The Occupy Wall Street Movement is an important one. The #OWS General Assembly statement transcript is here: http://nycga.cc/2011/09/30/declaration-of-the-occupation-of-new-york-city/

This blog has been discussing violations of labor laws and what ordinary employees and ethical Human Resources professionals and workplace leaders can do about them since its inception.

Join the LinkedIn Group: Occupy Your Workplace – http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=4134115&trk=myg_ugrp_ovr

Recognize that when you are urged to be against each other, you lose. When you are urged to be against anyone because of their race, gender, age, disability, sexuality, color, veteran status, marital status, citizenship, religion, whether they are in a union or not – or because someone at work thinks someone else should be bullied, ridiculed or ganged up on – for any reason – recognize that THAT is just a way to distract you from the fact that your workplace rights and protections in the US are insufficient and are also constantly under attack by the GOP.

Recognize that if you demand and expect that your rights at work will not be violated, that you also must not violate anyone else’s rights by harassing, discriminating against them, retaliating against them, lying about them, demanding that they cover up for your own unlawful behaviors, etc.

Print out any page on this blog and make sure your HR people at work and your managers and bosses understand that you know your rights. Make sure they know that you know when they’re violating labor laws, which is an epidemic in the US. Demand that they operate your workplace in a legally compliant manner. Remember that your HR people at work are also employees and are also part of the 99%.

Some HR people are ethical and others are not. Many ethical HR people are pressured and directed by their bosses to engage in unlawful vioations of labor laws. If you think this is happening to your HR person, have compassion for them, direct them to this website and remind them that they are part of the 99%. Ask them to have courage and SPEAK UP and #OccupyTheWorkplace!

DEMAND that your Human Resources professionals at work do their jobs properly, ethically and within legal compliance. Get my book at your local library and show it to your HR people at work. Ask them to read it, and make sure they’re ensuring that your workplace is compliant with all labor laws and that your rights and those of all of your co-workers are protected.

If you’re nervous about taking that action, print out any page on this blog and slip it under the door of your HR person at work or under the door of your boss or the head of your workplace. Or put it in their mailboxes at work.

If you’re nervous about taking that action, print out any page from this blog and mail it anonymously to your HR person, your boss or your workplace leader.

Share this blog with your co-workers. Educate yourselves about what your rights ARE and ARE NOT in the US. Understand that the US has terrible labor protections for workers. Understand that the labor protections we do have were hard-won by brave workers over many decades – and for which thousands of people died. Understand that there are strict rules and time-limits that apply when you wish to protect yourself using US labor laws.

Does your workplace hire outside consultants or lawyers who are unethical? Do these consultants or lawyers give you lectures or show you films that tell you that unions are a bad choice for you?Do these consultants encourage you to tell them what your experiences are at work and then betray you to your bosses?

There are many unethical lawyers and consutltants out there who will do things like this for money. They should be ashamed of themselves, and if they do this, you should make it clear to your HR person and/or your workplace leadership that you find it objectionable.

Do so anonymously so you are not retaliated against, but do it. You can also ask your State Attorney General or Inspector General if they will file Union-Busting charges against such attorneys, consultants and workplaces. You can also ask your state BAR Association if they will sanction such attorneys.

Do you get paid sick days? Do your friends and family? Many US employees to NOT get paid sick time. This is bad for all of us. Please visit this excellent site: http://paidsickdays.nationalpartnership.org/site/PageServer?pagename=psd_index

Understand that Government is NOT the problem; http://www.governmentisgood.com/articles.php?aid=1

The Republican party and conservative Democrats are the problem and have been fighting against labor laws and trying to repeal them for over 4o years. Understand that only progressive Democrats and Independents like Bernie Sanders fight for working people. Be sure to watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tq1zpHF0J04

Make sure you Vote! Demand Progressive Action from your elected officials! Demand that they all read and understand this! Former Financial Regulator William Black: Occupy Wall Street Movement is a Counter to White-Collar Fraud http://bit.ly/q3okjB

Understand that the only jobs Republicans have created are overseas so that corporations can pay slave wages to people in other nations that have labor laws that are even worse than those we have in the US. THAT is why there aren’t enough jobs in the US. Understand that when Republicans say that labor laws and regulations prevent job creation; they are lying. Corporations can still be very profitable if they hire Americans in US jobs at living wages with excellent health and retirement benefits.

The problem is that corporations want to make even MORE money, so they choose to pay slave wages to workers in 3rd world nations instead of creating good jobs in the United States and hire Americans. Corporate leaders are not happy with two homes and four cars; they want 12 homes, 2 yachts, 10 cars, and even more. Corporate greed is the problem.

