Massachusetts Union News

Puerto Rican Debt Crisis: Ways to Get Involved

Massachusetts Jobs with Justice - Thu, 2017-06-08 15:58
PAYING OUR DEBT TO PUERTO RICO: Ways to Get Involved The Puerto Rican people need our support and you can help! As an individual, you can: Inform yourself about the economic and humanitarian crisis currently plaguing Puerto Rico. Spread the news with your family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, in person and through social media. The more you spread awareness of this crisis, the more you can help us end the corporate greed threatening so many Puerto Ricans. Contact local, state, and federal representatives. Don’t be silent. Be a voice for those who have none. Show solidarity by attending events and rallies in your community. If you are a member of an organization: Let us know if you’re holding an event to support Puerto Ricans. We can promote your event and work to make it as successful as possible. We’re eager to share news about your organization and any upcoming events through social media, so let us know how we can spread the word. Also be sure to check out other organizations on this website to connect with others who realize the moral imperative we all have to stand with Puerto Ricans during this difficult time.  

Puerto Rican Debt Crisis: Overview

Massachusetts Jobs with Justice - Thu, 2017-06-08 15:53
PAYING OUR DEBT TO PUERTO RICO: Overview Background: A History of Economic Exploitation The history of Puerto Rico’s relationship with the mainland U.S. has been one of economic exploitation, plain and simple. Prior to 1996, IRS Section 936 exempted U.S. corporations from federal taxes on income earned in Puerto Rico. In other words, Puerto Rico was a tax haven, and corporations seized on the opportunity. Their presence created thousands of jobs and undeniably benefited Puerto Ricans. The problem is, between 1996 to 2006, IRS 936 was phased out. No longer able to avoid taxation, corporations abandoned the island, thousands of jobs were lost, and the population shrank. The government tried to issue bonds to make up for the shortfalls, but banks like Santander managed to find new ways of exploiting Puerto Rico, enriching themselves at the expense of the entire population. Puerto Rico’s Government Development Bank, under Carlos M. Garcia, created COFINA bonds, which redirected tax sales revenue to pay bondholders instead of funding vital public programs. Banks reaped huge financial rewards, while economic development was stalled due to growing debt and the lack of funds. Bottom line: the banks undermined the Puerto Rican economy by underwriting predatory bonds and, [...]


Massachusetts Jobs with Justice - Thu, 2017-06-08 15:44
PAYING OUR DEBT TO PUERTO RICO: The Costs and Consequences of the Puerto Rican Debt Crisis A crumbling infrastructure that cannot meet basic health needs. The resurgence of Zika on an unprecedented scale. Underfunded hospitals. Undrinkable water. A deteriorating educational system. And it’s only going to get worse. Puerto Rico is being ravaged by a crisis we created. It is imperative we act to help the tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans who are, and will continue, to suffer each and every day if we do nothing. But what exactly is the debt crisis that is devastating Puerto Rico? Who’s to blame? And what can we do? Read on to find out what you need to know and how you can support the Puerto Ricans today. I. Overview II. Ways To Get Involved III. Sources

March Against Trump’s Budget Plan attracts Big Crowd

Massachusetts Jobs with Justice - Thu, 2017-06-01 12:11
May 31, 2017 Massachusetts People’s Budget Campaign, along with many more organizations, led an exhilarating rally and march yesterday that began at the Tip O’Neill Federal Building and ended in front of the JFK Federal Building. People of all ages gathered at 11:00 to hear a number of speakers denounce President Trump’s budget and enthusiastically support the Congressional Progressive Caucus’ alternative, The People’s Budget. According to Cole Harrison, executive director of Massachusetts Peace Action, Trump’s budget cuts “climate protection, housing, food security, worker safety, and cancer research, transferring all these funds towards our grossly inflated military budget.” Furthermore, “food assistance [would be] cut by nearly $200 billion,” which is, “on top of the over $1 trillion in cuts to Medicaid.” It’s easy to see why so many attendees and speakers alike referred to it as a “death budget.” In stark contrast, Michael Kane of the Massachusetts Alliance of HUD Tenants notes that, “The People’s Budget invests $2 trillion in modernizing our energy system, improving mass transit, education, and infrastructure [and] funds universal childcare, increases access to health care, provides for humane immigration reform, and expands Social Security.” Finally, it also helps veterans by ensuring “they receive the care and benefits [...]

