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Category: Politics & Activism

Back in the movement

Once again, I’m a labor union organizer.

I know, I know. I said I’d never do that kind of work again. I had a really negative experience the last time I did it, and I got burned out in a hurry. This time, though, I was talked into it by my friend Mike Roberts, who just became the organizing director for UNITE HERE in Rochester. Mike and I talked about the gig for a long time, and he laid out his vision for the organizing department. His ideas sounded exciting and militant, so I joined up.

UNITE HERE, for those of you unfamiliar with it, is a recently merged union. UNITE was the textile workers union (the folks in the movie Norma Rae, for example). As textile jobs moved to the Third World, UNITE became the union of Xerox workers and other industrial folks. HERE is the hotel and restaurant union. The two decided to merge recently, and now we’re working to organize workers in hotels, industrial laundries, call centers, and food service operators.

I’ll tell you more as the job develops. I won’t always be able to talk in specifics, of course, but I’ll do my best.

In the meantime, you can find out more about my union with these two links:

And while you’re surfing the Web, check out Work Related, a great new blog about Rochester’s labor movement, written by labor educator Joan Collins-Lambert.

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Donating to hurricane relief

If you’re still deciding where to send your money, I recommend AmeriCares. They have a very low overhead, so more of your money goes directly to aid. Here are some useful links:

AmeriCares

Charity Navigator’s tips for donating to relief for Hurricane Katrina

Network For Good’s listing of relief agencies dealing with Hurricane Katrina

For union members: The AFL-CIO’s site for hurricane relief. They’re also looking for 1,000 union volunteers to go down South to help. More information is at the site.

Whatever you do, do something. Thank you.

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