May 2012

Philadelphia’s 99% Shows No Love for Comcast

Today, close to a hundred families, students, and community members gathered outside of the PA Convention center to protest the Comcast Shareholders’ meeting.

Fifty of Fight for Philly’s members, who owned shares in the company, attended the meeting inside, while other members gathered outside to hold a people’s shareholders meeting.

Outside, activists took to the microphone to speak about Comcast’s use of loopholes to avoid paying taxes and the harm it has caused to schools and communities. Additionally, activists urged Comcast to cut their ties with ALEC, which helps produce tax loopholes for large corporations. Drummers and protestors marched up and down 13th street while the shareholder meeting was going on.

Inside, our activist shareholders wasted no time engaging Comcast CEO Brian Roberts with questions about Comcast’s failure to pay its fair share of taxes and its membership in ALEC. In response to the persistent questioning, the Roberts admitted to using the Delware loophole. Comcast Vice President David Cohen noted to the entire room that he had received the 1,200 signatures of our petition for Comcast to dump ALEC – and said he would respond in writing.

Members exited the meeting holding their Comcast shares high and shouting “We are the 99%”

“I asked Mr. Roberts why Comcast hasn’t paid its fair share” said Elizabeth Days. “I pay taxes, so why can’t you pair yours? But, they didn’t want to answer that.”

At the conclusion of the meeting, Fight for Philly members marched to City Hall to support the City Council resolution calling on the School Reform Commission (SRC) to support the jobs of Philadelphia School District support staff.

The final stop of the May 31 Triple Play was the SRC meeting, where we joined hundreds of others to vote “No Confidence” in the budget and restructuring plan. Activists crowded into the meeting to urge the SRC members to not leave public education behind, and to search for full funding from Governor Corbett and the state’s corporations and 1%. Unfortunately, the bare bones budget passed – but Fight for Philly and other public education supporters will continue to hold Governor Corbett accountable for funding our schools.

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Hundreds of Philadelphians to Confront Comcast Executives at Annual Shareholder Meeting

Call on the corporation to pay their fair share of taxes and cut ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council

Philadelphia – On Thursday, hundreds of workers, students, faith leaders, families and members of community organizations will join Fight for Philly to bring a 99% message to Comcast’s annual shareholder meeting.

As Comcast shareholders and executives discuss the “successes” of their company, shareholder activists will challenge the Philadelphia-based company’s corporate agenda that includes not paying its fair share of taxes, its membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and its exorbitant executive compensation.  Meanwhile, supporters will hold a protest and speak-out outside the meeting location.

With thousands of Philadelphians on the brink of losing their jobs and dozens of school closures pending, activists will question Comcast’s involvement with an organization that undermines investing in our future through investing in excellent public education for all children.

ALEC’s education legislation diverts taxpayers’ money from public school children to for-profit education corporations and gives more tax breaks to rich corporations and individuals to pay private school tuition.  ALEC is also a force behind the PA state budget, pushing for tax breaks for big corporations while making cuts to schools, assistance and housing for the 99%.

Instead of investing in an organization fighting for the 1% and big corporations, Comcast should be investing in our city and paying its fair share of taxes to protect our kids, workers, schools and communities.

What: Shareholder activists to confront Comcast executives at shareholder meeting; supporters to protest outsid

When: Thursday, May 31st at 9:00am

Where: Pennsylvania Convention Center, 13th and Arch

Who: Workers, students, faith leaders families and members of community organizations including: Action United; Coalition of Labor Union Women; Communication Workers of America Local 13500; Drexel Foundation of Undergraduates for Sexual Equality; Fight for Philly; International Action Center; Occupy Philly; Occupy Temple; Occupy the Dream; New Sanctuary Movement; Philadelphia Unemployment Project; Philadelphians Allied for a Responsible Economy; SEIU 32BJ; SEIU Healthcare PA; Taxi Workers Alliance; Temple Student Labor Action Project; Transportation Workers Union Local 234; Youth Art & Self-empowerment Project

Visuals: Protestors wearing pig masks with signs, banners and noisemakers

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Fight for Philly to Deliver Petition Urging Comcast to End its Membership of the American Legislative Exchange Council

Media Advisory for Wednesday, May 30 at 4:00pm

Contact: Umang Patel at 267-254-7968 or umang@fightforphilly.org

On the eve of the Comcast shareholder meeting, Philadelphia community members will deliver a petition with over 1,100 signatures urging the corporation to stop funding the extremist American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

On ALEC task forces, corporate lobbyists and special interests vote as equals with elected representatives on templates to change our laws, behind closed doors with no press or public allowed to see the votes or deliberations.  Philadelphia-based Comcast is not just a dues-paying member, but takes an active leadership role in the organization; Comcast lobbyists serve as “State Chairs” for ALEC in four states.

A growing number of major corporations and elected officials have recently cut ties with ALEC, including all Democratic Pennsylvania state legislators who had been members.  Just last week, Amazon.com announced at its shareholder meeting that it would stop funding ALEC.

