Thursday, December 27, 2012

My justice resolutions

by Rebekah Gienapp

New Year's is the perfect time to reflect on what we want to be different in our own lives. But it's also a great time to think about what we want to be different in the world. As Gandhi is supposed to have said (but apparently might not have): "you must be the change you wish to see in the world."

Since I will soon be leaving the WIN staff and becoming a volunteer just like you, I wanted to make some social justice resolutions. After all, my passion for worker rights hasn't changed, just my job. 

Here are my resolutions:

1. I will go out of my way to show respect and gratitude to the people who do work on my behalf. Whether that's the waiter who brings me dinner, the postal worker who sells me stamps, and yes even the telephone support person I have to talk to who isn't allowed to bend the rules, I'll express my appreciation. After all, being ignored, disrespected, and having other people's mistakes taken out of them are all common experiences for these workers. 

2. I will spend more time in reflection and prayer, so I can better understand God's justice and what God asks of me. I'll be honest: directing WIN and raising an infant (while also moving into a new house) have led to a pretty pitiful spiritual life for me recently. But unless I know who I am and whose I am, I'll be easily distracted away from God's vision for my life and for our world.

3. I will respond to action alerts, even when I fear the cause may be hopeless. I'm specifically thinking of our state legislature, where things look bleak. But I have been surprised many times before. Terrible bills have been stopped because enough people raised their voices. I believe it can happen again, so I will pick up the phone to make that call and I will write that email, even if I fear the recipient of that email is destroying our democracy.

4. I will give my financial support to justice causes. My family is going to unfortunately have to trim some of our charitable giving since we're becoming a one income family. But we'll make sure to continue supporting groups that get down to the root causes of poverty, like Workers Interfaith Network (of course), Interfaith Worker Justice, Mid-South Peace and Justice Center, and Community Shares. Small grassroots groups like these know that while charity is needed, it's not enough.

Do you have any resolutions this year that will help you seek and create justice in our world? I'd love to hear them!

Monday, December 10, 2012

WIN is hiring a bilingual organizer for our Workers' Center

Help spread the word: we're searching for a bilingual (English/Spanish) organizer for our Memphis Workers' Center.

If you or someone you know cares about social justice and wants to organize alongside low-wage workers, this is the job for you!

The position will start March 1st. Right now, we're only gauranteeing the position through the end of 2013. It might become a permanent position after that time, depending on how other WIN staff positions are allocated for 2014.

Check out the job description and how to apply on our website.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What does wage theft look like?

       Wage theft has many different faces, and they're all ugly. There are so many ways that unscrupulous businesses are cheating workers. As we push the Shelby County Commission to pass a wage theft ordinance, I want to share just a few examples of what wage theft looks like.

       Take the example of Jenny Meyers,* a Rhodes College student who worked at the downtown TGI Friday' as a waitress. Her typical day as a server was, for the most part, pretty good. But then she began to notice something. Sometimes her paychecks had big gaps in them that didn't make sense. "I'd be missing $100, $150, and I had to make sure I scrutinized my check and kept up with everything," Jenny says. She started writing down all the tips customers left her on credit cards and keeping receipts. She later found out the payroll manager had been stealing her tips, along with those of other servers.

     That wasn't the only wage theft Jenny experienced at the restaurant. On nights when her tips didn't bring her up to the hourly minimum wage, the restaurant would claim that she received more cash tips than she actually did. That way they would not have to pay the difference between her tips and federal minimum wage, like the law requires restaurants to do. "I'd go in on a school night when I had a test the next day, come home at 2:00 am from closing, exhausted, with only $15," Jenny says.

     The experience of Jamal Jones* shows another kind of wage theft. He works as an oil change technician. At his current job at working for a shop in Bartlett that is part of a national chain, he's been asked by his manager to work on cars when he was on his unpaid lunch break.

