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Congress Votes To Block New Rules Mandated By The NLRB

Yesterday, Congressional Republicans continued their all out assault on working families by passing a law that would limit workers rights to organize and block new rules from the National Labor Relations Board that would allow for faster union elections, slated to take effect in April.

The NLRB said in a December statement that the new rules would allow unions to use electronic means to file for an election and would allow unions to hold elections just 14 days after filing.

“I am heartened that the Board has chosen to enact amendments that will modernize the representation case process and fulfill the promise of the National Labor Relations Act. Simplifying and streamlining the process will result in improvements for all parties. With these changes, the Board strives to ensure that its representation process remains a model of fairness and efficiency for all,” said NLRB Chairman Mark Gaston Peirce.

Congressman Frank Guinta receiving an award from the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC)

Congressman Frank Guinta receiving an award from the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC)

The bill passed 232-186, almost straight down party lines. The bill was opposed by all of the House Democrats (thank you Congresswoman Annie Kuster [NH-02]) and three lone Republicans. Congressman Frank Guinta, the Republican representing the first district in New Hampshire, was among the Republican majority who voted to pass the bill.

“Today’s vote by House Republicans against the NLRB’s common-sense modernization of its election rules is a direct attack on workers and their right to be heard in the workplace,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “Working men and women want an agenda from their Congressional leaders that raises wages and grows our middle class. Instead, they have gotten Republican policies that roll back progress and silence workers while protecting their biggest donors.”

Listening to the debate on the House floor shows exactly how much the Republicans really care about workers and their rights.   These Republicans are putting corporations above working men and women.

“Today, Congress voted to stop an unelected board of bureaucrats from trampling on the rights of America’s workers and job creators,” said Congressman John Kline (R-MN) in a written statement after the vote. “The board’s ambush election rule will stifle employer free speech, cripple worker free choice, and jeopardize the privacy of workers and their families.

Rep. Kline’s statement is nearly identical to the statement released by the US Chamber of Commerce who has worked tirelessly to oppose unionizing efforts and push anti-worker legislation in dozens of states.

“The Chamber applauds Congress for passing legislation to stop the ‘ambush election’ rule issued by the NLRB,” stated U.S. Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President of Labor, Immigration, and Employee Benefits Randel K. Johnson. “This rule infringes upon an employer’s free speech right by virtually eliminating an employer’s opportunity to communicate his or her views regarding unionization with employees.

What they should have said was that this vote stifles a workers right to organize and gives more time for employers to hire union busting firms and lie to their employees about how unions operate.

President Obama has already said he will veto this totally partisan bill. This would be Obama’s fourth veto, and second in the last two months.

“President Obama is right in his commitment to vetoing this harmful legislation, and Congressional Republicans should focus their efforts on lifting workers up instead of shutting them out,” said Trumka.

Whether you support unions or not should not matter, that is why we hold elections. If workers freely choose to support a union, the union will win the election. If workers freely choose to reject the union, the union will lose. That is freedom and the choice that workers are guaranteed under the National Labor Relation Act.

Organizing and holding a union election is hard enough, and Republicans in Washington want to block workers from organizing. Working families need to understand that these Republicans are not looking out for them and are only looking out for the wealthy businesses and groups like the US Chamber of Commerce that fund their campaigns.

 

 

Click here for more information about the NLRB’s rule changes

 

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

There is now doubt that the Republican’s are off and running in their attempts to win New Hampshire’s First In The Nation Primary.

This weekend Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker tested the primary waters with a whirlwind tour of New Hampshire. Walker has recently come under fire for his comments comparing union protesters to ISIS terrorists. Union members across the country were appalled by Gov. Walker’s statement at the CPAC convention. We are workers not terrorists!

Now, Gov. Walker has taken his anti-worker, pro-business agenda on the road and one of his first stops is New Hampshire, where he was immediately met by hundreds of protestors. Labor leaders from across New England demanded an apology from Gov. Walker for his comments at the CPAC convention.

(Below is a short video of some of the speeches given in Concord)

 

The fact is that Governor Walker would be a complete nobody if it were not for his outright assault on working families in Wisconsin and his laundry list of controversy that follows him like a puppy dog.

Pretty much everyone in the country knows about Walker’s attack on working families, when he striped away the collective bargaining rights of tens of thousands of Wisconsin workers. The outrage from unions can still be felt in union halls across the country. Then to make it worse, Walker just pushed for and signed “Right to Work” legislation that is a well know union busting piece of legislative garbage. Listen to this compelling testimony from a Vietnam Veteran opposing Right To Work in Wisconsin.

Directly attacking union workers is not the only way that Walker has hurt the working families of Wisconsin. He is in some really deep trouble over his current budget, which gave huge tax cuts to his wealthy friends and corporations.

