JwJ Supports Farmworker Overtime!

by Alma Raya, JwJ Executive Board Member

Excluding farmworkers from overtime pay is racist and it should be illegal! Farmworkers have been excluded from minimum wage protections and overtime pay through the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 for too long. 

Farmworkers already have challenging lives and are among the most vulnerable workers in our community. The vast majority migrated to this country risking their lives in the search for better work opportunities, leaving their homeland, culture and families behind. Despite the long hours of work, exposure to dangerous pesticides and harsh weather conditions, farmworkers struggle to make ends meet earning on average between $17,500 to $19,999 a year.

Throughout the pandemic, catastrophic fires and dangerous levels of air quality, farmworkers continued to work and make sure we have food available. It is our turn to stand together as a community and put an end to the racist exclusion that creates economic insecurity for farm workers and their families. 

There are over 86,240 farmworkers in Oregon that need our help. They are our friends, our neighbors, our community.

Tell lawmakers we must pay farmworkers for every hour they work!

Allies and community members, write testimony in support of Farmworker overtime. The bill is scheduled for a hearing 5:30 Tuesday, and your testimony is needed ASAP (by Wednesday 2/9 at 5pm) Please select “neutral” on your submission.

The link to submit your written testimony is now available: You can submit here

Helpful testimony template here!

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2.22.22. JWJ’s 20th Annual Faith-Labor Virtual Breakfast

You are invited to virtually gather with workers, local faith leaders, and the rest of the JWJ community as we gather to hear stories of worker solidarity in the Age of COVID-19 & Climate Catastrophe.

Tuesday, February 22 from 7:30 – 9am

Attendees will receive a Zoom link closer to the event.

Tickets are $10, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Get admission online now by clicking here!

Click here if your organization would like to be added to the roster of endorsing organizations!

What’s the Buzz about The Ministry for the Future? Join us and Find Out!

The Portland Rising committee of Portland Jobs with Justice is excited to announce that it will host a six-session reading group, starting in February 2022, to discuss the recently published novel The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson. We hope you will join us!

This is a big, powerful, and exciting novel that directly confronts the climate crisis and the ways in which people, movements, countries, and international institutions might well respond to it. It is ultimately a hopeful book in that humanity survives, but it doesn’t downplay the difficult decisions and complex processes involved in achieving that outcome. It is, in large part, a novel about our lives. And we believe that a collective discussion of the issues and challenges it raises will help us all become more effective fighters for a better world.

If you are interested in joining the group or just learning more about our plans, please send your name and email address, with “Reading Group” in the subject line or body of the message, to portlandrisingprograms@gmail.com.

Here are our current thoughts:

  • The six discussion sessions will be held on the second and fourth Wednesdays
    in February, March, and April, starting Wednesday, February 9 th —although
    Thursdays are also a possibility.
  • The sessions will be one hour long and start at 6:30 pm—although an earlier or
    later start time is also a possibility.
  • We’ll read 100 pages for each session (every two weeks).
  • The first session will be on zoom, but we will consider in person gatherings for
    later sessions if we think it safe.
  • Each session will have a moderator or moderators who will send out discussion
    prompts in advance. The moderator(s) will also try to make sure that participants
    who have read beyond the agreed pages don’t give anything away.
    Those who email us will get to help make the final decisions on meeting structure, days
    and times.

If you need more enticement, here is Kim Stanley Robinson himself:

When [Fredrick] Jameson said it’s easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism, I think what he was talking about is that missing bridge from here to there. It’s hard to imagine a positive history, but it’s not impossible. And now, yes, it’s easy to imagine the end of the world because we are at the start of a mass extinction event. . . But I would just flip it and say, it’s hard to imagine how we get to a better system. Imagining the better system isn’t that hard; you just make up some rules about how things should work. . . but the story of getting to a new and better social system, that’s almost an empty niche in our mental ecology. So I’ve been throwing myself into that attempt. It’s hard, but it’s interesting.

And here is an interview with Robinson in which he discusses his background and aims for the book.

JwJ Mobilizes for Trade Justice to Vaccinate the World!

Recently, JwJ, Oregon Fair Trade Campaign, and the community mobilized to Senator Ron Wyden’s office at the eastside federal complex, with a message: The Portland community is demanding Global Vaccine Access Now! 💉🌍  Lives are on the line and the U.S. government must do more to open up vaccine intellectual property and invest in manufacturing capacity around the world. The banner symbolizes that the U.S. is speeding down the COVID-19 highway and the exit plan involves trade justice: US leadership must push the TRIPS Waiver through the WTO! 💉💉🌍

More must be done on this issue, and it starts with voices of courage and clarity telling our U.S. negotiators to get real about saving lives and finding the exit from this pandemic. We need the U.S. administration to stop allowing pharmaceutical monopolies to limit the amount of COVID vaccines and treatments being made worldwide. Click Here to Take Action Now!

