ORGANIZING NOTES 

May 30th, 2023

        When We Organize We Win

Join Community and Labor struggles that make a difference

With Organizing Notes, ORMA is reaching out to our diverse membership, telling the stories about our organization and our allies, while offering opportunities for engagement in climate, community, education, labor, and social justice actions that make a difference to millions of people across the state. When our work has an impact it is because people like you contribute time and energy. Please use

THIS FORM to let us know how you would like to become more engaged.   If there is an issue that needs attention and you think ORMA needs to focus on, and you can help make that happen, tell us about it. Invest in Change Now!If 

 

MALDEN

Three Years of Malden Peoples’ Budgets

 

In recent years, People’s Budgets and Participatory Budgets have become increasingly common throughout the country. These processes encourage greater democratic participation in usually opaque process that affects the everyday lives of community members. While budgets are often solely driven by municipal leadership, these processes let people have a greater say in how public money is spent.

 

In 2023, local community activist group Malden Police Alternatives and Accountability completed its third annual People’s Budget. To inform the general public about what next year’s city budget will look like, data on the upcoming fiscal year’s budget is acquired from the ClearGov (a platform municipalities use to share budget information) and put into a survey.  Participants are asked to vote whether they would like more, less, or the same amount of money spent on each budget category. Space is also provided for comments and suggestions, as well as for people to vote on different proposals for municipal projects and improvement. 

The survey is then distributed to local organizations, businesses, unions, and clubs, and through social media and email.

 

Survey results are compiled and presented in a report each year to the Malden City Council, with the understanding that results indicate the will of voters and taxpayers in the city. Our efforts have borne results; in 2022, a vast majority of respondents voted that they’d like to see the Malden Teen Center receive more funds, and the budget was amended to grant this request. The additional funds were used to send local teens on summer field trips.

 

Other communities in Massachusetts, including Somerville, Cambridge, Lexington, and Andover all have Participatory Budget processes, whereby community members can submit projects for spending public money, and residents vote on the idea they would like enacted. We in Malden would like to see the city government adopt a participatory budget as a way to spend remaining American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. 

 

Through these methods we hope Malden – and other Massachusetts communities – will create more ways for residents to participate in their local democracy and have a greater say in how their communities look. 

 

Those interested in learning more about Malden’s People’s Budget project, or who are interested in joining, can reach out to us at malden-police-alternatives-and-accountability@googlegroups.com  

 

Let’s Win Better Protections

For Uber, Lyft and Other “Gig” Drivers

The nature of work for thousands of Uber and Lyft drivers is facing Massachusetts legislators once again. The central question is drivers’ employment status, i.e., should they continue to be considered “independent contractors” or regular employees.

Uber and Lyft have filed legislation that would codify drivers’ status as independent contractors. They argue that independent contractor status is a necessary precondition to the flexible work schedules that makes rideshare driving appealing. Drivers do indeed welcome the flexibility the job offers. Yet the argument is a variant of a big lie. There is nothing in state or federal employment laws that prevent employees from having flexible work schedules. It is simply a business model adopted by gig employers that allows them to earn extra profits by avoiding the costs of tax and insurance obligations conventional employers pay as the normal cost of doing business. Their scheme robs workers of the protections – minimum wage, overtime, unemployment compensation, paid sick leave, and the right to organize a union – that a century of state and federal legislation have established. 

The Massachusetts AFL-CIO is sponsoring legislation, Senate Bill 267 and House Bill 1158, to protect drivers, their customers, and communities. Their bill reaffirms the status of drivers as employees. It would determine minimum wages and benefits and provide drivers with new rights and protections on the job, including the ability to fight improper deactivation, failure to assign work, and improper payments. The bill would grant the Department of Public Utilities broad oversight authority to set rates and establish service quality metrics. Finally, it would leave in place all the protections afforded to workers under existing state employment statutes. 

These worker rights and protections are particularly significant in Massachusetts given the Attorney General’s lawsuit suing Uber and Lyft for misclassifying their employees as independent contractors. That’s what prompted Uber and Lyft to challenge the state’s statutes in 2022 with ballot initiatives. However, the state Supreme Judicial Court rejected their ballot language because it violated the “single subject” rule for initiatives. 

We need to educate the public about what’s at stake because Uber and Lyft are expected to try the referendum route again in 2024. In 2020, they spent over $200 million to pass Proposition 22, a referendum that exempted rideshare drivers from California’s employment laws. 

Given the Commonwealth’s strong employment statutes, a similar setback in Massachusetts would have national implications. Please contact your state representative and senator to urge support for the respective House and Senate bills.  

