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The Battle Over The Democratic Party: The Establishment vs The Populist

Bernie Sanders (Michael Vadon FLIKR CC )

Bernie Sanders (Michael Vadon FLIKR CC )

Hillary Clinton is lining up endorsements at an unprecedented level before a single vote has been cast. This is being done to make it appear that the nomination is a foregone conclusion. This is the establishment’s way of marginalizing the populist message of Bernie Sanders.  They benefit from the status quo.

So we have a few more endorsements for Hillary Clinton this week.  Nate Silver ‘s 538 blog gives Hillary 447 Endorsement points while Bernie Sanders has only 2.  Both of Bernie’s endorsements were from congressman (Raul Grijalva-AZ, Keith Ellison-MN) while Hillary’s numerous  endorsements come from the vast Democrat party elite and those Democrats hoping to be part of the future elite. This is further indication of the choke-hold corporations and wealthy interests have over the very corporate-friendly Democratic Party. These politicians who have endorsed Hillary are in most cases just backing the most likely nominee for their own selfish political interests. This comes as no surprise to watchers of the political landscape.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at the 2015 IAM National Staff Conference in New York, NY. (Photo: Bill Burke/Page One Photography)

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at the 2015 IAM National Staff Conference in New York, NY. (Photo: Bill Burke/Page One Photography)

Somewhat more surprising is the number of labor unions supporting Hillary Clinton over long time labor union friend Bernie Sanders. I am well aware unions have different issues that are important to their membership, so there can be no criticism if a union backs a certain candidate because of his/her stance on issues. However, when unions support someone primarily because the candidate is seen as “most electable,” then their endorsements can be questioned.

By all accounts, Lee Saunders is a champion of working people and he helped revitalize AFSCME Local 37 in NYC, which is one of the best locals regarding political activism in this country.  Knowing this, his statement regarding their endorsement of Hillary Clinton made me look twice.

AFSCME President Lee Saunders said members want a candidate committed to fixing the economy and raising incomes for hardworking individuals struggling to get by, as well as someone who supports strong unions.  “What we also heard was AFSCME members want the candidate who will be the most effective champion for working families and who will be able to deliver a victory in this critically important election,” he said in a statement. “AFSCME members believe that candidate is Hillary Clinton.

Are union leaders missing the point that this is a Primary, and they should be supporting candidates who most support the rights of working people, and not settle for the candidates most likely to win? They are not picking a horse at Churchill Downs.  There will be a general election in November 2016 and each union can again endorse the candidate they think is best for their members.

Hillary Clinton was a Board Member of  Walmart for six years and never once, according to tapes and recollection, spoke out against Walmart’s fervent anti-unions policies.  She sat silently as Clinton’s fellow board member John Tate frequently blasted unions. Tate was fond of repeating, as he did at a managers’ meeting in 2004 after his retirement, what he said was his favorite phrase: “Labor unions are nothing but blood-sucking parasites living off the productive labor of people who work for a living.” Most activists I know would have had to be removed from the room screaming if they were present to hear these words.

Clinton was outspoken on the board regarding Walmart’s token support for environmental and women’s rights but was silent the issue of  union rights.  The corporate-owned Democratic Party elite have no problem supporting token gestures towards women’s rights or gay rights, but they stare blankly when the issue of labor rights is mentioned. The elite are nervous about changing the economic equation for working people. The current version of the Democratic party has not been an enemy of labor unions like the Republican party is, but they also have not been our  friend.

Bernie Sanders With Verizon WorkersDemocrats have possibly the best champion of working people in our generation with Bernie Sanders as a serious candidate. Bernie speaks truth to power and calls out corporations and the wealthy for fleecing this country’s working people.  The privileged wealthy are benefiting from a tilted playing field as their wealth soars while working people struggle daily to just survive. This  income inequality not been seen since the Gilded Age. Bernie is drawing record crowds to his rallies and his popular support from ordinary Americans would be the dominant political news of the day if it wasn’t for the Trump circus.

