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In Cleveland, GCC Wins Commitments to School Jobs Pipeline for Unemployed Public School Parents, Improved Learning Conditions for Students and Year-Round Education for Incarcerated Youth

GCC leaders in action, creating jobs for unemployed public school parents and winning commitments to improving learning conditions for all students.
On May 8th Greater Cleveland Congregations held an 185-person education action at New Tech Collinwood High School with Cleveland public schools CEO Eric Gordon.  The action was co-chaired by two 11th graders from Collinwood.  
At the action CEO Gordon committed to establish a jobs pipeline to connect unemployed Cleveland public school parents to entry-level jobs within the school system.  He also made school-specific commitments with four of the schools where GCC has been organizing: support for a new after-school initiative, help to upgrade classroom technology, improve access to healthy food options, upgrade an aging gym, and help to paint and beautify one of our schools.        
Mr. Gordon also provided an exciting update from our 2017 action about the Downtown Education Center (DEC), the CMSD school housed within the Juvenile Justice Center. During the summer months the youth who are incarcerated at the DEC have no access to learning opportunities.  They are essentially locked down on their units the whole summer.  Last year GCC fought to have summer school at the DEC.
Mr. Gordon managed to go farther, having just successfully gotten agreement to turn the DEC into a year-round school so that those young people will have access to education throughout the entire year.  This is a big victory, and GCC’s persistence played an important part.

In New Video, WIN Highlights Damages and Risk of Privatization in DC

WIN partnered with Center for Community Change to create a video that highlights the damages of privatization and what's at stake for DC Circulator workers. DDOT contracts out its hiring and management of the Circulator to the private multinational corporation, First Transit. Not only are circulator workers paid less for their hard work, but an audit revealed that First Transit had blatantly ignored the DC Paid Sick Leave Act, and even forced workers to violate District safety standards by taking out buses that did not pass pre-trip safety inspections. In fact, a 2015 safety audit of the DC Circulator found only 2, of the 42 buses inspected, fit to drive.
In 2016, ATU Local 1764 Circulator workers, Metro IAF, & WIN leaders organized for, fought, and won a new 3-year contract to increase maximum wages, triple First Transit’s contributions to employee 401(k) plans, and include language that will ensure drivers don’t have to operate buses that do not meet safety standards. Now the DC Government is putting the contract out to bid again, and more private companies whose interest is profit will compete to provide the DC Circulator service.

Watch the Video: WIN and ATU Leaders at the DC City Council talking to Councilmembers about Privatization of the Circulator

VOICE’s Fight for Dedicated Metro Funding in VA Leads to Approved $150+ Million Funding Bill that Protects Workers

Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bulova responds to VOICE's demand for dedicated funding at the VOICE Fairfax Action in May 2017
Throughout the past year, VOICE and its sister Metro IAF organizations in DC and Maryland have called for dedicated funding for Metro transit service that does not come at the expense of working people. At actions in Fairfax and Alexandria, and then again at the state-wide action in front of 1,500 people with the gubernatorial candidates, VOICE demanded that dedicated funding for Metro was a paramount issue in Northern Virginia. However, VOICE leaders were not willing to get "funding at all cost", particularly if it meant taking retirement and benefits away from frontline workers. 
On March 10th, Richmond legislators approved a $150+ million Metro funding bill that will not turn middle class jobs into working poor jobs. 
Without those VOICE actions, and the local VOICE actions at the Metro Board, the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, and the half-dozen listening sessions with frontline workers, a funding bill that did not negatively impact working people would not have passed in the General Assembly.

Turnaround Tuesday Takes Action Against Unemployment in Baltimore

An early graduating Health Services Cost Review Commission (HSCRC) class in 2017
Turnaround Tuesday, a jobs movement, continues putting Baltimore back to work with its successful job readiness training, leadership development, and job placement. Turnaround Tuesday has collaborated with nine hospitals and a local Recovery Center as well as the Baltimore Alliance for Careers in Health, none of which would have been possible without building critical relationships with area hospitals and taking action to pressure the Health Services Cost Review Commission to increase hospital reimbursement rates to fund community health positions.
Turnaround Tuesday has placed 79 individuals in three new positions: Community Health Workers, Peer Recovery Specialists, and Certified Nurse Assistants/General Nursing Assistants. Over the past two years, none of the Turnaround Tuesday-trained individuals have lost their jobs. All positions pay between $15 and $17 per hour with full benefits and 129 positions remain to be filled.

