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UFCW President Perrone: “We Will End LGBTQ Discrimination in the Workplace”

UFCW_logo.svgUFCW Vows to Fight for LGBTQ Rights at Work and Advocate for Comprehensive Healthcare for Transgendered Workers

ORLANDO — Today, Marc Perrone, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), the largest private sector union in the nation, addressed LGBTQ union members at the AFL-CIO Pride at Work conference in Orlando, Fla. The UFCW was the first labor union to endorse the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), legislation that would prohibit discrimination in hiring and employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The UFCW also implemented a policy of including gender reassignment surgery as part of a comprehensive Health and Welfare plan for union employees:

“Even though we are celebrating marriage equality this summer, too many LGBTQ workers still endure discrimination in workplaces that are far from equal. Today, in 29 states, it is still legal to fire a worker on the basis of their sexual orientation. In 33 states, a worker can be fired for being transgendered.

“Right now, the only way for these workers to gain the protection at work that we all deserve is through a union contract.

“In this spirit, I am proud to say that as part of our long commitment to equality for all workers, the UFCW is changing our Health and Welfare plan to include gender reassignment surgery. While this is a change that should have been made long ago, it is a change that I am proud of.

“The UFCW is committed to putting an end to discrimination in the workplace. We will stand up, speak out and fight for what is right when companies disregard the value of hard-working men and women, based on whom they may love or who they are.”

Join the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) online at www.ufcw.org

We are 1.3 million families standing together to build an economy that every hard-working family deserves.

www.facebook.com/UFCWinternational   @UFCW

Labor And Elected Leaders Applaud New Northern Pass Proposal

Senior leaders of the New Hampshire labor movement were on hand at Globe Manufacturing in Pittsfield, NH today as Eversource officials announced “Forward New Hampshire,” the new plan for the Northern Pass project. New Hampshire’s labor movement supports the new proposal because it will create thousands of good jobs for local workers and help working families by lowering electric rates in the Granite State, while addressing concerns about visual impacts and ensuring local benefits.

“This new plan for the Northern Pass is a great deal for New Hampshire’s working families,” said NH AFL-CIO President Glenn Brackett. “The economic benefits to our state are unparalleled, including 2,400 construction jobs, $80 million in annual energy savings, and new opportunities for economic growth through the $200 million Forward NH Fund. I’m pleased to see that this new proposal balances the needs of New Hampshire businesses, workers, and communities, including those along the proposed route. Eversource has clearly listened to the people of New Hampshire, and this new proposal represents a great path forward for our state and for working families.”

“Eversource’s Forward New Hampshire Plan will be a shot in the arm for New Hampshire’s construction sector,” said NH Building and Construction Trades Council President Steve Burk. “Construction workers have taken a beating since the great recession, and we need job-creating projects like this to keep New Hampshire working. The Northern Pass project alone will increase New Hampshire construction jobs by about 10%. The impact that will have on New Hampshire’s working families will be immeasurable.”

“New Hampshire’s electrical workers are excited to get to work building the Northern Pass, and the Forward New Hampshire Plan is a big step toward making that happen,” said IBEW Local 104 Business Manager Brian Murphy. “This is a balanced plan that addresses concerns about potential impacts while simultaneously investing in New Hampshire’s future workforce. The IBEW is proud to partner with Eversource on innovative training programs and new opportunities to create careers in the electrical industry for thousands of local workers. The Forward New Hampshire Plan is a huge opportunity for workers, and will give hundreds of young people the chance to kick-start a career in the vibrant, growing electrical industry.”

Labor leaders were not the only ones to praise Eversource’s decision to bury the lines.  Many New Hampshire elected leaders praised the decision.

“From the very beginning, I, along with many other Granite Staters, have pushed Northern Pass officials to listen to our concerns,” said Governor Maggie Hassan. “I have made clear that if Northern Pass is to move forward, it must propose a project that protects our scenic views and treasured natural resources while also reducing energy costs for our families and businesses. New Hampshire deserves the latest technologies in order to protect what we all love about our state, and any project must provide real benefits to the people of the Granite State. I am encouraged that Northern Pass officials have listened and are taking meaningful steps forward in attempting to address those concerns. That process of listening – and making further improvements – must continue.”

