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New Hampshire Citizen Outlines Personal Outsourcing Experience, Slams Scott Brown’s Outsourcing Agenda

Scott Brown in 2010
Image by Wiki Commons

In Open Letter to Granite Staters, Ed Cunningham Explains
How “Scott Brown Only Cares About Himself”  

Manchester – Today, the Shaheen campaign released an open letter to voters from New Hampshire native Ed Cunningham, who has lived in New Hampshire his whole life but saw his life turned upside down after his job was shipped overseas. The letter slams Scott Brown for voting for tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas and for cashing in on the board of a company that outsourced American jobs.

“Scott Brown outsourcing policies have real consequences,” said Shaheen Communications Director Harrell Kirstein. “Ed Cunningham’s story shows firsthand why Scott Brown is fundamentally not for New Hampshire.”

See the open letter below:

My name is Ed Cunningham and I’ve lived in New Hampshire my entire life.  I was born and raised in Danville, and now live in Kensington with my wife Ginger. I’ve worked hard my entire life to provide for my family, and I never expected any sort of hand out. I always thought that if I worked hard and played by the rules I would be OK. I wanted to retire with dignity, and maybe help my kids start off on their own here in New Hampshire.

I almost lost everything in 2007 when my job was outsourced to another country. I was working at Lucent Technologies in Massachusetts when they decided that outsourcing jobs to increase their bottom line was more important than participating in maintaining a middle class here in the United States.

I can’t begin to describe how it feels to lose your job in the way I did. The range of emotions you go through – from sheer anger, to sadness, to frankly a terrible sense of fear and helplessness – is something I would never wish on my worst enemy. I didn’t know what I was going to do.

I was lucky. Eventually I found another job. But others weren’t as lucky and many of my friends struggled to find a job.

Because of what happened to me, it’s very hard to put into words just how angry I was when I found out that Scott Brown not only voted for tax breaks for companies to ship jobs overseas, but is now personally profiting from a company that outsources American jobs.  It infuriates me – especially because he flat out lied to people during last night’s debate about his record.

Anyone who works for a living needs to know that Scott Brown only cares about himself and his own self interests. There is no other explanation for why he voted the way he did in 2010;  voting against a bill to help small business to create jobs in America. He then turned around and accepted a job from Kadent corporation, a company that plans to outsource even more American jobs. It’s impossible for me to take a word he says about “jobs” seriously. It’s obvious he doesn’t care about our jobs, he only cares about making money for corporations and himself.

Scott Brown symbolizes everything that is wrong with politicians who support the corporate greed that is ruining our country and the lives of our workers because it benefits their own bottom line. I am sending this letter to every newspaper in New Hampshire because I think this is that important. We can’t let him fool voters into thinking he actually cares about us.

Ed Cunningham
Kensington, NH

AFL-CIO Worker’s Voice PAC To Air Ads In Seven Key States

AFL-CIO_Headquarters_by_Matthew_Bisanz2

With high stakes elections coming down to the wire across the country, the labor movement is going up on radio and TV in support of working family candidates.  The ads will build on the effective grassroots campaign that labor has been running for several months including door knocking, worksite leaflets and phone banking.

Workers’ Voice has just launched full 60 second radio ads designed to educate working families about the stakes on November 4th and promote the candidates who will work for their economic interests:

  • Senator Mark Begich (Alaska)
  • Senator Mark Udall (Colorado)
  • Congressman Bruce Braley (running for Senate in Iowa)
  • Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (running for Senate in Kentucky)
  • Congressman Mike Michaud (running for Governor in Maine)
  • Mary Burke (running for Governor in Wisconsin)

Each ad will run through Election Day in multiple markets across each state.

In addition, a 30 second television ad in Michigan launches today and will air through Election Day.

Each of these ads focus on economic issues and aim to clarify for voters which candidate will fight for a secure and growing middle class.

The Iowa radio ad is an example: By including Senate candidate Jodi Ernst’s own words in support of Social Security privatization, the ad steps above the din on an issue (retirement security) of deep-seated concern to working people in Iowa.

