Monday November 12, 2007

Fisher Island beach invasion!

SEIU Boat protest

On November 17th, over a dozen boats will leave Jimbo’s on Virginia Key, packed with volunteers. They’ll approach the shores of Fisher Island (wealthiest zip code in America!) and the volunteers will swim the rest of the way, and then proceed to enjoy the “public” beach. You can download a registration form [.doc] if you’d like to participate.

It’s organized by SEIU Local 11 as a protest to the treatment of workers on the island. More information at One Miami Now. Whatever your feelings about that, this seems like a completely reasonable action, and possibly lots of fun to participate in (although the water will be cold!). Free buses will be available to transport folks down to Jimbos — those not swimming are encouraged to come and cheer the swimmers on.

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  1. Biscayne Bystander    Mon Nov 12, 04:49 PM #  

    Sounds like fun. I wonder if I should pack my racquet in case we’re able to gain access to their grass courts…



  2. Gus    Mon Nov 12, 05:02 PM #  

    I love this story…it reminds me of when the caddies in the movie “Caddyshack” got to use the country club pool for the day.



  3. DJ_Kremlin    Mon Nov 12, 05:12 PM #  

    With Florida’s gun laws. I won’t be surprised if somebody gets shot. “Yes officer, he was threatening me, they stormed our beach. What was I left to do?”



  4. b.a.c.    Mon Nov 12, 05:13 PM #  

    haha that’s great



  5. Gus    Mon Nov 12, 05:25 PM #  

    Speaking of getting shot, Tanya Aquino from SEIU 11 told me…

    “a resident snatched a banner on Thursday and luckily GenTV canal 8 was out there and caught the scene. You can see it on the Fisher Island blog at http://fisherislandwatch.blogspot.com/

    The resident faces misdemeanor charges for theft and for injuring the girls holding the banner that he grabbed.”



  6. Pedro    Mon Nov 12, 05:55 PM #  

    Go ahead! Show them that the underdog has the right to protest too.



  7. fqua    Mon Nov 12, 06:33 PM #  

    Nobody is forcing those workers to work there



  8. alesh    Mon Nov 12, 08:54 PM #  

    fqua~ your point?



  9. theCardinal    Mon Nov 12, 08:57 PM #  

    I hate unions and would like nothing more than for all of them to go away yet this is the coolest idea ever! I wish them all luck



  10. Adam    Tue Nov 13, 12:31 AM #  

    unions may seem obnoxious to us today, but remember that they are the reason there is a five day work week, coffee breaks, and other things we take for granted.



  11. R.    Tue Nov 13, 01:54 AM #  

    Coffee breaks? Ha! Europeans scoff at that notion!



  12. D    Tue Nov 13, 07:50 AM #  

    Scoff? That’s funny. We sort of scoff at your 2 month vacations and sub-40 hour workweeks. Easy street, yet still always complaining. Ha!



  13. mae    Tue Nov 13, 09:50 AM #  

    I’ll be there ready to swim. Whose in?



  14. TRUTH    Tue Nov 13, 10:17 AM #  

    I am deeply troubled at this blatant display of jealousy towards our more fortunate neighbors.

    It’s their island. It’s a private island. They have full right to do what they please.

    If they want their employees to ride in a separate lounge and not bring vehicles onto the island it’s their right!

    Get over it!



  15. alesh    Tue Nov 13, 10:19 AM #  

    I’m seriously considering it. After our lesson in Iraq, though, i want to hear about the exit strategy first. Hopefully it’s not arrest.



  16. The Poor Suck    Tue Nov 13, 10:44 AM #  

    Just hope no illegal Cubans join this raid.
    Remember wet foot / dry foot. If you’re caught in the water and you’re illegal… back to the island (Cuba not Fisher) you go!

    Honestly, this is plain stupid.

    It’s amazing how pathetic the poor population of this city is. Instead of trying to better themselves and earn money to better their lives, they do shit like this.



  17. robotkid    Tue Nov 13, 11:36 AM #  

    To the Poor Suck and TRUTH: Here are some FI facts for you!

