By Josh Brokaw Construction on the Harold’s Square building is finally close to starting on the south side of the Ithaca Commons, so it seems, after four-plus years of public starts and stops. Developer David Lubin, of Horseheads’ “L Properties,” and the “Harold’s Holdings LLC” entity set up to build the 12-story building, received a 10-year tax abatement from the Tompkins County Industrial Development Agency on June 8, one of the final hurdles to the project. Lubin appeared at the May city planning board meeting,…Continue Reading “Harold’s Square On Its Way: Tax Break Granted Over Vocal Opposition”

Gimme! Coffee Baristas Organizing for Power in Service Work

Update, June 1: According to a release from the Tompkins County Workers’ Center, baristas at Gimme! Coffee voted  16 yes, 1 no, in favor of organizing a union with Workers United Rochester. The Gimme! baristas are now part of Workers United Local 2833, which also included unionized workers at the Ithaca Health Alliance. By Josh Brokaw Gimme! Coffee baristas are voting today, May 31, on whether they should form a union. Baristas at Gimme!’s four Tompkins County locations are exercising their right to organize after…Continue Reading “Gimme! Coffee Baristas Organizing for Power in Service Work”

By Josh Brokaw About 40,000 AT&T Mobility workers are planning on going out on strike for three days starting at 3 p.m. on Friday, May 19, if their contract demands are not met. The workers include those represented by Communications Workers of America District 1 at AT&T Mobility corporate-owned stores in Ithaca, Horseheads, Vestal, Johnson City, and three in Onondaga County. About 21,000 workers across 36 states in retail stores are planning on striking, along with 19,000 landline and DirecTV workers in California, Nevada, and…Continue Reading “AT&T Workers Planning Weekend Strike Across New York, U.S.”

By Josh Brokaw Update, May 13: As one reader on social media have pointed out, this piece is “ridiculously biased.” This piece is not meant to be straight-ahead reporting – this piece is one reporter’s feeling about the situation at Cayuga Medical Center after doing months of reporting on issues there. Cayuga Health System – parent company of Cayuga Medical Center, Schuyler Medical Center, and Cayuga Medical Associates – celebrated National Nurses Week and National Hospital Week this second week of May. We know this…Continue Reading “A Happy “Screw You” From Cayuga Medical For National Nurses’ Week”

By Josh Brokaw Some Ithaca College students are planning on “camping in” this week at the school’s Peggy Ryan Williams Center, the glossy, glassy administration building with a spectacular view of Cayuga Lake. Students for Labor Action at Ithaca College held a press conference on Tuesday, May 2, to announce their action in support of contingent faculty professors Shoshe Cole, Rachel Gunderson, and David Kornreich. The “Fired 3,” as their advocates call the professors, were on the bargaining committee that negotiated the first contract for…Continue Reading “Ithaca College Students Camping In For ‘Fired 3’ Professors”

By Josh Brokaw A former Cornell worker is pursuing legal action against the university because, she says, Cornell discriminated against her because of her gender, then retaliated against her for speaking out. “I am a female and opposed discrimination. Because of this, I have been subject to unlawful discriminatory actions,” Julie Featherstone wrote in the first item of a complaint to the New York State Division of Human Rights, filed in July 2016. Featherstone was the senior director of administration in Alumni Affairs and Development…Continue Reading “Lawsuit: ‘Pervasive’ Gender Discrimination in Cornell Alumni Affairs Office”

Anne Marshall came onto WRFI News on Tuesday, April 11, to speak with co-hosts Forrester Hammer and Josh Brokaw about returning to work via a judge’s injunction on April 3. Marshall spoke about the National Labor Relations Board trial that wrapped up last week, where it was alleged that Cayuga Medical Center fired her and another nurse for union activity, rather than not following a blood transfusion protocol. Marshall also spoke about getting the campaign for Cayuga Medical nurses to join SEIU 1199 back in…Continue Reading “Audio: Anne Marshall On Returning to Work and Organizing at Cayuga Medical”

By Josh Brokaw The second federal case in less than a year against Cayuga Medical Center for alleged labor law violations wrapped up on Tuesday, April 4. The trial started on January 9 and took 16 days of testimony broken up over four multiple-day stints. After a three week break in this National Labor Relations Board hearing, it resumed on Monday, April 3 – the same day fired nurse Anne Marshall went back to work under a federal injunction. Cayuga Medical presented its last two…Continue Reading “Dealing With the “Labor Organizing Threat:” Cayuga Medical Federal Trial Ends”

Words & Photos by Josh Brokaw A circle of people gathered round in a cold drizzle on the afternoon of Thursday, March 31, on Ithaca’s Commons to protest the detention of José Coyote Pérez by Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE]. Pérez is a farm worker and advocate who has lived in Livingston County for 17 years, according to the Worker Justice Center of New York. He was detained by ICE on Feb. 24 and is now being held in Batavia, though his case was closed…Continue Reading “Ithacans Rally for José Coyote Pérez, Farmworker Detained by ICE”

By Josh Brokaw In the ideal representative democracy ready-made for academic schemata, an election campaign leads to a vote and then a decision. The people take some time to discuss the pluses and minuses of an action or a candidate, they register their rational choice in the ballot box, and a resolution is reached based on the votes. Real-world democracy isn’t so simple. The Cornell administration and graduate student community is learning that the hard way this week. Nearly three years of organizing by Cornell…Continue Reading “Cornell Grads’ Union Vote In Question, Re-Vote Possible”