CCI members and staff went to a Des Moines Target  to stand in solidarity with our friends at Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Luchas –
Center for Workers United in the Struggle (CTUL).
CTUL is an organizational ally located in Minneapolis.

CTUL has been organizing cleaning workers for some time now and they have a campaign targeted at Target.

Target in the Twin Cities, Des Moines, and other locations subcontract their cleaning services. Workers are paid poverty wages. Target has the power, as one of the largest companies in our country, to hold their subcontracted companies to a higher standard – they can demand they pay a living wage.

The Minnesota Department of Health recently published a report that links poverty wages to health disparities. The report shows that workers earning poverty wages are more susceptible to diseases such as diabetes and are more prone to stress and other ailments when compared to higher wage earners. These workers live on average 8 years less.

We delivered this letter to a Des Moines Target and requested information on who they contract with to clean their stores.

#EndPovertyWages

Fellow CCI member, activist, and friend, Constantino Morales, is still in deportation proceedings.

We need you to call U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials TODAY and ask them to stop Constantino’s deportation. Call Scott Baniecke, ICE Field Director at (952) 853-5900 and press option 9.

Thanks to you, ICE has received over 100 calls and Constantino is so grateful. Unfortunately, ICE denied our first request. But, we have sent a second request to ICE that has support from Polk Country Sheriff Bill McCarthy and Representative Bruce Hunter. Your continued action is crucial.

Here’s a little background on Constantino: Due to personal and safety circumstances in his hometown of Huehuetán, Mexico, Constantino applied for political asylum here in the U.S., but after a long process, his request was recently denied. He may be detained and deported at any time, which would put his life risk in Mexico.

Constantino is an active leader in his community. He fought alongside us in our campaign for immigration reform, and has inspired many to take action on issues affecting immigrants in Iowa.

ICE has the discretion to stop Constantino’s deportation. Will you call ICE TODAY and ask them to stop Constantino’s deportation?

Step 1: Dial Scott Baniecke, ICE Field Director at (952) 853-5900, and press option 9.

Step 2: Ask ICE to stop Constantino’s deportation:

“Hi, I am calling to ask ICE to exercise prosecutorial discretion in the case of Constantino Morales (A# 200 588 443). Constantino is a hardworking community leader who has stood up for workers’ and immigrants’ rights in Iowa, and he faces threat of violence if he is deported to Mexico. He deserves an opportunity to remain unharmed, and he is a low-priority case that should not be removed from the United States. Please stop Constantino’s deportation!

*Please note that some of the phone calls have been answered by those who attempt to shame Constantino’s name and direct you to another ICE office. If this happens, please do not be discouraged – express your support and ask Field Officer Director Baniecke to stop Constantino’s deportation. You are calling the correct field office.

Step 3: Reply to this email to let us know how your call went.

As lawmakers in Washington DC fail to fix our broken immigration system, good hard-working citizens like Constantino continue to suffer at their expense. In times like these, we must come together and stand up for justice.

Feel free to contact us with any questions.

 

Join the Fight!

On Wednesday, February 27th, CCI organizers hosted a Future of Work meeting; members were there to learn more about our worker justice campaign, vision what the future of work could look like for their communities, and learn how they can get involved to help make that a reality.

Workers discussed current working conditions in jobs that members of their communities often take (such as construction and restaurant work), and contrasted current conditions with what they believe can be accomplished — a vision of work that’s fair, just, and equitable.

Here’s how members described the current working conditions in their communities:

  • being paid in cash
  • receiving bounced checks
  • wage theft
  • being paid minimum wage or below minimum wage
  • long hours with little pay
  • abusive subcontracting, not knowing who my boss is
  • slavery/ slavery like conditions

Members went on to discuss ideal working conditions, and how they could work towards them:

  • employee benefits
  • a living wage
  • no discrimination
  • knowing who my boss is
  • overtime pay if applicable

Before the meeting adjourned, members took blank petition sheets to recruit members of their community to the Future of Work Campaign.