SEIU Local 560 President Earl Sweet called the Vermont senator “the most honest man in Washington.”  “There’s no question about what Bernie believes because he has always meant what he said – and to many of us in the labor movement, that’s a breath of fresh air,” he said. “Sen. Sanders has always stood up for workers and the middle class, here in New Hampshire and across the country, which is why we’re proud to give him our enthusiastic endorsement.”

Democratic and union activist’s must ask themselves.  Which side are they on?


This Thanksgiving: How To Talk About The Economy Without Getting Into An Argument

man yelling with megaphone

Is your family one of those families… where Thanksgiving dinner always ends up in a political argument?

First thing to remember is that arguing won’t get you anywhere. Research shows that when the people you’re talking with hold strong beliefs, arguing with them only makes it harder for them to change those beliefs. And “when people’s confidence in their beliefs is shaken, they become stronger advocates for those beliefs. … when faced with doubt, people shout even louder.”

Political scientists call it the “backfire” effect – and if you’re an activist, you need to know about it (and remember it). Also remember that there are neurological differences between “Republican” and “Democratic” brains… and there are behavioral differences… although scientists are still trying to figure out exactly what those differences mean.

no_megaphoneSo what are you supposed to do? If you’re, say, sitting around the Thanksgiving table when Great Uncle Chester starts berating your college-graduate niece about the fact that she’s living at home rather than in her own apartment…?

Start by finding common ground. There’s always something to agree on, if you just look hard enough. Even if it’s just a gentle restatement of what the other person said. “Yes, Uncle Chester, we all agree that college graduates should be able to find jobs that allow them to support themselves.”

Then, add a little reality in there. “But that doesn’t seem to be happening in the current economy. There are a whole lot of twenty-somethings who are still living at home.”

Try to use personal examples rather than just facts. “I remember what my neighbor’s son went through, when he graduated two years ago. It took him 18 months to find a job, and even then he earned barely enough for him to make his student loan payments.”

When you talk about facts, try to frame them as a question, not a statement. “Don’t you think that the economy has changed from when you graduated college? Remember how working in a bank used to be a highly-respected job? Did you know that, these days, almost one-third of bank tellers need food stamps?”

Don’t push too hard. With Uncle Chester, you might not be able to persuade him of anything other than that he should stop berating your niece. (And if you push any further, the conversation might get loud and become a “nobody’s going to win this” argument.)

But continue the conversation, if your audience seems receptive. “Did you know that, these days, banks are paying billions of dollars to stockholders, rather than paying their tellers a decent wage?”

— — — —

no_megaphoneDo you have a second cousin Mildred who insists that “cutting taxes for job creators” is the answer to everything?

Find something you both agree on. “Nobody likes paying taxes.”

Add a personal story. “I remember when we got President Bush’s ‘tax refund checks’ back in 2001 and 2008. It was nice to get the money, but I didn’t invest it. I don’t know anybody who invested it. Most people either kept the money in the bank or used it to pay down debt.”

Then, a little reality. “Did you know that Congress has been cutting taxes on ‘job creators’ since Ronald Reagan was President? Back then, they used to call it ‘supply side economics.’ But it didn’t fix the economy; all it did was create a huge budget deficit. So after a few years President Reagan gave up on the idea and increased taxes again.”

Is Mildred still listening? If she looks interested, rather than angry, give her a few more facts. “Did you know that corporations are spending literally trillions of dollars buying back their own stock? Rather than building new factories or hiring new employees, they’re buying back shares of their own stock in order to keep stock prices high.”

Is she still listening? “And corporations are even borrowing money – bonds they will be paying back for decades – in order to give money to their stockholders now. So I don’t think CEOs would really invest money from tax cuts in ‘job creation.’ Don’t you think they would just pay it out to stockholders?”

Is she still listening? “I wonder what would happen to our tax rates, if corporations were paying taxes at the same rate they used to, before the SEC started allowing companies to buy back their own stock. Don’t you think that we might be paying less in taxes?”

— — — —

no_megaphoneDo you have a brother-in-law who isn’t bothered by increasing inequality? Who thinks CEOs actually deserve to receive 373 times as much as their employees are paid?

