April 2014

PCAPS to rally and canvass in support of neighborhood school parents and students fighting charter conversion

Media Advisory

For Immediate Release

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Ron Whitehorne, 215-779-2672, ronw292@gmail.com

Jesse Kudler, 617-974-3684, jesse@fightforphilly.org

PCAPS to rally and canvass in support of neighborhood school parents and students fighting charter conversion
Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools and supporters will also collect petition signatures for local control and voter pledges for candidates who support education

PhiladelphiaSaturday, The Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools will join parents, students, school staff, and community members to rally and canvass in support of keeping the Munoz-Marin school a district school, rather than turning it over to ASPIRA, a charter school operator.

Speakers will voice opposition to the Philadelphia School District’s proposal to convert Marin to a Renaissance Charter, giving its management over to ASPIRA.  Charterization costs the district an estimated $3000-$4000 extra per student, but none of that money goes to classrooms.  A conversion would also mean that teachers would lose their jobs and have to re-apply to the charter school.   Charter schools also operate without the financial or administrative transparency and accountability that traditional public schools guarantee.

After the rally, English and Spanish-speaking volunteers will canvass the pre-dominantly-Latino surrounding Kensington neighborhood to talk to parents about the May 1st vote on the future of the school.  As part of a PCAPS campaign to mobilize 25,000 Philadelphia education voters for the November election, canvassers will also be asking registered voters to sign a petition to have a non-binding referendum question to abolish the School Reform Commission and return Philadelphia schools to local control added to the November ballot.  And they will carry a pledge card for voters to support candidates who promise fully funded, quality education for all Pennsylvanians.

ASPIRA’s founder Antonia Pantoja was once a strong advocate for unions, but ASPIRA has spent S17,000 of tax payer money on hiring lawyers to keep a union out of Olney High School.  ASPIRA has been repeatedly charged with unfair labor practices. As of June, 2012, Aspira owed its schools $3.3 million, according to an independent audit of the organization’s finances, meaning that money is being kept out of the classroom.

WHO:

Marin parents, school staff, students; ASPIRA teacher from Olney high school; PCAPS supporters

WHAT:

Rally and canvass to keep Munoz-Marin public, canvass to abolish the SRC and return Philadelphia schools to local control

WHEN:

Saturday, April 26th, 10am,  rain or shine

WHERE:

Munoz Marin school, 3300 N. 3rd St.   Rally will be at NW corner.

VISUAL:

Diverse crowd of students and parents, speakers, petitions

###

PCAPS is a coalition of students, parents, and teachers with an unwavering commitment to improving Philadelphia’s school system. Members of the coalition include ACTION United, American Federation of Teachers PA, AFL-CIO Central Labor Council Fight For Philly, Jewish Labor Committee, Jobs With Justice, JUNTOS, Media Mobilizing Project, Neighborhood Networks, Occupy Philadelphia Labor Work Group, Philadelphians Allied for a Responsible Economy(PHARE), Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, Philadelphia Home and School Council, Philadelphia Student Union, SEIU 32BJ, UNITE HERE, Youth United for Change.

 

http://www.wearepcaps.org

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April 3, 2014: Philly Fast Food Workers Stand Up Against Wage Theft

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Philly Fast Food Workers Stand Up Against Wage Theft

mc dOn April 3, Fight for Philly joined fast food workers and community and faith leaders to protest against systemic and illegal wage theft (video) in the fast food industry.  Fast food workers also kept up their demands for $15/hr and the right to form a union.  Workers from multiple fast food chains stood outside a McDonald’s at Broad and Allegheny with nearly 100 supporters as many cars honked support and passers-by cheered.

Days earlier, the first-ever national poll of fast-food workers showed companies like McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s are stealing money from 89 percent of their employees. And a recently-released  video shows two former McDonald’s managers speaking out for the first time about how they were forced to steal from workers’ checks.   The managers talk about how they shaved time off of workers’ schedules, among other practices, so they wouldn’t “blow labor,” or spend more than they were supposed to on workers.Mc d 1

Philadelphia fast-food workers and supporters held signs that read “Stop stealing wages” and “Low pay is not OK” in front of McDonald’s.  They chanted, “Low pay is not ok!” and “We can’t survive on $7.25!”

