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UCSC Custodians Demand Justice

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January 19. 2006 - At approximately 12PM, hundreds of custodians (and their student supporters) at UC Santa Cruz skipped lunch to demand just wages.

The workers, part of the union AFSCME, recently found out that custodians at nearby colleges receive 14-30% more than they do, for the same (or less) work. Far from being a living wage, many UCSC custodians are working two/three jobs to make ends meet. This is at the same time that the UC system has raised student fees almost 80% over the past few years, and have given almost a billion dollars of executive perks for top UC employees, approximately the same amount of money as the student fee increases. Recently, Denice Denton, UCSC's Chancellor, claimed that Robert Dynes, the UC President, should be given an even higher salary. Dynes already makes more than $400,000 a year.

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Meanwhile, the UC claims they have no money for the lowest-paid workers, academic programs, student initiated outreach and retention, and scores of other programs. It appears that there is not a lack of money, but a lack of decent priorities - not a budget crisis but a moral crisis.

The spirited rally, organized by AFSCME, with the support of the Student and Worker Coalition for Justice (SWCJ), is the continuation of a hard-fought struggle for the dignity of UCSC's lowest paid workers.
 

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News :: Alternative Media : Poverty & Urban Development

O2 Dispatches From New Orleans

Oxygen Collective Arrives in New Orleans

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12/8/05 - After a long trek across the country, covering 2600 miles in three days, the Oxygen Collective bus finally arrived in New Orleans on Wednesday. We made our way to the Common Ground Media Center, where we connected with our dear friend Kerul who has been hard at work here for over 2 months. From there, we took a short tour of the heavily damaged 9th Ward. It is hard to describe what we are witnessing. After more than 3 months since the storms hit, it is shocking to see the state of this neighborhood. Trash and debris are piled everywhere. There is no electricity on most streets. With residents discouraged from returning home by military blockades, curfews, and the perception that everything is destroyed, It feels a ghost town.

We made our way to our home for now, at the Common Ground Collective 9th Ward Community Center. This space is one of many operated by Common Ground across New Orleans. Less than 2 weeks ago, the Community Center was a flood damaged church center filled with black mold. Now it is an ever evolving Community Center housing and feeded the volunteers who have come to New Orleans to help out.

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12/10/05 - I am in a surreal and deeply inspiring hell- New Orleans is a post apocalyptic wonderland where utter devastation is everywhere and all relationships of culture, race, society and politics are richly counter-intuitive, nuanced and have gone from backward before to upsidedown now. I am floored. No account of what is occurring here can be given without a brief review of the stunning reality on the ground. The scale and scope of the destruction is really not possible to grasp if you have not driven the streets here. There are over a hundred thousand cars that will never drive again that have yet to be moved- they are in all manner of disarray- on curbs, upside down, in front lawns and perhaps most eerily- parked right where they were left when their drivers suddenly fled more than 3 months ago. There are currently 1.3 million households from the Gulf Coast still residing elsewhere. Bodies are still found every day. Vast areas sit festering, powerlines strewn across streets, trees sliced right through houses, two story homes crushed to the height of their front door. Tens of thousands of homes are filled with rotting furniture, warped floors and swollen drywall.

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12/12/05 - I just wrote yesterday but each day here feels like a week of life experience. Today we joined with the People's Hurricane Relief Network, Common Ground and a number of black power groups for a march on City Hall- or what's left of it anyway. We gathered first in Congo Square- a park with ancient live oaks who were already mature trees when slavery was in effect here and this was the only place in the city where slaves were allowed to gather freely and play their drums. Today, a rocking drum circle like none I've ever seen accompanied a vibrant consortium of black leaders as they gave stirring speeches to a crowd that reached thousands by the time we took the streets towards City Hall.

The march was in support of the Right to Return of the scattered residents of New Orleans, who are overwhelmingly poor and black and who are soon to be kicked out of the temporary housing FEMA has thus far provided. It is clear that were this California destroyed by an earthquake, or New York by another 9-11, there would be no protracted debate about whether or not to rebuild, it would just be done and it would be done quickly with massive federal aid. The cost of a day of war in Iraq would be enough to retrofit all New Orleans levees to withstand a category 5 storm. The people of this richly historic city are rightfully outraged and today they raised strong and eloquent voice to their demands for equality.
 

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News :: Civil & Human Rights : Poverty & Urban Development

Sprouts: Katrina's Immediate Aftermath

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This week's Sprouts is a documentary on the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Ten days after the storm, Vinny Lombardo, a radio producer from Santa Cruz, CA travelled to Houston, TX, and New Orleans, LA to speak with Katrina survivors displaced by the hurricane.

Audio: Download the mp3 (29:10 minutes / 26.7 MB)

Surely, this isn't a complete picture of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, only a glimpse at a moment in time, after the flood.

see also: Audio, Photos and Written Reports from Houston and New Orleans
 

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News :: Civil & Human Rights : Globalization & Capitalism : Labor & Economics : Poverty & Urban Development

UCSC students fight for sweatshop free apparel

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On Tuesday, November 15, students involved with the New Sweat Free Campus Campaign at the University of California Santa Cruz posted clothing with anti-sweatshop messages around campus. Their efforts were part of a national day of action aimed at increasing awareness about the use of sweatshop labor to produce collegiate apparel.