Then you ought to read this Pacific-Standard magazine article about a recent International Monetary Fund report.

And you can start the conversation with something like, “We all agree that economic growth is a good thing.”

Then add a little reality. “Did you know that income inequality actually hurts our country’s economic growth?”

Add a story. “Gosh, I wonder if this is why Macy’s is having such a hard time. None of my friends are planning to do their Christmas shopping there.   It seems like everybody is shopping discount stores or making their gifts, this year.”

Use questions. “How can the economy recover, if ordinary people don’t have money to spend? Did you know that one in ten American jobs is in retail? What’s going to happen to that sector of the economy if wages stay stagnant?  What’s going to happen to the rest of the economy?”

Know your audience, and either stop (before things get loud) or keep going. “Did you know that increasing the income share to the bottom 20% – even just by a tiny bit – helps the whole economy grow?”  “Do you think that’s why the economy grew more, back when income was a bit more equal?”

— — — —

no_megaphoneAnd if the conversation turns to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) treaty… please be thoughtful and careful about what you say.

Personally, I’m tired of politicians pitting people against each other. And factory employees in Singapore are working to feed their families, just like we are.

The problem with the TPP isn’t overseas workers, it’s how much power the treaty would give to corporations. It’s how much power the treaty would give to big banks. It’s the idea of America giving up our right to enforce our laws, when those laws are inconvenient to multinational corporations. It’s the idea of turning over even more of our country’s sovereignty to international “investor-state dispute settlement” (ISDS) tribunals.  Read more about how the TPP empowers corporations on the Public Citizen website.

So please, if you’re opposing the TPP, don’t talk about how overseas workers are taking “our” jobs. The real problem is how much it will benefit corporations.

The real problem is that corporate profits are at all-time highs… while labor’s share of that bounty is pretty close to its all-time low.

And the TPP is likely to make that problem worse, not better.

But that’s not the fault of the migrant workers in a Malaysian electronics factory.

— — — —

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope the conversation around your dinner table is a peaceful one.

— — — —

no_fearBut if the conversation turns to Paris and Syrian refugees, please be especially careful. Fear is one of the most basic human emotions… it’s also one of the most destructive… and one of the easiest to manipulate.

Journalist Naomi Klein is the author of “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.” She’s done a lot of research into how corporatists use disasters to push through political change. Read her work about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina here.

“For more than three decades, [economist Milton] Friedman and his powerful followers had been perfecting this very strategy: waiting for a major crisis, then selling off pieces of the state to private players while citizens were still reeling from the shock, then quickly making the ‘reforms’ permanent. In one of his most influential essays, Friedman articulated contemporary capitalism’s core tactical nostrum, what I have come to understand as the shock doctrine. He observed that ‘only a crisis— actual or perceived—produces real change.’ ”

I think of her work every time someone mentions the Bush tax cuts. Back in 2001, the federal government had a budget surplus; and in the first few weeks of September, the Washington Post did a poll that found 57% of Americans wanted the Bush tax cuts reversed, in order to preserve that surplus. Then 9/11 happened. And a decade and a half later, we still haven’t gotten tax rates restored to Clinton-era levels… and the federal debt has increased by $12.4 trillion.  (And we’re being told we need to cut Social Security, rather than restore the tax rates that President Bush cut even further “while citizens were still reeling from the shock” of 9/11.)

The Paris attacks renewed the atmosphere of fear that I remember after 9/11… and we’ve already seen how some politicians want to use that fear to change government policies. The good news is: my Facebook feed is full of people pushing back against these proposals, questioning them and using historical analogies to say “This is not what America stands for.” The bad news is: Facebook feeds are determined by an algorithm that tends to reinforce what people already believe.

So… when the conversation turns to Paris, and ISIS, remember the advice above.  Arguing isn’t going to help. You need to find some way to help the people you’re talking with step away from their fear, and step into the reality that their fear allows them to be manipulated. Find something to say that you both agree on – most people agree that refugees should be vetted before being resettled – and work from there.