 

Join the Fight!

On February 27th, Reu, Juan, and Baldemar, construction workers in the Des Moines area, met their wage thief head on – a man named Nick from a construction company in Des Moines.

The workers were owed wages for a construction project they did at one of Nick’s projects.

Nick hired a contractor named Eugene Ullman who came up to Iowa from Mississippi for this job. Eugene then hired Reu, Juan and Baldemar in Iowa. A few weeks into the project Eugene left to Mississippi and said he’d be back…

The workers continued working on Nick’s house under the belief that Eugene would return. But after a week of working for no pay, the workers tried to contact Eugene — and he was completely missing in action.

During that week of work, the workers were being supervised by Nick. Because members were not able to contact Eugene, they went up the “supply chain” and held Nick accountable for the wage theft. The workers asked him for a meeting.

Nick agreed to meet with the workers.

Out of the meeting, the workers realized that Nick was misclassifying them; Nick argued that they were subcontractors and that he had nothing to do with it. However, the workers laid out a good argument making Nick accountable for the stolen wages.

After a lot of back and forth and disagreement from both sides, Nick agreed to pay the workers and wrote a check for them right there. They were each owed different amounts but in total they won back $1,806.50.

Join the Fight!

Iowa CCI’s worker rights program hosts worker clinics the 2nd and 4th Monday of each month.

Come to our worker clinics if you are experiencing:

  • wage theft,
  • discrimination at your workplace,
  • health and/or safety violations at work, or
  • other issues related to your rights in the workplace.

If you are experiencing any of the above, come to CCI’s worker clinics and learn what you can do to reclaim your rights. The worker clinics are held the SECOND and FOURTH Monday of every month starting at 5 p.m. at the Iowa CCI office – 2001 Forest Ave, Des Moines, IA.

Our upcoming worker clinics:

  • Wednesday, January 29th at 5:00 p.m.
  • Monday, February 10th at 5:00 p.m.
  • Monday, February 24th at 5:00 p.m.

 

Join the Fight!

CCI Organizer Bridget Fagan and members Jeannette Bauer, John Blasingame, and Phyllis Burget traveled to Washington, D.C. for a Center for Community Change forum on expanding Social Security.

While in D.C., they took time to visit Fast for Families to show support for fair, humane immigration reform and a path to citizenship by visiting Fast for Families: A Call for Immigration Reform and Citizenship.

As part of the Fast for Families campaign, leaders and immigrant members of the community fast every day and night, abstaining from all food—except water—to move the hearts and minds of members of Congress to pass immigration reform with a path to citizenship.

Here’s what CCI organizer Bridget had to say about the experience:

I wanted to tell you all about our experience tonight. We joined in solidarity with the fasters fighting for immigration reform, and visited their tent on the capitol grounds where fasters, activists, and supporters gathered.

The tent is pretty large and in charge, heated and decorated from head to toe with pictures, posters, quilts, and more – all remnants that depict families’ fight for fair, humane immigration reform.

Every night there is a ritual at 6pm – guests come, all the fasters come out and sit in the front row of rows of seats, and they have a service where they pray, invite guests to speak, and sing. Each person who is leaving the fast says a few words, and then each new person joining the fast comes forward and receives a cross.

There were anywhere from 70-100 people joining the fasters tonight. It was amazing and powerful.

It is very apparent they have strong support. Labor allies were there, National People’s Action was there, faith leaders were there – and more. Peter and Paul (from Peter, Paul and Mary) were even there.

You can tell the fasters are tired and weak. Rudy Lopez, a longtime CCI friend is still fasting. He was  clearly was touched by the support and love the fasters received tonight.

This is truly something I’m going to take with me for a long time – and I believe our members will too. It’s energy for the fair immigration fight ahead of us.

Join the Fight!

  • Join as an Iowa CCI member today or chip in $10 to support our organizing on this issue.
  • Sign up for our E-Mail Action list to get the latest updates
  • Follow us on Facebook and Twitter