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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

AFT Members Voice Their Support For Hillary Clinton In Latest AFT VIDEO

 (image Keith Kissel FLIKR)

(image Keith Kissel FLIKR)

A few weeks back, the American Federation of Teachers announced their overwhelming support of Secretary Hillary Clinton for President of United States.

“In vision, in experience and in leadership, Hillary Clinton is the champion working families need in the White House,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten. “Hillary Clinton is a tested leader who shares our values, is supported by our members, and is prepared for a tough fight on behalf of students, families and communities. That fight defines her campaign and her career. In Arkansas, Hillary fought to expand access to early childhood education and care. As first lady, she fought for the right to affordable, high-quality healthcare and helped win that right for our youngest citizens. As senator, she fought for education funding and workers’ rights, and she defended public service workers who came to our nation’s defense on Sept. 11. And as secretary of state, she promoted democracy throughout the world, lifting up the worth and dignity of all people—men and women, gay and straight.”

Upon learning of the union’s endorsement, Clinton said, “For nearly a century, the American Federation of Teachers has worked to expand opportunity for the people and communities they serve. I’m honored to have the support of AFT’s members and leaders, and proud to stand with them to unleash the potential of every American.”

On the heels of the American Federation of Teachers’ endorsement of Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination for president, she addressed nearly 2,000 educators via video at the AFT’s biennial TEACH conference in Washington, D.C.

Click here to watch the video on Youtube.

“Together, I know we can build a stronger, fairer, more inclusive America—an America where parents can give their kids real opportunities,” said Clinton in a two-minute address that outlined her agenda for expanding early childhood education, ensuring college affordability, and working with teachers to improve public education.

There is no doubt that Hillary Clinton will make a great President and can see why the American Federation of Teachers would endorse such a strong, passionate, dedicated woman to be their candidate.

Though some have criticized AFT’s early endorsement, the process was highly democratic.  AFT used scientific polling, online and over the phone, to connect with over 1 million of their 1.7 million members.  79% of the one million members reached wanted AFT to endorse Hillary Clinton.

Yesterday, AFT released this video highlighting real members at their recent TEACH convention personally endorsing Hillary Clinton for President.  Each member points to a specific moment of event that helped them decide that they were “ready for Hillary.”

All of the members highlighted Hillary Clinton’s strong understand of the issues facing teachers in the classroom, their rights as union members, and helping to rebuild a strong middle class.

As A Progressive I am Leaning Toward Senator Sanders And Here Is Why

As a devoted progressive I am still torn by who to support in the Democratic Primary.

I know that during the Clinton administration, Americans did very well. The middle class grew, we reduced poverty, and even the bankers were happy as Wall Street soared.

I am also deeply concerned that Congress is moving us in the wrong direction. They are opposing every idea we put forward that is a time tested solution to fixing our broken economy and lifting the wages of millions of hungry families.

I find myself being drawn to Senator Bernie Sanders more and more.  I openly admit that I am one of those outspoken, unabashed liberals from the “Liz Warren wing of the party” and I am proud to say so.  Senator Warren is one of the smartest people I have ever met, and listening to her speak is inspiring.

Senator Sanders has been fighting for the middle class his entire life and throughout his career as an elected leader in all levels of government.

Before you jump to the conclusion that I am endorsing Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton, let me say this.  Both candidates have the potential to President, and both will make excellent Presidents.  They are very similar on many of the issues: raise the minimum wage however they seem to differ on the amount we should increase the federal minimum wage too, climate change, workers rights though I feel Bernie Sander’s work opposing the TPP and fighting for the Employee Free Choice Act lifts him above Hillary on this issue, and LGBTQ rights.

The main thing that seems to separate the two candidates in Money in Politics, guns, and Wall Street.

Hillary has come out and said she supports overturning Citizens United though she is collecting massive donations to her Super PAC while Bernie is collecting near record donation from small individual donors and refuses to have any Super PAC at all.   If campaign finance reform and destroying the “too big to fail” banks is your number one issue, then it is obvious that Bernie is your man.