Reflection by Kenny Fairneny

Massachusetts Jobs with Justice - Tue, 2017-05-30 16:19
(Kenneth, Noah, anonymous, Olivia) Attending the May 20th Rally For Public Education allowed me to hear voices from a number of underrepresented perspectives within the educational system. Many of the speakers at the rally represented underfunded Boston area schools, including several teachers working with students with disabilities. With the 9.2 billion dollar (13.5%) educational cuts from Trump’s Budget Proposal in mind, speakers touched on the ways in which even the current educational budget is insufficient. (Kamentez 2017). The urban school systems they represented tend to be composed of disproportionate numbers of people of color, while also tending to hold less wealth. Further cuts in funding would be especially impactful for racial and ethnic minorities. Cuts to educational funding would also limit the expansion of programs designed to benefit differently abled students. The Rally for Public Education spoke to the need for dissension by US citizens who care about creating a more equitable educational system for all, regardless of race, class, gender, or ability.   Trump’s proposed cuts to educational funding would impact both K-12 schooling, as well as aid to higher education. As someone who is going to be completing an undergraduate degree next year with over $50,000 in student [...]

Reflection by Noah Hopewell

Massachusetts Jobs with Justice - Tue, 2017-05-30 16:17
(Kenneth, Noah, anonymous, Olivia) My name is Noah Hopewell and I am a high school senior graduating 2017 and attending college at the end of this year. I am currently interning at “Massachusetts Jobs with Justice” with which I attended the Rally for Public Education this past weekend. Massachusetts has some of the highest rated public schools across the nation, and they were being threatened. The Rally was meant to protest against and raise awareness for the potential privatization of Massachusetts schools, to spread the message of, “less testing, more learning” and fully-funded- or at least affordable- education.  This was in fact what I witnessed, hundreds of people all with their own posters, apparel, flyers, and the like, all containing messages promoting public education in some form; however, this was not all that I noticed at the rally. People were tired. Tired of not being listened to, tired of being mistreated, tired of being underestimated. These people were not only protesting for their children, siblings, and friends, but for themselves. Everyone in attendance knew that fixing our public education was only the first item on a long checklist of problems in America, and it was unlike anything I had ever [...]

Rally for Public Education A Huge Success!

Massachusetts Jobs with Justice - Tue, 2017-05-30 16:08
On May 20th, roughly 4,000 people showed up at the Rally for Public Education at the Boston Common, following the recently proposed $10.6 billion educational budget cuts by the Trump administration. Speakers representing a wide array of backgrounds detailed how these cuts would worsen conditions in already struggling school systems. Overall, the rally was a huge success! Below are the reflections and photo essay written by three JwJ interns: Photo Essay by Onyou Lee Reflection by Noah Hopewell Reflection by Kenneth Fairneny

May 31, 2017: March Against President Trump’s Budget Plan

Massachusetts Jobs with Justice - Tue, 2017-05-30 13:00
When: May 31, 11:00AM Where: Tip O’Neill Federal Bldg, Boston The country has never seen anything like it! The budget cuts and tax breaks proposed in the President’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget proposal and the forthcoming House budget proposal to follow will impact every program that helps each of us achieve a decent quality of life – and in many cases, to maintain life itself. It’s time to rise up in opposition while there’s time and to insist on a budget that puts people first: 11:30am: Assemble at Tip O’Neill Federal Bldg 10 Causeway St Boston 12:00 noon:  Rally at O’Neill Bldg 12:30 pm:  March to JFK Federal Bldg 1:00 pm:   Rally at JFK Bldg Confirmed Speakers State Senator Jamie Eldridge Patricia Downs Berger, MD, co-chair, Mass-Care Michael Kane, executive director, Massachusetts Alliance of HUD Tenants Steve Tolman, President, Massachusetts AFL-CIO Barbara Madeloni, President, Massachusetts Teachers Association Rich Rogers, Secretary-Treasurer, Greater Boston Labor Council Katherine Anderson, 350 Massachusetts Warren Pepicelli, Executive Vice President, UNITE HERE Jonathan King, Professsor, MIT Roxanne Reddington-Wilde, ABCD State Rep. Mike Connolly Conrad Ciszek, Burbank Tenants Association Chuck Collins, Institute for Policy Studies Darrin Howell, 1199 SEIU The President’s plan released on May 23 would cut over [...]

