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PHOTOS: Grand openings, actions, and grassroots fundraising!

MCRU opens its’ shared North Nashville organizing center, Jorge’s action draws neighborhood’s attention to unethical boss, and NEXT WEEK Jennifer’s action to recover stolen wages!

There’s a lot going on right now.

Instead of trying to tell you all about it all at once, we figured we’d share some photos of what the organization and the movement have looked like over the past few days, before we try and get into all of this too deeply.

35 North Nashville community members and allies from around the city (including 7 or 8 children!!) packed into the new organizing & community center led as a partner space by Music City Riders’ United and Black Lives Matter – Nashville!

30 workers, students, and neighbors lead a protest outside boss’ home where Jorge reports he worked and was not paid 

70 community members pack a church in Southeast Nashville. Workers’ Dignity is one of several anchor organization of the open coalition Nashville Community Defense.

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Housekeeper defeats short-term rental company, wins back wage!

Victory for Just Hospitality!

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Just two days before a planned protest. Claudia was paid her full wages for work performed for a housekeeping agency at the Dallas on Elliston, a high-end apartment complex in Midtown Nashville. After these events, Claudia has decided to CANCEL the planned protest at the Dallas on Elliston.

Billionaire Developers frequently use cleaning agencies to cut costs, and then wash their hands of responsibility when those same companies cheat their employees. increasingly, workers in Nashville have taken to the streets to demand that those who profit most from our sweat fulfill their moral obligation to pay stolen wages.

“Thanks to all the members, allies, and volunteers who supported this fight,” said Claudia. “Especially to all the advocates who always stood with us. Thanks to all the donors who with their contributions make Workers’ Dignity a strong and growing organization.”

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We did it.

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Our first words in 2017: thank you.

Thanks to you, we beat our goal and raised a stunning $52,665 from 323 people who support our cause. We are really happy and excited to share this victory with both low-wage worker members and our allies.

Thanks to your support, we are working to carry out the training program for housekeepers who want to organize in their workplaces. In 2016 many different hotelworkers fought for and won wage raises of almost $100,000 per year. The fight is growing — imagine how much more workers will win in 2017!

At the same time we also are working to find a workers’ center in North Nashville for our friends at Music City Riders United who are working hard to improve public transport in the city.

We want to share this victory with all of you, so that you know that your support has been essential for us to grow. We also want you to know that  you can support the growth of allied organizations like Black Lives Matter who recently launched an organizational plan and fundraiser. Read more here.

Clearly we are in a time of a growing social movement for justice, and today we are going forward together.

Diana Lopez
Coordinator, Just Hospitality Campaign

PS. A special thanks to allied organizations Black Lives Matter Nashville, SURJ, and Nashville Feminist Collective for putting in a truly exceptional amount of energy in helping promote our fundraising drive.

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Register for Organizing Workers’ Dignity Style! / Inscripción para Organizando al Estilo de Dignidad Obrera – Jan 28, 2017

Trump will be sworn in as president in mid-January. This is our response! Join others in the region to train together, share experiences, and build a bigger southern liberation movement.

Two years ago, we held our 1st all-day Organizing Workers’ Dignity Style training, where over 75 people from throughout the state met and learned together. Since then, we have learned so much more!

Join us for the New & Improved “Organizing Workers’ Dignity Style 2017,” just one week after the Trump inauguration.
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– Do you believe low-income and oppressed communities should lead our own struggles?
– Interested in grassroots organizing?
– Want to learn the ABCs of street outreach & house visits?
– Curious about how Workers’ Dignity has been worker-led since 2010?

There are many organizing models. Ours is just one. For nearly 7 years, our goal has been simple – structure every aspect of our work to 1) tap into already existing leadership, talent, and experience of low-wage workers; 2) provide the support necessary for lifelong organizing; and 3) build an organization that’s part of a movement taking on the billionaires to win. None of this was invented by us. We stand on the shoulders of several other worker center powerhouses.

Organizing, Workers’ Dignity Style is open to everyone committed to people-led organizing. To participate, you must commit to being there the whole day.

Saturday, January 28, 2017
9:00am – 7pm
Light breakfast, lunch, and dinner included
Organizer Packet and simultaneous English/Spanish interpretation provided
Cost: $45 ($10 for Workers’ Dignity members, low-income, and high school students)
Please register by January 15 below — Payment thru Credit or Debit Card after you submit form

Register for the training at: http://workersdignity.org/training

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A lively labor day as 300+ workers march, and together raise $11,650 in grassroots donations!

Nashville workers and their allies come together to celebrate their contributions to society and this year’s victories in struggle:

We revived the tradition back in 2013 of massive outreach on the street by parading, and handing out flyers to working families in the multi-ethnic neighborhoods along Nolensville pike. This year, we got to a new level in Nashville’s 4th annual Labor Day parade, co-hosted with the Central Labor Council and Middle TN Jobs with Justice!

As you can see by the sweeping views of the gigantic crowd, hundreds attended from dozens of community organizations and union local chapters on the march headed by Workers’ Dignity and Music City Riders United:

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The march looped through Nolensville pike, during which the police unfortunately escalated tensions with the crowd, attempting to stop the march, in a manner that was unprecedented in the three previous years of celebratory parades. Thankfully, marchers were disciplined and kept themselves safe and there are plans to improve the safety team next year.

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After the march, many gathered for a festival of four musical acts, face-painting and games for kids, food, and testimonies from members of Workers’ Dignity and Music City Riders United. Workers told of winning back stolen wages, organizing on-the-job at hotels to improve pay, and organizing their fellow bus-riders to improve conditions. Patrick Green, president of the bus driver’s union (Amalgamated Transit Union, ATU Local 1235) spoke of joining the struggles of the bus drivers and depot worker together with the struggles of the riders, who are riding the bus to work and home each and every day.