Iron Workers Endorse Hillary Clinton for President

 (image Keith Kissel FLIKR)

(image Keith Kissel FLIKR)

Washington, D.C. – The General Executive Council (GEC) of the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers voted unanimously Friday, November 20 to endorse Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for President of the United States.

Clinton now has the support of nearly 11 million union members across 14 different national unions who have endorsed her campaign.

“As President, I will fight every day to protect and expand workers’ rights to organize and bargain collectively, to maintain prevailing wage and labor standards, and to retire with dignity after years of hard work. Because when workers are strong, families are strong—and when families are strong, America is strong,” said Secretary Hillary Clinton. 

The GEC reviewed the qualifications of each candidate for president while coming to its decision.  While the council felt that several other candidates align with ironworker values, none compare to Secretary Clinton when it comes to putting those beliefs into practice.  Clinton’s record of looking out for the jobs that union members rely on was the largest factor in the council’s decision.  Her support for workers’ rights, infrastructure investment and economic opportunity lines up with the union’s priorities for the next administration.  Secretary Clinton’s unmatched experience in government will enable her to deliver on her promises in ways the other candidates cannot.

“I am honored to have earned the endorsement of the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental, and Reinforcing Ironworkers,” said Clinton

Secretary Clinton’s readiness to take on the global challenges, threats and opportunities faced by our country also played a role in the union’s decision.  The Secretary was tested as soon as she entered the U.S. Senate by the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.  Then-Senator Clinton sponsored legislation to provide for the ironworkers and others who sacrificed their health rescuing victims and clearing rubble on “the Pile” in New York and the Pentagon in Virginia.

Between her time in the Senate and her service as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton has more post-9/11 defense and foreign policy experience than all other serious presidential candidates, Republican and Democratic, combined.

“The Ironworkers have helped build the mighty American middle class for decades—oftentimes literally, creating good-paying jobs and careers with every bridge and building they work on. They have stood strong against repeated attacks on workers’ rights, as Republicans and their allies have sought to roll back the hard-won progress we’ve achieved for workers and their families. And in our country’s hour of need, after the barbaric attacks of 9/11, they worked tirelessly on ‘the Pile,’ putting in overtime to dismantle tons of wreckage—and, later, to build the soaring Freedom Tower,” stated Clinton

“I have always stood with organized labor, and I will be proud to stand with the Ironworkers as President. As a Senator, I fought to secure critical health care benefits for the brave first and second responders at Ground Zero, and urge Congress to reauthorize the Zadroga Act without delay,” concluded Clinton.

With many jobs connected to the energy and manufacturing sectors, ironworkers are directly affected by new regulations on greenhouse gases and other environmental issues.  In the union’s assessment, other candidates for president have either unconstructively denied climate change or shown a cavalier attitude towards jobs lost due to environmental regulation.  The union expects Clinton to take a balanced approach, protecting the public from pollution while keeping Americans at work building the economy.

The GEC encourages all union ironworkers to register to vote and bring their families to the polls in 2016.  Besides the president, voters across the United States will choose 12 governors, 34 senators, and countless state and local officials.  With right to work legislation on the march in states throughout the country, 2016 is a vital year for ironworkers to make their voices heard.

Kelly Ayotte Tries To Undo Support Of Radical Extremist GOP Frontrunner

CNN’s John King Reports On Kelly Ayotte’s Latest Political Contortions As She Tries To Undo Her Early Embrace Of Trump

Ayotte’s Allies Now Reportedly Pressing GOP Activists To Switch Allegiance From Trump 

Concord, N.H. — After Kelly Ayotte called Trump’s entrance into the presidential race a “positive development” and even met privately with Trump in New Hampshire following his announcement, CNN’s John King reports that Ayotte is now politically contorting herself once again to try to undo her early embrace of Trump. 

According to King, an “increasingly anxious” Kelly Ayotte now fears that Donald Trump carrying the banner for the Republican party into next year’s election would spell doom for her own campaign. King added that “there’s an effort underway by key Ayotte allies to press GOP activists in the state who back Trump to apply the all politics is local rule and perhaps think again.” 

