Friday, May 01, 2009

Here's another May Day article, this one from the Sweat Free Communities coalition. Do drop by their website to see the full article that they mention in their lead-in how uniforms for the New York Police Department are being produced in a law breaking sweatshop. Interesting.

Earlier this week, just days before May Day - International Workers' Day - New York authorities raided a sweatshop in New York City that was making uniforms for the NYPD. They said the factory had repeatedly and flagrantly violated the law, forcing workers to work 80 hour weeks with no overtime wages and no day off. Employees were also instructed to lie to factory investigators. Sixteen current and former workers are owed $500,000 in back wages and damages.

The struggle for workers' rights in this country is also the struggle for immigrants' rights. Most garment workers in the United States are immigrant women. Discrimination and outdated immigration laws contribute to widespread exploitation in the garment industry. This May Day, we invite and encourage you to take part in strengthening the ties that bind the anti-sweatshop movement and the immigrants' rights movement. Here are a few suggestions - do one, or do them all!

Attend a May Day Rally in your area, in support of a more just immigration policy and pro-worker policies like the Employee Free Choice Act. Check out these two lists of events:

Participate in Made in L.A.'s Community Screening Campaign
Find and attend a film screening near you. You can also screen the film yourself, using these tools. And check out this new video clip that Made in L.A. producers are launching today specifically for anti-sweatshop groups to use! Take a look and spread the word.

Get to know Elisa and Victoria by watching this powerful video of immigrant workers organizing in Massachusetts to improve conditions at Eagle Industries, where they make gear for the U.S. military, funded by our tax dollars.

Contact an immigrants' rights group in your community to invite them to endorse your local sweatfree campaign, and to commit to work in solidarity with them.

Ask President Obama to support a new path toward humane immigration policy. In April, President Obama announced that he plans to work on new immigration legislation this year. Take a look at American Friends Service Committee's recommendations to the president and send him your message through the White House website or call his office.
In honor of May Day, donate to SweatFree Communities to support our ongoing organizing for worker justice.

Thank you for joining me in celebrating International Workers' Day. And enjoy your weekend - just as the labor movement intended you to!In solidarity, Liana Foxvog National Organizer, SweatFree Communities
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