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About Matt Murray

Matt Murray is the creator and an author on the NH Labor News. He is a union member and advocate for labor and progressive politics. He also works with other unions and members to help spread our message. Follow him on Twitter @NHLabor_News

Workers Deserve Respect In The Workplace: UNITE HERE Hold Massive Rally Against Station Casinos

Culinary 226 Station Casino Vider ScreenShot

This is what union solidarity looks like! Community activists, union members, and members of the local faith community gathered in the streets of Las Vegas to protest the illegal anti-union tactics by Station Casinos.

Station Casinos is the worst labor law violator in the history of the Nevada gaming industry. Station Casinos was found to have broken labor law and violated its employees’ rights 88 times by two administrative law judges of the National Labor Relations Board.

Queen Ruiz, a guest room attendant at Red Rock Resort and Casino wants “Station Casinos to stop treating us like we are second-class citizen(s). We are not second-class workers. We want them to respect us.”

A majority of Station workers — in classifications represented by the Culinary and Bartenders Unions — have signed a petition calling for a fair process to decide whether to unionize free from management interference, intimidation, bullying, and litigation.

Station Casinos is the fourth largest private-sector employer in Las Vegas. It has nine large hotel-casinos located throughout Las Vegas. There is a major labor dispute at: Red Rock Resort, Green Valley Ranch, Boulder Station, Santa Fe Station, Sunset Station, Palace Station, Texas Station, Fiesta Rancho, and Fiesta Henderson.

The Culinary Union has created an online resource about the on-going labor dispute at these Station properties: www.VegasTravelAlert.org/Stations. The public and event and conference planners are urged to contact the union to discuss labor-peaceful alternatives to utilizing these properties.

It does not matter is you clean rooms, collect trash, deal cards, or serve food, everyone deserves respect from their employer.  Station Casinos should stop their illegal interference in UNITE HERE’s organizing efforts and let the workers decide if they want to join the union.

View this video on YouTube

Culinary Workers Local 226 and Bartenders Local 165, Nevada affiliates of UNITE HERE, represent over 55,000 workers in Las Vegas and Reno, including at most casino resorts on the Las Vegas Strip. The Culinary is one of the fastest growing private sector local unions in the U.S. and has just concluded negotiations for 44,000 workers on the Las Vegas Strip and in Downtown Las Vegas. UNITE HERE represents 270,000 workers in gaming, hotel, and food service industries in North America.

President Obama To Address The Nation On Immigration, Republicans Threaten Shutdown

Image by Chuck Kennedy (Official White House photo) CC FLKR
Image by Chuck Kennedy (Official White House photo) CC FLKR

Image by Chuck Kennedy (Official White House photo) CC FLKR

Today is the day that millions of aspiring Americans have been waiting for. The day when President Obama stands up to Congress and states clearly that if they will not do something to pass meaningful immigration reform then he will do what he can through executive orders.

It was announced last night that the President would make a prime-time address announcing his plans to stop the deportations of millions of aspiring Americans seeking citizenship. He will also stop the ripping apart of families, by stopping the deportation of the parents of children who are legal US Citizens.

A group of immigration lawyers from across the country sent a letter to President Obama citing his legal authority to defer deportations through executive actions.

“Our letter confirms that the administration has specific legal authority to use prosecutorial discretion as a tool for protecting an individual or group from deportation,” said Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, Samuel Weiss Faculty Scholar at Penn State Law. “This legal authority served as foundation for prosecutorial discretion policy across several administrations. Historically, this policy has been premised on the twin policy goals of managing limited resources and shielding people with compelling situations from removal.”

“This letter reflects a clear, broad, and informed consensus on two key points,” said Hiroshi Motomura, Susan Westerberg Prager Professor at UCLA School of Law. “First, the president has the legal authority, exercising his discretion as the nation’s top immigration prosecutor, to establish enforcement priorities. Second, the president’s lawful discretion includes the authority to set up an orderly system, modeled on DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), for granting temporary relief from deportation.”

“It is well established that the President has the legal authority to end this crisis by granting temporary relief to a broad class of workers,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “It is also equally established that current enforcement of immigration law is at odds with our American vision of a just society and our values of family, hard work and fairness.”

President Obama’s Executive Order would protect nearly 5 million people currently residing in the United States.

Of course the Republicans were quick to respond to the announcement with more threats to harm real Americans if the President takes action without Congress.

“If ‘Emperor Obama’ ignores the American people and announces an amnesty plan that he himself has said over and over again exceeds his Constitutional authority, he will cement his legacy of lawlessness and ruin the chances for Congressional action on this issue — and many others,” said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel.

Senator Marco Rubio who once championed immigration reform in the Senate now is hints of a government shutdown if the President takes executive action on Immigration.

The Des Moines Register reported that Rep Steven King wants to tie executive action on immigration to funding the government.

“If the president wields his pen and commits that unconstitutional act to legalize millions, I think that becomes something that is nearly political nuclear …,” King said. “I think the public would be mobilized and galvanized and that changes the dynamic of any continuing resolution and how we might deal with that.”

King said if that happens, House-passed legislation on border security, including rolling back the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, order, “becomes a requirement” for a continuing resolution.

Over the last six months conservative pundits has indicated that President Obama’s threat to defer action on deportations is unlawful and would warrant everything from a government shutdown to all out impeachment.

