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Category: Politics & Activism

Jack Bradigan Spula is back

If you know anything about Rochester’s progressive scene, you know the writing of Jack Bradigan Spula. Now you can peek into Jack’s brain again, via his new blog The Rochester Dissident. Do yourself a favor and check it out today.

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A silent vigil for economic justice

(24 October 2005) BRIGHTON – It’s 7 p.m. A light rain is falling. Snaking down Ambassador Drive in Brighton is a long line of silent workers, candles held in cups under their umbrellas. The line moves slowly down the street, a silent testament to labor solidarity in an age of “every man for himself.”

The men and women of Caldwell Manufacturing, proud members of IUE-CWA Local 81331, are bringing their fight for justice and security into the neighborhood where Caldwell’s owners live. The message? Ted and Jim Boucher are letting their greed overcome their family history.

Caldwell Manufacturing makes parts for windows – parts that you’ll find in most houses, including those on Ambassador Drive. For three generations, Caldwell has been run by the Boucher family, and the company has long provided good union jobs for Rochester workers. Now, though, Ted and Jim Boucher are attempting to bust the union by removing the union security clause from the workers’ contract. If they’re successful, Caldwell would be an open shop, a move that would pave the way to remove the union completely. And that would likely be the first domino in a long chain of anti-union activity in the Rochester area.

As the vigil moves through the streets of Brighton, keeping a silent watch, it may be difficult to connect these 50 rain-soaked workers and community members to the larger fight for Rochester’s future. But the connection is clear. Rochester needs good jobs with a living wage, health care, pension benefits, and job security. One proven way to provide those jobs is a union contract. These workers and their supporters in the community are fighting for the very life of this area.

Two by two, pairs of workers knock on the doors of the homes in the Bouchers’ neighborhood. They politely explain why the vigil is happening, and hand the residents a flyer outlining the situation. The response is largely positive, and the effect is immediate. By the end of the vigil, a local trial lawyer who lives on the street has come forward, offering to put a pro-worker sign in his front yard.

As the rain falls, the workers quietly return to their cars. This night’s action is over, but the morning brings the promise of more to come. The fight for Rochester’s future is under way.

Which side are you on?

For more information on the Caldwell strike, and on other local labor issue, visit Joan Collins-Lamberts’ blog, Work Related.

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A message from one of Abundance Co-op’s new board members

Tonight I was elected to the board of Abundance Cooperative Market. Abundance is a shareholder-owned co-op. In other words, it’s owned by the folks who shop at the store. The co-op has a general manager, but the policies and practices of the co-op are governed by the board, on which I now sit.

I’ve written before about Abundance, and about the idea of shopping locally. The Abundance Co-op is modeling a better world, and I ran for the board to help protect that cooperative system. The store turned its first profit this year, and as it grows, it’s vital that we remain true to the principles on which the co-op was founded. The “co-op” is the people — the store is just a happy result of the people’s efforts.

I’m excited to start working with the board. If you have comments, questions or suggestions for me as I start on this journey, feel free to contact me.

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Big Box Mart

Go to JibJab.com right now and watch the Big Box Mart video. You can thank me later.

(By the way, Jay Leno showed this whole video on The Tonight Show last night. And no, that is not a type-o.)

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