“This route is an improvement over the previous proposal. By proposing to bury more than 60 miles of transmission lines, this new proposal would protect the historic and scenic views of the White Mountain National Forest and other important areas, which are part of to our identity as a people and integral to our high quality of life and vibrant tourism industry. By committing to hire New Hampshire workers first, to dedicate significant resources to support economic development efforts in impacted communities, and to upgrade the North Country’s energy infrastructure, this proposal also provides tangible benefits to impacted communities as well as energy cost savings for New Hampshire businesses and residents,” concluded Hassan.

“This announcement by Eversource underscores the need for the robust process that’s underway to review the Northern Pass project,” said Senator Jeanne Shaheen. “The determination of the public’s interest extends far beyond energy needs and any full review must examine the impact on the citizens of New Hampshire and to the region’s environment, property and tourism. I look forward to reviewing this latest proposal and I encourage Granite Staters to contribute during the Department of Energy’s comment period with their views and concerns.”

“The Northern Pass ‘Forward New Hampshire Plan’ represents a commitment to providing this sought-after stability and diversity by investing in clean, renewable hydroelectricity,” said State Senator Donna Soucy of Manchester. “Thanks to Eversource for listening and providing a balanced approach to this project – to meet our energy needs and provide long-term benefits to our state.”

“I’ve long said that Northern Pass needs to provide tangible, local benefits and this proposal goes a long way toward doing that – by significantly burying the line through the White Mountains and establishing a large mitigation fund to expand economic opportunity and compensate communities impacted by this project,” said State Senator Jeff Woodburn of Dalton.

“The company’s commitment to mitigation of the impacts to communities and the creation of a fund to help those hosting the project provides a great opportunity for the state,” said State Senator David Watters of Dover. “I am pleased to offer my support for the project, but it is important that the company work hard during the state’s siting process to continue its work and address additional issues that may arise.”

“In addition to the tremendous energy benefits this project provides to our state’s economy, this project will provide a transformational opportunity for the city of Franklin, create hundreds of jobs in our region, and provide a great boost to our local economy,” said State Senator Andrew Hosmer of Laconia.

Leo W Gerard: China Protects its Workers; America Doesn’t Bother

Confronted with a dire situation, a world power last week took strong action to secure its domestic jobs and manufacturing.

That was China. Not the United States.

China diminished the value of its currency.  This gave its exporting industries a boost while simultaneously blocking imports. The move protected the Asian giant’s manufacturers and its workers’ jobs.

Currency manipulation violates free market principles, but for China, doing it makes sense. The nation’s economy is cooling. Its stock market just crashed, and its economic powerhouse – exports – declined a substantial 8.3 percent in July ­– down to $195 billion from $213 billion the previous July. This potent action by a major economic competitor raises the question of when the United States government is going to stop pretending currency manipulation doesn’t exit. When will the United States take the necessary action to protect its industry, including manufacturing essential to national defense, as well as the good, family-supporting jobs of millions of manufacturing workers?

2015-08-16-1439743366-5569752-chinacurrencyphoto.jpg

While China lowered the value of its currency on three consecutive days last week, for a total of 4.4 percent, the largest decline in two decades, a respected Washington think tank, the Economic Policy Institute, released a report detailing exactly how the United States lost 5 million manufacturing jobs since 2000.

The report, “Manufacturing Job Loss: Trade, Not Productivity is the Culprit,” clearly links massive trade deficits to closed American factories and killed American jobs. U.S. manufacturers lost ground to foreign competitors whose nations facilitated violation of international trade rules. China is a particular culprit. My union, the United Steelworkers, has won trade case after trade case over the past decade, securing sanctions called duties that are charged on imported goods to counteract the economic effect of violations.

In the most recent case the USW won, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) finalized duties in July on illegally subsidized Chinese tires dumped into the U.S. market. The recent history of such sanctions on tires illustrates how relentless the Chinese government is in protecting its workers.

Shortly after President Obama took office, the USW filed a complaint about illegally-subsidized, Chinese-made tires dumped into the U.S. market. The Obama administration imposed duties on Chinese tire imports from September 2009 to September 2012.

Immediately after the tariffs ended, Chinese companies flooded the U.S. market with improperly subsidized tires again, threatening U.S. tire plants and jobs. So the USW filed the second complaint.

Though the USW workers won the second case as well, the process is too costly and too time consuming. Sometimes factories and thousands of jobs are permanently lost before a case is decided in workers’ favor. This has happened to U.S. tire, paper, auto parts and steel workers.

