Jeffrey Lichtenstein

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Jeffrey Lichtenstein


Jeffrey Lichtenstein is a union activist in Memphis, Tennessee. He is a Freedom Road Socialist Organization supporter.

He is an Ivy League graduate and former cotton merchant who is now a food service worker in Tennessee.

In 2019 Jeffrey Lichtenstein, was Campaigns Coordinator of the AFL-CIO of Memphis.

"Nashville 7"

March 2011, U of M students Justin Sledge, philosophy graduate student, and Sally Joyner, U of M law student, were among the seven protesters released from jail on bond Tuesday night following their arrests at a Nashville protest at the state capitol.

The two students, as well as Paul Garner and Leah Shoaf, students at Memphis College of Art, Jeffrey Lichtenstein and Bennett Foster, Memphians, and Ash-Lee Henderson of Chattanooga, were charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

The incident has drawn polarized reactions from across the state, with some applauding the efforts of the protesters and others condemning their behavior, including elected officials.

Thursday, state senator Randy McNally said he was "dismayed" when he learned that some of the arrestees were members of The U of M's registered student organization Progressive Student Alliance, calling for disciplinary action from The University.

Sledge is the vice president of The U of M chapter of Progressive Student Alliance, which helped organize the rally with unions and labor groups from across Tennessee.

Lichtenstein, though not a U of M student, is also a member of the group.

PSA issued a statement Thursday night addressing its role in the protest and the seven "unjustly" arrested Tennesseans, lauding the "scores of people who stood against empty rhetoric and for real democracy" during the protest.

The group said the actions of protestors during Tuesday's Senate committee meeting, for which Tennessee state troopers forcibly removed them, were not organized or planned in advance.

Of their criticism from elected officials, PSA said:

"If Nashville politicians spent as much time listening to the demands of workers and students as they do slandering PSA in the press, our democracy would be in better shape, and we could find more productive things to be doing on a Thursday night than writing press releases."

Lichtenstein and Sledge declined to comment individually on the incident.

Matthew Meiner, state treasurer of Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature and student at Vanderbilt University, was at the hearing when the protesters began shouting down legislators and refusing to leave.

"I understand their position, and I respect the right to protest, but it was kind of disappointing to see them disrupt the system," he said. "They made their points, but there are more orderly ways to do it."[1]

Progressive Student Alliance arrests

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In 2011, six of the people arrested in a protest James Sledge, 30, Jeffrey Lichtenstein, 25, Paul Garner, 22, Bennett Foster, 25, Leah Shoaf, 19 and Sally Joyner, 26 were with the Progressive Student Alliance at The University of Memphis.

Ash-Lee Henderson, 25, is from Chattanooga and an organization called Chattanooga Organized for Action.[2]

PSA members

Jeffrey Lichtenstein, Dana Asbury, Chelsea Mobbs, Emily Oppenheimer, Ray Berthiaume, Sally Joyner, John Reed, Anna Pederson, Rena Armour were all involved in the Progressive Student Alliance, in Memphis Tennessee.[3]

Campus Worker Justice Tour

In 2012 Vanlyn Ramsay and Jeffrey Lichtenstein were part of the USAS Campus Worker Justice Tour, a series of visits to campuses around the country where students and workers are fighting back against corporate outsourcing and the exploitation of campus workers.[4]

USAS conference

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Mark Gilliland February , 2013 with Petro On, Jared Story, Ash-Lee Henderson, Mark Ortiz, Francisco Rios, Melissa Godfrizzle, Keavy McFadden, Stephen Agwu, Bianca Hinz Foley, Jan Van Tol, Vee Ramesses, Claire Lewis, Billy Yates, AK Kulkarni, Terasia Carin Bradford, Maria Antonia Rodriguez, Lingran Kong, Leewana Thomas, Sol Gonz, Javier Figueroa, Alli Sehon, Brock Meade, Benji Ng, Jeffrey Lichtenstein, Melissa Horsfall, John Gieryn, Rigoberto Campos, Martin Xavi Macias, Carmen Armen, Kayla Frye, Kathleen Brower, Casey Sweeney and Sara Neumann at United Students Against Sweatshops 16th Annual National Conference in Miami!

