Space Coast Progressive Alliance

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Saturday, 15 August 2015 19:13

SCPA 1st Thurs: We Are All Labor

Written by  Team SCPA

Posted August 16, 2015 / Revised August 17, 2015 at 9:34am

1st Thursday, September 3: We Are All Labor!

6:30pm Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015

hosted by Space Coast Progressive Alliance

Location: Front Street Civic Center, 2205 Front St. Melbourne FL 32901

Free and open to the public. Donations graciously accepted.

SPEAKER/PANELISTS will be followed by Q&A from the audience.

Judy Blanchard, Director of Industry Relations for CareerSource Brevard.
Denise Diaz, Executive Director, Central Florida Jobs with Justice.
William Richardson, Community Outreach and Planning Specialist, Wage and Hour Division, US Dept. of Labor
Mike Williams, President, Florida AFL-CIO.



The Struggles and Strengths of Workers or "Unemployed, underemployed, Minimum wages vs Livable wages"

by Karen Houston, Space Coast Progressive Alliance

TODAY'S WORKERS face low wages, unemployment, underemployment, wage theft, and even some are brought here to the USA with the promise of a better future and find themselves in horrible living situations with little chance of escape. Some industries we frequent without knowing anything about the workers -- how they're treated -- or mistreated.  
Are you, or someone you know, making the minimum wage? There are people who make less than minimum wage with unscrupulous employers who cheat them out of their earnings. What happens to those who have lost their jobs and exhausted their unemployment benefits? Are they still counted as part of the unemployed? What is Brevard county's unemployment rating? What is a "living wage?"
These questions and more are part of the discussion. Hopefully, we'll  find answers to many of these questions.
Who can you turn to when you have been wronged on the job? What means of help is out there for those who can't seem to find a job? Some people are less than desirable for many employers due to age, health, salary expectations, and other reasons. Who can they turn to? What options are there?


JUDY BLANCHARD is Director of Industry Relations for the CareerSource Brevard, formerly Brevard Workforce, responsible for business services staff and programs. CareerSource Brevard provides a myriad of services for job seekers including trainings, resume writing classes, matching top talent with top companies and even entrepreneurial services.  Previously, Ms. Blanchard served as the Business Services Consultant to the Aerospace Industry for the Workforce Board and was a member of their Board of Directors from 1995 to 2000.
Ms. Blanchard has held several operations and management positions within the Aerospace and Finance Industries for both the private and public sectors, as well as owning and operating a national service franchise in three Florida locations. Ms. Blanchard has a B.S. in Management & Leadership from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, has a long history of community service roles with the Chamber of Commerce and Rotary International, and is a Leadership Brevard graduate       

DENISE DIAZ has been the Executive Director of Central Florida Jobs with Justice since 2007. Originally from Puerto Rico, Denise's parents raised her and her brother on the northwest side of Chicago. Her parents worked in the airline catering industry as union members to provide a better life for their children. Denise Diaz received her BA in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her activism began in organizing on the South Side of Chicago. She later became a tenants' rights activist and organizer in immigrant communities outside of Washington D.C. In 2007, Denise moved to the Sunshine state to raise her three children and continue community organizing on worker rights issues. Jobs with Justice is a coalition consisting of labor unions, community organizations, faith-based groups and students working together to build power for working people.      

WILLIAM RICHARDSON is a former federal investigator for the Wage and Hour Division of the US Dept of Labor. He began his career with the Dept of Labor as a Wage Hour Investigator in North Carolina and transferred to the Jacksonville, FL district office in 2009. As an investigator, he enforced a variety of Acts that included Agriculture, Child Labor, Government Contracts, Polygraph Protection, Fair Labor Standards, Family Medical Leave and the H program wage requirements for Guest Worker Visas. In 2011 he was awarded the Impact Award for his work on Task Force initiatives. Currently, he is the Community Outreach and Planning Specialist for the Wage and Hour Division of the US Dept of Labor and travels throughout North and Central Florida providing federal labor law training as well as acquiring information on non-compliant industries for planning of directed investigations.

MIKE WILLIAMS is President of the Florida AFL-CIO. His trade union involvement started when he became a construction electrician trained in a registered apprenticeship. For Mike, a union card -- union membership -- made a huge difference. Membership meant having a job with a living wage, healthcare and retirement benefits, and education and training opportunities. Mike learned early on in his career that for far too many middleclass families, these work place rights and benefits remain elusive as they struggle to pay the rent, put food on the table or seek medical attention.
After working his trade for 15 years, Mike become the Business Manager of his Local, IBEW 177 -- International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers -- based in Jacksonville. Eight years later, Mike went on to serve as President of the Florida Building Trades Council, building it into a powerful voice for construction trades statewide.       
After a trip to Colombia, South America with the AFL-CIO’s Solidarity Center, Mike became passionate about helping all working families. During his trip, he witnessed the abuses a government could inflict on its own people. This trip solidified his commitment to Florida’s working families.

In 2009, Mike was elected President of the Florida AFL-CIO. During his term, he has revitalized the vision of labor to represent all workers and fostered new alliances with community, immigrant and faith-based groups. He refocused the organization on its core values and strengthened its political influence through grassroots activism. Thanks to his leadership, the Florida AFL-CIO has built a coalition of labor organizations and non-labor allies to become an effective legislative advocate and political voice for issues affecting all working families of the sunshine state.  

Karen Houston is a member of Space Coast Progressive Alliance and is employed by Florida AFL-CIO.


Art by John Cielukowski



1st or 2nd Thursdays are monthly gatherings, building the growing progressive community. Share your petitions and other items of interest, make brief announcements. Enjoy the gathering, super programs, super people. Bring a friend! Free and open to the public.


Space Coast Progressive Alliance (SCPA) is an advocate for the Greater Public Interest on issues important to us all. We advance progressive policies that further civil and personal liberty, the environment, health care, education, labor, peace, social welfare, financial stability and international harmony. Florida non-profit founded in 2004.


Compiled by Team SCPA


Last modified on Saturday, 05 September 2015 06:50
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