Friday, December 7, 2012

A Message from Kim Bobo

It's been a tough year for workers, and our work here at Interfaith Worker Justice is more crucial now than ever. Our economy is still a mess, and workers often bear the load of hardships as employers cut costs and corners to maintain profits.

Together with our affiliates across the country and people of faith like you, IWJ is advocating for real changes in the lives of workers. As we look to the work in 2013, we need your continued advocacy, prayers and financial support!

Click here to contribute to IWJ and the important work lifting up the needs of workers.

Your gift helps build capacity on the ground in communities across the country. This year, we've welcomed three new interfaith groups and two new worker centers into IWJ's affiliate network.

These new affiliates and the rest of the network are doing vital work, providing workers the space to come together and learn about and advocate for their rights. They are connecting with local, state and national efforts and are leading (and winning) local campaigns to stop wage theft.

You are helping to bring worker issues to the national agenda! If you haven't made a year-end contribution to IWJ, click here to donate now.

With your support, we can strengthen our work challenging corporate giants like Walmart and Hyatt that drive down standards for all workers. Just last month, people of faith organized nearly 100 prayer vigils and solidarity actions at Walmart stores across the country telling Walmart executives that they support better wages and working conditions for striking store and warehouse workers.

Click here to give to IWJ. The first ten respondents who contribute a gift of $250 or more will receive a free copy of IWJ Board Member Joseph McCartin's book about the strike that changed America.

Together we can shape a more fair and just economy for all workers!

In the spirit of giving,

Kim Bobo

P.S. Together we need to lift up the needs of workers, and as many Christians reflect during this advent season, I urge you to remember our working brothers and sisters. Click here to check out IWJ's advent reflection series.

P.P.S. Click here to give to IWJ. Your gift helps IWJ develop resources and reflections for people of faith and their congregations that lift up the needs of workers.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Support Walmart Workers this Thursday

This Thanksgiving, as you gather with family and give thanks for their company and all the blessings in your lives, remember those who have to work that weekend and do not have the same opportunity to be with family.

I urge you to stand in solidarity with Walmart retail and warehouse workers, friends and neighbors who will gather at the Walmart Supercenter 501 East Pawnee Street, Wichita, this Thursday, November 22, at 8:00 p.m. We will assemble outside the store to hold a prayer vigil in the name of workers' rights and fair treatment. Rev. David Hansen, interim pastor of Pine Valley Christian Church and Executive Director of Interfaith Worker Justice Kansas will lead the prayer vigil, which is being organized by Wichita MoveOn with support from Sunflower Community Action.

Walmart recently filed a complaint against workers for exercising their right to speak up against poor working conditions and disrespect on the job. Walmart claims the recent walk-outs, protests and strikes are illegal and not representative of what the majority of workers want.
You can read more about it here

As a person of faith, your solidarity with Walmart workers is urgently needed. It is really important that we let Walmart executives know it's not just unions that care about Walmart workers.

Over the last month, Walmart retail and warehouse workers have taken the bold and unprecedented move of walking out of the job, demanding respect and a better future.

People of faith across the country have come out in support of these workers, delivering letters to store managers, organizing prayer vigils and planning flash mobs. The more stores we visit on Black Friday, the stronger a message we send. Will you join us?

Our thanks to Kim Bobo, Executive Director of Interfaith Worker Justice for much of this text.

David Hansen
Executive Director/Organizer
Interfaith Worker Justice Kansas

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Laid Off and Left Out: Renew Unemployment Insurance

Tell Congressional Leaders: Renew Unemployment Insurance for 2013

With all the talk of the looming "fiscal cliff" that the country is facing at the end of this year, politicians and the media are paying precious little attention to the real, dire financial cliff that millions of U.S. workers and their families will face if Congress fails to renew the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program before the year's end.

If Congress fails to reauthorize the federal EUC program, two million workers receiving federal unemployment benefits will be abruptly cut off between Christmas and New Year's.

Nearly one million more workers will run out of state unemployment benefits with no access to federal EUC by the end of the first quarter of 2013. In all, more than five million workers will be unable to collect federal UI benefits next year if Congress fails to act.