In addition, the process is flawed because it forbids consideration of currency manipulation – the device China used last week to support its export industries.

By reducing the value of its currency, China, in effect, gave its export industries discount coupons, enabling them to sell goods more cheaply overseas without doing anything differently or better. Simultaneously, China marked up the price of all imports into the country. American and European exporters did nothing bad or wrong, but now their products will cost more in China.

Chinese officials have contended that the devaluation, which came on the heels of the bad news about its July exports, wasn’t deliberate. They say it reflected bad market conditions and note that groups like the International Monetary Fund have been pushing China to make its currency more market based.

Right. Sure. And it was nothing more than a coincidence that it occurred just as China wanted to increase exports. And it was simply serendipity that in just three days, “market conditions” wiped out four years of tiny, painfully incremental increases in the currency’s value.

If the value of the currency truly is market based and not controlled by the government, then as Chinese exports rise, the value should increase. That would eliminate the artificial discount China just awarded its exported goods. Based on past history, that is not likely to happen. So what China really is saying is that its currency is market based when the value is declining but not when it rises.

China did what it felt was right for its people, its industry and its economy. The country hit a rough spot this year. Though its economy is expected to grow by 7 percent, that would be the slowest rate in six years. Its housing prices fell 9.8 percent in June. Car sales dropped 7 percent in July, the largest decline since the Great Recession. Over the past several months, the Chinese government has intervened repeatedly to try to stop a massive stock market crash that began in June.

In the meantime, the nation’s factories that make products like tires, auto parts, steel and paper continue to operate full speed ahead and ship the excess overseas. As a result, for example, the international market is flooded with underpriced Chinese steel, threatening American steel mills and tens of thousands of American steelworkers’ jobs.

This is bad for the U.S. economy. The U.S. trade deficit in manufactured goods rose 15.7 percent ­– by $25.7 billion ­– in the first quarter as imports increased and exports slipped. In the first half of this year, the trade deficit with China rose 9.8 percent, a total of $15 billion.

As EPI points out, that means more U.S. factories closed and U.S. jobs lost. If China had bombed thousands of U.S. factories over the past decade, America would respond. But the nation has done virtually nothing about thousands of factories closed by trade violations.

The United States could take two steps immediately to counter the ill-effects of currency manipulation. Congress could pass and President Obama could sign a proposed customs enforcement bill. It would classify deliberate currency undervaluation as an illegal export subsidy. Then the manipulation could be countered with duties on the imported products.

The second step would be to include sanctions for currency manipulation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal that the administration is negotiating with 11 other Pacific Rim countries. The deal doesn’t include China, but it could join later. The deal does, however, include other countries notorious for currency interventions.

American manufacturers and American workers demand rightful protection from predatory international trade practices.

Machinists Union Endorses Hillary Clinton for President

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)

Washington, D.C.– The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) has endorsed former U.S. Secretary of State and honorary IAM member Hillary Clinton to be the next president of the United States. The move comes after a unanimous vote by union leaders and an internal survey of IAM members, who voiced strong support for an early endorsement and named Clinton as the overwhelming favorite.

“The IAM will not sit on the sidelines while this fight is so clearly underway,” said IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger. “Hillary Clinton has been a strong supporter of this union for years and she is now the target of unprecedented attacks, financed on a scale never seen before. The time to help is when help is needed most, and we intend to do just that.”

With nearly 1,000 local lodges across the U.S. and seasoned activists in key primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire, the IAM endorsement brings valuable energy to the contest. Coupled with support from fellow labor unions and community allies, the impact of union “boots on the ground” is a worthy match for the unchecked millions in corporate contributions aimed squarely at Clinton.

“Our members understand what’s at stake in this election; the right to vote, the right to join a union and the right to retire with dignity,” said Buffenbarger. “But it’s more than just civil rights and labor rights at risk. The evaporation of economic opportunity is a rank obscenity compared to the alarming and growing concentration of wealth in America. It’s time for an economy and a president who works for more than just the wealthiest among us.”

In the IAM’s internal poll of nearly 2,000 members, Clinton outpaced the entire field of 20 candidates by more than 2-1. Among Democratic members polled, the results were more dramatic, with Clinton leading her closest rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, by more than 6-1. IAM members also favored early involvement in the election campaign by more than 2-1. The poll’s results were also affirmed in a separate independent poll.

