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Showing 7 posts tagged occupy

Here’s the new episode that just aired on Al Jazeera English. Description below. 

This is our last episode in this season, and we expect to be back in early spring. We’ll keep you apprised here, on Twitter @ajfaultlines and on our Facebook page

Chilean students have taken over schools and city streets in the largest protests the country has seen in decades.

These actions are causing a political crisis for the country’s billionaire President, Sebastian Piñera.

The students are demanding free education, and an end to the privatization of their schools and universities. The free-market based approach to education was implemented by the military dictator Augusto Pinochet in his last days in power.

As the demonstrations in Chile coincide with protests erupting globally, Fault Lines follows the Chilean student movement during their fight in a country that is among the most unequal in the world.

This episode of Fault Lines first aired on Al Jazeera English on January 2, 2012 at 2230 GMT.

Occupy Wall Street’s ‘occucopter’ – who’s watching whom?

The police may soon be watching you in your garden picking your vegetables or your bottom. As police plans for increasing unmanned aerial surveillance take shape, there is a new twist. Private citizens can now buy their own surveillance drones to watch the police.

This week in New York, Occupy Wall Street protesters have a new toy to help them expose potentially dubious actions of the New York police department. In response to constant police surveillance, police violence and thousands of arrests, Occupy Wall Street protesters and legal observers have been turning their cameras back on the police. But police have sometimes made filming difficult through physical obstruction and “frozen zones”. This occurred most notably during the eviction of protesters from Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan, where police prevented even credentialed journalists from entering.

- The Guardian, December 21, 2011

Our Fault Lines episode “Robot Wars” on drone journalism airs next Monday (December 26th 2230 GMT/5:30p EST) on Al Jazeera English. 

Here’s our new episode from tonight on labor, unions, and the Occupy movement that aired today 2230 GMT/ 5:30p EST on Al Jazeera English. All our livetweets are on our Twitter account, @ajfaultlines. Join us next week at the same time for a new episode on drone journalism. 

For decades, labor unions in the United States have been on the decline. While they are widely credited with boosting safety standards and worker pay, many have received blame for wanting too much in the struggling economy. Unemployment is at 9% and people are clamoring for jobs, unionized or not. And their greatest political ally, the Democratic party, has taken its’ support for granted weakening its’ pull on the strings of power in Washington, DC.

A new battle has emerged in 2011 as Republican governors have taken on public sector unions, in some cases stripping them of rights that have been in place for 50 years. It’s part of a trend that is happening in key swing states and may weaken democratic voting strength in next year’s presidential election. But organized labor has fought back hard. In Wisconsin unions occupied the state capitol as 100,000 protesters took to the streets. In Ohio, voters overturned a law that was intended to greatly reduce the right that unions have in that state to bargain collectively.

Now as Occupy Wall Street galvanizes Americans to take action against financial institutions and big corporations, Labor has a new ally. But can organized labor harness the anger that everyday Americans are emitting or will this opportunity pass it by? Do Labor unions still have the strength to organize or has their power waned to the point that they will no longer be a major player in American politics?

Images from our new Fault Lines episode that airs Monday, December 19th at 2230 GMT/5:30p EST. (Watch online and we livetweet from @ajfaultlines.)

The episode is about “The Decline of Labor Unions in the US,” and covers labor protests and occupations from Chicago to Madison to Times Square. 

For decades, labor unions in the United States have been on the decline.  While they are widely credited with boosting safety standards and worker pay, many have received blame for wanting too much in the struggling economy.  Unemployment is at 9% and people are clamoring for jobs, unionized or not.  And their greatest political ally, the Democratic party, has taken its’ support for granted weakening its’ pull on the strings of power in Washington, DC.

 

A new battle has emerged in 2011 as Republican governors have taken on public sector unions, in some cases stripping them of rights that have been in place for 50 years.  It’s part of a trend that is happening in key swing states and may weaken democratic voting strength in next year’s presidential election.  But organized labor has fought back hard.  In Wisconsin unions occupied the state capitol as 100,000 protesters took to the streets.  In Ohio, voters overturned a law that was intended to greatly reduce the right that unions have in that state to bargain collectively.

