Success Story

Tomato workers win historic agreement from growers

In a stunning advance, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers has reached a far-reaching agreement with the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange that will improve pay and working conditions in 90 percent of Florida’s tomato industry. The victory is the result of a years-long strategy of targeting well-known brands that purchase tomatoes from FTGE growers, including Taco Bell, McDonalds and Whole Foods. The CIW’s combination of worker-led organizing in the fields and publicity about farmworkers’ conditions among the general public resulted in a series of agreements from food companies to pay an extra penny a pound for tomatoes, a 60 percent raise for tomato workers. In Wisconsin, Interfaith Coalition for Worker Justice and Student Labor Action Coalition worked to educate the public about the CIW campaign. Read more about the Immokalee Workers victory here...

National Council of Churches calls for end to war in Afghanistan

The National Council of Churches, parent organization of WNPJ member group Wisconsin Council of Churches, has adopted a resolution calling for an end to the war in Afghanistan by a unanimous vote of its governing board.

The resolution, "A Call to End the War in Afghanistan," calls upon President Obama to negotiate a withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces from Afghanistan "to be completed as soon as possible without further endangerment to the lives and welfare of U.S. and NATO troops, Afghan troops and Afghan civilians."    

Blackwater/Xe Flees Jo Daviess County, IL.

..but mercenary training continues elsewhere. WNPJ member, Dan Kenney (dkenney53@hotmail.com), co-coordinator of "No Private Armies" sends this update: "Nearly four years ago citizens joined together in a small church near Mt. Carroll Illinois forming No Private Armies/ Clearwater to Stop Blackwater. The citizens group worked for four years to get Blackwater, now Xe, to leave Illinois. The last major demonstration held at the Blackwater/Xe training site in northwest Illinois occurred April 27th 2009 and resulted in 22 arrests.  Blackwater was once the largest and most powerful mercenary company in the U.S. making over $1 billion in U.S. contracts. But now beleaguered with lawsuits, and having undergone massive changes in the company’s administration the sole owner of Blackwater, Eric Prince has moved out of the country and put the company up for sale."

Decision on SOA Visas reversed! Grassroots pressure works - thanks!

The two speakers named by the SOA Watch's Latin American partners to represent them at the SOA Watch vigil (Nov. 19-21, 2010) were denied entrance to the United States. Both Gerardo Brenes - a Costa Rican graduate of the SOA and activist with the Quaker Peace Center in San Jose, and Alejandro Ramirez - a university student and activist with the Youth Resistance movement in Honduras, had their visa applications rejected by the U.S. embassies in their countries last week. However, due to a grassroots outcry following the Action Alert last week, this decision was reversed! Thanks for your part.....and read more

Norma Berkowitz Honored by UNA-USA Dane County

Norma Berkowitz, Madison,  received the Global Citzen award on Oct. 24th from Kathie Beckett, outgoing president of the UNA-USA Dane County chapter . Norma's work with the group FOCCUS was recognized at the annual banquet on this, the 65th anniversary of the founding of the UN. FOCCUS is a WI-based group - with roots in the UW-Madison School of Social work.

Bring Our War $ Home: How we did it

Sally Weiss and Carl Moos, organizers from the Alliance for Peace and Justice of Western Massachusetts, report on their success in winning City Council approval of a "Bring Our War Dollars Home" resolution (full text, .pdf) that directs the city to instruct their Congressional representative to vote against further war funding. Describing a campaign that started with signature-gathering (even at the town dump) and moved through numerous public venues, Sally and Carl say,  "Whether we won or lost the final vote, a key valuable outcome of the effort was the prolonged time of having the question of our war dollars before the public, getting many people thinking and talking with their family, friends, colleagues, and neighbors, and therefore being willing to participate in the Public Forum.  Read more about Bring Our War $ Home here...

Across the nation, towns reject anti-immigrant laws

The Houston suburb of Tomball, Texas became the latest community to reject anti-immigrant ordinances, turning down proposals to make English the town's official language and to prohibit undocumented immigrants from renting property or owning businesses. Local lawmakers in Nebraska, Idaho, and Ohio have recently pulled back from efforts to enact harsh anti-immigrant measures after the towns of  Farmers Branch, Texas and  Hazleton, Pennsylvania racked up millions in legal costs defending their own anti-immigrant ordinances against legal challenges. The public backlash against Arizona's anti-immigrant SB1070 has also raised worries among residents about potential damage to their town's reputation. "Why put this wonderful city on the national map of racism and hatred?" asked Tomball resident David Smith.

Osseo-Fairchild School District ordered to drop "Chieftains" nickname and logo

In the first test case for a new law giving the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction the power to review schools use of race-based mascots, the DPI has ordered the Osseo-Fairchild School District to drop its Chieftains nickname and logo after the determining the nickname and logo were race-based and promoted discrimination and harassment. "This is a wonderful decision. The DPI got it exactly right," said Barb Munson, of the Wisconsin Indian Education Association Mascot and Logo Task Force.
The DPI decision was in response to a complaint filed by Carol and Harvey Gunderson, residents of the Osseo-Fairchild School District.

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