To listen to any of the radio ads, click below:

Alaska US Senate, Radio

Colorado US Senate, Radio

Iowa, US Senate Radio

Kentucky US Senate, Radio

Maine Governor Radio

Wisconsin Governor, Radio

And the Michigan Governor TV ad can be found here

Boeing: profits flying high! But “Return On Investment” for government, union givebacks is… not so great

Boeing Dreamliner

Boeing DreamlinerBoeing announced its Third Quarter financials this morning.

net earnings increased 18% to $1.36 billion, or $1.86 per share.  The quarter’s results were strong enough that Boeing increased its full-year guidance: the company is now forecasting full-year earnings per share between $8.10 and $8.30 per share.

Think these better-than-expected profits are the result of skilled CEOing by Jim McNerney (who jokes about “cowering” employees)?

Think that rosy profit outlook has anything to do with Boeing’s decision to transfer 2,000 engineering jobs from the Seattle area to other, lower-cost places?

Or Boeing’s decision to assemble its Dreamliner exclusively in South Carolina (not Washington State)?

Presumably, this corporate maneuvering is “in the interests of Boeing’s stockholders”… whose dividends increased by more than 50% last year.

Stockholders including Jim McNerney… who at last report, owned more than 466,000 shares of Boeing stock… which, as I do the math, means he’s probably expecting about $340,000 in “unearned income” when Q3 dividends are announced.

Beginning to understand why he’s in a joking mood?

Read our previous Boeing coverage here.

NH Exec Council Candidate Robert Burns Explains Why He Supports Right To Work

Screen shot 2014-10-17 at 4.22.35 PM

A friend of the NH Labor News just sent me this video of Robert Burns, a candidate for the New Hampshire Executive Council in District 4, talking at the Loudon Candidates Forum about Right To Work legislation.

Click here to see above video on YouTube

Burns claims that Right To Work legislation is about “personal freedom.” It is about “Thugs trying to control you and take your money.” Burns goes on to say that Right To Work is “100% about your freedom not to give this money to a political organization you may not agree with.”

“That is why I am for Right To Work,” concluded Burns

Let me explain to you, Mr. Burns, what Right to Work really is really about.

Right to Work is not about personal freedom, it is about breaking unions.  Your claim that my union dues go to political campaigns is absolutely false.  It is completely illegal for any union to take dues money and give it to a political candidate.  You are confusing union dues, with union campaign PAC or COPE funds.  These PACs are funded by freely given small donations of individual members who want to make sure that candidates who support their way of life are elected.

Right To Work is an attack on the middle class and leads to lower wages. The average worker in a Right To Work state make $5,000 a year less.

Right To Work laws are just another way for wealthy CEOs to push workers down in the race to the bottom. They want to break the unions to force workers to pay more for things like healthcare and retirement benefits.  They are lining the pockets and giving stockholders bonuses with our hard earned money.

By supporting Right To Work legislation you are saying that you, Mr. Burns, would rather side with greedy CEOs over hard working Americans.

Right To Work is wrong for worker, wrong for the middle class and wrong for New Hampshire. 

Massachusetts and New Hampshire AFLCIO Presidents Speak Out Against Outsourcers Scott Brown And Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney

As Outsourcing Champion Mitt Romney Campaigns With Scott Brown, Massachusetts and New Hampshire Labor Leaders Speak Out on Brown’s Outsourcing Record

Manchester, NH – Massachusetts AFL-CIO President Steven Tolman and New Hampshire AFL-CIO President Mark Mackenzie spoke out against Scott Brown’s outsourcing record today as he campaigned alongside outsourcing champion Mitt Romney. Like Romney, Scott Brown has a record of profiting off companies that ship American jobs overseas. In the Senate, Brown voted to protect tax breaks for companies that shipped jobs overseas.

“New Hampshire shouldn’t make the same mistake Massachusetts made, because Scott Brown’s record when he went to Washington proves that he’s not for working families. He’s a guy that works to protect his corporate special interest backers, at the cost of the middle class,” said Steven Tolman, President of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO. “Now we know that since losing in Massachusetts, Brown has been making hundreds of thousands of dollars off of a company that made outsourcing part of its business plan. That company, Kadant Inc., even outsourced jobs in Massachusetts, the same state he once served. Scott Brown was wrong for Massachusetts and he’s wrong for New Hampshire.”