Mark Erlich is a Wertheim Fellow at Harvard Law School’s Center for Labor and a Just Economy and long-time labor leader

Rand Wilson is a union organizer and volunteer advisor to rideshare driver organizations

 

The Climate Crisis

is NOT Going Away,

Time for Mass Action

Over the next two weeks join with members of the ORMA Climate Crisis Working Group and our allies in 350Mass, Extinction Rebellion and other organizations as we take the fight for climate action to the front door of the legislature, the Governor, and the Carbon Criminals who finance the crisis. Here are the details:

 

Standout At The Statehouse – No New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure

Beginning Monday June 5th from 9 am to 5 pm, and continuing every weekday until the Governor or the Legislature takes action. Learn more from Extinction Rebellion on this June 1st call or on June 8th, and sign up for a 2 hour shift!

 

End The Era of Fossil Fuels – Tell President Biden to Take Executive Action!

June 9th (Friday) @ 3pm in Boston (specific location TBA) we will join with our allies in People VS Fossil Fuels as part of a national wave of actions. Sign up here.  (Zoom in on the map to see the Boston event and click to get more info and Join us!)

 

Say No to Chase Bank

Saturday June 17th 11am, Framingham, 120 Worcester Rd. (Rt. 9) Can’t make it on the 17th? Join us to make Art(!) on Sun June 4th or Sat June 10th 1-5 pm RSVP for details and location. Chase is one of the biggest funders of the climate crisis, making over $2 TRILLION in loans to oil, gas, and coal companies. Join us on the 17th at Chase’s major MetroWest branch. Tell CEO Jamie Diamon “Stop investing in fossil fuels or leave!”

Teamster members are taking on UPS in the biggest contract campaign in U.S. labor history. Hear from TDU activists on the upsurge at UPS and what a successful strike could mean for UPS, Amazon, and the working class.  Join their fundraiser on Wednesday, May 31st, 5:30PM at      

           Democracy Brewing

         30 Temple St. Boston, MA

                     RSVP Here 

  Can’t attend?   Please Donate Here

A campaign is building to bring Ranked Choice Voting to Boston and it is time to hire a campaign director. 
If you live in Boston and have experience  and passion for Ranked Chioce Voting, please apply:

 FAIR CONTRACT NOW

Join us for an information picket on Friday June 2nd outside Dana-Farber Cancer Institute-Merrimack Valley at 5 Branch St. Methuen! Nurses who care for oncology paents at DFCI – Merrimack Valley will be pickeng on June 2 for a fair contract.

MassDems for Reform (group spearheaded by leaders of Our Revolution MA) is looking for people to help research and prepare a state party convention resolution to prohibit or curtail the use of “Dark Money” in our state primaries. If you are interested email

MassDemsforReform@gmail.com

         Sign up here for updates

 
  • Establishes a single-payer health care system in Massachusetts
  • Provides health care for all Massachusetts residents and individuals who work more than 20 hours per week in the state without premiums, co-pays or deductibles
  • Bans private insurance coverage for services already covered by the single-payer system

Massachusetts spends more on healthcare than nearly every state in the nation.  Under Medicare for All money currently spent on profits, marketing and administration would go to actual healthcare, and also provide $34 billion of savings in the first year alone. Read More Here

 

Email your State Legislators HERE to aske them to cosponsor The Medicare for All Act

 

 Last month in Greenfield FCCPR was one of the key organizers for a rally against anti-abortion centers, also known as “crisis pregnancy centers’ which drew about 100 people from across Franklin and Hampshire counties. The march was part of a group of actions that took place across the state last weekend and organized by the Indivisible Massachusetts Coalition’s Feminist Action Team. The Greenfield rally was organized to protest Alternatives Pregnancy Center located at 466 Main St. for what rally goers described as not providing its clients with complete information to make decisions about abortions.new Text block. Change the text.

The Supreme Court’s recent overturning of Roe v. Wade was discussed as the reason why exposing the work of anti-abortion centers has become so urgent now. Crisis pregnancy centers are not just fake clinics that disrupt reproductive health care, they are also a part of an ongoing strategy for the far right to build support for their mission  to remove basic human rights from women. Help continue to make sure women have access to clear information and safe health care!

Join the FCCPR

Reproductive Justice Task Force.ext.

 

ORMA depends on your support to continue Bernie’s Political Revolution to create a society, a politics, and an economy that works for everyone, not just billionaires, corporations and the political elite.

If you value Organizing Notes and its twice a month distribution schedule, please make a donation to ensure its continued existence.

Invest in Change Now!

 

Please send requests for action items, articles or upcoming events

for the next Organizing Notes to 

beccobrien.orma@gmail.com

no later than Thursday, June 8th.

 

We’d love to have you send us your favorite pictures of Bernie here in MA!

 

Campaigns End, Movements Endure


Tags


You may also like

[2023-02-20] Organizing Notes 26: Support ORMA’s Three Endorsed Candidates For Democratic State Committee, Building Coalitions and Ways to Take Action!

[2023-02-20] Organizing Notes 26: Support ORMA’s Three Endorsed Candidates For Democratic State Committee, Building Coalitions and Ways to Take Action!
{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}