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Governor Signs Historic CORI Bill
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Since 2005, the BWA has grown into a powerful grassroots force, challenging the crisis of urban joblessness and fighting for social and economic justice. As a small community based organization, we thank you, our broad community of supporters who have helped us come this far! In 2012, BWA’s membership and community base continued to expand, while the organization took on new and exciting projects to advance our mission.
BWA’s 2012 Highlights
1. CORI Reform Becomes Law: After working to pass nationally recognized CORI reforms, BWA celebrated the implementation of the new laws on May 4, 2012. BWA hosted the “CORI Celebration and Sealing Day,” where over 350 residents came to the Dudley Library to take advantage of the new law and purge their past criminal records. Without CORI reform, hundreds of thousands of residents would still be suffering from old CORIs. (www.vimeo.com/41963738)
2. Boston Staffing Alliance (BSA): BWA’s innovative staffing agency helped place over 55 people in temporary and temp-to-permanent positions in 2012. BSA is a non-profit temp agency that values its workers and provides critical pathways to permanent employment for our members. BSA expanded its placement areas, ranging from light construction to food service sectors. (www.BostonStaffingAlliance.org)
3. Economic Justice Organizing: As a Steering Committee member of MassUniting and Right to the City Alliance, BWA helped advance economic justice organizing in the streets. Over 1,500 people took over downtown Boston for the April 17 Tax Day Action, calling attention to the multi national corporations that are dogding taxes, corrupting our politics and bankrupting our communities. (http://youtu.be/ps11T8dovk0)
4. Jobs and CORI Support: BWA’s Worker Center, open Mon-Thurs 10-2pm helped over 600 people with employment and CORI services. Hundreds got help with their resumes and job searches and hundreds more received help in requesting and sealing their CORI records. (http://youtu.be/2_YwPrF7cr0)
5. Voter Engagement: 20+ BWA members led a non-partisan voter outreach campaign, knocking on over 6,500 doors in Grove Hall and increasing voter turnout to its highest levels in recent history. BWA also helped start the Massachusetts Voter Table, which collectively made over 104,000 voter contacts in MA. And with Right to the City VOTE!, BWA helped draft and pass the Budget for All Referendum in Boston, calling for taxation of the 1%, cutting military spending, and investing in jobs and vital services for our communities! (http://budget4allmass.org)
6. Green Living: BWA’s Urban Garden project trained new families in gardening skills and produced free organic vegetables for our members.
7. Worker Cooperatives: Over 15 BWA members attended the national US Worker Cooperative Conference. BWA’s first worker-owned cooperative Roxbury Green Power partnered with MassCOSH to revamp the co-op into a Black and Latino run recycling company called CERO (Cooperative Energy, Recycling and Organics) for relaunch in 2013. BWA and MassCOSH members began a 14 week Co-op Academy training and hired a new startup manager.
8. Construction Jobs Campaign: BWA helped launch a new citywide coalition, dedicated to winning policy changes and community benefit agreements for women, people of color, and Boston residents in the building trades. As Boston expects billions of dollars in new construction, over 20 organizations have joined the coalition and are poised to change the face of the construction industry in Boston for years to come.
9. Economic Democracy: Working with Right to the City, BWA is advancing a new narrative to help ‘Take Back Boston’ and propel innovative policies that bring economic power into the hands of the 99%. BWA members have worked to popularize Participatory Budgeting, a process where residents can vote on the use of our tax dollars to ensure that public funds are spent to effectively benefit our neighborhoods. (www.participatorybudgeting.org)
10. Criminal Justice Organizing: BWA members continued to organize against the criminal justice system and fight for Jobs Not Jails in our communities. BWA coordinated a 400+ person rally and lobby day against the 3-Strikes Law at the State House. BWA members also launched a campaign to add enforcement teeth to the City of Boston’s CORI Ordinance, which requires all city vendors to adopt CORI friendly hiring policies. And BWA members met with EPOCA members to plan a new prison reform campaign for 2013-14. (http://youtu.be/sPBM0aFfCDg)
11. Community Building: BWA held its annual membership events, including a very successful Juneteenth Cook-Out at Franklin Park, and our Annual Holiday Party and Gift Drive, where we gave out over 80 presents to the children of our members!
12. Leadership Transition: After almost 8 years, BWA’s founding executive director Aaron Tanaka transitioned out of his staff position. The BWA board hired Chuck Wynder as the new director of the organization. BWA recognized Aaron’s investment, vision and skill in helping to build BWA as a powerful member-led organization. BWA welcomed Chuck as an exciting and experienced leader to help move the organization into its next phase of growth and impact. BWA celebrated this change, and our members, board and staff at our annual Celebration & Fundraiser! (www.bostonworkersalliance.org/?p=1630)
As a grassroots organization, we thank the hundreds of BWA members and allies who have volunteered their time, money and energy to build our movement. We ask for your ongoing support as we approach a pivotal year of economic justice organizing. With our many partners across the city and state, we look forward to growing a more powerful movement for social and economic justice in 2013!
