Building Bridges Radio: Your Community & Labor Report

Produced and Hosted by Mimi Rosenberg & Ken Nash over WBAI,99.5FM in the NYC Metro Area

WHO WE ARE

WORKERS OF THE WORLD TUNE IN! Introducing "Building Bridges: Your Community & Labor Report"

Our beat is the labor front, broadly defined, both geographically and conceptually. We examine the world of work and workers on the job as well as where they live. We examine the issues that affect their everyday lives, with a particular sensitivity towards human rights abuses, environmental concerns and the U.S. drive for global domination. We record their global struggles and provide analysis of their efforts to empower themselves and transform society to provide greater democratic, human, social, political and economic rights. Each program consists of feature stories, generally interviews, within a historical context, often accompanied by sound from demonstrations, rallies or conferences, and complemented and enhanced by poetry and instrumental or vocal -- people's culture.

Over the years Building Bridges has produced a weekly one hour program, Mondays from 7-8 PM EST, covering local, national and international labor and community issues over radio WBAI-Pacifica 99.5 FM in New York. We also produce half hour version, Building Bridges National, which is distribtued to over 40 broadcast and internet radio stations.


For more information you can contact us at knash@igc.org
In Struggle Mimi Rosenberg & Ken Nash

Immigration and the American Economy - 27:30  

Immigration and the American Economy
with

Dave Dyssegaard Kallick, with the Fiscal Policy Institute’s  Immigration Research Initiative that examines the role of immigrants in the New York State economy and beyond
and
Cal Soto, National Rights Coordinator with the National Day Laborers 
Organizing Network (NDLON) committed to improve the lives of day laborers in the United States - to protect and expand their civil, labor and human rights. 

Few government policies can have so profound an impact on a nation as 
immigration. Large numbers of immigrants and their descendants have a significant impact on the cultural, political, and economic situation in their new country. Over the last 3 decades, socio-economic conditions, and the scourge of war and terror campaigns against the population have caused 25 million people to leave their homelands and emigrate legally to the United States.  Additionally, it’s estimated that the undocumented population grows by 400,000 to 500,000 each year.  

As in the past, immigration has sparked an intense debate over the costs 
and benefits of such a large number of people entering the country. One of the central aspects of the immigration debate is its impact on the American economy.  Presently the debate has been controlled by the white nationalist rants of Donald Trump and others in the Republican Party. But, we’re here to debunk the myths, counter the lies, repudiate the vitriol  and reset the
discussion 

There is a poster that’s stayed in my mind’s eye for years – it’s a portrait of a 
Native American, which says “if your so against immigration, splendid when do you leave?”

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Time for A New Economy Creating Good Jobs for All - 26:46  

Time for A New Economy Creating Good Jobs for All

And yes, another world is possible! There are alternatives!  It's time for a new economy! Two of the nation’s leading activists talk about creating jobs, jobs and more jobs and creating new economic models to realize another world is possible. 
with
Ed Whitfeld is a co-founder and co-managing director of the Fund for Democratic Communities (F4DC) a private foundation that aims to promote economic democracy and cooperative economics in the U.S. South. In his work with F4DC, Ed helped initiate the formation of the Southern Grassroots Economies Project (SGEP) and the Southern Reparations Loan Fund.  Whitfield has been at the forefront of not just envisioning, but actively building a new economy grounded in justice, democracy, and sustainability. 
and  
Steven Pitts, Associate Chair of the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education focuses on issues of job quality and Black workers. In this arena, he has published reports on employment issues in the Black community, initiated a Black union leadership school, and shaped projects designed to build solidarity between Black and Latino immigrant workers. Currently, a major area of his work involves providing technical assistance to efforts in developing Black worker centers around the country.

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NYC UFT Elections - MORE/New Action Challenges Unity Caucus - 28:47  

Why MORE/New Action Candidates Contest Unity Caucus Seats for  UFT Leadership In Union Elections
with 

Jia Lee, candidate for President

Jia is currently a 4th/5th grade special education teacher and is chapter leader at the Earth School in District 1 and a public school parent. As chapter leader, she supported staff consultation committees on issues from micromanagement and professional conciliation and fostered mediation to support a democratic culture. She testified before the U.S. HELP (Health, Education, Labor and Pensions) Senate Committee, on the reauthorization of ESEA. She is an opt out organizer with Change the Stakes and NYC Opt Out,
a member of the Stronger Together Caucus and a national network of social justice caucuses.
and

Camille Eterno, candidate for Secretary 
Camille has been an English teacher since 1996. She was elected to chapter leader at the Queens Gateway to Health Sciences and won grievances that were said to be unwinnable and organized her chapter into a force at many union rallies. As a leader in the Independent Community of Educators, she was instrumental in
the battle against the giveback laden 2005 contract. She is now a delegate from Humanities and the Arts High School in Queens.
and 

Jonathan Halabi, High School Division Candidate for Executive Board
Jonathan is a UFT Chapter leader and a math teacher at the H.S. of American Studies at Lehman College.  He’s been on the UFT Ex. Board 2009 to the present. Jonathan has said “Teaching is an honorable career. We help kids learn and grow. Their success is our reward. But not if we are mistreated. Not if our voices are ignored. Not if decisions that affect our schools are made out of incompetence and malice. We are running to ensure all our voices are heard in our union”.

