Is It Too Much to Ask That a Working Mother Gets Paid Enough to Feed Her Family Without Food Stamps?


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PRESS RELEASE
April 1, 2013

CONTACT: Russell Bannan
SC Jobs with Justice Organizing Committee
202.230.0154; rpbannan@gmail.com


50+ COMMUNITY MEMBERS STAGE “DINE-IN” TO SUPPORT RESTAURANT WORKERS AT COPPER RIVER GRILL

 “Copper River is undermining the fundamental pillars of the work force in America!"

On Monday April 1, over 50 community members from Boiling Springs and Spartanburg participated in a “dine-in” at Copper River Grill in support of the servers, bartenders, hostesses, and other workers as they fight for a voice on the job and the right of self representation at work.  The community wore stickers today that read "I SUPPORT THE WORKERS OF COPPER RIVER GRILL." 

The action coincides with the 45th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s march with sanitation workers demanding union recognition in Memphis, where he delivered his famous last “Promised Land Speech before being assassinated on April 4th, 1968.

Ken Riley, President of the South Carolina AFL-CIO, met with the workers of Copper River Grill this weekend.  Riley stated; “We are with these workers because what Copper River is doing is undermining the fundamental pillars of the work force in America. They are taking us back to the 1920s.”

“I serve food to people all day, but I make barely enough to get by. I am a single mother and I have to think about the future of my 9 month old son,” Victoria Ballard who has been at Copper River for three years. “Is it too much to ask that a working mother gets paid enough to put food on my own table without having to rely on food stamps?”

Restaurant workers have over a dozen federal charges filed against Copper River Grill including, harassment, coercion, surveillance, interrogation, discrimination, and retaliation.

"I joined the "dine-in" to show support for these workers' rights and reasonable demands," said Spartanburg Representative Harold Mitchell, Co-chair of the SC Progressive Network. "It's wrong for corporations to rely on tax payers to subsidize their low-wage, high profit policies," Mitchell noted.

Mitchell, who is also Chair of the SC Legislative Black Caucus, pledged to introduce legislation to protect often exploited service workers. "It's against federal law to fire someone for organizing for better pay or working conditions," Mitchell said, "we need to require bosses to have a "just cause" to take someone's livelihood away from them."

“Apparently Copper River thinks that the tax payers are responsible for paying their workers,” stated Spartanburg resident Russell Bannan with South Carolina Jobs with Justice who helped to organize the event. “Because that is what Copper River is saying when they pay hard working employees starvation wages.” 

Many community organizations participated in the “dine-in” today including Jobs with Justice, South Carolina AFL-CIO, Communication Workers of America, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, South Carolina Progressive NetworkSC Democratic Women's Council, and others.


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South Carolina Jobs with Justice Organizing Committee is a statewide campaign for workers’ rights. Around the country, local Jobs with Justice Coalitions unite labor, community, faith-based, and student organizations to build power for working people

#DineIn4Justice

'Dine-in' demonstration April 1 in Boiling Springs supports labor

by Rob Groce
orginally posted at http://www.examiner.com/article/dine-demonstration-april-1-boiling-springs-supports-labor

Monday’s Spartanburg demonstration isn’t a sit-in, but a dine-in. And it might take place on April 1st, but there’ll be no fooling going on.

Instead, the 12 noon “dine-in” demonstration at the Copper River Grill (2104 Hwy 9 in Boiling Springs) is a serious event to show support for the folks who work there.

The wait staff, bartenders and hostesses of this restaurant will decide by vote later this week to join the National Workers Association labor union.

All in the local community, especially union members, students and faith activists, are invited to drop by, have a meal, and show support for workers’ organizing efforts.

Employees at this site of the eight-location chain are drastically underpaid, says Russell Bannan, an organizer of the dine-in who works for Jobs with Justice.

While South Carolina has no minimum-wage laws, most of its food and beverage service companies adhere to the national minimum of $2.13 per hour for employees who receive more than $30 a month in tips.

This makes Copper River Grill staff subject to earnings below the non-tip minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, leaving them dependent on government provisions for poverty, such as food stamps.