“Governor Walker has called so-called ‘Right to Work’ legislation a distraction and apparently that’s exactly what he wants,” said Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca. “By rushing to pass Right to Work in less than a week, clearly the governor and Republican legislators want to distract from how destructive their budget is for Wisconsin’s workers, students and middle-class families.”

“Under Walker’s fiscal mismanagement the state budget faces a deficit in excess of $2 billion, which Walker proposes balancing with massive cuts to the University of Wisconsin System and K-12 public schools, scoop and toss borrowing schemes, and even hiking the costs of senior’s prescription drugs,” wrote One Wisconsin Now.

Walker’s tenure in the State Capitol has been riddled with accusations of campaign financing violations and criminal investigations.

The New York Times talked about how Gogebic Taconite got approved for a huge mining project in Northern Wisconsin. “The mine legislation was bad enough from an environmental point of view: It allows the operator to fill streams with mine waste, eliminates public hearings and reduces the taxes the operator would have to pay,” wrote the NY Times. “It turns out to be even more shocking from an ethical viewpoint. Newly released documents show that the mine operator, Gogebic Taconite, secretly gave $700,000 to a political group that was helping the governor win a 2012 recall election.”

This campaign donation and the alleged connection between Walker’s recall election campaign and the Wisconsin Club For Growth – a super PAC that cannot legally coordinate with the Walker campaign – brought Walker up on corruption charges.

“Because Wisconsin Club for Growth’s fundraising and expenditures were being coordinated with Scott Walker’s agents at the time of Gogebic’s donation, there is certainly an appearance of corruption in light of the resulting legislation from which it benefited,” a lawyer for lead John Doe prosecutor Francis Schmitz wrote in an April 2014 court filing.

Walker also created a quasi-public job creation agency, called the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, which was recently accused of serious wrongdoing. The WEDC came under fire in the Wisconsin State Journal for “failure to track public subsidies to private companies and for the departure of numerous top executives.”

The Wisconsin State Journal continued, “A May 2013 audit found the quasi-public agency was not following state law in how it was keeping tabs on millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies, and earlier this week the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that the agency continues to have difficulties despite assurances that the problem had been addressed.

This does not even begin to scratch the surface of how bad and possibly corrupt Walker truly is. He slashed funding for public schools by $127 million dollars while giving a $10,000 tax break, in the form of a school voucher, for people who send their children to private schools. He also cut over $300 million dollars from the University system and “suggested the cuts could be made up for if professors ‘consider teaching one more class per semester.’”

After cutting the University system by $300 million dollars, Walker had $220 million left over to donate to construct a new basketball arena for the Milwaukee Bucks. That is one way to show everyone in Wisconsin, and the rest of America, that getting a quality education is less important than a professional basketball arena.

“Typical Walker,” said NEA Director Britt Hall, an instructor at Wisconsin’s Waukesha County Technical Council, “It’s smoke and mirrors — it’s ‘do more’ on the one hand, and choking the system on the other.”

Scott Walker has made it abundantly clear to the people of Wisconsin that he was the wrong choice for Governor. The state budget is billions short, he cut education by hundreds of millions of dollars, gave tax breaks to wealthy corporations, and he approval rating is beginning to show it. He has fallen over six points in the last few months alone.

“Walker’s made it clear that he sides with big dollar special interests over Wisconsin and New Hampshire working families,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress. “Our country doesn’t need a Presidential candidate who disparages the voices of tens of thousands of every day citizens but gladly takes phone calls from the billionaire Koch brothers.”

Scott Walker is not right for Wisconsin, not right for New Hampshire, and certainly not right for President.

 

(If you want to see the entire speeches from the Scott Walker protests, here is the long version of the speeches)

 

Hundreds Protest Governor Walker At NH GOP Event In Concord

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The people of Wisconsin have known for many years now how Gov. Scott Walker feels about working families and specifically about unions.

“Scott Walker is politics incarnate having spent almost his entire adult life in elective office,” said One Wisconsin Now Deputy Director Mike Browne. “Take it from us here in Wisconsin, he’ll do or say anything to get himself elected. And once he does, he’ll think nothing of turning around and doing the opposite.”

They even tried to warn the good people of the Granite State to beware of Walker’s “Trail of Deceit, Cronyism, Corruption and Incompetence.

“New Hampshire voters are accustomed to vetting Presidential candidates, and we won’t stand for politicians pandering just to get elected,” Zandra Rice Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress. “While he is here, Walker will be pressed to state his position on major issues of the day and he will be held accountable for his recent actions catering to the delusional fringe of the Republican Party.”

This morning over 350 workers gathered outside of a NH GOP event in New Hampshire today to condemn Scott Walker’s anti-working family agenda and call for an apology following his recent CPAC comments equating working men and women with the terror group, ISIS.

