E Pluribus Unum on Memorial Day

As we’re out and about on this long weekend, having BBQs and cookouts, maybe enjoying some sun at a lake or on a beach, many of us often pause to think about those who gave their lives to service. We acknowledge those who have sacrificed for this country, many of them our own family members, in order to preserve the principles of an open and free society. But what happens when those who have served this country — and their families — are not met with respect but with ill-will, because of their citizenship status — or lack thereof? Continue reading

Alejandra Gomez well deserved Recognition Award: 40 under 40 Awards

Alejandra Gomez's efforts and dedication for the Latino Community are being recognized among the top leaders in Arizona. http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/event/101271#eventDetails    Continue reading

Is it fair for the fast food industry to pay the minimum wage to their hardworking employees, while making billions of dollars in profits?

There are many misconceptions about who the fast food workers are. Fast food workers are not just teenagers who we usually think of as employee in the fast food industry.  That is no longer the case; most of the time the McDonald's employee you see is not a single teen, with no kids, or in no need to support a family. The fast food employee that works day and night for minimum wage is working there trying to make a living for their family and in most cases they are mothers and fathers that try to exhaust every single cent they have just to scrape by for their children.We stand with all fast food workers, and LUCHA realizes that enough is enough!  Continue reading

IMMIGRATION REFORM: January GOP Principles

Last Thursday, House Republican leaders provided points on how to deal with the immigration policy in the United States at their annual conference retreat in Cambridge, Maryland. Below are the main points from the letter: Continue reading

Minimum Wage Victory in Arizona!

We stood up to Representative Court and his 1%er pals and ... WE WON!  They say they'll be back, but so will we. We'll keep on fighting them until every Arizonan makes a living wage. Join us! Sign the pledge to defend the minimum wage here. Proposal to kill Arizona minimum wage pulled Posted: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 6:12 pm By Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services | 1 comment PHOENIX — Arizona workers at the bottom of the pay scale are going to keep getting raises each year to match inflation, at least for the time being. House Majority Leader Steve Court said Tuesday he has pulled the plug on his proposal to ask voters to repeal the state’s minimum wage. The Mesa Republican noted that the change would require voter approval in November. And he said polling by the restaurant industry, which is heavily affected by the law, shows that the measure would be defeated. That, said Court, made getting the legislative votes to put the issue on the ballot a meaningless exercise. Steve Chucri, president of the Arizona Restaurant Association, acknowledged that is the case. He said his industry and others with minimum wage workers, like hotels and motels, are instead focusing on a 2014 ballot fight. But Chucri said the businesses have work to do. “We need to get our messaging right,’’ he said. The 2006 initiative set a state minimum wage of $6.75 an hour. At that time the federal minimum wage, which had governed Arizona employers, was just $5.15. Chucri said the big problem is that the law requires the Industrial Commission to adjust that figure annually to account for inflation. The result is a current state minimum wage of $7.65 an hour, 40 cents more than required under federal law. He said that’s not right. “People are going to get increases every single year, without merit,’’ Chucri said. He said polling shows that the public understands that issue. But what it also showed, Chucri said, is that they were confused over the difference between the state and federal roles. Chucri said he has no idea how many people now being paid the minimum wage are working full-time jobs at that rate, versus students and others who have part-time work. Court’s measure would have set the state minimum wage permanently at the current $7.65 an hour or the federal minimum wage, whichever would be higher. That effectively would wipe out the state minimum wage the moment Congress got around to approving a higher figure. The most recent adjustment to the state minimum wage, which took effect in January, added 30 cents an hour. The law does allow a employers to claim a $3 an hour “tip credit,’’ meaning they will be able to put just $4.65 an hour into paychecks. But that requires proof that the employees are, in fact, bringing in at least $3 an hour in tips.

Stephen Colbert Lampoons Attacks to the Minimum Wage

Colbert lampoons Arizona-style attacks on the minimum wage in Florida. Change we can believe in? Learn more about living wage issues in Arizona and around the country at the National Employment Law Project.  Stay tuned for more action alerts!

Breaking News: Sheriff Arpaio gets smack down from DoJ AND DHS!

