Monday, September 14, 2009

IWJ Nebraska Lobbys in DC for the Employee Free Choice Act

(Lft-Rt: Noel Andersen, Jason Prokop-Legislative Assistant, Rev. Robyn Fickes, Rev. Frederick McCullough, Rev. Janet Banks and Rev. Debra McKnight)

IWJ Nebraska joined a delegation of farmers, teachers and faith leaders to advocate for the Employee Free Choice Act(EFCA) in Washington DC last Thursday, 9/10/09. With the support of American Rights at Work, m
ore than 300 activists from 15 states were on Capitol Hill to tell their elected leaders that workers need and deserve meaningful labor law reform. The diverse group of small business owners, veterans, farmers, students, faith leaders, civil rights activists, women’s advocates, and environmentalists united in one voice to remind lawmakers why the Employee Free Choice Act is vital to rebuilding our economy.

The Interfaith Worker Justice brought three Pastors from Omaha and joined with two more Pastors from Lincoln. We extended the conversation to include the moral, ethical and theological voice to the discussions with our Senators and Congresspersons. Together we visited the offices of Senator Nelson, Senator Johanns, Rep. Lee Terry, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry and Rep. Adrien Smith. We also delivered a letter of twenty four clergy throughout Lincoln and Omaha who have signed onto a letter from the perspective of faith in support of the Employee Free Choice Act.

EFCA can change the way in which workers organize giving further protection against the illegal intimidation and terminations during a unionization campaign, provide binding arbitration for a contract upon winning an election and give the option to workers if they want a secrete ballot or a majority sign up through union authorization cards. With Senator Harkin's leadership, we have the opportunity to get EFCA passed in 2009!

As we continue to work on health care, we must remember that causes such as EFCA and Immigration Reform are more likely to pass if we can be successful with health care reform!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Interfaith Worker Justice helps organize Vigil for Immigration Reform

Interfaith Worker Justice worked along with Nebraska Appleseed and other community agencies to organize a vigil for immigration reform. There were over fifteen faith leaders from various traditions and all shared a prophetic voice for immigration reform to respect the human dignity of all immigrants. Together we recognized the dire need for change in the reality of a broken immigration system. Many migrants face fatal conditions to enter this country and then upon arrival are exploited by business interest and not provided with proper worker rights. Often immigrant workers are intimidated because of their documentation status and not treated as equals within the workforce.

Sr. Kathleen Erickson shared stories from her time serving on the border and her ministry visitations in immigration detention centers. Noe Ramon from Pixan Ixim Guatemalan group shared a prayer in his native tongue of Qanjobal. Rev. Debra McKnight read the below poem from the statue of liberty to reference this country’s historical making through immigration.

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she

With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Lincoln Rally with Change that Works for Health Care Reform Aug. 25th

Interfaith Worker Justice helped Change that Works organize a rally in Lincoln for health care reform. It was beautiful to see prayers shared with hundreds of people passionate for change within a broken health care system. A white house representative, Nick Roth, was the keynote speaker who energized the crowd for change. IWJ helped organize Lincoln faith leaders at the rally that had over five-hundred people present. Three different pastors played a role in the rally by giving the opening and closing prayers. The event was covered by local press.

Find it on You Tube