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Entries in protest (4)

Wednesday
Oct172012

Abercrombie and Fitch, Other Retail Workers Protest 'Abusive' Scheduling

Paul Taggart/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Employees of Abercrombie & Fitch, Best Buy and other retailers protested Wednesday along New York City's posh Fifth Avenue shopping district against what they call "abusive" work scheduling.

Bintou Kamara, 22, a cashier at Abercrombie & Fitch, started a petition with the labor group Retail Action Project on Change.org last week to request an end to "erratic scheduling" and "abusive on-call shifts" that leave workers waiting by the phone for work that sometimes does not come.

Kamara, a full-time college student, said many retail workers are required to keep their schedules open, to be available at the whim of their managers.

She said that part-time workers at her location on Fifth Avenue had to call two hours before their shifts were to begin to inquire whether they were needed at work.

"Most of the time, you have to wait and sit there," she said.

To support her younger sister in high school and send money to her family in Togo, Kamara said she had to get a second part-time job as a home health aide.

She said many of the workers on strike are young and in similar situations.

"They feel like we can't do anything, we can't fight back and it's a big company," she said.

Ricah Norman, a former employee of a Best Buy store in Maryland, also protested in New York City.

The 23-year-old Norman, currently a student at an online university and looking for a job, said she had to quit school because she could not support herself while working two part-time jobs.

She said she tried to request a regular schedule, but her managers could not help.

"They basically said, 'That's the way the business is.'"

She said she has also tried to seek full-time employment, but many companies she has contacted are hiring only part-time employees.

"Retailers in general need to get back to the days when they scheduled people a correct amount of hours and allowed them to have a personal life while supporting families with sufficient wages and hours, instead of revolving their lives around the companies," she said.

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. and Best Buy did not immediately return requests for comment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Oct232011

Occupy Wall Street Protests on GE CEO’s Lawn

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(NEW CANAAN, Conn.) -- A crowd of 100 protesters, some from New York City’s Occupy Wall Street movement and others from Occupy New Haven, came together in a show of solidarity on Saturday afternoon on General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt’s front lawn in New Canaan, Conn.

“[General Electric is] an enormously successful company that pays no income taxes. We felt it was important for someone like Jeff Immelt to hear from people who are struggling in this economy,” said Jon Green, director of the Connecticut Working Families Party.

Many of those who came from New York were responding to an invitation posted on Occupy Wall Street’s General Assembly website that read: “In the land of the free they tax me but not G.E!” It continues, saying: “General Electric made billions last year; they paid no taxes, outsourced thousands of jobs, and got over $3 billion in tax refunds!”

Immelt reportedly earned $20 million in 2010. Despite his compensation, General Electric continued to shed jobs. According to an ABCNews.com analysis, General Electric has let more than 19,000 workers go since 2008.

Aside from being the CEO of General Electric, Immelt was appointed by President Obama to chair the task force on jobs and competitiveness.

Green said he was unable to tell if Immelt was in his sprawling 10,000-square-foot home, which according to Trulia.com is worth an estimated $5.25 million, at the time of the protest.

“It’s not the kind of home where you can just look in the window and see if the TV is on,” he said.

It’s not the first time protesters have paid visits to those they call “the 1 percent” at home.

Earlier this month, an estimated 2,000 protesters embarked on a “Millionaire’s March” in New York City, visiting the homes of News Corp. owner Rupert Murdoch, real estate developer Howard Milstein and JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon.

“I want the millionaires to know that we won’t stand for this,” Elizabeth Owens, a New York resident who participated in the Oct. 11 march., told ABCNews.com. “I pay more than they do in taxes!”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct102011

'One-Percenters' Respond to Occupy Wall Street Protests

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In the fifth week of the Occupy Wall St. movement, with protests having now spread to 150 U.S. cities and even to Europe, the apparent objects of that protest -- the richest 1 percent -- are starting to push back.

The grumbling from the wealthy took off with a cheeky sign posted in the windows of the Chicago Board of Trade last week, in a place where street protesters easily could see it, which proclaimed: "We Are The 1%."

No one is sure who put the sign up.

