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Asbestos Death Rate in New Hampshire Higher than National Average

  Asbestos-triggered diseases claim the lives of New Hampshire residents at a rate almost a third higher than the national average, according to a new state-by-state analysis by EWG Action Fund.

Washington, D.C. – Asbestos-triggered diseases claim the lives of New Hampshire residents at a rate almost a third higher than the national average, according to a new state-by-state analysis by EWG Action Fund.

Roughly 6.2 out of every 100,000 people in New Hampshire die each year from diseases caused by asbestos exposure, including mesothelioma, asbestosis and certain lung cancers, compared to the national average of 4.7 deaths per 100,000. All of the Granite State’s 10 counties have asbestos death rates above the national average. Coos County has the highest rate – more than 10 people per 100,000.

 From analysis of federal records of deaths from mesothelioma and asbestosis and a formula developed by international cancer researchers for estimating lung cancer deaths from asbestos, EWG Action Fund estimates that 12,000 to 15,000 Americans die each year from exposure to the deadly fibers. From 1999 to 2013, EWG Action Fund estimates that more than 1,200 New Hampshire residents died from asbestos-related diseases.

Reasons for the high death rate in New Hampshire are uncertain. However, asbestos was once widely used in a number of the state’s leading industries, including shipbuilding and milling. Use has declined since 1980, when the dangers of asbestos became well known, but has not been eliminated.

“Many Americans mistakenly believe asbestos was banned decades ago,” said Alex Formuzis with EWG Action Fund. “It is still legal, still used in many consumer products, and still brings tragedy to thousands of victims and their families each year.”

That tragedy could be made by worse by legislation under consideration in Congress that would effectively delay and deny compensation to people from the various asbestos trusts.

 The legislation, the so-called FACT Act, with identical versions in the House (H.R. 526) and Senate (S. 357) would deplete the resources of the already-dwindling trust funds set aside to compensate asbestos victims. Adding insult to injury, the measure would also require public disclosure of victims’ personal information such as medical records and partial Social Security numbers, placing them at heightened risk of identity theft.

Officials of the asbestos trusts estimate that complying with the bill would require up to 20,000 additional hours per year at each trust – a burdensome and expensive mandate that would inevitably slow the processing of claims and distribution of payments.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and corporations with major asbestos liability, including Koch Industries, Honeywell, 3M, Allstate and Nationwide are some of the biggest backers of the bill. The House is poised to vote on its version of the so-called FACT Act in the coming weeks.

“Each member of New Hampshire’s congressional delegation has a choice to make,” said Formuzis. “Will they stand with those in the state who are sick and dying from asbestos-caused disease, or with the very industries that poisoned them to begin with?”


  EWG Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) organization that is a separate sister organization of the Environmental Working Group. The mission of EWG Action Fund is to protect health and the environment by educating the public and lobbying on a wide range of environmental issues. Donations to EWG Action Fund are not tax-deductible.

Berger-Marks Foundation Honors Young Women Leading The Fight For Social Justice

#BlackLivesMatter Co-Founder Patrisse Cullors Wins $10,000 Edna Award 

Kate Mullany Courageous Young Worker Awards and Edna Awards of Distinction Will Also Be Presented at November 12 Reception 

Patrisse Cullors (image from Twitter)

Patrisse Cullors (image from Twitter)

WASHINGTON – Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter, has been named winner of the Berger-Marks Foundation 2015 Edna Award for Social Justice. The Edna Award, which carries a $10,000 prize, honors women age 35 or younger who have distinguished themselves as social justice leaders. It is named after Edna Berger, the first woman organizer of The Newspaper Guild and the inspiration behind the Berger-Marks Foundation. 

Ms. Cullors is an artist, organizer, and freedom fighter. As founder of Dignity and Power Now, co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter, and the director of Truth and Reinvestment for The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, she has worked tirelessly to promote law enforcement accountability across the nation. She led a think tank on state and vigilante violence for the 2014 Without Borders Conference and produced and directed a theatrical piece titled POWER: From the Mouths of the Occupied. 

Ms. Cullors will receive the Edna Award at an awards reception on Thursday, November 12th at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Also to be honored with $1,000 Edna Awards of Distinction are: Neidi Dominguez, Director of Worker Centers and Assistant Director for Community Change at the AFL-CIO and Nelini Stamp, Co-Director of Rise Up Georgia.

“Patrisse, Neidi, and Nelini are inspirational examples of the young women leading today’s fights for justice all over this country,” said Linda Foley, President of the Berger-Marks Foundation Board of Trustees. 