June 1, 2017: Vigil in Support of Black Lives Matter

Massachusetts Jobs with Justice - Tue, 2017-05-30 12:59
The June Vigil in Support of Black Lives Matter will be held on Thursday, June 1, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on lawn of the First Baptist Church of J.P., 633 Centre St., Jamaica Plain, MA. The speaker is Donna Bivens. Donna Bivens was Director of the Women’s Theological Center for 22 years. She is a long term Facilitator for the Center for Courage and Renewal and an Anti-racism trainer and consultant for Community Change, Inc. Donna recently left her position at the Union of Minority Neighborhoods, where, for nearly seven years, she was the Director of the Boston Busing/Desegregation Project. June marks the 18th consecutive monthly vigil since December, 2015. It provides the opportunity for participants to take a stand against white supremacy and for racial justice and human rights. For further information, please contact:  Ann Philbin at 617-304-1598,  or Tricia Brennan  617-645-9681,

June 1, 2017: Democracy Brewing Tasting Event and Presentation

Massachusetts Jobs with Justice - Tue, 2017-05-30 12:58
JOIN THE MOVEMENT!-Create a Worker-Owned Brew Pub in Boston Our mission is to re-create the traditional public house, brew the best beer in Boston, and serve it to you paired with two great American ideals: democracy, and owning your own business. We believe the dream of owning your own business shouldn’t be attainable to only a few, and the majority of folks who work should be able to enjoy the profit and pride that comes with ownership. DEMOCRACY BREWING is hosting a private tasting and presentation in Cambridge. This gathering will be a party and informational event for potential investors. Thursday, June 1st 6:30pm 32 Mount Pleasant St Cambridge MA 02140 (On street Parking is limited) Please RSVP To learn more and invest, visit us at

June 3, 2017: Wrestling with God and Men: Homosexuality and the Jewish Tradition

Massachusetts Jobs with Justice - Tue, 2017-05-30 12:57
Event Description: Presentation by Rabbi Steven Greenberg in the Novakoff Room after Shabbat morning services. Rabbi Greenberg is the founder and director of Eshel, an Orthodox LGBT community support, education and advocacy organization, and is on the faculty of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. In 2001, he appeared in Trembling Before God, a documentary about gay and lesbian Orthodox Jews, and joined the film maker, Sandi DuBowski, carrying the film across the globe as a tool for dialogue. He is the author of the award-winning book, Wrestling with God and Men: Homosexuality in the Jewish Tradition, (University of Wisconsin Press). He lives with his partner Steven Goldstein and daughter Amalia in Boston. He will discuss the subject of his book. All are welcome! This program is part of the adult education collaboration between Hebrew College and Congregation Mishkan Tefila. Find us on Facebook and Twitter Time: 12:30 pm (following Shabbat morning services) Location: Congregation Mishkan Tefila, 384 Harvard Street, Brookline, MA

June 4, 2017: Pride Picnic and Field Day

Massachusetts Jobs with Justice - Tue, 2017-05-30 12:56
Event Description:  You and your family are invited to kick off Pride in the park! Bring a picnic for a relaxing morning at the park filled with food, friends, and games! We will be by the BBQ Area near the playground. Details on crafts and field games to come! Accessibility information: Mobility accessible, children welcome! Do you have questions or want to get involved? Contact our Boston Community Programs Manager, Sho Garland. Please RSVP by June 2, 2017. Find us on Facebook and Twitter Time: 10:30 am – 1:30 pm Location: Larz Anderson Park, Goddard Avenue, Brookline, MA

