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$15 and a union!

first_imgApril 3 protest at McDonald’s restaurant in Philadelphia.WW photo: Joseph PiettePhiladelphia — Low-wage workers and their supporters gathered outside a McDonald’s restaurant here on April 3 for the second time in two weeks to challenge the megacorporation’s theft of workers’ wages and its negative treatment of employees and customers alike. Both demonstrations were organized by “Fight for $15” and called for a union for the company’s workers.Chanting “McDonald’s, come off it! You make enough profit!” and “McDs, you’re rich and rude! We don’t like your attitude!” protesters filled the sidewalks in front of the store and spilled into the street.Passing motorists responded with enthusiasm to signs asking them to “honk for a $15 minimum wage,” frequently drowning out rally speakers. A highlight of that moving support was when a Philadelphia sanitation worker drove by in his garbage truck, blasting the horn. Philadelphia’s blue-collar workers represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Union, District Council 33, have worked without a contract since 2009.Several low-wage workers participated in the rally, including Justin Watson, head of maintenance at the McDonald’s being picketed. Watson spoke of his two-year struggle to support his family on the low wages McDonald’s pays and a fight to get the company to pay a promised raise.“If someone robbed your house, you might have some recourse,” Watson said, “but as a professional corporate thief, McDonald’s gets away with stealing workers’ wages.” In March, McDonald’s workers in three states filed class-action lawsuits claiming that McDonald’s schemed to drive labor costs down by not paying overtime and striking hours off time cards.Watson described a meeting with his bosses after the first protest action. “They asked me what was going to make me happy, and I responded, ‘$15 and a union!’”After working two years at Dunkin’ Donuts/Baskin-Robbins, Crystal Lopez still doesn’t get paid time-and-a-half for overtime. Lopez works to support her mother, who has chronic health concerns. But the company cut her work hours after she participated in a protest. She told the crowd, “We deserve to be treated as humans. We’re gonna win no matter what. If everybody stands with us, we’re good!”McDonald’s worker Justice Wallace stated, “The cost of living is way too high, and we are being paid way too little. McDonald’s treats us like children, but we are parents with our own children to support, and we can’t do it on $7.25. We are constantly forced to choose between paying rent or buying groceries.“I believe that a terrible crime is being committed in this city by companies like McDonald’s that are engaged in wage theft. I also believe that one day we will make $15 an hour,” Wallace concluded.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

B’way Grosses: Audiences Are Dancing & Jiving to Mamma Mia!

first_imgAudiences are once again thanking Mamma Mia! for the music as the long-running tuner’s closing date of September 12 approaches. For the sixth week running the show played at above 100% capacity, making the Broadhurst Theatre the fourth most packed house on Broadway. No surprises in frontrunners by terms of gross, with perennial box office favorites The Lion King, Wicked, Aladdin and The Book of Mormon, along with newcomer Hamilton in the top five. On the other end of the spectrum, Hand to God and Amazing Grace remain the lowest grossing shows on the Great White Way. They will need to improve their numbers soon as demand on theaters intensifies for circling shows as the 2015-16 season gets underway.Here’s a look at who was on top—and who was not—for the week ending August 23:FRONTRUNNERS (By Gross)1. The Lion King ($1,986,190)2. Wicked ($1,751,974)3. Aladdin ($1,720,395)4. Hamilton ($1,456,753)5. The Book of Mormon ($1,443,333)UNDERDOGS (By Gross)5. A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder ($511,816)4. Hedwig and the Angry Inch ($409,679)*3. On the Town ($395,379)2. Amazing Grace ($308,474)1. Hand to God ($255,020)FRONTRUNNERS (By Capacity)1. The Book of Mormon (102.43%)2. Hamilton (101.32%)3. Fun Home (101.00%)4. Mamma Mia! (100.32%)5. The Lion King (100.06%)UNDERDOGS (By Capacity)5. Hedwig and the Angry Inch (75.17%)*4. Jersey Boys (65.35%)3. Hand to God (57.76%)2. Amazing Grace (54.45%)1. On the Town (52.17%)* Number based on seven regular performancesSource: The Broadway League View Commentslast_img read more