    At another oil change shop where Jamal worked for 7 months, he was expected to work off the clock on an almost daily basis. Whenever there were no cars in the shop, his supervisor would tell him to clock out. But he had to stay on the job, and clean the shop while he wasn't being paid. As soon as another car would drive up, he was told to clock back in.

     Jamal knows of plenty of other employees at oil change shops who are asked to work while on break. Workers are often afraid they'll lose their jobs if they say no. "You're not being forced," he says, "but at the same time, it's a thing you can't do anything about. It makes you feel like you're being used, like you don't have rights."

     Jenny and Jamal's stories are just the tip of the iceberg. National research shows that 2 out of 3 low-wage workers experience wage theft. That's why we need a Shelby County wage theft ordinance now. Want to get involved in the campaign for the ordinance? We'd love to have your participation.

*name has been changed

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A big transition is coming at WIN

It's with very mixed emotions that I let you know I will be stepping down as WIN's executive director on January 15th. The experience of motherhood has changed my life, and I've decided that what's best for my family is to stay at home full-time with our son.

I can't tell you how many ways serving as WIN's executive director has blessed me over the past 10 years. The passion and generosity of members like you have allowed us to win victories I didn't imagine were possible when we started. The courage and persistence of so many workers who risked their livelihood inspired me to keep going even when the opposition was powerful.

Because I'm WIN's founding director, and I'm often the public face you see representing the organization, you might be wondering what's going to happen next.

I want to assure you that WIN will still be doing the same vital work of standing up against injustice with some of Memphis' most vulnerable workers. We're simply starting the next chapter in our work.

Alfredo Pena, who founded WIN's Workers' Center five years ago and has done an amazing job as its director, will be stepping up to become the interim executive director in January. I hope you'll read his letter introducing himself below. Next year, our board of directors will take the time needed to do a thorough search process for a permanent executive director.

While I'm often credited for our work, the truth is that the vast majority of our successes are because of other people: my amazing co-workers, our volunteers, and members like you. This work is so much bigger than one person - it always has been and always will be.

I'll still be a familiar face, just as a WIN volunteer rather than a staff person. I look forward to joining you, whether it's on the picket lines or at the Faith and Labor Picnic. Thank you for allowing me to serve as your director. Your trust, your support, your prayers, and your friendship have meant so much.

I know you'll show that same support to Alfredo and the rest of the WIN staff as we begin this transition.

I look forward to the many amazing things you'll continue to achieve through WIN over the coming years!


Rebekah Gienapp

As you and I know, farewells are always sad. Here at WIN, that seems to be the feeling as we get ready for Rebekah's departure from the organization. My coworkers and I support her decision and wish her and her familly the very best.

Even though we are losing our first director, we still have so much good work to do. We will continue to unite with workers seeking justice, and I ask you to continue supporting our work here at WIN. Remember, you are the reason we have been able to achieve so many victories with workers who face unfair wages and unjust working conditions.

As you might know, I have been helping workers organize themselves at WIN's Workers' Center for the past 5 years. I have heard many sad stories of how workers and their families suffer from the actions of bad employers. Before I came to WIN, I was even a victim of wage theft myself.

The abuse against workers never seems to stop, but this  has made me commit myself even more to organizing and standing alongside workers. As WIN's interim director, one of the things I hope to bring to the organization is increased leadership by low-wage workers, alongside the people of faith and other allies who have made the organization so strong.

I would like to say thank you for giving me the opportunity to be the next director. Together with your help, we can continue building alliances with workers to seek justice wherever it is needed, just as we have been doing for the last 10 years. You can continue to make WIN grow stronger, so that Memphis workers have fair and safe places to work.

Please email me if you have any questions about WIN's work or our future plans, or if you have ideas you would like to share with me. I can also be reached at (901) 332-3570. I look forward to working with you.

