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Stephon Johnson

Stories by Stephon

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Columbia grad assistants and postdocs approve recognition framework

Graduate Workers of Columbia-UAW and Columbia Postdoctoral Workers-UAW approved a framework agreement with Columbia University that includes union recognition for all 5,000 workers and will begin contract negotiations in February 2019.

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32BJ, ACLU denounce use of tear gas against migrants

A local labor union, 32BJ SEIU, and the American Civil Liberties Union have criticized U.S. Customs and Border Protection over tear gassing migrants at the U.S./Mexico border.

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Scamazon: Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday bring more activist action

Monday, anti-Amazon activists kept up the pressure on the corporate giant and elected officials. Members of multiple pro-labor and pro-housing community groups linked up for a day of action against Amazon for what they call the #HQ2Scam.

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Election reform

Our ancestors fought to empower all of us with the right to vote, giving us the civic duty to use that right to steer America into a fairer and more just direction. The Election Day debacle in New York City was a direct infringement on that right.

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UAW criticizes GM for layoffs

President Donald Trump said those jobs were coming back. General Motors just let its workers know that they aren’t. This week, the motor vehicle manufacturer announced its plans to lay off 15 percent of its salaried workforce (up to 14,000 employees) and close five plants in the United States and Canada.

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DC37 and CUNY announce tentative labor pact

New York City’s largest union of municipal employees and the City University of New York have agreed to a tentative deal resulting in wage raises.

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Phase-in of New York and New Jersey airport workers begins

It’s a new day for New York and New Jersey airport workers, who begin the road to a higher minimum wage this month.

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JFK security officers announce a strike

A group of security officers at John F. Kennedy Airport announced a strike to begin Thursday afternoon. The security officers, who work for Global Elite doing aircraft and ramp search and checkpoint monitoring at JFK, announced plans for a strike Monday stating they’ll leave their posts at 4 p.m. Thursday and end the strike at 1 p.m. Friday.

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Teamsters and activists call out pregnancy discrimination at XPO logistics

A $12 billion company that works with retailers such as Disney and Verizon landed in hot water and the Teamsters have taken them to task.

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Pilotworks shuts down, leaves vendors in disarray

“I’m not one of those businesses that can bounce back easily,” said Donna “Cheff Roostie” Davis, the owner of Veggie Grub. “Right now, I’m just going back to the old ways of hustling.”

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Washington State strikes down death penalty

Washington State’s Supreme Court ruled this month that the application of the death penalty statewide is unconstitutional.

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UFT reaches preliminary agreement with the city

The United Federation of Teachers agreed to a new contract with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio this month. The UFT’s new contract takes them through the year 2021. The UFT represents more than 129,000 workers (36 percent of the city’s workforce). Once the new contract is voted on, 60 percent of New York City’s workforce will be under contract. UFT employees will receive compounded wage increases of 2 percent Feb. 14, 2019, 2.5 percent May 14, 2020, and 3 percent May 14, 2021.

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Columbia University postdocs vote to unionize with UAW

If Columbia University’s administration would not listen to graduate workers, maybe they will listen to postdoctoral researchers. This month, the Columbia’s postdocs voted to unionize with the United Auto Workers with 68 percent voting in favor. Now, the 2,000 postdocs and associate researcher scientists want to sit down with the administration to bargain for their first contract.

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Proud Boys bring hatefest to NYC

A leader of a hate group spoke at a New York GOP event on the Upper East Side last week. Chaos and violence ensued. Elected officials and activists have called for the arrests of those involved. GOP officials have deflected blame, accusing anti-fascist leaders of starting the melee.

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Unions hail Port Authority vote on wage increases

Last week, local airport workers finally got the news that they’d been waiting for all year. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey officially voted in favor of a new resolution raising the minimum wage for workers at LaGuardia, John F. Kennedy and Newark Liberty international airports.

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Community mourns loss of Ruth Clark

She was an anchor in the community and an icon. Tuesday, the community said goodbye and sent her home.

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Robert Jackson never really left

“The head of the snake has been cut off…meaning Jeff Klein,” said Robert Jackson. “But we need to flip several more seats in order to have a direct impact.”

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Mulgrew praises mayor and chancellor’s new diversity plan

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza announced a plan to diversify a school district in Brooklyn.

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Airport workers anticipate Port Authority-led wage raise Thursday

Local airport workers might finally get what they’ve wanted for years: a raise in their minimum wage.

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EMS unions to mayor: Support unlimited sick leave for our 9/11 responders

Two unions representing emergency medical service workers called out the mayor for abandoning them.

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Local musician unions reach new deal with Met Opera

Two major musician unions, the Associated Musicians of Greater New York, Local 802, AFM and the American Guild of Musical Artists announced a new contract with the Metropolitan Opera.