Despite Ayotte’s recent political posturing, when it comes to actual policy positions Ayotte and Trump have a lot in common. NH1’s Kevin Landrigan reported, “Candidate for Senate Kelly Ayotte back in 2010 offered her support for amending the Constitution to get rid of birthright citizenship,” years before Donald Trump came under fire for advocating the very same position.

“Once again, Kelly Ayotte is resorting to blatantly political contortions to try to save her political career as she tries to undo the damage she caused by helping lend legitimacy to Trump’s campaign,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley. “It’s no surprise that Ayotte is now trying to run away from her early embrace of Trump and their shared position on ending birthright citizenship. This is just another example of Kelly Ayotte doing and saying anything to rewrite her record and save her own political career.”

NH’s Largest Public Union, SEIU 1984, Breaks From International And Endorses Bernie Sanders

Concord, NH, November 19, 2015 – The Board of Directors of the State Employees’ Association/SEIU Local 1984 announced the union’s endorsement of Senator Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Primary.

“Bernie Sanders has a long history of fighting for working people,” said Richard Gulla, President of SEA/SEIU Local 1984. “He shares many of our members’ goals and values. He is not afraid to take on Wall Street and will fight against corporate greed and corruption. Bernie supports every worker earning a livable wage allowing them to care for and support their families. He is also respectful and supportive of the collective bargaining process. He understands that many of our young people cannot afford to attend college so they can prepare for the jobs of this century; and that our senior citizens are not being afforded a dignified retirement.”

“We looked at the issues that mattered most to working people,” said John Hattan, SEA/SEIU Political Education Committee chair, “and most members supported today’s endorsement as the best decision.”

Earlier this week, SEIU, with which SEA/SEIU Local 1984 is affiliated, publicly endorsed Hillary Clinton as its presidential Primary pick. “While we differ in our endorsement, we share the same values, hopes and dreams for our country,” said Gulla.

SEA/SEIU Local 1984 and SEIU International will work together respectfully during the primary as they both work to move forward the interests of hard-working members who are part of the growing movement to raise wages and rebalance our economy.

“We look forward to supporting Senator Sanders throughout the primary race and will be prepared to support the most labor-friendly candidate post primary,” said Gulla.


SEA/SEIU 1984 followed its established candidate endorsement policy in arriving at today’s decision. Per policy, the organization’s Political Education Committee (Poli-Ed) polled all members about their support of the primary candidates, regardless of party affiliation. Of those who responded, the majority registered support of Sen. Sanders. The Committee then invited presidential candidates to the SEA/SEIU 1984 office in Concord to meet with them and answer members’ questions. The committee then discussed each of the candidates’ merits and qualifications and made a recommendation to the Board of the Directors. The Board then voted whether to approve the Poli-ed’s recommendation. The majority vote was with Sen. Sanders.

About The State Employees’ Association/ SEIU Local 1984

The State Employees’ Association of New Hampshire/SEIU Local 1984 represents about 11,500 public and private-sector employees across the Granite State. First formed in 1940 as a social organization, the SEA won passage of New Hampshire’s Public Employee Labor Relations Law in 1975. Since then, the union has negotiated hundreds of contracts with state, county, municipal and private-sector employers. The SEA affiliated with the Service Employees’ International Union in 1984. With two million members, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in the Americas.

Andru Volinsky Announces Campaign For District 2 Executive Councilor

Concord, NH—Today Andru Volinsky released the following statement:

“After much thought and discussion with my family, I’m proud to announce today that I’m running for Executive Council in District 2, which goes from Keene to the Seacoast.

New Hampshire needs Executive Councilors who will serve as champions for all our citizens, as protectors of transparency and efficiency in government, and as advocates for the appointment of the best possible judges and members of our state boards and commissions.

As an Executive Councilor, I will continue the fight I’ve undertaken as a lawyer for sound public policies that benefit all of New Hampshire’s citizens. I understand the importance of a strong, transparent, and well-informed process for approving judicial appointments and contracts. I will work to approve qualified appointees to state boards and commissions who will work to protect public education funding and the retirement security of our state employees—not undermine them. As a board member of the Manchester Community Health Center, I know the importance of a strong public health system, which is why I will work to restore vital family planning funds to Planned Parenthood health centers across our state and protect the increased access to affordable health care made possible by Medicaid expansion.