Shielded Against Drug Trafficking

first_img Lt. Gen. Peña: We have a structure similar to UNASUR, or the South American Council of Defense, where there are not only several aspects of coordination, but cooperation in regard to drug trafficking, especially on information exchange. Diálogo: In recent years, Argentina and Brazil, which were once transit routes for drug trafficking, have become heavy drug consumers. Do you think this could also happen in Ecuador, a country that has been shielded from drug trafficking for several years? Lt. Gen. Peña: Ecuador is not shielded from this problem, but what we don’t have are coca crops. Even though there are few hectares that are controlled and destroyed, we can confirm that our country does not manufacture narcotics. However, we are a transit country, and we have become a nation that stores drugs for export. Drug trafficking submersibles constructed in the country have been found, and we detected illegal drug-related flights. There are also large drug trafficking rings that use our country as a transit country. We are not immune to the effects of this menace; although we are not producers, it is a warning sign that we have become a transit country. So we are urged to take strong action against it. On the other hand, drug use in other countries, such as Argentina and Brazil, has increased, as in Europe and the United States, where it is extremely high. Ecuador is not immune to this problem, because society can be influenced by this trend. As a policy of the Ecuadorean Ministry of Health, campaigns are carried out to avoid this problem, because there is evidence that young people are coming into this world [of drugs]. There is an alarming amount of microtrafficking of drugs in our country, but we have not reached the levels of other nations. We want to avoid it, so the state is taking action to prevent this problem. Lt. Gen. Peña: We have several commitments for relief efforts internationally. Hemispherically, we are engaged in assisting any of the countries that need our help if a natural disaster takes place. We have sent humanitarian assistance and teams to countries such as Chile, when the earthquake and the tsunami happened; to El Salvador, Honduras and to Colombia when they had floods. Furthermore, we have assisted Haiti with humanitarian assistance, in addition to our contribution to the United Nations. We have not only sent assistance, but we have also received it when disasters battered our territory. For example, during last year’s floods, we were immediately assisted by countries such as Colombia, Venezuela and Chile, based on particular agreements. This is also the case of transnational crime and drug trafficking. In our country, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Justice and the National Police are in charge of dealing with these issues, which also have assistance protocols, especially for information exchange, allowing them to have state jurisdiction to combat these scourges. Besides, as the Armed Forces, we are seeking to increase collaboration efforts with the United States Southern Command, since we know that they have an interagency organization [Joint Interagency Task Force–South] in Key West, which can be of great help. We are eager to establish further contact with that institution for countering drug trafficking and organized crime successfully. Diálogo: Can you tell us about Ecuador’s bilateral or multinational agreements in the region? After his participation in the IV South American Defense Conference from July 24 to 26, 2012, in Bogotá, Colombia, Lieutenant General Jorge Peña Cobeña, chief of the Joint Command of the Armed Forces of Ecuador, talked with Diálogo. He stressed that interagency cooperation at national, regional and hemispheric levels is essential to humanitarian missions and the fight against drug trafficking and transnational organized crime. Diálogo: Lieutenant General Peña Cobeña, what is the role of Ecuador’s Armed Forces in humanitarian assistance and relief efforts in case of natural disasters? Lieutenant General Jorge Peña Cobeña: In Ecuador, the national secretary of risk assessment is in charge of preventing and dealing with natural disasters. Obviously, there is close coordination with the Armed Forces, based on already established planning and protocols developed with this office, so that in case of disaster, we can act immediately as Armed Forces in a direct way, with our infrastructure and support personnel genuinely committed. Diálogo: What are your thoughts about having a regional institution to coordinate humanitarian assistance and natural disaster relief, as well as having an organization against drug trafficking? center_img By Dialogo January 01, 2013 IF WE DON’T LEARN FROM WHAT HAPPENED IN COLOMBIA AND ACT ACCORDINGLY NOT ONLY AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL BUT ALSO REGIONAL AND WHY NOT, EVEN GLOBALLY, WE WILL LEAVE OUR GRANDCHILDREN WITH QUITE A CRAPPY WORLD, IT WILL BE WORSE THAN THE ONE WE GOT FROM OUR PARENTS AFTER THE END OF WWII – [email protected] last_img read more