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  • Amazon workers in 20 countries to strike and protest on Black Friday

    From South Africa to Italy, workers will be demanding a livable wage, defending their right to unionize and more On Friday, Amazon workers in at least 20 countries will stage strikes and protests as part of a day of action coordinated through the global Make Amazon Pay coalition. “Black Friday,” the day after the US holiday Thanksgiving, is the biggest sales event of the year for the trillion-dollar online retailer, alongside Cyber Monday three days later. The workers’ demands include: improved workplace conditions, job security, respect for the right to unionize, and more environmentally sustainable operations. The international day of action highlights the outsized role that Amazon plays in the global economy, with similar challenges facing the corporation’s 1.3 million workers spread out on nearly every continent. The period between Black Friday and Christmas not only brings peak shopping revenue to the company but also a massive increase in workplace injuries for Amazon employees. The volume and pace of work comes with higher quotas and longer work days for shipping and logistics workers. The workers’ coalition says the company also ignores basic safety protocols to minimize costs and maximize profits. “Amazon may be everywhere, but we are too.” “This year’s actions are set to be much larger with strikes and protests planned in multiple cities in at least 20 countries across every inhabited continent on earth,” the Make Amazon Pay coalition said in a press release. “The global day of action will bring together activists from different struggles — labor, environment, tax, data, privacy, anti-monopoly — as trade unionists, civil society activists and environmentalists hold joint actions.” On Friday, unionized garment workers in Bangladesh will protest in two cities. In Cambodia, garment workers at a factory that closed in March 2020 will rally to demand $3.6 million in severance pay. In Italy, up to 15,000 delivery workers will strike for 24-hours, demanding reduced workloads and weekly working hours, performance bonuses, and privacy measures on surveillance and data collection. In September, unionized warehouse workers in Italy reached their first-ever direct agreement with Amazon after staging a 24-hour strike. In Cape Town, South Africa, a community organization will protest at the construction site of what will be Amazon’s African headquarters. Warehouse, tech and delivery workers in the UK will protest across the country to demand union recognition from Amazon. Although workers there have the legal right to freely associate with unions, Amazon has refused to negotiate with any, including the 600,000-member GMB general trade union. Black Friday actions are also being organized in the US, Canada, Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, Poland, Germany, Slovakia, Austria, Luxembourg, Spain, Ireland, Turkey, Australia, New Zealand, and India. “Amazon may be everywhere, but we are too,” said Casper Gelderblom, Make Amazon Pay coordinator at the Progressive International. “At every link in this chain of abuse, we are fighting back to Make Amazon Pay. On Black Friday 26 November 2021, around the world, workers and activists will rise up in strikes, protests and actions to Make Amazon Pay.” Made up of over 70 unions, environmentalist groups, non-profit watchdogs and grassroots organizations, the Make Amazon Pay coalition launched last year on Black Friday. It is led by UNI Global Union, with 150 affiliates representing 20 million workers worldwide, and the Progressive International, which brings together activist organizations and movements of the left. This was originally published on Peoples Dispatch.