I’m committed to continuing our work to build a stronger future for New Hampshire and I hope to earn your support over the next few months by meeting as many of you as possible.”

Andru Volinsky is a father, husband, and lawyer who lives in Concord. He is general counsel and a shareholder of Bernstein Shur where he practices law and helps manage the firm’s New Hampshire office. To find out more about Andru’s campaign for Executive Council, please visit www.volinskynh.com

SEIU Announces Endorsement Of Hillary Clinton For President

VIDEO: Watch SEIU members speak about why they support Hillary Clinton

WASHINGTON — After a rigorous, months-long member engagement process, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) today endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, calling her a leader who will stand up for the working people building a movement to secure a better future for their families.

“Hillary Clinton has proven she will fight, deliver and win for working families,” said SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry. “SEIU members and working families across America are part of a growing movement to build a better future for their families, and Hillary Clinton will support and stand with them. This movement for economic, racial, immigrant and social justice is poised to turn out to vote in November with their families and communities and keep pushing elected officials to deliver once in office.”

“We are endorsing Hillary Clinton because she will stand up for working people like me when she’s in the White House, not the rich and powerful,” said Regina Sutton, a home care worker and member of SEIU Local 2015 in California.

SEIU’s member engagement included a 1,200-member conference in March, three national tele-town hall meetings in which more than 178,000 members participated, three national member polls from the fall of 2014 through the fall of 2015, more than 200 local executive board debates and discussions with thousands of local union officers and elected member leaders and local union member discussions representing 1.2 million SEIU members, which included leadership assemblies, live phone calls, worksite meetings, emails and text messages.

Hillary Clinton will fight to raise wages and has stood up for the rights of workers to join together in a union. She has spoken out in support of the Fight for $15 movement: on the movement’s April 15 national day of action, during the New York wage board fight that resulted in $15 for all fast food workers in the state, for the $15 victories in Los Angeles city and county and again just last week, on Nov. 10, during the biggest day of action yet.

“As cleaners, we roll up our sleeves every day and get the job done without complaint. When Hillary Clinton is president, she will do the same. She will fight tirelessly for working families. I like that she is not running to prove a point, she is running to make our country better,” said Pam Johnston, a cleaner, member of 32BJ SEIU in Pittsburgh and executive board member.

Once elected, Hillary Clinton will have the opportunity to address the epidemic of low wages and poor training standards for our nation’s airport workers, who keep travelers safe and airports clean. “Airport jobs should be good jobs — and together, we can make sure they are,” she wrote to airport workers gathered at a national convention last month in Washington.

Clinton has recognized the value of care work in our nation, particularly the home care providers and child care teachers who help educate our future generations and allow our seniors and those with disabilities to live with dignity at home. In many places, these workers earn poverty wages with no sick or vacation time and few if any benefits. “One of the things I’m trying to do in this campaign is put raising wages at the center,” Clinton said at an August roundtable meeting in Los Angeles with SEIU home care providers. “I think your skills deserve a lot more pay and benefits than what’s currently being made available to you.”

“Hillary Clinton understands that child care teachers need living wages and that the care has to be affordable for people,” said Marites McLean, a child care provider and member of SEIU Local 509 in Massachusetts. “She gets it and she’s going to do something about it.”

Clinton is also a leader on the core issues SEIU members care about in this election, including fighting for commonsense immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship, standing up for voting rights and criminal justice reform that prioritizes ending mass incarceration and supporting and strengthening the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Clinton’s commitment to quality, affordable healthcare goes back decades to her courageous efforts in 1994 to ensure coverage for all. SEIU members know she will fight hard to strengthen the ACA so we never go backward.

“I’m very excited about our endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president,” said Ann Byrne, a member of SEIU Local 199 and nurse at the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics. “I’m going to caucus for her, door-knock for her and phone bank for her. As a nurse for 26 years, I know that Hillary Clinton will defend and strengthen the Affordable Care Act so our patients get the care they need.”

