Issue #8 Working Womxn fight back!

Workers Deserve Reliable Transportation Now

-By AMP

Afer a full day of work, I join the huddled masses of my fellow workers waiting at the S. Rampart and Canal bus stop and lean against the building wall in hopes of finding a small amount of shelter from the rain. I wait for about 10 minutes while no bus arrives before I see city workers putting barricades in the middle of Canal. A woman comes over and laughs at us for thinking there would be bus service for us workers, despite the fact that we had just worked long days serving up the food, drink, and entertainment expected during Mardi Gras weekend. She points us a couple blocks over and says that “some” buses are waiting over there. I start swiftly walking in the direction she pointed. Random buses are scattered throughout Elk Place and Basin St; from a distance I can almost make out the number 88 on the side of one of them and I pick up the pace. Although the RTA’s timetable said the next bus (as the previous never came) wasn’t due to leave for another 5 minutes, the bus takes off before I can get to it and I am left stranded in the rain with my entire day’s cash earnings in my back pocket.

“Tired, wet, and stranded in the French Quarter I feel so much frustration that this is not the frst time the RTA has failed us, the workers who hold up the city’s economy.”

Many buses don’t come often enough and if they decide to leave early, people are often left stranded for another hour or more. In that hour’s time, you could: be fired from your job, miss a connecting bus, miss a class, miss a meeting or an appointment, miss valuable time with your child, be late to get home to cook a meal or help with homework, or miss an hour of valuable rest before you have to return to work. Many of us walk far distances at all hours of the day and late at night to get to a bus that just might not ever come. During hurricane warnings and when the city foods, we are still expected to show up to work on time, without reliable transportation.

We hospitality workers generate $7.5 Billion for the city, yet we spend hours every single day walking to, waiting for, and taking inefficient transit. We are pushed away from the downtown area due to rising rent prices, yet we have no means of reliable transportation to get to and from our jobs. Te time has come for us bus riders to organize and demand that the RTA serves the workers that hold up New Orleans.

International Working Women’s Day Call to Action

-By Meg Maloney

“Working class women: take up the fght for maternity leave, childcare and living wages!”

Working women -- cooks, retail workers, pedicab drivers, bartenders, maids, working mothers -- International Working Women’s Day is your day! Let us take to the streets for International Working Women’s Day on March 16th! On IWWD we ask: What are the conditions of the great majority of women? We who are ignored, overlooked, and overworked? International Working Women’s Day was established to mark the anniversary of when young women garment workers in New York City went on strike for 13 weeks in what was called “the uprising of the 20,000” in 1909. Tis uprising sparked five years of revolt that transformed the garment industry. To honor this struggle, women’s rights organizer Clara Zetkin proposed IWWD at the international women’s conference in 1910. IWWD was created to honor working-class women’s struggles and to draw the connection between the fight for Workers’ power and the struggle against women’s oppression. Te New Orleans People’s Assembly and Te New Orleans Hospitality Workers Alliance have put out a call to our fellow working women to join us as we organize towards IWWD. We hold weekly Women’s Coalition meetings, as well as monthly Women’s Dinner Wednesdays! We invite all working womxn to join us on these days!

Please email us for details at workingwomenofnola@gmail.com

Unstable Workweeks & Scheduling = Unstable Homes, Families & Communities NOHWA Work Week Ordinance Campaign

-By Skye Tomas

This ordinance, in varying forms, has been passed by multiple cities including Seattle, San Francisco, Emeryville, San Jose, Washington, D.C., and New York City. Te ordinance recognizes that hospitality workers need to know when they are working to properly schedule childcare, doctor’s appointments, other necessary appointments, transportation, school, and if they have a second job. It is in the general interest of the entire city that service workers’ health be protected and that workers who are ill are not forced to work. It is also in the interest of the entire city that parents have stable employment that is family friendly and enables parents to participate in and provide a stable and involved relationship with their children.

The Hospitality Workers Committee has collected over 3000 signatures from workers and is working to build mass community support. Want to help in this effort? Sign the petition, help get petition signatures from your co workers, friends, and family, arrange a presentation through the HWA for your co workers, community organization, church, etc. Show up in support when city council puts the Work Week Ordinance on the agenda, give a statement in support. But most of all, fellow hospitality workers, come organize with us!

Specifically, we call for the passage of the following Worker and Community Work Week Ordinance to apply to all places of employment:

•Requirement of all employers to provide a work schedule 14 days in advance.

•Should employers ask an employee to change days worked or alter the schedule that is posted an employee may voluntarily accept or reject the offer without retaliation.

•Should the employee voluntarily accept the schedule change without 14 days’ notice, the employee will be paid a $100 premium for doing so.

•Employers shall not schedule workers without a 12-hour rest period between shifts.

•Employers shall not schedule workers to shift from day to night without the worker’s consent.