“Hillary Clinton’s long record of supporting workers’ rights stands in stark contrast to her Republican rivals, who seek to ban unions, silence workers, eliminate sensible regulations and give corporations total control over working conditions,” said Buffenbarger. “The question should not be why are we endorsing Hillary Clinton now, but rather, what took us so long?”

The IAM is among the nation’s largest and most diverse industrial trade unions, with nearly 600,000 members in aerospace, manufacturing, transportation, shipbuilding, woodworking, electronics and the federal sector. Visit www.goiam.org for more information about the IAM.

Leo W Gerard: Lacie Little — You’re Un-Fired

Nurse Lacie LittleLacie Little won back last week everything Indiana University Health Inc. took from her – except her job. Her beloved nursing job.

She got back wages and a formal public statement by the hospital corporation saying that it removed the firing from her work record. So she’s un-fired.

But she’s not rehired. The hospital behemoth refused to consider restoring Lacie to her nursing job for seven years, long enough, it hopes, to prevent her from helping form a union there. Despite everything that has happened to her, Lacie hasn’t given up that goal. Now, she’s working for my union, the United Steelworkers (USW), trying to organize nurses.

Indiana University (IU) Health fired Lacie on March 30, three days after she began trying to persuade her fellow nurses to unionize. Lacie wanted her co-workers to join together to collectively bargain with IU Health for the same reason many nurses want to negotiate with their hospitals. They love their profession; they’re devoted to their patients, and they want to help their hospitals be the best that they can be.

IU Health Inc. believed it knew what was best for the bottom line of the hospital system – and that wasn’t a nurses union. So like many employers, it took action to squash the nascent effort by employees to gain a voice at work by organizing. Firing workers for trying to form a union is illegal. But institutions – even ones supposedly dedicated to restoring health or to Catholic theology – do it all the time anyway because the penalties are so very paltry and the fear instilled is so very profound.

Corporations know they can stall an organizing campaign with just the threat of firing. Duquesne University in Pittsburgh recently used this tactic in a startling way. It included in a pleading to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) a threat to refuse to rehire for future semesters two adjunct professors who had testified at an NLRB hearing about efforts to organize at Duquesne, which holds itself out as a religious institution. One of the adjuncts described Duquesne’s written threat as bone chilling.

Lacie felt both unnerved and betrayed when the hospital corporation fired her. Her partner was five months pregnant with their second child. She had responsibilities, and the termination left her unsure how she would fulfill them. She could not believe the hospital system she so loved had done this to her.

The doctors and nurses and staff at Indiana University Health endeared themselves to Lacie when her grandfather, Robert Little, was hospitalized at Methodist, an IU institution, just after she graduated from high school. He was admitted to the cardiovascular critical care unit, where Lacie would later work.

Robert Little was having trouble breathing. To distract him, the nurses joked with him. They held his gargantuan hands. The doctor took the time to find out about Robert Little as a person. The physician learned that Robert Little was a union bricklayer who had worked hard all his life and who continued chopping wood as he fell increasingly ill in his 70s. Robert Little would not be happy bedridden, tube invaded, machine dependent.

At that time, Lacie’s mother was a nurse at IU Health. She had worked in its bone marrow transplant unit in the very early days when many patients did not survive. Lacie says her mother taught her an important lesson about that:

“She told me that taking care of someone in their last days and hours of life is an honor. You usher them out. And you can make it a great experience or an awful experience. You can truly take care of the patient and the family. I feel Methodist really did that for my family, took the time to get to know my grandfather and explain things to us. They were able to let him die with dignity. He was clean and warm and not in pain and had his family around him. Everyone has to die. It might as well be in a good way.”

Lacie started work at IU Health when she was just 19 years old. She earned bachelor’s degrees in psychology and biology. Then, while working as a secretary for the hospital system, she returned to college get her nursing degree. She says she learned: “Nursing is caring for people. Great nurses care for their patients. They don’t just take care of them.”

In 2009, she launched her nursing career in the cardiovascular critical care unit where her grandfather had died. Every day, she challenged herself to care for her patients like they were her grandfather.

The stories she tells show that she reveled in accomplishing that. She talks about caring for an older farmer who had been injured in a tractor accident. At one point as he began to get better, he kept motioning toward his face. Still connected to a breathing tube, he could not talk. She knew he was trying to ask for a shave. Lacie recounts:

“I got some hot water and put some wash cloths in there. I sat him in a reclining chair and leaned him back and said, ‘here we are at the barber shop’ and gave him a really good shave. He kept touching his face and giving me thumbs up. The shave wasn’t necessary to get him better, but we had fixed all of the acute things, and this was important for helping him feel better. We have to do some things to help them feel good mentally.”

