Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Uniting to Make Downtown More Responsible!!

Over the last 10 years, the gap between the rich and the working class has grown tremendously. Large commercial property owners in the Greater Boston area, like The Blackstone Group, enjoy millions of dollars in profits, while residents of the communities where most of their service workers live – Roxbury, Dorchester, and Mattapan – can barely make ends meet.

In our Secure Jobs, Secure Communities campaign we are organizing to demand that large downtown commercial property owners, including The Blackstone Group, invest $1 per square foot of property they own back into Boston neighborhoods. We are focusing on some of the most pressing issues around which community groups are currently organizing – foreclosure prevention, youth opportunities, CORI reform, and access to quality jobs.

Call The Blackstone Group CEO Stephen Schwarzman TODAY! 1-212-583-5000
These are SCARY times for our communities and companies like The Blackstone Group can do the right thing and make a difference. Tell him to meet with Community Labor United about investing back into our communities here in Boston.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Rodney Noel is a young Haitian-American security officer who is currently living in the Dorchester area. He has been working as an officer for the past four years. Rodney has been active in the campaign to unionize the security industry because he feels that officers are not being treated fairly. Rodney is the father of a 3 year-old girl and has to work overtime to support his family while also attending school at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Rodney does not have health insurance for himself or his family. He relies on MassHealth for his medical needs. According to Rodney, his involvement with the security campaign is about more than his personal needs. He believes that the success of this struggle will improve his community not only from an economic standpoint, but that it will also help decrease crime in the neighborhoods since parents will be able to spend more time with their children and jobs will be created that give young people more opportunities and hope for their future.

Ronneshia Bolden is 17 years old and a member of United Youth and Youth Workers of Boston. She believes that if downtown commercial property owners like Blackstone invested more into the community, there would be more resources for the programs that youth want and need. Ronneisha is coming from the perspective of a young leader who really wants youth to have opportunities to better themselves. She thinks that more youth jobs, youth programs, and street workers would benefit the community, help decrease the number of youth on the streets, and increase the number of youth participating in positive change. Such programs prepare young people for a positive future, help build character, and give a voice to all youth in the community.
Sean Pelzer has definitely had his share of problems with CORI. Back in 1994, when he was a state employee, management questioned his alleged criminal history. Sean was shocked because he knew he had not committed any crimes, and therefore could not have a CORI. Nonetheless, he was laid off. Then in 1997, after working at UHaul for only 3 months, he was fired after his employer ran a CORI check. In 2001, after working for 6 months at Massachusetts General Hospital, Sean began speaking out to management about abusive and unsafe working conditions. In retaliation, he was fired after they decided to run a CORI check.

The following month, Sean was discharged and demoted by the Army because of his CORI, even after serving fourteen years with them. Finally, Sean was able to get a copy of his CORI and discovered all of the mistakes and inaccuracies, but was told he needed an attorney to clear his record. Since then, he has become active with the Union of Minority Neighborhood as an organizer to change the extremely flawed CORI law and to make sure no one else has to go through what he did.