Posts Tagged ‘protest’

Protest of the day

Posted: 23 April 2014 in Uncategorized
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Dozens of Sherpa guides packed up and abandoned Mount Everest’s base camp Wednesday in honor of 16 of their colleagues killed in the deadliest avalanche recorded on the mountain, an incident that has exposed a great deal of resentment over their working conditions, pay, and treatment.

Tusli Gurung, a guide who was at the base camp on Wednesday, estimated that nearly half the Sherpas had already left.

The walkout is certain to disrupt a climbing season that was already marked by grief following Friday’s disaster. Sherpa guides were hauling climbing gear between camps when a chunk of ice tore loose and triggered an avalanche. Thirteen bodies were recovered and three Sherpas still missing are presumed dead.

“It is just impossible for many of us to continue climbing while there are three of our friends buried in the snow,” said Dorje Sherpa, an experienced Everest guide from the tiny Himalayan community that has become famous for its high-altitude skills and endurance.

“I can’t imagine stepping over them,” he said of the three Sherpa guides who remain buried in ice and snow. . .

The avalanche was triggered when a massive piece of glacier sheared away from the mountain along a section of constantly shifting ice and crevasses known as the Khumbu Icefall — a treacherous area where overhanging immensities of ice as large as 10-story buildings hang over the main route up the mountain.

Special teams of Sherpas, known as Icefall Doctors, fix ropes through what they hope to be the safest paths, and use aluminum ladders to bridge crevasses. But the Khumbu shifts so much that they need to go out every morning — as they were doing when disaster struck Friday — to repair sections that have broken overnight and move the climbing route if needed. . .

While most climbers have to make multiple passes through the Icefall, moving up and down the mountain as they acclimatize and prepare for their summit attempt, Sherpas make the dangerous journey two dozen times or more, carrying supplies and helping clients negotiate the hazardous maze of ice.

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Thousands of workers at a major shoe factory in China, which employs more than 40,000 workers in Dongguan and supplies brands including Nike and Adidas, are striking over social security payments.

Workers at the Yue Yuen factory, in the southern industrial hub Dongguan, are demanding better social insurance and housing fund contributions.

The dispute has been ongoing since early April, with workers reportedly rejecting an offer from the company.

China has faced growing labour strikes in recent years.

The Yue Yuen workers are said to be angered at unpaid social security payments.

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In the case of the University of Southern Maine, it is an exhibition of courage and steadfastness—and ultimately delight—on the part of both faculty and students who were able to force the administration to rescind the faculty layoffs and to reconsider the other proposed budget cuts that would have destroyed the “people’s university.”

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Good news! The campaign of protests against the unwarranted budget cuts at the University of Southern Maine has been successful:

University of Southern Maine President Theodora Kalikow has reversed the 12 faculty layoffs that prompted weeks of protests, saying she’s open to alternative plans for finding up to $14 million in cuts.

However, at least at this point, it appears the victory is still only partial and incomplete:

When asked if the faculty members might still be laid off if alternate cuts are not found, Kalikow said they would not. However, she did not reverse the decision to eliminate about 30 staff positions. . .

Still scheduled to be closed are three academic programs: the American and New England studies graduate program, geosciences, and the arts and humanities major at Lewiston-Auburn College, which is part of USM. If those programs are eliminated, seven professors will be laid off.

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And, while we’re at it, more good news: UPS is going to rehire the 250 Queens drivers [ht: sm] who lost their jobs in late March for participating in a 90-minute walk-out to protest the firing of union activist and longtime employee Jairo Reyes.

“We have sent a clear message to corporate America that firing workers en masse for minor workplace disagreements is unacceptable,” said Public Advocate Letitia James, who had warned UPS that its large state contract and city perks could be jeopardized if it didn’t negotiate with the union. The drivers will, however, have to accept some lost wages: As part of the agreement, they will all serve a two-week suspension, which means giving up about $2,560 each.

Protesters from the Communist-affiliated trade union PAME shout slogans as they march towards the parliament during a general labour strike in Athens

Greek labor unions staged a nationwide strike today to protest against austerity policies imposed on the country by the current government and its foreign creditors, including Germany.

Schools and pharmacies were shut, ships remained docked at ports, hospitals operated on emergency staff, and transport in Athens was disrupted due to the 24-hour strike called by private sector union GSEE and its public sector counterpart ADEDY.