Bernie has issues too.  Many people have criticized Bernie for his very lax position on guns.  Almost every day another tragedy related to gun violence leads the evening news.  I have been active in helping to push for stronger gun reforms in hopes to reduce the number of gun deaths in our country.  Hillary is a much stronger candidate on this issue and others have seized the opportunity to attack Senator Sanders for his vote against background checks.

After you watch this video below you can see why I am being drawn to Bernie’s campaign.  It is too early for me to truly decide but I am obviously leaning one way.

If his speeches are not inspiring and mesmerizing, why are tens of thousands running out to see him in deeply red states too? Watch and see for yourself.

 

New Report: High Pay Does Not Alway Mean Your Job Has Real Meaning

PayScale_ Most Meaningful Jobs [735 x 735]

Many people take great pride in their work, whether they are serving hamburgers or teaching our future generation.  However making lots of money does not always mean that you are happier with your career choice or that you feel you are helping to make the world a better place.

A new report from PayScale.com shows that the highest and most meaning full jobs, and conversely the highest paid and lowest meaningful jobs.

For example, with an average income of $35,000 a year, Directors of Religious Activities and Education ranked the highest in meaningful jobs with 98% agreeing that their jobs are making the world a better place.  The clergy are followed closely behind by; Firefighters ($43,500, 93% who find the job meaningful), primary school and pre-school educators ($32,000 – 35,000, 89% who find the job meaningful), and substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors  ($35,000, 85% who find the job meaningful).

These are all great professions that are doing amazing work in their local communities.  Today it was announced by the Granite State Poll that the Heroin epidemic is one of the pressing issues facing Granite Staters right now.

Proving that money does not bring happiness and meaning to you job only 30% of advertising and promotional managers ($71,000) found their jobs meaningful.  37% of tax collectors and revenue agents ($80,500) found meaning in their jobs.  Shockingly only 40% of lawyers ($89,900) found meaning in their jobs.

The facts are hard to deny, sometimes the best jobs are not always the best paid. Take it from an unpaid blogger who devotes hours a day to help make our world a better place to live and work.

Jeb Bush Essentially Says To Federal Workers, Screw You!

Jeb Bush (Gage Skidmore FLIKR)

Can we all stop pretending that Jeb Bush is a “moderate” rather than the far-right wing extremist he really is?

“He [Jeb Bush] championed tax cuts that chiefly benefited business and the wealthy, trimmed the state’s payroll, stripped job protection from thousands of mid-level civil servants, gained more power over the judiciary, exploited his Washington connections to prevent the closing of military bases and launched the nation’s first statewide private-school voucher program,” wrote Linda Kleindienst of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel in 2007.

Jeb Bush has made it perfectly clear that he wants federal workers to give up more to pay for his brother’s tax cuts that should never have happened.

Yesterday the Hill published the article, Jeb Bush: Strip Feds of Automatic Pay Raises and Due Process, which is even worse than the title indicates.

He starts with yet another hiring freeze and reducing the number of dedicated public servants by eliminating positions as people retire. His plan is similar to Congressman Paul Ryan’s plan (replace one worker for every three who retire). So when Joe and Mary retire from OSHA that means will just have to make do with two fewer safety inspectors because the campaign contributors Bush caters to won’t care if OSHA is grossly understaffed and can’t fulfill its responsibilities.

In theory the Bush/Ryan plan would reduce the overall government workforce by 10% in five years. That’s 10% less Air Traffic Controllers, 10% less food safety inspectors in the Department of Agriculture, 10% less agents to help you in the Social Security Administration, 10% fewer scientists at NASA, 10% fewer prosecutors in the Department of Justice, 10% ….you get the idea.

That is only the beginning. Next he wants to go after workers’ paychecks!

Jeb argues that federal workers are overpaid and that the government rewards “longevity instead of performance.” He wants to eliminate annual increases and only give increases “based on performance.”

This is another classic union-busting tactic: pitting workers against each other for pay increases and rewarding those who oppose the union or suck up to their managers. What happens to workers who question their boss about safety violations in their workplace? What happens to workers who see something illegal going on? Do you think they will be getting pay raises next year?

