The fall brought crisp air, autumn leaves, Halloween, and a host of funding victories for the North Star Fund community to celebrate:
“Ban the Box” Benefits Those Who’ve Done Their Time
On Oct. 27, VOCAL - NY led grassroots efforts to get the Fair Chance Act in effect, which is the strongest “ban-the-box” policy nationwide. It requires private and public sector employers to delay any inquiry about criminal record history until after a conditional job offer is made. New York City is now the largest city in the nation to adopt a fair chance hiring policy. This win comes after years of organizing, including a #banthebox campaign led by Vocal NY, one of North Star Fund’s most effective Movement Leadership grantees.
B&H Photo Video Warehouse Workers Protest Gets Huge Press Attention
On Oct.11, North Star Fund Grantee Laundry Workers Center launched a large campaign against B&H Photo Video. For more than a year, Laundry Workers Center has been training over 180 B&H workers in how to resist oppressive working conditions.These workers have faced inhumane working conditions such as regular exposure to noxious dust, which causes rashes and nosebleeds.The campaign kicked off with a rally in front of the B&H store, protesting the working conditions in B&H warehouses. The rally generated a lot of press, which is huge progress toward pressuring B&H to provide its factory workers with safe working conditions.
MTA Get’s $10.8 Billion in Funding From New York City and State
Last month, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio agreed to commit a combined $10.8 billion towards funding the MTA’s $30 billion capital improvement budget. This funding will improve MTA service for daily riders, and keep ride fares from rapidly rising. The win came about from the successful organizing of a North Star Fund Movement Leadership Grantee, Riders Alliance (RA). RA member leaders devised a disarming way to engage ordinary transit riders: even though real-life Governor Cuomo doesn’t ride the subway himself, a life-sized cardboard cut-out version of the governor could. Photos of this cut-out riding the 7 train got significant media attention this past summer, which led to bigger commitments from the New York City and New York State governments.
New York City Doubles its Funding for Worker Owned Cooperatives
The New York City Council announced funding of $2.1 million for Worker-Owned Rockaway Cooperatives (WORCs), which is the largest municipal commitment to cooperatives of any US city. Cooperatives are businesses owned by its member workers and allow for more equal distribution of wealth rather than concentrated at the top. The additional funding for WORCs is a historic watershed for new economy initiatives in New York City. As an anchor participant and the largest recipient of funding, North Star Fund grantee Working World is grateful for the win. “It is a humbling validation of our work and an undeniable mandate to keep working,” said Brendan Martin, founder and director of Working World.
Congratulations to all our grantees for their hard won victories! Also, congratulations to the donor activists who helped make these victories possible.