June 5, 2017: Stand in Solidarity to Support Criminal Justice Reform

Massachusetts Jobs with Justice - Tue, 2017-05-30 12:55
Event Description: We need you at the state house to help us advocate for changes in our criminal justice system which at present keeps so many of our brothers and sisters locked out of the economy or locked up behind the walls.  For more info and to get a ride to the state house with us to Boston, contact EPOCA at 774-420-2722 or Please call to book a seat. THANK YOU. All Expenses paid by EPOCA. Bus leaves at 11am from 4 king street. Worcester, MA. We are scheduled to return approximately 6pm. Meals will be provided by EPOCA. *IF YOU CANNOT MAKE THIS ACTION WITH EPOCA BUT WOULD LIKE TO CONTRIBUTE A FINANCIAL DONATION TO ASSIST IN THE COST PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE AS YOUR DONATION IS NEEDED AND APPRECIATED GREATLY. THANK YOU. Time and Location: 1:00 pm Location: Statehouse in Room A-1 and A-2 (Joint Judiciary Committee)

AG Healey issues guidance on education and immigration

Public schools cannot deny access to education based on immigration status.

Thousands rally for public education

MTA president: "When we are defending our public schools, we are defending our vision for a better world.”

Awards, wide array of business at 172nd MTA Annual Meeting

MTA members cap off two-day meeting with march and Rally for Public Education.

We need you to take action right away on the state budget!

Urge your state senator to support MTA-backed amendments.

Stop Santander from Sucking Puerto Rico Dry!

Massachusetts Jobs with Justice - Tue, 2017-05-16 18:32
Puerto Rico’s debt crisis continues to devastate the people who live there. The island’s government, with the assistance of corporate investors, has looted public funds and gambled with Puerto Rico’s future by privatizing essential services. Now that Puerto Rico is broke thanks to their efforts, residents face massive, immediate school closings, a lack of clean drinking water, and the risk of a dangerous Zika epidemic this summer. Throughout this process, former Santander executive Carlos M. Garcia has played a key role, first as the head of Puerto Rico’s public bank, and now as a member of the federal control board. Garcia helped drown Puerto Rico in unpayable debt and liquidate a fund for water and sewer projects, while Puerto Rico’s infrastructure has crumbled. With Garcia’s help, Santander has made huge profits off the crisis and stands to make even more. On Tuesday, May 16, just as the AFL-CIO released a new report on Santander and Garcia’s participation in the crisis, we gathered with Allianza por Puerto Rico and the Boston Teachers Union in front of Santander’s US headquarters in Boston to stand in solidarity with the people of Puerto Rico, who are fighting to get their island back from the banks that [...]

May 17, 2017: Rally to Protect MBTA Services and Jobs

Massachusetts Jobs with Justice - Tue, 2017-05-16 17:55
Join us Wednesday, May 17th @ 9:30AM to tell Massachusetts policy-makers that the time to invest in public transit is now. MA State House (front steps) Wednesday, May 17th 9:30AM It’s time to invest in a transit system that works for all us – by providing quality, reliable service for riders; collaborating with our highly skilled workforce towards system improvements and innovations; and engaging our communities to design policies that address the needs of impacted stakeholders. Specifically, we are calling on the legislature to ensure the MBTA does not privatize core service jobs like bus maintenance. Privatization schemes have hurt taxpayers, riders, and workers. We cannot afford more expensive, failed privatization schemes like Keolis. Join us after the rally as we lobby our legislators on these critical issues. Facebook event here.

May 17, 2017: Stand with Haitian Immigrants

Massachusetts Jobs with Justice - Tue, 2017-05-16 17:51
50,000 immigrants, including maybe 5000 Haitians face losing their Temporary Protection Status in an upcoming decision this week by the Trump Administration. THis program has given these refugees from the Haitian earthquake the right to be here legally and the right to work.  But it has to be renewed every 18 months and the Trump Administration will decide by May 22 whether or not to renew it and we  are worried they are leaning toward not doing so. To take action to support the renewal of Haitian TPS, Haitian community, religious, and political, and labor leaders and members are gathering this Wednesday at 1:30 on the fourth floor of the State House, use the first elevators you come to when you go the left down the hall after the entrance on Beacon Street. The event is is hosted by State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry. THe event is part of Hatian Heritage Month but will focus on the Haitian TPS crisis and right afterwards we expect to visit the office of Governor Baker, to ask him to take emergency action as the highest elected Republican official in our state who can reach the Trump Administration to speak in support of the Haitian [...]
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