When Lacie began in nursing, the hospital system enabled nurses to help patients feel better. But that changed.

In the fall of 2013, the hospital corporation laid off 800 workers, including Lacie’s mother, who had worked there 25 years. At about the same time, IU Health instituted a management method described as “going lean.” What that meant to Lacie was that the hospital system had the best doctors and nurses and staff but was setting them up to fail at meeting goals like treating their patients like their grandfathers.

“They wanted us to do more with less. And they would say that. Everything was about cost, cost, cost. But we care about patients over profits,” she said. It meant there was rarely time to give a farmer a shave.

Lacie says nurses began talking about being in moral distress, “People were leaving the hospital and going home and crying because they felt they did not take good care of their patients.” They did all the basics. They gave patients all of the medications but had no time to talk to them like they were human beings. “If you are not spoken to, you feel like a specimen, not a person,” Lacie explains. Feeling like a specimen does not help heal.

That’s when the union talk started.  Because her father and grandfather were union men, Lacie said family experience had taught her that unions could put workers in a position to get CEOs to listen. “I knew unions were a way to stack up enough people so they were on a level playing field with the CEO,” she said.

Earlier this year, the IU nurses chose the USW to help them organize and began holding informational meetings, three a day, twice a week. Lots of nurses attended. They discussed problems at work and how organizing could be a solution. “People were encouraged because they wanted to do something, not just talk about it,” Lacie says.

In March, Lacie and several other nurses began asking co-workers if they were willing to sign a card petitioning for an election that would determine whether they could form a union.

Lacie was careful to do this only while she was on lunch and other breaks. She cautioned co-workers not to sign unless they too were on a break. She chatted with on-duty nurses but did not take their signatures. Even so, on her third day of doing this, IU Health Inc. officials accused her of accepting signatures from nurses who were on duty.

The hospital corporation suspended her, then fired her just days later. “I was dumbfounded,” she says, “I felt betrayed because I had given my loyalty to IU Health.”  She had worked there a decade.

Not long after the hospital system terminated Lacie, the state Health Department issued a report saying the hospital was short staffed and that it adversely affected patient care.

The USW hired Lacie immediately after the firing, but the termination imperiled renewal of her nursing license. She knew if she fought the hospital corporation through the NLRB process and the courts, she would win.  But that could take years. And she’d be unable to work as a nurse in the meantime.

So she took the settlement deal. It requires IU Health Inc. to post notices at its hospitals saying that it had rescinded Lacie’s firing and discipline against her and that federal law forbids the hospital corporation from threatening, interrogating, surveilling, disciplining, suspending or firing anyone for attempting to form a union.

Lacie’s firing steeled the commitment of some, who started a Facebook meme saying, “I’ve got a Little fight in me.” But for many others, the firing had the effect the hospital corporation intended.  Nurses were fearful, and turnout at union meetings declined.

Studies show the number of illegal firings of union activists increasing and the number of union members in the United States dwindling. Workers like Lacie need legislation to stop it. This time last year U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) introduced the Employee Empowerment Act, which would do just that. It could be called Lacie’s Law. But that wouldn’t be fair to the thousands of other workers who suffered as a result of the same illegal corporate union-busting practice.

Lacie insisted on a provision in the agreement allowing her to apply to return to IU Health in seven years because, she said, “I still love the IU Health nurses and doctors and staff.”

Remarks by Bernie Sanders at National Nurses United’s Endorsement

** Read “Nurses Endorse Sen. Bernie Sanders for President” here.

Sen. Bernie Sanders with NNU members at Oakland rally August 10

Sen. Bernie Sanders with NNU members at Oakland rally August 10

Let me begin by thanking RoseAnn DeMoro, and the 185,000 members of National Nurses United, for providing high quality healthcare to the American people.

I am honored to have the support of the largest nurse’s union in this country!

Year after year, I have been proud to work with National Nurses United fighting to expand Medicare, fighting to address the nursing shortage in this country, and fighting to make sure that nurses at the VA and all over this country have the right to collectively bargain for decent wages and benefits, among many other things.

There is no job in this country that is more demanding, more important, and more fulfilling than being a nurse.