If a joke, it was one many protesters didn't get. "I thought [the sign] was extremely disrespectful," a special education teacher named Corey, 35, told TimeOut Chicago. Mike Polski, 53, from Joliet, disagreed, telling TimeOut, "These people wish they were the 1 percent! The 1 percent are billionaires."

He's wrong. According to IRS tax data, anybody earning $380,354 or more qualifies for membership in the top 1 percent. That would include some of the better-paid traders at the Board of Trade. (IRS data shows, too, that the top 1 percent holds 35.6 percent of the nation's wealth, not the 50 percent claimed by Occupiers.)

Whoever posted the sign, trader Eric Wilkinkson says he is in sympathy with it. The real parties responsible for the nation's economic ills are not the rich, in his view.

Says Wilkinson, "It's Capitol Hill and Obama that are the culprits. They're the ones not doing their jobs." He calls the Occupy movement misguided. Somebody rich, he says, "Should not be penalized for making headway in this society. They should pay their fair share of taxes, but they shouldn't be taxed more. They deserve their money."

Wilkinson under his nickname “the Wolfman” has gone out on the street to film a video giving his own take on the protest (see "twitter@wolfmansblog).

On Twitter, one anonymous person who claims to relate elevator gossip at tony investment bank Goldman Sachs -- which may have more one-percenters than anywhere in America -- tweeted: "What are they complaining about? People seem a hell of a lot happier in TGI Fridays commercials than they ever do at Gramercy Tavern." Another tweet said: "A protester sees my Benz, and wants to rip me out of it. A real man sees my car, and wants to work hard so he can buy it one day."

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain easily qualifies as a one-percenter, since his financial disclosure forms show that in 2010 and 2011 he earned generous fees from sitting on a number of corporate boards, including that of Whirlpool, which alone paid him $359,008.

Cain says people who are not rich have only themselves to blame. "Don't blame Wall Street," he told protesters, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. "Don't blame the big banks. If you don't have a job and you're not rich, blame yourself. It's not a person's fault because they succeeded. It is a person's fault if they failed. And so this is why I don't understand these demonstrations and what is it that they're looking for."

Billionaire New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Friday that he doesn't think too much of Occupiers, either, saying in an interview with New York City's WOR Radio, "If the jobs they're trying to get rid of in the city -- the people that work in finance, which is a big part of our economy -- go away, we're not going to have any money to pay our municipal employees or clean the parks or anything else."

And another thing, he says, "None of this is good for tourism."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb032011

Kenneth Cole in Hot Water Over Tweet About Egypt Protest

Photo Courtesy - NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Internet is outraged over a major league fashion faux pas.

Someone at Kenneth Cole sent a tweet Thursday morning that used the civil unrest in Egypt to promote the fashion house's new spring collection.

The tweet, sent out just after 10 a.m. ET, read in its entirety: "Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online at http://bit.ly/KCairo - KC"

Whoever wrote it also made use of the Cairo hashtag -- #Cairo -- used on Twitter to help people follow the topic more easily, a breach of Twitter etiquette.

According to the bio on the Kenneth Cole account, tweets signed "KC" are written by Kenneth Cole himself.

Multiple calls to the company by ABC News were not returned.

Reaction on Twitter was swift and overwhelmingly negative, even including a few calls for boycott.

The tweet rubbed thousands of people the wrong way -- they denounced it as tone deaf at best, cynically tacky at worst -- for exploiting a democratic movement in which people have died in order to sell shoes and handbags.

Already, a parody Twitter account exists, much along the lines of the fake BP publicity account that popped up during the massive Gulf oil spill last year.

"Iran is enriching uranium. Our shoes will enrich your suits," reads one of "@KennethColePR's" less offensive tweets.

Two hours after the offending tweet sent thousands of Web surfers into a tizzy, "KC" issued an apology tweet: "Re Egypt tweet: we weren't intending to make light of a serious situation. We understand the sensitivity of this historic moment - KC"

Still, while the Internet's tongue clucking went into overdrive, the markets didn't even blink.

On a day where the rest of the S&P 500 was relatively flat, four hours after the kerfuffle erupted, Kenneth Cole shares were up almost 2.5 percent. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio