March 2012

Verizon, Can You Hear Me Now?

On Thursday, March 22nd, Fight for Philly joined the Communication Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) in their fight against telecom giant Verizon. Verizon, a multi-billion dollar company, has scorned their workers by refusing to cover necessary benefits for their works and in sharing the company’s mutually-earned financial success.
However, over the last four years, top executives of the company have “earned” $283 million, but yet the 45,000 workers who make Verizon’s success possible have little to show for the success that they created.

Why would company as lucrative as Verizon try to put the squeeze on their workers? One word: Greed.

Verizon has outsourced thousands of jobs overseas, and wants to continue sending more American jobs to low wage countries. Not only does Verizon want to ship out jobs to cut costs, but they want to slash pensions and charge  employees more for health benefits.

In attending the rally, Fight for Philly lent their support to the CWA and IBEW workers because of our commitment to holding the 1% accountable for their actions.

Officers from local and national unions explained to the crowd of supporters that we all need to stick together and continue to fight for economic equality and against corporate greed. They called on the activists to talk back to companies like Verizon, to the wealthiest 1% of America who blatantly abuse their power and wealth, and to the elected officials who are perpetuating these injustices.

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Temple University Students Question University’s Corporate Ties

On Monday March 12th, students from Temple University, community members, and members of the Fair Hiring Coalition staged a silent protest at the Temple Board of Trustees meeting. The group protested the university’s uncomfortably-close relationships with corporations such as PNC Bank and Comcast along with an overall failure to remain transparent in its business dealings.

According to activists, the university’s corporate ties are damaging to both students and the North Philadelphia community. The activists covered their mouths with duct tape before they trekked to Sullivan’s Hall where the meeting took place.

During a presentation by Temple University President Ann Hart, students removed the tape from their mouths and called out the school’s administration’s actions. After the meeting concluded, the activists were approached by a member of the board, who applauded them for their efforts.

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HUNDREDS OF WORKING PHILADELPHIANS RALLY FOR GOOD JOBS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:Thursday, March 29, 2012
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Jess Burgan: 215-232-3792; jess@fightforphilly.org

PHILADELPHIA, PA – Elected officials, community and faith leaders, union members, workers, students and activists from across the city rallied in LOVE Park to celebrate a union organizing drive that will transform 3,000 security jobs into family-sustaining jobs in Philadelphia.

“With our nation’s economy still in trouble – and about 25 percent of Philadelphians living in poverty – it’s more important than ever that hardworking families have good-paying, stable jobs,” stated Councilwoman Jannie L. Blackwell. “Now these workers will have the chance to earn a decent wage and have the health care that they need to support and care for their families.”

These 3,000 security officers seeking better wages and benefits will bring millions of dollars to Philadelphia and our communities.  US workers have not seen any real increase in pay in years, and the average Philadelphia worker has lost fifty cents per hour since 2007.

“Securing wage increases and healthcare is not only a significant victory for the city’s security officers, but it also demonstrates that when workers come together and unionize they can bring about a path to the middle class,” said Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Richard Bloomingdale. “We encourage all of the security companies in the city to work with SEIU32BJ to create family sustaining jobs for security officers in Philadelphia.”

A majority of security officers across the city at major universities, institutions and office buildings in Center City are organizing with SEIU 32BJ.

“Too many workers in Philadelphia are working hard every day but are not able to make ends meet. That’s why I’m fighting for good jobs for our communities,” said Kobra Oden, a security officer at Temple University Hospital and a member of the SEIU 32BJ Philadelphia Security Organizing Committee.  “I work hard and I take pride in my job.  At the end of the day, I just want to be able to provide for my family and contribute to my community.”

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The “Thrilla In Phila” Lives Up to Its Hype

The undefeated champion Wall Street Bullies took center stage yesterday against the winless Fight for Phillies. The Bullies were looking to extend their remarkable winning streak against the Phillies led by their future “Hall of Shamer” coach, Mr. 1% and their team captain Wayne Greedsky.

The contest featured a tandem of bruising assaults on the 99% by Bullies Cam Steely and Brian Leech, Doug Drillmour, and Mario Blameyieux. While the Bullies and Phillies dueled back-and-forth, in the end, the Fight for Phillies were just too outmanned, out-salaried, and out-cheated. The Wall Street Bullies surged to a shutout victory with a final score of 331,000,000 to 0!

