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MONDAY, JAN. 21, 2019
Today is the federal holiday marking the birthday of human and civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, who was born, educated and lived here in Atlanta.
As always, on days when many workers have time off, The Labor Forum recognizes all those who continue to “do the work” as our theme song that opens the program calls out.
That includes MARTA employees and all those who work in transportation, hospital and health care workers, retail, hotel, restaurant and entertainment workers, and public safety workers who do their jobs making it possible for other workers to have a day off to enjoy.
A special solidarity greeting to all federal employees forced to work without pay or furloughed indefinitely as the government shutdown continues into its second month.
I have just two headlines to bring to you today. One I am pretty sure you did not see at all on corporate media and another that has gotten some coverage but maybe not the way I will present it.
First, on Jan. 8-9, some 200 million workers went on strike in India bringing the country to a standstill. Let me repeat that number again, not 2 million or 20 million but 200 million workers in one country went on strike.It is being called the largest strike in world history but I dare say, working people in this country haven’t any idea it happened.
And what was the issue – the ongoing attacks on the labor rights and living standards of India’s huge population of workers and poor people. But in particular, the passage of another piece of anti-labor legislation by the right-wing government of Narendra Modi on Jan. 2.
Public sector workers from railways, banks, education, health and social services and power stations along with private sector workers in mines, industrial plants, truck drivers, construction workers, street vendors, rickshaw workers, domestic and home-based workers and agricultural workers all stopped doing their jobs and marched in massive demonstrations throughout the country. Highways and railroad tracks were blocked. Schools, office buildings, shops and stores were closed.
Farmers and students joined. Both have been engaged in multi-year struggles against government policies which have favored the wealthy and increased poverty and cuts in social services. Unemployment, stagnant or reduced wages, escalating prices, elimination of subsidies and social programs have led to climbing suicide rates and racial,religious and caste tensions.
Despite the government’s active role on creating division, the Indian working class has provided all of us with a powerful example of unity and power unleashed.
This is a story I have seen on major media but not in the context I am offering.
As you may know I worked on General Motors assembly lines for 30 years and so have some experience about the difference between what the corporation claims for its culture of fairness and cooperation and how it benefits from tactics of division and discrimination.
So , recent revelations of blatant racial hostility in a Toledo, Ohio , GM Powertrain plant became public with the filing of a lawsuit by 9 current and former employees.
Everything from nooses placed near Black workers’ work site to the use of the N-word and being told to “go back to Africa” and more are described in the filing.
Many of the incidents were reported by two Black managers to higherups and dismissed or made light of, telling them to”deal with it.’
Swastikas and racial epiphets scrawled on bathrooms walls as well as verbal death threats and insinuations of violence went unaddressed according to the lawsuit.
Prior to the legal filing, the complaints were registered with the Ohio Civil Rights commission who found contrary to GM’s public statements that the auto giant “did allow a racially hostile environment.”
As the Labor Forum reported some months ago, GM has announced the closing of five plants in Michigan, Ohio, Canada and Maryland which will have devastating impacts on thousands of workers and their families. In addition, there is a reverberating effect in the communities where they live and shop. Racial animus hinders a united, strong response to any attack on working people.
The United Auto Workers union, in particular, must combat any such ugly, vicious racism anywhere it is found. Building solidarity is needed now in this period of constant assault on working and poor people more than ever.
The Labor Forum on WRFG 89.3FM begins its 2019 programming year on Jan. 7 with coverage of a community struggle to win the release of Eduardo Samaniego from ICE detention. Immigrant rights activist, Anthony Pacheco, will provide details of Eduardo’s background and why thousands of people are calling for his freedom from the threat of deportation. This discussion will take place from 4:15-4:30pm.
At 4:30, Aaron Barker, Vice-President of AFGE #554 representing Georgia TSA workers will talk about the impact of the government shutdown on federal employees at the nation’s airports. Required to work without pay, these workers who provide security for passengers and others are facing mounting bills and financial insecurity. Millions of people are also being impacted by the loss of necessary government services. Please tune in to hear about the conditions of these vital workers caught in the political gamesmanship of Donald Trump and Congress.