•All workers shall receive 12 paid sick days a year.

•Employers shall consider the need for parents to attend meetings with teachers or counselors as in the interest of the entire city and shall not refuse employee’s request or a scheduling change.

•Pregnant workers who and perform their duties shall not be subjected to harassment to leave and shall be guaranteed reemployment at an equal job when able to return to work.

•A commission shall be created to adjudicate claims.

•If found guilty of violating the ordinance, employers shall make employee whole and be fined $1,000 for the first offense, $2,000 for the second, and $5,000 for any subsequent offenses.

Unelected Boards Steals $180 Million of the People’s Taxes

-By Jade D.

How hard do you work for your money? Because I know I work really damn hard for mine, and I want my community and myself to benefit from the tax dollars our work generates. Currently my hard work, your hard work, and our fellow hospitality workers’ hard work isn’t benefiting working class New Orleanians. Every single year unelected commission boards receive $180 million dollars in tax revenue generated by the hospitality industry. Tat’s right, you read that correctly; $180 million every single year. Tis means only 10% of taxes generated by the hospitality industry are being put back into the general budget of New Orleans, with only 2% of these taxes going back to Black-owned businesses.

Now, that leads to the question: WHERE COULD THAT MONEY BE GOING? Well, taxes should be used for things like bettering the school system, fixing streets, putting more busses on the road, giving raises to city workers, funding childcare and early childhood education. Instead, there are multiple unelected commission boards who play around with millions: the Tourism and Marketing Corporation, the Convention Center, and the Convention and Visitors Bureau. These boards bring in more tourism for hotel and restaurant profits without benefiting the workers that hold up the economy. Politicians and big tourism capitalists work so closely together, many politicians sit on these unelected boards-- like City Council Misrepresentatives Jay Banks, Jason Williams, and Kristin Palmer. Corrupt politicians even wrote this tax thievery into the city charter. Ten they tell us that the city just doesn’t have the funds to improve our conditions.

To this I say screw that AND screw them! They have no right to the money we work so hard for. They have no right to keep us (the working class people) down any longer. If you too say “screw this,” I invite you to join us in our collective struggle. Organize and build up this movement with us to get back what is rightfully ours! We the people are the power and we are stronger in numbers. Contact the Hospitality Workers Alliance to find out more.

Worker’s Letter: Baristas Unite Against Bosses

-By K Mac

Anyone who has ever hustled for tips, cooked on a line, or washed customers’ dishes knows that having to hold down only one job at a time is a short-lived convenience; no matter how much we bring home from our main jobs, eventually it’s going to come time to look for another one. Right now, I’m riding the One Job Wave. I work as a barista, brewing up coffee and taking home cash. When money gets tight, I’m very quick to pick up someone’s shift, even if it means working two shifts in one day. Doubles: we all do them because it is all too often key to our survival.

My boss recently said she doesn’t want her baristas working doubles. Her reasoning boils down to wanting to avoid paying overtime, despite our shifts only being six hours long and most people being scheduled no more than four shifts in a week. A worker would have to pick up an additional three shifts to hit the 40 hour mark in a single week.

At first, her given reason was that workers would be worn out and unproductive by the second shift. Immediately our staff objected. There are only three of us for whom the cafe is our only job -- the rest of the staff are working doubles every day anyway, be it two at the cafe or one at one job and another at the cafe. Productivity is good regardless. We collectively cited the conditions that require us to pull double shifs: our sub-minimum pay rate, our stingy clientele and our perpetually slow closing shifts. We collectively gave her two choices, either to continue to allow us to work doubles, or risk having the staff quit to find other jobs.

Talking amongst ourselves and stepping in to present a unified objection to a proposed change in our workplace policy was a very small example of what workplace organizing looks like. Te absurdity isn’t lost on any of us; having to fight for the ability to subject ourselves to a twelve hour day sounds silly on the surface, but it is a survival tactic that we were at risk of losing. In the end, my coworkers and I got to see what workplace unity can accomplish.

In Loving Memory of Dr. Martin Luther King

Dr. King was assassinated on April 4th, 1968 while in Memphis, Tennessee, supporting striking sanitation workers. Their campaign was protesting horrible working conditions, abuse, poverty wages, racism and discrimination. Thousands of Black sanitation workers were walking off the job and striking against the inhumane working conditions. The night before his assassination Martin Luther King told a crowd of striking workers:

“You are reminding, not only Memphis, but you are reminding the nation that it is a crime for people to live in this rich nation and receive starvation wages.”

After Dr. King’s death his wife Coretta Scott King courageously continued the campaign to aid the striking sanitation workers.

La Alianza de Trabajadores de Hospitalidad (NOHWA) exige la expansión inmediata de la linea de autobuses del East Owl!

-Por Peyton Gill

¿Usted trabaja para la industria de hospitalidad? ¿Usa transporte público para ir y venir del trabajo?