The campaign, spearheaded by United Students Against Sweatshops, is demanding that university administrators back up their Codes of Conduct with an actual program of enforcement, the Designated Suppliers Program. These Codes of Conduct are official documents requiring that all university licensees have their goods made in factories that are not operated under sweat-shop conditions.

Currently, while Presidents and Chancellors across the country are meeting with students and expressing interest in adopting this program, Chancellor Denton continues to stall meeting with UCSC students and refuses to take a stand on the issue.

UCSC students and workers will continue to make sure that this campaign is at the forefront of campus issues and will not tire until the university makes a concrete commitment to guaranteeing that our clothing and uniforms are not produced in sweatshops.

previous coverage: Students and Workers Demand a Sweat-Free UC || Creative Activism Raises Issues at Denton's Investiture
 

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News :: Education & Youth : Government & Elections : Peace & War : Poverty & Urban Development

Students Hold Vigils Seeking Justice for WWII Veteranos

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On Thursday, October 20, the Filipino Student Association (FSA) at UC Santa Cruz held a vigil to honor Filipino Veteranos from World War II by fighting for the benefits that they deserve.

Hundreds of thousands of Filipinos served under the United States in World War II, many of them receiving prestigious medals. While promised benefits by U.S. President Roosevelt, the U.S. Government refuses to acknowledge their contributions. Many of these Veteranos have since died, but an estimated 7,000 live in the U.S. and over 30,000 in the Philippines.

Thursday's vigil was part of a national day of awareness sponsored by Student Action for Veterans Equity (SAVE). The day was "part of an ongoing campaign to 'paint the nation brown', stressing the awareness of the Brown Ribbon Campaign; an education and action campaign dedicated to the fight for Full Equity only and nothing less, through the passages of H.R. 302 and S. 146"

See Also: S.A.V.E. Nationwide Vigil Announcement
 

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Articles

Commentary :: Labor & Economics : Poverty & Urban Development : Transportation

CLASS SUICIDE: How property owners bite the hand that feeds them

By opposing taxes on unearned increases in land values, property owners block the financing of infrastructure that would increase their wealth and income.
 

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News :: Civil & Human Rights : Poverty & Urban Development

VIDEO > Housing Rights for New Orleans Hurricane Survivors

This video includes interviews from evacuees in NY and those who've returned to New Orleans. This issue is currently effecting the lives of thousands of people and it's still not too late to help put pressure where it needs to be put to force the goverenment to deal with these people properly.
 

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LOCAL News :: Civil & Human Rights : Education & Youth : Globalization & Capitalism : Poverty & Urban Development

UCSC Custodians Demand Justice

January 19. 2006 - At approximately 12PM, hundreds of custodians (and their student supporters) at UC Santa Cruz skipped lunch to demand just wages.

The workers, part of the union AFSCME, recently found out that custodians at nearby colleges receive 14-30% more than they do, for the same (or less) work. Far from being a living wage, many UCSC custodians are working two/three jobs to make ends meet. This is at the same time that the UC system has raised student fees almost 80% over the past few years, and have given almost a billion dollars of executive perks for top UC employees, approximately the same amount of money as the student fee increases. Recently, Denice Denton, UCSC's Chancellor, claimed that Robert Dynes, the UC President, should be given an even higher salary. Dynes already makes more than $400,000 a year.

Meanwhile, the UC claims they have no money for the lowest-paid workers, academic programs, student initiated outreach and retention, and scores of other programs. It appears that there is not a lack of money, but a lack of decent priorities - not a budget crisis but a moral crisis.

The spirited rally, organized by AFSCME, with the support of the Student and Worker Coalition for Justice (SWCJ), is the continuation of a hard-fought struggle for the dignity of UCSC's lowest paid workers.

Speakers included:

* Julian, Yolanda, and a few other AFSCME workers.
* Maria, Marla, and Javier from the SWCJ.
* Dana Frank (prof of History)
* American Federation of Teachers (AFT) member
* Tony Madrigal (City Council, SEIU)
* Robert Chacanaca from the Monterey Bay Central Labor Council (MBCLC)
 

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Commentary :: Poverty & Urban Development

America

a bitter frost is coming only your vote November 2006 or we shall see a storm
 

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LOCAL Announcement :: Civil & Human Rights : Globalization & Capitalism : Government & Elections : Poverty & Urban Development

Fighting Mass Evictions in New Orleans (1/17)

PLEASE FORWARD:

Fighting Evictions in New Orleans

Hundreds of people have been evicted everyday from their houses in New Orleans. Investors and developers are rushing to take advantage of the crisis, overshadowed by a criminal negligence by the Bush Adminstration.

Come hear Jeremy Prickett, an organizer with Labor's Militant Voice, speak about the work he has been doing in New Orleans fighting evictions through direct actions, and how people here in Santa Cruz can help these efforts.

Jan 17, Tuesday 8pm, at the Women Center, UCSC.
 

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