USAction stands with 45,000 CWA/IBEW workers on strike against Verizon’s greed

USAction affiliates and partners Citizen Action of New York, New Jersey Citizen Action, Progressive Maryland, Virginia Organizing and West Virginia Citizen Action Group are rallying and supporting Verizon strikes across the country.

Thousands more USAction online members have sent letters to Verizon’s CEO, Lowell McAdam, telling they stand in solidarity with the 45,000 striking workers.

Photo of Western New York CANY via @NMJowsey on Twitter.

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Over the last four years, Verizon has made more than $19.5 billion in profits – enough to pay its top five executives $258 million, but apparently not enough to fairly compensate its employees.

Yes, that’s right, despite those profits, Verizon is pushing to outsource more jobs, slash sick days, eliminate benefits for workers who get hurt on the job, and cut health care benefits they’ve already promised to retirees.

That’s why 45,000 Verizon workers went on strike yesterday. They’re sick of being pushed around. They’re sick of the attack on America’s working families. They’re sick of the greed. And we are too.

Send a message to Verizon’s CEO, Lowell McAdam.

Tell him that you stand in solidarity with the 45,000 workers who are on strike. Click here to send your message now!

This assault on working families is yet another example of a disastrous trend – huge corporate profits coming before people – and we have to stop it.

Tens of thousands will be joining CWA and IBEW members on picket lines at Verizon sites across New England. Can you join? Click here to see a map of all of the picket lines happening today.

HuffPost Politics Reports on Monster.com “Cease and Desist” Letter to USAction

Huffington Post’s Jordan Howard reportshttp://j.mp/oklPsI

Monster.com Says It Won’t Ban Third-Party Ads That Discourage Job Applications From The Unemployed

WASHINGTON — The parent company for the employment website Monster.com, Monster Worldwide Inc., is taking action to get the progressive advocacy group USAction to stop its online campaign aimed at companies whose job postings discourage the unemployed from applying.

In July, USAction began circulating an online petition imploring employment websites such as Monster.com and Careerbuilder.com to reject ads from third-party employers that require applicants to be “currently employed.” As employment websites, Monster and Careerbuilder don’t actually post the ads, but do allow them to be up on the site.

USAction began collecting signatures online — it now has about 26,000 — and put a petition letter on the progressive website Dailykos.com. The group also launched an ad campaign on Facebook.

Then late last Friday, USAction received a “cease and desist” letter from Monster.com claiming the information in the campaign is false, misleading and defamatory. “Monster.com does not engage in any discrimination in hiring,” the letter said. “Monster.com is the media for third-party employers that post their jobs directly onto the monster.com website without input or editorial contribution from Monster.”

USAction spokesman David Elliot said USAction would not cease nor desist.

“Saying they don’t discriminate against the unemployed in hiring is kind of a technicality without a moral distinction,” he told The Huffington Post. “They may not, themselves, discriminate in terms of the people they hire at Monster.com, but they’re still running these ads. So we’re going to keep continuing, we’re not going to cease and desist when it comes to telling the world about this unfair and outrageous practice, a practice that should in fact be illegal.”

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ACTION: Join those 26,000 Americans and tell Monster.com and all employment sites to “cease and desist” accepting ads that exclude unemployed job-seekers! 

No, we will not “cease and desist” telling people about hiring discrimination against the unemployed.

Two weeks ago, we launched a campaign to end hiring discrimination against unemployed Americans.

Specifically, our online petition campaign aimed at companies that refuse to consider hiring unemployed workers, a perverse form of discrimination in today’s economy.

So far, more than 26,000 Americans have signed our petition.

But someone – or perhaps in this era of “corporatehood vs. personhood” I should say some thing – wants us to go away.

That would be monster.com.

You see, when we launched our campaign, one of the steps we took was to ask the executives at monster.com and careerbuilder.com to stop posting help-wanted ads that expressly deny employment to the unemployed – simply because they are not working.

A recent study by the National Employment Law Project found that employers of all sizes as well as staffing agencies are using recruitment and hiring policies that expressly deny employment to the unemployed. The NELP study identified more than 150 ads that openly discriminate based on employment status. NELP examined ads posted on careerbuilder.com, monster.com and two other online job posting firms. It found that the overwhelming majority of the discriminatory ads required that applicants “must be currently employed.”

We complained.