“Apparently Copper River thinks that the taxpayers are responsible for paying their workers,” Bannan says, “because that is what Copper River is saying when they pay hard-working employees starvation wages.”

Workers at the restaurant agree. “I serve food to people all day and I love my job, but I make barely enough to get by,” says Victoria Ballard, who has worked at Copper River’s Boiling Springs location for three years.

State Rep. Harold Mitchell will attend, as well, “to show support for these workers’ rights and reasonable demands.

“It’s wrong for corporations to rely on tax payers to subsidize their low-wage, high profit policies," says Mitchell (D-Spartanburg).

Mitchell is also chairman of the state’s Legislative Black Caucus and co-chair of the South Carolina Progressive Network.

Six of Cooper River Grill’s eight locations are in South Carolina.

A petition for workers at the Boiling Springs location to decide on union representation was first filed with the National Labor Review Board on Feb. 11.

“DINE-IN” TO SUPPORT COPPER RIVER GRILL SERVERS

MEDIA ADVISORY
April 1, 2013

CONTACT: Russell Bannan
SC Jobs with Justice Organizing Committee
202.230.0154; rpbannan@gmail.com

***MEDIA ADVISORY***

RESTAURANT WORKERS AND COMMUNITY “DINE-IN” TO SUPPORT COPPER RIVER GRILL SERVERS
As service workers at the Copper River Grill in Boiling Springs will vote this week on forming an independent union, community and other industry workers will "dine-in" to show their support.

BOILING SPRINGS, SC, APRIL 1, 2013 – Restaurant workers, community leaders, labor activists, and others will dine together on Monday, April 1, 2013, at 12:00 PM to show support for the servers, bartenders, and hostesses at Copper River Grill who are voting this week to join the National Workers Association (NWA).

The restaurant workers fight for a voice on the job coincides with the 45th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s march with sanitation workers demanding union recognition in Memphis, where he delivered his famous last “Promised Land” speech before being assassinated on April 4th, 1968.

“I serve food to people all day and I love my job, but I make barely enough to get by. I am a single mother and I have to think about the future of my 9 month old son,” stated Victoria Ballard who has been at Copper River for three years.  “Is it too much to ask that a working mother gets paid enough to put food on my own table without having to rely on food stamps?”

"I plan to join the "dine-in" to show support for these workers' rights and reasonable demands," said Spartanburg Representative Harold Mitchell, Co-chair of the SC Progressive Network. "It's wrong for corporations to rely on tax payers to subsidize their low-wage, high profit policies," Mitchell noted.

Mitchell, who is also Chair of the SC Legislative Black Caucus, pledged to introduce legislation to protect often exploited service workers. "It's against federal law to fire someone for organizing for better pay or working conditions," Mitchell said, "we need to require bosses to have a "just cause" to take someone's livelihood away from them."

Restaurant workers are calling on community, faith, union members, students, and others to show their support and “dine-in” at Copper River Grill at 2104 Hwy 9 in Boiling Springs, SC. 12:00 PM-1:00 PM on Monday April 1, 2013.

“Apparently Copper River thinks that the tax payers are responsible for paying their workers,” stated Spartanburg resident Russell Bannan with South Carolina Jobs with Justice who helped to organize the event. “Because that is what Copper River is saying when they pay hard working employees starvation wages.”

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South Carolina Jobs with Justice Organizing Committee is a statewide campaign for workers’ rights. Around the country, local Jobs with Justice Coalitions unite labor, community, faith-based, and student organizations to build power for working people

Walmart Kills

WalMart Kills

Workers • Wages • Communities
Community Picket at Charleston Port
Dec. 20, Wando Terminal, 400 Long Point Rd, Mt. Pleasant
(Planning meeting and other activities Dec. 19, see below)

On Nov. 24 in Bangladesh, 112 garment workers died in a fire while making clothes for WalMart and other retailers. These workers made $45 a month, 28 cents an hour. On Dec. 20, clothes made by these workers will be delivered to the Port of Charleston to be shipped to a WalMart store near you.