Watch a video of the event here:

In reality, Fight for Philly hosted a mock street hockey game, held in front of the Wells Fargo Building on South Broad and Walnut Streets, to denote the day of Wells Fargo’s 160th Anniversary and to highlight the bad deals that Wells Fargo steered our schools into.

Over 100 people attended the “Thrilla’ in Phila” and flooded Broad Street to watch the Fight for Phillies take on the dreaded Wall Street Bullies.  The mock game was a direct representation of how corporate greed has crippled our communities and schools. Time and time again, Philadelphians seem to be outnumbered and Big Banks show very little sympathy in their despicable actions against our communities.

“Players” of the Fight for Phillies voiced their displeasure against Wells Fargo in hopes that their message would strike a nerve with some of the bank’s personnel that ”attended” the game. “We’re here because corporate America is way out of reality with regular working people,” player-protester Earl McCollum from North Philly said.

At the conclusion of the game, Stumpf was given his very own “Wall Street Bullies” jersey, which Mr. 1% personally delivered to the receptionist inside Philadelphia’s main Wells Fargo location.

As Fight for Philly members slowly dispersed from in front of the Wells Fargo building and we chanted “We’ll be back! We’ll be back! We’ll be back!”

Take a look at some of the pictures from the event here:

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Community Members to Put Wells Fargo in Check

Street Hockey Game Featuring the “Wall Street Bullies” to Highlight the Bank’s Tax-Dodging and Shady Deals

PHILADELPHIA, PA – Community members will compete in a street hockey game on Monday, March 19 in front of the Wells Fargo Building.

The face-off between the “Fight for Phillies” and the “Wall Street Bullies” will highlight the way big banks like Wells Fargo have been able to create an economy that works for the 1% by pushing Wall Street engineered deals and avoiding billions of dollars in taxes.

Members of Philadelphia’s 99% will field the Fight for Phillies, and will share how they have been affected by the economy and a government that provides tax benefits to wealthy corporations that do not pay their fair share.  The team will include unemployed workers, parents and students who are being affected by cuts in services and the city and state budgets.

Wells Fargo has been under increasing fire in Philadelphia for its involvement in the interest rate swaps that have cost the city and school district hundreds of millions of dollars – and across the country for its role in the foreclosure crisis.

Monday’s event will highlight yet another reason public opinion is turning on big banks: massive profits and tax breaks in the midst of a national economic crisis.  The bank has received $17.96 billion in tax breaks over the last three years, and even received $681 million in federal tax refunds.

WHAT: Street Hockey Game

VISUALS: Wall Street Bullies vs. the Fight for Phillies

WHEN: March 19, 2012 at 4:30PM

WHERE: Wells Fargo Building, 123 South Broad Street

WHO: Community members and leaders

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Using Toilet Paper to Clean Up The Big Banks’ Mess

On Wednesday, Fight for Philly members gathered at Wells Fargo on 15th and Market to spread the word about the “crappy deals” sold to our city and schools by the banks. Huddled in front of the Clothes Pin located a few feet away from the Wells Fargo bank, we handed out rolls of toilet paper with a sticker message: “Banks sold our schools a crappy deal and now our children are paying the price.”

Soon after the action began, Wells Fargo security confronted us and asked us to move our table piled with the toilet paper because we were soliciting items. We kindly explained that we were not soliciting items, but were giving away toilet paper to represent the crappy deals made by big banks like Wells Fargo. The security officers did not seem amused and asked us again to move our action elsewhere because we were on private property.

Even though we thought we were already on public property, we hoisted our arsenal of fliers and toilet paper and moved a few feet further away from the bank. Without a missing a beat, we continued on our mission to spread the word of the bank’s bad deals.  We met a bunch of new folks and had lots of conversations about the state of the city and our schools.  Most were shocked to hear about these swap deals, and the hundreds of millions of dollars that they are costing our communities; they agreed that we cannot stand by as big banks and corporations continue to operate an economy that works for the 1% with money, influence and power.

People were fired up to join the campaign and were excited to hear about our next big action on March 19:  a street hockey game where the Wall Street Bullies take on the Fight for Phillies.  Stay tuned for more details on that – you won’t want to miss it!

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