“Today I’m joined by working men and women not only from New Hampshire, but from across our region, who are under attack,” said NH AFL-CIO President Mark MacKenzie. “They are under attack by politicians like Governor Walker who has put his own political and corporate interests ahead of working families. It’s these interests, not working people, who are the central agenda of his campaign for President. We’re calling on Governor Walker to apologize for his comments at C10559966_1411792929127380_6660353811694176751_nPAC comparing working people with the group ISIS. Whether it’s attacking the rights of workers or attacking their patriotism, Governor Walker has shown that he’s not on the side of working families and we know that working families won’t be on his side.”

“I’m a retired letter carrier and Vietnam veteran. I worked for 35 years with the US Postal Service after my time in Vietnam,” said New Hampshire resident Lew Henry. “My service, both overseas and here at home, allowed me to provide for my family and make a good life for myself. It’s a right that all workers should have and that all workers are fighting for. But when Governor Walker said that our fight for worker rights was the same as the terror group ISIS, he went too far. There are millions of former veterans currently working across our country today, and many of them union members. They fought hard to make this country a safer place, and they don’t deserve to be compared to terrorists. Governor Walker should apologize – not only for his un-American comments on ISIS, but for his repeated attempts to silence the voices of workers.”

“We’ve seen what Governor Walker’s priorities are: taking away the voice and rights of workers, degrading workers by comparing us to terrorists, and saying whatever he needs to in order to become President,” said Jeff Bourque, a New Hampshire public school teacher. “The people you see here today have a different agenda – we want a voice in our workplace, we want respect from our so-called leaders, and we want an apology from Governor for his comments and his actions.”

Walker’s widely publicized and condemned comments attacking workers came only days before he signed legislation into law aimed at stripping critical rights and protections from workers in Wisconsin. At the press conference and rally, New Hampshire and regional labor leaders and workers promised to hold Walker accountable for his words and actions throughout his Presidential campaign in the First in the Nation Primary state.

(This is a short video of the press conference)

GOP Presidential Candidate Scott Walker Is Destroying Wisconsin To Prove Just How Conservative He Is

After it was announced that Governor Scott Walker would be testing his GOP Primary status with a trip to New Hampshire, my inbox was flooded with friends and fans from Wisconsin telling me how the people of New Hampshire need to know how bad Gov. Walker really is.

Mark Anderson is a blogger on the Daily Kos who lives in Wisconsin and is not shy about how bad Gov. Walker really is.  Below is his piece on Walker and what he has done to Wisconsin to make himself look better to GOP Primary voters.

Scott Walker

By Mark Anderson

There was a time when I would travel out of state and people would ask me where I was from, and I would say Wisconsin. Back then, people would ask if I had any cheese (No, I do not carry cheese around in my pocket), if I was a Packer fan (YES!), did I live on a dairy farm (no, I do not, but my dad grew up on one), and did I drink beer (an enthusiastic YES!).

These days if I travel out of state, I get asked what in the hell happened in Wisconsin. To be honest, I don’t really understand what happened. I do not know how or when teachers, police, firefighters, librarians, iron workers, operating engineers, and, well, anyone who could be your next-door neighbor became the enemy.

Scott Walker and his pursuit of the presidency is wreaking havoc upon the good people of Wisconsin. In the current budget, we have seen him attack education—all but gutting theUniversity of Wisconsin System—and giving a green light to for-profit education statewide.

And then there’s the lie of right-to-work, and cutting funding for our beautiful state parks. Those of us on the left did everything we could do to warn our fellow citizens what would happen if Walker were allowed to win a second term. Sadly, we were drowned out by right-wing noise machine and the grip it has on Wisconsin media as well as the millions upon millions of dollars spent to ensure a Walker victory.

My fellow citizens will come to regret their decision, much like they regret electing Sen. Joe McCarthy. Their first regrets will come when they pull into Harley-Davidson State Park (formerly known as Devil’s Lake State Park), or maybe when they find out that Briggs and Stratton State Park (formerly known as Peninsula State Park) is closed for a corporate event. Yes, that is right, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources—specifically, unqualified Walker crony Cathy Stepp—has told lawmakers that:

Wisconsin will consider selling naming rights to state parks to help them operate without tax support as proposed under Gov. Scott Walker’s biennial budget

So instead of going to Governor Dodge State Park, and Cox Hollow Beach, you will be going to Miller Brewing State Park and you will swim at Oscar Mayer Hot Dogs Beach.

Of course, if you are a domestic abuser, Wisconsin is the place to be. No more of that pesky48-hour waiting period to purchase a handgun. Nope, now you can get pissed off at your loved one, go out while you are still angry, purchase a .357 magnum, come home, and blow your family away in a fit a blind rage. Who needs a cooling-off period anyway?

But that is not all. Walker and his GOP cabal will continue to attack women’s rights with a 20-week abortion ban. The only reason this ban is coming up now is to burnish Walker’s conservative resume.