WIN Secures Commitments from DC Councilmembers to Raise Wages, Provide Better Healthcare for Workers of Privatized DC Streetcar and Circulator Bus

DC Circulator worker Kewana Battle-Mason Speaking at the Action

On Monday October 23rd, more than 215 faith leaders and workers with Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 689 and Local 1764 filled the sanctuary of Luther Place Memorial Church in downtown DC. WIN leaders and transit workers addressed Councilmember Cheh, Chair of the Transportation Committee, and Councilmember Evans, who is also a WMATA Board Chair. Both Councilmembers made public commitments to intervene to raise the wages and healthcare of the privatized DC Streetcar and DC Circulator bus workers to be on par with WMATA workers, the regional transportation authority. In the past, both councilmembers were influential in getting raises and improved healthcare in the 2015 Circulator bus contract. Specifically, they agreed to investigate and raise issues of privatization in council hearings including the upcoming confirmation hearings for a new Director of the DC Department of Transportation (DDOT). See more pictures of the action.

As a follow up, on October 31st, 30 WIN leaders and ATU workers marched into the DC Streetcar barn demanding to speak with the General Manager of the private company that operates the DC Streetcar. Leaders delivered demands, including that the company give operators, cleaners and mechanics healthcare, fair wages and retirement benefits befitting public employees.

WIN Leaders and ATU members praying at the action

DC Streetcar operators make among the lowest wages of any streetcar operators in the country. The employer provided “health insurance” is horrible. It is “fixed payment indemnity insurance” that for instance only covers $300 maximum per year for doctors visits, or $200/ day for a hospital stay. This leaves low paid DC Streetcar operators, cleaners and mechanics - who are public servants - paying medical bills out of pocket or going without health care.  Check out a VIDEO of part of the action.

Common Ground Expands; Becomes Only Organization in Milwaukee Able to Produce a Large, Diverse and Representative Turnout

Common Ground leaders discuss jobs and criminal justice during internal action at Tabernacle Community Baptist Church

On October 26th​, Common Ground held an internal action at Tabernacle Community Baptist Church on Milwaukee's North side centered on jobs, criminal justice and welcoming Tabernacle into the organization. Over 300 people were in attendance--including excellent African-American turnout and over 100 people from three South side Latino parishes that had affiliated earlier in the year--confirming Common Ground as the only organization in the Milwaukee area that can produce such a large, diverse and representative turnout. Dozens of people committed to a series of trainings and research actions. Sandra Taylor led a great meeting and Mimi Perez, Brianna Nelson and Patrick Davis offered powerful testimonials. Rev. Will Davis rocked the house with an inspirational call to action. Tabernacle's own Rev. Don Darius Butler finished off the evening with a moving presentation of why his church joined Common Ground. 

The action sets the stage for Common Ground's 10-year anniversary and celebration next year on April 29, 2018.

Relational Meetings during the Assembly

Turnaround Tuesday Receives 2017 Henrietta Lacks Memorial Award

On October 7th, Turnaround Tuesday was awarded the 2017 Henrietta Lacks Memorial Award. Turnaround Tuesday is a jobs movement associated with Metro IAF’s Baltimore affiliate, BUILD, training unemployed and returning citizens and placing them into living wage jobs with employers that have committed to hire graduates of Turnaround Tuesday. Each year, the John Hopkins Urban Health Institute (UHI) selects a Baltimore-based community organization working in collaboration with John Hopkins University to promote the health and conditions of local community members. Additional press coverage here.


Seventh Annual Henrietta Lacks Memorial Award - Turnaround Tuesday Video HERE