ireneflorez

Castlewood lockout, year two

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61 workers at the Castlewood Country Club have been locked out for two years.

Former waiters, banquet workers and janitors marched through the streets of Pleasanton on Saturday, joined by Occupy Oakland supporters, to rally for their jobs. Many held satiric signs giving support to the 1 percent and glorifying greed. Read a related MOJO article.

In the video above, Sergio Gonzalez talks about how the country club’s management attempted to decertify the union and why an $800/month health care cost increase is not doable on a minimum wage.


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Occupy Oakland Debates the Question of Non-Violence

The Occupy movement has changed the way Americans view political activism. And there’s a raging debate over what tactics should be used. On Thursday, December 15th, Oaklanders gathered at the First Unitarian Church of Oakland to discuss how best to Bring The Walls Down.

Watch the resulting video on diversity of tactics and what Occupy needs to move forward.


Hear the full show and see testimony footage.

Featuring: Starhawk, global justice activist and author; Rev. Phil Lawson, Methodist minister, and civil rights activist; Josh Shepherd, Navy veteran and Iraq veterans Against the War activist; Kazu Haga, Kingian Nonviolence trainer; Matthew Edwards, Iraq war conscientious objector, Melissa Merin, human rights activist; Paolo, organizer and Occupy Oakland participant; Sean O’Brien, DASW organizer; Rahula Janowski, moderator.


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Unmodified: HAMP Fails People of Color in Foreclosure Crisis

Making Home Affordable is a key part of the Obama Administration’s effort to help homeowners avoid foreclosure. If you are struggling with your monthly mortgage payments or if you have already missed a payment, now is the time to take action and apply for HAMP the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). But what if taking action means butting up against a system that repeatedly loses your paperwork and often starts the foreclosure process without your knowing it?
Ana Romero is one of many Americans who anxiously awaits news about her loan modification application. Currently her home is set to be foreclosed on June 10th. In this segment she talks about the bureaucratic hoops she has had to go through in order to apply for a HAMP modification. Her story exemplifies some of the issues homeowners of color face when applying for loan modifications. Kevin Stein, Associate Director at CRC, provides HAMP loan modification context noting that people of color are often experiencing a harder time than other borrowers.
Unmodified was produced in 2011 for the Race Poverty and Environment Journal’s RPE Radio podcast.
Music: Kronos Quartet String Quartet #4

Photos: Irene Florez


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Farmers and activists gather in Cancun for climate change and social justice

UNORCA farmer listens to speakers in Oaxaca. Photo by Irene Florez

An estimated 40,000 UN delegates, journalists, farmers, and climate activists were in Cancun for the COP 16 UN summit on climate and the three alternative climate and social justice summits.

On the ground, growers and unions like Unorca, which represents indigenous farmers, and the SME, which represents electric workers, are against REDD and against carbon trading. Many stressed that we should begin fighting climate change by supporting local non GMO agriculture and that heavy emitters like the US should reduce their carbon footprint.

With little resolution to the problems presented by changing weather conditions, the global south and climate activists are demanding change. This segment covers a two week period of interviews with climate justice activists, making their way to Cancun, who are experiencing environmental challenges first hand.  Denise Perry of Florida’s PowerUCenter, Luther Allen of Direct Action for Rights and Equality, Mickey McCoy of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth (KFTC), and Sunyoung Yang of the Labor/Community Strategy Center share their thoughts.

SME, electric worker's union, members stand outside of their union hall in Tepuxtepec. Photo by Irene Florez


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Recycling workers feel the strain

Recycling Bins at a recycling station. Photo by ThreadedThoughts, flickr, Creative Commons license

What is it like to work the recycling assembly line? At Waste Management’s Davis Street Recycling Center located near the Oakland Airport, roughly 80 workers sort through 3,000 tons of  waste per day. This includes smelly food scraps, aluminum, paper, and glass, which provide Oakland with valuable export commodities.

Isabel, an Oakland recycling center employee talks about her job and union contract with Waste Management, the nation’s largest waste services provider.  She and fellow co-workers are beginning to feel the pressure and strain as their contract expires later this month. She asks that Bay Area residents support center employees in organizing for better wages. To lend support, contact Oakland city council members and express support for recycling workers: OAKLANDNET.COM/GOVERNMENT/COUNCIL/CITY-OFFICIALS

Street level recycling bins. Photo by Tim-Tak, Flickr, Creative Commons license