national advocacy groups on Wednesday filed an emergency petition with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency imploring urgent action to provide relief for communities suffering an ongoing water crisis in Jackson, the state capital. Read more>>
1,500+ Academics Say Israel’s Occupation of Palestine Is Apartheid: “There cannot be democracy for Jews in Israel as long as Palestinians live under a regime of apartheid.” An open letter equating Israel’s illegal 56-year occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem in Palestine with apartheid has now been signed by more than 1,500 academics in the United States, Israel, and around the world. In what one professor of Holocaust and genocide studies at Brown University called “a watershed moment,” the academics published an open letter entitled “The Elephant in the Room” in which they “call attention to the direct link between Israel’s recent attack on the judiciary and its illegal occupation of millions of Palestinians.” Read more>>
Women Jailed Under El Salvador’s Abortion Ban Are Now Fighting To End It: A group of women who spent years in prison are now supporting others persecuted under El Salvador’s draconian laws. Mujeres Libres El Salvador provides training and support for women who, like them, have been deprived of their liberty, to enable them to reintegrate into society. The training is focused on personal growth, and covers legal issues, human rights, gender, and sexual and reproductive health. Read more>>
Attempt to Remove San Diego Library’s LGBTQ Books Backfires: Two San Diego residents checked out books from the library’s Pride Month display in an attempt to bar others from reading the books. It ended with an outpouring of community support for the library in the form of increased monetary and book donations. Read more>>
A Georgia Teacher Wants To Overturn Her Firing For Reading a Book To Students About Gender Identity: A Georgia public school teacher took the stand Thursday trying to reverse her firing after officials said she improperly read a book on gender fluidity to her fifth grade class. Katie Rinderle had been a teacher for 10 years when she got into trouble in March for reading the picture book “My Shadow Is Purple” at Due West Elementary School in suburban Atlanta’s Cobb County. The case has drawn wide attention as a test of what public school teachers can teach in class, how much a school system can control teachers and whether parents can veto instruction they dislike. Read more>>
Democratic Socialists Are Fueling a Hot Labor Summer: From strike support to training organizers and supporting union drives, DSA members are helping to build a fighting labor movement. Mass education and employer salting operations are part of their mix. Read more>>
Just Stop Oil: The Intersection of the Four Horsemen And The Web Of Life: Managing the push and pull of both environment and economic issues while remaining grounded in the reality of energy, technology, behavior, and the economy. Read more>>
Mutual Aid Solidarity For Maui Fires: Whether you’re off the island and looking for a way to support the response to the deadly wildfires or are on Maui needing assistance, check out this growing list of resources. All of the institutions and charities listed have been verified by Shareable. Learn more>>
No More War Spending! CODEPINK says: The Biden administration wants to spend another $24 billion dollars – most of it on weapons –to continue the war in Ukraine even though the counter-offensive has been a disaster for Ukrainians in terms of lives lost and wounded. This announcement comes right after a new CNN poll reveals 55% of respondents oppose spending more to continue the war in Ukraine. Tell Congress to vote NO on endless war funding! Learn more>>
Looking For 1,000,000 Signatures – Cuba Is Not a State Sponsor of Terror! Movement organizations collect signatures for the “Let Cuba Live” campaign to demand that Cuba be removed from the US state sponsors of terrorism list. The letter will be delivered to Biden on the occasion of Human Rights Day, which is celebrated on December 10. Learn more>>
Tell Amazon To Eliminate Shipping Waste: IKEA has taken steps to clean up maritime shipping – such as their commitment to reduce their transportation emissions by 70% before 2030. Unfortunately, IKEA stands alone amidst global retail companies that continue to drag their feet and to insist that reducing shipping emissions is too hard. Take Amazon, the multi-billion dollar company that talks the talk, but that has failed time and time again to follow through on meaningful climate action. Will you add your name to our petition calling on Amazon to match IKEA’s ambitious steps and do its part in helping us secure a climate-safe future? Learn more>>
Support the Summer Strike Wave: Victories in one sector – like UPS workers winning a raise for part-time workers to at least $21 an hour and more than double that for full-time workers – helps to inspire wins everywhere. That means that this summer strike wave isn’t going anywhere – not until we win dignity, respect, and unions for ALL. Pledge to support striking workers – this summer and every season. Learn more>>
Tell Congress: Stop Border Militarization And Protect Migrant Lives: Last week, the bodies of two migrants were found in the Rio Grande. They were near the floating anti-migrant barrier recently installed by Gov. Greg Abbott. The barrier is another example of the deadly impact of border militarization, which has cost thousands of migrant lives. As Congress debates next year’s budget, tell them NO more funding for border militarization! Learn more>>
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