The people who organized the country’s biggest prison strike against what they call modern-day slavery have planned their next target: corporate food service giant Aramark. The $8.65 billion company is one of the country’s largest employers and serves food to more than 100 million people a year. It also provides meals for more than 500 correctional facilities across the country and has been the subject of complaints about maggots and rocks, sexual harassment, drug trafficking and other employee misconduct.
Prisons in some states are withholding newspapers from inmates amid a strike against prison conditions and billions of dollars worth of prison labor. The passing of the 13th Amendment in 1865 formally abolished slavery, but with a stipulation that enabled plantation owners to use prisoners as a replacement for the lost labor. As a group called the Free Alabama Movement rallied for a Sept. 9 labor strike in spring, prison authorities across the country began clamping down on news and information in ways that the ACLU says may be in violation of the First Amendment.
More than 70 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, led by Congresswoman Barbara Lee, sent a letter to President Obama on May 21 to adopt a federal fair chance hiring policy. This effort was co-led by Congressmen Conyers, Scott and Davis and Congresswoman Jackson Lee and supported by various groups including Policy Link, the ACLU, National Employment Law Project, PICO Network’s LIVE FREE Campaign, and All Of Us or None.
Last week, the Richmond City Council voted in favor of a city ordinance that will increase the local minimum wage from $8 to $12.30 an hour by 2017. The increase will be phased in over three years and positions Richmond to have the highest minimum wage of any city in California. “I wish it could be more, but it showcases that Richmond has the political will to move forward,” said Mayor McLaughlin.
Early Tuesday morning, the 18th day of the Lakeview Elementary Sit-In and 12th day of the People’s School, the OUSD police and other police forces raided the encampment and school. The People's School will continue, and a community-labor alliance and picket sanctioned by the Alameda Labor Council will block the move-in of administrative offices at Lakeview.
On March 18, President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his family returned home from a seven-year forced exile in South Africa – an exile brought about by the violent U.S.-orchestrated coup in 2004. Up until the last minute, the U.S. government tried to stop the return, with President Obama going so far as to place a last-minute call to President Zuma of South Africa.