“I know about wage theft,” said Crystal Lopez, a 25 year old Dunkin Donuts employee in Philadelphia. “A few months ago, our store found money missing from the register.  Nobody knew what happened.  I suggested calling the police, but the owners “didn’t want the trouble.”  Instead, they made all the workers pay it back!  That’s right – they had NO evidence any of us were responsible, but they took $2,000 from workers’ tips.  Why couldn’t they report it and file an insurance claim?  They didn’t want to spend money to have cameras in the store to see where the money really went, so they just made us pay for it!  That’s why I am standing up proud to join my fellow workers in calling for $15/hr and a union! “

Pastor Larry Patrick said, “I am standing in prayer with fast food workers because our city and our communities need good jobs that keep people out of poverty and support families.  We need to speak out against wage theft, which offends our religious and moral values and keeps money from those who need it most.  Hard work is supposed to be a way to get ahead, not a dead-end trap.  These huge corporations can easily afford to pay their workers a living wage and treat them with dignity, and it’s long past time they did.”

Justin Watson, a 29 year-old employee of the McDonald’s, spoke to the crowd. He said, “I barely make enough to support myself, but I also support my kids and try to help my parents and brother. $8/hr is just not enough. I struggle every single day…. I have learned to keep precise records of when I clock in and out and take my breaks. Yet every time I get paid, it is for less than what I think I worked. It doesn’t add up. I’ve been working for a long time and have never had this problem with other jobs. You would think that a company that made $5.5 billion in profits in 2012 alone should be able to pay their workers for all the hours they work!”

The first-ever national poll of fast-food workers, conducted by Hart Research, shows that the wage theft described by the McDonald’s managers pervades the entire fast-food industry. Companies like McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s are stealing money from 89 percent of their employees, according to the poll of 1,088 fast-food workers in the nation’s 10 largest metropolitan areas.

In addition to showing that nearly nine out of every 10 fast-food workers experience some form of wage theft, the poll shows:

  • 92 percent of Burger King workers, 84 percent of McDonald’s workers and 82 percent of Wendy’s workers are victims of wage theft;
  • 60 percent of fast-food workers have experienced three or more different types of wage theft;
  • 60 percent of fast-food workers have been required to perform tasks before clocking in or after clocking out;
  • 26 percent of fast-food workers have not always been paid time-and-a-half for overtime hours they worked.

Last month, class-action lawsuits filed in California, Michigan and New York alleged McDonald’s is systematically robbing employees by forcing them to work off the clock, shaving hours off their time cards and not paying them overtime, among other practices. The suits demand McDonald’s, which earned nearly $5.6 billion in profits in 2013, pay back the stolen wages and stop its illegal theft of workers’ pay.

And late last month, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a second settlement with a major fast-food company for stealing workers’ pay. The settlement with Domino’s, which followed one with McDonald’s earlier in March, means that workers have won back nearly $1 million in stolen wages in just the last few weeks.

The fast food worker movement clearly has energy, and Fight for Philly will be supporting workers in their fight for dignity, respect, and fair wages.  Their fight is our fight!

 

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April 1, 2014: “Trying to get by on $7.25 is not easy,” says PHL Airport Worker Nathaniel Smith

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We Are the 89%: Philadelphia and Wilmington Fast-Food Workers Hit by Wage Theft to Protest

Media Advisory

For Immediate Release

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Jesse Kudler (Philadelphia)

617-974-3684, jesse@fightforphilly.org

Julie Blust (Wilmington)

215-713-6777, JBlust@seiu32bj.org

Laura Brandon (National)

202-641-8477, laura.brandon@berlinrosen.com

We Are the 89%: Philadelphia and Wilmington Fast-Food Workers Hit by Wage Theft to Protest
Prayer and speak-out in Philadelphia and “Ronald McDonald” to face “arrest” in Wilmington as outrage grows over new poll shows stealing from employees

Philadelphia and Wilmington – Fast-food workers and faith leader Pastor Larry Patrick will protest Thursday in Philadelphia against systemic and illegal wage theft in the industry—just days after the first-ever national poll of fast-food workers showed companies like McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s are stealing money from 89 percent of their employees.  Workers will share their stories of wage theft and struggles trying to get by on low wages, and the pastor will offer a prayer in support of fast food workers.