Building Bridges brings to the airwaves the voices of MORE/New Action Caucus candidates for the UFT’s seats in the union’s upcoming election.  MORE/New Action says “if you’re tired of the attacks against teachers and public education; if you’re tired that our students’ education has been hijacked by a “test” prep curriculum focusing our time on “data” instead of teaching then
we need something different. A union that fights for the rights of students, teachers and communities. A union that fights for racial and economic justice inside and outside our schools. “We help kids learn and grow. Their success is our reward. But not if we are mistreated”. 


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Puerto Rico Drowning in Debt  

Vulture Hedge Funds Circle on Higher Ground
as Puerto Rico Drowns in Debt
with 

University of Puerto Rico Prof. Rafael Bernabe Riefkohl, Working People's Party spokesperson and candidate for the Governor of Puerto Rico, and noted co-author of  Puerto Rico in the American Century A History since 1898

Puerto Rico’s fiscal perils are currently in the news.  It is an island with a poverty rate approaching 50 percent, a public debt that amounts to over $20,000 per inhabitant (more than its median income of $19,518). While most of the attention in Puerto Rico’s case focuses on technical issues relating to the solvency of municipal bonds and austerity measures, the history of U.S. policies have resulted in more than three and a half million Puerto Ricans being treated as second class citizens.  With a poverty rate of more than 45 percent (more than double that of Mississippi), Puerto
Rico has had serious long-term economic problems that, like its current massive public debt, have been historically papered over.  Meanwhile, the hedge fund vultures and Wall Street banks and lawyers charging over $1.4 billion in a seven-year period for charges like swap termination fees are circling Puerto Rico. They are sensing a fiscal death spiral they can feed off and caring little about the consequences for nearly four million residents as they manipulate a financial system largely devoid of any social conscience.  The bottom line is that Puerto Rico is the United States’ largest colony that it decided to take by force 117 years ago and has since treated like a resented orphan it has consistently undernourished politically and economically. Puerto Rico’s current fiscal crisis is, in this sense, really a crisis of American colonial policies and will the United States accept responsibility for the negative consequences of its imperialist past?  Prof. Barnabe Riefkohl, candidate for Gov. of Puerto Rico talks about this and  approaches for the Island’s recovery and more long term solutions for Puerto Rico’s fiscal problems.


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Workers Strike Against Verizon’s War On Union Rights & Protections - 28:32  

Workers Say Hell No To Verizon’s War On Union Rights & Protections
with

Pete Sikora, Strike Coordinator, CWA Region 1

Nearly 40,000 Verizon workers have hit the picket lines, in what would be one of the largest strikes in the U.S. in recent years. The workers, members of the Communication Workers of America (CWA) and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), are fighting aggressive attacks on their compensation, job security and more--carried out by a corporation that has made $39 billion in profits over the past three years, but won't be satisfied until it breaks the power of their unions.  Verizon is attacking the workers medical, pensions, disability, overtime and is attempting to rescind “Article 8”, which protects the workers’ right to show up to work in the same place, every day, a reasonable distance from where they live.  Verizon’s proposed contract would also allow for closing more call centers and transferring the workers up to 80
miles from their current job sites, as well as opening the door to increased international outsourcing.  And, while there is already a two-tier system for job security the proposed contract would eliminate job security no matter how long you’ve been with the company.  Verizon is seeking to transform the company to be more oriented to Wireless and modeled more on the workplace culture of
Wireless, which is overwhelmingly nonunion.  But, the workers say you can’t break our backs and assert the power of the union to protect against the bosses voracious drive for profits and control.  


Plus, a special message from Bernie Sanders from the union picket line and discussion on why CWA supports Sanders for President. 

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Peoples Organization for Progress Endorses Bernie Sanders  

New Jersey’s Powerful Grassroots Peoples Organization for Progress Takes Bernie Sanders to Heart
with

Larry Hamm, veteran activist, Chairman the People’s Organization for Progress

POP has rarely departed from a long-standing policy of not supporting candidates for office and engaged in a rigorous debate and careful consideration before reaching its position on how to relate to the 2016 presidential election.  POP’s Chairman Larry Hamm acknowledged the struggle of Bernie Sanders to date to build support in urban communities, specifically with Black and Latino voters.  “It did come up and it will continue to come up, but the fact remains that many of his basic positions will benefit black people,” said the activist. “Single payer healthcare, raising the minimum wage, affordable college, rebuilding crumbling infrastructure. Although those specific  platform planks may not be addressed specifically to African-Americans, black people know that they will benefit from those things.”  Sanders, who had a campaign rally stopped by young Black Lives Matter activists, has by far, the most left leaning stance on all of the issues, especially the economic and racial justice issues that matter most to the organization. “Bernie Sanders is the first self-described socialist to ever have gotten this
close to the Presidency of the United States,” said founder and chairman Lawrence Hamm.  “While we should be deeply concerned by how Republican candidates like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz have taken the Republican Party so far to the right, we, on the left, should be just as active as they are and should give serious consideration to how the Sanders campaign could possibly take the Democratic Party from the center right to the left,” said Hamm.
PlusFormer Secretary of Labor Robert Reich
Six Responses to Bernie Skeptics