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Finally, the time for fundraising came and we did really well! The total amount raised was an awesome $11,650 which was a 50% increase from last year, letting us continue to rely heavily on grassroots donations to power our organization!

Here’s more photos from the beautiful day:

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Thanks to everyone who supports Workers’ Dignity and attended the Labor Day parade!

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We’ve got some good Labor Day news to share!

We’ve already raised $7,500 in grassroots donations towards our goal of $15k!

Plus, a grant of $3,000 to “match” your donation!

Before we all gather together on September 3rd for the Labor Day Festival, we’re asking everyone to think about how much they can contribute to Workers’ Dignity this year.

This year, additional donations will be doubled up to $3,000 total by a “match” from the The Unitarian Universalist Funding Program to encourage grassroots fundraising! So that makes this a great time to give to the movement we’re involved in.

What can you pitch in?

You can get your ticket for the event here and make a donation while you’re at it.

Large groups of people making small donations make up a majority of our fundraising. Know that every bit – $1, $5 – helps keep this movement running and helps it grow.

And see you at the parade & festival on September 3rd! Parade starts at 3:30 at Coleman Park and the festival is 5:30-8:00 at SEIU, 521 Central Avenue.

TICKETSDONATE

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The Labor Day Parade & this year — Festival!

One big party!

Four years ago we began bringing together the Nashville community for the first labor day marches in many decades. Afterwards, we always hold a picnic. This year it’s going to grow, and we’re calling it a festival!

This September 3rd, come celebrate Labor Day with us! The parade begins at 3:30 at Coleman Park Community Center, and the festival begins at 5:30 at SEIU Local on 521 Central Ave. 

Come and hear about us, the workers, and our struggle to get better condiciones on the job, and our victories this year getting different hotels in the city to raise pay. From January to July this year, 52 housekeepers have organized, demanded and won raises amounting to $92,000 a year in the hotels where they work!

Also come hear about Music City Riders United (MCRU), a new bus riders group led by African American residents demanding major improvements in public transit as a civil rights cause affecting 10,000s of riders daily.

There will be food, live music, culture and dancing, art for kids and family-friendly fun.

Don’t miss it! Go ahead and RSVP on Facebook.

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NEW VIDEO & PRESS: Workers confront hotel industry accepting city’s millions

Workers draw a line in the sand against million-dollar giveaways with no labor standards, in public press conference releasing report

This Monday, more than forty housekeepers, occupational health professionals, and concerned community members gathered for a press conference followed by the online release of the report “Hotels Shouldn’t Hurt” (click here to download the report).

The event took place in front of the Westin Hotel, a project that was gifted $15 million in Tax Increment Financing by the Metro Development and Housing Agency.

Over the last week this press conference has been covered in the Tennessean, and the Scene.

Now, you can take a look at what workers had to say themselves by watching our video. Make sure to share it with others.

And check out the press coverage below:

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Join us Today for release of ground-breaking report!

Join Workers’ Dignity TODAY as we release our report “Hotels Shouldn’t Hurt.” Hear directly from former and current housekeepers about our experiences working in Nashville’s hotels.

We’ll share about poverty wages, wage theft, being pressured to work dangerously fast, and having to pay our own medical costs when there are accidents at work.

We’ll also announce the results of our survey of hotel workers across Nashville, showing that these stories are not isolated events but rather business as usual for Nashville’s hotels. And we’ll share about hotels that are receiving millions of dollars in public subsidies from the tax dollars we all pay.

When: Today, Monday, May 23, at 5:30pm

Where: Roundabout between the new Westin Hotel and the Music City Center (8th Avenue and Korean Veterans Boulevard)

Our report “Hotels Shouldn’t Hurt” shows that nearly 4 out of 5 housekeepers injured on the job were denied emergency medical care, and over half of housekeepers do not have sick days – paid or unpaid.

Want to know more? Read the report here, and share it on facebook with this link.

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PHOTOS: Anniversary celebration draws hundreds, raises record $16,750!

The crowd swells, worker testimonies ring out powerfully, and the piggie bank overflows in a record-setting day planned and executed by low-wage workers:

Workers’ Dignity began with a handful of volunteers passing out flyers out of the trunk of a car. What started small has since grown tremendously. You can mark the growth of power low-wage workers are building each year in Nashville by the size of our marches, and the growth of community by the size of the crowd at the anniversary party. On this past Sunday, it showed that we haven’t been just building power in the street, but community as a people.

Angela joined as a member in the first months of 2016.
That community is ready to burst back into the city’s headlines as it targets the hotel and hospitality industry for its sub-poverty pay and abusive working conditions. As Diana said in her speech, “Right now we are in a campaign to uplift hotel workers, mostly women cleaning workers, and after winning my case what really kept me here was this broader Campaign for Just Hospitality.” Ana, Celestino, Mario, and Angela also spoke on what it means to be a worker and to be fighting for economic and social justice.
The performances by REBELFUSION and Ballet Folklorico Sol de Mexico captived the crowd and drew applause and a dance party in front of the band, but the biggest highlight of all was the almost unbelievable fundraising count. A stunning $16,750 — more than double last years final count, and more than 150% of our goal — shows with practice, our fundraising muscles are growing stronger. Every time we make an fundraising ask of the people, we show that we rely on workers and their allies, not outside influences. Unity is strength!
Photos by Lissete P. and Brenda A.

Thank you for attending the party & supporting our organization.

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