Interfaith Worker Justice National Conference June 22-24

Join organizers, activists, people of faith, workers, and faith, labor and community leaders at Interfaith Worker Justice’s National Conference, “Together Building a Just Economy,” at DePaul University in Chicago from June 22-24. The conference will feature transformational speakers and workshops to help you grow in the movement for worker justice and a fair economy. Attendees will also have the opportunity to participate in a huge action in Chicago!

Register for the conference at www.iwj.org/national-conference

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Walmart’s Exploitation Is Nothing New, So What Made Workers Finally Fight Back?

terrance_tory_walmart

by Sarah Jaffe

(Nov. 14) Last month, when strikers from Southern California arrived in Bentonville, Ark., to protest Walmart’s labor practices with reggae beats, pots and pans, and a Latin American-inflected protest culture, it became clear to onlookers that America’s superstore was no longer the small family business that Sam Walton had founded and grown in the cradle of the anti-labor culture of Southern evangelicaldom. But it’s also become clear that Walmart’s own ambitions to become a global empire — expanding beyond southern suburbs to new regions, and continuing to erode protections for its workers — have brought the “family values” behemoth into confrontation with another kind of religious and labor rights tradition.

Walmart has long been the Holy Grail for labor organizers. The nation’s largest retailer, it is notorious for its low wages, lack of benefits, abusive labor practices, and for leaving its workers dependent on public assistance while making the Walton family rich beyond imagination. And it has been nearly impossible to organize.

Until now.

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Interfaith Worker Advocates Take Action to Support the 99 Percent Nov. 17-20 National Days of Action Planned

Interfaith Worker Justice

Interfaith congregations and worker advocates are supporting the 99 percent by taking action against wage theft and lifting up the need for just jobs on Nov. 17-20. Workers Centers in the Interfaith Worker Justice (IWJ) network are sponsoring actions in nearly 20 locations across the United States.

“This economy is unfair,” said Kim Bobo, Executive Director of IWJ. “The 99 percent are saying that we need jobs but we need jobs that are just – jobs that pay a living wage and offer benefits that you support a family on – jobs with employers who don’t steal your wages from you.”

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Congregations tackle local issues in support of worker justice this Labor Day weekend

Interfaith Worker Justice

by Stuart Elliott

“Labor Sunday” was first celebrated 98 years ago and was intended to lift up the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement. For the past 15 years, interfaith religious communities across the United States have been celebrating Labor in the Pulpit/on the Bimah/in the Minbar during Labor Day worship services – a program designed by Interfaith Worker Justice (IWJ) in partnership with the AFL-CIO. But this year it’s all about context as congregations prepare to address very specific local issues facing workers and working families in their communities.

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Cleaning Workers at Cub Foods to Announce Hunger Strike


Actions in 20 Cities to Urge Company to Meet with Workers to Establish Fair Conditions

Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha

This Friday a group of retail cleaning workers and allies with the in Minneapolis-based Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha (Center of Workers United in Struggle) will announce an open-ended Hunger Strike to call on Cub Foods to meet with them to establish fair wages and working conditions for the workers who clean their stores.

On Monday, May 23, groups of workers and their allies in over 20 cities nationwide will deliver letters to Supervalu stores (the parent company of Cub Foods) to send a message to Cub to meet with cleaning workers to establish a code of conduct ensuring fair wages and working conditions.

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CBS special this Sunday: How Faith Communities Help the Unemployed

This Sunday, April 10, CBS will broadcast a religion special about how the unemployed are being helped by faith communities. The program, Unemployment: How Faith Communities Help Job Seekers, features an interview with Rev. Paul Sherry, Director of IWJ’s DC Office and Campaign Coordinator of Faith Advocates for Jobs.

Faith Advocates for Jobs has produced a toolkit for congregations that want to get involved with the campaign. Standing With the Unemployed: A Congregational Toolkit can be downloaded here (it’s a PDF).

Check your local CBS station for the exact time of the broadcast (in some areas, it’s being broadcast later in the week, or the following week).
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Religious Leaders Condemn Attacks on Public Employees

Interfaith Worker Justice

“February is shaping up as the cruelest month workers have known in decades,” columnist Harold Meyerson wrote in Wednesday’s Washington Post, referring to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s proposal to strip public employees of most of their collective bargaining rights and cut pay and benefits without any negotiation – and his threat to call out the National Guard if the state’s public employees go on strike.

But the assault on public workers is under way in multiple states. Bills that would in one form or another roll back labor rights and wage standards have recently been (or will soon be) introduced in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia.

Amidst this onslaught, the Board of Directors of Interfaith Worker Justice today issued a statement that brings religious teachings to bear on the current national standoff. The statement, Stop Attacking Workers, reads:

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