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The Panama Papers - Cracking Open Kleptocrats and Plutocracts Piggy Banks  

Cracking Open Kleptocrats and Plutocracts Piggy Banks:
The Panama Papers
with James Henry
,
who has written extensively about global banking, debt crises, tax havens and economic development.  Henry is former chief economist at the international consultancy firm McKinsey & Co. and is now a  senior fellow at the Columbia University Center for Sustainable  International Investment  and senior adviser with the Tax Justice Network, which has estimated in their study, “The Price of Offshore Revisited,” that total wealth in tax havens was between $21 trillion and $32 trillion.  James Henry's books include The Blood Bankers: Tales from the Global Underground Economy, and the forthcoming The Pirate Bankers. 


Attorney, James Henry takes us through one of the biggest leaks in journalistic history, 11.5 million documents  to reveal  the secretive offshore companies used to hide wealth, evade taxes and commit fraud by the world's dictators, business tycoons and criminals.  This massive leak of documents has blown open a window on the vast, murky world of shell companies, providing an extraordinary look at how the wealthy and powerful conceal their money. The  data breach occurred at a little-known but powerful Panamanian law firm, Mossack Fonseca, which has an office in Las Vegas, a representative in Miami and a presence in more than 35 other places around the world.  The firm is one of the world’s top five creators of shell companies, which can have legitimate business uses, but can also be used to dodge taxes and launder money.  

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160 Bangladeshi Immigrants Seeking Asylum Being Deported - 26:14  

From Hurt and Hope During Holy Week Towards Resurrection
with 

The New Sanctuary Coalition NYC
and

Fahd Ahmed, Exec. Director, DRUM – South Asian Organizing Center  

The U.S. is scheduled to deport over 160 Bangladeshis who had requested asylum. These men have been kept in detention under deplorable conditions, so much so that they were driven to go on hunger strikes to bring attention to their plight. Now, they are fighting for basic human rights against their imminent deportation. But, on Easter Friday, a special day for many Christians a broad
coalition led by faith-based organizations came to Federal Plaza in a pray out to raise up the principles of that holy day by protesting the deportation of their brother Bangladeshis and advocating for changes to our immigration policies that lift up the common humanity of all and provide people with the opportunity to live in dignity.  The protestors surrounded Federal Plaza, speaking the words of pain and suffering that immigrants experience and railed against a system that punishes and destroys families and communities.


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Tim Wise: On Trump and Under the Affluence - 28:58  

On Trump and Under the Affluence
with

Tim Wise, America’s foremost anti-racism activist and writer

Tim Wise discusses his new book Under the Affluence, where
he brilliantly engages the roots and ramifications of radical inequality in our nation and then Wise discusses Donald Trump’s
appeal to and how he stokes the flames of white nationalism and
doesn’t spare the liberals reserve in responding to Black Lives
Matters and repudiating racism. 


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Boss Trump Bullies Las Vegas Hotel Workers ; Elections 1948 with Ronald Reagan - 28:56  

Trump Las Vegas Hotel Workers Say He’s Anti-Worker.
He’d Rather Say “YOUR FIRED” than Allow Workers to Unionize!
with

Bethany Khan, Director of Communications, 
Culinary Workers Union Local 226
and Luis Carlos, Banquet food server, Trump Hotel Las Vergas


After a resounding “YES” vote to unionize with the Culinary Workers Union, Local 226, Trump’s Hotel Las Vegas refused to recognize and bargain with the union as required by federal law.  Now, boss Trump has filed objections to the outcome of a free and fair union representation election won by the workers who want a union and have been accused by the federal government of violating labor laws.  And, recently The National Labor Relations Board issued another federal complaint against Trump alleging that his company unlawfully told one employee, “YOUR FIRED”  and discriminated against another based on their union support.  Federal officials maintain that Trump's hotel company engaged in the numerous unlawful practices such as: issuing rules prohibiting workers from communicating with one another and the public;  engaging in surveillance, interrogations and intimidating employees; and suspending and threatening to fire union supporters. 

