Solidarity Day 2 versus unionbuster

first_imgBoston workers picket Veolia.Photo: Garry MurchisonThe attempt by Veolia, an international conglomerate, to bust the Boston School Bus Drivers Union has created a widespread fightback movement. Its next focus is Solidarity Day 2 (SD2), a demonstration set for Feb. 1 outside the company’s headquarters.The struggle to rehire the four illegally fired leaders of United Steelworkers Local 8751 has become a household name in Boston’s movement. The Massachusetts AFL-CIO has backed the struggle, other unions have signed on, and many community-based organizations — from the Coalition for Equal Quality Education to local African-American radio station Touch 106.1 — are mobilizing for it.Boston-area union activists with SEIU 1199, the Boston Teachers Union and American Postal Workers Local 100 are supporting the rally, as well as community and activist groups like Nation of Islam, Industrial Workers of the World and Roxbury-based Safety Net. Vans and buses are coming from Baltimore, New York and Rhode Island.Boston is fast becoming ground zero for the growing movement against Veolia.At the center of Boston’s movement and keeping it alive is the local’s dynamic rank and file. Going into the fourth month of the struggle — a time when momentum might be expected to fade — this predominantly immigrant workforce of Haitian and Cape Verdean drivers continues to mobilize in large numbers.On Jan. 23, more than 100 drivers staged a demonstration/occupation of Veolia’s offices during a step 2 grievance hearing about the four fired drivers. Members set up a picket line, then spilled into the central office room, the hallways and adjoining office spaces, refusing the company’s orders to leave.Exuberant mobilizing meetings for SD2 have taken place at the city’s four bus yards. The harsh weather has led these impromptu gatherings of dozens of drivers, which are usually called yard meetings, to take place in Veolia buildings, right under the noses of the union-busting bosses. The fired drivers — Garry Murchison, Andre Francois, Steve Kirschbaum and Steve Gillis — have been motivating the crowds with speeches and stacks of leaflets for SD2.This defiant determination on the part of the school bus drivers has been there from the beginning of this struggle. On Nov. 9, 600 drivers (out of 870) marched through Boston for Solidarity Day 1, and on Nov. 21, 300 packed Boston City Council chambers.The drivers know that the fight to rehire the union leaders is about resisting a broader, austerity-based attack on their wages and benefits. Since taking over Boston’s school bus contract in July, Veolia has switched providers in order to lower insurance benefits, shorted wages due to an unauthorized GPS-based pay system and violated the members’ seniority.Attacks on desegregated educationA known union-buster, Veolia was hired in Boston as part of an orchestrated assault on desegregated education. The successful struggle to win busing and equal-access education in the 1970s has confronted an unrelenting campaign ever since from entrenched racist elements in the city establishment.In 2009, the Boston School Bus Drivers Union joined educators and community forces in a successful campaign to beat back the “five-zone plan,” an attempt by the heads of the Boston Public Schools to reduce the number of schools open to students under a decades-old three-zone plan.But the forces of reaction haven’t given up. This month marks the Boston schools’ implementation of an updated incarnation of that plan, with the “zone plan” being replaced by an “algorithm.”Promoted as a neutral, computer-based calculation, the algorithm drastically limits the choice of schools for African-American and Latino/a families. It also dismantles the right to busing won in the 1970s through the people’s struggle.A successful lawsuit by Black parents to desegregate Boston’s schools had established the practice of busing, which the movement then protected as a right. Anti-racist demonstrations and the School Bus Drivers Union eventually beat back the fascist, city-backed mobs who had violently attacked Black students.A Jan. 27 article in the Boston Globe admits that the algorithm replaces the “plan to comply with court-ordered desegregation.” It shows that parents and students now face drastically reduced choices in what schools they are allowed to pick.The new system also separates siblings from each other — unless parents know to request the older siblings’ school, which the article admits they often do not. And it narrows choices even further for students who have special needs ­requirements.The article begins with the example of a parent who thought that the elimination of zones meant that she had more ­choices, not less. Apparently, the Boston Public Schools’ promotional campaign on the new system has been more propaganda- based than informational. No wonder. The campaign’s billboards across Boston were paid for by none other than Veolia Transportation.Veolia has become the target of multiple communities and movements in the U.S. On Feb. 8, Local 8751 Vice President and fired driver Steve Gillis will travel to San Francisco for a national conference. “The Fight Against VEOLIA: Stop Privatization, Defend Human Rights & the Environment” will unite many forces fighting the criminal corporation. With its union-busting activities, privatization plans and support for Israeli apartheid, Veolia is inadvertently helping to unite different forces in the political spectrum into a new people’s movement in the age of austerity.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more