To top all this off, a simple law, AB8, to make women safer in Wisconsin, is being held up in the Wisconsin Senate. Making “upskirting” a felony is considered too controversial to bring up for a vote.

In the Wisconsin I grew up in, a bill like this would be looked upon as a nonpartisan issue. The lack of a sense of urgency here is alarming. Upskirting is creepy, and it’s happening every day on buses, in grocery stores, and while standing in line at the gas station. If someone taking pictures up another person’s skirt in line at the grocery store isn’t enough to motivate our legislators to act and do what’s right, then I don’t know what is. The people of Wisconsin should be outraged.

Via Facebook chat, Assemblywoman Melissa Sargent had this to say about what is happening in Wisconsin:

“In Wisconsin we have a culture of taking care of each other – from building barns and plowing fields with and for our neighbors to cooking casseroles and watching each others children – we reach out embrace our friends and neighbors as our family. We should expect nothing less from our elected officials – rather what we are seeing this legislative session are decisions being made with, for and by out of state corporate special interest groups rather than with the Wisconsin values that we grew up with.

As I have said in many posts before, this is not the Wisconsin that Assemblywoman Sargent and I grew up in. We both attended Madison East High School, just a couple years apart, in view of the state capitol. I don’t think either of us ever foresaw what is happening in Wisconsin today.

Senator Lou D’Allesandro: We Must Pass SB 136 To Overturn Citizens United

Open government is not owned by anyone but the people. When a citizen in my district chooses to speak his or her mind, that person can walk through the doors of the State House without being stopped or questioned and can walk directly into my office.  My door is always open.  As New Hampshire citizens, we believe this is right because we believe that the Capitol is the people’s house and that our job as legislators is to serve the people. I try to embody this belief and work very hard to respond to my constituents, even stopping in the hallways between sessions to hear what they have to say. If we disagree, we might even have a debate.  Such respect and openness to our constituents is the envy of other states, where the citizenry may not have as direct access to their elected officials.

However, with every election we see the further encroachment of outside groups and interests in influencing our elections. This threat to our democracy is the direct result of the 2010 Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. FEC. Now, dark money groups with secret donors can attempt to push their pet projects on lawmakers with possibly dishonest or underhanded tactics. These outside groups do not understand our pride in service to our constituents, but their influence is felt all the same. Now, rather than hearing voices of our constituents on the merit of the argument, we lawmakers are forced to contend with the threat of overwhelming finances of special interest groups should we choose to vote with our conscience. This only serves to disenfranchise both the lawmakers and our constituents. We feel this frustration so deeply that, when I was at a forum held in Manchester, former Senator Majority Leader George Mitchell, who spoke, said that the Citizens United decision was a very bad decision made by the U.S. Supreme Court.

This threat to our democracy must be met with a forceful and immediate response. Last year, I supported a bill calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. Unfortunately, this bill failed to pass the legislature, and the problem has only worsened since.  In the 2014 congressional election, outside groups spent more than 49 million dollars on three congressional races in New Hampshire- one of the highest amounts of outside spending in the nation.

The citizens of New Hampshire see this continual erosion of our democracy, and are appalled. According to a University of New Hampshire Survey Center Granite

State Poll, 69 percent of residents have said that they would support a constitutional amendment that limits corporate campaign contributions and spending. This support includes majorities on both sides of the political spectrum as well as independents1. Furthermore, 56 towns in New Hampshire passed town warrants in support of a constitutional amendment, including a unanimous vote in the conservative town of Derry2. On this issue, I have listened to concerned citizens from all walks of life – from high school students to seniors, and small business owners to farmers – who spoke on the issue. I’ve rarely seen an issue with such deep and bipartisan support.

It is imperative that, as legislators, we respond to our constituents and show them we can address this issue and restore trust in our government. Therefore, I call on my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass SB 136 this year.

References:

1) Azem Z., Smith, A., Granite State Poll, April 18, 2013. The University of New Hampshire Survey Center.

2) www.nh4democracy.org (NH Towns with Town Warrant Articles)

We Need A New Hampshire Senate That Puts People Above Big Business

Cutting Taxes 3-dThis week the Republican controlled State Senate chose to put business profits ahead of working families, by voting to cut taxes for big business.

The New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute reported, “SB 1, which would lower the business profits tax (BPT) rate, and SB 2, which would lower the business enterprise tax (BET) rate, together likely would reduce state revenue by nearly $80 million on a biennial basis once fully phased in.”

That’s right boys and girls, the GOP wants to slash $80 million dollars from our budget and give that all to big business. $80 million dollars is a lot of money. That would build a lot of bridges, pave a lot of roads, repair a lot of schools, and employee a lot of people.

“These business tax cuts will not create jobs or boost the economy, but instead will drain millions of dollars out of the state budget each year,” said Jeff McLynch, executive director of the New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute.

