Jonathan Miller, Chief of the Civil Rights Division, Office of the Attorney General, Massachusetts, will speak to us about several important cases before the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office has participated in significant amicus briefs. Efforts to use “disparate impact” claims under the Fair Housing Act. Mt. Holly v. Mount Holly Gardens Citizens in Action, Inc. (Settled, but issue still of importance). Support of mandated reproductive health coverage in the Hobby Lobby case where employer asserted corporate religious objections to the mandate. Support of 35 ft Buffer Zone outside of reproductive clinic where persons may not do involuntary “counseling” to those who seek health care – McCullen v. Coakley; Marriage equality – Beverly Sevcik, et al v. Brian Sandoval, et al (Nevada)/ Nathasha N. Jackson, et al v. Neil S. Abercrombie, Gov, State of Hawai’I, et al and Hawaii Family Forum – 9th Circuit; and Kitchen v. Herbert, 10th Circuit, challenging Utah’s constitutional ban on marriage for same-sex couples.
Signatures were delivered to the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth. Next will be verification of the signatures and approval by the MA Attorney General. Would expect to be on the ballot on Nov. 6, 2014.
Earned Sick Time has been a core pursuit of JALSA for over 6 years and we are now going to “the people to get this passed.” Likewise, a raise in the Minimum Wage has been an important goal of JALSA. The vast majority of persons receiving the minimum wage are family providers. You cannot feed, cloth, and shelter a family on the current minimum wage. This year, the earned sick time campaign has joined forces with another campaign working to improve conditions for low-income workers: the minimum wage campaign. $8.00 an hour is not enough to support a family, especially with the high living costs in Massachusetts.
For developments see May 19, 2013 NY Times article ” H&M Led Labor Breakthrough …”
The recent event in Bangladesh is an unfortunate reminder of the importance of government regulations for working conditions in factories. The collapse of the factory is the latest in a long line of disasters at Bangladeshi factories. Last year, more than 100 people died in a fire at Tazreen Fashions in the Bangladeshi town of Ashulia. M.T. Anderson, earlier this week in an excellent article in the NYTimes, reminded us of the similar tragedies in American garment factories until regulations were enforced.
The collapse of the garment factory in Bangladesh was not given the attention it deserved in the media due the coverage of the domestic Boston Marathon bombings and West, Texas factory explosion. But, it is important to reflect on the calamity that took place in the town of Savar in central Bangladesh where the death toll has now exceeded 500 according to Reuters. Much of the clothing we buy comes from places like Savar, and the conditions for the workers who make that clothing are dangerous and inhumane. We must educate ourselves and show as consumers that we are conscious of the treatment of those who make the products we buy.
Action Needed The Gap and other American stores that buy from Bangladeshi garment factories should be pressured to join the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement to make immediate safety improvements in supplier factories.
Writing to the CEOs of these companies is an effective means for pressuring them into changing their policies on what working conditions they expect from the factories that they buy from. Loblaw (Joe Fresh clothing) and Primark have said they will compensate the victims’ families, (Boston Globe, May 1, 2013) but they, Benetton, Children’s Place, and Mango need to improve worker conditions. Gap products were involved in the earlier fire.
Corporate addresses for these companies:
Primark Stores Limited Primark House 41 West Street Reading Berkshire RG1 1TZ
Childrens Place Corporate Office Headquarters 500 Plaza Drive, Secaucus, NJ 07094 USA
Loblaw Companies Limited, 1 President’s Choice Circle; Brampton, Ontario, Canada L6Y 5S5
Mango Mercaders 9-11 Poligono Industrial Riera de Caldes Apdo de correos 280 Palau Solità i Plegamans Barcelona 08184 Spain
Gap 2 Folsom Street; San Francisco, CA 94105;
Villa Minelli (Benetton); Via Villa Minelli, 131050 Ponzano Veneto; Treviso, Italy
Sheila Decter, Jewish Alliance for Law & Social Action
“It’s the difference between being able to put food on the table or not,” Sheila Decter of the Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action said.
The above quote was taken from the March 21, 2013 article posted on the website of the Patriot Ledger by Janine Mullaney reporting on the demonstration for Earned Sick Time in Quincy.
“The rally called on the Legislature to pass a bill introduced by Sen. Daniel Wolf, D-Harwich, back in January. The measure would ensure that the nearly one million Massachusetts workers who do not currently have access to paid sick time are able to earn time off to be used if they or a family member becomes ill.”