How do you judge the performance of a food safety inspector? Is it the number of violations he caught and wrote up, which resulted in a lower number of facilities inspected, or is the employee who breezed through more facilities but missed more violations?

On top of pitting workers against each other, as Governor Jeb Bush incentivized managers who saved the government money or found ways for their departments to reduce spending. “Sorry no bonuses for you because I am showing Governor Bush that I am saving the government thousands of dollars.”

The political right loves to tell everyone that government workers are overpaid and are underserving of their paycheck. In fact the Washington Post reported the complete opposite.

White-collar federal employees on average earn 35.2 percent less than private-sector workers in comparable jobs.”

I actually agree with Jeb when he says: “Just like in the real world, compensation should depend on the type of work, and the quality of the work.” The Washington Post goes on to say that more educated federal workers are at a “disadvantage” to their private sector counterparts.

I think someone should inform Jeb that federal workers have already given more than their share from their paychecks. Over the last ten years alone federal workers have contributed over $159 billion dollars to debt reduction plans pushed by the Republicans who control Congress.

  • Federal workforce contribution_April 9 copy3-year pay freeze (2011, 2012, 2013) — $98 billion
  • 2012 UI extension which increased retirement contributions for 2013 hires to 3.1% — $15 billion
  • 2013 lost salaries of 750,000 employees furloughed because of sequestration — $1 billion
  • 2013 Murray-Ryan increased retirement contributions for post-2013 hires to 4.4% — $6 billion
  • 2014 pay raise of only 1%; lower than baseline of 1.8% — $18 billion
  • 2015 pay raise of only 1%; lower than baseline of 1.9% — $21 billion

Total Federal Employee Sacrifice Thus Far: $159 billion

In the 2016 budget they want to take even more!

Republicans are proposing another $238 billion in forced concessions by federal workers through higher retirement contributions and creating a voucher system for health benefits that are going to cost employees even more.

The 2016 budget will force federal workers to lose between $2,525 and $5,617 dollars. Each.

So far Jeb Bush wants slash the number of dedicated public servants, force workers to give back thousands of dollars from their own wallets to “reduce the debt,” give bonuses to managers who reduce spending in their departments, and then he wants to make it easier to fire employees for arbitrary reasons.

That’s right, Jeb Bush wants to strip away employees’ union rights, repealing the right to due process and turning federal workers into “at will employees” – all to make it easier to fire people.

Another classic union busting tactic is to “reduce spending” by firing higher-paid employees (before they can collect any retirement) and replacing them with lower-paid new employees.

As Governor, Jeb Bush used this same tactic to fire 16,000 workers from their jobs with the State of Florida. Jeb Bush gave agency heads to use their “sound discretion” to send people packing, and tied it to his “Service First” program that gave incentives to managers who found ways to reduce government spending.

This isn’t a “moderate” agenda.

Bush may not be insulting veterans or giving out people’s cell phone numbers – and he’s not trying to terrify the electorate with talk of apocalypse or an imagined invasion of Texas – but a lack of hard-core lunacy doesn’t make him a moderate candidate.

He’s part of the far-right wing.

His agenda would decimate federal services that we rely on.

And as this “clown car” primary season keeps getting weirder and weirder, we need to not lose sight of that.

My Point Of View: Black Lives Matter Protests #NN15 Town Hall With O’Malley And Sanders

A lot of people have been messaging me about the events that transpired during the Netroots Nation town hall event with Governor Martin O’Malley and Senator Bernie Sanders.

For those that did not see the news about it, NBC News had a good write up of what transpired.

Long story short, as Governor O’Malley was speaking a group of protestors gathered at the bottom of the stage chanting “Black Lives Matter.” They demanded to be heard. They completely took over the town hall and demanded answer from O’Malley, and later Sanders, to the most pressing issues facing the African-American community.

The biggest question that came from the group was, what are you going to do police brutality and rampant racism in America’s police departments? To his credit, O’Malley waited patiently and listened to what they were saying did attempt to answer them. At one point he said, “Black lives matter, white lives matter, and all lives matter.” They were obviously not happy with O’Malley’s response and the fact that Baltimore, the city that O’Malley was Mayor of, sparked riots after and African-American man was killed while in police custody.