Si usted respondió ‘si’ a ambas preguntas, por favor póngase en contacto con nosotrxs ! NOHWA (La Alianza de Trabajadores de Hospitalidad) está organizando para confrontar a la Autoridad de Tránsito Regional (RTA) con la gente que toman los autobuses para luchar por la expansión de las rutas.

Miembros de la Alianza están llegando a las reuniones de la junta directiva de la RTA para exigir esa expansión, y no vamos a parar hasta que se expande y nuestrxs compañerxs tengan buenas rutas al trabajo. Es demasiado común que lxs trabajadores que viven por el Este y los alrededores de la ciudad pasan hasta 3+ horas llegando a casa. Esto no se puede aceptar.

Hemos hablado con la RTA para declarar nuestras demandas: que dejen de gastar dinero en los tranvías que sirven sólo para el turismo y en que gastamos millones de dólares de fondos públicos. Nosotrxs demandamos la expansión de la ruta del East Owl. Exigimos que las líneas pasen por toda la noche, y que no consoliden los horarios.

Volveremos cada mes a la junta directiva de la RTA hasta que cumplan con estas demandas. Seguimos organizando, y queremos hacer que la RTA se haga responsable de servir al pueblo trabajador. Si usted ocupa el transporte público aunque no le sirve bien -- venga a una reunión de la Alianza de Trabajadores de Hospitalidad ! Nos reunimos cada lunes a las 7pm @ 1418 N. Claiborne Ave. Envíanos una correspondencia por neworleanshospitalityworkers@gmail.com - comparta su voz.

¡Podemos usar su testimonio para amplifcar nuestra lucha por mejores rutas de transporte público!

BILL OF RIGHTS BOX

The Hospitality Workers Alliance is comprised of hospitality industry workers that are organizing for respectful treatment, living wages and equal resources for all hospitality workers in New Orleans. Below is our Bill of Rights which we dutifully stand by and promote for present and future hospitality workers.

1. Parking and Public Transportation: Employees are either provided with a free parking spot that is a close, safe distance away from the workplace or with a voucher for public transportation. Public transportation will be reliable and running at times when workers are going to and from work.

2. Wages: Employees are able to make a livable base wage of $15 an hour.

3. Breaks: Employees are able to take a paid break if they want.

4. Affordable Childcare and Maternity Leave: Employers will provide affordable childcare to employees who have children. Mothers will receive paid maternity leave and are guaranteed reemployment.

5. Sick Pay: Every worker is guaranteed paid sick days without retaliation.

6. Meals: Employers must provide their employees with a balanced, healthy meal free of cost.

7. Scheduling and Hours: Employees are given a predictable weekly schedule and the option of either part-time or full-time work.

8. Harassment: Employees work in an environment free of all forms of discrimination based on one’s disability, race, sex, gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, language, or nationality. Management is also responsible for protecting and stopping their employees from being harassed by customers.

9. Protect Immigrants: Employers protect employees from ICE raids and declare their establishment as a sanctuary.

10. Pensions: Workers receive a livable monthly pension after workers voluntarily choose to retire.

11. Healthcare: Employees have access to affordable healthcare.

12. Wage Theft: Employees are protected from wage theft.

13. Vacation Time: Employers provide their employees with paid vacation time.

14.Comprehensive Emergency Plan: When there is a natural disaster, workers must be given the opportunity to evacuate without repercussions from their bosses. Workers must receive compensation from their employer for the missed shifts caused by the natural disaster. If a worker chooses to stay and work during a predicted disaster, then they must be provided with transportation, food, and accommodation.

Submit a workers’ correspondence! Send to :

neworleanshospitalityworkers@gmail.com

¡Envíanos una correspondencia de trabajador! Enviar a:

neworleanshospitalityworkers@gmail.com

Who Are We? We Are Workers!

The New Orleans Hospitality Workers Alliance is an organization created by and for hospitality workers. We fight for our long overdue rights using the power of collective struggle. Under the guidance of labor history we know that an organized workforce is how workers win.

This city has 100,000 hospitality workers! Organized & united we have the power to shut this city down. If we all went on strike tomorrow then the money would stop flowing, and our bosses and representatives would have no choice but to adhere to our demands.

We are opposed to all forms of oppression such as racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia. We support full rights & protections for our immigrant coworkers. We understand that our bosses use tactics that weaponize forms of discrimination to further divide workers. We must stand firm against these divisive tactics.

Our purpose is to organize our fellow hospitality workers so that we may secure just working conditions in our industry-- wages we can live on, benefits to support our families, and freedom from harassment and discrimination in the workplace.

Only through organizing will we be able to demand a better future for hospitality workers. We fght for better working conditions, both for workers currently in the industry and the children in the community who will inherit the industry.

Join us! Together we will win!