The Union Leader reported, “(Democrats) noted only 1 percent of the businesses in the state pay 76 percent of the business profits tax, meaning large out-of-state corporations produce the bulk of the revenue. ‘This is a giveaway to large, out-of-state corporations,’ said Sen. David Pierce, D-Hanover. ‘It puts the interests of large, out-of-state corporations ahead of the needs of the people of New Hampshire and ahead of the needs of the state’s small businesses.’”

“Senate Republicans are so obsessed with implementing the Koch Brothers agenda of more tax giveaways for big businesses that they’re willing to blow a $78 million hole in the budget and make middle class families and small businesses pay the price,” said Raymond Buckley, Chair of the NH Democratic Party.

Cutting taxes is the mantra of the Republican Party. Cut taxes for businesses and voila` economic prosperity and budgets overflowing with tax revenues. It is the cure all for everything! Cut taxes and more businesses will move here then with the additional revenue we can build whatever we need. We need new bridges, cut taxes. We cannot pay our bills this year, then cut taxes!

This trickle down theory of economics has failed so many times I have lost count. President Reagan, hero to the current Republican Party, drove our nation into debt with tax giveaways like this. The President George W. Bush doubled down on Reagan’s policies and cut taxes during wartime, leading to the worst financial meltdown since the Great Depression.

 (Image Gage Skidmore Flikr CC)

(Image Gage Skidmore Flikr CC)

More recently, Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas put this theory into action when he signed “one of the largest tax cut bills in Kansas history.”

“Since the tax cuts took effect at the beginning of 2013, Kansas has added jobs at a pace modestly slower than the country as a whole. The earnings and incomes of Kansans have performed slightly worse than the U.S. as a whole as well.” (Read more here.)

It worked so well that Kansas has had their credit rating downgraded. Standard and Poor’s lowered the state’s credit rating, because of theses tax cuts.

“The downgrades reflect our view of a structurally unbalanced budget, following state income tax cuts that have not been matched with offsetting ongoing expenditure cuts in the fiscal 2015 budget,” said Standard & Poor’s credit analyst David Hitchcock in a release.

Yet even after the downgrade, Gov. Brownback believes that cutting taxes is the way to grow your economy. “We need jobs and we have proven the way to that is through lower taxes,” Brownback told the press.

However others have outright rejected the idea that lowering business taxes and keeping the minimum wage low will attract new business to the state.

Minnesota took a very different approach. They raised taxes on the wealthy and raised their minimum wage.

“Every Minnesotan will pay more under this tax bill, and unfortunately it’s going to harm Minnesota’s economy and hurt job growth in the state,” said House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown.

The thing is that Minority Leader Kurt was absolutely wrong! This week it was reported that due to the progressive agenda of the Governor and the Legislature, Minnesota is expecting to have a $2 billion dollar surplus!

Minnesota’s State Economist Laura Kalambokidis said rising wages and lower gas prices mean more money for consumers and thus more taxes for the state. Meanwhile, the state will save more than $100 million over the next two years because there will be fewer than expected students in poverty and with special needs, as well as fewer students overall.”

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton plans to use the additional money by investing in schools, implementing a fully funded Pre-K program, and to conduct some much needed infrastructure repairs.

I guess we need to ask ourselves, what type of New Hampshire do we want? Do we want a state that gets downgraded, has sluggish job growth, and stagnant wages? If so, then we should definitely cut taxes for these large corporations.

Or, do we want a state that is rebuilding our failing roads and bridges, investing and expanding public education, and building a strong and thriving economy? That’s the New Hampshire I want, and cutting taxes is the wrong approach.

Cutting taxes is not the magic solution to every problem. Someone once said, you can tell me what you value, however, me your budget and I will tell you what you truly value.

If we enact these tax cut for large corporations, who are we really helping? Big Business or real Granite Staters.

How Much Did Senator Avard Really Know About The National Right To Work Committee’s PAC Donation Scheme?

Kevin Avard (via Girard FLIKR CC)

Kevin Avard (via Girard FLIKR CC)

Last week we reported on the big expose` that Kevin Landrigan did on the National Right To Work Committee’s shady campaign financing scam.

In short, Kevin found that the NRTWC created multiple Political Action Campaigns to funnel more money to State Senate candidates like Kevin Avard than is legally allowed under New Hampshire Law. Each of these sub-PACs gave Avard the New Hampshire maximum of $1,000 to his campaign.

Then the Nashua Telegraph posted Senator Avard’s response in an article titled: Avard calls campaign contribution story ‘hogwash’.

Avard, a Nashua Republican who defeated incumbent Democrat Peggy Gilmour last November, said he did not have any knowledge about an NH1 investigative piece reporting an organization funneled money into his senate run through up to five groups to avoid campaign finance statutes.