ALEC has been a driving force behind right-wing bills in state legislatures across the country on topics ranging from privatizing public education and union busting to voter suppression and “stand your ground/shoot to kill” laws, like the one in Florida made famous by the tragic death of Trayvon Martin.

Who: A delegation of concerned community members and leaders

What: Delivery of petition urging Comcast to dump ALEC

Where: Comcast Headquarters, 1701 JFK Boulevard

When: Wednesday, May 30 at 4:00pm

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La verdadera tripleta de Comcast

Durante el último año hemos expuesto varias de las malas prácticas de Comcast, cómo el no pagar una cantidad justa de impuestos y la paga exagerada de sus ejecutivos. Para completar la tripleta de malas prácticas Comcast también es un miembro del American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). A pesar de que esta membresía es uno de los datos menos conocidos de la compañía es uno de las cosas más peligrosas.

ALEC es una organización derechista y conservadora cuya agenda incluye: limitar los derechos al voto, la privatización de escuelas y cárceles, debilitar protecciones ambientales y promover leyes cómo las “Stand Your Ground”, anti immigrantes en de Arizona y Alabama y la SB 9 en Pensilvania. Además de esto,ALEC apoya leyes que crean más excenciones de impuestos y atacan los derechos de los trabajadores.

Los autores de leyes que afectan nuestras comunidades no deberían ser las corporaciones. Y es por la mala prensa que ALEC ha recibido ultimamente que corporaciones cómo Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods Inc. y Mars han dejado el grupo. Aún así Comcast continúa pagando por pertenecer al grupo. En vez de apoyar a un grupo que promueve la desigualdad, Comcast debería invertir en Filadelfia.

Firme la petición para decirle a Comcast que deje a ALEC.

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Fight for Philly rolls out the red carpet for Governor Corbett and the 1%

Yesterday, hundreds of Philadelphians protested Governor Corbett’s visit to Philly, which he used to address the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce – for $160 a ticket.

Students, parents, and community members rolled out a red carpet to welcome the Governor and his entourage of supporters who are standing beside the Governor’s budget that cuts funding for education, healthcare, and vital services for our most vulnerable citizens.

Folks fed up with the 1% walking all over the working and middle class sandwiched themselves between two pieces of red carpet as supporters of the Governor tried to enter the Prince Theater on Chestnut Street. Meanwhile, the enormous crowd joined in chants of “Hey you millionaires! Pay your fair share!” that echoed through the streets and into the theater where the Governor was speaking.

Outside the theater, community leaders and members commenced the People’s Conversation, speaking out about Governor Corbett’s misplaced priorities.  From the dismantling of public education to the schools to prison pipeline to fracking to unfair tax policies, activists made one thing clear: Governor Corbett is choosing to help big corporations and the very rich at the expense of the rest of us.

Community leaders and students spoke out against Governor Corbett’s plans to balance the budget on the backs of students, poor, and working families, and called him out for only coming to town to speak with the Chamber, rather than the communities his budget is hurting.  Many of the Chamber of Commerce’s members take advantage of tax cuts and corporate loopholes. For example, Comcast, a sponsor of the event, utilizes the Delaware Loophole which alone costs Pennsylvania taxpayers more than $500 million.  Corporations in Philadelphia like Comcast are making millions off the 99% and profiting at our communities loss, and Governor Corbett continuously chooses to protect tax loopholes and benefits that favor the 1%.

Governor Corbett’s partisan agenda is decimating our communities and our schools, putting our families’ futures at risk, and killing good jobs.  On Thursday, March 31, we’ll be demanding Comcast to pay their fair share and delivering a petition to Comcast executives urging them to cut ties with ALEC. Join us. [j1]


 [j1]

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Comcast, pay your fair share!

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Media Advisory for Tuesday, May 15 at 4:00pm

Media Advisory for Tuesday, May 15 at 4:00pm

Contact: Umang Patel, umang@fightforphilly.org; 267-254-7968 or Jess Burgan, jess@fightforphilly.org; 202-487-9409

Community Members to Roll Out the (Human) Red Carpet for Governor Corbett

Philadelphia’s 99% to protest Governor’s address to the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, demand 1% pay their fair share

Philadelphia – Hundreds of Philadelphians will greet Governor Tom Corbett as he makes a rare visit to the city for the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce’s Conversation with the Governor on Tuesday, May 15.

Activists will demonstrate how Tom Corbett, the Chamber of Commerce and the 1% are walking all over Philadelphia’s working and middle class.  Local community members will roll out the red carpet to welcome the Governor and others who are supporting a state budget that slashes funding for education, public transportation and vital healthcare services.

