As the impact of the World Trade Center disaster becomes clearer, those at the bottom of the economic ladder face enormous problems. A number of demonstrations took place in Local 802’s neighborhood this fall, seeking to address the problems.
Members of Local 225, Transit Workers Union, turned out on Oct. 23 to protest the actions of Gray Line/Coach USA. They charge that the company conducted a mass layoff of union workers after Sept. 11, when business slowed – and then, when business picked up, replaced them with non-union workers. The union also criticized the company’s cancellation of health insurance for many workers before the year was up, despite the fact that, under their union contract, they earn health benefits for a full year.
Also, there was an Oct. 31 demonstration demanding real welfare reform, outside the Marriott Marquis Hotel. The Department of Health and Human Services was holding a “listening and discussion session” inside, “to gather insights from those on the front lines of welfare reform to prepare for next year’s reauthorization of federal welfare reform legislation.” The problem was that only four low-income individuals were invited to testify, and it was never made clear what groups they represented.
New York Jobs with Justice helped to publicize the action, which involved activists from a wide range of community organizations.