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The Fight Heats Up at the Cedar Lee
by Jaclyn Stacy Friday, Dec. 03, 2004 at 10:28 PM 440-333-7007

As the holidays draw near, the progressive community in Cleveland is urged to support workers' rights, not greedy movie theater owners. Because the Cedar Lee plays especially hard-to-find films, this campaign is giving new meaning to "taking one for the team."


In response to the community interest in the Cleveland Jobs with Justice campaign against Cleveland Cinemas and CEO Jon Forman, there will be a SECOND demonstration outside of the Cedar Lee Cinema on SATURDAY DECEMBER 11th at 6:30 pm. Cleveland Jobs with Justice hopes to pull more community members out to this event, with it being on a Saturday, to show Jon Forman - who owns the Cedar Lee - that the community stands behind the displaced theater projectionists fighting for justice. The theme of this campaign has been "Put Your Money Where Your Heart Is," and Cleveland Jobs with Justice is asking the Cleveland community to NOT PATRONIZE any CLEVELAND CINEMAS location this holiday season. These facilities include the Cedar Lee, Shaker Square Cinemas, Chagrin Cinemas, Hickory Ridge Cinemas, Solon Cinemas, and Tower City Cinemas.

Experienced union projectionists at these theaters have been locked out - after Jon Forman decided that he was not going to renew the contract this past summer with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. IATSE Local 160 has had contracts with Mr. Forman for years, and his current actions have attracted the attention of the National Labor Relations Board - which is investigating whether his firing of the union employees was discriminatory. Mr. Forman made the projectionist positions "management" positions in an attempt to eliminate the union - even though there have been provisions in past contracts for "union-management" level positions. When the union workers tried to apply (and interview!) for these positions he told them they were no longer available. These new positions pay roughly half the wage that was paid when they were union jobs - which was roughly $17 an hour under the IATSE contract. To add insult to injury, Mr. Forman then offered these experienced technicians positions in the front of the house (i.e. concessions) at $5.15 an hour with no benefits.

When good jobs disappear in Cleveland, it's no surprise that the city just garnered most-impoverished-city-in-the nation status. Employers like Jon Forman - who in the past been has been considered a decent employer in Cleveland - only adds to the problem when he eliminates good paying jobs with good benefits. Mr. Forman has apparently decided that a living wage in his workers' pockets takes a backseat to more money in his. So Cleveland Jobs with Justice is asking the Cleveland community to not put THEIR money into his pocket - to NOT ENDORSE what many view as being antics of greed and selfishness.

Forman recently recieved the 2004 SCROOGE OF THE YEAR award from Cleveland Jobs with Justice, for his exceptional stinginess and overwhelming lack of goodwill towards his employees. Right now, 1/3 of IATSE Local 160's membership is out of work this holiday season.

"When more of us start standing together, we will all start winning." Cleveland Jobs with Justice is a coalition of labor, community, and religious activists - along with individual volunteer activists - that fights for workers' rights and economic justice in a variety of fields. The Cleveland Jobs with Justice coalition implements and supports projects in four major areas: Health Care for All, Living Wage, Fair Trade, and Workers' Rights. Cleveland Jobs with Justice offers progressive activists a variety of ways to get involved with the local community, including working together to lift underrepresented citizens out of poverty, protecting the rights and representation of workers, fighting for health care justice, and supporting the efforts of coalition partners to promote fair trade NOT free trade. Anyone interested in receiving more information should call the Cleveland Jobs with Justice Coalition at 440-333-7007.

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Writer Jeff Hess Sunday, Dec. 05, 2004 at 3:14 PM
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