Barbara Smith is one of the most committed and effective social justice activists whose name you do not know. She has been on the frontlines of social change through the civil rights movement as well as fighting for the liberation of working class people, women and LGBTQ communities. One of 1199’s own, the distinguished Alethia Jones, PhD, has recently published a book that documents 40 years of Barbara Smith’s groundbreaking voice and contributions to our struggles.
In 2013, Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines, killing more than 6,000 of Filipino residents throughout the islands. In all, the disaster impacted 16 million people. More than 4 million people were displaced and 6 million workers had their livelihoods stripped away. Vast areas were swept clean of homes, schools and hospitals. The corpses were strewn among the wreckage making the spread of disease an imminent danger. Survivors were left without water, food or shelter.
In September 2014, nursing home caregivers at four Alaris Health nursing homes in New Jersey went on strike to demand an end to the company's unfair labor practices and a fair contract that protects patients and workers.
As the number of confirmed Ebola cases in West Africa grows beyond 10,000 and as the first cases appear in the US, many fear the rise of a global pandemic. In order to protect New Jersey and the nation overall, it is vital that officials respond to the crisis in ways that are scientifically justified, effective, ethical, and safe. (Yet as we’ve witnessed over the past week, many elected leaders around the nation appear to be acting more out of political expediency rather than sound, informed judgment. I would eliminate this sentence as we don’t want to be seen as implicitly criticizing Cuomo).
Labor flexed its considerable muscle for the Democratic ticket in tomorrow’s election with a rally in Manhattan’s Times Square earlier today. The event drew contingents from across the labor spectrum including a purple army of 1199ers, members its sister local, building service workers’ Local 32 BJ, members of the Hotel Trades Council and a broad swath of building trades workers, among many others.