We’ve learned that the SEIU is feeding offshoot groups to organize protests of workers in the fast food and retail industries. These groups are cropping up all over the country under a variety of names and include social justice themes, but all have the common goal of raising the minimum wage or talk about a ‘living wage’.
I’ve labeled these groups Occupy 2.0, since those running these groups usually have at least one staffer tied to Occupy and another to unions. Yesterday I pulled North Carolina’s ‘Moral Mondays’ protests and union presence into the mix:
So far, we have not had retail or fast food protests for higher minimum wage – yet anyway. The only one that cropped up was on Black Friday in Durham. The Durham protest didn’t have any employees protesting but rather was performed by groups seemingly targeting Wal-Mart. The group of note in that protest was Triangle Jobs with Justice (TJWJ), which is a local offshoot of Jobs with Justice:
Jobs with Justice is a national network of local coalitions that bring together labor unions, faith groups, community organizations, and student activists to fight for working people.
Hey, sounds like the makeup of the ‘Moral Mondays’ crowd no? I’m going to be looking into TJWJ and will update later on.
What I’ve seen so far protest-wise involves the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC). Triangle Jobs With Justice was also a part of this FLOC protest and has participated in Occupy.
As promised, I looked up Triangle Jobs With Justice and found the people running it were no stranger to the Left leaning groups already established in North Carolina. In fact, my digging turned up the four names most repeated on the TJWJ site are just like the groups in NYC and Chicago: Occupy and Union tied.
The players: Deborah Rosenstein, Adam Sotak, Jillian Johnson, Nick Wood.
1) Committee. We now have committees formed. Please consider joining them – the more folks we have the more that we can do and the faster we can do it. For those interested in the Education committee, contact Deborah Rosenstein at email@example.com. Adam Sotak is the contact person for the Campaigns committee. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Jillian Johnson is the contact person for the Media Committee. She can be reached at email@example.com. For those interested in Outreach (we need folks!) and Structure, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Weird thing, the address given for TJWJ (2009 Chapel Hill Rd, Durham) is the same address as Green Dream beds?
- SEIU affiliation
- Member of Duke University’s social justice group, CLASS
- “Union Educator” – Video
- NC HOPE coalition ties – NCAE’s One Voice Rally, May 3, 2011 photos by Deb Rosenstein. NC HOPE is the baby of the NC AFL CIO
- Might have worked for unions in MN in 2008, 2009? Jimmy Johns 2010?
- Arrested at Moral Monday on 5/13/2013. Mugshot link now defunct.
- Johnson did a promo video on why she decided to be arrested for the NAACP. That video has been made private after this article was originally posted.
- 8 Web domains associated with email JillyLovesDurham@gmail.com, including NCJWJ, two that with names that could be potential immigration push sites and a site with the Diary of a pregnant Anarchist (taken down) on it.
- LinkedIn Profile
- @JillyLovsDurham on Twitter (Account was deleted)
- NC Student Power union supporter
- Occupy supporter and organizer of Occupy Durham
— Jillian Johnson (@jillylovsdurham) October 17, 2011
- Arrested at Moral Monday on June 3rd, 2013. Mugshot (link now defunct).
- Title: NC Jobs with Justice Instigator
- Triad Coalition member
- FLOC AFL-CIO Organizer
- Wal-Mart Durham Strike – AFL CIO
- Occupy ties
- Occupy BOA protest
- Photo: Teach-in At UNC-CH “Saw” (Student Action with Workers) Second Photo. Sidenote: There is Zaina Alsous, at this event too. She’s the leader of Occupy Chapel Hill and a Moral Monday arrestee.
- Arrested at Moral Monday on April 29th – did a promo video on the arrest for NAACP. Mugshot link now defunct.
- Organizing Director for Democracy NC
- Twitter @AdamSotak
One person not mentioned on the website, yet was quoted in the WRAL article on the Wal-Mart protest in Durham is Caitlyn Thomson.
“If people use this day to boycott Walmart and shop at other retailers who treat their employees fairly, we hope that will get through to the Walmart managers and owners who are profiting at the expense of their workers,” said Caitlyn Thomson.
More on the protest from Call Center Info:
Caitlyn Thomson, a Durham resident who was one of the local protestors, said that at that particular Wal-Mart, there was no walk-out by store associates.
She said the demonstration was going on to support the workers.
“We want them to have living wages, the right to organize,” she said.
The Durham demonstrators were not affiliated with any one particular organization, she said.
A news release said the event drew participation from the NC State AFL-CIO and Progress North Carolina.
There were also people present who have been involved with Occupy Chapel Hill/Carrboro.
Living wage. AFL-CIO, Progress NC, Occupy. All the same players, just doing it under a different name. In fact, a second group attending this protest had a familiar name: Spencer Bradford.
“It’s the biggest shopping day of the year for retailers. I think it’s an optimum time to remind people that there are human faces and lives behind the check-out counter here, and that they are not getting a day off, unlike most of the shoppers here,” said Spencer Bradford, a pastor with Durham Mennonite Church. “Some of them didn’t even get a day off on Thanksgiving.”
So who is Caitlyn Thomson? From what I’ve gathered, she’s an attorney in Durham who appears to specialize in workers rights and various employment claims. Facebook page has a profile picture of a courthouse with rainbow-colored pillars. Her professional profile states:
Caitlyn was born and raised in San Francisco, California. She graduated from the University of Arizona, Summa Cum Laude, in 1995. She obtained her law degree from Duke University School of Law, with High Honors, in 1998.
Perhaps Ms. Thomson was a one time participant? A spur of the moment attendee not tied to Corporate Action Network, Triangle Justice With Jobs, the Durham Mennonite Church or Raging Nannies* that were the prominent groups listed? Who knows, but she was one of the ones interviewed on camera along with Spencer Bradford of the Durham Mennonite Church.
Maybe she’s one of the lawyers helping to advise the NAACP and bail out Moral Monday protesters? Odd coincidence, in looking up discrimination lawyers, Thomson and the NAACP in Durham are listed right next to each other. Heck, they’re right around the corner from each other practically. Coincidence, I’m sure though. *Note: The correct name is Raging Grannies; WRAL got it wrong in their Wal-Mart story.
Fun Fact: Some of The Raging Grannies were arrested at Moral Monday on May 6th. Were they wearing the Green armbands designating they volunteered to be arrested? The Grannies even helped out Occupy Durham. Sample of the Grannies work:
So, Triangle Jobs with Justice, The Pastor of the Mennonite Church and The Raging Nannies all participated in the Wal-Mart workers protest. They all also had members of their groups arrested at various Moral Mondays. Not a coincidence.
The Left in North Carolina is one big happy family of recycled names and faces jumping from one group to the next one. These Moral Mondays aren’t dozens of different groups with new people, they’re the same people with new groups names. It’s like ACORN — get caught, disband and then reform under a new name.
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