Brower connection

Kathleen Brower March 14, 2014 ·

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feeling great and looking fabulous at the tail end of the Y'allSAS boot camp.... — with Jeffrey Lichtenstein.

Left Forum 2013

The Student-Labor Fightback Against Neo-Liberal ism, on campus and off.

United Campus Workers

In 2015 Steve Payne is a graduate student at the University of Memphis, and a former organizer with the Service Employees in Minneapolis. Jeffrey Lichtenstein is a data technician at the University of Memphis. Both are members of United Campus Workers-CWA. The response was all hands on deck as the union publicly launched its #TNisNOTforSale campaign in August 2015.

Anti-privatization campaign

According to Chris Brooks and Rebecca Kolins Givan witing in In These Times “The first real task was to go back and talk to everyone on campus about what was happening,” says Ed McDaniel, a locksmith who has worked at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, for 10 years and is now president of the union. “We all went out and tried to get more people to join because we knew that the union was going to be leading this fight.” The effort brought hundreds of new members into UCW.

The union sounded the alarm about the privatization plan through rallies, press conferences, editorials and town halls. It fact-checked Governor Haslam’s claims about the supposed benefits of privatization. It amplified explosive media reports about his financial ties to JLL and the ways he might personally benefit from the deal. While running for governor, Haslam had disclosed a “major investment” in JLL, of an unspecified amount.

“We had a little of everything,” Doris Conley says. “We did flyers and cards. We were out on the highway, in parking lots, in the mall, on campus getting folks to sign postcards for their legislators.”

UCW also collected over 5,000 signatures on a petition opposing outsourcing.

“We put them on a sheet of paper that was 150 feet long and 3 feet wide,” McDaniel says. “We took it to the legislative plaza and rolled it down the hall, chanting ‘Tennessee is not for sale.’ The legislators were coming out of their offices and committee meetings to see what was happening. Legislators were trying to get by and they were having to jump over the scroll.”

The most crucial strategic decision of the campaign was to hone in on populist Republican suspicion of rich elites by choosing the governor as the target. Many legislators were sympathetic to working-class constituents who could have their jobs privatized by a company in which the billionaire governor had invested.

“It turns out that class is a big issue inside the Republican Party,” says Jeffrey Lichtenstein, UCW secretary and part-time worker at the UT Health Science Center. “Even Republicans saw the governor as misusing his office to strip away jobs and personally enrich himself. It split the party open.”

“We actually have a lot of direct access and leverage with Republicans [because] we have members in rural and suburban areas throughout Republican districts,” explains Thomas Wayne Walker, a former rank-and-file member who now works as the union’s communications coordinator.

UCW members met with lawmakers in their districts and capitol offices to build a bipartisan coalition to stop outsourcing. Twenty-eight Democrats and 47 Republicans, more than half of the state legislature, signed a letter authored by the UCW calling for a halt to the outsourcing.

Republican lawmakers even sponsored legislation—inspired by UCW model language, according to Lichtenstein—that begins to provide greater scrutiny of the outsourcing process. It passed both houses of the state legislature unanimously.

Under mounting pressure, Haslam agreed to give state agencies and colleges a choice to opt in or out of privatization. So the UCW took the fight back to its home turf of college and university towns, getting local governments and businesses to weigh in and tip the scales against outsourcing. In August 2017, the state agency responsible for managing the state’s parks abandoned the plan. Two months later, the entire University of Tennessee system publicly opted out. To date, the only college to opt in is Austin Peay University in Clarksville, which had already outsourced its janitorial services.

The UCW has its roots in the high-profile living wage campaigns of the 1990s. In Knoxville, the Tennessee Industrial Renewal Network (TIRN) worked with Jobs with Justice of East Tennessee to launch an unsuccessful living wage campaign for city workers.

The campaign didn’t raise wages for city workers, but it did catch the eye of activists in the University of Tennessee’s Progressive Student Alliance, who received training through the AFLCIO’s 1999 “union summer” program. The student organizers began to talk with campus workers, especially in the housekeeping department, where many students had summer jobs.