SEIU’s 2 million members will join hands with community partners in a broad movement for economic, social, immigrant and racial justice. Along with the 64 million people who work at jobs paying poverty-level wages, they will be a powerful force during the 2016 elections. SEIU members will use their strength at the grassroots and community levels to support the candidates who will stand with them. Hundreds of thousands of face-to-face and door-to-door contacts, millions of phone calls, robust digital engagement and other activities to get out the vote will counteract the efforts of billionaires and corporations to elect leaders who would answer only to the wealthy few.

American Postal Workers Union Executive Board Endorses Bernie Sanders for President

Calls on Union Members to Join ‘Political Revolution’

 WASHINGTON — The American Postal Workers Union announced today that its National Executive Board has voted to endorse Bernie Sanders for president.  The vote follows Sanders’ rousing speech to more than 2,000 activists at the union’s All-Craft Conference, held in Las Vegas, in late October, where he displayed a deep understanding of postal issues and workers’ concerns.

“Politics as usual has not worked. It’s time for a political revolution,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “We should judge candidates not by their political party, not by what they say, not by what we think they stand for, but by what they do. Applying that criterion, Sen. Bernie Sanders stands above all others as a true champion of postal workers and other workers throughout the country.

“He doesn’t just talk the talk. He walks the walk,” he said. “He is a leader in the fight to protect the public Postal Service.”

In their deliberations, APWU’s board members considered Sanders’ record on postal issues including his opposition to USPS policies that have  degraded mail service; his efforts to keep post offices and mail facilities open; and his leadership in passing a ‘sense of the Senate’ resolution to restore service standards  that were lowered earlier this year. The Senate voted to approve that resolution by a margin of 85-11.

Beyond his past record, APWU members have been inspired by Sanders plans for the future of USPS. “Bernie Sanders is a fierce advocate of postal reform. He staunchly opposes postal privatization, and supports enhanced postal services, including postal banking,” said Dimondstein.  “Based on his Senate record, we are confident he will appoint good people to public office and end conflicts of interest. He has already blocked the slate of nominees to the postal Board of Governors that includes the ‘king of postal privatizers’ James Miller and payday lending industry lobbyist Mickey Barnett. No other candidate has his record of exposing the rule of the billionaire class,” Dimondstein said. “Sanders is refusing all corporate money. He doesn’t have a super-PAC.”

More Than Postal Issues

Sanders’ long commitment to working people beyond postal workers was also an important reason for the endorsement. “No other candidate has his record of standing with workers on picket lines, fighting for a $15 per hour minimum wage, supporting free public college tuition, and advocating for veterans’ benefits,” said Dimondstein. “And, no other candidate has his record of fighting to defend and expand Social Security, promoting ‘Medicare for all,’ and opposing ‘fast track trade authority’ and rotten trade deals like the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).”

The National Executive Board is encouraging union members, who live and work in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and all U.S. territories, to participate in Sanders rallies, join Labor for Bernie, and help elect Bernie Sanders President.

The American Postal Workers Union represents 200,000 employees of the United States Postal Service, and is affiliated with the AFL-CIO. For more information, visit www.apwu.org.

APWU 230 and IBEW 2320 Endorse Colin Van Ostern For Governor

50 NH State Representatives, 2 Local Labor Unions Endorse Colin Van Ostern for Governor

 Today 50 New Hampshire State Representative and two local labor unions announced their support of Colin Van Ostern for Governor of New Hampshire, building the campaign’s grassroots momentum after more than 500 community & business leaders endorsed Van Ostern in October.

“It’s absolutely critical that the people of New Hampshire have a Governor who is fighting every day for the people of our state – and for an economy that works for all of us, not just those at the top,” said Colin Van Ostern. “Building a brighter future for the people of New Hampshire and winning in 2016 will take a strong grassroots team and people-powered campaign, and I’m proud that’s what we are building.”

