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Remember the Dead, Fight for the Living at the Workers’ Center

It was a great day of resistance, a day to remember our ancestors, fallen workers and the victims of police violence. We invited the community to be in solidarity with the #Buffalo25. Thanks to all of you who joined us and to our WCCNY members who participated. What a beautiful night to remember the dead and fight for the living.

 

 

Dia de los Muertos/Day of the Dead

Join us at our Day of the Dead Fundraiser Wednesday Nov 2nd at 6pm!

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WCCNY Supports #Buffalo25

buffalo25solidarityFrom Movimiento Cosecha:

This last week, ICE raided 4 Mexican restaurants in Buffalo, NY and detained 25 undocumented workers. ICE separated their family, ransacked their homes, and stole their savings. They are in need of support for rent, food, and legal fees.

Please support the #Buffalo25 and their families facing this crisis: bit.ly/buffalo25fund

***ESPAÑOL***

Esta última semana, ICE allano 4 restaurantes de comida mexicana en Buffalo, Nueva York y detuvo a 25 trabajadores indocumentados. ICE saqueó las casas de estas familias, robó sus ahorros, y estan creando terror entre la comunidad. Estas son 25 familias cuyas vidas han desgarradas y ahora están separadas.

Por favor apoyan el #Buffalo25 y su familias en este momento de crisis:bit.ly/buffalo25fund

 

 

 

 

Teatro de los Trabajadores debut!

We want to thank everyone for coming out to see Teatro de los Trabajadores, the newly formed Workers’ Center of CNY theater troupe, debut “Raining Rocks” along with the our compañeros from the Building Company Theater. All of the actors and the actresses in the play did an amazing job and we are extremely proud. We are very happy to continue building our repertory based on workers stories and our campaigns.

After the debut of the play we continued to use theater during a Health and Safety training where we talked about how we can fight health and safety violations in our workplaces. Thanks to everyone for participating!

"Raining Rocks" Workers' Theatre first play coming up this friday, September 30

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WCCNY Orientation and Health & Safety Training Thurs. Sept. 22nd

Do injustice and exploitation get you angry? Don’t you wish you had more power at your workplace or in your community? Do you believe society could be more just?Do you believe that there is strength in numbers? If you answered yes to any of these questions come join us this Thursday, Sept. 22nd! This Thursday the Workers’ Center of CNY will be holding an orientation and a Health and Safety training at 6 pm. The first part of the workshop will be an introduction to the Workers’ Center. Members will share information about the various campaigns we are working on and also talking about what it means to be a member of the organization. The second part of the workshop will be a workers’ rights training on health and safety in the workplace. We will be doing fun,  interactive activities that get us thinking about how work im pacts our bodies and our overall health and what we can do about it. We will be raffling some great gifts and there will be FOOD! (Yum, yum!)

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WCCNY, WJC, and Crispin honored with Food Justice Award!

On September 20th Food Chain Workers Alliance  honored the Workers’ Center of CNY (WCCNY), Worker Justice Center, and WCCNY member Crispin Hernandez for our on going fight to win the right to organize for farmworkers. WCCNY and WJC member Arminio along with WCCNY organizers Rebecca and Fabiola, and WJC farmworker advocate Carly went to New York City to accept the awards on behalf of Crispin and both organiziations. Although Crispin could not be there, here are some of the powerful and important words he wanted to share in a prepared statement:

“In May of this year we sued the state and the NY governor and now we keep going. We will win the protected right to organize for all the agricultural workers and we will continue to fight for dignity and respect so that it is not easy for the employers like Marks Farms to fire workers.

I want to tell you that I feel very motivated when I know that we have your support. I am in this struggle not only for me but for all of us. One alone can’t change much, but together we will win. Sí se puede!”

We continue to be proud of our members and farmworkers like Crispin that are determined to win the rights that farmworkers deserve. Si Se puede!

WCCNY's Wins "Joe Hill" Award at Tompkins County Labor Day Picnic!

This past Labor Day weekend, Workers’ Center of CNY participated in two great Labor Day events. On Sunday, WCCNY worker-leaders Crispin and Saul along with organizers Fabiola, Rebecca, and Nikeeta participated in  Labor in the Pulpit at All Saints Church and Grace Episcopal Church.  At Grace Episcopal Church, Saul told his story about organizing for health and safety and against retaliation and abuse at Marks Farm, he invited the church to support the Green Light NY: Driving Together/Luz Verde NY: Manejando Juntos and he and Rebecca collected signatures for the Green Light/Luz Verde petition and donations.

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Grace Episcopal church goer signing the Green Light/Luz Verde petition.

At All Saints Church, Crispin also told his story about the Marks Farm organizing and explained why it’s important for our community to support the Green Light NY: Driving Together/Luz Verde NY: Manejando Juntos campaign to expand access to driver’s licenses for immigrants. The congregants were extremely warm, receptive, and supportive of our work and on-going campaigns. We collected 30 signatures for the Green Light petition and All Saints signed on in support of the campaign as an organization.

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Crispin addressing congregation of All Saints with Fabiola interpreting.

We want to thank Rector Johanna Marcure and the congregants at Grace Episcopal Church and Father Frederick Daley, Meg Ksander, and all of the parishioners at All Saints Church for their support, time, and donations. Also a special thanks to Joseph Paparone from the Labor Religion Coalition of New York State for connecting us with All Saints Church.