While the Governor “shares his vision for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Greater Philadelphia region” with the Chamber, attendees will commence the “People’s Conversation.”  Students, parents, community leaders and activists from a diverse range of groups will talk about

Many of the Chamber of Commerce’s members take advantage of corporate tax cuts and loopholes that cost the state more than $1 billion in revenue yearly.  For example, Comcast, a sponsor of the event, utilizes the Delaware Loophole which alone costs Pennsylvania taxpayers more than $500 million.  Corporations in Philadelphia like Comcast are making millions off the 99% and profiting at our communities loss, and Governor Corbett continuously chooses to protect tax loopholes and benefits that favor the 1%.

As the June 30 state budget deadline looms, and Philadelphians have been told to accept a reality which includes the closing of forty public schools, thousands of good jobs slashed and the depletion of cash assistance, more and more people are demanding that the Governor stop putting big corporations and the very rich ahead of our families and communities.  The movement against Gov. Corbett’s cuts is growing statewide, with hundreds of Pennsylvanians citing his proposed cuts to public and arts education in their outrage at his “lifetime achievement award” from the Pittsburgh Opera, and voters throughout the state traveling to Harrisburg to voice their opposition to his budget which cuts vital services to Pennsylvania families while protecting corporate tax dodgers.

What: Human Red Carpet to Welcome Governor Corbett to Philadelphia

Who: Hundreds of Philadelphians and a broad, growing number of community, faith and labor groups, including: ACTION United; Coalition Advocating for Public Schools; Decarcerate PA; Fight for Philly; Juntos; MoveOn; Neighborhood Networks; Occupy Philly; One Voice; PA Cares for All; Philadelphians Allied for a Responsible Economy; Philadelphia Unemployment Project; SEIU 32BJ; SEIU 668; SEIU Healthcare PA; SEIU Pennsylvania Joint Board; Teacher Action Group; Youth Art and Self-empowerment Project; Youth United for Change

When: 4:00pm on Tuesday, May 15

Where: Prince Theater, 1412 Chestnut Street

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The Real Comcast Triple Play

Over the past year, we’ve been calling out Comcast for not paying its fair share of taxes and because of its ridiculously excessive executive compensation.

Rounding out Comcast’s triple play of bad corporate citizenship is its membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).  Although this may be one of the corporation’s lesser known fouls, it’s no less dangerous.

ALEC is a secretive, extremist organization that pushes an agenda to limit voting rights, privatize schools and prisons, weaker environmental protections, and promote so-called Stand Your Ground laws (like the law protecting Trayvon Martin’s killer).  ALEC also pushes laws that would create giant new tax loopholes and attack workers’ rights.  Corporations should not be writing laws that will affect real people and communities.

Due to increasing visibility of ALEC’s ties to awful measures like these, many legislators and major companies, including Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods and Mars Inc., have recently backed out from the group.

So, why is Philly-based Comcast still a member of this organization campaigning to put private profit ahead of the interests of our city?  Stumping for corporations over people is not a value that Philadelphians believe in.  Instead of investing in an organization fighting for the 1% and big corporations, Comcast should be investing in its workers and our city and paying its fair share of taxes.

Comcast needs to hear from us that membership in ALEC is bad corporate citizenship and is bad for business.

Sign our petition calling on Comcast to dump ALEC today.

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Fight for Philly shows Brotherly Love in Harrisburg

Last Monday, a jam packed bus filled with Fight for Philly members traveled to Harrisburg in efforts to save General Assistance and oppose anti-Immigration laws.

General Assistance (GA) is a government life line that many of our vulnerable Pennsylvania families depend on. If this life saving funding ceases to exist, it will leave families struggling to live day to day. At the Capitol, a woman who is a military veteran explained how GA helped her get back on her feet.  A modest $200 a month helped her and her three disabled sons after her husband left them.  The Corbett administration estimates that eliminating the General Assistance program will save $150 million per year. But, if this program is eliminated it would increase the public cost to maintain homeless shelters, prisons, and state psychiatric hospitals.

Fight for Philly partnered with PA Cares for All and other organizations to save this program. Close to a hundred Fight for Philly members stood in solidarity with a broad range of partner organizations in the State Capitol Building’s rotunda, echoing chants of “Keep your Promise” directed at Governor Corbett and his administration.

After the GA rally, the focus turned to Pennsylvania’s proposed anti-immigration laws.  Philadelphia-based Juntos led the charge against  the 15 anti-immigrant bills, similar to those introduced in Alabama and Arizona.  If some of these bills are passed, then businesses employing undocumented individuals would shut down or deny birthright citizenship to children born in PA. Further, it could deny a person without a government issued ID a right to receive public benefits.  Community members spoke with state representatives and senators to express their dissatisfaction with these measures that won’t only hurt immigrants, but also poor and working class people.

Not surprisingly, profit motive has been tied to many of these anti-immigration laws through the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).  As these connections continue to gain publicity, many corporations are pulling their support for the extreme right-wing group.  However, Philadelphia-based Comcast has yet to do so.  Stand up for people being harmed by ALEC’s laws and urge Comcast to dump ALEC now.

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