Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Urgent: Support the Farmworker's Fair Labor Practices Act

State Senator Pedro Espada is working to revive the Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act in the next 24 hours. He is working on the version of the bill that was revised in January - guaranteeing a day of rest every seven, if desired, the right to collective bargaining, and the right to overtime pay after 60 hours.

If you would like to see this bill passage, you should call these Senators immediately! It is a list of Senators who have supported the bill in the past but may not in the final hours.


Foley 518-455-2303
Johnson 518-455-2622 (We are worried about losing him)
Dilan 518-455-2177
Montgomery 518-455-3451 (she has been raising questions along the way)


Flannagan 518-455-2071 (previously sponsored the Bill)
Fuschillo 518-455-3341
Hannon 518-455-2200 (previously sponsored the Bill)

Marcelino (a most recent sponsor) > we really need him to stay) 518-455-2390
Padavan (the other most recent sponsor) > we really need him to stay 518-455-3381
Skelos 518-455-3171

Friday, June 25, 2010

Stand Up for School Meals!

In these tough economic times our elected officials are facing hard choices when it comes to making the unavoidable budget cuts. These tough decisions can not come at the expense of our most vulnerable population, the children of NYC.

The NYC Department of Education is planning to eliminate the "Universal School Meals" program from nearly 100 City schools, and to reduce hot lunch choices at every school. At a time when we know the nationally priority is to reduce hunger and obesity we can not take two steps backwards with these budget recommendations.

Opposed to these budget cuts and want to get involved here is how you can:

**This post was submitted by the NYC Strategic Alliance for Health

Vandana Shiva: A Special Event

You're invited to:


a lecture by Vandana Shiva
world-renowned scientist,
environmentalist, and agricultural activist

And a special introduction by Peggy Shepard
Executive Director of WeAct

Wednesday, July 7th
The Riverside Church
490 Riverside Dr. New York, NY
Free and Open to the Public

For more information and to RSVP email

Sponsored by the CSSR, The Riverside Church of NY, West Harlem Environmental Action, Inc. (WeAct), Sisters of Earth, Faith Leaders for Environmental Justice, GreenFaith, New York Faith & Justice, and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Organizing Training Opportunity


Date: Thursday June 24

Tim: 6:00-8:00 pm

Location: New York Theological Seminary, 475 Riverside Drive, Suite 500, Executive Conference Room

RSVP: Ava Farkas at and Peter Heltzel at

Ushering in positive social change takes places through organizing people. Organizing is fundamentally about building relationships and getting to know people through one-on-one meetings. Come learn how to lead a one-on-one meeting to more effectively organize in your church for social justice. To practice what we will learn, we will participate in role-plays where we will advocate for a Living Wage in New York City.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

You're Invited!!

Holistic Ministry Leadership Institute

along with:

Latino Pastoral Action Center

co-sponsored by

Bread for the World


Walker Memorial Baptist Church

invite you to:

A Dialogue on Food, Hunger and Justice


Max R. Finberg

Director, US Dept. of Agriculture's

Center for Faith Based & Neighborhood Partnerships

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

9 to 11am

Latino Pastoral Action Center

Urban Ministry Complex

14 West 170th St.

Bronx, NY 10452

ESPN chooses peak season to close, leaving workers shut out by United Workers

posted by NYFJ member Onleilove Alston

Workers at ESPN Zone were shocked to find out through the local news last Tuesday that within a week they would be out of a job. One loyal bartender of five-years found out through Facebook. Three undercover Baltimore City Policemen have been monitoring ESPN Zone’s Inner Harbor Location since the news leak. “They think we are going to steal their TVs,” said one worker. Employees learned they would be advised of possible severance packages Wednesday, a day after closure. After informing employees in Chicago and Washington that those locations would be closing the night of closure, the news leak gave Baltimore employees a week’s heads up. The silence was a slap in the face to employees, some of whom had worked for the company since it opened at the Inner Harbor in 1998.

The June closure is also a financial blow for Baltimore workers, who depend on summer tourist business to offset the slower seasons and compete for jobs at the Inner Harbor in the spring.

According to CNN Money, Disney, the entertainment empire that owns ESPN Zone, came in 57th on the Fortune 500 list and in 2009 made $3 billion in profits, gave no explanation for shutting down their restaurants in New York, Las Vegas, Washington, Chicago and Baltimore. One cook said upon leaving work Saturday night, “Business has been better than ever. They could have at least waited until September when the tourist season is over.” She asked that her name not be used because ESPN Zone has issued a gag order, warning employees that if they speak to the media, they will lose their severance pay. ESPN Zone management has scheduled a meeting with workers for Wednesday, June 16th, to discuss a possible severance package, but some recent hires fear they may not qualify for those benefits and that finding a comparable job will be difficult now that tourist season is already in full swing.