“That’s hogwash – it’s hogwash,” he said. “That’s absolutely absurd. I guarantee nothing illegal happened. … I’m just kind of outraged by this; this is just absolutely just stupid stuff, and you can quote me on that.”

New Hampshire’s Democratic Party said the National Right to Work Committee tried to hide money to anti-union candidates by creating front groups and providing five legitimate donations of $1,000 instead of one illegal $5,000 campaign contribution.

Avard’s general election campaign totaled $18,493, considerably less than the $105,049 in receipts reported by Gilmour, according to the secretary of state’s office.

My friend Keith Thompson who lives in Brookline and is represented by Sen. Avard, brought up some very good points about this article from the Telegraph. He was first to point out these three ideas I will expand on now.

First, the article says that the “New Hampshire’s Democratic Party said the National Right to Work Committee tried to hide money to anti-union candidates…” Actually the report was not from the NH Democratic Party it was from NH1 reporter Kevin Landrigan. The Telegraph even say that in the opening of the article. I hope that Sen. Avard is not claiming the Kevin Landrigan is a puppet for the NH Democrats.

If you have followed New Hampshire politics for longer than a week then you will know one thing that is certain, Kevin Landrigan is anything but partisan. He may lean a little right, but his reporting goes right at the heart of both parties and challenges the political ideologies of both sides. This comes with the decades of experience in New Hampshire Politics.

Second, this highlights the Telegraph’s need for a veteran political reporter. Ever since they laid-off Kevin Landrigan, they have lacked any real political coverage. They do a decent job of merging press releases but they lack the real knowledge and experience a reporter like Kevin brings to the story. Maybe if they had kept Kevin around at the Telegraph everyone would be talking about the Telegraph’s huge story about the NRTWC instead of NH1.

Lastly, I do not know anyone who would believe that Sen. Avard was not aware of these shady financial dealings. Keith hit the nail on the head when he stated, “Answer the question directly, Senator (Avard), ‘Did you have any knowledge of this scheme to circumvent campaign finance rules?’”

Avard reported only raising $18,000 dollars and $5,000 can from some type of  “right to work” group. I bet they even came in the same envelope.

“Kevin Avard has a lot of explaining to do to his constituents and to all Granite Staters about what he knew and when about the shady fundraising scheme that he benefited from,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley. “These questionable contributions represented more than one-sixth of all total contributions Avard took in during the election, and his claim to NH1 News that he has no idea where they came from simply doesn’t pass the laugh test.”

This type of funding is legal, and Sen. Avard is right when he states, “I guarantee nothing illegal happened.” That is exactly the problem, it should be illegal and this type of shady, underhanded donation scheme is just one more reason we need to get the money out of politics. We need publicly funded elections, and bar elected officials from taking any type of gifts or campaign donations from corporations!

U.S. Could Lose Its Postal Service As We Know It

(Matt Spiel FLIKR CC)

(Matt Spiel FLIKR CC)

By John Dick for People’s World
NALC Member from Michigan

Today was nothing but slog. A complete burden not just on the body, but a spewing of my entire soul. A steady crunch-crunch-crunch with every footstep. It’s that crunching that’s driving me mad: I can’t move my feet without that racket bouncing through my simple brain. The day started with a driving snow; two inches before the clock hands struck noon. The snow turned into needles of hail, then sleet. The icy crust of precipitation on top of the layer of thick snow created my hell for the day. With each insertion of my foot into this sludge it took an equal amount of labor to release my foot into the frosty air. The ground seemed to have demons reaching up with death-grip talons hell-bent on stopping me from completing my appointed rounds. The steady crunch ringing through my skull with each footstep was my squashing of another succubus hindering me from getting to the next mailbox. Damn you evil creatures, and damn this evil weather!

We get through these days; we letter carriers. The body keeps moving, but only because the mind stays focused. “Keep on playing those mind games.” I imagine myself always on the next street, one step ahead of the game. I imagine riding the Great White Steed through the Florida Keys, maybe on the Seven Mile Bridge. I imagine having that first beer when I take off my layers of winter wear

(Michael (a.k.a. moik) McCullough FLIKR CC)

Dangerous Winter Stairs (Michael (a.k.a. moik) McCullough FLIKR CC)

after coming home. I evoke the distant memory of only last night, when my best friend and retired letter carrier wife said, “Welcome home, baby!” I can have that again. But I got to keep moving through this slog.

I take this job seriously. I have a mission every day for my community. My coworkers feel the same way. Until my route is completed, I feel my job is not done. Tonight, I did not finish delivering the last mailbox till 6:50 pm. That does not make me happy, but the assignment was finished and everyone got their mail for the day. Our start time was moved from 7:30 to 8:00 am, which just makes my job harder. I want to deliver your mail as early in the day as possible. Some offices in our district have start times as late as 9:00 am. I guess that explains why the new postal caps have built-in headlights.