The irony of this is that Republicans have already forgotten that their hero, President Ronald Regan, took similar action to provide amnesty to over 3 million undocumented residents.

“The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) gave up to 3 million unauthorized immigrants a path to legalization if they had been “continuously” present in the U.S. since January 1, 1982 (The Hill).

The IRCA was not without issues, forcing the government to deport the immediate family members of those who were covered under the new order.

President George H.W. Bush followed up the IRCA with a “family fairness” policy that would close the loophole in the IRCA in turn protecting another 1.5 million aspiring Americans. The combination of the “family fairness” policy and President Reagan’s executive action provided amnesty to over 40% of the undocumented population living in the United States.

President Obama’s proposal to some seems extreme, however it would cover approximately 40% of the undocumented population currently residing in the United States.

The battle is set to begin tonight as President Obama lays out his plan to help millions of aspiring Americans.

The current government funding extension will expire on December 11th and we will have to wait to see if the Republicans will harm millions of Americans in their opposition to the President by completely shutting down the government.

 

Related Articles:

When Reagan and GHW Bush took bold executive action on immigration.

The American Immigration Council And The AFL-CIO Push For An Executive Order On Immigration

Obama’s Immigration Plan Could Shield Four Million

The Postmaster General Has A Plan To Save The USPS. Can You Still Save Something If It Is Dead?

(Image by Oran Viriyincy FLIKR CC)
(Image by Oran Viriyincy FLIKR CC)

(Image by Oran Viriyincy FLIKR CC)

We must work together to stop the destruction of our prized institution, the US Postal Service.  The Postmaster General has a plan to “save the post office” like Mitt Romney saves companies. Run them into the ground until there is nothing left.

The Postmaster General has set January 5th of 2015 as the day when US Postal Service Standards will be reduced and over 82 US Postal processing plants will be closed.  This means that Grandma’s pills will take even longer to get to her door, if she is one of the few lucky ones who still get their mail delivered to their door.  There will virtually be no overnight delivery, say goodbye to that one day turn around on your Netflix videos.  All deliveries, including those magazine’s you don’t think your roommate knows about, will all be delayed.

Saving the Post Office is vital to preserving our economy.  Millions of pieces of mail move through the system every week, generating billions in revenue  and employing over 500,000 people across the country.  The USPS made over $1 Billion dollars in profits last year, yet all over that went to a shady pre-funding mandate laid out by Congress nearly a decade ago.  The USPS is pre-funding retirements for people whose parents are not even out of elementary school yet. That is seriously screwed up!

You can hear what American Postal Workers Union (APWU) President Mark Dimondstein has to say about the Postmaster General’s plan to “save the post office,” and to hear about the “Stop Delaying America’s Mail” events happening all across the country on November 14th.

If you are in New Hampshire you can see the events happening throughout the state by clicking here. For everyone else, click here to find an event near you.

View this video on YouTube.

Your Vote Matters! A Detailed Look At The NH Top Tier Races And Union Endorsed Candidates

get out and vote

November 4th is almost here and we at the NH Labor News want you to be as informed as possible when you go out to vote.  (NH residents can find Polling Place here.)

We want you to know who you are voting for and who has the support of working family advocates in New Hampshire. Below are links to the NH AFL-CIO, SEIU 1984, and the NEA of NH endorsed candidates from the top of the ticket all the way down. Be sure to vote all the way down the ticket (both sides if needed).

Your vote for local candidates is vitally important. We need to make sure that New Hampshire does not fall back into the anti-worker hands of Bill O’Brien. We need to elect Representatives at every level who are committed to supporting working families, and our rights as workers.

The AFL-CIO list of endorsed candidates.

The State Employees Association (SEIU 1984) list of endorsed candidates.

The NEA-NH list of endorsed candidates, and the list of endorsed NH House candidates.

Below is a list reasons New Hampshire families should support or oppose candidates for each of the major races in New Hampshire.

Maggie Hassan vs. Walt Havenstein

Major points:

Governor Hassan wants to keep New Hampshire moving forward by continuing to ensure that all Granite Staters have access to quality healthcare through the Healthcare exchange and the Medicaid Expansion. Gov. Hassan is also pushing to raise the minimum wage, and protect a women’s right to choose.

Walt Havenstein is pushing for tax cuts for the Business Profits Tax that would create a $90 million dollar hole in the state budget that he has yet to explain where those cuts would come from in order to balance the budget. His tax plan would mostly benefit large corporations and out of state businesses. Havenstein want to sign the NH Right To Work law. Havenstein has also vowed to repeal the Medicaid Expansion and adamantly opposes increasing the minimum wage.

Governor Maggie Hassan Walt Havenstein
Signed a balanced NH budget with no sales or income tax. Has a business plan that would blow a $90 million dollar hole in the budget with tax cuts to big business and out-of-state corporations.

Refuses to specify where budget cuts would come from, to balance the budget as required by NH law.

Worked with Legislature to pass a Medicaid expansion that provided healthcare access to more than 50,000 Granite Staters. Said he would support repeal of Medicaid expansion when it comes up again next term.
Opposes “Right To Work” legislation. Fully supports “Right To Work” legislation.
Supports raising the NH Minimum Wage to $9.00 (as written by the NH House in 2013).

“Restoring and increasing New Hampshire’s minimum wage will help our economy by putting more money in the pockets of hard-working people of all ages to spend at businesses across the state,” Governor Hassan wrote. “Individuals working full-time in New Hampshire should be able to earn enough to pull themselves above the federal-poverty threshold and support their families.”