"If Donald Trump wants to 'Make America Great Again,' said Maria Jaramillo a housekeeper at the Trump Las Vegas ‘he should by negotiating a fair deal with us.”
**************************************
Elections 1948
with
Ronald Reagan
Eric Foner- Prof of History, Columbia University


In 1948 Ronald Reagan, then the President of the Screen Actors
Guild, starred in a Radio program sponsored by the International
Ladies Garment Workers Union promoting the candidacy of Harry
Truman in the Presidential elections of that year. You will hear
Ronald Reagan the then unabashed liberal blasting the Republican
Tom Dewey and the Republic Congress for its anti-worker policies
including the Taft-Hartley Act and for promoting policies which
decrease the real income of workers while promoting huge profits
by the greedy corporations. With commentary by Eric Foner placing this watershed election in historical context for today.  


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Protecting Reproductive Rights; “Ain’t I a Woman” - 28:49  

Women Don’t Intend To Fall In Any More Of Your TRAPs
with

Andrew Beck, attorney, ACLU Reproductive Rights Project

Last week women fought to climb out of another TRAP dug for them on their long road for reproductive health and the control of  their bodies. The deepest of TRAPs (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers), laws that are cloaked in the deceptive language of women’s health, but which actually put women at risk, by shutting down health centers where women can get safe and legal abortions was just argued at the Supreme Court.  The Supreme Court case was the most important abortion case in decades. Inside the court, the justices asked how the law, HB2, will actually “help” Texas women. Meanwhile, outside advocates gathered to demonstrate their support for abortion access, for every woman in every state. Shifts in the power structure of Congress led to promises to strip away access to reproductive health care, and especially abortion.   Laws that make it difficult if not impossible for a woman to get an abortion if she needs one, particularly if she is poor, are increasing at an alarming pace.  At this critical time, we’ll reveal whose behind the TRAPs, what we can expect from the Supreme Court in the wake of this latest anti-abortion case, and most importantly on protecting access to affordable contraception, protecting a woman’s ability to make personal, private decisions about pregnancy and abortion, and fighting pregnancy discrimination. 
***************************
“Ain’t I a Woman”
featuring critically acclaimed actress Vinnie Burrows


In the town of Akron, Ohio in the year 1851, an African American woman delivered a moving speech at the Women’s Convention that would be remembered for its rawness, authenticity, and powerful message and holds as much relevance today as it did then. Sojourner Truth spoke to the Women’s Convention about her experiences and tribulations as not only a woman in that day’s society but as a Black woman.  She established a sense of identity as a victim of discrimination by describing how she faced prejudices as a Black person and as a woman in order to incite an emotional response in her audience and invited her audience, mostly women suffering from their own forms of discrimination, to realize the injustices of which they too are victims.

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The Mine Wars: The Bitter Battle Fought By a “People Made of Steel” - 28:55  

The Mine Wars: The Bitter Battle Fought By a “People Made of Steel”
with
Randall MacLowry, producer and director 

Go inside the coal miners' bitter battle for dignity at the dawn of the 20th century with The Mine Wars. The struggle over the material that fueled Ame rica led to the largest armed insurrection since the Civil War and turned parts of West Virginia into a bloody war zone. At the dawn of the 20th century, coal was the fuel that powered the nation.  Yet few Americans thought much about the men who blasted the black rock from underground and hauled it to the surface.  The Mine Wars tells the overlooked story of the miners in the mountains of southern West Virginia, native mountaineers, African American migrants, and European immigrants who came together in a protracted struggle for their rights.

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Celebrating Puerto Rican Political Prisoner Oscar Lopez Rivera - 27;10  

The ProLibertad Freedom Campaign Invites You to Celebrate the 73rd Birthday of Puerto Rican Political Prisoner Oscar Lopez Rivera
with.  

Jesus Papoleto Melendez, poet
.  Rafael Landron, poet
.  Estela Vasquez, VP, 1199/SEIU
.  Lynne Stewart, former Political Prisoner
.  Bob Lederer, former grand jury resister


Celebrate the birthday of Oscar Lopez Rivera, an imprisoned struggler against colonialism, imprisoned by the U.S., and call for his release.  For the past 34 years, Oscar Lopez Rivera has spent his birthday in prison.  He is in jail because he is  a revolutionary who fought for the independence of Puerto Rico.  Join us we celebrate the life, work, and legacy of this extraordinary man!

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W. E. B. Du Bois and the Emergence of Identity - 26:50  

Lines of Descent:
W. E. B. Du Bois and the Emergence of Identity

with
Kwame Anthony Appiah 

Kwame Anthony Appiah, is a British-born Ghanaian-American
philosopher, cultural theorist, and novelist whose interests
include political and moral theory, the philosophy of language
and mind, and African intellectual history.  Professor Appiah
discusses his latest book,  Lines of Descent: W.E.B. Du Bois
and the Emergence of Identity.
  