Unions are not the problem. Labor laws are NOT the problem. Regulations that protect consumers, employees, the environment, or our rights to sue for damages, negligence, or harm (Tort Law) are NOT the problem. Corporate Greed is the problem! Understand all of this. Watch this to understand: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47dg1uxiF4o

Be sure to see this important film, Hot Coffee: http://hotcoffeethemovie.com/

Do not support global slavery. Do not purchase anything that was made in China. Do not purchase anything from Wal-Mart.

Do not purchase anything that was made by child labor. Do not purchase anything that is made by the Koch Brothers’ coporation, which funds Republicans and ALEC (http://alecexposed.org/wiki/ALEC_Exposed), which are doing all they can to repeal all labor and consumer protections in the US.

These are important boycotts to maintain strictly. Learn more about SLAVERY that is still happening and be sure you are NOT supporting it here: http://slaveryfootprint.org/

Boycott Koch Industry Products: http://wp.me/pDm0g-3P4

Know your rights. Speak up at work when your rights are being violated. Support others whose rights at work are violated. Tell the truth at work about violations of labor laws. Go on record to be a witness if you see somene being harassed, discriminated against or retaliated against. Stand up for each other. 

Do not allow anyone at your workplace to engage in unlawful harassment, discrimination, retaliation, union-busting or other violations of labor laws. Have Solidarity with other employees who are being harassed, discriminated against, retaliated against or unlawfully terminated. You are stronger together than apart.

Also, please consider moving your money out of big banks into CREDIT UNIONS. Here is a list of credit unions searchable by zip code: http://moveyourmoneyproject.org/find-bankcredit-union

Please do not be fooled by Republican propaganda and consider this response to it: Thoughtful response to a “I am the 53%” guy in @dailykos. http://bit.ly/niV2hD

I studied writing and poetics with Allen Ginsberg at Naropa for over two years. Please see him singing his poem Ballad of the Skeletons; it is very relevant to the Occupy Movement: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdvM0IB5Sbs

Judith Butler speaking at Occupy Washington Square Park on 10/23/11: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYfLZsb9by4&feature=share

Learn about how CONSENSUS is reached at #OWS General Assemblies: http://www.youtube.com/embed/6dtD8RnGaRQ

The more we speak up about violations of labor laws, the more we expose this epidemic.

Support Labor Unions. Support each other.

Some of what you read on this blog or see in the Occupy Movement may surprise you if you don’t have time to follow credible news sources daily.

Be sure to get your news from credible news sources; FOX is NOT news, and that is why they’re not allowed to broadcast in Canada, which has laws against lies being transmitted over the airwaves.

Excellent journalism can be found at: DemocracyNow!, The Rachel Maddow Show, The LastWord with Lawrence O’Donnell, The Nation magazine, UP with Chris Hayes, F.A.I.R., Media Matters, Mother Jones magazine, The Daily Kos online, Citizen Radio and some others.

Be very careful where you get your news. Just because it’s on the internet or on TV or radio, does not make it true.

Speech at #OccupyWashingtonSquarePark on 11/28/11 at 7pm General Assembly:

My name is

Denise Romano
I have trouble speaking –
because of disabilities.
If I can’t speak at some point –
someone here will help.
I might start coughing.
I’m not contagious or choking.
It’s just what my body does.
I am going to talk to you today
about Direct Action
and labor issues.
Point of Information
and especially
in case my disability company sees this speech;
I have taken a special medicine today
to help me speak to you.
I can’t take it often.
The Occupy Wall Street Declaration
mentions labor issues
in several different ways.
Before I get to Direct Action-
A short teach-in
about workplace issues and your rights:
If you have questions after this,
see my blog or ask me after this.
Point of Information:
I am a workplace expert-
a former whistleblower-
a former Human Resources Director-
and an author on labor issues.
I am not here to sell books-
In fact, don’t buy my book.