  • Puerto Rico faces another disastrous bankruptcy deal

    A US federal judge ruling on a debt restructuring plan will have major consequences for working class Puerto Ricans A New York federal judge is set to rule on a plan to restructure almost half of Puerto’s Rico’s debt in the coming weeks. The Financial Oversight and Management Board, an undemocratically elected fiscal control board commonly called “la junta”, came to an agreement on the plan with the holders of the island nation’s $73 billion debt. The plan includes a list of cuts to public spending and a continuation of the harsh austerity measures which have decimated Puerto Rico’s social safety net, closed a third of public K-12 schools, and privatized the islands’ electric grid. It would allot $500 million in annual spending for the University of Puerto Rico for the next five years, a cut of nearly 40% compared to a decade ago. Students have been organizing and holding strikes to protest further budget cuts. Since the fiscal control board took control of the economy in 2016, tuition has increased threefold and several programs have lost accreditation. The plan would also restructure pensions for public employees, eliminating cost of living adjustments and switching from “defined benefit” to “defined contribution” plans, which amount to cuts in people’s pensions. In Puerto Rico, 72% of government pensioners have pensions of less than $1,500 per month. Half of the population lives below the poverty line. 25 Puerto Ricans residing on the islands were chosen at random from a group of hundreds of residents who applied to address US District Court Judge Laura Taylor Swain during the weeks-long hearings on the plan. One of them, Dr. Manuel Martinez Maldonado, a graduate of the University of Puerto Rico, told the court on November 9th, “The economic future of Puerto Rico is at stake and is in the hands of PROMESA,” referring to the law signed by President Obama in 2016 which established the fiscal board. “It depends on the creation of jobs and, most importantly, education. Education depends on teachers and students. We must protect the welfare of all teachers, past, present and future. Their pensions should not be altered or reformed or frozen.” Another resident, a mother of three children, told the judge, “My aspiration is that my children can live in Puerto Rico in the future. This will not be possible if the board continues to guarantee the welfare of the bondholders who don’t live here by compromising our lives.” The population has fallen to 3.2 million, as more and more Puerto Ricans, young professionals in particular, leave the islands with hopes for a better life. At the same time, wealthy investors from the US continue to buy up beachfront properties and land and move to the islands to avoid taxes. Judge Swain told the resident speakers that she would keep their testimonies in mind when making her decision and highlighted that “The law requires me to consider many factors and of course I understand that this process is a process that must allow Puerto Rico and its people to continue as a society, and to hear the pain and the hopes and the dreams today is very important for the court and for all who are participating in the process.” This was originally published on Peoples Dispatch.

  • How U.S. Media Whitewashes TPLF Atrocities to Push Regime Change In Ethiopia

    Why is the coverage of the war in Ethiopia so one-sided? What’s really happening on the ground? And how does it compare to the narrative being presented in U.S. media? Rania Khalek is joined by Jemal Countess, a photojournalist with Getty Images and Redux Pictures who was formerly based in Ethiopia and has reported from around the country since the war started. He is currently based in the United States.

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  • Climate | BreakThrough News

    Nov 3 Biden brings lip service with minimal concrete action to COP26 The scale of US policy on climate change fails to match up with its contributions to the global climate catastrophe The UN Climate Change... Oct 30 COP26: Biden Fiddles While World Burns As the COP26 global climate conference in Glasgow gears up, the Biden administration torpedoed its own U.S. climate policies in the Build... Oct 29 Calling this bill the ‘largest-ever’ climate investment is a sick joke The following is a lightly edited transcription from The Punch Out with Eugene Puryear, a daily news podcast that comes out Monday... Sep 12 One Week On, Suffering from Hurricane Ida is Ongoing Southern Louisiana got hit hard by Hurricane Ida, with hundreds of thousands of people still without power, and flood damage and wreckage... Aug 13 No More Doom and Gloom: What We Should Actually DO About the Climate The UN put out a new report about climate change, and guess what? It's extremely bad, getting worse, and definitely caused by humans. But... Jun 29 Only Anti-Imperialism Can Save Us From Climate Catastrophe, With Max Ajl The Green New Deal is a popular slogan. But will this energy be co-opted by capitalists to reinforce the unequal global order? Oct 7, 2020 40% of Plants Threatened with Extinction Can you imagine a world without plants? A recent study by the Royal Botanical Gardens in the UK found that two out of every five plant... Oct 5, 2020 ‘Don’t Release Low-Risk Prisoners. We Need Them to Fight Fires.’ 1 in 4 of California’s frontline firefighters are incarcerated and face a much greater risk of injury and death. Kamala Harris as... Sep 14, 2020 Not a ‘Natural’ Disaster — Wildfires Ravage West Coast Climate change, corporate negligence and the profit motive are making for a catastrophic combination, as over 94 wildfires rage. Jul 31, 2020 Is This the Worst Hurricane Season Yet? On top of everything else, 2020 has seen a rapid escalation of climate disasters: from the huge fires raging across Australia to the... Jul 20, 2020 Arctic Fires, COVID in Prisons, Asheville “Reparations,” Venezuelans Repatriate From this week’s headlines: Huge fires and heat waves in the Arctic of all places. Louisiana releases only 63 of 1k inmates eligible for...

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