After O’Malley left the stage knowing he had said something wrong, the moderator welcomed Senator Sanders to the stage. Once again the protestors began demanding answers. As NBC News explained: “I will answer your question, but I’d like to speak for a couple of minutes.” Sanders began rolling right into his main talking points about income inequality and the corruption in Washington.

The protestors wanted him to answer their question and began chanting again.   To answer their question he started to talk about how African-Americans have the highest unemployment rate in the country and that that we need a jobs plan to help reduce crime and poverty.

In my opinion, he is right about how to lift people out of poverty and by pushing a comprehensive jobs program that will provide jobs to millions of Americans it will help these struggling communities. The problem is that Sen. Sanders was not addressing the African-Americans’ real concerns about safety from the people who are sworn to protect them.

Sen. Sanders has been an advocate for civil rights for fifty years and walked with Martin Luther King in the March on Washington. This is something that is not as well know about Sanders as his stance on breaking the Wall Street banks. In my opinion he is your ally, not your enemy.

(Read also: Why Bernie Sanders Got Twice as Much Applause as Hillary Clinton When He Spoke to La Raza: Sanders connects at the Latino civil rights group’s big convention.)

So what was the point of all this? I had vigorous discussions about this with many people over the last 24 hours as was this good or bad, and my response is both.

Good: The Black Lives Matter protesters were successful in bringing their issues to the forefront of the news.

Bad: Their protest destroyed the town hall and the news only focused on the protest because the candidates were never really given enough time to explain their positions and what they would like to do to correct these problems.

Neither candidate handled this situation well. I am not sure if either of them have been confronted with this type of protest before and I am sure they never expected it from what should have been a friendly environment for them. O’Malley did talk about having more transparency and report all police involved shootings, complaints, and brutality complaints.

Good: Bringing national attention to Black Lives Matter campaign efforts.

Bad: Black Lives Matters is not the only issue that needs attention and by overwhelming the town hall all of the other groups (who already support the Black Lives Matter campaign) did not get to her the candidates answer questions about their issues.

There is another issue here, and that is that the mostly white progressives at Netroots Nation do not know or care about the racial injustices in the African-American community.

This is absolutely false!

One thing is for sure, we as progressives can always do more to help support Black Lives Matter and fighting racial injustice in our communities.

We can Monday morning quarterback this situation to death but the truth is that the repercussions and results of this action have not fully been realized yet. Only time will tell what will happen next.

  • Will the media continue to talk about Black Lives Matter or was this just a flash in the pan?
  • Will Netroots Nation be able to attract high-level candidates, and elected officials, to speak to the attendee’s knowing there is a potential that they will have their speech hijacked by protesters?
  • Will those who found the protest inappropriate, overcome their feelings of disgust and return to Netroots next year?

Only time will tell.

Governor Walker Would Destroy Immigrant Families To “Follow The Law”

Scott Walker just gave immigrant families a giant middle finger as he told one immigrant family that they need to “follow the law.”

“In November, Obama announced that he would use his executive authority to shield 5 million illegal immigrants from deportation and allow them to legally work in this country. This become known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA. Twenty-six states, including Wisconsin, sued, calling the executive action unconstitutional. Such legal action has halted the program.” (Washington Post)

First Governor Walker attempted to avoid answering the question about DAPA and DACA by saying that he is a Governor and don’t deal with it right now, and then tucking his tail between his legs and running for his campaign bus.

 

Jose Flores (an undocumented immigrant) and his family (US Citizens) finally got the chance to talk to Gov. Walker and he responded.

(VIDEO LINK: https://youtu.be/hGRUjXlQ8QE)

“My point is that you have to follow the law, follow the process,” Walker told Flores. “No man or woman is above the law in this country — that’s the beauty of America.”

Walker also promoted his idea or building a giant wall, tossing 11 million aspiring Americans out of the country, and letting the next President and Congress fix the immigration laws.

Walker claims that the President was not able to get immigration reform through Congress but didn’t. We all know that immigration reforms have been held up in the US House and have failed to even get a vote from the Republican leadership.