Please send a message to Congressional leaders:  Tell them "Don't push jobless Americans off the cliff!"  Renew Unemployment Insurance for 2013.

Of the 12 million unemployed workers in America, 40 percent are long-term unemployed, looking for work for six months or more.  And with the average length of unemployment still more than 40 weeks, the federal EUC benefits are the critical lifeline for those who are looking for work when regular state UI benefits run out.  But if Congress fails to act, federal EUC benefits will end abruptly and completely December 29.

Send a message now!  Tell Congressional leaders: "Don't push jobless Americans off the cliff!"  Renew Unemployment Insurance for 2013.

A recent Congressional Research Service study found that in 2011, unemployment insurance benefited 26 million workers and their families, keeping 2.3 million people out of poverty, including more than 600,000 children.

It would be a human disaster -- a cruel and entirely avoidable one -- if Congress fails to act and allows federal unemployment insurance to expire.  It is imperative for Congress to put partisanship aside and come together to reauthorize EUC for 2013.

Many thanks.
The UnemployedWorkers.Org Team
Mitchell, Chris, Maurice, Judy, Mike, Rick, George, Claire and Norman

Thank you IAM Local Lodge 639

IWJ Kansas congratulates International Aerospace and Machinists Workers, Local 639 and the management of Bombardier Learjet on the settlement of the recent strike. The new contract represents a victory for all parties directly involved and for the city of Wichita. We all benefit from this agreement.

At our Annual Meeting on January 12, 2012, Interfaith Worker Justice Kansas will honor the members of Local 639 for the standing up for workers' rights.The meeting will be held on the campus of Newman University. The public is invited. We will gather at 8:30 a.m.

I want to take this opportunity to thank members of the following organizations for walking in solidarity with members of Local 639 on Sunday afternoons: IAM Local Lodge 774, Sunflower Community Action, Interfaith Worker Justice Kansas, Pine Valley Christian Church, and individuals.

Our hope for the future and for a more humane economy lies in standing together.

David Hansen
Executive Director/Organizer
Interfaith Worker Justice Kansas

Friday, November 9, 2012

Annual Meeting January 12, 2013

Annual Meeting
Saturday, January 12, 2013
8:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Dugan-Gorges Conference Center
Newman University
Public Invited

Interfaith Worker Justice Kansas is a partnership of faith communities, labor, business, community organizations, and community leaders working together to build a better future for all.

Our keynote speaker, the Reverend Michael Livingston, is a national leader in Interfaith Worker Justice’s Policy Department and a strong interfaith voice on national worker justice issues.Livingston is the former Director of the Poverty Initiative of the National Council of Churches and former Executive Director of the International Council of Community Churches. In Nov. 2010, the Rev. Livingston met with President Obama as a member of a delegation of heads of member denominations of the National Council of Churches for the 100th anniversary of the ecumenical movement to discuss a variety of issues. The Rev. Livingston is a graduate of the University of California at Los Angeles and received his Master of Divinity and Master of Theology degree from Princeton Theological Seminary.
Proposed Agenda
8:30  Gathering, coffee, rolls and fellowship
8:50  Welcoming by Dr. Michael Austin, Provost, Newman University
9:00   Introducing Interfaith Worker Justice Kansas, Rev. Dr. David Hansen, President/Organizer
9:15  Giving a national perspective, Rev. Michael Livingston
9:45   Honoring International Aerospace and Machinists Workers, Local 639
10:00 Honoring Sisters of St. Joseph and Adorers of the Precious Blood Sisters
10:15 Updating Kansas legislative 2013 agenda, Mr. Jake Lowen, Political Action Officer,
AFL-CIO   Wichita/Hutchinson Labor Federation
10:30 Introducing Sunflower Worker Center, Ms. Sulma Arias, Executive Director, Sunflower Community Action
10:45 Looking at the road ahead, Rev. Tim Lytle, Unity Church, Wichita
10:55 Benediction, Rev. Charles Claycomb, University United Methodist Church