- Consider making a year end donation to support our critical work: http://tinyurl.com/bwa-support
- Join Boston Workers Alliance on Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/bwa-FB
BWA Staff: Chuck Wynder, Hakim Cunningham, Mirembe Asamoah, Danielle Williams, Prenell Sanders, Sunni Ali, Samantha Akwei
BWA Board: Suezanne Bruce, Al Copeland, Angela Yarde, Timothy Hall, Terri Hinton, Winston Jankee, Tracy Parks, Joel Pierre
We thank our supporters for joining the BWA in our Annual Celebration & Fundraiser on November 9, 2012!
We celebrated our accomplishments and our members, recognized our founding director Aaron Tanaka, and welcomed Chuck Wynder as our new executive director and member of the BWA family!
I. State Street Bank Protest – Report Back
On Wed, May 16, BWA joined our MassUniting partners to take over the
State Street Bank’s Annual Shareholders Meeting. State Street is
responsible for dodging corporate taxes, investing in private prisons,
defrauding pensions and outsourcing American jobs. We bought over 50
shares and had our members attend the meeting as legitimate
stakeholders. Once the meeting started, teams of protestors
interrupted the proceedings and demanded changes to State Street
Bank’s practices. As protestors were escorted out of the meeting,
they joined a crowd of supporters outside who held a “public trial”
for State Street Corp, finding them guilty of major “corporate
On Friday May 4, BWA hosted a CORI Reform celebration at the Dudley Branch Library. Over 300 people attended the event, receiving assistance from attorneys to order, review and seal their CORIs. Because of the CORI Reform victory, felonies can now be sealed in 10 years and misdemeanors in 5, and any probation or parole now counts towards those waiting periods. Continued Without Findings (CWOFs) can now be sealed without waiting a time period, and most dismissals will not be sent out to employers.
The celebration included food and speakers, including Rep. Liz Malia, Pauline Quirion (GBLS), BWA members Terri Hinton and Sunni Ali and EPOCA member Luis Bajana.
We thank our co-sponsors (partial list): American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) Healing Justice Program, Boston Public Health Commission, Boston Workers Alliance (BWA), Coalition for Effective Public Safety (CEPS), Criminal Justice Policy Coalition, Ex-Prisoners and Prisoners Organizing for Community Development (EPOCA), Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS), Haley House, Massachusetts Organization for Addiction Recovery (MOAR), National Association of Social Workers, MA Chapter, The Real Cost of Prisons Project, Rosie’s Place, SPAN, Inc, Union of Minority Neighborhoods
Consider donating to BWA to support our work: http://tinyurl.com/donateBWA
On April 17, 2012 members of Boston Workers Alliance joined over 1,000 protestors to tell corporations and the 1% to pay their fair share of taxes. The rally, called Boston Tax Day Action, brought together concerned citizens from Dorchester to the North Shore. BWA members marched from Dewey Square to the Financial District, telling local corporations such as General Electric, State Street, Bank of America and Verizon that they are tired of them getting tax refunds and not paying taxes; taxes that would go toward things in the community like education, jobs, fair housing and community programs.
Despite billion-dollar profits, these corporations have managed to avoid taxation altogether, with some even raking in hundreds of millions in tax refunds. General Electric alone managed to draw in a federal tax refund of $3.7 billion over the last three years, despite posting profits of more than $19.6 billion! This rampant corporate tax dodging is bankrupting our communities, forcing mass layoffs, slashing vital services and closing schools and community centers.
BWA member Damon Kiser spoke to the crowd, saying “It’s hard to hold a job these days. I work in IT (information technology). They (my former job) laid me off. Shipped my job overseas. Why? So they could make more money. So they could make more profits. And pay not taxes!” Hard working people in our community are being put out of a job by these big corporate big wigs who receive huge bonuses and perks.
Enough is enough! It’s time to put people over profits and it’s time for big businesses and the wealthiest amongst us to pay their fair share, just like the rest of us do.
Send an easy email to your legislators and the Conference Committee: http://tinyurl.com/3strikesletter
Rally and Lobby Day Report Back
On March 15, over 400 people came to the State House to stop the controversial 3-Strikes bill and demand Smart on Crime Sentencing Reform. A broad range of 70 organizations endorsed this action and demanded new policies that would reduce the prison population and re-direct funds towards jobs creation, housing, rehabilitation and education for ex-offenders.
The energized crowd chanted “Stop 3-Strikes, Jobs Not Jail!” and heard speakers from NAACP, EPOCA, Boston Workers Alliance, and Blackstonian. Faith speakers included Rev. Dickerson of Greater Love Tabernacle and Rev. Dan King of UU 1st Congregational Parish in Kingston, MA. Legislators and City Councilors including Sen. Brownsberger, Sen. Chang-Diaz, Rep. Henriquez, Rep. Rushing, City Councilors Arroyo and Pressley all spoke in support of our advocacy.