Closing without advanced notice is yet another example of the poverty zone development that Baltimore’s Inner Harbor has come to exemplify, where developers Cordish and GGP who control the Inner Harbor continue to allow rampant human rights violations to take place at their properties. National chains and Corporate executives in Los Angeles are allowed to make life-altering decisions for employees making little over minimum wage who are left to figure out how they are going to pay next month’s rent in these hard economic times. One busser stated “We are used to getting paid daily [through tips]. I have a car-payment due tomorrow. If I can’t cash a severance check on Wednesday, I’m not going to be able to eat this month.”
Abuses such as these clearly indicate the need for GGP and Cordish to enter into a legally binding agreement to ensure basic human rights standards at the harbor, as a first step towards Fair Development. Zed Smith, Vice President of the Cordish Company told the Baltimore Sun June 9th that Cordish was confident it could quickly “replace the ESPN Zone with an equally spectacular venue.” But without any developer mandated human rights standards, what is to stop the next vendor from being “equally” abusive.

Fair Development respects human rights, maximizes public benefits, and is sustainable. As the heart of Baltimore, the Inner Harbor should reflect Fair Development standards and benefit the community as a whole, not merely the developers, who value private gain over public benefits.

As people of faith let us remember the importance of worker justice because Deuteronomy 24:14-15 admonishes us to “not withhold the wages of poor and needy labourers, whether other Israelites or aliens who reside in your land. You shall pay them their wages daily before sunset, because they are poor and their livelihood depends on them; otherwise they might cry to the LORD against you, and you would incur guilt.”

United Workers is seeking support from the faith community. For information about how individuals and congregations can get involved contact:

The United Workers is a human rights organization led by low-wage workers. We are leading the fight for fair development, which respects human rights, maximizes public benefits and is sustainable.

Immigration Teleconference for Clergy

Want to engage with your congregation on the issue of immigration? Wondering how to address the matter biblically and pastorally? Join “Faithful Perspectives: A Conversation on Immigration and Your Congregation,” a national conference call hosted by Sojourners and Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, on Thursday, June 24, at 1 p.m. EDT. Featured speakers will include Rev. Jim Wallis, Rev. Gabriel Salguero (Lamb's Church of the Nazarene, New York), Rev. Rich Nathan (Vineyard Church of Columbus, Ohio) and Angela Kelley (Center for American Progress).

+Sign Up for the Call Here

Recent legislation in Arizona and protests around the country have thrust immigrants and border security into the spotlight and our national psyche. But the conversation is often filled with fear-based misinformation. As faith leaders, we have the responsibility to educate our members about this controversial issue – from a theological foundation.

We know it’s not an easy job to be both a pastor and a prophet for biblical social justice. Sometimes it can feel like these are conflicting roles! However, there are numerous biblical and contemporary examples of leaders who are doing both on the issue of immigration.

Join Sojourners for a national teleconference on June 24 to hear from local pastors and faith activists who have experience leading congregations and organizations on this controversial topic – the call is free and open to all faith leaders.

“Faithful Perspectives: A Conversation on Immigration and Your Congregation”
National Teleconference for Clergy and Faith Leaders
Thursday, June 24
1 to 2 p.m. EDT

RSVP today to receive the call-in number.

Featured speakers include Rev. Jim Wallis, Rev. Gabriel Salguero of the Latino Leadership Circle, Rev. Rich Nathan of Vineyard Church of Columbus, and Angela Kelley of the Center for American Progress.

Virtually every major denomination and communion has officially announced its support for comprehensive immigration reform. However, many congregation members are more likely to relate to the phrase “they broke the law” than to “welcome the stranger” as a guiding principle for understanding this complex issue.

On this teleconference, we’ll explore how to:

- Share the biblical foundation for a humane immigration system from the pulpit;

- Reach out to immigrant families in your congregation and community;

- Understand what is happening with national and state legislative efforts; and

- Navigate conflict that may arise among your members on this controversial topic.

We understand that on this issue many church members are taking their cues from national talk radio and news programs, not from scripture and church teaching. This call is ideal for clergy and lay leaders who want informed theological perspective on immigration and are interested in how to lead on the issue in a church setting. We’ll also have time for participant Q&A.

Please register today, and then share this invitation with other friends and colleagues who would benefit from learning more about immigration and how it impacts our congregations and members. We look forward to speaking with you on the call.

**This post was submitted by Rev. Gabriel Salguero, Lamb's Church of the Nazerene Lead Pastor and member of the Latino Leadership Circle, an organizational partner of NYFJ.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Action Alert

On June 26, 2010, the union contract that covers thousands of
members of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1500 who
work for Stop and Shop, Pathmark and King Kullen will expire. As
they get closer and closer to June 26, the possibility of a
strike is looming. For more information on how to stand with the
workers, visit:

The members of Local 1500 are people you see every day at your
local supermarkets and they are fighting for their livelihoods,
for dignity and for the futures of their families.