You take care of our young children when they get sick. You take care of the elderly in their time of need. You take care of our veterans, many of whom have come home with no arms, no legs, and no eyesight.

And, you give people hope that they will live to see a better day.

Last year, when nurses became infected with Ebola after treating sick patients, I marched with you in Oakland to make sure that every nurse in America has the training, the equipment, and the protective gear that they need to stay healthy. And, we need to make sure that gets done.

We have a nursing shortage in this country that we have got to address. We need to make it a national priority to work together to train more nurses, and that’s exactly what I intend to do as your President. We all know that nurses prevent medical errors, reduce health care costs, and help patients recover more quickly. We need to be looking at health outcomes and nurses are the key to making patients healthier.

During the debate over the Affordable Care Act, I was delighted to work with you to substantially increase funding for the National Health Service Corps to provide scholarships and loan repayments for nurses and other health care professionals who work in areas where there is a desperate need for quality healthcare.

As you know, I have spent my career fighting for something that I consider to be a human right. That human right is health care. And let me say loudly and clearly – health care is a right of all people, not a privilege.

The time has come for us to end the international embarrassment of the United States of America, our great country, being the only major country on earth that does not guarantee healthcare to all people as a right. And together – with your help – we are going to end that embarrassment.

All of you here today – nurses who see people at their sickest, at their most vulnerable – understand better than anyone the extent of the tragedy that exists in this country when people have no health insurance.

Every single year thousands of our fellow Americans die because they don’t get the preventive care they need when they should. They wait and wait until the problem can’t be ignored any more and they show up in the emergency room – far sicker than they should have ever gotten. Sick with an illness that could have been prevented, could have been caught far sooner.

And when the doctor or the nurse say well why didn’t you come in when you were first sick, they say well, I didn’t have any health insurance. I didn’t have any money. Or maybe I did have insurance, but my deductible was so high I just couldn’t afford to take the money out of pocket.

That should not happen in the United States of America. When you’re sick, you should be able to access health care. When you go to the hospital, you should not come out in bankruptcy.

Nobody understands that reality more than the National Nurses United!

That’s why I have been proud to work with all of you to guarantee health care as a right of citizenship to every man, woman, and child in this country. The time has come for the United States to join every other major industrialized country and make sure that we have a health care system that works for all of our people.

The time has come for a Medicare for All single payer health care program.

We have got to move towards a healthcare system which is based on providing quality care to all of our people rather than worrying about the profits of the insurance companies.

We have got to move toward a healthcare system which ends the absurdity of Americans paying, by far, the highest price for prescription drugs in the world.

And, we have got to require Medicare to negotiate with the drug companies to lower the outrageously high prices of prescription drugs.

And, do you know what we are also going to do? We are going to impose a financial transactions tax on Wall Street speculators in order to make sure that tuition is free in public colleges and universities throughout this country.

One of the major reasons why the middle class is collapsing, 45 million Americans are living in poverty, and the gap between the very rich and everyone else is growing wider, is because of the greed, recklessness, and illegal behavior on Wall Street.

In my view, if we are going to rebuild the middle class, and allow Americans to get the education, the healthcare, and the jobs they need, we have got to make sure that Wall Street pays its fair share in taxes.

Not only would a tax on Wall Street speculation provide us with the revenue that we need to make a college education tuition free, it would also reduce speculation and encourage Wall Street to invest in the job-creating productive economy.

This is not a radical idea. It was done in this country from 1914-1966. Today, it’s what 40 countries around the world are doing.

And I am very proud to have worked with you on legislation to do just that!

Wall Street has got to understand that it can’t have it all. If we are going to have the best educated workforce in the world and a vibrant middle class, Wall Street has got to pay its fair share in taxes.

And with your support, and the support of millions of other Americans we can build a political revolution in this country that can make this happen.

It’s time to say enough is enough!

We are going to make healthcare a right of all of our people!

We are going to make public colleges and universities tuition free and substantially reduce student loan debt in America!

We are going to make it easier, not harder, for nurses and millions of Americans to join unions and collectively bargain for better wages and benefits!

We are going to rebuild the middle class in America!

Original Post: https://berniesanders.com/remarks-at-national-nurses-united-endorsement/

Nurses Endorse Sen. Bernie Sanders for President

First National Union Endorsement for Sanders

Sen. Bernie Sanders with NNU members at Oakland rally August 10

Sen. Bernie Sanders with NNU members at Oakland rally August 10

Noting his issues “align with nurses from top to bottom,” National Nurses United, the nation’s largest organization of nurses, today endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders for President.