Opposes any increase in the minimum wage.
Was the former CEO of BAE systems, a federal defense contractor.
Was the CEO of SAIC, a defense contractor that worked with the NSA and local governments to spy on Americans. As CEO of SAIC, Walt made $20 million dollars in the few years he was employed there, while their stock value lost 30%, forcing SAIC to lay off thousands of workers.   (More details)
As CEO of SIAC, Havenstein oversaw the “TRICARE” data breach that jeopardized the privacy of over 11,000 NH Veterans and their families.
The Washington Post called the incident “One of the Largest Health-Data Breaches Ever Reported
Had to go to court to determine whether or not he was a “resident” of NH, in order to run for Governor. (While living in Maryland, he applied for and took a special tax exemption for residents of that state. Then he claimed that — while he was living and working in MD — he was still a resident of NH.)
New Hampshire’s economy has shown signs of growth, creating over 10,000 jobs in the last two years. Said his “jobs plan” (reduce taxes on businesses, and pass right to work legislation) would create 25,000 new jobs in the next two years. (This plan has repeatedly been torn apart, with analysts calling it “nothing more than a fancy slogan” like Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan. There is no evidence to back up his jobs plan. Kansas Gov. Brownbeck did cut KS taxes — and the state is now running a deficit and has had its credit rating downgraded multiple times. The same thing has happened in NJ with Gov. Chris Christie.)
Havenstein got caught trying to blame Gov. Hassan for a 15 year trend of NH jobs being “offshored.”
Worked with NH Legislature to pass a NH Paycheck Fairness act.
Endorsed by Women’s rights and advocacy groups, Planned Parenthood and NARAL NH

 

Jeanne Shaheen vs. Scott Brown

Major Points:

Senator Shaheen has used her time in the Senate to push for increasing the minimum wage, expanding access to healthcare, universal background checks on all gun sales, rebuild our nation’s infrastructure, opposing the “internet tax” and repeal the mandatory budget cuts force on the government by the Sequester.

Sen. Shaheen proposed a bipartisan bill with Sen. Portman (R-OH) to lower our energy costs, lowering our dependence on coal based energy and expanding alternative sources of energy.

Former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown moved to New Hampshire after loosing his Senate seat to Sen. Elizabeth Warren. He currently opposes raising the minimum wage even though he supported a minimum wage increase when he was in the MA Legislature. Sen. Brown claims to be “pro-choice” however he voted for the “Blunt Amendment” and supports the Hobby Lobby decision that would allow employers to deny women access to contraceptives.

Sen. Brown is also on the Board of Directors of Kadant Inc., a company that outsources American jobs. As a board member, Brown is paid over $270,000 a year from Kadant while they continue to move our jobs overseas.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen Former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown
Supports raising the minimum wage. Said “I have supported a minimum wage increase in the past” but refuses to state a position on raising the minimum wage now.
Supports “Paycheck Fairness” legislation. Voted against the “Paycheck Fairness Act” twice: 2010 and 2012.
Supported legislation to help small businesses get financial support to grow their business.   (Small Business Jobs Act) Voted against the Small Business Jobs Act.
Supports a women’s right to choose, and has been endorsed by Planned Parenthood and NARAL of New Hampshire. Co-sponsored and voted for the Blunt Amendment while in the Senate and this year, spoke out in support of the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision.
Pushes for more American manufacturing, particularly “Made in NH.” Is on the board of directors of Kadant Inc. which outsources US jobs to China and Mexico.
Endorsed by labor unions and advocates for working families. Endorsed by the Big Oil, AFP, and the Koch Brothers.

 

Carol Shea-Porter vs. Frank Guinta

Major Points:

Congresswoman Shea-Porter is a strong advocate for working families pushing to raise the minimum wage, working to close the wage gap and worked with health insurance companies to allow for more healthcare options available to Granite Staters on the ACA Exchange. Strongly opposes any cuts to Social Security, Medicare and vehemently opposes the Ryan Plan which would force more draconian cuts to Granite State families.

Congressman Frank Guinta supports the Ryan Plan and the Republican Study Committee Budget commonly referred to as the “Ryan Plan on steroids.” Guinta has strong support from anti-worker organizations like the Americans For Prosperity and the Associated Builders and Contractor who blocked the construction of the Manchester Jobs Corps center in Manchester over a labor agreement to protect workers and ensure fair wages. Congressman Guinta also supports cutting benefits from Social Security and increasing the retirement age for eligibility. Wants to return to Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Congressman Guinta was also named one of CREW’s most corrupt members of Congress in his first year of office. He has still yet to clear up the issue raised during his 2010 campaign where he mysteriously came up with $355,000 dollars in a bank account that he “forgot about.”

Rep. Carol Shea-Porter Former Rep. Frank Guinta
Supports an increase to the Federal Minimum Wage. Opposes any increase to the minimum wage.
Opposed the Ryan Plan and the forced budget cuts known as the “Sequester” that caused furloughs for federal workers. Supports the Ryan Plan and the Republican Study Committee Budget (“the Ryan Plan on steroids”) that includes cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and dozens of other government programs.
Opposes any cuts to Social Security or Medicare benefits for seniors.

Strongly endorsed by the NH Alliance for Retired Americans.

