In a crucial step for Mel’s fight to win back his job and improve conditions at the site where he had been working as a security guard, over 20 people from the still-fledgling East Bay Solidarity Network staged an all-day fact-finding and outreaching session at the entrance to the offices of ABC Security: Mel’s former (and hopefully future) employer. Today was payday, and workers were coming to get their checks. As they entered and exited the long driveway leading to the private-property offices, we distributed our flyers explaining Mel’s fight. In a few hurried words, we tried to agitate* ABC guards by asking them how they felt about their job (most: from so-so to shitty) and what ever happened to that raise they’d been promised (three years and no sign of it). Some of the guards were hella down for what we’re doing (quote: “Yeah, the company doesn’t care if people die”), and their ire toward ABC’s owner only increased when we showed them photos of her mansion in the Oakland hills.
Most importantly, though, the workers aided us by providing names of sites that employ ABC guards. Now that we’ve collected this client list (ranging from apartment complexes to warehouses and a golf course), we can use it to apply economic pressure to the company, escalating the fight to serious levels.
One of the highlights of the day, for me, was seeing Mel stand up to the supervisor who got him fired, with ten of us standing there to support him. Bolsters my hope that our group is helping shift the balance of power further toward the lowest-paid workers, and away from managers and millionaire CEOs.
Waiting for workers to pass through the driveway afforded us time to connect with each other, too. These are some lovely, vibrant people with great visions of building solidarity in the East Bay and beyond. (Earlier morning conversations focused around movements in Mexico, Chile, and Argentina, and how we might ally with / extend them here in Oakland.)
Anyway, I’ll keep you posted if/when we post an official account on the EastBaySol blog, but just wanted to share some of the joy of the day! Hope you’re well, friends.