Along with our petition drive, we launched a modest Facebook ad campaign, asking careerbuilder.com and monster.com to stop the discrimination.

Monster.com complained back.

They sent us a “cease and desist” letter, demanding that we stop mentioning them in our campaign. The point they were trying to make, I think, is that although they may, from time to time, post ads that are discriminatory, they don’t themselves discriminate in their hiring practices, and they counsel employers against discrimination.

Their first point strikes me as a claim without a moral distinction. If they don’t discriminate in their hiring practices, good for them. But they do accept money to post ads from other companies that discriminate.

Their second point – that they counsel employers against discrimination – came to light after they were called out in an investigative piece in The New York Times. Their response.

USAction will not “cease and desist” telling the world about hiring discrimination against the unemployed, about companies that engage in this practice, and about online job posting firms that enable it.

And that includes Monster.com

David Elliot
Communications Director
USAction 

USAction supports Rep. Schakowsky’s Emergency Jobs to Restore the American Dream Act

Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D), a progressive champion from Illinois, this week introduced The Emergency Jobs to Restore the American Dream Act. USAction endorsed the jobs bill immediately:

“We built the middle class by decisions we made together, as Americans,” said Alan Charney, USAction director of strategy and policy. “But today, working and middle-class families are struggling, while the rich get richer and at the expense of the rest of us. It’s up to us to fight for good jobs, strong communities and shared prosperity. Congresswoman Schakowsky’s bill will put America back to work.

We need more leaders in Washington D.C. like Jan Schakowsky, unafraid to lead where others have failed and fight for what the American people and the American economy so desperately need, jobs to drive the economy back to where it belongs. That’s exactly what this bill does, as Jordan Howard writes in the Huffington Post:

The congresswoman said that her plan would create 2.2 million jobs and decrease the unemployment rate by 1.3 percent.

If we want to create jobs, then create jobs,” Schakowsky said in a press release. “I’m not talking about “incentivizing” companies in the hopes they’ll hire someone, or cutting taxes for the so-called job creators who have done nothing of the sort. My plan creates actual new jobs.

How does it put America back to work? Check out below:

 

Last Night’s Recall Elections a Step towards Restoring Economic Opportunity

Citizen Action of WisconsinLast Night’s Recall Elections a Step towards Restoring Economic Opportunity

Although we are disappointed that we did not pull off upset victories in four predominantly Republican Senate districts last night, we also realize that this was only an early skirmish in a long battle to restore American freedom, and that the fate of social movements is not determined by one election. The new movement to restore economic opportunity that was born in the workers rights protests, and the tens of thousands of new activists who came together to fight for economic justice in these recall elections, are major steps towards taking back Wisconsin.

Those of us who saw the tens of thousands of average Wisconsinites who came together in these recall elections, and gave up their summer vacations to fight for economic freedom, know that something new and exciting has been born that will change Wisconsin for the better.

The 2 seat shift last night, although not dramatically transforming the balance of power in Madison, does change the political dynamic in the State Capitol in the near term. For example, Scott Walker’s abrogation of most collective bargaining rights, Act 10, would not have passed the Senate if Republicans only had a one seat majority, due to the opposition of Republican Senator Dale Schultz.

There is also no doubt that last night’s election skirmishes were fought mostly on Republican ground. These 6 seats went Republican in 2008, in one of the most Democratic election years in decades, when President Obama received over 56% of the vote. As Bill Christofferson, an astute observer of Wisconsin election history, pointed out, Senator Olson’s district has been held by Republicans since 1896, Senator Hopper’s district has been Republican since 1936, and Senator Cowles’ seat has been Republican since 1950.

The electoral playing field will be much more even in a state-wide race in 2012, when Governor Walker faces a robust new movement to restore economic opportunity in his own recall election.

GOP super-committee co-chair Hensarling called Medicaid, Medicare & Social Security “cruel Ponzi schemes”

Think Progress reported in April:

As the House took up Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan to end Medicare and Medicaid yesterday, Rep. Jeb Hensarling, the GOP Conference chair, called the programs, along with Social Security, “cruel ponzi schemes” that will bankrupt the nation.

Hensarling admitted that the three programs had been “of great comfort and assistance to my grandparents and parents,” but he went on to claim that that they were now morphing into the greatest drivers of the national debt:

REP. HENSARLING: Let’s remember again the main drivers of this national debt are three large entitlement programs, programs that have been of great comfort and assistance to my parents and grandparents but they’re morphing into cruel ponzi schemes for my 9-year-old daughter and 7-year-olds. Unfortunately, the President ignores the reality, he doesn’t really give the facts to the American people and they will go bankrupt where we will save and secure these programs for future generations.

INFOGRAPHIC: Government for the rich or the rest of us?

Image below via Center for American Progress: The Choices Still to Be Made in the New Debt Deal

Historic effort led by Maine People’s Alliance — 68,000 Signatures!

USAction affiliate Maine People’s Alliance led the field organizing for the Protect Maine Votes coalition. The coalition was collecting signatures to save same-day voter registration, which was repealed by the Republican-controlled government earlier this year after nearly 4 decades as law in Maine.

Yesterday the group announced that their unprecedented People’s Veto effort collected 68,000 signatures in less than one month!

(The Charlie referenced to the right is radical Maine Secretary of State Charlie Summers. )

The Bangor Daily News, Mainers likely to have say in Election Day voter registration:

AUGUSTA, Maine — A broad coalition of advocacy groups and volunteers has gathered more than 68,000 signatures in an effort to allow Maine voters to affirm or overturn a recently passed law that bans Election Day voter registration.

Those signatures, well above the 57,277 needed to ensure a people’s veto, were delivered to the Secretary of State’s Office on Monday afternoon, one day before the deadline and exactly one month after the effort began.

Ben Chin, the field director for the campaign and the political engagement director for the Maine People’s Alliance, called the effort unprecedented.

“More than a thousand Mainers, representing every political party and a broad coalition of groups, came together,” he said. “The level of support and energy has been inspiring.”

Video of the press conference yesterday below:

Unemployed? Help Not Wanted!?!?

When we heard that major job sites like Monster.com and CareerBuilder were running want-ads that discriminated against the unemployed, we were outraged.

So were 25,000 USAction/TrueMajority members who signed on and the New York Times, who ran stories and printed editorials demanding an end to discrimination against the unemployed.

But apparently, Monster and CareerBuilder weren’t outraged – in fact, so far they’ve basically ignored our calls to stop running these discriminatory ads. I guess they’re just more interested in taking advertising dollars from the companies that discriminate than they are in answering public outrage.

If we want to change that, we need to hit these online ad sites in the place that it hurts – namely with online job seekers and employers. So we’re launching a major ad campaign today that will target Monster and CareerBuilder. Can you chip in $10, $35 or $100 to help us run these ads?

It’s outrageous enough that 14 million Americans are out of work. But discriminating against jobless people who just want to feed their families and stay in their homes?

Employers should not penalize applicants for a job status that they cannot control, especially when prohibiting the unemployed from applying only compounds the issue.

Help us send a message they can’t afford to ignore. We can’t do it without you: Click here to donate $10, $35 or $100 to run these ads.

What, Now to Get a Job You Already Need to Have a Job?

Claudia Ricci, Professor at University at Albany, SUNY, wrote about USAction’s campaign to end unemployment discrimination this weekend.

What, Now to Get a Job You Already Need to Have a Job?

Beverly Bowne, who lives in the Bronx, worked for 28 years as a billing coordinator for a printing company in New York City. And then in 2009, she and a number of other employees at the company — including her own supervisor — were laid off.

Bowne’s employer was hard hit by the recession. The company, like so many in the printing industry, is shriveling fast as internet communication replaces the need for printed materials.

For Bowne, the lay off was devastating. “I fell apart completely,” she said. “You have to go through the grieving process.” Bowne has spent the last two and a half years looking for work, sending out hundreds of resumes. Often, she gets the cold shoulder from prospective employers reacting to her grey hair and her age (she’ll be 60 next month.)

Now, she’s begun to see a new kind of snub — job ads on Careerbuilder.com from companies saying that applicants must already be employed in order to apply for the job. Bowne calls the ads “outright discrimination,” adding that these ads “remind me of the ‘Irish need not apply’ ads of our earlier history.”

Bowne isn’t the only one infuriated by the ads. The progressive activist orgranization USAction has now launched an on-line petition campaign to stop what they are calling an “outrageous” form of job discrimination.

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If you haven’t taken action yet, join 25,000 in calling on major employment websites like Monster.com and CareerBuilder to refuse ads from companies that discriminate against unemployed workers: http://j.mp/nQNoDi.