President Obama took Executive Action because Republicans refused to pass an immigration reform bill. His actions only delayed deportation for some immigrant families but has not solved the problem that immigrants are still being forced to wait years and years to gain citizenship. Many of these 11 million aspiring Americans have been waiting for a decade or more trying to become citizens. The process is broken and millions of aspiring Americans are hiding in the shadows while they wait for their chance to become US citizens.

Throughout our great history, welcoming immigrants has been a large part of who we are as Americans.

We are a nation of immigrants, so why is Governor Walker saying that these brown skinned immigrants are not welcome here anymore?

 

After Failing As Governor, Scott Walker Announces His Run For President Of The United States

Right out of the gate Governor Scott Walker is taking aim at federal workers, and using his history as a union buster in an attempt to propel him directly to the White House.

“The first step is, we’re going to deal with collective bargaining for all public-­employee unions,” said Walker, “because you use divide-­and-conquer.”

Just like Governor Walker did in Wisconsin, he will push to have federal workers to pay more for their health care benefits and more for their retirement, in a shell game that appears to reduce the federal budget.

Walker also required Wisconsin’s state workers to pay for at least 12 percent of their health insurance premiums, double the percentage they were previously paying. Taken together, the health care and retirement changes required public-sector employees to contribute $3.03 billion more toward their benefits from 2011 through 2014,” wrote Government Executive.

Using the same old tired anti-worker rhetoric to blame employees and their unions Walker said:

“As taxpayers, we should demand that the functions that government must reasonably do, it should do well,” Walker said. “We should demand a government that is more effective, more efficient, and more accountable to the public.”

The problem is not the hard working, dedicated public servants who perform the day to day functions of the federal government.

In 2014 attacking the workers at the VA was all the rage too.  Republican leaders blamed the union and the workers for delays and ultimately veteran’s deaths.  David Cox, President of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) responded in an Op-Ed in the Huffington Post.

“The anti-government naysayers conveniently place the blame on officials from the American Federation of Government Employees and other unions, making outrageous and unsubstantiated claims alleging complicity in veterans’ deaths. This is an insult of the highest order, and one that cannot go unanswered.”

“In fact, the nation wouldn’t even know these problems existed if it wasn’t for front-line employees and union representatives stepping forward to blow the whistle… AFGE union officers and unionized employees have been speaking out for years about the management and performance failings that have only now entered the public’s consciousness.”

Make no mistake, Governor Scott Walker is coming for federal workers and all unionized workers across the country.  Walker wants to use the policies that pushed Wisconsin all the way to a #39 in the country for job growth (1.4% in 2014, and below the national average of 2.0%) to make America better.

These number put Wisconsin “dead last” in job creation throughout the mid-west.  Walker’s flagship job creation initiative, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, is being investigated for corruption and mis-management of public funds.

“WEDC staff used taxpayer funds to pay for iPads, alcohol, and football season tickets,” wrote Lauren Dillon in her expose, Something’s Rotten in Madison:This One Failed Wisconsin Government Agency Can Help You Buy a Governor.

The WEDC also loaned out millions of dollars to companies like Kohls who immediately shipped those new jobs overseas to retain higher profits. “At least six companies that received substantial awards from the WEDC laid off Wisconsin workers and sent their jobs overseas,” wrote Dillon.

walker-ISIS-terrorists-1024x535While people continue to say that Scott Walker is real and approachable, people are well aware that his is not very intelligent.  ‘Two words these voters do not use about him? “Smart” and “sophisticated.“‘

Why would we want a President who vows to break our unions, reduce our pay & benefits, is squarely in the pockets of the Koch Brothers, is last in creating jobs, and refers to the people of Wisconsin who oppose him as “terrorists“.

This is not the leadership we need in Washington.  Governor Walker should be more focused on undoing the damage he cause in Wisconsin instead of attempting to run for President of the United States.

IMG_5948

 

Sign the Petition, “Don’t let Scott Walker do to America what he has done to Wisconsin.”