Said we need to cut “entitlement programs” and hopes his children do not even know what Social Security is. Supports privatizing Social Security and allowing Wall Street gamblers to oversee Social Security funds.
Strong supporter of workers rights and has been endorsed by almost every labor union in the state. Has been endorsed by the Koch funded Americans for Prosperity and the Associated Builders and Contractors (an anti-union lobbying group).

Guinta held up the construction of the Manchester Jobs Corps building, at the request of the ABC, over a labor agreement that would have ensured fair pay, workplace safety regulations, workman’s compensation insurance, and other paid benefits.
His opposition to Project Labor Agreements and supporting legislation to repeal the federal mandate to have a PLA on all federal projects earned Guinta an award from the ABC.

Supports Paycheck Fairness. Had the chance in 2012 to vote on an bill that would strengthen “fair pay” laws. Skipped the vote.
Voted to protect our Civil Liberties by stopping the NSA from collecting data from American’s cell phones, emails, and other personal information. When questioned on the violations of privacy and Civil Liberties from the Patriot Act, Guinta responded, “You either stand with terrorists or you stand with freedom and protecting Americans.”
Endorsed by the Sierra Club for advocating for protection of our environment. Does not believe climate change is scientifically proven. (Video)
Voted to oppose stronger regulations on oil companies drilling.
(The new regulations would require contingency plans for oil spills.)
Named one of CREW’s most corrupt politicians in Washington, in his first term in D.C.
Mysteriously came up with $355,000 in a bank account he forgot he had in the 2010 election.   Has yet to explain where the money came from.
Refuses to take money from corporate special interest PACs. Supports campaign finance reform to overturn Citizens United. Gladly takes PAC money from Big Oil lobbyists, the Koch Brothers, Tobacco Lobbyists, and union-busting lobbying groups.
Working to ensure that all Americans have access to good quality healthcare they can afford. Vows to go back to Congress and waste taxpayer dollars on more attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). Threatens to shut down the government if we do not repeal the ACA. Repealing the ACA would result in a 74% increase in premiums for the majority of Granite Staters.

 

Annie Kuster vs. Marilinda Garcia

Major Points:

Congresswoman Annie Kuster supports raising the minimum wage to help struggling New Hampshire families work to lift themselves out of poverty. Worked to reduce regulations of local farmers and is sponsoring legislation to increase US manufacturing. Congresswoman Kuster is Pro-Choice and a strong defender of a women’s right to choose earning her endorsements from several women’s rights advocacy groups.

State Rep Marilinda Garcia opposes Marriage Equality, opposes increasing the minimum wage, and voted to abolish abortions even in cases of rape and incest. Garcia was a part of former NH Speaker Bill O’Brien’s leadership team, and voted lock step with her Tea Party leaders. Garcia was caught for plagiarizing twice in the last two weeks.

Garcia, age 32, still lives at home with her parents and is a career politician. Her only income is from teaching student how to play the Harp, and the $100 dollars a year she makes as State Rep. As a State Rep, Garcia was a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

Rep. Annie Kuster Marilinda Garcia
Family law attorney, specializing in family adoptions. Long history of political and social activism. Tea Party Conservative who made a name for herself while part of Bill O’Brien’s “Leadership” of the NH House.
At the age of 32, Garcia still lives at home with her parents and her sister Bianca.
Professional career politician. Also employed as a part time harp instructor. No other major employment aside from State Representative ($100 a year).

Pays herself $3,300 a month in salary out of her campaign funds (yes, this is legal).

Made a total of $6,000 last year.

Supports increasing the Minimum Wage. Voted to repeal the NH Minimum Wage law in 2011.
Has been endorsed by the NH AFL-CIO, NEA, AFT, SEIU, and almost every other union in the state. Supported Right To Work legislation that would hurt NH families.
Supports marriage equality and praised the Supreme Court in their repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act. Opposes marriage equality legislation.

Garcia also said, marriage equality is not an issue millennial voters care about. “… it doesn’t really come up, you know, in elections and campaigns anymore because it’s just not an issue that they’re fighting about in the legislature anymore.”

In a speech on the NH House floor Garcia said, “[Same-sex marriage is] illogical and invasive, while completely missing the biologically specific point of marriage in the first place.” Garcia also calls marriage “an institution that makes no sense for them.”

As a state legislator, Garcia was a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), where corporations sponsor legislators to take luxurious junkets to five-star hotels and provide them with pre-written legislation to submit in their home states. Garcia said “there was nothing wrong with lobbyist taking legislators out for dinner”
Has been working with Congressional members to push legislation that would help small businesses in New Hampshire gain access to much-needed capital to grow their companies.
Co-sponsored legislation that would force the government to spend more of the budget on products Made In The USA. Also has been working to expand the US and NH manufacturing base.
Working to ensure that all Americans have access to good quality healthcare they can afford. Vows to go to Congress and waste taxpayer dollars on more attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). Threatens to shut down the government if we do not repeal the ACA.
Refuses to say where she buys her healthcare from, but swears it is not from the ACA Healthcare exchange.
Repealing the ACA would result in a 74% increase in premiums for the majority of Granite Staters.
Pro-Choice candidate endorsed by NARAL and Planned Parenthood. Pro-Life anti-abortion candidate who voted to defund Planned Parenthood, outlaw abortions, and throw physicians in jail for helping a woman to have an abortion – even in the case of rape#NHp or incest.
Congressional candidate Marilinda Garcia (NH-02) plagiarized one of the few speeches she’s given in New Hampshire politics. Garcia’s House floor statement to repeal marriage equality in 2012 plagiarizes numerous passages from a 2010 editorial against marriage equality by the National Review.