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Protestors Arrested Declaring NYC an ICE-Free Zone - 27:03  

Protestors Arrested Declaring NYC an Ice-Free Zone, in Push-Back Against Obama’s  Resolution To Deport Central American Refugees
with

The ICE-FREE NYC campaign, comprised of New Yorkers of all Backgrounds Who Want Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Completely Out of Our City

In response to the ongoing raids of noncitizens and the recent announcement of raids against Central American refugees immigrant rights advocates, labor unions, faith-based groups, and community members gathered to say NO to raids, demand and end to deportations and announce the creation of ICE-FREE Zones throughout New York City.  First, Obama, already known in
immigrant communities as the Deporter-in-Chief, announced the deportation priority program called Priority Enforcement Program (PEP).  Shortly after the announcement of PEP, home raids in NYC increased at an alarming rate. Then, on Dec. 26, 2015, Obama’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced nationwide raids aimed at deporting the primarily women and children, many of whom are refugees who fled some of the most violent regions in the world, in particular Central America.  But, the ICE-FREE NYC campaign  demands that the Department of Corrections and NY Police Department must end all collaboration with ICE, prohibit the sharing of information about New Yorkers between ICE and all City agencies that may reveal an individuals’ immigration status.  The ICE-FREE NYC campaign stands in solidarity and will put their bodies on the line to protect immigrant/refugee families and create ICE-FREE Zones within NYC's five boroughs and Long Island.


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Paul Robeson, the Artist as Revolutionary with Dr. Gerald Horne - 27:06  

Paul Robeson, the Artist as Revolutionary
with

Dr. Gerald Horne,  Horne has written more than 30 books on the struggles of those marginalized throughout world history and is chair of History and African Studies at University of Houston. He is one of the most gifted and insightful historians on racial matters of his generation. 

Gerald Horne discusses the Paul Robeson we've been waiting for: the 
flesh and blood revolutionary, artistic genius, and fearless opponent of capitalism, racism and colonialism. He recovers in meticulous detail one of the 20th century's greatest freedom fighters. Horne also brings Robeson to life for our own times. Gerald Horne returns Paul Robeson to his rightful place in history, squarely at the center of the Black freedom movement and the global struggle for human rights. As Horne demonstrates, Robeson knew no boundaries or borders-either in art, culture, nations, or in matters of politics. Struggle was his life; the world his terrain. 

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The Flint Water Crisis from the Ground Up - 28:56  

The Flint Water Crisis from the Ground Up
with
.  Sean Crawford, a Flint resident and auto worker whose
great grandfather was Vice Chair of the Flint sit-down strike  
.  Claire McClinton, Member of Flint Democracy Defense League
 


It's like living in "some sort of a dystopian novel," Sean Crawford writes, "to find National Guard troops going door to door delivering drinking water on his street. To skimp on water costs, the governor and dictatorial emergency manager exposed the whole city to lead poisoning.  My hometown of Flint has been known for many things through its history. First as the birthplace of General Motors, and subsequently as the battleground of the Flint Sit-Down Strike that formed the United Auto Workers.  That gave rise to a wave of union organizing across the country, and to the middle class.

The quality of life that Flint residents struggled for and enjoyed was once the envy of the world.  More recently, Flint became famous as ground zero for the disastrous consequences of corporate globalization―chronic unemployment and underemployment, increasing wealth inequality, and the violence and destabilization that can happen in a community when companies are allowed
to destroy people’s livelihoods. Whether it was out of fear of political or financial reprisal, anyone who knowingly allowed the violation of Flint citizens’ health and safety 


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Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Text Unveiled - 27:20  

Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Text Unveiled:
It’s Worse Than We Thought
with  

Melinda St. Louis | International Campaigns Director
Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch


The long-awaited release of the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) revealed that the pact replicates many of the most controversial terms of past pacts that promote job offshoring and push down U.S wages while further expanding the scope of the controversial investor-state system and rolling back improvements on access to affordable medicines and environmental standards. Melinda St. Louis highlights the most onerous features of TPP and discusses the rigorous efforts to stop this quintessential capitalist juggernaut.  

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Supreme Court on Challenge to Survival of Public Sector Unions - 27'  

U.S. Supreme Court Heard Challenge to Bread and Butter Survival of Public Sector Unions
with

Caroline Fredrickson, President American Constitution Society for Law and Policy
and

Joe Burns, Labor Lawyer and Author, Strike Back: Using the Militant Tactics of Labor's Past to Reignite Public Sector Unionism Today

On Jan.11th, the U.S. Supreme Court considered a conservative legal challenge targeting public sector unions when the justices took up a case brought by non-union teachers who object to having to pay for collective bargaining rights. The dispute pits 10 public school teachers and the Christian Educators Association International against the California Teachers Association, a union with 325,000 members and a history of backing liberal political causes.  Unions that are certified to represent a group of employees are legally compelled to represent all employees in that unit, which means bargaining on behalf of all the workers for health care and other benefits, higher wages and representing them in grievances to adjudicate their rights against their employers.  The “dues” pay for unions to be able to  advocate for services to its members and to administratively function as an organization.  This court challenge seeks a decision that would economically starve the public workers organizations affecting their ability to advocate for their members individual economic benefits and their political rights as workers.   