In pursuit of low prices and maximum profits, WalMart is killing workers, wages and communities. Between 1990 and 2005, South Carolina lost over 93,000 jobs (60% of our textile industry) to unsafe, low-wage textile factories in developing nations.

The SC Workers Rights Coalition is calling for a picket at the Wando Terminal starting at 7am Dec. 20 (call before you come as times may change). The picket will be a legal and peaceful call for these garments not to be unloaded in Charleston until WalMart agrees to donate the clothing to the needy and agrees to compensate the survivors and families for their loss.

As the ship's arrival can happen in a 24-hour window, times may change. Participants should contact William Hamilton at 843-870-5299 or wjhamilton29464@gmail.com to keep updated. An organizing meeting for participants will be held at 8pm, Dec. 19 at the Club Room of the Sgt. Jasper Apartments (310 Broad St. in Charleston at the North end of the building).

On Dec. 19 between noon and 7pm at Marion Square, activists will accept donations of small garments made in developing nations. They will be assembling a chain of 112 garments to symbolize the supply chain which undermines human dignity by destroying American jobs and denying workers in other countries safe employment.

This ad hoc coalition of citizens wants to make the public aware that those "Faded Glory" shorts at WalMart may have been made by a worker who died for those "always low prices."

Follow updates on Twitter at #blocktheboat and on Facebook, where you can share/RSVP. Contact William Hamilton for directions and information: 843-870-5299, wjhamilton29464@gmail.com


MEDIA ADVISORY: Black Friday at Spartanburg Walmart

MEDIA ADVISORY
Contact: Russell Bannan
864.978.9374
rpbannan@gmail.com


SPARTANBURG COMMUNITY AND LABOR LEADERS TO STAND WITH 
WALMART WORKERS IN THEIR NATIONWIDE STRIKE


WHO: ​November 23, 8:00 AM

WHAT:​ Spartanburg Community Members Showing Support for Striking Walmart Workers

WHEN: ​Black Friday, November 23, 8:00 AM

WHERE: ​WALMART SUPERCENTER, 141 DORMAN CENTRE DR, SPARTANBURG, SC

(Spartanburg, SC)--At 8:00 am on Black Friday, November 23, Spartanburg community members will show support with Walmart workers in their fight for better wages, predictable schedules and the right to speak up without retaliation. Community members will gather at the Walmart Supercenter at 141 Dorman Center Drive in Spartanburg.

The Spartanburg event will be one of thousands across the country. Walmart workers and local communities will stand up to reclaim Black Friday—the busiest shopping day of the year—as a day for workers and customers in our communities to speak up for fairness. In addition to educating customers and asking them to sign a petition of support for the striking workers, the event leaders will ask for a meeting with the local store manager to discuss their concerns.

Eddie Lawson, a former Walmart employee at the Hillcrest Walmart from January 2008 to November 2009 echoed the need for Walmart to improve treatment of employees. He said, “The associates I worked with were some of the hardest working, kindest people I've ever known.

But as management became concerned with cutting costs, full-time workers started disappearing, losing their jobs over flimsy pretenses, obviously because management realized they could save money by firing full time people that had been there for years and replacing them with part time associates that would work fewer hours, for less money per hour, with no benefits. Those associates are good people and they deserve better than being worked half to death.”

Nationwide, Walmart workers, many of whom are being forced to miss the Thanksgiving holiday with their families because of Walmart’s early sales on Thanksgiving day, held the first-ever strikes against the megaretailer in October for its attempts to silence workers who speak out for change.

Striking warehouse workers, who move billions of dollars of merchandise for Walmart, will join the call to speak about the retaliation they have experienced for speaking out against unsafe working conditions, including extreme temperatures, broken and unsafe equipment and inadequate access to clean drinking water.

The workers from the Inland Empire, outside of Los Angeles, held a 15-day strike that included a six-day, 50-mile pilgrimage for safe jobs in September.