Also caught plagiarizing a second speech in 2014.

 

AFT-NH Hosts “Working Women Speak Out” (Videos)

AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler and AFT President Randi Weingarten

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This election is extremely important to working women and their families.  Ensuring that we elect representatives who support women in the workplace was what the Working Women Speak Out event was focused on.

Issues facing working women are the same issues effected every Granite Stater this election.  AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer Liz Shuler said, “Women’s issues are shaping up to be the second biggest issue of this election.” Working women are facing enormous challenges in our struggling economy. “Women still only make $.77 cents on the dollar compared to man, and that is a shame,” said Shuler.  In her speech, Shuler focused on reelecting Governor Hassan, Senator Shaheen, and Congresswoman Annie Kuster who all support raising the minimum wage and equal pay for equal work.  Shuler also talked about the need to pass “paid sick leave” for all workers, especially since most low wage jobs, like waiting tables, provide no paid time off when your sick.

View Liz Shuler video on YouTube

AFT-President Randi Weingarten also spoke at the event and focused how poverty and education effect working families. “Nearly half of all public school students are living below the poverty line, and one-in-four (25%) of all children nationally are living in poverty,” said Weingarten.  She also talked about how we need to ensure that we are properly funding our public school system. “The only reason we passed a nation budget was because the Republicans were embarrassed after they shut down the government,” said Weingarten. “How dare they say they support children when they cut public school budgets to give tax breaks to the 1%.”

(Randi also spoke in detail about the effects of spending caps like the one in Nashua in separate post here.)

View Randi’s speech on YouTube

Kelly Torosian, an IBEW 2320 member and an Executive Council member of the NH AFL-CIO, took a few minutes to update the crowd on the ongoing FairPoint strike. Torosian asked for people to show their support for workers standing on the picket line by donating gas cards and grocery store gift cards.  After hearing about the current struggle of striking workers, Weingarten stated, “AFT will donate $5,000 dollars to the FairPoint workers strike fund.”

The crowd of 70 people gave a standing ovation to Governor Hassan as she entered the room, showing their support for her strong leadership in the corner office.  “Building a strong innovative economy starts with a strong public schools system,” said Hassan.  Governor Hassan also spoke about the need to “restore and improve the state minimum wage.”

Hassan also brought attention to the importance of keeping Democrats in control of the NH House and not letting Bill O’Brien regain control.  As Speaker, O’Brien cut funding to public schools, the University of New Hampshire system, and repealed the New Hampshire Minimum Wage law.

Governor Hassan also talked about the importance of having access to quality healthcare and provide low income workers with healthcare through the Medicaid Expansion. “As of this week 20,000 Granite Staters now have healthcare thanks to the Medicaid Expansion,” said Hassan.

View Governor Hassan’s speech on YouTube.

Congresswoman Annie Kuster also talked about the Bill O’Brien House and her opponent Marilinda Garcia, who was one of the select few to be a part of  O’Brien’s leadership team.  Kuster talked about her work in Congress to help working families by pushing for expanded access to healthcare, raising the minimum wage and passing a national Paycheck Fairness law.  Kuster noted that while she supports legislation that would help working women, her opponent, wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act, opposes raising the minimum wage, and paycheck fairness is unneeded legislation.

Garcia also wants to abolish the Department of Education that would virtually eliminate the federal student loan program, even though Garcia currently owes tens of thousands of dollars in Sallie Mae student loans.

View Rep. Annie Kuster’s speech on YouTube.

Laura Hainey, President of AFT-NH organized the event and spent a couple of minutes talking about working to ensure that Speaker Bill O’Brien does not regain power in Concord.  As President of AFT-NH, Hainey knows first hand the devastation that another O’Brien legislature would do to the public schools system in New Hampshire.

View Laura Hainey’s speech on YouTube.

Senator Shaheen was unable to attend the event due to a scheduling conflict — she was in Northern New Hampshire campaigning with Sen. Elizabeth Warren — her daughter Stacy gave a short speech on her behalf.  Stacy Shaheen talked about how hard her mother is working for the people of New Hampshire. “My mom is a workhorse,” said Shaheen.  “She has been working for the people of New Hampshire for a long time.”

Working families in New Hampshire need more representatives like this strong, women leaders.

Talk to your friends, neighbors and family members about how important this election is and then encourage them to vote on Nov. 4th.

School Bus Crushed By Falling Roadway

Liuna Bus

Liuna BusBreaking news, a large piece of road has fallen down and smashed into a local school bus full of children on their way home from school today. 

Do I have your attention now?

The headline above is false.  How horrible would it be if the headline above were actually true?  Can you imagine the real terror you would feel if this news came out of your town?

Just the though of this is horrible, so horrible that we never want to see it happen. That is why the Laborers International Union of North America (LiUNA) is taking this broken bus all around the country. LiUNA wants everyone to know and understand the real dangers of not doing our part to ensure that our roads and bridges are repaired.

“Over 30% of our nations bridges have exceeded their 50 year design life.”

“25% of our nations bridges are deficient or obsolete.”

“Potholes cost US drivers $80 billion in auto repairs last year.” (FixOurbridges.org)

In spite of the dangerous conditions these bridges are used some “250 million times a day.”