You can help avoid a strike: Contact the store manager at your
local Stop and Shop, Pathmark or King Kullen and ask them to
negotiate in good faith and simply provide the workers with a
fair contract they deserve. Learn more at:

The phone number for company headquarters of each supermarket

Stop & Shop 1-800-767-7772 - Press 1 and then press 0
Pathmark 1-866-443-7374 - Press 4 and then press 2
King Kullen 1-516-733-7100

The workers of these stores thank you for your support!

Thanks for all that you do to support workers' rights and build
the movement for social and economic justice--and please, call
those supermarkets now!

In Solidarity,

NY Jobs with Justice

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Faith Leaders Immigration Reform Sign-On Letter

Comprehensive Immigration Reform
An Open Letter to President Barack Obama

Dear Friends and Members of NY Faith & Justice,

It's not too late to sign on! The deadline has been extended to THIS FRIDAY. Plus, signatures are not limited to clergy. Lay leaders within faith communities are welcome to sign on.

So far, about 400 faith leaders have signed on, including people from across the nation who represent every major religion in the U.S. Personally, I've been encouraged by the enthusiastic response from my own faith community. So far Rev. Jim Wallis, Shane Claiborne, Rev. Gabriel Salguero, Rev. Joel Hunter, Dr. David Gushee, Rev. Richard Cizik, Rev. Michael Mata, Rev. Rich Nathan, Dr. Curtiss Paul DeYoung, Rev. Tony Campolo, Noel Castellanos, Brian McLaren, Ben Lowe and many others have signed on.

If you haven't signed on, it's not too late. Please join us then forward the list to your friends!

**To sign on, please email your name, organizational affiliation, city and state by Wednesday, June 2, close of business.

In Faith & Justice,
Lisa Sharon Harper
Co-founder and Executive Director
NY Faith & Justice

An Open Letter to President Barack Obama from America's Faith Community Leaders

Dear President Obama:

In your objections to Arizona's new immigration law, you rightly called on Congress to act swiftly to pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform. As leaders of our nation's diverse faith communities, we are united by our commitment to an America that is both safe and just. We echo your call to Senate Republicans and Democrats to negotiate and produce a bipartisan immigration reform bill this year.

To move the process forward, we ask that you make immigration reform a priority in the months ahead, using all the tools available to your office. We also ask that you convene a bipartisan summit on Comprehensive Immigration Reform. We believe this summit is necessary for lawmakers to discuss common and differing viewpoints on structuring the legislation. It would also fulfill your pledge to all Americans to provide workable solutions that fix our broken immigration system.

America needs Comprehensive Immigration Reform that both protects our interests and abides by our values. As Americans and people of faith, we are strongly committed to the safety and security of our nation, policies that ensure economic prosperity, and fair labor practices for all workers. We celebrate our commitments to the rule of law; equal protection under the law; and our rich immigrant heritage. Together these commitments make America what it is today--a global beacon of opportunity and hope.

The passage of Arizona's new immigration law highlights a failure of our federal government to enact reform. State-based solutions place an unrealistic burden on police officers and divert substantial resources from their primary responsibility to protect us from crime. Comprehensive Immigration Reform that provides a path to citizenship would decrease racial profiling, keep families together, and increase tax revenue. A 2009 study by the Cato Institute found that legalization of low-skilled workers would boost the incomes of American workers and households by $180 billion over ten years.

Many of us minister daily to individuals and communities adversely impacted by our broken system. We are convinced that America cannot afford to delay Comprehensive Immigration Reform; that our safety, our economy, and our most cherished ideals are at stake. The teachings of our nation's diverse religious traditions require action now!

The Hebrew Bible tells us: " And if a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. The strangers who sojourn with you shall be to you as the natives among you, and you shall love them as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord, your God. (Leviticus 19:33-34)."

In the New Testament, Jesus calls us to welcome the immigrant, saying "for what you do to the least of these who are members of my family, you do unto me (Matthew 25:40)."

The Qur'an requires us to "serve God, and be good to ...neighbors who are familiar and near... the companion by your side and the traveler that you meet... (4: 36)."

The Hindu scripture Taitiriya Upanishad reminds us, "The guest is a representative of God (1.11.2)."

Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth and last human Sikh Guru, guided us to "recognize the human race as one."

Our nation is blessed by a broad diversity of religious traditions. We are Baha'is, Buddhists, and Christians, Hindus, Jains, Jews, Muslims, Native Americans, Sikhs and more. We worship in different ways, but we are united in our affirmation of the Golden Rule: Treat others in the way that you yourself want to be treated.

Our current system is a transgression of these shared teachings and of American values. Comprehensive Immigration Reform is a moral imperative for our nation. Mr. President, we urge you to heed our call to conscience. The well-being of America and the lives of immigrants, our families and our children hang in the balance.

Name, Affiliation