Activist Group Targets Bad Employers, Slum Landlords

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(APN) ATLANTA — A new, underground activist group called the Atlanta Solidarity Network (ASOL) is using collective force to fight back against bad employers and slum landlords.

“The Atlanta Solidarity Network is a group of volunteers seeking to help other members of the working class through collective direct action and mutual support,” according to the organization’s website on Blogspot.com.

“HAVING TROUBLE WITH YOUR LANDLORD OR BOSS?  CONTACT US!” the group states.

The group claims to have already had its first victory, after several days of targeting the owner of Key Lime Pie Hair Salon and the Belly General Store on behalf of a worker named Erika.

According to ASOL, Erika claimed to have not been paid what she was promised by her employer.

ASOL mobilized.  They delivered a letter of demands to the owner via a manager; they protested and handed out fliers outside of two of the establishments; and members of the group called the owner to complain.

“Belly General Store has not met our demands – that Erika be paid what she is owed within 48 hours as well as explanation on the money missing from the lackluster paycheck she did receive,” ASOL wrote.

“Today, Monday, April 25, we begin our mobilizing campaign.  For starters, we went out to Belly during the lunch rush and passed out fliers to everyone who walked by.  A few people stopped and talked to us about it and even more people walked away closely examining the harrowing facts on the sheet,” ASOL wrote.

“At one point, an employee came out to yell at us on behalf of her bosses’ interests: she told us that we could not pass out fliers to people walking by and that she was going to call the cops if we didn’t leave.  Naturally, we laughed – encouraged now, if not a bit confused,” ASOL wrote.

The next day, ASOL continued their protest.

“Some ASOLers went passing out fliers today outside of Belly General Store again, and also outside of Key Lime Pie Hair Salon – which is owned by the same woman as Belly,” ASOL wrote.

Key Lime Pie markets itself as a salon and wellness spa and is located on N. Highland Avenue.  Key Lime Pie, Inc., was incorporated as a Georgia corporation in 1992.  Debra Anne Freed served as CEO, CFO, and Secretary.

Belly General Store is also located on N. Highland Avenue.

APN attempted to reach the Belly General Store, but there was no answer to the phone line for the store.

APN called Key Lime Pie and asked for the owner.  The individual answering the phone stated the owner was not there.  APN asked for a manager, and the individual stated the best way to get in touch with them would be by email.  When APN asked for the email address, APN was placed on a long hold.  APN called back and was placed again on a long hold.

“Posters were also posted up and down the street decrying the exploitation of the workers at Belly,” ASOL wrote.

“Several people were deterred from entering Belly General Store after reading the fliers – so we returned to the store with tip money for the workers who may have lost out on some,” ASOL wrote.

“The manager attempted to kick us off of the sidewalk – which is a laughable misunderstanding of free speech.  Police showed up just as we were leaving.  Clear contempt for free expression,” ASOL wrote.

By the third day, Erika’s former boss is said to have given in.

“The Atlanta Solidarity Network stepped it up today for what may very well be our last action against Belly General Store… Erika received a call from her former boss saying ‘If I pay you now, will this end.’  A clear indicator that ASOL communicated exactly what we intended to.  Erika has been paid what she was owed in back pay today.  We’re very excited about our first win and terribly emboldened to take this project as far as we can.”

Atlanta Progressive News left a voice message on an answering service for the ASOL, and sent an email to ASOL.  ASOL did not immediately respond.

(END / 2011)

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