That is 250 million opportunities for a bridge to collapse and a bus to fall into a river or a car to be crushed by a large section of the overpass.

We must do something to ensure that our roadways are as safe as they can be. We must invest in repairing our roads and bridges before they completely fall apart injuring or killing countless innocent Americans.

See the video below or on YouTube here.

(Special thank to LiUNA for creating this amazing campaign to highlight the dangers on our roadways. Go to FixOurbridges.org for more information.)

Do You Frequent A Place That Is Rife With Sexual Harassment? The Answer Will Surprise You

By c. kennedy garrett (Flickr) CC-BY-2.0

 

Do you support an industry that objectifies women, opening them up to unwanted sexual advances and harassment?   The obvious answer is no, but according to a new report from Restaurant Employment Opportunity Centers United (ROC United) you would be wrong.

The restaurant industry is rife with sexual harassment and actively promotes the objectification of women. Some are obvious, like Hooters, where women are hired not because they are good servers, but how they look in jogging shorts and low cut t-shirts. This type of objectification does not only happen at Hooters. Women in restaurants across the country are told to “dress sexier” to make more tips. Research from ROC shows that women who work at the tipped minimum wage are three times more likely to be told by their manager to dress ‘sexier’ than those who work in states where all workers are paid the full minimum wage.

Unfortunately many states have a tipped minimum wage that allows employers to pay workers as low as $2.13 per hour. Most of their paycheck goes directly to paying taxes and that means workers must rely solely on tips to survive. This disproportionately effects women who make up over 66% of tipped restaurant workers. Of the women who work for tips over 20% are living below the poverty line, forcing them to do anything to preserve their tips.

“Women restaurant workers living off tips in states where the sub-minimum wage for tipped workers is $2.13 per hour are twice as likely to experience sexual harassment as women in states that pay the same minimum wage to all workers,” stated ROC United.

Sexual harassment has the potential to happen in every job, however sexual harassment is significantly higher in the restaurant industry. “While seven percent of American women work in the restaurant industry, more than a third (an eye-opening 37%) of all sexual harassment claims to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) come from the restaurant industry,” listed ROC United.

“The highly sexualized environment in which restaurant workers labor impacts every major workplace relationship, with restaurant workers reporting high levels of harassing behaviors from restaurant management (66%), co-workers (80%), and customers (78%).” ROC also found that over 60% of all women working on the tipped minimum wage reported being sexually harassed.

Being completely dependent on tips opens the doors to harassment from employers. A whopping two-thirds (66%) of women who reported being sexually harassed said their manager, on a monthly basis, sexually harassed them. If a worker speaks out against an unwanted advancement from their boss, they could end up being scheduled to work shifts where tips are lower in retaliation further discouraging workers from speaking out.

Sexual harassment in the restaurant does not only happen in the back of the house. Workers are afraid to speak out against unwanted advances in fear of losing any tips. As one New York server explained, “There is a lot of sexual harassment [but] you just kind of brush it off…I just want my tip, I don’t want anything to mess up my tip.” ROC United’s research shows that one-third (33%) of women working in the restaurant industry reported being sexually harassed by customers on a weekly basis.

“Depending on customers’ tips for wages discourages workers who might otherwise stand up for their rights and report unwanted sexual behaviors,” wrote ROC.

Do we want our daughters to learn that accepting this type of sexual harassment is part of working in the restaurant industry?

Do we want to teach our daughters that they should sell their bodies to get better tips?

ROC United offers one solution to this problem. Eliminating the tipped minimum wage and raising the minimum wage to a level where workers are less dependent on the tips they receive.

“In order to reduce the pressures that increase sexual harassment, we must eliminate the sub-minimum wage for tipped workers while implementing and strengthening policies to educate workers on their rights and reduce rates of sexual harassment. Legislating one fair wage, so all workers are ensured a minimum wage sufficient to cover their basic needs, and eliminating a sub-minimum wage for tipped workers, can give all workers greater personal agency, creating a safer and more equitable workplace.”

The Middle Class Needs A Real Representative

Marilinda Garcia (Gage Skidmore CC FLIKR)

Like many of you, I consider myself part of the middle class.

I work hard at my job. I have a house, with a huge mortgage that is upside down, and it requires constant care and attention. I am married with three amazing children who bring great joy to our lives but also strain our family finances.

My wife and I decided that it would be better for us if she stayed home to take care of our children, rather than pay for full-time daycare for three children. We know how lucky we are, to be able to make this work.  We know that most families are not so lucky.

Many families have both parents working, some couples have three or four jobs between them, yet they are still struggling every month to pay their bills.

Over the last four decades, workers have greatly increased our productivity – yet our wages have stagnated.  But CEO compensation has skyrocketed: CEOs now earn 350 times what their average employee makes.

Marilinda Garcia says she wants to go to Congress to fight for the middle class. She talks like she is part of the struggling middle class, herself.

Despite her campaign rhetoric, she is anything but a middle class American. She is in her early thirties, yet still lives at home with her parents.  Her main occupation is State Representative, which we all know pays a whopping $100 a year. She also has a side job giving harp lessons, and has done some consulting in the past.

According to Garcia’s campaign financial disclosure statement, she made a little more than $6,000 total last year.

She admits that she would qualify for reduced-cost health insurance through the Affordable Care Act exchange.  Based on her financial disclosure, she would qualify for Medicaid, because her income is well below the poverty line.