“Outsourcing is the type of business practice that lines the pockets of people like Scott Brown and Mitt Romney, but is devastating for communities in a state like New Hampshire,” said Mark Mackenzie, President of the New Hampshire AFL-CIO. “When jobs are shipped overseas, families suffer, unemployment rates increase, and entire communities are decimated. The fact that Scott Brown personally profited from this practice is shameful. We can’t trust him and most definitely can’t afford to send his agenda back to the Senate.”

As a Senator from Massachusetts, Scott Brown voted to protect special tax breaks for companies that offshore American jobs. After leaving the Senate, he made more than a quarter million dollars by serving on the Board of Directors of Kadant, Inc., a company that outsourced American jobs to increase its bottom line. Just two days before he announced his most recent campaign in New Hampshire, Brown signed legal documents endorsing the company’s business strategy, which included establishing cheaper manufacturing facilities in China and Mexico.

The New Hampshire Democratic Party is releasing a new web ad ahead of Scott Brown’s campaign stop with fellow Massachusetts politician and notorious outsourcer, Mitt Romney. During Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, it was revealed that Mitt Romney invested millions of dollars in a company that profited off of U.S. Outsourcing. Similarly, Scott Brown has been making hundreds of thousands of dollars off an outsourcing company, even endorsing their business strategy, which included sending jobs to China and Mexico.

To view the web ad on YouTube, click here:

“Scott Brown and Mitt Romney both cashed in off of outsourcing jobs–and that’s just further proof that both are wrong for our economy and wrong for New Hampshire,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Communications Director Julie McClain.

 

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Put The Middle Class First Bus Tour

SavetheMiddleClass092614

The bus tour stops in Manchester at 10:00am, at Veteran’s Memorial Park. Manchester speakers will include NH Alliance for Retired Americans President Lucy Edwards and Pastor Gail Kinney.

The Nashua stop will be at 1:00pm outside the Nashua Public Library.

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The political narrative around bread and butter economic issues that won the day for progressives and Democrats in 2012 is no less important today.  And, at a time when Republicans are doubling down on policies that hurt the middle class while benefiting the likes of the Koch brothers and the richest one percent, having a vehicle (pun intended) to advance the “who’s on your side” narrative that has worked so well for our side in the past is absolutely critical to our success.

Americans United has a rich and successful history of using bus tours for progressive campaigns that have generated significant benefits with respect to earned media and grassroots and grass-tops organizing.  Americans United’s most famous bus tour occurred in 2008 around the Presidency of George W. Bush and the failure of his and the GOP’s domestic and foreign policies during his tenure.  The Bush Legacy Bus was on the road for nearly five months, visiting 42 states and generating thousands of media hits with an estimated value of $2.5 million paid television airtime alone.  The tour contributed to the effort of Democrats to win the presidency, in part, by making a strong argument against putting another Republican in the White House for essentially a third Bush term.

More recently, Americans United ran a month-long national “Raise the Wage” bus tour advocating for raising the federal minimum wage, which appeared in key states ahead of a vote on the issue in the U.S. Senate.  The “Raise the Wage” bus tour held 35 events in 22 states resulting in 265 television clips valued at $301,846 in equivalent paid media time and 170 pages in newspaper clips.

Proposed “Put the Middle Class First” Bus Tour:  In contrast with the Right, Democrats have a detailed set of proposals that put the middle class first, giving more Americans a fair shot at getting into the middle class and achieving the American Dream.  Any one of these provides significant material for a bus tour, as Americans United proved with this spring’s “Raise the Wage” bus tour.  However, because these commonsense, popular policies can be combined together to draw a stark picture of what we are for and what the other side is against – and because the resonance of some of these issues varies some from state to state and even district to district – we are launching a bus tour to promote ways to “Put the Middle Class First” that will provide a platform to promote a range of progressive economic policies that are popular with the American people.

The issues we will highlight are those that would give Americans a fair shot, including:

·         Raising the minimum wage

·         Equal pay for equal work

·         Making college affordable

·         Creating jobs by investing in infrastructure

·         Protecting Social Security and Medicare

The bus’s art and rhetoric will make it adaptable as a platform to discuss any or all of these policies and to target, and hold accountable, lawmakers who are on the wrong side of these issues.  With “Put the Middle Class First” as the topline, the bus will serve as a platform for other issues in states, districts or communities where they make sense.

