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Economic and Social Justice

Economic and Social Justice (74)

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Over the last few years, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has seen its budget frozen and reduced, resulting in 11,000 fewer staff to provide customer service to the roughly 25 million Americans that visited their local SSA office in 2013.

DETROIT – Minnesota Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison plans to unveil legislation that would make unionization into a legally protected civil right, the congressman said on Saturday.

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department is suspending its water shutoffs for 15 days starting today to give residents another chance to prove they are unable to pay their bills.

“In case we have missed someone who has legitimate affordability problems this will allow them to come to us to see if they can work out payments,” department spokesman Bill Johnson said. “We’ve always maintained that what we were doing was a collection effort — not a shutoff effort.”

As many as one thousand people showed up outside Cobo Center in downtown Detroit Friday, calling for an immediate moratorium on service shutoffs by the city’s water department.

Among them was “Avengers” actor Mark Ruffalo, who appeared unexpectedly, calling on others to join the demonstration.

The decision by the bankrupt city of Detroit to cut off the water supply to 80,000 homes with outstanding water bills is a public health disaster in the making, says the largest professional association of nurses in the US.

National Nurses United has called for an immediate moratorium on the shut-offs, and is leading a march in Detroit on Friday to make its demands clear.

On July 18th thousands of activists and dozens of organizations will converge on downtown Detroit to protest the privatization of the city’s assets, and the disconnection of water to tens of thousands of low-income residents; what the UN has called a human rights violation. Demonstrators from around the country will rally in Hart Plaza at 1PM, linking arms with the citizens of Detroit to protest the hostile corporate takeover by Wall Street banks and their ALEC-led political allies in the Michigan Statehouse, including Governor Rick Snyder.

Most of us have suffered through the frustration of needing to quickly get ready for work, only to have to wait for a roommate to finish his shower. Now imagine having to share that shower with not one or two other people, but hundreds.

That’s precisely the situation facing San Francisco’s estimated 6,436 homeless residents, who currently have just seven places in the city where they can shower.

A right-wing state and corporate push to cut off water is economic shock therapy at its most ruthless and racist, but resistance is growing. Since spring, up to 3000 Detroit households per week have been getting their water shut-off – for owing as little as $150 or two months in bills.  The official rationale for the water shut-downs – the Detroit Water Department's need to recoup millions – collapses on inspection. Detroit's high-end golf club, the Red Wing's hockey arena, the Ford football stadium, and more than half of the city's commercial and industrial users are also owing – a sum totalling $30 million. But no contractors have showed up on their doorstep.

Worker-owned co-ops got a boost on Monday when Independent Senator Bernie Sanders unveiled an initiative in Vermont that champions what many call "the new economy."“At a time when corporate America is outsourcing millions of decent-paying jobs overseas and with the economy continuing to struggle to create jobs that pay a livable wage, we need to expand economic models that help the middle-class," Sanders said during a press conference in Burlington. "I strongly believe that employee ownership is one of those models.

"Labor priests" were a recognized presence in the labor movement of the 1920s through the 1960s. Father Barry, the Karl Malden character in the 1954 film "On the Waterfront," was the model of the priest who sided with workers.

Priests conducted Parish Labor Schools where workers interested in collective bargaining studied Catholic social justice doctrine, labor law, and parliamentary procedure.

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