Get it at a library

or visit my blog-
where much of it is posted for free
I will be donating a copy of my book
to the Zuccotti Park library
and also here
if a library is established
I wrote it for Human Resource professionals-
to help them when they are pressured to violate labor laws-
which is an epidemic in US Workplaces.
This happens every day to millions of HR professionals
in private companies
in government workplaces
in academia
in non-profits
Many times employees think-
their Human Resources people at work-
are not to be trusted.
That might or might not be true.
Keep in mind-
they are employees like you-
and are also part of the 99%.
Most HR professionals-
are pressured daily-
to violate labor laws.
This is not okay with us!
I call upon you all-
to Occupy Your Workplace!
What does this mean?
This means:
Understand what your rights ARE
and ARE NOT.
We are not taught our workplace rights in school.
We are not taught Labor History in school.
By law,
workplaces are required
to post laws
so employees can understand them
When I worked & studied at Columbia University
they were posted
on a yellowed crumpled piece of paper
on the back of a door;
this is not unusual,
and it’s unacceptable.
Education is the first step.
Our labor history
is a rich history.
Many people suffered and died
so we could have
the 8 hour workday
child labor laws
health insurance
workers comp
paid sick leave
and other rights we now enjoy
I call on you to Educate yourselves-
your coworkers, your family & your friends
about your workplace rights
and responsibilites.
When we demand zero harassment
we must not engage in harassment
When we demand zero discrimination
we must not engage in discrimination
When we demand zero retaliation,
we must not engage in retaliation
When we demand zero bullying,
we must not engage in bullying
This means we must understand
WHAT those things are
so we understand
how NOT to do them
If your workplace
doesn’t train all employees about these things,
Ask them to do so.
It is their legal responsibility
harassment, discrimination and retaliation
Workplace bullying is legal in the US
This means it is legal
for employees to be harassed and mistreated
UNLESS they are mistreated BECAUSE OF
race gender color disability religion age etc
This is not only unacceptable –
It is also unwise.
We have troops coming home
who have invisible disabilites.
Many disabilities are invisible;
PTSD is invisible.
My disabilities are invisible
unless I’m coughing badly
or if I don’t have my walker.
Many workplaces have employees-
who for various reasons-
think it is fun to bully and harass others
who are different from themselves in some way.
Most of us know
This is immature unnaceptable behavior.
Most of us have experienced this
or witnessed this.
One direct action you can take
is to Speak UP
if you witness this kind of thing.
It might make you nervous to do so-
Please consider doing it anyway.
There are different ways to do it.
I’ll get to that.
Tell your HR person or boss:
you want a policy to prevent this
you want a training to address this
you want all harassment and bullying stop.
If you don’t want to say so directly,
slip this speech under their door-
you can get it on my blog tomorrow.
There are more than 12 states
that have grassroots movements
to make workplace bullying unlawful.
Direct Action in workplaces
can be frightening-
and for good reason.
US Labor Laws are insufficient.
Unfortunately it is true
that many employees who speak up at work
and make legitimate complaints
despite laws that are supposed to protect us
wind up being disciplined or fired.
Unfortunately it is true
that US labor laws
when compared
to the labor laws in other first-world nations
are insufficient.
We are NOT okay with this!
We can and we must
demand better laws
and demand that existing laws
be fully enforced.
Here are some direct actions
that I have taken
and that I ask you to consider taking:
They have varying levels of risk
so choose what is best for you.
Sign a petition at Change.org (http://chn.ge/bO31L8)
to let the President and your congresspeople know
that you demand that US labor laws be enforced.
You can do this with a few clicks.
It states that currently most workplaces
consider labor laws to be optional.
Employers know
that most employees
don’t know their labor rights
don’t know about complex complaint procedures
and don’t know about important time limits
crucial to filing complaints
and getting justice.
Employers know
that most employees cannot afford an attorney
and that it is very rare
for lawyers to take cases on contingency.
Employers know
that most employees are a few paychecks away
from homelessness
and will sign a gag order
for money they desperately need
if they are fired for making legitimate complaints
What they do NOT know
is that we will NO LONGER accept this
We WILL educate ourselves
our co-workers
our friends and family members
and we WILL take direct action.
We will demand that our workplaces
provide trainings that address
 and bullying.
Even though workplace bullying
is legal in every state,
smart workplaces create policies
that make it unacceptable.
We will demand that US labor laws
be enforced in workplaces-
-that instead of disciplining and firing
employees who make legitimate complaints-

