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Lessons from DC’s battle against gentrification
The nation’s capital is the site of massive gentrification and cost-of-living increases but the District’s majority Black working-class residents have up a major fight. Come hear from D.C.-based tenant organizer Yasmina Mrabet, who has spearheaded multiple campaigns that have taken on the range of forces from slumlords to corporate developers, corrupt politicians to the public housing authority. Mrabet will discuss how she approaches these campaigns from a socialist perspective, helping tenants not only stop the landlords’ tactics but also collectively fight to gain control of their housing units and win housing for all!
Mrabet is the author of a recent article in Breaking the Chains magazine on gentrification, which explains how that by the time the wealthier residents and coffee shops show up, the behind-the-scenes work for gentrification has already taken place. To be effective against gentrification, tenant organizers have to mobilize not just against its symbols but launch strategic campaigns against the forces who are funding the process altogether.
1199 worker-leader: how we took on the hospital bosses
This summer, hospital and nursing home workers ratified a new three-year collective bargaining agreement which will cover 112,000 workers in 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East who work in hospitals and health institutions across the area. The contract came after two months of bargaining that occasionally erupted into workplace struggles. Henry Cames, an 1199SEIU worker leader and member of the most recent contract negotiation committee, will discuss how the positive contract was won, and the benefits it includes: wage increases, healthcare, childcare, education fund and pension benefits.
A major aspect of this year’s struggle was a management plan to bypass the union with temp workers and subcontracting. The new contract pushes back a management assault on technical and professional workers and protects the pensions of union members. The 1199 contract battle was a victory that all workers can learn from, as it took place in a time when labor is under extreme right-wing attacks nationwide.