[Hpn] The Low Wage Workers Union

Daniel Kerr drk9@po.cwru.edu
Tue, 21 Nov 2000 23:15:09 -0500


--Boundary_(ID_5tZbrF1wLLikg09zCS+STg)
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Dear HPN Folks,

I am sending the content of a recent pamphlet for the Low Wage Workers 
Union that we produced in Cleveland.  The LWWU formed out of a series of 
weekly meetings we have been holding at the shelters.  Although it has 
sprung out of the work of Food Not Bombs, it has developed as an autonomous 
group run by low wage workers.  I have a really nice version of this 
pamphlet in Microsoft Publisher format.  If you would be interested, I can 
send you the file as an attachment.          -Dan

                                         Problems With Temp Agencies

*  They don't pay what a job is worth.

*  Many don't pay overtime.

* They are disrespectful.

* Placements are made on the basis of racial discrimination and favoritism.

* They charge excessive fees for transportation, safety equipment, and 
check cashing.

* If you are not a favorite then there are long unpaid waits between jobs.

* They place significant barriers to prevent employers from hiring a temp 
as a regular worker.

* Promises for health benefits are almost never kept.

* False information is provided on what the wages and working conditions 
will be.

What the LWWU
is Organizing For
*  Living wages for all workers.

*  The establishment of a region wide federation of low wage workers.

*  The development of a solidarity network between low wage workers, 
organized labor unions, community groups, and churches.

*  The formation of a co-operative labor agency subsidized by the city that 
pays living wages and benefits and is run by current low wage workers.

*  The implementation of codes of conduct regulating labor agents' access 
to social service agencies in the city.

*  The filing of a class-action law suit against the temporary employment 
agencies for their violation of federal and state labor laws.


                                                 The Low Wage Workers Union


The Low Wage Workers Union is a democratic movement of laborers who realize 
that the only way we are going to improve our situation is if we come 
together and collectively organize.  The situation for low wage workers has 
significantly deteriorated and will continue to deteriorate until we can 
tap into our collective strength and power as workers.

The LWWU realizes that without us, the economy in Cleveland would grind to 
a halt.  Low wage workers perform the hardest, dirtiest, and most dangerous 
work in the city.    It is from the sweat of our labor that corporate 
profits are made, but it is from the strength of our solidarity that we 
will ensure that every worker receives a living wage.

Many argue that low wages result from the fact that workers are dependent 
on alcohol and drugs.  This is fundamentally misleading.  The reality is 
low wages result from corporations seeking to increase their profits 
through the heightened exploitation of their working force.  Some of these 
workers may be addicted to alcohol and drugs, but most are not.  While we 
do not condone the abuse of alcohol and drugs, we feel that the bottom line 
is that what someone does with their hard earned money is absolutely 
irrelevant to the question of whether they should be paid fairly for their 
labor.  For many, it is the desperation and hopelessness caused by low 
wages that result in them turning to drugs and alcohol as a means of 
escape.  The LWWU asks, why is it that those who justify low wages on the 
basis of addiction never question whether corporations should be allowed to 
increase their profits off of this desperation?

The LWWU finds that one of the greatest barriers preventing low wage 
workers from obtaining a living wage are the pimps who operate the 
temporary labor agencies and the employer johns who hire through 
them.  Employers pay a significant sum to hire a worker through a temporary 
agency in order to avoid paying that worker the benefits they would need to 
pay a regular employee.  The employment pimps take anywhere between one 
third and one half of this money leaving the temporary worker with close to 
nothing.  In addition to the basic injustice of this arrangement to start 
with, the temps illegally refuse to pay overtime, charge excessive fees for 
transportation, essential safety equipment and check cashing, discriminate 
on the basis of race and favoritism, and give misleading and inaccurate 
information regarding wages and workplace conditions.  Businesses hiring 
these temps often times fail to provide adequate breaks and place workers 
in unsafe working environments.

Up to this point, the organized unions have largely failed the low wage 
worker.  They have not protested when the hardest and most difficult work 
has been turned over to the temporary labor agencies.  But the LWWU has 
hope that organized labor will recognize that the fate of the temporary 
worker is inextricably intertwined with the fate of the working-class as a 
whole.  The LWWU urges organized labor to support the struggle that low 
wage workers are engaged in.

Through the organization of low wage workers alongside efforts to network 
with organized labor, community groups and churches, the LWWU believes we 
can effectively cut out the labor pimps.  The LWWU is seeking to develop a 
publicly subsidized and co-operatively run labor agency that pays workers a 
full living wage including benefits.  Through the use of strikes, boycotts, 
and work slow downs, employers can be pressured to hire through our 
agency.  Other projects the LWWU is engaged in include the organization of 
a class action lawsuit against the employment pimps and johns, pressuring 
shelters and non-profit agencies to establish clear codes of conduct for 
any labor agents frequenting their premises, collectively researching the 
employment conditions and production schedules of the places temps are sent 
to, and finally and most importantly developing, a real sense of solidarity 
among low wage workers so that we can support and back each other up in our 
daily struggles against injustice.