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Federal court rules that SC photo ID law does not, in fact, require photo ID

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Oct. 10, 2012
Contact: Brett Bursey, Director SC Progressive Network, 803-808-3384,network@scpronet.com


Federal court rules that SC photo ID law does not, in fact, require photo ID

Following today's federal court ruling that approved a substantially modified version South Carolina's voter ID law, 
SC Progressive Network Director Brett Bursey called the venture "very expensive theater."

The ruling begins by noting "South Carolina's new (photo ID) law...does not require a photo ID to vote."


District Court Judge Bates noted in his concurring opinion, "Act 54 as now pre-cleared is not the Act 54 that was enacted in May 2011," when signed by Gov. Nikki Haley.

While the Court acknowledged 
"an absence of recorded incidents of in-person voter fraud in South Carolina," it found that "preventing voter fraud and increasing electoral confidence are legitimate" reasons for the modified law.

"After several years of divisive and racially charged debate on this unnecessary law, after $1 million in taxpayer money spent defending it, and several million more to implement it, our photo ID law will not require voters to have a photo ID to vote," Bursey noted.

The three-judge panel changed the original law, which allowed a voter to claim a "reasonable impediment" to not having a photo ID and left to the county board of elections to determine if the reason was legitimate. Today's ruling said the reason a voter does not have a photo ID "is to be determined by the individual voter, not the poll manager or county board. So long as the reason given by the voter is not a lie, an individual voter may express any one of of the many conceivable reasons why he or she has not obtained a photo ID."

Voters without proper ID will be required to vote a provisional ballot, but the court ruled that this ballot must be counted unless it can be proved that the voter lied about why they had no photo ID. 

"This charade was political theater, and today's court ruling basically gutted the requirement to have a photo ID to vote. The grandstanding on this issue by the governor and the Republican majority of the legislature will burden taxpayers, voters and election workers, and is an indictment of rigid partisan politics," Bursey said.

The court ruled that the modified version of the law cannot go into effect until 2013.


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South Carolina Delegation to Visit FLOC's Camp Solidarity


Sign Up for South Carolina Delegation to FLOC's Camp Solidarity

What: Camp Solidarity (modeled after the Mineworkers' camp during the Pittston Campaign) is a one-day experience, including a tour of the tobacco fields and camps to witness first-hand the conditions we are working to correct, and to meet some of the workers whose lives and dignity depend on our pressing to victory.

When: October 6th, 2012

Where: Dudley, NC, the heart of tobacco country.

How: If you would like to be a part of the delegation contact, Russell Bannan at 864.978.9374 or email rpbannan@gmail.com

The appalling conditions in the fields and camps of North Carolina have persisted for so long because they occur out of sight, on the back roads of farm country. If we are to attain victory, we must redouble our efforts to keep building pressure and support by bringing the abuses into full public view so that they can no longer be ignored.

"Gracias SC AFL-CIO"


Farm Workers Send a Message to Thank the South Carolina AFL-CIO for the Solidarity:
I just want to say thanks for all of the support and solidarity from the SC AFL-CIO Delegates. It was great spending some time with you all. Also, a quick update on Pantry/Kangaroo . Right after our visit, our allies at the Beloved Community Center in Greensboro (who are taking lead in dealing with Kangaroo) got a call from a Kangaroo spokesperson. He said that Kangaroo has done all they are going to and would like to "close the loop" on communications. But we aren't letting them off the hook that easy! Yesterday, we initiated a call-in day, for people to call Chairman Holman and tell him to visit the fields. We have been generating lots of calls and will be going back into the stores next week!


Yesterday, we visited some union members who were looking to file a grievance over some unfair warnings and I gave them an update about the SC AFL-CIO Convention and the Kangaroo actions and they told me to say thanks for the solidarity. We thought of taking a picture with a thank you sign and I attached it. It was dark and the sign didn't really come out well, but it says Gracias SC AFL-CIO

I hope the rest of your convention was successful and am looking forward to seeing you all again. 

Hasta la victoria!

Justin Flores
Director of Programs
Farm Labor Organizing Committee, AFL-CIOPO Box 5604354 US Hwy 117-Alt SDudley, NC 28333Tel: 919-731-4433www.floc.com