Lealo en espanol abajo After years of working to bring Sheriff Joe Arpaio to justice, we here at LUCHA couldn't be more delighted with today's historic developments.   Department of Justice confirms pattern of discrimination against Latino community The Department of Justice completed their 3-1/2 year investigation into civil rights abuses by Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.  Based on hundreds of interviews and the review of thousands of documents, the findings confirm, objectively and quantitatively, the pattern of discrimination and retaliation that Maricopa County's Latino residents and Arpaio critics have encountered here for years.  Arpaio has until January 4th to determine his compliance the DoJ recommendations to fix his department.  If he doesn't, a DoJ lawsuit will force him to fall in line with federal law. Among the alleged Civil Rights violations documented by the DoJ are the following: Hispanics were routinely targeted for traffic stops without reasonable cause, and subsequently charged with immigration-related crimes. Legal residents were sometimes treated as if they were illegal immigrants and even jailed. Latino inmates with poor or no English proficiency were frequently punished for not understanding English, were required to fill out forms in a language they did not understand or were denied critical services available to English-speaking inmates. Community activists and critics who spoke out against the Sheriff's Office's treatment of Hispanics were themselves targeted for retaliation. The Justice Department also found that the Sheriff's Office did not adequately train or supervise its personnel to avoid civil rights violations and, in fact, permitted the specialized units to engage in unconstitutional behavior. Also, the department found three additional areas of concern that require further review. Investigators allege some sheriff's deputies use excessive force against Latinos; the agency's immigration enforcement programs have caused distrust within the Latino community; and that certain types of criminal cases have been improperly investigated. To the last point, DoJ officials were clear that they're referring to the 432 sex abuse crimes that the MCSO Special Victims Unit failed to investigate. As the victims were largely Latino, the DoJ is concerned about the apparent MCSO racial bias having provoked the lack of investigation. Shameful.  The full 22-paged report can be found here: DoJ report. Department of Homeland Security:  Terminating MCSO's 287(g) Agreement A short 2 hours after the DoJ press conference, another stunning announcement was made. Condemning the MCSO's pervasive practices of racial discrimination, Secretary Janet Napolitano (and former Arizona governor) announced the immediate termination of the 287(g) jail-based agreement with Arpaio, which for the last several years, has allowed Sheriff Joe to train his own officers to screen each and every inmate in his jails regarding their immigration status and communicate directly with ICE, a practice which has become the cornerstone of his policing and public relations campaign as 'America's Toughest Sheriff.' As quoted in the Arizona Republic, Napolitano said the Department of Homeland Security would continue to enforce immigration laws in Arizona and focus resources on "criminal aliens, recent border crossers, repeat and egregious immigration law violators and employers who knowingly hire illegal labor."  Read more about this victory for the community here.                                        _________________________________________________________________________ Continue reading

The 99% in the News! -- El 99% en las Noticias!