The action comes as two former McDonald’s managers speak out for the first time about how they were forced to steal from workers’ checks. In a video made public Tuesday, the managers talk about how they shaved time off of workers schedules, among other practices, so they wouldn’t “blow labor,” or spend more than they were supposed to, on workers.

Last month, class-action lawsuits filed in California, Michigan and New York alleged McDonald’s is systematically robbing employees by forcing them to work off the clock, shaving hours off their time cards and not paying them overtime, among other practices. The suits demand McDonald’s, which earned nearly $5.6 billion in profits in 2013, pay back the stolen wages and stop its illegal theft of workers’ pay.

Philadelphia fast food workers have recently joined the national movement for $15/hr and the right to form a union, kicking off their campaign on March 18 with a march and rally.

In Wilmington, DE at 1pm, fast food workers and community leaders will hold a protest against wage theft in front of the McDonald’s in downtown Wilmington culminating in the mock “arrest” of “Ronald McDonald.”

Concern over fast food low wages and wage theft has reached a fever pitch in Delaware. Last week, New Castle County Council passed a resolution in support of local fast food workers who are organizing for better wages and a union.

Philadelphia:

WHO:

Fast-food workers, including victims of wage theft; Pastor Larry Patrick of Redeemer Church

WHAT:

Protest Against Wage Theft

WHEN:

Thursday, April 3, 4:30pm

WHERE:

McDonald’s, Broad and Allegheny

VISUAL:

Fast food workers, diverse crowd, speaker, signs

 

Wilmington:

WHO:

Fast-food workers; Councilwoman Sherry Dorsey Walker; Reverend Donald Morton; Darlene Battle from Delaware Alliance for Community Advancement; Jenna Fenstermacher of the Delaware Chapter of Americans for Democratic action; Councilman Michael Brown; Sam Lathem, DE AFL-CIO President

WHAT:

Protest Against Wage Theft

WHEN:

Thursday, April 3, 1:00pm

WHERE:

In front of McDonald’s, 700 W 4th St, Wilmington, DE 19801

VISUAL:

Mock “arrest” of “Ronald McDonald, fast food workers, diverse crowd, speaker, signs

 

###

Fight for Philly is a grassroots organization fighting for good schools, good jobs, a fair economy, and a city that works for all of us.

 

info@fightforphilly.org * (215) 232-3792 * http://fightforphilly.org

 

DE Fast Food Forward is a movement of DE fast food workers, and supporters from faith, labor and community groups, who are fighting to raise wages and gain rights at work. It is part of the national movement of low-wage workers fighting for a better future.

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“Trying to get by on $7.25 is not easy,” says PHL Airport Worker Nathaniel Smith

Nathaniel Smith, a baggage handler at Philadelphia International Airport, spoke at the Philly stop of the “Give America A Raise” bus tour last week.  The tour is crossing the country sharing stories of how important it is to raise the federal minimum wage to lift millions out of poverty and help our economy.  Nathaniel is one of the sub-contracted workers at the airport who falls through a loophole in Philadelphia’s 21st Century Minimum Wage and Benefit Standard law.  He doesn’t make the $10.88/hr minimum wage that the city requires contractors to pay.  But we’re going to change that on May 20 when we vote to give thousands of airport and sub-contracted workers a raise!

Read our report on poverty jobs at the airport here.

Watch the video below to hear how hard Nate works and how difficult it is getting by on low pay:

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