    • Workers are segregated on the ferry and not allowed access to the Resident’s Lounge nor, with a few exceptions, are they allowed to drive a vehicle onto the ferry.
    • To prevent employee passengers from touching or brushing against the vehicles of residents and guests on the Island, Fisher Island prohibits employee passengers from accessing even their segregated ferry room unless they arrive on the ferry before the vehicles of other passengers begin loading onto the ferry. One worker was fired after he went to the employees’ segregated ferry room after vehicles were loaded onto the ferry.
    • Employee passengers not permitted in the segregated ferry room are forced to stand under an outside deck awning which fails to protect them from heavy rain, debilitating heat, severe wind, and ship fumes.
    • Fisher Island corporations do not pay the employee passengers for the 30–40 minutes of round trip travel time on the ferry, nor are the employee passengers paid for their time waiting for the ferry.
    • Fisher Island residents have cursed at employee passengers who come close to the residents’ vehicles, saying things like “don’t f—king touch my car.” When a resident became angry after missing her ferry, she yelled at a security guard who was working at the causeway ferry terminal: “F—k you, you peasant. I’m going to make sure you get fired.”

    I say fuck the rich & the idiots who surport it!

    Like George Calin said: “it’s called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe in it”



  18. fqua    Tue Nov 13, 12:20 PM #  

    Wow robotkid, you really drove this point home!

    Why didnt you whine about how the maid that cooks the dinner isnt allowed to eat at the dinner table with the Mr. and the Mrs.?
    Do you also want Fisher Island “corporations” to pay for the time it takes the employees to reach the ferry? how about the time they spend in the shower each morning getting ready for work- should they be compensated for that too?

    nonsense



  19. TRUTH    Tue Nov 13, 02:03 PM #  

    robotkid:

    Allow me to address your points…

    • Workers are segregated on the ferry and not allowed access to the Resident’s Lounge nor, with a few exceptions, are they allowed to drive a vehicle onto the ferry.

    What’s your point. If I lived on Fisher Island, I wouldn’t want the “help” to be in the same room as I too. If I’m potentially wearing a $1000 suit and some sweaty, dirty carpenter or landscaper comes onto the boat, I don’t want to rub shoulders with him either!

    • To prevent employee passengers from touching or brushing against the vehicles of residents and guests on the Island, Fisher Island prohibits employee passengers from accessing even their segregated ferry room unless they arrive on the ferry before the vehicles of other passengers begin loading onto the ferry. One worker was fired after he went to the employees’ segregated ferry room after vehicles were loaded onto the ferry.

    Um, yea! When the average price of a residents vehicle is $80,000, of course you don’t want some guy and his beat up F150 near the vehicle. Many of these employees don’t have insurance. I can 100% understand this rule.

    • Employee passengers not permitted in the segregated ferry room are forced to stand under an outside deck awning which fails to protect them from heavy rain, debilitating heat, severe wind, and ship fumes.

    Rain, I can see being a problem. But the rest of it…. Come on! These are mostly people who work outdoors in the Miami heat anyway. If you don’t like the debilitating heat, don’t be a worker who works in it. Severe wind… If it’s that severe, the ferry aint a runnin! Ship Fumes? Really? Give me a break.

    • Fisher Island corporations do not pay the employee passengers for the 30–40 minutes of round trip travel time on the ferry, nor are the employee passengers paid for their time waiting for the ferry.

    And McDonald’s pays their cashiers and burger flippers for their ride into work right?

    • Fisher Island residents have cursed at employee passengers who come close to the residents’ vehicles, saying things like “don’t f—king touch my car.” When a resident became angry after missing her ferry, she yelled at a security guard who was working at the causeway ferry terminal: “F—k you, you peasant. I’m going to make sure you get fired.”

    People are rude! Deal with it. I’m sure everyone of us has been cursed by some ass hole at one time or another.