But Garcia says she doesn’t buy her health insurance through the exchange – instead, her campaign is focused on getting rid of the Affordable Care Act.  Even though the Affordable Care Act has lowered healthcare costs for millions of middle class Americans, and tens of thousands of Granite Staters.

Garcia also wants to destroy the Department of Education, and essentially eliminate the federal student loan program – another program that the middle class depends on, so their children can go to college.  According to her financial disclosure, she herself owes between $15,000 and $50,000 in student loan debt to Sallie Mae – but she doesn’t want other families to have access to the program.  As a State Representative, Garcia voted to slash the budget, cutting $95 million from the New Hampshire University system, forcing tuition increases and massive layoffs.  That hurt thousands of middle class families.

Garcia opposes the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would shrink the wage gap between men and women.  Giving working women a little more in their paychecks would help middle class families – but Garcia is opposed to it.

Garcia even boasted on a local radio show that she voted against raising New Hampshire’s minimum wage.  Raising the minimum wage would help lift more than 100,000 Granite Staters out of poverty.  A recent Gallup showed that more than 75% of Americans support raising the wage.  Yet Garcia said it was nothing more than a “petty, short-sighted type of little issue.”  Voters who support raising the wage, workers who depend on the minimum wage – these are real people, the same people Garcia wants to represent.

She may be a candidate for Congress, but she’s not a member of the middle class.  Fight for middle class families?  I can’t see it.  Garcia doesn’t even bother to show any respect for us.

She is living at her parents’ house and earning about $6,000 a year.  How is she paying for her student loan and whatever health insurance she bought, wherever she bought it?  Maybe Garcia’s parents could be considered middle class – with two adult children living back at home – but Marilinda herself hardly qualifies.

Granite Staters need a Congresswoman who understands what real middle class Americans are going through – someone who will vote to help us, not hurt us.

Garcia has a proven track record of voting against the middle class.

The middle class needs a real representative, like Annie Kuster.

(Sharing and re-publishing of this post is welcomed and encouraged. Please link to this page and give full credit to Matt Murray of the NH Labor News.) 

Marilinda Garcia Is A Member Of ALEC, And Why That Is Important To YOU!

Marilinda Garcia (Gage Skidmore CC FLIKR)

ALEC

Right now State Rep. Marilinda Garcia is attempting to move up the political ranks from State Rep. to US Congresswoman. She has been out on the campaign trail talking about how she wants to fight for the middle class and that she speaks for the “millennial” generation.

Other than the fact that Marilinda is still living with her parents at age 32, she is just another politician who has been bought and paid for by corporate lobbyists and big money donors like the Koch Brothers.

Hopefully by now you have heard about ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, but just to make sure we are all on the same page, I will go over a few highlights.

ALEC brings in state legislators from across the country to luxurious five-star hotels, where corporate lobbyists wine-and-dine legislators.

While enjoying their all expense paid vacation junkets, legislators are courted by corporations into submitting model legislation back in their home states. This model legislation usually benefits the corporation like reducing pollution standards (RGGI), increasing profit margins by pushing Right To Work laws, and hundreds of other pieces of legislation.

Marilinda Garcia (Gage Skidmore CC FLIKR)

Marilinda Garcia (Gage Skidmore CC FLIKR)

Even though Rep. Garcia told the Union Leader [1/27/12] that, “there was nothing wrong with lobbyist taking legislators out for dinner,” these legislators are meeting with corporate lobbyists in secret. Legislators are skirting ethics laws by submitting legislation — on behalf of the corporate special interests — as if they wrote it, even thought they received the model legislation on a junket paid for by ALEC’s corporate backers.

Some legislators are proud of their connection to ALEC, like New Hampshire’s State Rep. Jordan Ullery, (State Senate candidate and) State Rep. Gary Daniels, and former Speaker of the House William O’Brien.

Others are not as forthcoming about their connection to the controversial lobbying group. “Members of ALEC from New Hampshire include 2nd Congressional District candidate Marilinda Garcia,” the Telegraph reported. [Nashua Telegraph, 12/08/13] 

As a member of ALEC, legislators are expected to submit the ALEC model legislation, created for and by corporate special interests, or face the wrath of the Americans For Prosperity political action fund. Americans for Prosperity was created and is heavily funded by ultra-conservative millionaires and billionaires like the Koch Brothers, to push candidates to do their bidding or face an AFP primary challenger for their seat.

After these junkets, politicians vow to support their new corporate sponsors over the people who elected them. Some would even say this is legalized corporate bribery.

State Rep. Marilinda Garcia has been called out for this type of activity before, when she was flown down to Philadelphia for an all expense paid trip to view a for-profit cancer treatment center. The Cancer Treatment Centers of America spent hundreds of dollars per person to fly out Garcia and four other legislators, in hopes they would support legislation, submitted by Rep. Garcia, which provided monetary incentives to CTCA to build a new center in New Hampshire.

In response to criticism that she is taking campaign contributions from CTCA in trade for submitting this legislation Rep. Garcia told the Union Leader [1/27/12],   “There have been no campaign contributions or junkets offered by the Illinois-based company. But Garcia said she doesn’t see anything wrong with lobbyists taking legislators out for dinner.”

I don’t know about you, but I do see something wrong with corporate lobbyists bribing our state legislators with expensive trips and fancy dinners.