Hundreds of participants then entered the State House to lobby their Reps and Senators and to bring the community message to our elected officials. Residents spoke to over of 60 legislators and dropped post-cards and fact sheets at all 200 offices.
YES: [+] Repeal Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Drug Offenses, and [+]
Shrink School Zones to 100ft
NO: [-] Stop 3-Strikes, and [-] No Mandatory Parole for All Prisoners
We thank the 70 organizations that supported this pivotal action and
call on all concerned residents to intensify our advocacy against this
dangerous bill. Join the movement to Stop 3-Strikes and win Smart on
Crime Sentencing for our state.
2011 marked a year of protests, where everyday Americans stood up against corporate greed and called for justice and fairness for the 99%. In Boston, the BWA helped bring our members together to fight for decent jobs and equal opportunities for our most affected communities. While unemployment grips the national economy, the crisis of joblessness has been ongoing in Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan. The need for an organization fighting to end urban joblessness has never been so clear.
Since 2005, the BWA has grown into a powerful force for social and economic justice. As a small grassroots organization, we THANK YOU, our broad community of supporters who have helped us come this far!
As we approach year’s end, please consider supporting the BWA today through a tax-deductible donation today! Your support helps pay for food at our weekly member meetings, counseling for our job seekers and supplies to keep our office running. Whether its $5 or $500, your contribution has a direct impact on the livelihood of our members and our ability to fight for social change!
BWA’s 2011 Highlights
1. CORI Reform: After working to pass nationally recognized CORI reforms, Massachusetts officially “Banned the Box,” making ours one of two states to eliminate the CORI question from all job application forms. Full CORI reforms take effect in May of 2012.
2. Home Weatherization: With the Green Justice Coalition, BWA helped create green jobs by winning new city investments in home weatherization services. BWA members signed up over 400 households for free Renew Boston energy audits and helped place over 15 people in green trainings and jobs.
3. Boston Staffing Alliance (BSA): BWA’s innovative staffing agency helped place over 75 people in temporary and temp-to-permanent positions in 2011. BSA is a non-profit temp agency that values its workers and provides pathways to permanent employment for our members.
4. Right to the City: BWA joined the national Right to the City Alliance and marched with 40 organizations and 3,000 people onto the financial district. 24 people were arrested after shutting down Bank of America for their greedy tax and foreclosure practices. The action gained international media attention.
5. MassUniting: BWA became a steering committee member of MassUniting, bringing thousands into the streets to demand jobs and corporate accountability. BWA participated in “Take Back the Capitol” week of action in Washington DC, shutting down K-Street lobbyists and Senator Scott Brown’s Office for voting against jobs.
6. Employment and CORI Support: BWA’s Worker Center, open Mon-Thurs 10-2pm helped over 700 people with employment and CORI services. Hundreds got help with their resumes and job searches and hundreds more received help in requesting and sealing their CORI records.
7. Voter Engagement: 20+ BWA members led a non-partisan voter outreach campaign, knocking on 3,500 doors in Grove Hall and increasing voter turnout by over 40%. At-large candidates Ayanna Pressley and Felix Arroyo took the top votes in BWA’s wards and precincts.
8. Green Living: BWA’s Urban Garden project trained new families in gardening skills and produced free organic vegetables for members. Roxbury Green Power, BWA’s first worker-owned cooperative business continued to collect waste veggie-oil to recycle and sell as a green bio-fuel.
9. Growing Staff: BWA hired two members to fill part-time Worker Center Coordinator and Office Manager positions, growing our staff capacity and employing those who have been dedicated to BWA over the years.
10. Media Attention: BWA received media attention in local and national publications, including a front page story in the Boston Globe about our direct services and an article in YES! Magazine on “Ban the Box.”
11. Community Building: BWA held quarterly community gatherings bringing over 250 members together. BWA held its annual Holiday Party and gave over 100 gifts to children of our members. BWA grew as a organization and increased our political power to fight for good jobs for our community.
As a grassroots organization, we thank the hundreds of BWA members and allies who have volunteered their time, money and energy to build our movement. We ask for your increased support as we approach a pivotal year of economic justice organizing. With our many partners across the city and state, we look forward to growing a more powerful movement for social and economic justice in 2012!
TAKE BACK THE CAPITOL: OCCUPY DC!
BWA joined MassUniting to bring 250 people from Boston to DC for a week of protest!
All across the country, people have taken to the streets to demand change. From New York to LA, from Wall Street to Dewey Square, we have made our voices heard loud and clear — the 99% are here to stay. But even after thousands of marches and people willing to take arrest for the cause, our leaders aren’t listening.
On Friday Sept 30, BWA was proud to co-sponsor the Take Back Boston march and rally that gathered over 3,000 people and resulted in 24 arrests at Bank of America downtown.
As an unemployed workers organization, we organize against banks and corporations that are making record profits while leaving the rest of the country poor and less secure. The action was organized by a broad coalition of under Right to the City, which is a national alliance of progressive base-building organizations that fight for social and economic justice.