  20. alesh    Tue Nov 13, 02:38 PM #  

    Um, ok. You guys are right, but you sound like assholes. Obviously working on FI must pay well, otherwise why would anyone put up with the BS. I think people should be treated with dignity, but you can’t force people to do that.

    if anything, my problem with FI is the very “we don’t want to associate with the non-rich” attitude. They’ll get a shock to see a bunch of people swimming to their beach, and it’ll be good for everyone.



  21. TRUTH    Tue Nov 13, 02:49 PM #  

    alesh: I agree with the attitude thing. They chose to live on a secluded and exclusive island. What attitude they have on the island and in the island’s amenities (ferry) is their prerogative. Granted, people should treat people with dignity, but as you pointed out, you can’t force it. It’s also not a public issue as far as I’m concerned. Nobody is forcing these people to work on FI. They choose to. They can choose not to as well.

    I think this “swim in” will cause more trouble than good.

    People WILL be arrested. People who can not afford lawyers and will have huge problems from having any kind of criminal issue on their records.

    This whole thing is going to blow up in the faces of the “swimmers and protesters” The residents of the island are in the right, assholes or not!



  22. OneBody    Tue Nov 13, 04:14 PM #  

    Ok TRUTH and fqua. Yes all people deserve dignity, and TRUTH you say, “you can’t force it.” Just because you may not be directly responsible for how these workers and any other low-wage workers are treated, you, us, and the whole rest of the world should feel a SOCIAL responsibility to help the brother or sister in need. But if you don’t agree, then let’s hope that someday when YOU need someone to stand up for YOUR dignity and respect, that you are given the same treatment you are giving to these workers. Reap what you sow. Good luck.



  23. robotkid    Tue Nov 13, 04:41 PM #  

    a living wage will benefit all of us in this city, even the likes of Fisher Island will have a better quality of life!



  24. TRUTH    Tue Nov 13, 04:58 PM #  

    OneBody:

    Sure we can stand up for them all we want, however, all you’ll get is lip service. The islanders will say: “oh, we’re sorry, we’ll be nicer”. Once the cameras and mics are off and the eyes are no longer on them, it will go back to more of the same if not worse!

    Oh and by the way, I don’t need anyone to stand up for my dignity, I can stand for myself! As should the workers of Fisher. The public should NOT be involved in this one! It’s a private matter between an employer and employee!

    robotkid:

    Living wage will cause people to loose their jobs. How? Simple. When you force and employer to pay more, he makes up the difference by firing heads. The remaining heads, make more money, get additional tasks to complete to compensate for the lost heads… etc…



  25. snorkeling to fisher island on saturday    Tue Nov 13, 06:56 PM #  

    the “help” on fisher island isn’t making the big bucks like you may think. THey are averaging from $8something to $10 an hour. Pretty pathetic for the wealthiest among us to get off paying working families such measly wages—and the health insurance cost is through the roof. workers in NY, chicago and places with unions get twice that and health insurance to start with— miami is just as expensive a city, why are we so far behind???

    I hope those residents shit their pants when the boatloads of people start swimming to shore.

    oh and TRUTH— they aren’t asking to sit with the residents or rub shoulders with them— they are simply asking not to be called peasants, the n word, be sexually harassed or be fired for telling management when someone who lives there does something horrible to them. you should watch the documentary its like 10 minutes long and maybe you’ll get a better sense of what’s going on. search fisher island on youtube.



  26. Nuvo Rich    Tue Nov 13, 07:30 PM #  

    Damn…what a class war this has become.

    TRUTH..

    “ think this “swim in” will cause more trouble than good.”

    What’s it to you? If you don’t even care about the issue, why would you care if these people protest and get arrested? This is America, right? Where everyone has the right to bitch and complain….even from the likes of you.

    i’m so glad I don’t live in Asshole Island.

    Go roll around in your money and buy your mistress another Marc Jacobs purse. You will feel a lot better.



  27. alesh    Tue Nov 13, 07:51 PM #  

    We all agree on the following:

    1) Everyone SHOULD be treated with dignity

    2) The “protest,” such as it is, will not likely have much practical value, but will be fun, and bring visibility to the issue

    3) Anyone who’s unhappy with their job should go do something else. This may require moving to a city where wages are higher relative to cost of living. As supply of labor in Miami goes down, wages will go up. This truth mitigates the compellingness of anyone complaining about this.