Alfredo Pena

Friday, August 31, 2012

Get your 10th anniversary tee-shirt at Faith & Labor Picnic

Maybe I'm biased, but I love our new 10th anniversary tee-shirts, featuring the "Justice Served" logo by Collins Dillard. They're union-made in the USA, and we have regular tee-shirts as well as ladies' cut tees. We've only ordered 100 and I expect them to go fast. They'll be available for $15 at the Faith and Labor Picnic on Labor Day, so be sure to bring your cash, check, Visa or MasterCard.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sneak preview of silent auction items at the Faith and Labor Picnic

Want to do a little early Christmas shopping? Or just get something for yourself? Take a look at some of the great items we'll have at our silent auction at the Faith and Labor Picnic on Labor Day.

With these nesting "plarn" bags, you can be a double environmentalist. They're knitted from plastic bags, so they're super strong. Take them to the grocery store, the beach, or anywhere else you need to haul stuff.

Have a child in your life that you want to share Bible stories with in a way that's easy for them to relate to? Check out Elaine Blanchard's book and CD Help Me Remember: Bible Stories for Children.

Several artisans have donated some beautiful jewelry, including this Swarovski pearl and sterling silver necklace, earrings, and bracelet made by Anne Walton Garrison.
And this handblown glass "dream" pendant by Marjorie Levy.
Marjorie has also donated a beautiful pair of glass earrings.
I know I'm always a little stumped about what to give to the guys in my life. This handmade walnut pen and case made by Ken Burnette might be a good choice!

I love the Majestic Grille, and was so excited when they donated a $50 gift certificate.
By now you've problem seen the fabulous 10th anniversary "Justice Served" logo that Collins Dillard designed for our new WIN tee-shirts and our Picnic flyer. He'll be donating a framed print of it for the auction.
Do you (or a lady in your life) love Avon? Christine Booker has donated this Avon basket full of bath items and a jewelry set.

Potter Melissa Bridgman donated a honeypot last year, but I think this year's is even cuter! It includes a wooden honey dipper.
For all you hardcore Midtown folks, Jaime Winton has donated this Midtown Memphis print, along with matching notecards. All the letters are made from pictures she took in Midtown.
If you're a WIN activist, you might be interested in this photo book I made about our last 10 years.

Bring a little fair trade home with you with this set of 2 mugs, coffee, and chocolate from the St. John's United Methodist Church Artisan store.

If that's not enough coffee for you, we'll also have a $25 Starbucks gift card.
If you've heard John Kilzer perform at last year's Picnic or around town, I know you'll be interested in the three CD set he's donated: The Way Live (just released!), The Journey, and The Travelling Cokesburys.
If you see something you're interested in, be sure to bring some extra cash, your checkbook, or your Visa or MasterCard to the Picnic.
And just a reminder: this Monday, August 27th is the last day to get your discounted Picnic tickets on our website.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Ways you can make the 10th annual Faith and Labor Picnic a success

This year's Faith and Labor Picnic will be like no other because it's WIN's 10th anniversary and our 10th Picnic! I'm so excited about celebrating your successes in upholding workers' rights, and about where your Workers Interfaith Network is headed in the next 10 years.

Here are some things you can do to make sure the Picnic raises the funds - and fun - that our movement for worker justice needs.

1) Become a Picnic sponsor. Whether you sponsor at the $1,000 or $10 level, your gift will support workers who are organizing to win living wages and to stop wage theft. If you want your name to be included in our Picnic program guide, we must receive your Picnic sponsorship by August 20th. You can sponsor online, or call (901) 332-3570.

2) Volunteer the day of the Picnic. From running the MoonBounce to serving food, it takes a lot of volunteers to keep things running smoothly. Contact me if you're willing to volunteer.

3) Get your tickets today, and get a 15% discount. Advance tickets are just $10 for adults, $5 for kids, or a maximum of $30 for families. Discounted tickets are available online until August 27th. You can can also buy discounted tickets from a WIN volunteer.