Scoring spree lifts Ellsworth boys past GSA

first_img Latest posts by Mike Mandell (see all) Ellsworth runners compete in virtual Boston Marathon – September 16, 2020 Latest Posts Hospice volunteers help families navigate grief and find hope – September 12, 2020 Biocenter_img MPA approves golf, XC, field hockey, soccer; football, volleyball moved to spring – September 10, 2020 Mike MandellMike Mandell is the sports editor at The Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander. He began working for The American in August 2016. You can reach him via email at [email protected] ELLSWORTH — With each ball that bounced, rolled or blasted past the goal line, the celebrations at Del Luce Stadium got bigger and louder.For a team that had struggled to score all year, the barrage of goals scored against local rival George Stevens Academy meant more than anything to the Ellsworth boys’ soccer team. The team’s earlier drought of three games without a goal is now old news, and a dynamic offense is giving the Eagles something on which they can build.Ellsworth scored as many goals as it did in its previous seven games combined Monday when it defeated GSA 5-2 at Del Luce Stadium. Senior Zach Harris provided a hat trick for Ellsworth, which gave GSA its first loss of the season and has gained considerable momentum in its past two games.“I think the effort, the determination and the drive our players have is finally working for them,” Ellsworth coach Paul Lock said. “They’re finishing in ways they hadn’t at the start of the season, and you can see the team movement and chemistry getting even better.”Ellsworth’s Sam Giffin heads the ball away from goal during the first half against GSA on Oct. 2 in Ellsworth. ELLSWORTH AMERICAN PHOTO BY MIKE MANDELLThis is placeholder textThis is placeholder textEarly in the game, it was GSA that took control. The visitors had two opportunities in front of goal in the opening 15 minutes, but two saves by Peyton Cole kept the game scoreless.Ellsworth’s Arthur Jodrey (right) and Andrew McCullough celebrate Jodrey’s first-half goal against GSA on Oct. 2 in Ellsworth. Ellsworth has scored a combined seven goals in the past two games after failing to score in each of the previous three. ELLSWORTH AMERICAN PHOTO BY MIKE MANDELLAlmost immediately following the second of Cole’s two saves, Ellsworth began to pressure the GSA goal. Zach Harris narrowly missed giving the home team the lead when he hit the post with 25 minutes to play, but Arthur Jodrey scored three minutes later to give Ellsworth the first goal of the game.Harris had another scoring chance for Ellsworth at the 18-minute mark, but GSA goalkeeper Alec Witham saved his shot in the top-left corner. With 12:31 left, GSA tied the score when Taylor Schildroth chipped the ball over Cole from the left side of the box.Brad Smith had two scoring chances for Ellsworth (5-5-1) on both sides of the break, but clutch defensive plays by GSA’s Ben Cole kept the score level. That changed eight minutes into the second half when Harris scored from close range to put the Eagles ahead 2-1.“This was the best game I’ve played all year — probably in my entire life, actually,” Harris said. “I started playing soccer in seventh grade and have gotten better every year, and I think I’m peaking right now.”GSA (7-1-3) responded with 22 to minutes to play when an assist from Schildroth put Owen Vinall in on goal for an easy tap-in, but Ellsworth hit back when Harris ran straight through the GSA defense and launched a shot to the right side of the net to put the home team up 3-2 with 14:51 left.GSA’s Payson Allen controls the ball as Ellsworth’s Brad Smith rushes on to defend during the second half. ELLSWORTH AMERICAN PHOTO BY MIKE MANDELLJack Lee increased Ellsworth’s lead to two goals with 5:47 to play, and the home team was awarded a penalty kick with 1:28 left. Up stepped Harris, who slotted the ball to Witham’s left for the game’s final goal.“I told my teammates, ‘Guys, I’ve got to take this. I’ve got to get three,’” Harris said. “We had less than two minutes left, and I was feeling confident.”Lock attributed the team’s scoring outbreak to its improved passing and offensive pressure. Ellsworth spent much the final 65 minutes in GSA’s half, and the result was too much for the visitors’ defense to handle.“[Our players] were making passes across the middle instead of trying to loop them over,” Lock said. “The defense was moving up to try and keep the ball in, and the offense was charging the goal.”For GSA, the loss ended a 10-game unbeaten streak dating back to last year. The team was scheduled to host Mount Desert Island (2-7) at home Wednesday and plays another home game against Deer Isle-Stonington at 4 p.m. next Wednesday, Oct. 11.The sixth-place Eagles will put their newfound offensive firepower to the test again when they face Caribou (3-6) at 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7. After that, the team hosts Washington Academy and MDI to end the regular season.“This is a good time to have some momentum,” Harris said. “We had a lot of confidence after beating Old Town coming into this one, and now we need to keep moving.”last_img read more