“Bernie Sanders has a proven track record of uncompromised activism and advocacy for working people, and a message that resonates with nurses, and, as we have all seen, tens of thousands of people across the country. He can talk about our issues as well as we can talk about our issues. We are proud to stand with him in his candidacy for President today,” said NNU Executive Director RoseAnn DeMoro.

NNU, which represents some 185,000 nurses from California to Florida, including nurses who live in the early caucus and primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada, becomes the first national union to endorse Sanders.

NNU Bernie Sanders 2The announcement was made at a National Nurses Conversation with Bernie Sanders attended by hundreds of RNs in the Oakland, Ca office of NNU, and watched on live stream, with questions asked, by nurses at 34 watch parties in 14 states. The festive  “Brunch with Bernie” even included ice cream donated by Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, founders of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream.

“Bernie’s issues align with nurses from top to bottom,” DeMoro continued. Among them – “insisting that healthcare for everyone is a right not a privilege, protecting Social Security and Medicare from those who want to destroy or privatize it and working to expand both, holding Wall Street accountable for the damage it has done to our communities, understanding the threat to public health from the climate crisis, environmental degradation, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, support for minimum nurse-to-patient ratios for hospital patients, and on and on,” DeMoro said

The NNU Executive Council voted to endorse Sanders. Factors for NNU backing, said DeMoro, included:

  • Sanders’ long history of support for NNU, nurses and patients,
  • A 100 percent scorecard on a questionnaire NNU sent to all the Democratic and Republican Presidential candidates,
  • Overwhelming support for Sanders among NNU members in an internal poll, and
  • Sanders’ response to issues before the AFL-CIO Executive Council.

NNU, said DeMoro, has adopted a call to “Vote Nurses Values – caring, compassion, community. Nurses take the pulse of America, and have to care for the fallout of every social and economic problem — malnutrition, homelessness, un-payable medical bills, the stress and mental disorders from joblessness, higher asthma rates, cancer, heart ailments and birth defects from environmental pollution and the climate crisis. Bernie Sanders’s prescriptions best represents the humanity and the values nurses embrace.”

DeMoro noted that in a presentation July 29 to the AFL-CIO Executive Council, on which DeMoro sits as a national vice president, “he made it clear that you will never have to wonder which side he is on. As he told the union leaders, ‘I see myself as part of you. This is not a conventional moment, we are fighting for the future of this country’.”

A central focus for nurses, DeMoro noted, is “our dysfunctional healthcare system. Too many Americans, even with the Affordable Care Act, remain priced out of access to the health care they need even if they have insurance due to lack of effective price controls, and a still broken system based on private profit not patient need. Sanders has long championed the full, humane reform we need, an updated, expanded Medicare for all.”

She noted Sanders’ statement July 30th in Washington at a rally, hosted by NNU to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid, at which Sanders said, “Let’s end the international embarrassment of the U.S. being the only major country on earth that does not guarantee healthcare to all people as a right. The time has come to say that we need to expand Medicare to every man, woman, and child as a single-payer national healthcare program.”

Nurses also welcome Sanders call, evidenced in a bill he authored, S 1731, calling for a Robin Hood tax on Wall Street speculation, on trades of stocks and other financial instruments, that could raise hundreds of billions of dollars annually to pay for healthcare for all, free college tuition to expand access to education, more jobs at living wages, ending AIDS, real action against the climate crisis, and other basic needs.

“Economic inequality remains the fundamental issue of our time. It is a major reason why the U.S. lags so far behind many other industrial nations not only in poverty and social injustice, but in a broad array of health outcomes, from maternal and infant mortality to life expectancy. Sanders’ leadership in calling for Wall Street to pay its share for rebuilding our national and global communities is a reminder of why we need his vision leading America,” DeMoro said.

Sanders also stands out, said DeMoro, in his outspoken opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, “which includes a terrible handout to pharmaceutical giants that will further drive up drug prices, a life and death issue for millions of people.”

NNU Bernie Sanders 3

“Stop The Silence” A One Day Conference On Workplace Assault By NH COSH

stop-the-violence-630x496Workplace assault and violence is a hidden workplace hazard unless a major tragedy hits the media. Everyday workers face verbal and physical assault and sometimes suffer in silence because every incident is not reported and recorded. Many workers do not step forward because supervisors will not act to protect them or will retaliate against them for reporting a problem.