4) Bake WIN a batch of birthday cupcakes. We'll be celebrating WIN's birthday with cakes and cupcakes. If you can make homemade cupcakes for the Picnic, please contact me.

5) Have a gift card you don't plan to use? Donate it to WIN for our auction and doorprize give-a-ways at the Picnic. Mail your gift card to WIN, 3035 Directors Row, B - 1207, Memphis, TN 38131. Also, be on the lookout for our auction preview, which I'll post the week before the Picnic. This year we'll have a bigger variety of items to bid on.

6) Post a Picnic flyer at your congregation, union hall, business, or community organization. You can download an English flyer here or a Spanish flyer here.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

7 things you can do to help pass the Shelby County wage theft ordinance

Two out of three low-wage workers are affected by wage theft. It's time for a local wage theft law!

     People all across Shelby County are sending our County Commissioners a clear message: all workers should be paid for their work. And when you aren't paid, you should have an easy way to recover your stolen wages.

     That's why we're calling on the Shelby County Commission to pass a local wage theft ordinance. They'll only pass the law if enough of us press them to do so. I hope you'll join other workers, people of faith, students, and activists in our campaign to stop wage theft.

Here are 7 things you can do to help get the wage theft ordinance passed:

1) Learn more about what wage theft is and why the local wage theft ordinance is needed. Want the quick version? Download our one page summary of the wage theft ordinance. Want to go more in-depth? Read our report "The Epidemic of Wage Theft in Shelby County." It has stories of workers like Cynthia Marquez, who took a waitressing job to put herself through college and was only paid in customer tips.

2) Sign the electronic petition to County Commissioners, calling on them to support the ordinance, and meet with members of the Stop Wage Theft Coalition to talk about the proposed law.

3) Collect petition signatures on our printed petitions from your friends, co-workers, members of your congregation or union, or your neighbors. We'll deliver these to Commissioners at a rally in September. Contact Kyle Kordsmeier to get petition forms.

4) Invite a WIN staff member to come speak about the wage theft campaign to your group. This is our most powerful way to spread the word about the campaign! We'll speak to Sunday School classes, Bible studies and women's groups; student organizations; union meetings; neighborhood associations; political organizations, and more. We can do something short or a longer (30 minutes or so) presentation. If you'd like a speaker, let Kyle Kordsmeier know.

5) Ask your congregation, union, community group, or business to endorse the wage theft campaign. Again, Kyle Kordsmeier can give you endorsement forms or additional info about this.

6) Of course, it also takes money to run this campaign. Become a sponsor of our Faith and Labor Picnic to help raise the funds needed to pass the wage theft ordinance.

7) Sign up to be a volunteer with Workers Interfaith Network. We need folks to do everything from being part of lobbying delegations to calling our members about actions they can take. Fill out our volunteer form here, and under the "special skills I'd like to share" be sure to indicate you'd like to help with the wage theft ordinance campaign.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Wage theft stinks! A message from my baby

Even babies know that wage theft stinks! That's why my son Daniel is asking you to join him in the fight against wage theft by sponsoring the Faith and Labor Picnic.

Daniel has been counting up our Faith and Labor Picnic sponsorships, and he tells me that we're over halfway to our goal of $6,250 in sponsorships. But he needs your help to make sure we meet our goal!

Here are just a few ways that your sponsorship will stop stinky wage theft:
  • making possible our new campaign for a Shelby County wage theft ordinance. When it's passed, workers will have a simple way to recover their stolen wages from employers.
  • supporting our Workers' Center, which has used community pressure to recover over $71,000 in stolen wages in the last four years.
  • educating workers about their rights to fair pay and ways they can prevent wage theft.
I know that you want to stop wage theft as much as Daniel does. So please, become a Faith and Labor Picnic sponsor today! And Daniel says thanks to all of you who have already sponsored.

WIN's executive director and Daniel's mom

Friday, June 8, 2012

Help launch our Stop Wage Theft Campaign!