Take Back the Capitol protests at lawmakers' offices By the CNN Wire Staff updated 9:53 PM EST, Tue December 6, 2011 Washington (CNN) -- Dozens of protesters staged sit-ins in front of lawmakers' offices Tuesday and several hundred more camped out on the National Mall as part of a new movement calling itself Take Back the Capitol. U.S. Capitol Police said one person was arrested for unlawful entry at the office of Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Missouri. Borrowing language from the Occupy movement and drawing demonstrators "from Occupy sites from coast to coast," the movement says its goal is to affect congressional legislation. "For far too long, Congress has been catering to the 1% instead of representing the 99%," the movement says on its website, 99indc.org. Protesters will push Congress to renew unemployment insurance and will focus on "other important budget and tax measures," the website says. "Now more than ever, Congress needs to see us and hear us." The group is calling its setup The People's Camp. Organizers said a protest Wednesday on K Street will broadcast the message, "it's time for the 1% to stop interfering with our democracy." Groups from different states went to lawmakers' offices Tuesday. About a dozen people were conducting what they called a sit-in outside the office of House Speaker John Boehner. One of them, John Reat from Ohio -- the state Boehner represents -- told CNN, "I've been unemployed for 24 months, and that's why I'm here. And we're not leaving until we talk to the speaker, or they close the building, whichever comes first." About 25 people visited the office of Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland. He spoke to the group outside his office and told them he sympathizes with the unemployed. That group also went to a conference room outside the office of another Maryland Democrat, Rep. Steny Hoyer, and spoke to his aides. "I hear you loud and clear," a staffer for Hoyer told the group, assuring them, "We'll take that back to the congressman." One group of protesters said they planned to conduct a sit-in at the office of Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, the Republican whip. About 20 people went to Kyl's office saying they wanted a forum to be heard. "All of Arizona is in the dark. We don't know what he's thinking," one said. "We'll stay until he hears us." Donna Stebbins of Phoenix told CNN the group had not been able to make an appointment to meet with Kyl about President Barack Obama's jobs bill. Stebbins said she and her husband lost their jobs about 18 months ago. "Our world has fallen apart," she said. "We lost everything we saved. All of our dreams, the American dream, are gone." Denee Rodriguez, a former teacher, said her husband is in a union and is fighting to keep bargaining and other rights. "You take those rights away from us, then we're not a worker anymore," said Rodriguez. "We're an indentured servant." The Surprise, Arizona, resident said her children were forced to drop out of college because they could not afford the tuition. Axel Bello, a veteran from Phoenix, said soldiers are making sacrifices to benefit America's thirst for oil and corporations. Many of the protesters gathering Tuesday in Washington were older than the largely young crowds at many Occupy events. The protesters include union members. Take Back the Capitol is, in part, an outgrowth of the movement to protect collective bargaining that started in Wisconsin and Ohio. The American Dream Movement organized the event, with funding from many sources, including MoveOn.org and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). The movement says thousands of people signed up to join the protest, being organized "by a wide variety of community, labor, Occupy, and other groups around the country." The official website links to SEIU.org, which says SEIU is the fastest-growing union in North America. "We're making congressional office visits all this week to make Congress listen to #the99%," SEIU tweeted Tuesday. The group tweeted about demonstrators going to offices of Sens. Joe Lieberman, Scott Brown, Marco Rubio and other lawmakers. The event continues through Friday. CNN's Josh Levs, Eric Fiegel, Laurie Ure and Stacey Samuel contributed to this report. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Thursday, November 17th. Actions from Maine to California, Seattle to Miami, people around the country, celebrating, mobilizing, acting, envisioning an economic and political system that works for all of us, not just the 1%.  Over 60,000 of us inspired by those who sat down on Wall Street two months ago. Here's some coverage of our Phoenix rally, in which 250 folks came together!

Make Your Favorite Mom(s) a Star this Mother's Day!

Mother’s Day is coming up this Sunday, and with all the incredible things mothers do, I'm sure you know a mom or two (or three!) who deserve to be celebrated. Well, this year we're making it possible for you to thank all the moms you know with a customizable video announcing them as the star of an upcoming movie.  This short video is a faux movie trailer for "World's Greatest Mom," starring, you guessed it, your favorite mom(s)! You have to see it to believe it.  Watch it here: World's Greatest Mom.    Send this video to all your favorite mothers so that they can become the star of their own movie. It’s inspiring, it honors mothers, plus it educates folks about economic issues facing mothers, which is something all mothers will likely appreciate. Watch it here: World's Greatest Mom

Quality, Affordable Health Care for ALL, with the Affordable Care Act

Supporters commemorate health care law’s one-year anniversary                                                      By Yvonne Gonzalez, ASU State Press, March 23, 2011       COMMEMORATING REFORM: Sen. Kyrsten Sinema spoke to supporters of the health care law during a press conference Wednesday commemorating the one-year anniversary of the bill's signing. Wednesday marked the one-year anniversary of President Barack Obama’s signing of the controversial health care bill. To commemorate the anniversary of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, supporters of the law spoke out Wednesday during a press conference at the Arizona Capitol. Lawmakers, retirees, an emergency room doctor and an ASU student led the event by saying the health care law gave much-needed medical aid to Americans. Read the full article here.

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