She started working in a garment factory when she was 12 years old. By the time she was 15, she was president of her local union.
Showing 21 posts tagged labor
The national movement of fast food and retail workers’ strikes has hit Milwaukee—the fifth city in 6 weeks where employees have walked off the job demanding $15/hour and the right to form a union without retaliation. Josh Eidelson has the story.
(Photo from @OLBLightBrigade)
The fast food worker strike movement just keeps getting bigger! Today they’re walking out in Detroit—read all about it here.
(Photo from @alesacm)
Photo from today’s fast food worker strikes in St. Louis, via @STL735
Fast food workers are striking in St. Louis! And it’s a BFD—read all about it
(Photo from @aliemalie)
We talked with Kalpona Akter, the executive director of the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity, about how American consumers can best pressure US corporations to protect workers abroad. Read the full interview here.
Happy May Day! From the celebration outside our office in Union Square.
Thousands of labor and environmental activists gathered in downtown St. Louis today to protest corporate greed at Peabody Energy’s annual shareholders meeting, in solidarity with the United Mine Workers union. For more check out the Twitter hashtag #UMWA. (Photos from @CathySherwin and @aliemalie)
Demanding a living wage of $15 per hour, retail and fast food employees at Macy’s, Subway, McDonald’s, Victoria’s Secret and more have walked off the job today in Chicago’s Magnificent Mile.
Photos from “A Brooklyn Corner,” a feature article exposing the epicenter of the underground domestic day labor economy—the corner of Marcy and Division Avenues in Brooklyn—in this week’s issue of The Nation. The corner is one of only two known spots in the US where women wait outdoors year round for occasional labor.
On the Thursday morning before Christmas, about fifteen women, mostly Latina but some Eastern European, stand scattered on a curved asphalt shoulder overlooking the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. As yeshiva school buses and somber men in black topcoats pass by, an older Hasidic woman comes close and asks a Latina, in Yiddish-accented English, “Clean today and tomorrow?” “No, sorry,” replies the worker, who is already booked for Friday. The Hasidic woman eventually hires a middle-aged Polish worker, who trails her home at some distance.
It is thirty-six degrees and windy, but a patch of shifting sunlight warms Hellen Rivera, a luckless jornalera, or woman day laborer. Tall and fair-complexioned, Rivera looks so unlike the other Latina workers that I mistake her for Polish. She wears a long, black wool coat and orange beret and scarf—a contrast to most of the workers’ bulky, pragmatic garments.
Rivera has been on the corner for only a month or two. I ask her what she thinks about the cleaning work so far. “They should pay fifteen, not ten,” she says. “And they don’t give you a mop. You have to get on your hands and knees!” Gladys, a bearish woman who lives in the Bronx, recommends buying knee pads: “You get accustomed to the way they want you to work.”
Rivera is still getting accustomed to the hiring process. “They look at you. They look at you. And then they say to one, ‘Do you want to clean my house?’ And then they take them.”
She recites the English she’s learned: “Do you have mop? How many hours? How do you pay per hour?” The going rate, she and dozens of other Latina workers tell me, is $10 per hour. “In the bathroom, sometimes they don’t have the brush, so you have to clean inside with the sponge—for ten or twelve dollars!” And the different levels of need mean that some women on the corner work for less.
“My Cuban friend today said, ‘We’re going to put up a big sign that says we demand a mop and this is the rate per hour.’… I don’t know how the laws work here, but I was thinking of something like that: organizing.”
Read the full story by Tammy Kim here.