This week the executive boards of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers local 2320 and American Postal Workers Union local 230 both voted to endorse Colin Van Ostern for Governor, throwing the weight of their 1,000+ members behind his campaign.

Additionally, fifty New Hampshire State Representatives have now joined in support of the campaign. View the list here: http://vanostern.com/nh-legislators-for-colin-van-ostern/

Colin Van Ostern is a New Hampshire business leader, education innovator, dad, and Executive Councilor running for Governor in 2016.  He lives in Concord with his wife Kristyn, two sons, and black lab.  Learn more at www.vanostern.com

Mark Connolly Announces Campaign For NH Governor

Cites Vision of New Hampshire as Center of Education, Innovation, and Job Creation 

Mark ConnollyMANCHESTER, NH – Today, business owner and former Deputy Secretary of State Mark Connolly announced his campaign for Governor of New Hampshire with events in Hanover, Manchester, and New Castle. A Democrat and a Seacoast business owner with three decades of experience in the public and private sectors, Connolly laid out his vision for New Hampshire’s future, which centers on his plans for education, innovation, and job creation.

“We’re facing critical decisions about our state’s future, and we need a pragmatic, progressive, and independent leader to help build on the progress achieved by Governors Lynch and Hassan,” said Connolly. “That’s why I’m running for Governor of New Hampshire.”

“I believe we’re at our best when we put aside our differences, come together, and turn difficult challenges into exciting opportunities. My vision for this state is clear: we must provide our kids with a world-class education, foster a culture of innovation to re-position our state as a 21st-century economic and business leader and create quality jobs that ensure the next generation of Granite Staters can build careers and raise families of their own right here in New Hampshire.”

“Throughout constant transformations and reinventions, we’ve never lost hold of the fundamental values that we hold dear in the Granite State—freedom, liberty, and the promise that, if you work hard and play by the rules, you’ll be given the opportunity to succeed.” 

“I’m running for Governor because I believe in the promise of New Hampshire, and I hope you’ll join me in seeing it through.” 

A number of prominent Granite Staters joined Connolly at events in Manchester and New Castle to offer their support and praise his vision for guiding New Hampshire into the 21st century economy.

Longtime State Senator Lou D’Allesandro (D-Manchester) said, “I’ve known Mark Connolly since he was a young man growing up in Bedford, and there’s no doubt in my mind he’ll make an excellent Governor.  Mark has spent his career fighting for the people. He’s tough, he’s smart, and he knows how to get the job done. The people of New Hampshire will have a great champion with Mark Connolly in the Governor’s office.” 

Ben Kelley, a Concord entrepreneur and business leader, praised Connolly’s ability to bring the public and private sectors together to spur economic growth: “I support Mark Connolly for Governor of New Hampshire because I know he’s the kind of leader our state needs to spark our innovation economy—someone who knows how to bring people together to create jobs, jump-start key initiatives like passenger rail, and bring more growing businesses to our state. As a public servant and a businessman, Mark has always fought to stand up for the people of New Hampshire, and I know he’ll do the same as Governor.”

Mary Rauh, former Chair of the New Hampshire Women’s Fund and Co-Chair of President Barack Obama’s New Hampshire campaign said, “I support Mark Connolly first and foremost because I trust him to fight hard for the issues that matter most to New Hampshire women and families. Mark will be a leader in fighting for equal pay, protecting a woman’s right to make her own healthcare decisions, and ensuring every family in our state has the opportunity to succeed. When women and families succeed, everyone benefits—and that’s something I know Mark will make a top priority.” 

Maxine Morse, a beloved philanthropist, advocate for mental health and education, and close ally of former Governor John Lynch, said, “Mark Connolly has the experience, the track record, and the passion for public service we need in our next Governor. Like John Lynch, Mark understands how to lead our state and to ensure that government serves the people. With decades of experience in both public service and the private sector, Mark is the candidate who can truly deliver on his promise to build a better future for the Granite State.”

Mark Connolly is a New Hampshire native and a former State Representative who has served for over 30 years as a business and community leader. From 2002–2010, he served as New Hampshire’s top financial watchdog. Mark currently resides in New Castle.

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