 

Now as Occupy Wall Street galvanizes Americans to take action against financial institutions and big corporations, Labor has a new ally.  But can organized labor harness the anger that everyday Americans are emitting or will this opportunity pass it by?  Do Labor unions still have the strength to organize or has their power waned to the point that they will no longer be a major player in American politics?

An Open Letter from America’s Port Truck Drivers on Occupy the Ports

http://cleanandsafeports.org/blog/2011/12/12/an-open-letter-from-america’s-port-truck-drivers-on-occupy-the-ports/

We are the front-line workers who haul container rigs full of imported and exported goods to and from the docks and warehouses every day.

We are inspired that a non-violent democratic movement that insists on basic economic fairness is capturing the hearts and minds of so many working people. Thank you “99 Percenters” for hearing our call for justice. We are humbled and overwhelmed by recent attention. Normally we are invisible.

We desperately want to drive clean and safe vehicles. Rigs that do not fill our lungs with deadly toxins, or dirty the air in the communities we haul in.

Poverty and pollution are like a plague at the ports. Our economic conditions are what led to the environmental crisis.

You, the public, have paid a severe price along with us.

Why? Just like Wall Street doesn’t have to abide by rules, our industry isn’t bound to regulation. So the market is run by con artists. The companies we work for call us independent contractors, as if we were our own bosses, but they boss us around. We receive Third World wages and drive sweatshops on wheels. We cannot negotiate our rates. (Usually we are not allowed to even see them.) We are paid by the load, not by the hour. So when we sit in those long lines at the terminals, or if we are stuck in traffic, we become volunteers who basically donate our time to the trucking and shipping companies. That’s the nice way to put it. We have all heard the words “modern-day slaves” at the lunch stops.

There are no restrooms for drivers. We keep empty bottles in our cabs. Plastic bags too. We feel like dogs. An Oakland driver was recently banned from the terminal because he was spied relieving himself behind a container. Neither the port, nor the terminal operators or anyone in the industry thinks it is their responsibility to provide humane and hygienic facilities for us. It is absolutely horrible for drivers who are women, who risk infection when they try to hold it until they can find a place to go.

It may be difficult to comprehend the complex issues and nature of our employment. For us too. When businesses disguise workers like us as contractors, the Department of Labor calls it misclassification. We call it illegal. Those who profit from global trade and goods movement are getting away with it because everyone is doing it. One journalist took the time to talk to us this week and she explains it very well to outsiders. We hope you will read the enclosed article “How Goldman Sachs and Other Companies Exploit Port Truck Drivers.”

To cheat on taxes, drive down business costs, and deny us the right to belong to a union, that’s why.

The typical arrangement works like this: Everything comes out of our pockets or is deducted from our paychecks. The truck or lease, fuel, insurance, registration, you name it. Our employers do not have to pay the costs of meeting emissions-compliant regulations; that is our financial burden to bear. Clean trucks cost about four to five times more than what we take home in a year. A few of us haul our company’s trucks for a tiny fraction of what the shippers pay per load instead of an hourly wage. They still call us independent owner-operators and give us a 1099 rather than a W-2.

We are the skilled, specially-licensed professionals who guarantee that Target, Best Buy, and Wal-Mart are all stocked with just-in-time delivery for consumers. Take a look at all the stuff in your house. The things you see advertised on TV. Chances are a port truck driver brought that special holiday gift to the store you bought it.

We would rather stick together and transform our industry from within. We deserve to be fairly rewarded and valued. That is why we have united to stage convoys, park our trucks, marched on the boss, and even shut down these ports.

Nowadays greedy corporations are treated as “people” while the politicians they bankroll cast union members who try to improve their workplaces as “thugs.”

But we believe in the power and potential behind a truly united 99%. We admire the strength and perseverance of the longshoremen. We are fighting like mad to overcome our exploitation, so please, stick by us long after December 12. Our friends in the Coalition for Clean & Safe Ports created a pledge you can sign to support us here.

We drivers have a saying, “We may not have a union yet, but no one can stop us from acting like one.”

Our Fault Lines episode next Monday, December 12th 2230 GMT/5:30p EST on Al Jazeera English is on the decline of labor unions in America.  

(via occupyonline)