Tompkins County 33rd Annual Labor Day Picnic

On Labor Day, WCCNY members, volunteers, and organizers went to the Tompkins County Workers’ Center Midstate Central Labor Council’s 33rd annual Labor Day Picnic where WCCNY and Worker Justice Center (WJC) farmworker members were honored with the Joe Hill for our on going farmworker organizing.

WCCNY members Damien, Pascual, Andres, Jacqueline, and volunteer Chris all did an amazing job representing the organization! Pascual and Damien read the statements on behalf of Crispin and Antonio sharing their stories not just about the unjust working conditions on farms but the importance of collectively standing up to these injustices. Chris and Jacqueline did an awesome job of working the table at the event!  They helped to collect over 80 signatures for the Green Light/Luz Verde petition, sold WCCNY t-shirts, buttons, and other merchandise, and met a lot of great new people interested in our organization and work.

We want to thank the Tompkins County Workers’ Center and the Midstate Central Labor Council for recognizing the important work that WCCNY and WJC farmworker members have been doing in the fight for the dignity and justice for farmworkers. And of course we are extremely proud of and grateful for our WCCNY members who continue to tirelessly work to build and grow the organization and keep fighting for justice!

Si Se Puede!

"Rights ripe for the picking"

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Today’s editorial in the NYC “Daily News” highlights our workers’ center organizing efforts to improve the working conditions for Farmworkers in NY.

New York Daily News Editorials,

Monday September 5, 2016

Another Labor Day, another full day of labor for New York’s 100,000 farm workers, who toil on holidays. Alone among workers, they are also denied overtime pay, extra pay for holidays and an unpaid day off per week.

Most egregious of all, they are denied the right to organize and bargain collectively that is explicitly safeguarded in the state Constitution.
After decades of attempts to right the wrong, there’s light breaking through the clouds: This may be the last Labor Day that the people who feed us are without the freedom to band together in a union to better their lot — because the exclusionary state law that puts them outside of these protections is facing a serious court challenge.

Another Labor Day, another full day of labor for New York’s 100,000 farm workers, who toil on holidays. Alone among workers, they are also denied overtime pay, extra pay for holidays and an unpaid day off per week.

Most egregious of all, they are denied the right to organize and bargain collectively that is explicitly safeguarded in the state Constitution.
After decades of attempts to right the wrong, there’s light breaking through the clouds: This may be the last Labor Day that the people who feed us are without the freedom to band together in a union to better their lot — because the exclusionary state law that puts them outside of these protections is facing a serious court challenge.
The language in the Constitution is unambiguous: “Labor of human beings is not a commodity nor an article of commerce and shall never be so considered or construed. Employees shall have the right to organize and to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing.”
Yet a discriminatory statute written in the 1930s, when many farm workers were black, said otherwise about this one underprivileged cohort, a complete contradiction in which the Constitution must prevail.

In May, fired upstate field hand Crispin Hernandez sued along with Workers’ Center of Central New York and the Worker Justice Center of New York, in a case handled by the New York Civil Liberties Union.
The defendant, Gov. Cuomo, and his lawyer, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman — duty bound to stand by any and all laws of the state — both rightly declared that they could not defend the law’s constitutionality in court. It was the first record of such a disavowal in state history.
Into the vacuum stepped the grower’s lobby, the New York Farm Bureau, asking for the right to argue in court for keeping the law’s exclusion.
The Albany judge in the case, Richard McNally, should grant that request, and quickly get to the overwhelming merits of the suit.

Other workplace rights, like overtime pay and an unpaid day off per week, will either flow from collective bargaining or be won in the Legislature, where the Democratic-run Assembly has repeatedly passed a farm workers’ bill of rights, only to have it blocked in the GOP-controlled Senate despite a majority of senators being in favor.

McDonald's aka McCheapskates Doesn't Pay Workers!

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Today, the Workers’ Center of CNY supported a former McDonald’s worker, Keneshia, fighting to recover the over $100 that was missing from her final paycheck.

Keneshia along with members and allies of the WCCNY delivered a demand letter to one of the manager’s, Leon Monica, at the McDonald’s located at 6105 South Salina Street, explaining that Kenisha experienced wage theft and she is owed her stolen wages.  Instead of quickly trying to figure out how to make sure this worker received the wages that were stolen from her, Leon told us the payroll manager would not be back until 10am on Thursday and ordered us out of the restaurant and swiftly called the police on us. How ironic is it that the organization and worker fighting against an actual crime, wage theft, are the ones treated as criminals instead of the employer that actually stole wages?

We were not deterred by Leon’s intimidation tactics and we had a rousing rally outside of the McDonald’s where Keneshia shared her story about experiencing wage theft and health and safety issues at work including burns and even a harrowing experience of customers throwing water on her in the workplace. We leafletted people passing by and customers letting them know that McDonald’s doesn’t pay their workers. We received honks of support as people drove by and spent time talking to customers about wage theft.

We are giving McDonald’s until 10:00am on Thursday to do the right thing and pay Keneshia the $103.32 they currently owe her. We will keep you updated about this fight.

The struggle continues!