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Inside Chicago's Legacy of Police Abuse - 28:58  

Inside Chicago's Legacy of Police Abuse:
Violence 'as routine as traffic lights'
with
Professor Craig Futterman, professor of law

On November 24, the Chicago Police Department released the long-
awaited dashcam video from the shooting death of Laquan McDonald in Chicago. Craig Futterman, Clinical Professor of Law and director of the Civil Rights and Police Accountability Project, was instrumental in that release through his successful FOIA request. Professor Futterman and the Invisible Institute also recently released the Citizens Police Data Project, which provides a powerful tool to research several years of complaints against Chicago police officers. Now Building Bridges speaks with Prof. Futterman about The Alarming Numbers on Race and Police Misconduct in Chicago" and the context for the most recent police killings of 55-year-old, mother of 5, Bettie Jones and her young upstairs neighbor, 19 year old Quintonio LeGrier.  

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Obama Vows Massive Deportations of Central American Refugees -26:03  

Immigrants Decry President Obama’s New Year Resolution to Begin Massive Roundups and Deportations of Central Americans
with
Oscar Charcon, Executive Director Alianza Americas

To stanch the flow of undocumented refugees to the U.S., President Obama, who some now refer to as the Deporter-In-Chief’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been preparing a national operation to deport Central American families, many of whom have been showing up at the southwest border, driven to leave El Salvador and Honduras which is gripped by terrifying violence, in a region that has also been plagued by a devastating drought.  Starting this month, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a DHS unit, plans to start rounding up hundreds of families that entered the U.S. without documents and deport them. Building Bridges speaks with Oscar Chacon, Executive Director of Alianza Americas, an immigrant from El Salvador, Chacon is a frequent lecturer on Latino immigrant issues in the U.S. and the impacts of the Latino diaspora in Latin America and decries this betrayal of the U.S.’s touted principles of human rights 

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Puerto Rican Teachers Union Fights Austerity - 26:59  

Massive Demonstrations in Puerto Rico
as Teachers Union Fights Austerity
with

Mercedes Martinez, Pres., Teachers Federation of Puerto Rico
(“FMPR”)


With the rejection by Congress of any meaningful measure for debt relief despite the current deadline for almost $1 billion in debt payment due on January 1st, and amidst wealthy investors squeezing the cash-starved Island, unions in Puerto Rican are bracing for any eventuality, from massive layoffs to and including the possibly of a government shutdown.  A general strike is one of the responses being discussed by the FMPR, one of the most militant unions in Puerto Rico.  On November 17, 2015 the FMPR led a highly successful one day strike against the colonial government's brutal austerity program, and escalating attacks on hard earned workers’ rights, including pensions and retiree medical benefits and efforts to privatize the school system. The FMPR’s most recent action, just thus this past week was a civil disobedience activity at the Department of Treasury, against a pay cut in the form of denial of a Christmas bonus due to all public workers. While the colonial government says Cut Back the FMPR says Fight Back!

Plus

Puerto Rico's Economic Crisis:
Analysis, Alternatives and Solutions
with

Rafael Bernabe, candidate for Governor of Puerto Rico for the Partido del Pueblo Trabajador (PPT) 2012; professor and director of the Federico de Onís Hispanic Studies Center at the University of Puerto Rico at Río Piedras; economist; and who has  published three books including “Puerto Rico: Crisis y Alternativas” 

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Runaway Inequality; Haitian Election bodes ill for the people! - 27:16  

Runaway Inequality: An Activist’s Guide To Economic Justice
withLes Leopold, award-winning author; cofounded and directs the
Labor Institute in NYC; conducts and shares economic educational programs to help fight runaway inequality


“There is nothing in the economic universe that will automatically rescue us from runaway inequality.  There is no pendulum, no invisible political force that “naturally” will swing back towards economic fairness…Either we wage a large-scale battle for economic, social and environmental justice or we will witness the continued deterioration of the world we inhabit.  The arc of
capitalism does not bend towards justice .  We must bend it.”  Leopold’s Runaway Inequality puts the facts in our hands so we can grasp what is really going on in our economy – and what we can do about it.
***************************
Election that bodes ill for the Haitian people!
withKim Ives, An Editor of
Haïti Liberté


To prevent the Haitian people from celebrating the Bicentennial of the country’s 1804 independence, the International Community unleashed a vast media campaign of propaganda against the then government.  The end result was not only the landing of a group of mercenaries from the neighboring Dominican Republic, under the control of the CIA, but also a brutal, and bloody coup.  Since then, France, the United States and Canada have occupied Haiti under the flag of the United Nations and one current manifestation of imperialist domination was these governments without consulting the Haitian people deciding that there would be an election. Huge sums of money have been freed up for this event, while the victims of the earthquake are still housed under makeshift tents and tarps with little or no protection against heavy rains, not to mention hurricanes. Kim Ives an editor of  Haiti Liberte the largest Haitian weekly newspaper, distributed throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Haiti talks about the political situation on the ground in Haiti and the upcoming elections, as the campaign season for the final round of Haiti's elections is concluding and as of yet the second-place finisher in the presidential vote still hasn't decided whether he will participate in a runoff or continue to press for a
recount in an election that has already been shown to have been patently fraudulent