“At the time [2000] we had gone four years without a raise,” says Sandy Hicks, 66, who worked in housekeeping at the university for over 25 years and was the UCW’s first president. “The university had been downsizing to the point that the work was too much for us to handle. We were disgusted and didn’t think there was any way out.”

The newly formed independent union quickly realized that to expand to other campuses, they would require support.

After discussions with the United Electrical Workers and other unions, they chose CWA, which was willing to both fund a full-time organizer for two years and give the fledgling union complete programmatic control. Equally important was the success of the Texas State Employees Union (TSEU), which had been organized by the CWA 20 years earlier and represents state employees in multiple agencies, universities and hospitals. As in Tennessee, Texas state workers have extremely restricted collective bargaining rights, so the union is in a constant hustle to organize and mobilize.

“I was afraid if we opened up the union’s membership, then all these left-leaning faculty like me would be drawn to it and wouldn’t be able to keep their mouths shut, and it wouldn’t be home to all the hourly wage people on campus who it was created to support,” says Fran Ansley, a former professor at the University of Tennessee law school and a founding member of the UCW. “I have been convinced since then that this was the right move.”

On TSEU’s advice, the UCW opened up its membership and organized chapters on 19 state college campuses across the state: from Chattanooga, Nashville and Memphis to rural areas like Martin. The union now has 1,873 members, or 7 percent of all eligible campus workers.

“Every time I talk to someone about the union, I mention the success that UCW Tennessee has had, especially the Tennessee Is Not for Sale campaign,” says Eric Rose, who has worked at the University of Georgia library for a decade. “They had all the odds against them, they were up against a Republican-dominated legislature and these big-monied interests with incredible power—and they won.”

Rose is part of a cohort of union activists who have worked with the CWA to organize their own UCW local in Georgia. Like Tennessee and Texas, Georgia restricts state employees from collective bargaining, yet the small union has quickly grown to 94 members in four months. UCW GA has been holding regular meetings and is starting to ramp up its own campaigns, focusing on broad-based issues like expensive parking fees for campus employees.

“We have a dream to organize the entire University of Georgia system, just like UCW Tennessee has,” says Joe Fu, a tenured math professor. “And we hope the UCW model expands beyond Georgia.”

That hope is well placed. According to the CWA, organizing committees are being formed at several other Southeastern Conference schools in the South.[5]

"Organize the South"

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In February 2016, Jeffrey Lichtenstein with Mary Jo Connelly and Cazembe Jackson Jasmine Wallace, Thomas Wayne Walker, Karly Safar, Dennis O'Neil, Anjie Martian-Princess were selling an "Organize the South" poster on the Freedom Road Socialist Organization Facebook page.

Removing the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest

Lindsey Smith June 26, 2015 ·

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This morning we visited the National Civil Rights Museum to voice our demands to the Tennessee Historical Commission for the removal of the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest from our State Capitol, as well as any other icons and symbols of hate from our history. This meeting coincided with a newly historic day — the day where SCOTUS ruled in favor of marriage equality, a civil right. Living a life fr... See More — with Allison Glass, Tom Smith and Jeffrey Lichtenstein.

BLM blockade post

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Jayanni Webster with Bailey Mukes wrote a post on Elizabeth's FB page July 12;

comrades and fellow organizers, sunday was beautiful, messy, humbling, and powerful
a dozen revolutionaries have been in conversation since sunday night about the new political moment the ‪#‎blacklivesmatter‬ blockade of I-40 created for the city of ‪#‎memphis‬. below are collective take-a-ways that comrades - me, & Jeffrey (Jeffrey Lichtenstein), Dana (Dana Asbury), Anjie (Anjie Mizuki}, Thomas (Thomas Walker) & T. Shelton (Todd Shelton)- some members of Freedom Road and others unaffiliated revolutionaries - wish to offer:
- Memphians have BEEN ready for an uprising. like bodies on. the. line. type ready. for a long time. anyone could see from all the t-shirts, flags, paintings & posters brought that people deeply resonate w/ the politics of #blacklivesmatter. people voted w/ their feet and although we’ve had dozens of protests, vigils and meetings this time people found their own way into the streets.
- police are on this city like an occupation. murdering, injuring, sexually assaulting and arresting Black people w/ impunity. but for a handful of hours sunday night we were able to confront them directly. AND they couldn't stop us. politicians who benefit from the subjugation of our communities tripped over themselves to set up meetings. not b/c we were polite or respectable, but because we were DEEP and in the words of so many of us on the bridge - we “shut -ish down” and “hit them in their pockets”.
....the system isn’t broken, it was built like this. no amount of reform will be enough, we need Black power, self-determination, and an economy run by working people. How do we get there? seriously. how?