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Primaries signal a progressive wave in NY

Let New York City Gov. Andrew Cuomo tell it and the rumored progressive wave is just a ripple. But outside of his victory, the rumors are true.

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Requiem for the IDC

Primary night in New York State possibly signaled the beginning of something new: elected Democrats pushing a Democratic agenda in Albany.

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Cynthia Nixon meets with community & ethnic media before Primary Day

Hosted by former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Nixon spoke with reporters at the Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN) El Barrio Firehouse Community Media Center.

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Cuomo announces community center named after Carey Gabay

Marking the three-year anniversary of the death of Carey Gabay, New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that New York State will invest in a Brooklyn community center named after Gabay.

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State Senate candidates endorsed by AFL-CIO and Planned Parenthood NYC

A couple of New York State Senate candidates were endorsed by the AFL-CIO and Planned Parenthood NYC. The AFL-CIO endorsed Jim Gaughran for senator for the 5th District seat. Gaughran said he felt honored by the endorsement from the union and its constituents on Long Island.

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Philly rally declares that immigrant rights are worker rights

Earlier this month, thousands of construction workers, painters and others took to the street of Philadelphia to link immigrant rights to worker rights.

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Public works contractor arrested, accused of wage theft

Authorities arrested a public contractor for allegedly skimming from his employees’ paychecks.

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Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund divests from private prisons

With detention centers and private prisons at the forefront of American minds, the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund decided to send a message to its constituents and the public.

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Teachout gets the Times and The Nation endorsements

New York State Attorney General Candidate Zephyr Teachout’s campaign got the stamp of approval from the gray lady this week.

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COBA leader found guilty of fraud and conspiracy

The former head of the union representing corrections officers met his fate in court this week.

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De Blasio signs for-hire cap bill into law

This week, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed into law five bills that he said would bring “fairness” to the for-hire vehicle and taxi industry in the city. It’s the first legislation in the United States that regulates the for-hire vehicle industry.

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Thrillist staff members vote to authorize strike

Rather than report to work, members of an online media website organized for a better contract.

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Judge to NYPD: turn over records on Ramarley Graham’s death

A judge has demanded that the NYPD turn over records on the death of Ramarley Graham.

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State legislatures prep for post-Janus world

With the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruling against organized labor, state governments have looked to play protector for public sector unions.

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Non-union education association doubles job protections for members post-Janus

The largest non-union, professional educators’ organization doubled job protection benefits for members without raising dues.

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Beverly Moorehead, mother of Dr. Brenda Greene and grandmother of Talib Kweli, passes away

Beverly A. Moorehead, mother of Dr. Brenda M. Greene, JoAnn and Dennis Adams and Lori Moorehead, and grandmother of rapper Talib Kweli, passed away last week.

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Names of officers who killed Saheed Vassell leaked, father and community call out NYPD

The father of Saheed Vassell demanded more accountability of the police officers who killed his son.

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AFT president blasts Betsy DeVos for reversing Obama rule on for-profit colleges

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten is not happy with a new student borrower proposal by the U.S. Department of Education.

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Airport workers still waiting on wage raises

The raises should have happened by now, according to local airport workers.

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New Yorkers brace for MTA fare hikes…again

Delays, signal problems and new lows in service. Seems like the perfect time to announce an increase in charges for the service, right? If you’re the MTA, that answer is: maybe?

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Pro-Airbnb supporters to Corey Johnson: new bill is unfair

Airbnb hosts believe that City Hall is taking money and food out of the mouths of its own citizens.

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Quinnipiac poll favors Cuomo in November, Nixon isn’t moved

Despite a slew of negative press and recent scandals, a new poll shows New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo likely to win re-election.

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Marriott workers have had enough, demand better treatment and wages

Starting in late June, workers for Marriott hotels across the country launched an offensive to secure a new contract with better wages, benefits and policies on sexual harassment in the workplace.

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1199SEIU reaches deal with LVHH

Local health care workers can now focus on their jobs after agreeing to a new contract.

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32BJ President blasts FEMA for hurricane efforts

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has let the country know what many citizens already thought: they screwed up the Hurricane Maria response.

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Local elected officials reckon with Trump’s Helsinki disaster

Although President Donald Trump tried to backtrack from the backlash of his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, local politicians believe it is too little too late.

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New York opens investigation into Kushner Cos.

New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo continued his investigation into the grift operation surrounding the Trump/Kushner clan. This time, it’s directed toward the Kushners.

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H&M workers push for a new contract

H&M employees want a new contract and they want it now.

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Elected officials assist in fight against foreclosure crisis

A house is not a home if there’s no one there. New York’s homeowners want to make sure their home stays theirs.

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