“Shatter the Silence”
2015 conference on workplace assault and violence
Thursday, September 24, 2015
8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Brought to you by NH Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health

NH COSH LOGO

***This conference is free of charge, pre registration is required***

Use this form to register or call the NH COSH directly

Lunch will be provided

IBEW 490, 48 Airport Road, Concord NH 

Reserve your seats by September 14, 2015 or

for more info call NH COSH @ 603-232-4406

GOP Legislature’s Political Posturing On Budget Blocking Critical Highway Safety Project

By User: Magicpiano  CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 via Wikimedia Commons

By User: Magicpiano CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Concord, N.H. – Despite their political grandstanding on the issue, it’s Republican legislators like Jeanie Forrester, Chuck Morse and Neal Kurk who are causing unnecessary budget uncertainty for state agencies.

The AP reported Republicans on the Fiscal Committee, “rejected, for example, a request from the Department of Transportation for $674,000 to purchase new equipment in bulk. It also tabled a DOT request for $3.1 million to fulfill existing contracts for several road and bridge projects, including repaving several miles of the turnpike system near Nashua and Concord and replacing guardrails along Route 16. The turnpike resurfacing was scheduled to be completed by September and DOT has already chosen a contractor. Deputy Commissioner Patrick McKenna said he’s now working to reschedule parts of the project.”

“In February, Republicans on the Fiscal Committee delayed millions of dollars in federal funds for critical priorities like hiring a drug task force investigator and promoting mental health, and now Republicans’ political posturing is blocking funds for highway safety,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Press Secretary Aaron Jacobs. “Republicans like Jeanie Forrester, Chuck Morse and Neal Kurk need to stop playing political games that cause unnecessary budget uncertainty and finally work across party lines under the Governor’s leadership to pass a responsible budget that meets the needs of New Hampshire.”

New Hampshire Health Experts and Local Leaders Voice Support for EPA’s Finalized Clean Power Plan

CONCORD, NH – Following the finalization of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan today, local health experts, community leaders and faith leaders voiced their support for the EPA’s plan to combat climate change at a tele-press conference, and called on local, state, and national leaders to do the same.

The EPA’s Clean Power Plan sets the first ever nation-wide limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants that causes climate change, and encourages investments in clean energy and energy efficiency. The plan, as part of the Clean Air Act, will reduce carbon from power plants by 32 percent below 2005 levels nationwide by addressing four areas, such as energy efficiency, reducing demand, and promoting renewable energy like wind and solar. States can create their own implementation plan or work with others to adopt a multi-state plan. Overall, the Plan calls for a 28 percent increase in renewable energy generation capacity in 2030.

It is likely that the flexibility of the Clean Power Plan will allow New Hampshire and the other Northeast states involved in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI, to continue making climate advances.  

Speakers at today’s tele-press conference discussed specifically the health benefits of EPA’s Clean Power Plan.

“The Clean Power Plan is the single largest action on climate that will protect people’s health,” said Katie Robert, President of New Hampshire Public Health Association. “It also presents New Hampshire’s leaders with the ability to protect the health of their communities by decreasing the dangerous power plant pollution that triggers asthma attacks, heart attacks and premature deaths.”

Other participants on the call included: Steve Blackmer, an ordained priest in the Episcopal Church.

“We cannot wait another day: 14 of the 15 hottest years on record have occurred in this century. We’re also seeing punishing drought, raging storms and devastating floods that will only worsen if we delay acting against climate change,” said Steve Blackmer, an ordained priest in the Episcopal Church. “The time to act is now. The way is with the groundbreaking Clean Power Plan. And the reason is we have an obligation to leave our children and future generations a safer, cleaner, more vibrant world.”

Signed Statement from NH Sierra Club, Environment NH, Union of Concerned Scientists, Mom’s Clean Air Force, National Wildlife Federation, and League of Conservation Voters: “Climate change is undeniable, and we are proud to support the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Clean Power Plan, which was finalized today, to help combat the greatest challenge of our generation. The EPA’s plan sets the first ever federal limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants, and encourages investments in clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency. This is an unprecedented opportunity for states to reduce the dangerous carbon pollution in our air and protect public health while also improving our economy.  We never have to choose between healthy communities and a healthy economy, and today we have more opportunities than ever before to achieve both.”

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