 


Read more: How Scott Walker Could Bust Federal Employee Unions and Cut Feds’ Pay

Read More: Employees, Unions Hold the Key to Ending VA’s Health Care Crisis

Read More: Something’s Rotten in Madison:This One Failed Wisconsin Government Agency Can Help You Buy a Governor

Read More: Scott Walker, A Horrible Governor And Based On What He Has Done To Wisconsin, Should Not Be President

Read  More: Walker’s 10 Biggest Whoppers

 

 

NH Labor Leaders Speak Out Against Jeb Bush’s Outrageous Comments About Working Longer Hours

NH AFL-CIO President Glenn Brackett on Jeb Bush’s economy:
“A disaster for anyone not named Bush”
 

On July 8th, Jeb Bush made national headlines and nearly blew up Facebook with his comments that “people should work longer hours.”

(Read the full NH Labor News coverage here.)

Today, Glenn Brackett the newly elected President of the NH AFL-CIO talked with reporters about how outrageous Jeb’s comments were to real working families.

Glenn Brackett, New Hampshire AFL-CIO President said:

“This comment makes it as clear as day – Jeb Bush won’t stand up and fight for the middle class as president. He would continue to do things the way he’s always done them – he would put himself and people like him over everyday Americans… Gov. Bush is trying to explain his policy ideas away, saying that we need to cut back on part-time workers and blaming the Obama administration’s policies. But he’s leaving out key points here. That surge in part-time work? Well, that was caused by his brother’s recession. Right now we are adding more full-time jobs than part-time jobs in this economy And we’ve had a record-setting 64 straight months of private sector job growth under President Obama.

Now that we have that straightened out, let’s talk about what Bush – and the rest of the Republican presidential candidates are NOT proposing. Raising the minimum wage. Giving assurances that women are paid as equally as men for the long hours they already works. Protecting workers’ rights and safeguarding the retirement age for future seniors who have put in their fair share of long hours…

If Jeb Bush keeps this up, it won’t be hard for hard-working Granite State families to see that trusting another Bush with the American economy would be a disaster for anyone not named Bush.”

Jeb Bush was born with the silver spoon in his mouth and obviously does not understand what life is like for real working families.  Karen Ladd, high school teacher and member of NEA-NH State Executive Board explained how even having a full time job working as an education professional is not always enough.  

“I wanted to speak today because the first time I heard Jeb Bush’s comments this week, I actually laughed out loud. I laughed out of disbelief that someone running to be the leader of our country could say something so unbelievable. Something so far removed from the average person… I love my job, but Bush’s comment that workers should work more hours is just out of touch with the reality of everyday people like me…I know many teachers that have part-time jobs in addition to their teaching jobs because they aren’t paid enough as teachers to support their families. And the data backs me up on this. Americans work more hours than anyone else in the industrialized world… 

But beyond what Bush said, it’s what he’s not saying that makes it even worse. Bush’s economic plan seems to demand that the middle and working class work longer hours, while refusing to do anything to help them get ahead. He’s not supporting a federal minimum wage or championing paycheck fairness for women.”

Jeb Bush’s comments were offensive to working families.  Jeb opposes raising the minimum wage at the same time he is pushing to raise the retirement age before receiving Social Security benefits.  It is policies like this that have hurt our economy over the last thirty years and definitely the wrong direction for working families.

Jeb Bush Shows He Is Complete Out Of Touch With Real Working Families

Image by Gage Skidmore

Image by Gage Skidmore

I am sure you have already seen this but I feel that I cannot let Jeb Bush’s comments go by without taking a few minutes to talk about them.

In a recent interview with the Union Leader, Jeb said, “people should work longer hours.”

Are you kidding me? This is a asinine statement from an out of touch wealthy 1%-er, who does not understand what us little people have to do just to pay our bills. When you are a wealthy career politician who won the genetic lottery to be born into an ultra-wealthy family it is easy to see why it is so easy for Jeb to say people need to work more hours.

ABC US News | World News

Jeb Bush is currently worth an estimated $12,000,000 dollars, which is up over $10 million since he left office as Governor of Florida in 2007.   During the past few years Jeb enjoyed a very lucrative speaking career earning over $50,000 per speech.

It must be hard to make ends meet when you earn more in one speech than 50% of American’s earn in a year.