Work is fundamental to who we are as human beings.  Work has different meanings for different people, but for all workers, it is the way we meet our basic needs, sustaining ourselves and our families.  For too many residents in Shelby County, their hard work is often underappreciated and even goes unpaid.  These workers are victims of wage theft.

Many workers each year experience wage theft, often forcing them to choose between paying their rent or putting food on the table.  I invite you to stand with workers and ask our county to put an end to wage theft today!

Take action: Here's what you can do to help stop Wage Theft in Shelby Couty:

1) Call the Board of Commissioners at 901-222-1000
Tell your Commissioner it is necessary for workers to have a process to file complaints against employers who steal wages from employees in Shelby County. Our entire community benefits when workers are paid correctly and all employers are held to the same standards.

2) Read and Share The Epidemic of Wage Theft in Shelby County, Tennessee. Stories of Unprotected Workers and How We Can Address This Crisis.  
This wage theft report shares the experiences of 7 workers in Shelby County that have experienced wage theft, gives background information about wage theft, and ways that you can help prevent wage theft.  Page 14 of the report includes e-mail addresses for all County Commissioners! 

3) Read Windi Thomas's excellent article on WIN's campaign to get a wage theft law passed that appeared in the  Commercial Appeal on Sunday, June 3, 2012

Thank you for standing with workers struggling for justice on the job!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Make a gift to WIN during March and it will be doubled!

WIN members KC and Jeff Warren will double your gift to WIN during the month of March!

Gifts from members like you are WIN's number one source of support. Without your generosity, we can't stand up against wage theft or organize for living wages.

This month is an excellent time to make a gift to WIN, because your gift will be doubled! WIN members KC and Jeff Warren have agreed to double any gift you make in March.

The Warrens have agreed to match up to $4,000 in gifts during March. So far, our generous members have given $2,586. Can you  help us reach our goal of $4,000 with a gift?

If you join WIN's Allies for Justice monthly giving program, the Warrens will double all your monthly gifts for 2012! Monthly giving is convenient for you, because you don't have to remember to send in your gift.

Monthly giving also saves WIN's resources and stretches your gift farther. Less effort to ask for your gifts means WIN has more resources for workers facing injustice.

Make your gift securely online, or mail your donation to WIN, 3035 Directors Row, B - 1207, Memphis, TN 38131.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

40 Hour Fast to Unite Reflection, Action Against Wage Theft

      You're invited to join the 40 Hour Fast: from Wage Theft to a Moral Economy. From Thursday, March 22nd at 7:00 p.m. until Saturday, March 24th at 11:00 a.m., workers, people of faith, and community members will join together in prayer, reflection, sacrifice, and action.

    The fast is being held because two out of three low-wage workers experience wage theft. Things don't have to be this way. We can build a moral economy that reflects God's justice for workers, where everyone who works shares in the fruits of their labor.

    I invite you to sign the pledge to join the 40 Hour Fast. There are a variety of ways you can participate in the fast, including:
  • Going without solid food for as much of the 40 hour period as you can. This may mean fasting the entire time; fasting from sunset to sunrise; or fasting from one or more meals.
  • Joining with others for an opening interfaith prayer vigil on March 22nd, and/or a closing meal on March 24th (see below for details).
  • Reflecting and praying for workers who experience wage theft, and for employers who steal from them.
  • Taking action against wage theft by calling Mis Pueblos Restaurant on Hacks Cross Rd., which currently owes a group of 5 workers over $31,000 in stolen wages. Call manager Guillermo Diaz at (901) 751-8896. Urge him to pay the $31,000 in wages he owes to his workers. Tell him you want to see the restaurant follow all minimum wage and overtime laws for their workers.
Interfaith Prayer Vigil to Open the Fast
Even if you're not physically able to fast, please join us in praying with workers who face wage theft.
Thursday, March 22nd at 7:00 p.m.
St. John's United Methodist Church
1207 Peabody Ave.
Featuring a reflection by Rabbi Aaron Rubinstein of Beth Sholom Synagogue
The vigil will be held in the chapel. Please enter the church through the green canopy entrance, off of the parking lot.