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Grassroots Alliance Challenges Paris Climate Conference; Walmart Worker Surveillance - 28:58  

It Takes Roots to Weather the Storm: the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance Challenges COP21 Climate Conference in Paris
with
Kali Akuno, is a founder and co-director of Cooperation Jacksonan emerging network of worker cooperatives and supporting institutions in Jackson, Mississippi and the South. Kali also served as the Co-Director of the US Human Rights Network, and as the Executive Director of the Peoples Hurricane Relief Fund based in New Orleans, after Hurricane Katrina. Some of Kali s most noted works include, most recently Casting Shadows: Chokwe Lumumba and the Struggle for Racial Justice and Economic Democracy in Jackson, Mississippi ; Revolutionary Nationalism
for the 21st Century , and Until We Win: Black Labor and Liberation in the Disposable Era . Kali has authored many articles and pamphlets on international and working class politics, with a focus on how government counterinsurgency, state violence, the drug war, mass incarceration and neoliberalism impact Black communities, and issues of zero waste, food sovereignty, solidarity economies, and worker cooperatives. 

Kali, discusses "an agenda for power for working and poor people and communities of color," for climate justice advocated by the "It Takes Roots to Weather the Storm delegation of over 100 frontline leaders from climate-impacted communities across the U.S. and Canada, including the Arctic, united under the slogan: 'No War, No Warming -- Build an Economy for People and Planet.' ... Climate justice seeks to address much more than greenhouse gas emissions, but the root systemic causes of climate change itself. Climate justice is about social and economic justice, and how democratic, peaceful and equitable solutions, not military violence, best serve the interests of humanity. The fossil fuel economy is a driver of these multi-faceted crises facing the world: causing resource wars; polluting our air, water and land; creating illness and death to people and of ecosystems; privatization of nature ..."
***************************
Walmart Engages FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force and Lockheed Martin To Surveil Workers Calling for $15 an Hour and Full-Time Work
with
Dan Schlademan, Co-Director, Our Walmart

OUR Walmart has uncovered testimony revealing Walmart’s surveillance of their workers fighting for $15 an hour and full-time work in the wake of Black Friday strikes in 2012 and the “Ride for Respect” in 2013. In addition to  closely monitoring the lawful labor rights activism of its associates on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, as the company faced a wave of bad publicity and negative same store sales, Walmart enlisted military industrial giant Lockheed Martin to spy on its workers and the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force to gather intelligence on protests.  “We are fighting for
all workers to be paid a fair wage and enough hours to put food on the table and provide for our families," said Mary Pat Tifft, a Walmart worker of 27 years in Wisconsin. "To think that Walmart found us such a threat that they had to hire a defense contractor and engage the FBI is a mind-blowing abuse of power. 

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NY Protesters Rally Over Deadly Chicago, Minneapolis and NYC Police Shootings - 28:50  

Multiple Arrests As NY Protesters Rally
Over Deadly Chicago, Minneapolis Police Shootings


Millions March NYC and NYC Shut It Down – both of which are part of the Black Lives Matter movement held a rally in Washington Square Park decrying police violence against African-Americans.  Protesters rallied and marched over recent deadly police shootings in Chicago of Laquan McDonald in October 2014, and Minneapolis.  Protesters were also marching in solidarity with five activists who were shot while protesting the Minneapolis incident.  The five activists were shot by white supremacists who targeted those demonstrating near the 4th Precinct police station in Minneapolis, in the aftermath of the death of Jamar Clark – who was shot in the head and killed, while handcuffed by a local police officer.  At one point, a group went into Macy’s at Herald Square, and at another point, a group tried blocking the Lincoln Tunnel.   

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Prescribing Medicare for All; Immigration: Exploiting the Politics of Resentmen - 28:58  

As Jan. 31st Deadline for Open Enrollment Under ObamaCare Looms, Doctor Finds Better Presciption Medicare for All
with
Dr. Donald E. Moore, MD, MPH,  Past President, Medical Society of the County of Kings and Board Member of Physicians for a National Health Program, NY Metro Chapter

