Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year from Atlanta 9to5!!!

Here at 9to5, there's a lot on our agenda in the new year....

We're involved with two statewide campaigns to bring more family-friendly workplace policies to our state: the Georgia Job Family Collaborative and the Georgia Minimum Wage Coalition.

The Job/Family Collaborative is working to pass the Parent Protection Act (HB 37) during the 2009 Legislative Session -- which would give working parents & caregivers up to 24 hours of job-protected leave each year to take children & ailing parents to medical appointments or to attend school functions.

The Minimum Wage Coalition believes that all working Georgians deserve a higher minimum wage that will allow them to support their families. Therefore, we are working to raise the minimum wage for all Georgia workers from $5.15/hour to the federal rate of $7.25/hour by July 2009.

Join us in these efforts! Check out the coalition websites and let us know if you'd like to get involved!

Early in the new year, 9to5 will be launching a new website! This means we'll have a new national website (with the same address of and new chapter websites in Atlanta, Colorado, Milwaukee, and California. (Do you live near one of the other 9to5 chapters? Go to their website and get involved!) Check back soon for our amazing new (and more uniform) look!

And, are you a member of 9to5? If so, we'll be releasing preliminary details about our 2009 Annual Leadership Conference in Washington, DC very soon. It'll take place in May and it's shaping up to be an amazing time. If you're not already a 9to5 member, you should join and consider attending this year's ALC! We'll be bringing workplace change to Washington! Keep reading the Atlanta 9to5 blog for more information in the coming months.

From everyone at the Atlanta 9to5 office, we'd like to wish you a happy end to 2008 and a great start to 2009!

-- Cindia, Nasreen, Shyria, Yomara, Asha, Anni, & Tracie

Friday, December 19, 2008

Realizing the Promise, part 2

by Leslie Hudson

9 to 5 Atlanta Working Women (Leslie H, Vickie U, Ebony T and Anni M and Shyria C) arrived in Washington DC with the mission of putting Family-Work Place Policy in the building. After we reached our hotel and settled in the lobby the most remarkable thing happen, the room filled with fellow community organizers and we all connected and started sharing our stories. I heard stories about how our common grounds are important in making America better in our communities.

Next stop to lobbying training with the Center for Community Change and the Gamaliel Foundation. I heard wonderful words that brought me to tears and received good information about how to lobby.

The next morning I got footage of a sunrise peaceful protest against United Health Care, an immigration press conference and IL Rep. Gutierrez spoke and then we broke in our groups. Me and Anni headed to speak to our Georgia Representatives Jack Kingston (R), Sanford Bishop (D), and Nathan Deal (R).

My group had the opportunity to speak with an aide to Rep Nathan Deal and I shared my story about being forced to choose between my family and my job and expressed the importance of the need for Family-Work Place Policy because the families are the employees.

I must acknowledge the fact all these activities were accomplished before 1pm; more importantly over 200 community organizers participated.

Final stop, the Realizing the Promise Forum. The forum was like big thank you to all of us organizers for participating and taking back our government. It was filled with awesome speakers , roundtable discussions about a New America and ended with a rallying of our ideas, our missions and our agendas of change.

I left this event ready to return to Atlanta to get more work done, learn more about lobbying and I realize that I can really help to change the quality of life for millions of Americans.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Realizing the Promise

Two weeks ago, Atlanta 9to5 staff & members went to Washington DC for the Realizing the Promise forum. Sponsored by the Gamaliel Foundation & the Center for Community Change (two well-known community organizing groups), the forum & the activities in the days around it were focused on what role organizers can play in bringing change to the United States.

Check out an article on the Realizing the Promise forum here!

Forum attendees identified several key issues that the Obama administration should focus on to help the American people: healthcare reform, immigration reform, economic recovery, and workers' rights -- which is where 9to5 fit in! We took action, we went to a press conference, we attended the forum, and we lobbied on Capitol Hill, urging our Congressmen and women to pass the Healthy Families Act.

If you'd like to see more information about the forum, please visit their website (there's a really great video at the bottom of the homepage that you should check out!). And if you'd like to become a member of 9to5 so you can get involved with activities like this one in the future, please visit OUR website!

Stay tuned for feedback, thoughts, & insight from members who went to Washington with us......

Friday, December 5, 2008

May I please speak to.......?

I attended an event this morning with House Representative Stacey Abrams, District 84, and House Representative Kathy Ashe, District 56. They took the time to speak about issues important to Atlanta and the State of Georgia , including pending budget cuts to public education and social service programs that could drastically impact thousands of women and children in Georgia. They sent a message today and asked that we, as voters and residents of this state, contact our State Representatives and Senators about the State Budget. We need to demand that social supports not be cut at a time when thousands of families are in great need for economic assistance. Urge the Governor to find solutions that do not impact these already vulnerable populations!

Representative Ashe mentioned that when cuts to PeachCare were being discussed, she received only 5 contacts regarding the issue, however, after the media explosion of Michael Vick's dog fighting charges, she received 973 emails and phone calls! While both issues have merit and importance (I love and adore animals), it surprises me how many people aren't contacting their government officials on issues that affect the welfare of our children. Are we too busy? Do we feel it's the responsibility of others? Do we not know how or what to say?

Both women urged us to call not only our own district Representatives and Senators, but also those in other parts of the state who are members of committees with first access to the bills and issues being introduced. Committees include Children and Youth, Health and Human Services, Education, and Industrial Relations. Yes, it can be confusing - what do all of these committees do? But if you need assistance, 9to5 is always here to help and remind you of how you can take action. Both women said that if they receive at least 5 calls or emails about an issue, it become a hot button. So imagine what 973 calls can do! And they have asked us to hold them accountable for their votes. They advise us to talk to the media, write op-ed pieces, and to even embarrass them when they have not done their job! We should also remember to commend them for the work they do.

I have made contact with my district representatives. I was able to speak to my senator over the phone, and Representative Mary Margaret Oliver took time to email with me and even speak to me at the Capitol. Here's a few questions for you? Do you know who your House Rep and Senator are for your district? Have you ever contacted them? If so, what happened? Did you get a response? Share your experiences with us!

Monday, December 1, 2008


Go vote!

By now you know how important it is that you cast a ballot in this runoff election. BUT...

Are you still not sure who you're going to vote for? 9to5 recommends you take one last look at the candidates' websites before casting your ballot.

United States Senate candidates:
Jim Martin
Saxby Chambliss

Public Service Commission - District 4 Representative candidates:
Jim Powell
Lauren ("Bubba") McDonald

Georgia Court of Appeals judicial candidates:
Sara Doyle
Mike Sheffield

Do you know where to vote? If not, find your polling place on the Secretary of State's online poll locator!

AND, don't forget:
  • Polls are open from 7am - 7pm tomorrow. If you are standing in line by 7pm, you can still vote.
  • If your work schedule does not allow you enough time to vote, state law requires your employer to give you up to 2 hours off work to cast a ballot!
  • You must bring a form of photo identification with you to the polls (see a list of approved IDs).

And never forget:
Your vote counts!