Philadelphia Area Jobs with Justice is a coalition of labor unions and student, community, and faith groups. Together, we fight for the fair treatment of workers, organizing in local communities and workplaces. We believe in long-term multi-issue coalition building, grassroots base-building, organizing, and strategic militant action as the foundation for building a workers' movement, and we believe that by engaging a broad community of allies, we can win bigger victories.
Philadelphia JwJ was founded in 1999 in order to link unaffiliated activists with labor unions and social justice organizations in solidarity to win victories through the media, on the ground, in picket lines, and at protests. Since then, we have engaged in and won local and national campaigns demanding the fair treatment of workers from some of the country's most notoriously anti-worker corporations--including Verizon, Comcast, Walmart, and Sunoco. We have also worked on national, state, and city levels as members of the National Jobs with Justice network to fight for immigrants' rights, single-payer healthcare, workers' rights to organize, and more.
For four years, Philadelphia JwJ waged a sustained campaign called Philadelphia Officers and Workers Rising (POWR), defending the workplace rights of security guards in the City of Philadelphia. In the first two years, the POWR campaign won major victories including wage raises and paid sick days for guards at the Penn and Temple campuses, and at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In 2008, Philadelphia JwJ began to work closely with officers at the museum as they organized to demand independent union recognition. In a historic election, the Allied Barton guards at the museum overwhelmingly voted to unionize under the Philadelphia Security Officers' Union (PSOU). Philadelphia JwJ continues to stand in solidarity with the PSOU as the guards fight for a fair contract.
n April 2010, we rallied alongside the nurses of PASNAP during their four-week strike at Temple Hospital, marching with the workers at rallies and pickets, sponsoring a fundraiser for the nurses and their families, and organizing three solidarity rallies and an educational "die-in" through the Temple chapter of our Student Labor Action Project. We remain dedicated to providing solidarity and support for labor and workers in the City of Philadelphia, connecting labor and community activists in a strong network rooted in a shared commitment to the ideal of reciprocity.
In 2010 and 2011, we also served on the Executive Board of the Coalition for Essential Services (CES), a network of 90 community, labor, and social justice organizations fighting against tax breaks for big business as way of finding the money necessary to fund essential city services like domestic violence shelters, libraries, and afterschool programs for children. CES fights in City Hall, in the media, and on the streets for budget justice. CES was a major component of our core programs, since funding for city services is necessary for keeping our city liveable--for both our neighborhoods and our dedicated city workers.
In 2011, Philadelphia JwJ served as the fiscal sponsor of Occupy Philly, and played a key role as a liason between community groups, labor unions, and the occupation. Philly JwJ Community Co-Chair Diane Mohney and Executive Director Gwen Snyder were both arrested at an Occupy Philly sit-in at the Comcast building, protesting tax cuts and abatements granted to major corporations like Comcast by the City.
Continuing Our Work
Philadelphia JwJ continues to organize activists and social justice groups to support the efforts of workers in our communities. Since early 2011, we have played a key role the Paid Sick Days coalition, recruiting and organizing faith and labor allies in the fight for paid sick days for working Philadelphians. In late 2011, our proposed paid sick days legislation passed City Council, though it was later vetoed by Mayor Nutter. Currently, we are working with Councilman Greenlee, Pathways PA, Action United, and other allies to pass paid sick days legislation through City Council with a veto-proof majority.
In October 2012, Philadelphia Jobs with Justice launched our Good Neighbors campaign, pressuring Mayor Nutter to enforce a recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision, that upheld the HUP test. The HUP test specifies that when land owned by nonprofits is allowed to lie vacant or is used for profit-generating, noncharitable purposes, that land must be assessed a property tax. According to a recent Inquirer/PhillyPlan study, enforcement of the HUP Test in Philadelphia would generate an estimated 100 to 500 million dollars in additional revenue for the city. Through our Good Neighbors campaign, Philadelphia Jobs with Justice and our allies are demanding that Mayor Nutter enforce this court decision and use the revenue it generates to fund our schools, preserve essential services like libraries, and provide property tax relief to working families.