Simple Meal and Breaking of the Bread Service to Close the Fast
After a short service to close our fast, we will join together in a simple meal of soup and bread.

Saturday, March 24th at 11:00 a.m.
Collins Chapel CME Church
678 Washington Ave.

Sign the pledge to join the 40 hour fast, or download this flyer to learn more and spread the word.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Video: WIN director discusses living wage repeal on Fox 13

Workers Interfaith Network talks on Fox 13 about the state legislature's attempt to repeal your local living wage laws.

Ready to take action? Sign the petition to the House State and Local Government Committee, urging members to vote no on the living wage repeal.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Your Workers' Center stops wage theft by working with workers, not for them

Your partnership with workers seeking justice: an insider's peek into WIN's Workers' Center

Delmar Vasquez appreciated that through the Workers' Center, "I got to be part of solving my problem."

     As WIN's Workers' Center takes on wage theft cases, we have two equally important goals: recovering wages, and building workers' power.

     In 2008, Delmar Vasquez contacted WIN's Workers' Center after a cleaning company refused to pay him for a month's worth of work. He soon learned that the Workers' Center would use labor laws to support his wage theft case. However, he would be much more involved in resolving his case than he would have been if he'd just contacted a lawyer.

    That's because one of the ideas that guides your Workers' Center is this: we're here to partner with workers in resolving their cases, not to do things for them.
    This means that when public actions such as vigils or pickets are planned, workers like Vasquez are expected to participate in them. While this new experience can be intimidating at first, workers often leave with a greater sense of the power they have to challenge injustice.

    Vasquez took part in a delegation to one of the businesses that he had cleaned while working for the cleaning contractor that owed him money. He also talked about his case at public forums on the crisis of wage theft. Now, he's become a member of the Steering Committee for WIN's Workers' Center. He frequently talks with other workers who face the same injustices he did, and he encourages them to speak out.

    Vasquez recovered the full $1,437 he was owed for his work. One of the things he appreciates most about his involvement in the Workers' Center goes beyond the wages he recovered. "I got to learn the facts more about my rights and how we can organize. I was not depending on someone else to solve my problem. At the Center, you get to be part of solving your problem," Vasquez says.

Friday, February 10, 2012

March 7th Lobby Day: Your Chance to Defend Workers' Rights

Legislators' decisions in Nashville will have major impact on workers throughout state

"There's just an energy in the air," Renee Dillard says of her experience at Lobby Day last year.

State Decisions, Local Impact
     What happens in Nashville does not stay in Nashville. Decisions made by state legislators can change the lives of workers in Memphis, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Martin, and all across the state.

    Just ask public school teachers who lost their right to collective bargaining last year. Or ask a low-wage worker at the University of Memphis who finally got her first pay raise in four years.

    That's why Workers Interfaith Network and the United Campus Workers union invite you to join forces in a statewide Lobby Day at the legislature on Wednesday, March 7th.

Your Chance to Be Courageous
     Before participating in Lobby Day last year, Rev. Renee Dillard says she hadn't been to the state capitol since a 7th grade field trip. "Lobbying was a little intimidating to think about," she says. "But the training I got ahead of time helped me know what to expect and how to talk about the issues. On Lobby Day, I met new people, and the exchanges we had with legislators were more positive than I thought they would be. It felt good to know I was doing my part to make a difference with workers."

What We're Asking Legislators to Do
      On Lobby Day, we'll be pressing our legislators on two main issues. The first is rejecting a dangerous and misguided bill that bans living wage ordinances in our state. If passed, Sen. Kelsey and Rep. Casada's bill will repeal large portions of the living wage laws that the City of Memphis and Shelby County passed years ago. The bills are just one example of conversative lawmakers who say they believe in local government control for one moment, then turn around and interfere in local affairs when they don't like something a city governmet does.