We demand that workplaces

PREVENT violations of labor laws

 We demand
that workplaces discipline and fire
those who harass, discriminate, and retaliate-
even if they are in positions of authority
even if they are the top salesperson
even if they have tenure
even if they are famous.
You would think you could do this safely
in the US-
exercise your freedom of speech at work
Think again.
We have to do this very carefully.
One safe way to do this
so you do not get retaliated against
or disciplined or fired-
is to print out one of the pages on my blog
and slip it in the mailbox of your HR person or boss
There are pages on my blog that address them directly 
Another direct action you might take
is to get involved
in the grassroots movement in your state
to make workplace bullying unlawful.
Another direct action you might take
Is to talk to your union
if you have one.
If you don’t have a union,
consider trying to get one
just educate yourselves and coworkers.
Another direct action you might take
is to make legitimate complaints at work
in groups.
It is safer to complain in a group than alone.
Keep in mind
your complaint must be true.
Try using the communication tools
we’ve learned at General Assembly
to get consensus on a written statement
a group of you can sign.
If you only witness harassment or discrimination
but it hasn’t happened to you,
you can still complain about it-
and I hope you will.
We must remember
those who harass and discriminate and retaliate
are often clever.
They know better than to say or write
“I’m firing you because
of your race or gender or disability or age”
But we are also clever-
And we will NOT accept violations of labor laws.
I encourage you all-
when you complain
to be diplomatic,
direct and professional.
Write it down.
Make it easy on yourself
There are sample memos on my website-
feel free to use them.
I know from experience it is very difficult
to think clearly enough
to write an effective memo
when you’re being harassed.
I encourage you all
to stand in solidarity
with each other at work
and with all workers
in the US and in the world.
Do not isolate or fear
those employees who complain;
they need your support
they need your solidarity.
I encourage you all
to not take sides
in workplace issues
if you don’t have the facts.
Get the facts
whenever you can.
Many times,
workplaces will say
that someone is incompetent
as a way of retaliating against them
because they’ve made legitimate complaints.
Get the facts as much as you can
before you give your solidarity
against someone
If your workplace or manager
wants you to sit through
a lecture or video
about why unions are not a good idea
consider reporting your employer
to your state Attorney General
for union-busting.
Please think about
where the things you buy are made.
Please learn about
slave labor around the world.
Please consider
boycotting goods made in China
or sold at companies in the US
that have rampant abuses of labor laws
e.g. Wal-Mart 
If you are unemployed,
there is a link on my blog
with job-search resources.
If you have experienced
unsafe working conditions
union-busting –
You can tell your story
on my blog-
sometimes telling the truth can help.
The more we speak up and tell the truth
about this epidemic
the less they will be able to get away with it
Labor Rights are Human Rights
Labor Issues are Political Issues
Think before you vote-
There are serious consequences
to voting-
and not voting.
People died so we could vote
Just as there is a serious problem
in the American Justice System
and some get harsh sentences or the death penalty
while others go free –

The same kind of thing happens

in US workplaces.

Those in high-level positions
are often let off the hook
or protected from discipline or firing –
while the rest of us
are laid off, disciplined or fired
even when we’ve done nothing wrong.
What happened to Shirley Sherrod
happens every day to millions of American workers
But they have no recourse.
We Are All Shirley Sherrod!
We are All Troy Davis!
We are All Scott Olsen!
I stand in solidarity
with anyone and everyone
who works for a living
all over the world
and who protests peacefully
and practices freedom of speech
and freedom of assembly
I hope you all will, too.
Thank you.
More Than A Paycheck http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzlEGxiHpEU – Sweet Honey In The Rock –

9 thoughts on “#OccupyYourWorkplace!

  1. Inspirational speech with lots of good advice. I was just at Occupy Oakland and was happy to see Michael Moore. I am glad your blog encourages Occupy Your Workplace. It makes so much sense.

  2. This essay is quite a resource in itself, and the fragment of your own history is very impressive. Could you email a link to this document? Thank you for bringing me here through Twitter.

  3. Thank you for this! It’s so rare for me to see a public speech by someone else with a communication/speech disability. These days my speech is usual typical, unaccented speech, but for several years I was nonverbal much of the time. People freaking out over it got in the way a lot!

    How would you feel about cross-posting your speech to Occupy at Home? (http://occupyathome.wordpress.com) I’d also like to include a link to your blog and info on workplace rights.

    And THANK YOU for saying this: Do not support global slavery.Do NOT purchase anything from Wal-Mart.

    I have been PAINED to see how many occupiers are using supplies from Wal-Mart. I’d love a blog on Wal-Mart, actually. I’ve posted a bit on it, but not nearly enough. Are you interested in writing something or collaborating?

    1. The speech can be posted on any occupy site that exists as long as it is complete and links back to my blog! IT was hard to do; I had to take special medicine that gives me a migraine for like 48 hours after I take it – and it’s also addictive – so I can’t take it often. But, it was worth it!

  4. Oh god, migraines. I get those, too. Payback sucks, but sometimes it is worth it. Hoping this was. ;-D

    OK, great! I will cross-post and link. Just put up a new cross-post a few minutes ago, so will wait a day or two before I put up yours. Want to give people time to read.

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