More than 20,000 workers, pensioners, students and the unemployed marched peacefully through the streets of the Greek capital chanting “EU, IMF take the bailout and get out of here!”

Unions said their anti-austerity message was also aimed at German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is due to meet Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in Athens on Friday. Germany has insisted on painful spending cuts and tax hikes in return for international loans.

“It’s time to save people not banks,” said 59-year old economist Eleni Prokou. “Merkel and the troika should stop sticking their nose in our business.”

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According to Joe Coscarelli [ht: sm],

A 90-minute walk-off in late February has cost 250 UPS drivers in Queens their jobs — 20 of them now, and the other 230 when the company has trained their replacements, the Daily News reports. The protest was staged in response to the firing of an employee and union activist with 24 years of experience. “These are middle class jobs that sustain families, and we can ill afford to have [so many] adversely affected by a rash decision,” said Public Advocate Letitia James, who has taken the workers’ side.

“Although UPS maintains that the job action was illegal, these tools have been staples of successful labor movements, and union members should not be restricted from employing these strategies if they feel workers are being treated unfairly,” reads a city council proclamation, delivered ahead of a City Hall press conference tomorrow.

But UPS says the drivers knew the deal, even the one who just came back from an on-the-job brain injury:

One of the workers who faces dismissal just got back on the job following a near-fatal accident.

Domenick DeDomenico, 40, was in a coma for 10 days after getting hit by a car last year while delivering packages for UPS. He fought back from serious brain injuries and needed a year of speech and physical therapy.

Just in case the giant corporation was seeming too sympathetic.

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University of Southern Maine students walked out of class Monday at noon to protest recent faculty layoffs.

The students gathered at the University of Maine School of Law on USM’s Portland campus for a peaceful demonstration to oppose what they are calling unnecessary layoffs. The students are demanding more transparency from the administration.

USM has laid off 12 professors and 14 staff members, with another 10-20 layoffs expected as a result of a $14 million budget shortfall.

The protesters spent the day trying to find a way to reverse the layoffs.

“Because I grew up blue collar, I don’t deserve a classics degree? I don’t deserve an economics degree? I have to wait for them to fish that intellect out-of-state?” said student Brittany Sioux-Goldych.

Economics professor Susan Feiner claims there is no structural gap in USM’s budget and the layoffs are for political reasons.

“Why do you think they want to cut USM? Cheap labor. Cheap labor,” Feiner said at the rally.

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Tens of thousands of Spaniards joined together in Madrid to protest against the continued imposition of austerity measures.

Demonstrators were protesting over issues including unemployment, poverty and official corruption.

They want the government not to pay its international debts and do more to improve health and education.

The BBC’s Guy Hedgecoe in Madrid says protesters travelled from all corners of Spain, many of them making the journey on foot, in order to voice their anger.

They called their protest the march of dignity, our correspondent says, because they say that the government of Mariano Rajoy is stripping Spaniards of just that.

For many of them, the cutbacks that Mr Rajoy has implemented, in particular to health and education, are causing Spain irreparable damage.

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Yesterday, more than 100 students and faculty members staged a sit-in to protest proposed budget cuts and layoffs at the University of Southern Maine.

Susan Feiner, a faculty member in the economics and women and gender studies departments, sat in the middle of the hallway and encouraged students to join her in blocking the way in the manner of the student sit-ins of the 1960s. When USM police asked her to move, she suggested students sit on her to prevent her from being moved.

“What the chancellor’s told you, what the chancellor’s told the public, about a potential $36 million deficit opening up in the next fiscal year, is a bold-faced lie,” Feiner said. . .

“[The administration] has given us no numbers, no rationale, just a series of assertions that say we need to [make cuts],” said Lorrayne Carroll, a graduate of USM and a professor of English, American and New England studies and women and gender studies.

Protest of the day

Posted: 6 March 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

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More than 1,000 workers have gone on strike this week at an IBM factory in Shenzhen in southeastern China in the latest sign of labor activism as companies’ acute shortage of blue-collar workers makes employees increasingly willing to take to the streets.

According to Rick Smith,

Many people carried signs and banners while at one time they also sang the Chinese national anthem.

Slogans on the banners included:

  • “Sweat Shop”
  • “We are not merchandise; we have dignity; and we have human rights”
  • “Give me back my youth! Change the labor terms”