Duration, States: The Middle Class First bus tour will start Monday, October 6th and run until the weekend before the election.

Stops will include:

Monday, October 6

Manchester, NH

Nashua, NH

Tuesday, October 7

Portland, ME

Bangor, ME

Wednesday, October 8

Hartford, CT

Syracuse, NY

Thursday, October 9

Philadelphia, PA

Harrisburg, PA

Pittsburg, PA

Friday, October 10

Columbus, OH

Lansing/East Lansing, MI

Monday, October 13

Detroit (Southfield), MI

Chicago, IL

Tuesday, October 14

Milwaukee, WI

Madison, WI

Wednesday, October 15

Davenport, IA

Des Moines, IA

Red Oak, IA

Thursday, October 16

Omaha, NE

Friday, October 17

Denver, CO

Ft. Collins, CO

Monday, October 20

Dallas, TX

Texarkana, AR

Tuesday, October 21

Little Rock, AR

West Memphis, AR

Thursday, October 23

Tampa, FL

Orlando, FL

Friday, October 24

Tallahassee, FL

Atlanta, GA

Monday, October 27

Lexington, KY

Louisville, KY

Tuesday, October 28

Charleston, WV

Wednesday, October 29

Charlotte, NC

Greensboro, NC

Raleigh, NC

Thursday, October 30

Norfolk/Hampton Roads, VA

Richmond, VA

Friday, October 31

McLean, VA

“America Out Of Whack” By Arnie Alpert of InZane Times

American Flag (Sam Howzit FLIKR)

Writing in the New York Times, Thomas Edsall assembles an impressive array of facts that illuminate the realities of wealth inequality in America.  

Citing Federal Reserve figures, Edsall reports that household net worth, corporate profits, and the value of real estate have been going up at an impressive pace.  If you think that sounds like evidence of recovery you’d be mistaken, at least if you equate “recovery” with economic conditions that are improving for most workers.   

“The September Federal Reserve Bulletin graphically demonstrates how wealth gains since 1989 have gone to the top 3 percent of the income distribution,” he writes.  “The next 7 percent has stayed even, while the bottom 90 percent has experienced a steady decline in its share.”

It’s not just wealthy individuals getting wealthier; it’s also the corporations they own and run.    Citing statistics from Goldman Sachs, Edsall says corporate profits rose five times faster than wages last year.  And he quotes an article from Business Insider that stated,

“America’s companies and company owners — the small group of Americans who own and control America’s corporations — are hogging a record percentage of the country’s wealth for themselves.”

Edsall asks, “Why don’t we have redistributive mechanisms in place to deploy the trillions of dollars in new wealth our economy has created to shore up the standard of living of low- and moderate-income workers, to restore financial stability to Medicare and Social Security, to improve educational resources and to institute broader and more reliable forms of social insurance?”

It’s the right question. 

For answers he turns to a bunch of economists, who provide data about tax rates, labor force participation, the declining growth of well-paying jobs, globalization, and the reduction of labor’s share of profit relative to capital in a time of rising productivity.  

My answer is a bit more straightforward:  America’s companies and company owners — the small group of Americans who own and control America’s corporations — are hogging the political system.  This is nothing new, but in the legal environment created by recent Supreme Court decisions (Citizens United and McCutcheon in particular) it is becoming easier for corporate interests to wage class war and win.  Simply put, the people who make the laws and set the policies have their receptors tuned to the frequency where the corporations are broadcasting. 

Edsall notes survey data that reveal corporations are not so popular in the USA and other so-called “advanced countries.”   He asks if the legitimacy of free market capitalism in America is facing fundamental challenges.

My gut response is to say “I hope so.”  But the dynamics described by all those economists are not the workings of “the invisible hand.”  The market is operating under a set of rules established by those who already have more than their fair share of power, wealth, and privilege.  The legitimacy of our corporate-directed political system that must be challenged as well.

#GUI

Senator Bernie Sanders Speaks AT Strafford County Dem’s Fundraiser

Bernie Sanders (Arnie Alpert)

                  BernieSander2 The Strafford County Democratic Committee proudly announces

 Senator Bernie Sanders

Special guest for our Fall Celebration
September 27~5-7 PM

 American Legion Hall,
Foundry Street,
Rollinsford, NH.