This makes me wonder, what would Congresswoman Marilinda Garcia be like? Would she be a true representative of New Hampshire’s Second Congressional District or will she continue to do the bidding of her corporate sponsors?

I want someone in Washington who is there to represent me, not a bought and paid for puppet for the millionaire and billionaires who fund her campaign and the corporate special interests who shower her with lavish vacations and all expense paid junkets.

Millennials Play A Key Part In Our Elections. Why Is Fosters Trying To Scare Them?

Money ('PT Money' ptmoney-com)
Money ('PT Money' ptmoney-com)

Image via ‘PT Money’ at ptmoney.com

Republicans and Democrats are actively trying to court “millennials” to vote for them. Of course the Republicans are at a big disadvantage in this fight because they are stigmatized by the fact that many feel the GOP is nothing but a party of old rich white guys.

It does not help when you see editorials like this one (Another day older and deeper in debt) from the ultra-conservative editors at Fosters Daily Democrat. They are trying to push millennials into voting against Senator Shaheen because she wants to help reduce their student loan debt, and they say that could raise taxes on, “your parents”. Say what?

“Democrats such as U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen would like to offer you lower interest rates, at the expense of raising taxes on, perhaps, your parents.”

This is complete garbage. Senator Shaheen is pushing for a bill authored by Senator Elizabeth Warren, which would allow students to refinance their student loans from interest rates of 6-8% to less than 1%.

Fosters does get a few things right:

  • The average college graduate in New Hampshire leaves school with $33,000 in student loan debt.
  • The federal government is making money off of your student loans.

These are absolute true, and I think it is appalling. The federal government made upwards of $66 billion dollars in profit off of student loans between 2007 and 2012. Senator Elizabeth Warren essentially said that if banks can borrow from the government at .75% then our students should be given the same deal as the big banks.

So what would happen to the federal budget if they cut out the $66 billion dollars in profits from student loans? Fosters wants you to believe that this will result in a tax increase on your parents. This is completely untrue. None of these changes would increase taxes on the middle class families of New Hampshire.

The tax increase that Senator Warren suggested has been dubbed “the Buffet rule” after billionaire Warren Buffet. The tax increase would only effect the ultra-wealthy 1% of America. Warren Buffet has said in many different ways that it is absolutely wrong that he pays a lower effective tax rate than his own secretary. He suggested that the ultra-wealthy 1% could, and should, be paying a higher tax rate.

I agree with Fosters that the national debt is a problem. We must find a way to reduce our national debt that helps to build a stronger economy and a better community. The editors at Fosters and I disagree on the ways we need to address this problem. They want to follow the GOP rhetoric that we must reduce the size of government and force draconian cuts to all federal programs (except for anything surrounding the DOD). I disagree with this. If you look back at history, it was government investment through work programs (building roads and bridges), increasing the minimum wage, a strong manufacturing base and strong unions that pulled us out of the Great Depression. At the same time we created “Social Security” to help our seniors retire with dignity.

Next we need to raise our gross domestic product. We need to increase manufacturing here at home and start reducing our debt by changing our trade deficit to a trade surplus. The more we make right here at home, the more people have jobs. The more jobs we have, the more money is spent in our local communities. It starts by looking for the “made in the USA” label!

Next to reduce government spending and reduce our national debt, we must start by increasing the minimum wage. Too many Americans are working one, two or even three jobs and can barely afford to pay their rent and feed their children. By increasing the minimum wage, to a real living wage, full time workers would be making enough to take care of their family without any assistance from the government.

Of course there are other solutions that none of the “Tea Party” conservatives want to talk about. One is placing a .5% tax on Wall Street. The tax would take a fraction of a penny on every transaction. This “Robin Hood Tax” would generate upwards of $350 billion dollars a year. $350 billion would cover the loss in revenue from the student loan interest, restore some of the cuts made to social programs, and still have plenty more to begin to repay our national debt. This would also have the added benefit of slowing down Wall Street and encouraging corporations to invest more of their profits in workers and the longevity of their company, not inflating their stock prices.

Ultimately it is about ensuring that corporations and the millionaires and billionaires are paying their fair share in taxes.

 __________________________________________

One last thing, Fosters tossed in this line about Social Security which is another attempt to scare millennials into believing that Social Security will be extinct by the time they reach retirement.

“According to Pew Research, 90 percent believe Social Security benefits will be reduced (39%) by the time you become eligible or won’t exist at all (51%).” (Emphasis added)

This statement is nothing more than proof that the majority of Americans do not understand what is really happening to Social Security. These numbers are the results of a poll where people believe that Social Security will completely fall apart.

As the AFL-CIO laid it out, “Social Security is not going broke. It will always be able to collect payroll tax revenue to fund benefits. According to the Trustees, Social Security can pay 100% of promised benefits until 2033. Without any changes at all, Social Security can pay three-fourths of promised benefits indefinitely after that.

The Social Security Trust Fund collects money from payroll taxes. By increasing the minimum wage, it would automatically increase the revenues collected through the payroll tax therefor strengthening Social Security, and adding to its fully funded longevity.

Many elected leaders like Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders think that minor adjustment to the Payroll Tax would strengthen Social Security and would allow for higher benefits for retirees. They just want to remove the Social Security cap forcing the ultra-wealthy to pay into Social Security Trust Fund like all the rest of us. Problem completely solved!

 

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