PSA student fair 2016

Memphis Progressive Student Alliance, 2016;

Left to right Sha'ona Coleman, Mischa Nyberg, Alex Uhlmann, Brandon C J Shaw, Josh Adams Lindsey Smith, and Jeffrey Lichtenstein, unknown, unknown

Memphis Freedom Road comrades

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Dunetra Merritt November 6, 2016; ·

My Friends Came To Seen Me !! — with Thomas Wayne Walker, Dana Asbury, Jayanni Elizabeth and Jeffrey Lichtenstein.

2016 Memphis PSA launch

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Join us for the UofM Progressive Student Alliance kick-off meeting this coming Tuesday, September 20th on the UofM Campus. It will be in Clement Hall, Room 213 at 4PM. We are THE organization on campus fighting against racism, gender oppression, and economic injustice. Join us as we unite for our first meeting and discuss the general structure of PSA, our vision, and our campaigns for the semester. The 2016 presidential election season is upon us. The time is ripe to organize, and to DUMP Donald TRUMP!

Invited Paul Morquecho, Annie Bird, Katy Ochoa, Jeshua David, Rickie Aimee, Lucas Olsen, Mia Jordan, Jonathan Capriel, Chase Baltz, Matthew Brown, Sydney Melissa, Jroc Jarvis, Josh Adams, Leslie Monique Wellman, Carly Christensen, Keedran Franklin, Allison Escobar, Kayla Marie Thomas, Jayanni Elizabeth, Ellen Uhlmann, Tailer Ransom, Lizzie Dean, Dai Williams, Wesley Morgan Paraham, Tamam Arafat, Cali Baer, Brandon C J Shaw, Charlotte Watson, Anna CP, Chrissy Green, Mike Butler, Thomas Wayne Walker, Tom Smith, Dana Asbury, Jeffrey Lichtenstein.

Interested Carolyn Snowden Mallett, Reid Russom, Sam Cruze, Jessica Ann Buttermore, Sarah Kathryn Marshall

Attended Heather Gallandat, Lindsey Smith, Lang Ston, Ant Stone

Revolutionary Strategies to Beat the Rising Right Wing

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Revolutionary Strategies to Beat the Rising Right Wing, was a nationwide conference call organized by Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Sunday October 30, 2016.

What's the nature of this right-wing threat? What has this election cycle changed about the political terrain we're fighting on? How do we need to prepare for whats coming after the election? Hear about these crucial questions from our panel of top political strategists, including Nelini Stamp, Bill Fletcher, Jr., Linda Burnham, and Sendolo Diaminah.

Those invited, on Facebook included Jeffrey Lichtenstein, who moderated the event with Meizhu Lui.[6]

Now What? Defying Trump and the Left's Way Forward

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Now What? Defying Trump and the Left's Way Forward was a phone in webinar organized by Freedom Road Socialist Organization in the wake of the 2016 election.

Now what? We’re all asking ourselves that question in the wake of Trump’s victory. We’ve got urgent strategizing and work to do, together. Join Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson of the Movement for Black Lives and Freedom Road, Calvin Cheung-Miaw, Jodeen Olguin-Taylor of Mijente and WFP, Joe Schwartz of the Democratic Socialists of America, and Sendolo Diaminah of Freedom Road for a discussion of what happened, and what we should be doing to build mass defiance. And above all, how do we build the Left in this, which we know is the only solution to the crises we face?

This event will take place Tuesday November 15, 2016 at 9pm Eastern/8pm Central/6pm Pacific.

