Friday News Round-up!

With another week behind us, we enter the last month of the year. With the apocalypse potentially in sight (according to those who wrongly read the Mayan calendar and Britney Spears’s “Till the World Ends” video), I’d like to culminate the events of November.

  1. Under-appreciated fast-food workers are taking a stand! Yesterday, workers from major fast-food restaurants throughout New York, including McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, and Domino’s, went on strike. The workers have two demands: the right to unionize and higher, more sufficient pay.   Workers at the McDonald’s on Madison and 40th were the first to strike. 14 of the store’s 17 employees that were scheduled to work were found outside chanting, “Hey, hey, what do you say? We demand fair pay!”  This is the largest action against fast-food restaurants in American history.  At UHAB, we stand in solidarity with these workers and hope that their demands are met. Stay tuned for more on this as the fight continues to develop.
  2. For the past nine years, the “fellow grannies” have stood at the curb of Fifth Avenue every Wednesday protesting America’s seemingly never-ending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But this past Wednesday, they have put down their signs and discontinued their rallying… for now. The group of activists, comprised of women in their 70s, 80s, and even 90s, have only missed two Wednesday protests (one of which was the Wednesday after Hurricane Sandy). Now that the Iraq war has ended and the Afghanistan war is dwindling, the activists feel compelled to leave their Fifth Avenue post and engage in different campaigns.  The “fellow grannies” are a testament that if one can withstand the inevitable challenges and, in turn, disillusionments of activism, justice can be a lifelong pursuit.
  3. Not only has Sandy ruined the homes of thousands of New York and New Jersey residents, it has also exposed hazardous and expensive sewage issues.  Most of the region’s sewage plants are located in areas close to sea level, making them vulnerable to flooding. To safeguard against future storms, the plants must raise motor and electrical equipment above water levels, waterproof circuitry, and build more levees and dams. The storm also exposed the insufficient treatment of sewage, which was elucidated by feces spewing from burst pipes. Governor Cuomo estimated that more than $1.06B are needed to fix the problems. As New York and New Jersey continue recuperating from the onslaught of Sandy, we hope that the cities make structural (not band-aid) improvements to those entities that could have lessened the destruction of the storm.
  4. And, South Korea has continued pursuing legal action against our favorite predatory equity group, Lone Star Funds. The goverment accused Lone Star Funds of stock manipulation in 2003. While the Texas-baed company claims that they have been pursuing “an amicable resolution,” South Korea has resisted their offers, causing the corporation billions of euros.  After an eight year battle, Lone Star Funds has begun arbitration. Like the tenants living in buildings where Lone Star Funds holds the debt, we praise South Korea for holding their ground and not succumbing to the group’s manipulative tactics.

Good Friday, good weekend, and good week ahead!

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