Another thing happened on Jan. 5 of this year with nary a peep from United States Postal Service (USPS) headquarters. Service standards for first class mail were “relaxed.” That sounds soothing, doesn’t it? Kinda like a massage. In the “old days” if you mailed a letter, let’s say within a fifty-mile radius, it would get there overnight. A good example would be from a Detroit address to a suburban Detroit address. Now it takes two days. A letter that normally took two days, for example, from Cincinnati to Detroit, now takes three days.

The thought behind this from the Postal Service management is to “relax,” i.e., delay the US mail so that the closure of 82 mail processing facilities can happen within the next year. The effect of these closures would be the loss of 15,000 jobs. But the loss of good paying “middle class” jobs is only the tip of this massive iceberg.

Ruth Goldway, Postal Regulatory Commissioner since 1998, criticized the latest service cut, which “threatens the very integrity and concept of Universal Service – the Postal Service’s primary obligation…. Under the law, the Postal Service is required to give the highest consideration to the requirement for the most expeditious collection, transportation, and delivery of important letter mail.” This is the reason letter carriers all across this land labor in all types of weather conditions to complete their appointed rounds six days a week. We want the American public to get their mail and parcels in a timely, efficient manner. No delays, no excuses.

Postal management is making a business decision to cut service on first class mail. They believe it will “save money.” That is the elephant in the room. The United States Postal Service is moving more and more to a business model than a service to the American public. My supervisors and postmaster have been using the words “company” and “business” lately in my conversations with them in regards to the USPS. The word “service” is never emphasized by them, but We the People have a mechanism to shift the dialogue.

The American public needs to demand that the Postal Service remains a service that continues to serve the American people. Instead of a slash and burn approach to cutting services, the USPS could and should be expanding services to our communities. The greatest example would be establishing “public banks” in all post offices to help those who are excluded from participating in “for profit” banks. Many of these folks rely on predatory lenders who rob you not with a gun, but with a fountain pen. Our network expands into every street, in every city. We could do great things, if given the chance. And still deliver your mail!

The four postal unions formed an alliance last year to “Help Save America’s Postal Service.” We quickly realized that more was needed. In recent years we valiantly tried to frame our message to the American public, with limited success. We have staved off attempts to kill Saturday mail delivery and more recently door-to-door delivery. We tried to stop the “relaxing” of first class mail standards and the closure of mail processing facilities, but these policies seem to be moving forward. We have a Congress that is reluctant to address our issues and a president who at best seems indifferent to the plight of the public Postal Service. We are reaching out to each and every one of you now.

A grand alliance to save our public postal service

On the national level, close to 70 organizations have signed on to help in our mission: To preserve the United States Postal Service as a public trust, a national treasure that serves all citizens of our country equally. This public good must not be sacrificed for the sake of private investment and profit. The organizations now affiliated are not just labor unions, but community groups as well as faith-based, social justice, and environmental groups. We want to see small business associations, senior citizens’ advocates, and Chambers of Commerce. We all have a stake in this battle!

When the unions fight this battle alone, it is seen as a war to save our jobs. This has never resonated with the majority of the American people, most of whom do not hold union jobs. That is why America has to see this struggle in a different light. That is why America has to know what can be lost here if we do nothing. If we don’t fight back, if we don’t lock arms and stand in solidarity, young and old, union and non-union, rich and poor, we will lose an American institution. Older than the Constitution itself, the Postal Service will become just another company.

And I will lose any motivation for climbing to your mailbox on a miserable winter day.

Sign the pledge today here.

 

Post first published by People’s World, here.

No Legislation That Represents The Will Of The People

By Ron Geoffroy
Retired NATCA member

Image from @OFA_NH pic.twitter.com/ZG7B0GfERQ

Image from @OFA_NH pic.twitter.com/ZG7B0GfERQ

If I remember my history classes, as far back as that may have been, I remember that the right of every American was to be able to go to polls on election day to vote for the person you believe represents the interest of the people. In a 2014 poll done by UNH, 74% of the people of the state of New Hampshire believe that we should increase the minimum wage.

On Tuesday March 3rd, I had the honor to sit in on sessions in both the New Hampshire House of Representative Labor Committee and the Senate Finance Committee, where recommendations on bills going to the larger bodies were made to reject bills SB 261 and HB 684, increasing the minimum wage. I ask you how is that possible? Isn’t it apparent that if 74% of the people in New Hampshire want an increase in the minimum wage, a vote which represents that should have been 74% in favor of increasing the minimum wage. I guess that assumes that the people who are going to Concord aren’t actually there to represent the interest of their constituents but just one faction of the population, business.