      The second focus of Lobby Day will be pressing legislators to pass a fair pay raise for employees at public colleges and universities across Tennessee. In his State of the State address, Gov. Haslam proposed a 2.5 percent pay raise for state workers. While this proposal is a good start, a percentage raise won't do much for workers who are paid poverty wages. For example, a typical custodian at the University of Memphis would get a $425 annual raise under the Governor's proposal, while the University President would get a $7,600 raise.

    At Lobby Day, you'll be pushing for a much more fair solution: a $1 per hour pay increase for all higher education employees. While top administrators don't need a huge bump in pay, ordinary workers will use this pay raise to meet urgent, basic needs for their families.

    During Lobby Day, we'll also rally on the capitol steps for good jobs and living wages at noon.

Sign up for March 7th Lobby Day
    Register for Lobby Day online or call Zach Ferguson at 901-332-3570 for more information. Once you have registered, we'll schedule lobbying appointments for you and arrange for your transportation. At this point, we know for sure we will have buses leaving from Memphis and Knoxville, and there will probably be caravans forming in other cities.

Schedule for Lobby Day
The Memphis bus will leave at 5:30 a.m. Central time and the Knoxville bus will leave at 7:00 a.m. Eastern time.

9:00 - 10:30   Training for lobbying teams

10:30 - noon   Visits to legislators in teams

Noon - 1:00    Rally on the capitol steps

1:00 - 3:00     Visits to legislators and/or lunch break

3:00                Return to home cities

Friday, January 13, 2012

Your best shot at protecting workers rights in the legislature

      The Tennessee legislature went into session this week, spending most of its time fighting over re-districting lines. But it won't take long before legislators begin debating bills that will have a big impact on the rights of workers across our state.

      Workers Interfaith Network wants to help advocates like you be more prepared and informed this year. That's why we're launching a brand new email list dedicated to tracking and taking action on worker rights bills in the legislature. Sign up here so that you'll know exactly what to do when critical bills come up, like:
  • positive bills that will create fair raises for Tennessee's public higher education workers
  • negative bills that will repeal our local living wage and prevailing wage laws
  • negative bills that will take away the voice of union members in our political process
  • negative bills that scapegoat immigrant workers and don't protect their labor rights.
      You may have noticed a pattern: a lot more negative proposals than positive ones. If you kept up with 2011 legislative session, you know that workers' rights were under heavy attack.

      Tennessee's teachers were stripped of the collective bargaining rights they had for over 30 years. Legislators passed a bill that gives permission to local government contractors to discriminate against workers based on sexual orientation. Another law passed requires Tennessee employers to use the deeply flawed e-verify system to check workers' immigration status, an act that will surely lead to hiring discrimination against job applicants who look or sound foreign.

      If you're like me, you're ready to let legislators know that you expect them to stand up for Tennessee's workers, not attack them. So please, sign up for legislative alerts today.

     You may be asking, "If I already get emails from WIN, do I need to sign up for legislative alerts?" Yes, if you want to take action at the legislature, please sign up. This is a separate list from our general WIN email list, which mostly concerns local Memphis issues.

     How else can you stand with Tennessee's workers at the legislature this year?
  • Share this post on your Twitter or Facebook page, or easily email to your friends by clicking on one of the buttons at the end of this post. Let people know why you're signing up for alerts, and encourage them to as well. We need folks from every county in the state to sign up!
  • If you're part of a union, community group, or congregation that has a gathering coming up, use our print sign up sheet to collect names of others who want to be on the list. Then, just mail it back to WIN using the address at the bottom of the sign up sheet.
  • Save the date for a worker rights lobby day in Nashville on Wednesday, March 7th.  Transportation will be available from Memphis and Knoxville, and may be available from other cities too. More information will be coming soon on the blog and through the legislative alert email list.