His full statement only adds to the fact that he has no idea what American workers are going through.

“…we have to be a lot more productive, workforce participation has to rise from its all-time modern lows. It means that people need to work longer hours and, through their productivity, gain more income for their families. That’s the only way we’re going to get out of this rut that we’re in,” said Bush.

Let me break this down for you Jeb, because it is clear to me you need some serious help.

People are already working more and more hours per week. A Gallop poll released in 2014 show that the average weekly hours worked is 47, and nearly 40% report working in excess of 50 hours per week.

Hours Worked GalluP

 

For those who are paid a flat salary work even more with at whopping 25% reporting working over 60 hours a week.

Have you met Dawn? She was a full time salaried employee from Dollar General. She enjoys a reasonable $34,000 a year salary and for working over 70 hours a week.

Dawn’s story in nothing new and show exactly why we have to fix our broken overtime policies. Under the new overtime directive from President Obama, workers who makes a salary less than $50,000 a year would be paid overtime for every hour worked over 40.

The biggest problem I have with Jeb Bush’s statement is that we as Americans need to work more hours and be more productive which will result in higher wages.

It has been proven over and over that American’s are working more hours and are more productive than we have ever been. Between 1973 and 2013 workers pay rose a meager 9% while productive rose a whopping 73%.

Our collective rise in productive has lead to massive gains by those at the top. The average CEO pay is now over 290 times higher than the average worker. That is an increase of 937% since 1978.

The idea that we need to work longer hours and we will see continued growth in our incomes is a great idea, however facts prove otherwise.

The idea that Americans need to work longer is truly frightening when you add to the fact that Jeb Bush is advocating for “entitlement reforms” that would force people to work until they are 70.

“I think we need to raise the retirement age, not for people that are already nearing, receiving Social Security, or already on it, but raise it gradually, over a long period of time for people that are just entering the system,” Bush said. “And I think we need to do that in relatively short order.”

Imagine being 69 years old, working 5 days a week for 10 hours a day or more. Is the kind of future we really want?

This entire statement by Jeb Bush just shows how out of touch with regular American’s he really is. People do not need to work longer hours and be more productive, we need our employers to actually raise the wages to compensate us for the productivity gains we have made in the past.

Public Schools Should Provide Free Public Transportation Too

Let me start by stating the simple fact that I feel we can all agree on. Public education is the foundation of a strong community, a vibrant educated workforce, and a healthy economy.  Education is also the best way for people lift themselves out of poverty. To reach their own version of the American Dream everyone needs to have a solid educational foundation.

So why are some schools trying to make it harder for low-income families to have access to quality public schools?

school-bus1Take for example what one Indiana school district is threatening to do:

“Franklin Township, Ind., an Indianapolis suburb facing a $16 million deficit, opted to terminate its school bus services.”

They are joking right?

Sadly not.  The Governing.com article goes on to say:

“The move prompted a lawsuit from parents that would eventually make its way to the state Supreme Court, but it also led the Indiana General Assembly to pass a law allowing districts to end busing after issuing three years’ notice.”

The cost cutting measure was first proposed to alleviate running over their mandatory tax caps put in place in 2010.

Then the township tried to charge a fee to ride the bus, which is more common than I expected, but that too was rejected by the State Legislature as they pass additional laws against it.

“The township even tried imposing student fees to fund bus service, but the legislature outlawed that with a 2012 law that prohibited charges for transportation but allowed them for athletics and other activities.”

So far, “three districts have issued their notice of intent to do so, but none in the weeks following the court’s decision in March.” One of those districts Beech Grove has a a poverty rate of over 50%.

Thankfully the township pass a funding referendum to fund the bus services for now, but for how long?

Eliminating school transportation is a truly dangerous path for cities and towns to be taking.  What will happen to the kids whose families do not have transportation of their own? How will they get their children to school?  Will parents be forced to walk their children miles each way, in god only know what kind of weather, taking hours out of their day to get their kids to school?

This is a very slippery slope that Indiana is teetering on.  Working families face countless problems and how their children are going to get to and from school safely, should not be one of them.

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