As I sat and listened during debate in both committees, I was reminded that many of the legislators were there to protect the interest of businesses and not the people. Some would argue that businesses are the people, well I guess if you standby the Citizen’s United decision sent down by the Supreme Court, yes business/corporations are people. However, Webster’s dictionary defines people as “the body of enfranchised citizens of a state”. I can’t remember, but when you register as a business in the state of NH is there a question on the form that asks if the business is a citizen of New Hampshire?

The citizens of New Hampshire should be making our representatives more accountable to the interest of the people.

 

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker Says Taking On Unions Prepared Him For ISIS (VIDEO)

In “I cannot believe he just said that” news, Governor Scott Walker just told the crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) that attacking labor unions has prepared him to be a leader in the fight against ISIS.

I am not joking this is what he said, as reported by Politico and in the YouTube video (above).

“I want a commander in chief who will do everything in their power to ensure that the threat from radical Islamic terrorists do not wash up in American soil,” Walker told an audience at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference today, after he was asked how he would handle threats from ISIS as president.

“We will have someone who leads and ultimately will send a message, not only that we will protect American soil. But do, not, do not take this upon freedom-loving people anywhere else in the world. We need a leader with that kind of confidence. If I can take on 100,000 protesters, I could do the same across the world.

The 100,000 protesters he is referring to are the 100,000 people who showed up in 2011 when Governor Walker attacked the state’s labor unions and passed ACT 10 which stripped away the collective bargaining rights of hundreds of thousands of hard working Wisconsin families.

“To compare the hundreds of thousands of teachers, students, grandmothers, veterans, correctional officers, nurses and all the workers who came out to peacefully protest and stand together for their rights as Americans to ISIS terrorists is disgusting and unacceptable,”  said Phil Neuenfeldt, President of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO.  “To compare hard-working men and women who work for a living to terrorists is a disgrace.  Coming together to peacefully protest for freedom, to raise your voice for a better Wisconsin, this is not an act of terror.”

“Scott Walker’s outrageous slander against his fellow citizens illustrates his contempt for the fundamental expression of democracy – that has been the sad hallmark of his Administration,” said Stephanie Bloomingdale, Secretary-Treasurer of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO.  “Whether campaign hyperbole or not Scott Walker owes Wisconsinites an apology.”

“Governor Walker’s statement comparing workers and terrorists is revolting,” said Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO. “It is clear that Governor Walker’s judgment is impaired, and that he is not qualified for the Presidency.”

“I call on Governor Walker to personally and immediately retract his statement, and apologize sincerely to the millions of workers in Wisconsin and throughout America he has so appallingly insulted,” stated Trumka.

Jim Tucciarelli, District Council 37, Local 1320, Senior Sewage Treatment Worker and AFSCME member from New York had this to say about Scott Walker’s comparison of labor protesters to ISIS:

“Put simply, it’s disgusting to hear Scott Walker compare the 100,000 hard-working men, women, senior citizens and children who came out to protest in Wisconsin to the terrorists of ISIS. In Wisconsin, my sisters and brothers from across the country stood up peacefully for freedom. The protesters were members of the military, police officers, firefighters, and first responders. They were librarians, teachers and nurses. How desperate do you have to be as a politician to compare those folks to murderous terrorists?

“Our union’s building was a block away when the Twin Towers fell on 9/11. I have friends who died on that terrible day. In the weeks that followed, union members worked tirelessly to bring the city back, and I am proud to have been one of them.

“Governor Walker, I know terrorism. I know that your own state’s citizens speaking up for what’s right isn’t terrorism. Today, after hearing your words, I also know the sound of cowardice.”

I cannot begin to tell you how angry this statement from Governor Walker makes me.  He is equating union members to radical terrorists that are slaughtering innocent people halfway around the world.  Are you F’ing serious?  All those big bad union members who are standing up fighting for a higher minimum wage, better and safer working conditions for all workers, and a better more prosperous Wisconsin.

Now Governor Walking is attacking all working families in Wisconsin as he is poised to sign the so-called “Right To Work” bill that the State Legislature passed against massive protests from the people.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wrote:

“Despite saying for years right-to-work legislation would be a distraction, Gov. Scott Walker said Thursday the timing is now right for the issue.”

In response, Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) noted Walker said in September he was “not pushing it” and “not supporting it in this (2015) legislative session.”

“For him now to state that this is an appropriate time (for right-to-work legislation) just shows the level of deceit he has foisted on the people of the state,” Barca said. “For him to change history and reverse what he said time and time again — we’re just incredulous over that.”

Of course the time is now right, Gov. Scott Walker has delusions of being President and pushing a right to work for less bill on your state will definitely get your name in the paper.

(Here is a great video clip from the protest rally in Madison a few days ago.)

 

 

In case you did not already know this Governor Walker, attacking the hard working men and women  of this great nation is not the way to get elected President.  Just a piece of friendly advice from one hard working union member who would vote for an actual brick to be President before ever voting for you!

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