Greetings from the Burgh, where its been a very busy day as Payday prepares to go to Brazil to finish our documentary on the Landless Workers Movement
Help Us Finish Documentary on the Landless Workers Movement
For nearly 40 years, the Brazilian Landless Workers (MST) movement has used land occupations to help over 400,000 families gain the right to farmland.
Using agrarian reform provisions of the 1988 Brazilian constitution that “property should serve its social function”, the MST has engaged in long legal and political battles to win the right to occupy farms.
Despite often facing deadly violence from landowners, the MST is the largest producer of organic rice in all of Latin America. They have a network of stores and produce patterns around the country.
In August, I spent a week on a Landless Workers Movement settlement named after slain Rio de Janeiro city councilwoman Marielle Franco, who I studied with in college at PUC-Rio de Janeiro in the mid 2000s. Now, I am going to finish filming some scenes in Rio.
As a result of a grant from Illumine Service Foundation, I was able to afford a plane ticket. Now, we just need to raise money to cover expenses while we are out on the road.
Sáo Paulo Transit Workers Strike Largest City in Latin America
While in Brazil, we will also be covering a growing strike movement against the privatization of public transit in Sao Paulo, the largest city in Latin America.
This week, tens of thousands of transit and water workers struck against the plans to privatize public transit proposed by Sáo Paulo state Gov. Tarcísio de Freitas, a Bolsonaro ally. He has pledged to crack down on unions that are striking and has pledged not to falter in his plans to privatize in Sáo Paulo.
From the AP:
Camila Lisboa, president of the Sao Paulo Subway Workers Union, which opposes privatization, lamented “authoritarian statements that do not consider the right to strike.” Lisboa claimed that privatization would lead to more expensive fares and poor service — a position also embraced by part of the opposition.
A court decision had said minimum service should be maintained during the strike, but that requirement was not respected, Sao Paulo state’s press department said.
Passengers faced long delays Tuesday. Two subway and train lines stopped working.
Federal lawmaker Sâmia Bomfim, of the leftwing PSOL party, warned of privatization, citing the recent blackout in Sao Paulo that plunged the city into the dark for several days. She blamed power distribution company Enel, one of three companies providing electricity in Sao Paulo.
“The population goes without electricity for days because ENEL (privatized) thought only of profit, fired thousands of employees, and ended up not serving (Sao Paulo) when we needed it most,” Bonfim said on X, formerly Twitter.
UAW Launches 3rd Effort to Unionize Chattanooga Volkswagen Plant
In 2014, the UAW narrowly lost a bitter union election at Volkswagen by a margin of 626-712. (See my on-the-ground report “The Battle for Chattanooga; Toxic Masculinity, Ableism, and the Anti-Union Campaign at Volkswagen”).
Five years later in 2019, the UAW lost again by a margin of 776-833. Now, the UAW is going to try again.
The announcement came from UAW President Shawn Fain as part of a broader organizing push to target foreign transplant auto plants in the US South.
“Since we began our Stand Up Strike, the response from autoworkers at non-union companies has been overwhelming,” Fain said in a new video. “Workers across the country, from the West to the Midwest and especially in the South, are reaching out to join our movement and to join the UAW.”
For more on the decade long fight to unionize Volkswagen in Chattanooga, check out this half-hour episode on NPR.
Well Fargo Workers Unionize in Alaska
In Bethel, Alaska, a group of 5 Wells Fargo workers are becoming the first Wells Fargo workers in the US; organizing with Wells Fargo Workers United, an affiliate of the CWA.
The city is extremely expensive to live in with the average rent costing $2,000-a-month. Workers say that they don’t have enough money to live there.
“Wells Fargo earns profits worth billions of dollars every year, they can afford to pay us better,”Walker Sexton told the Anchorage Daily News. “I work two jobs because Bethel is super expensive to live in.”
Black Actors Praise SAG-AFTRA’s New Hair and Makeup Requitements
Finally, Black actors are praising new provisions in the SAG-AFTRA tentative agreement that provide for culturally sensitive hair and make up requirements for Black actors. From Black Enterprise:
Details into SAG-AFTRA’s recently reached deal with Hollywood studios reveal the new provisions for hair and makeup that will greatly benefit actors with more textured hair who have faced discrimination in the past. As part of the new contract, principal performers or those who have speaking roles will be able to consult with production about their hair and makeup needs ahead of filming, Rolling Stone reports.
If production is unable to meet their requirements, the actor will receive compensation for seeking outside help that will cover a minimum of two hours Czech Labor Unions Stage a Day of Action in Protest at Spending Cuts and Taxesin the styling chair. Actors and stylists are praising the new provision that addresses industry discrimination that historically underserved and damaged textured hair.
“You can tell the minute somebody touches your head whether they know what to do with it,” Linda Powell, the SAG-AFTRA national executive vice president said.
Strikes & News Happening Elsewhere
- After 11 Weeks On Strike, UAW Members At Blue Cross Blue Shield Reach Tentative Agreement
- Southwest pilots open ‘strike center’ near BWI as talks continue
- Kentucky Amazon Air Hub workers describe union busting at their facility
- Czech Labor Unions Stage a Day of Action in Protest at Spending Cuts and Taxes
- Finally, the Crosscut has look at what the death of a working in Washington State says about the limits of safety enforcement.
Alright yinz, that’s all for today. Keeping sending tips, story ideas, email and comments to [email protected]
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Love & Solidarity,