A FAITH WITNESS TO NABISCO WORKERS’ JUST STRUGGLE

I am part of the Faith Labor Committee of Portland Jobs with Justice, and we support the workers at Nabisco who are on strike.  Having worked mandatory overtime and in difficult conditions throughout the pandemic, these union workers are being asked to sacrifice even more by giving up overtime pay, pensions, and more!  Meanwhile, parent company Mondelez International recorded more than $3.5 billion in profits in 2020, paying the CEO $17 million.  We say “no” to corporate greed and “yes” to worker rights!  I was honored to give this prayer at the picket line rally on August 28, 2021.

Prayer for the Striking Workers at Nabisco in Portland, Oregon

By The Reverend Connie Yost

We gather today near the confluence of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers on land worked and loved by many native tribes in the past.  We honor the reclaiming of an important native site not too far from here, called Neerchokikoo [near-cho-kee-koo] by the Native American Youth & Family Center. 

May our words, actions and hearts join together today in solidarity also with the native community on whose sacred land we stand.

Let us pray.

We gather today in the spirit of life, love and solidarity with the Nabisco workers who so courageously are striking for their human rights.  Let each one of us in our own way, within our own faith tradition or no faith tradition at all, affirm the inherent worth and dignity of each of them.   

The workers before us work hard for too little; they see their strong work ethic being exploited by mandatory overtime, their family time taken away, and themselves used callously, as machines, not people. 

We affirm the dignity of these workers, who deserve time off to care for and enjoy their own families and friends.  We abhor the exploitive policies of Nabisco that asks workers to make concessions while the company posts record profits.  We say “no” to the greed that asks many to sacrifice for the benefit of a few.

Let us each call on our own source of strength so we can find it in our heart to stand with these workers even when the going gets tough.

Workers, may you know that are hearts are open to you in love, justice and hospitality.  May the strike soon bear fruit and your dignity be affirmed. 

This we pray, in the spirit of life, love and solidarity. 

Amen.

Cross-posted from Holy Places, the blog by Rev. Connie Yost The Rev. Connie Yost is an ordained Unitarian Universalist community minister. She has served in community ministry for the last 20 years focused on social justice for the underserved and often invisible and forgotten — poor, disabled, very young and elderly. Connie currently serves as President of the Board of Farm Worker Ministry Northwest, which advocates for farm workers as directed by its partners – PCUN United Farm Workers, Familias Unidas por la Justicia, Western Farmworker’s Association and other farm worker organizations as directed by the National Farm Worker Ministry, where she also serves as board member. She is the founder of Friends Stay Warm, a nonprofit ministry dedicated to supporting low-wage workers and immigrant detainees through cash assistance and advocacy. She serves on the Faith Labor Committee of Portland Jobs with Justice, supporting the Burgerville fast-food workers as they strive to get an historic union contract. She is the Treasurer of the Oregon Poor People’s Campaign. Connie also serves as a trained spiritual director, preacher, teacher, activist, and minister of rites of passage. For her full bio, please see the blog post.

GLOBAL VACCINE ACCESS BEGINS WITH TRADE JUSTICE!

Join Us at The West Coast #TRIPS Waiver Virtual Action Conference!

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 2021. SIGN UP FOR THE EVENT HERE!

Current vaccine production will cover just 25% of the world’s population. While the world’s wealthiest nations are being vaccinated at increasing rates, developing countries are being left without access to vaccines until possibly as long as 2024. This inequity led to the emergency of the Delta Variant.

Even though there are capable vaccine-producing factories across the world that are waiting to access new vaccine and treatment formulas (which were created largely due to public funds), they are unable to because of strict intellectual property rules that pharmaceutical companies are using to profit off of this crisis, risking a prolonged pandemic for all of us.

An emergency waiver of “Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights” (TRIPS) at the World Trade Organization is a critical first step to enabling vaccines and treatments to be produced in as many places as possible, as quickly as possible.

President Biden’s support of the Waiver on May 5th was great news and a good step forward, but the WTO has still not passed a comprehensive and final agreement, instead its members are taking vacations while the Delta variant ravages the world.

If we do not pass a comprehensive TRIPS waiver at the WTO, we risk more shutdowns, more school closures and more death.

Join the Washington Fair Trade Coalition, Portland Jobs with Justice, California Trade Justice Coalition, and community partners at the West Coast TRIPS Action Conference. We’ll get an update on the campaign so far, hear from global south voices on why their countries need the TRIPS waiver, and plan the next steps to Free the Vaccine!

Saturday, September 11
at 10am
RSVP here for the event.