    4) Using all-caps “TRUTH” as a handle sure comes across as over-compensating for something or other.

    Relax, people, this is a fun diversion. It may or may not be somewhat wrongheaded, but the sentiment behind it is pure.



  28. A Miami Dude    Tue Nov 13, 11:24 PM #  

    I grew up poor, busted my ass in an inner city high school and managed to get a scholarship. I now work in the corporate world and live in a nicer section of town. This is not at all to say I’m rich or living on F.I. (but at least my goal is Pinecrest:) That’s why I’m working on my graduate degree, to advance in the business world

    Seriously, it is ironic that some of the same peole who criticized me for studying, cut class, etc are now some of those doing janitorial work or having had a criminal record.



  29. truth    Wed Nov 14, 09:56 AM #  

    alesh,

    Didn’t realize that the all caps handle, came off as anything more than a handle. So I’ve dropped the caps.

    To everyone:

    Have you fun, charge the island. Play pirates, or play soldiers storming Normandy, whatever.

    All I’m saying is that fun or not, this may land people in jail. The visibility that alesh is referring to, in my opinion, will wear off quick. The wealthy have the means to make sure that.

    But as alesh pointed out, if you’re not happy with getting paid 8 – 10 – 12 dollars an hour, find another job.

    There is nothing that can be done about the residents and their bad treatment of the workers. They’re rich, and ignorant.

    Oh well.



  30. mae    Wed Nov 14, 10:05 AM #  

    The beach on Fisher Island is public, so no arrests!

    Heres a video about what’s happening on Fisher Island made by SEIU http://www.developmentthatworks.org/?p=118

    Here is a cover story from the New York Times Magazine about the SEIU campaign on Fisher Island.
    http://www.developmentthatworks.org/?p=20



  31. Irish Peg    Wed Nov 14, 07:56 PM #  

    In response to #29 (A miami dude). I grew up in a poor family, went to a inner city school and then went to work. Do not compare the workers at Fisher island with criminals. Are you saying that all service workers are either losers or criminals. Screw you. God forbid you lose your “Office Space” job and your swingline stapler.



  32. robotkid    Wed Nov 14, 10:21 PM #  

    see u at beach carlos…well said!!!!:-)



  33. DJ_Kremlin    Thu Nov 15, 10:30 AM #  

    The more educated you get, the more skills you learn, the more money you’ll make. You can’t pay a gardener 60K. You can’t pay a maintenance person 80K.

    As the cost of living has gone up, I’ve adapted my skills to better suite the market. Thus my pay has consistently gone up with the cost of living.

    Everyone wants something for nothing.



  34. zimfel    Fri Nov 16, 12:55 PM #  

    How much should you pay someone to mow the lawn? If they feel they are under paid, go get a different job.

    The discrimination lawsuit is bull – work status is not a protected class.



  35. Lyle    Wed Nov 21, 02:20 PM #  

    I don’t get it…According to this video from NBC News, the employees on Fisher Island make far more than the average worker anywhere else, and higher wages with benefits than the SEIU has EVER NEGOCIATED WITH ANY OTHER DEAL IN SOUTH FLORIDA!

    http://video.nbc6.net/player/?id=141411

    As for this whole “not allowed to walk through cars” thing, if any of you have been on a small ferry, they do pack the cars very close together. I can understand people not wanting their $100,000 cars scratched up by keys and zippers, but I don’t necessarily think that’s the reason for the rule.

    When you park your car on a ferry, many people don’t put on the emergency brake. If you don’t, your car is very likely to rock back and forth with the movement of the boat. In which scenario would a worker be more likely to sue: 1. An expensive car rolled 2” pinning his leg to the car in front of it and bruising his leg; or 2. The employee had to sit in the shade for another 5 minutes waiting for the next boat to come?

    It seems to me that this is purely a safety and liability issue, not a Racist or Discriminating one.