Hearty hors d’oeuvres~cash bar,
and a chance to meet and talk with our Democratic candidates

$50. is the special price for State Rep candidates and the rest of the sponsorships are $100. The tickets are $25.

All of the money we raise will go to Strafford County Democratic candidate services and Voter’s Voice.

Live music is by Chaz Proulx. Senator Sanders will be available for questions and photos.

The title of Senator Sander’s talk is  “The Fight for Economic Justice.”

https://secure.actblue.com/contribute/page/straffordcounty2014dinner

http://www.straffordcountydemocrats.org/events-2/fall-celebration-with-senator-bernie-sanders/

Here is an address in case you want to send a check.

STRAFFORD COUNTY DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE
PO Box 247
Dover, NH 03820

Email: SCDC@StraffordCountyDemocrats.org

Web: http://www.straffordcountydemocrats.org

Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster Speaks Out in Support of FairPoint Workers

Ann kuster head shot LG

Ann kuster head shot LGUnion Leaders Welcome State and Federal Legislators’ Interventions

Manchester, NH–On September 19th, Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster of New Hampshire’s 2nd Congressional District issued a statement urging FairPoint and the unions representing nearly 2,000 FairPoint employees in New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont to return to the bargaining table.

Congresswoman Kuster said that she has been in contact with FairPoint workers and management over several months. According to her statement, “we can all agree that workers, employers, and our entire economy benefit from continued, productive dialogue between management and labor. I am therefore disappointed that negotiations have been suspended, and I urge all parties to come together to negotiate a new contract in good faith.”

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the Communications Workers of America (CWA) have filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) accusing the company of bargaining in bad faith and illegally imposing terms and conditions on employees when the parties were not at impasse. The NLRB is currently investigating those charges and should decide within weeks whether or not to file a formal complaint against the company.

Several state senators have come out in support of FairPoint workers in recent weeks. In a September 22nd statement, Senator David Watters of District 4 expressed disappointment that FairPoint has walked away from bargaining. He said, “FairPoint has faced serious challenges in the past few years, but the ideal of corporate citizenship and a willingness to bargain with its employees must continue to guide its commitment to New Hampshire. Negotiations, flexibility, and respect for both sides in labor contracts are the New Hampshire way.”

Senator David Pierce of District 5 said, “There are many New Hampshire businesses that have shown that a company can prosper when it treats its workers as its best asset. FairPoint knows this. FairPoint should therefore strive to put its workers and the state of New Hampshire ahead of the big Wall Street hedge funds that own the company.”

In a statement earlier this month, Senator Lou D’Allesandro of District 20 said, “The people of New Hampshire need the best trained employees to maintain our vital telecommunications infrastructure, and that means union workers, not outside, temporary contractors.” Senator Jeff Woodburn of Coos County said, “The North Country and I are proud to stand with New Hampshire’s telephone workers at IBEW Local 2320. Their work is especially important to our region, [which] remains under-served by telecom infrastructure. It’s a shame that FairPoint has walked away from the negotiating table, putting New Hampshire’s network at risk. I call on FairPoint management to come back to the table and work to find a meaningful compromise.”

Union leaders welcomed the public statements of support. “We are really gratified that our elected leaders in Washington and Concord have added their voices to those of FairPoint employees and customers,” said Glenn Brackett, Business Manager of IBEW Local 2320. “It just demonstrates the importance of this fight for fairness to the citizens of our state who depend on the highly skilled employees of FairPoint to build, maintain, and service our vital telecommunications infrastructure.”

“These elected leaders clearly appreciate the role that our members play in providing a twenty-first century telecommunications system,” said Don Trementozzi, President of CWA Local 1400. “FairPoint has not bargained fairly and has now imposed terms that allow the company to outsource our jobs to less skilled, out-of-state and foreign contractors. It’s bad for our communities, and we will continue to communicate our concerns with elected leaders around our state and in Washington.”

IBEW Local 2320 in Manchester is part of IBEW System Council T9, which includes local unions in New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont and represents nearly 1,700 employees at FairPoint Communications. CWA Local 1400 represents nearly 300 FairPoint employees in the three states.

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