Those saying they would attend, on Facebook included Jeffrey Lichtenstein.[7]

PSA - Memphis Facebook group, 2017

Progressive Student Alliance - University of Memphis Facebook group, as of March 26, 2017;

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Admins

Comrades

Ashley Caldwell March 13 2018:

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Thanks Andrea Morales for snapping such an amazing candid-ish photo at the gala in which each person basically reflects my #moodgoals for 2018! :D — with Renae Taylor, Antonio Pacheco, Nour Hantouli, Tony de Velasco and Jeffrey Lichtenstein.

Fighting outsourcing

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Jon Shefner April 16, 2017 ·

Tried to share a post now that is a year old - showing how long and hard we've worked against outsourcing. I couldn't make it work, because apparently I am a FB moron. But this is important to say: We've done it all - in the legislature and in the streets, with our allies and on our own. And not only are we not finished, we are stronger than ever, in Knoxville and across the state. I am so proud of working with Cassie Watters, Melanie Barron, Jayanni Elizabeth, Tom Anderson, Tom Smith, Thomas Wayne Walker, Ed McDaniel, Josh Smyser, Diana Moyer, Jeffrey Lichtenstein, Sarah Eldridge, Fran Ansley, Jim Sessions, Jason Dawsey, Bob Hutton, Troy Smith, JB and everyone I may have left off. I looked at the post from a year ago - and I'm pissed. We've worked really hard at this against a governor who has no reason to outsource other than to attack working people. No data confirms his plan, no need drives it, and no truth is behind it . C'mon April 24, and every other day of struggle until we win! Goddamnit, we are not done yet!

DSA connection

Memphis-Midsouth DSA September 29 2018:

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Spreading the love at Memphis PRIDE: Jeffrey Lichtenstein right.

Tami Sawyer supporters

Tami Sawyer May 7 2018.

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With Jeffrey Lichtenstein, Shahidah Jones, Andre Johnson, NaKeesha Davis, Ashley Caldwell, Andrea Kukoff, R-Chee M Moss, Jr., Reggie White and Fred Thomas.

UCW conference

Dana Smith September 18, 2018 ·

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Dana Smith Elizabeth Stanfield, Cassie Watters, Josh Smyser, Edward McDaniel, Jeffrey Lichtenstein, Jayanni Elizabeth, Scott Martindale, Jayme Brunson, Eric Hughes frame is up!!!

Union voters

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State Representative G.A. Hardaway, Sr. October 27, 2018 ·

For immediate release.

LABOR UNIONS HOST HUGE EARLY VOTING EVENT over 40 unions plan to get their members to the polls in historic day of early voting

Memphis, TN -- this Saturday, October 27 at 10am at Mississippi Blvd Church (70 N Bellevue Blvd, 38104), over forty unions associated with the AFL-CIO Central Labor Council of Memphis and West Tennessee will host a big early voting event called #VoteTogether #UnionStrong. With more than 40 local unions in Memphis, union leaders are mobilizing their members to the polls in order to make an impact in key political races.

"The are over 50,000 union members in the city of Memphis. We're coming together to show our power not just in the workplace, but at the ballot box," said Margaret Cook, Vice President of the Memphis Chapter of United Campus Workers Local 3865. She went on to say "We know through sheer numbers alone we can make an impact and even flip some districts, and that's our goal."

Elected officials such as G.A. Hardaway plan to greet union members and thank them for their effort to increase voter turn-out. A long-time proponent of workers' rights, State Representative Hardaway, has co-sponsored bills to change the state's minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 per hour.

"We know that labor has the people. We know that Tennessee hasn't been a very friendly place to unions. That's going to change because we are proud to be union members who vote" said Jeffrey Lichtenstein, Secretary of the Memphis Central Labor Council.

Wearing red, labor leaders expect a big crowd and a line outside the door for this special early voting event. For inquires or interviews please contact Jayanni Webster at 901-864-9507 or jayanniewebster@gmail.com

Representative G. A. Hardaway Sr., Larry J. Miller, Keedran Franklin, Tami Sawyer, Earle J. Fisher, Patrice Robinson, Van Turner, Reginald Milton, Elaine Blanchard, Rep. Raumesh Akbari for Senate District 29 Susanne Jackson, Martavius Jones, Commissioner Eddie Jones, Al Hardaway, Florence Howard, Ester Mitchell Patrick, Yvonne Osborne, David L. Acey, Sr. Javier Bailey.

References