The Labor Forum airs every Monday on WRFG 89.3FM from 4-5pm with co-hosts Dianne Mathiowetz, Dawn O’Neal and Paul McLennan and engineer, Calvin Ivey.
It’s kind of ironic that, as WRFG 89.3 FM celebrates 45 years as a formidable outlet for fact-based information and diverse quality music that helps everyday people live their best lives, there is a war being waged on facts and truth in order to enrich the already rich and empower the already powerful.
Since 1973, WRFG has supported progressive efforts that uplift human dignity and give people more control over their lives – bringing you community voices and independent artists that you don’t get to hear on mainstream media. The war of divisive ideas and restriction of resources puts all of this at risk.
WRFG is a rarity – the only not-for-profit community radio station in Georgia that is not affiliated with or owned or controlled by a radio network, school, private company, or government. We are totally independent, which means we can use the power of radio to help identify, expose, and correct the wrongs of the past and present, not perpetuate them.
You can help keep truth and freedom alive on the airwaves by donating to WRFG radio today.
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Happy and safe holidays to all!!!
Now is the time to show that you care about independent media, community voices and independent artists.
Independent media, is the only true expression of media democracy in times of corporate domination of public information, analysis and culture .
For over 45 years, WRFG 89.3 FM has given voice to a broad range of communities, activists and artists who want to make the world a better place. WRFG has always been a station that has shown the need and benefit of cultural diversity and progressive opinions in our programming format, our Board, staff and volunteers.
GA Gives Day is a wonderful opportunity for us all to come together and make sure that the voices that need to be heard are not silenced. PLEASE help us by spreading the word to your friends and family and letting them know why they should support WRFG on GA Gives Day.
On Nov 27, everyone can donate to WRFG at our GA Gives Day page, https://www.gagives.org/c/GGD/a/wrfg
In addition, Benevity is an online platform for workplace giving, matching and volunteering. They have made the following Be The Good video. They’ll donate $10 to WRFG every time you retweet the video on the Georgia Gives Day.
Please retweet the video #BeTheGood https://youtu.be/0-SZuJHjeOE @Benevity @WRFGatlanta
Thank you for your support.
Atlanta People’s Climate Summit
September 08, 2018 • 10:00-4:00 PM
Flipper Temple AME Church & Cleopas R. Johnson Park• 580 Fair Street, Atlanta, GA 30314
CONTACT INFO: Tom Thrasher, 706-669-8102, email@example.com
Bring your voice, claim your power and celebrate on this September 8th Rise for Climate national day of action! Bring your voice to the Flipper Temple Forum at 1:30 pm led by leaders of housing, jobs, energy and political justice. Claim your power at the 3:00 pm Rally as we together read our Declaration of Just Demands and sing joyous songs of justice and love. Celebrate in the Park all day with music, art, and action tables. Bring your friends, your family, your neighbors!
Atlanta Prison Strike Solidarity Committee will be holding a teach-in in support of the 2018 National Prisoner Strike and to commemorate the anniversary of the Attica Uprising on Sunday, Sept. 9, 3-6:30pm at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, 48 Martin Luther King Jr Dr
(across from Fulton County Courthouse)
Speakers, discussion, information tables
Potluck dinner 5:30-6:30pm
Prison Strike Solidarity Rally
Tuesday, August 21 at 6:30 PM – 9 PM
Atlanta Detention Center
254 Peachtree St SW, Atlanta, Georgia 30303
Prison labor is slave labor. We cannot allow this inhumane system to continue. Beginning on August 21st and continuing into September, incarcerated laborers from across the nation will be joining forces by way of a labor and huger strike. Here in Atlanta we will stand in solidarity through a series of actions dedicated to supporting incarcerated workers and raising awareness about the atrocious conditions they face. Join us on the first day of the strike outside of the Atlanta City Detention Center to stand in solidarity with strikers from across the United States.
Link to the Facebook page for the event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1815372958547706/