While millions of Americans now scrambling to re-enroll in health insurance programs under the Affordable Care Act  are frustrated by the limitations of the private insurance marketplace, Dr. Moore, while noting the gains made under OmamaCare sees it's defects play out in his efforts to  provide good medical care to  patients.  In addition to often increasing out of pocket expenses,the insurance companies dictate which specialists he can refer patients to and he is pressured to shorten patient visits and bill them more. In response he has in effect gone “single payer,” or advocates Medicare for
all, refusing to work with private insurers and now mainly accepting patients under Medicare and Medicaid. He is urging all doctors to join the movement for Medicare for All (Single Payer) to reform the health care system based on inefficent private health care insurance with its high administrative overhead and profit margins. He has joined with other doctors in the Physicians for a National Health Program in lobbying the NYS Legislature to institute a Single Payer System in NYS, or Medicare for all, and the NYS Assembly recently overwhelming passed such a bill.    
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The Presidential Candidates On Immigration:
Exploiting the Politics of Resentment
withOscar Chacon, Executive Director, Alianza Americas 


When New York billionaire and GOP Presidential candidate Donald Trump launched into his anti-immigrant tirade against Mexicans crossing the border, he was using a long known political technique of plugging into the live wire of American resentment of the other – most recently Latinos; more precisely, those from the Southern borders: Mexicans, Salvadorans, Guatemalans,Hondurans, and the like.  And, no doubt the recent tragedies in France will be exploited to promote a new wave of fear and antagonism towards
immigrants and migrants of Arab descent. But, since the 19th century, politicians have used currents of fear, often fueled by economic downturns for the working class to crank up movements
against those who came from abroad.  Oscar Chacon discusses how US immigration policy is rooted in a narrative that paints immigrants as a criminal threat to order and progress and that the  political dilemma extends across party lines and is threaded through the positions of all the Presidential candidates to some degree.  Given that underlying assumption Chacon discusses how US immigration policy can truly be fixed, which he contends depends on how quickly and effectively organized immigrant communities—
and those who wish to make common cause with them—can build the political muscle necessary to ensure that their needs and demands can be neither co-opted nor ignored.

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Walmart Workers Black Friday Fast for “$15 and Full-Time” - 27:19  

Walmart Workers Fast for “$15 and Full-Time”
Part of 50 State Protests

with

•  Denise Barlage, former Walmart worker of 9 years laid off in
Pico Rivera, CA after speaking out f
or better working conditions

•  Tyfani Faulkner, former Walmart customer service manager.
Sacramento, CA
•  Emily Dehart works for Walmart in Merritt Island, Florida



Workers to Organize Dozens of Events Nationwide and Outside Walton Family Estates to Demonstrate that Walmart Workers and their Families are Going Hungry

Walmart workers and their allies announced plans to fast for “$15 and full-time” in the 15 days leading up to Black Friday, with fasting and actions planned in all 50 states. OUR Walmart, the worker-led organization which has already won significant victories – including a wage increase for 500,000 Walmart workers – will organize outside Walton family estates to draw attention to the income inequality that has become the trademark of the nation’s largest and most profitable corporate employer. Their message is clear: while Walmart employees can barely put food on the table this Thanksgiving, Walmart continues to thrive as the largest supplier of groceries in the nation and line the pockets of the Walton family with corporate greed. Anything less than $15
and full-time is not enough for Walmart workers


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NYC CUNY Faculty Arrested in Contract Protest - 26:37  

DOZENS OF CUNY FACULTY IN PROTEST
HEAD TO JAIL v. SCHOOL

with

Barbara Bowen, President, Professional Staff Congress/CUNY
and protesting workers
ing New Yorkers, for the immigrants and people of color of this city.

         “CUNY Needs A Raise,”  “Stop the War on CUNY,” 
             “No More Excuses Chancellor Milliken"


Several dozen City University of New York faculty members were arrested in the latest of a series of escalating protests as part of a demand for salary increases. CUNY’s roughly 25,000 faculty and professional staff members have been without a contract since 2010 and have had no salary increases in that time.  Just before the civil disobedience occurred and after an announcement of a strike authorization vote the CUNY Administration finally put an offer on the table, but the Professional Staff Congress, which represents the workers vows to keep the pressure on as the proposal falls far short of what is needed to pay staff decently for the important work they do. Chancellor Milliken's offer represents a failure on CUNY management's part to secure sufficient investment by New York's Gov. Cuomo in the people who make college education possible
for half a million working New Yorkers, for the immigrants and people of color of NYC.
.

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MURDERS BY POLICE MUST STOP – NOW!! - 28:56  

NO! THESE MURDERS BY POLICE MUST STOP – NOW!!

Eric Garner...  Michael Brown…Freddie Gray…
Rekia Boyd… Andy Lopez…Tamir Rice

One after another — and so many others, precious Black and Brown lives — victims of police murder. We think of their faces, and furiously ache for justice. Over 1000 people a year killed by police – yet since 2005, less than 60 indictments, less than 25 convictions! Millions languish in prison, generation after generation, Black and Latino brothers and sisters. The spearpoint of a whole matrix of oppression. But, people have struggled, resisted, risen up 
and Building Bridgesstraight from the line of march with them lifts up the voices of the family members, from across the country who have lost their beloved, at the hands of the police, along with a growing number of their supporters, who tell us that we must go further - in the months that come, in many different ways, we must intensify our resistance.   

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