What Occupy Wall Street did in real time @ForRespect is going to do for real lives.

by Jim Nichols

(Nov 24) So I’ve got final papers for class to write so I don’t really have time to do the kind of in-depth structured/well-edited blog post I want to write on yesterday’s historic Walmart strike and the solidarity picket lines held all across the country.

Instead I’m going to throw out some of my thoughts and some of the pictures I shot from yesterday’s action here in Atlanta. Hopefully it’ll come out clear and coherent enough for you.

Pardon my ramble…

As someone who was watching the Occupy Wall Street movement quite closely from right out of the gate I can say that I’m feeling the same level of excitement with what transpired all across the nation yesterday that I felt with Occupy.

I remember sitting at the Occupy Atlanta General Assembly the weekend before OA voted to occupy the park being simply overwhelmed with enthusiasm.

I also remember quite clearly driving back into the suburbs that evening to meet up for dinner with the wife and some friends and being struck with internal confusion about the fact that neither my wife nor friends could really care less, nor quite catch on from my slight pokes and prods about the reasons for my jovial excitement in regards to what was about to blow up here in Atlanta.

I feel a similar sense of excitement about the efforts by employees at Walmart @ForRespect.

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Workers and Occupy Wall Street Fight Shop Closure; 24-Hour Picket and Occupation of Hot and Crusty Bakery Begins

Laundry Workers Center

Hot and Crusty occupation starts–photo courtesy Bryan Sargent

New York, NY, August 31, 2012 – Following news of an impending store closure, workers at the 63rd street location of Hot and Crusty bakery have called for a 24-hour picket and store occupation, alleging the company has deliberately withheld rent payments following a hard-fought and successful unionization drive in May 2012. The company, owned by private equity partner Mark Samson, gave the Hot and Crusty Workers Association 11 days notice of eviction from the property, informing employees that August 31st would be their last day.

The union, led by grassroots labor organization Laundry Workers Center and a contingent from Occupy Wall Street, students, faith and community members are occupying the workplace and holding an around-the-clock picket demanding the company discontinue its union-busting tactics, pay its rent immediately, and continue to negotiate a fair contract with its workers. The company has used several bait-and-switch tactics during negotiations, threatening workers’ immigration status to deter their commitment to continuing the fight.

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Occupy’s Lockout: Sotheby’s Struggle Enters Tenth Month

by Josh Eidelson

Sotheby’s New York auction house made international headlines last week, selling Edvard Much’s painting “The Scream” for a record $119.9 million. But few stories mentioned what was happening outside the auction: picketing by 150 artists, activists, and locked-out art handlers.

“Tonight, the irony persists,” said Sotheby’s worker Julian Tysh. “Sotheby’s is selling a copy of the scream – an artful interpretation of human anguish and suffering – and they’re going to profit tremendously tonight, while at the same time they continue to create anguish and suffering among their own workforce.”

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DC 99% Spring Training Preps for Direct Action

(Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO)Public school teachers, union organizers, non-profit staffers, a yoga teacher, a think tank fellow, and retirees all came together at the AFL-CIO yesterday to participate in DC Jobs with Justice’s 99% Spring training, a part of the nation-wide 99% Spring which aims to train 100,000 people in non-violent direct action. Both seasoned organizers and people new to political action attended the training, where they watched the movie “Heist” about the causes of the economic collapse and participated in role-plays about direct actions from leafleting to escalated actions. “With this training, we can really put together some great actions” said Coleson Breen, a participant in the training and the Co-Chair of the Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America. “I’m feeling very optimistic about the spring.”

report/photo by Ben Kreider from LiUNA

100,000 Strong (The 99% Spring)

Join the 99% Spring Training and Take a Swing for Economic Justice

by Mike Hall

Join the 99% Spring Training and Take a Swing for Economic Justice

This is the 99% Spring and you can join with more than 100,000 activists from unions, community, faith and other progressive groups to take the economy back from the 1% and challenge corporate greed.

Starting Monday, April 9, and running through April 15, hundreds of training sessions around the country are set for activists to learn how to take back the economy. The sessions will prepare you to tell the story of what happened to our economy and who’s responsible and learn nonviolent direct action tactics. Click here to find a training session near you.

Participants in the training sessions will focus actions on Tax Day (April 17), when across the nation they’ll raise their voices to demand the 1% pay their fair share. To find local Tax Wealth not Work events, go to www.americawantstowork.org.

The 99% Spring activists will focus on at least 40 companies, including Verizon and Wells Fargo. In what’s been dubbed Shareholders’ Spring, activists will protest at shareholder meetings—including Bank of America’s annual meeting in Charlotte, N.C.

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Occupy Transit! Transit Workers & the Occupy Movement Team Up

by Bob Simpson

ATU

Callng mass transit “a genuine civil rights issue,” the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), which represents transit workers across the nation, joined with the Occupy Movement, community organizations and transit riders to demand a revitalization of our transit systems. Citing such problems as “older vehicles, deferred maintenance and longer wait times for overcrowded buses and trains,” the ATU was also critical of service cuts and higher fares which have hit working class riders the hardest.

ATU national president Larry Hanley was inspired to ally ATU with the Occupy Movement when he learned of a proposal from Occupy Boston for a national day of protest around transit issues. Occupy Boston had issued this statement:

“In Boston and in cities around the country, our hard-won and necessary transportation systems are under attack. Their viability is being threatened by savage cuts and fare hikes in a calculated push toward privatization by corrupt and unresponsive politicians and their corporate benefactors.”

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