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Somerville Projectionists Rally 6/13 Report

Pat Jaylan, a state representative, presented a packet
of information sent to her by Mel Fraiman's lawyer,
accusing some of the locked-out projectionists of
being "dangerous anarchists". She made it clear that
such red-baiting tactics were intolerable, and
regardless of the politics held by any of the
projectionists, every worker in Somerville was
entitled to the right to organize in their workplace,
join a labor union, and earn a living wage.

A fellow worker from the CWA spoke in support of the
Somerville Projectionists, and also alerted people of
potential strike actions later this summer among
Verizon workers as contracts come up for renewal.

A member of SEIU who was centrally involved in the
recent "Justice for Janitors" campaign also extended
his solidarity to the locked-out projectionists and
called on people to continue to boycott the Somerville
and Arlington Theatres.

Russ Davis, of Jobs With Justice, promised continued
support for the projectionists from his organization
and passed out pledge cards for people to sign-up and
commit to future support for labor struggles in the
city of Boston.

Geoff Downs, a locked-out projectionist, spoke on the
background and current status of the struggle for
union regonition at the Somerville Theatre, how young
and exploited workers need to organize and fight back,
and finished by thanking everyone for their continued
support [see speech below].

Rodney Ward, a laid-off flight attendant and member of
AFA, compared the struggle among flight attendants
since 9/11 to that of the projectionists, and extended
full solidarity for their campaign.

Jon Bekken, of the Industrial Workers of the World
(IWW), recounted the treatment members of his union
received at the hands of the Somerville Police when
the projectionists first went out on strike (one
member was hospitalized, and another thrown into
oncoming traffic). He finished by stating workers need
to fight their own battles and not rely on union
buearucrats or politicians, and promising continued
support for the projectionists until their union is

Following the speeches, a loud and lively picket line
was set up in front of the theater itself in an effort
to persuade the evening theater patrons to respect the
active boycott on the theater until the union was
recognized by Mel Fraiman.

Although there was limited success in turning people
away (it was a special event - featuring Stephen
Colbert, of the Daily Show - and most people had
already purchased tickets), the message was sent loud
and clear to Mel Fraiman:


If you have not yet called the management of the
Somerville Theatre to let them know how you feel about
their refusal to recognize the projectionists union
and continuing union-busting tactics we strongly
encourage you to do so:

Mel Fraiman (owner) - Phone: (617) 484-6947 Car Phone:
(617) 460-6909 Personal Fax: (617) 484-5823, FEI
office - (781) 648-6022

If you cannot reach Mel on his personal phone, please
try his real estate
office Chatham Light/Dunster Realty - Phone (617)
354-4466 Fax (617) 354-5299

Ian Judge (general manager) - Somerville Theatre
Phone: (617) 625-4088 Direct to manager phone: (617)
625-0261 Fax: (617) 625-5496 or

You can also write a letter on our behalf:

Mel Fraiman (residence): 48 Village Hill Road,
Belmont, MA 02478

Fraiman Enterprises Inc./Chatham Light Realty/Dunster
Realty: 15 Story St. Cambridge, MA 02138

Email the public liason for the Somerville Theater:
Sherri Belski: sbelski@feitheatres.com

Delivered by Geoff Downs, Somerville Projectionist

Hello Everyone,

Thanks for coming out here in the rain and cold to
show your support. My name's Geoff, and I'm one of the
projectionists here at the Somerville Theatre. I just
want to know, are any of you out there as angry as I
am about getting paid poverty wages? Oh, really...
well are any of you out there as angry as I am about
not being offered health care? Okay, well you sound
annoyed at least, but you know what probably makes us
all angriest? Union busting. Am I right? Come on now,
I want Mel to hear us all the way over in Belmont. Are
you not enraged by union busting?

Ok, well I'm not sure you all are as angry as I am,
but maybe that's because I've been working at the
Somerville Theatre for over a year now and I still get
paid practically nothing. In fact, I've worked as a
projectionist for most of the past six years, since I
was sixteen. Last summer I was putting in lots of
overtime here at the theater, working up to 60-hours
some weeks. Of course, half of what I made each month
still went to rent, but I was managing to get by...
sort of. Then the owner of the theater decided that
overtime pay was too much, and that my hours needed to
get cut, so they were and there was nothing I could do
about it.

Ya know, some people have asked us why we don't just
get another job somewhere else that pays better.
Personally, I am tired of running from one shit job to
the next. The answer isn't to run away, but to stand
firm where you are and fight for what you deserve, and
never concede and inch to the bosses. Many months ago
the projectionists decided that we were done getting
pushed around by half-witted managers and
blood-sucking bosses, getting paid minimum wage and
working in an unhealthy environment. We decided to
organize and do something about it.

We decided to join the union and collectively fight
for better wages, healthier work conditions, benefits,
and a more democratic workplace. We don't think this
is too much to ask from a man who's personal assets
are worth over $10 million, a man who doubles as a
greedy landlord and real estate speculator - I'm
speaking, of course, of Mel Fraiman.
In the past, Mel has gone to great lengths to keep the
union out of his theaters. In 1997, he closed the
Somerville Theatre for several months and threatened
to keep it closed, just so he could drive out the
union workers. This time around, he has spent
thousands upon thousands of dollars (money in which he
could be paying his workers with) on lost business
costs, legal fees, police details, and, well, other

Well, we got news for ya Mel. The union is coming in
here whether you like it or not, and we're not backing
down. On behalf of young workers everywhere, who are
angry and underpaid, we intend to win this fight. We'd
like to see everyone who feels screwed over - and even
those who don't - to go back to their job and start
organizing there. It's all one struggle, it's all one
fight... and besides, we'd like to come support all of
you for a change.

Somerville is still a strong working class community
and the support we have gotten on the picket line has
been overwhelming. Special thanks to all the community
and labor organizations who have continued to support
us, like Jobs With Justice, SEIU, UE, CWA, the
Teamsters, the IWW, SLAP, and above all, our union

Alright, let's win this thing!