--Boundary_(ID_5tZbrF1wLLikg09zCS+STg)
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Dear HPN Folks,

I am sending the content of a recent pamphlet for the Low Wage Workers Union that we produced in Cleveland.  The LWWU formed out of a series of weekly meetings we have been holding at the shelters.  Although it has sprung out of the work of Food Not Bombs, it has developed as an autonomous group run by low wage workers.  I have a really nice version of this pamphlet in Microsoft Publisher format.  If you would be interested, I can send you the file as an attachment.          -Dan

         =           &= nbsp;         &n= bsp;         &nb= sp;Problems With Temp Agencies

*  They don=92t pay what a job is worth.

*  Many don=92t pay overtime.

* They are disrespectful.

* Placements are made on the basis of racial discrimination and favoritism.

* They charge excessive fees for transportation, safety equipment, and check cashing.

* If you are not a favorite then there are long unpaid waits between jobs.

* They place significant barriers to prevent employers from hiring a temp as a regular worker.

* Promises for health benefits are almost never kept.

* False information is provided on what the wages and working conditions will be.

What the LWWU
is Organizing For
*  Living wages for all workers.

*  The establishment of a region wide federation of low wage workers.

*  The development of a solidarity network between low wage workers, organized labor unions, community groups, and churches.

*  The formation of a co-operative labor agency subsidized by the city that pays living wages and benefits and is run by current low wage workers.

*  The implementation of codes of conduct regulating labor agents=92 access to social service agencies in the city.

*  The filing of a class-action law suit against the temporary employment agencies for their violation of federal and state labor laws.   


         =           &= nbsp;         &n= bsp;         &nb= sp;        Th= e Low Wage Workers Union


The Low Wage Workers Union is a democratic movement of laborers who realize that the only way we are going to improve our situation is if we come together and collectively organize.  The situation for low wage workers has significantly deteriorated and will continue to deteriorate until we can tap into our collective strength and power as workers.  

The LWWU realizes that without us, the economy in Cleveland would grind to a halt.  Low wage workers perform the hardest, dirtiest, and most dangerous work in the city.    It is from the sweat of our labor that corporate profits are made, but it is from the strength of our solidarity that we will ensure that every worker receives a living wage.  

Many argue that low wages result from the fact that workers are dependent on alcohol and drugs.  This is fundamentally misleading.  The reality is low wages result from corporations seeking to increase their profits through the heightened exploitation of their working force.  Some of these workers may be addicted to alcohol and drugs, but most are not.  While we do not condone the abuse of alcohol and drugs, we feel that the bottom line is that what someone does with their hard earned money is absolutely irrelevant to the question of whether they should be paid fairly for their labor.  For many, it is the desperation and hopelessness caused by low wages that result in them turning to drugs and alcohol as a means of escape.  The LWWU asks, why is it that those who justify low wages on the basis of addiction never question whether corporations should be allowed to increase their profits off of this desperation?

The LWWU finds that one of the greatest barriers preventing low wage workers from obtaining a living wage are the pimps who operate the temporary labor agencies and the employer johns who hire through them.  Employers pay a significant sum to hire a worker through a temporary agency in order to avoid paying that worker the benefits they would need to pay a regular employee.  The employment pimps take anywhere between one third and one half of this money leaving the temporary worker with close to nothing.  In addition to the basic injustice of this arrangement to start with, the temps illegally refuse to pay overtime, charge excessive fees for transportation, essential safety equipment and check cashing, discriminate on the basis of race and favoritism, and give misleading and inaccurate information regarding wages and workplace conditions.  Businesses hiring these temps often times fail to provide adequate breaks and place workers in unsafe working environments. 

Up to this point, the organized unions have largely failed the low wage worker.  They have not protested when the hardest and most difficult work has been turned over to the temporary labor agencies.  But the LWWU has hope that organized labor will recognize that the fate of the temporary worker is inextricably intertwined with the fate of the working-class as a whole.  The LWWU urges organized labor to support the struggle that low wage workers are engaged in.   

Through the organization of low wage workers alongside efforts to network with organized labor, community groups and churches, the LWWU believes we can effectively cut out the labor pimps.  The LWWU is seeking to develop a publicly subsidized and co-operatively run labor agency that pays workers a full living wage including benefits.  Through the use of strikes, boycotts, and work slow downs, employers can be pressured to hire through our agency.  Other projects the LWWU is engaged in include the organization of a class action lawsuit against the employment pimps and johns, pressuring shelters and non-profit agencies to establish clear codes of conduct for any labor agents frequenting their premises, collectively researching the employment conditions and production schedules of the places temps are sent to, and finally and most importantly developing, a real sense of solidarity among low wage workers so that we can support and back each other up in our daily struggles against injustice.      
   
--Boundary_(ID_5tZbrF1wLLikg09zCS+STg)--