Judging the Edna Award contest this year were: Valerie Ervin, Former Executive Director of the Center for Working Families; Mary Kay Henry, President of the Service Employees International Union; Terry O’Neill, President of the National Organization for Women; Sara Steffens, Secretary-Treasurer of the Communications Workers of America; and 2013 Edna Award winner Jennifer Epps-Addison, Executive Director of Wisconsin Jobs Now. 

At the November 12 event, the Foundation will also honor the three winners of the $1,000 Kate Mullany Courageous Young Worker Award. The award is named for an inspiring young laundry worker who, more than 150 years ago, organized one of the first women’s unions in an industry that was harshly exploiting them. It honors young women age 35 or younger who have stood up for workers’ rights and organized their own workplaces. 

The three 2015 Kate Mullany Award winners are:

  • Stephanie Alejandro, a restaurant worker from Los Angeles, CA who organized her co-workers to fight wage theft and poor working conditions at their restaurant.
  • Anggie Godoy, a restaurant worker from Los Angeles, CA who organized her McDonald’s co-workers to Fight for 15.
  • Sarina Santos, a baggage handler at the Philadelphia International Airport who organized her fellow airport workers for a union and a living wage.

“We honor these young women for their steadfast commitment to workers’ rights,” says Foley, “Their strength in standing up in the workplace on behalf of all of their co-workers is a reminder that there is strength in numbers and young women can lead the way”.

The Berger-Marks Foundation was created by bequest of Tin Pan Alley composer Gerald Marks (“All of Me”) in honor of his wife, Edna Berger, who rose from being a receptionist to become the first woman organizer of The Newspaper Guild. The Foundation seeks to change the gender balance of the labor movement by providing support and recognition for women labor leaders.

The November 12th Award Reception is open to all who want to attend. To make reservations go to: https://2015ednakate.eventbrite.com. For more information, contact Beth Becker at beth@beckerdigitalstrategies.com.


Leo W Gerard: More Free Stuff for Corporations

Marco Rubio (Gage Skidmore)

Marco Rubio (Gage Skidmore FLIKR CC)

Republicans and the rich guys who imposed 35 years of stagnant wages on American workers now offer a prescription for easing this pain!

Their solution for robber-baron-level income inequality is not the obvious: Give workers raises. They don’t want to increase the minimum wage, which would eventually push up pay for everyone else as well. They don’t intend to provide paid sick leave or decent pensions or fewer unstable contract jobs. They have no intention of strengthening unions so workers can collectively bargain for better wages and working conditions.

Instead of any of those straightforward measures, rich guys and corporate-owned Republicans assert that the solution is more free stuff for corporations!  The government, they say, should provide that free stuff. The government, the very organization they deride and despise and denounce as incompetent and deserving of nothing but cutting and shrinking and destroying! Yes, they actually contend that very same government should take the taxes paid by workers and give that money to corporations to improve worker wages and working conditions!


New scheme from CEOs and GOP: Workers should pay corporations

This rich guy, Peter Georgescu, chairman emeritus of the PR firm Young & Rubicam, said in a New York Times op-ed in August that he feared the current grotesque level of income inequality would provoke major social unrest or oppressive tax levies on the rich – unless the rich did something about it right away. To avert restoration of the higher income tax levels that the rich paid from 1935 to 1985, Georgescu recommended that the federal government give money to businesses to raise the wages of workers earning less than $80,000 a year.

That’s right. He says the government should subsidize corporations. The government should give them free stuff. Welfare. The government, in his estimation, should pay corporations rather than simply requiring them to use some of their massive profits,now at the highest level in 85 years, to adequately compensate the workers whose labor created those profits.

Making the government pay is a popular position among Georgescu’s wealthy peers and GOP politicians. They don’t want the government to protect the environment or negotiate for lower pharmaceutical prices for senior citizens on Medicare or provide16 million Americans with insurance through the Affordable Care Act. They do want the government to hand money to corporations, though.

Just weeks ago, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a candidate for the Republican nomination for president, announced he’d use this corporate freebie scheme to provide paid sick and maternity leave. The United States is the only major industrial country in the world without a federal policy requiring paid sick and maternity leave. Rubio called the absence of paid leave “one of the greatest threats to family today.”

Even so, he wouldn’t actually require corporations to provide it.

Instead, he’d have the government fork over workers’ tax dollars to corporations that institute paid sick leave. Under his plan, workers would pay corporations for what corporations should already be doing to diminish this threat to the family.

Earlier this year, billionaire Warren Buffett recommended in a Wall Street Journalop-ed that instead of forcing corporations to pay decent compensation by raising the federal minimum wage, the government should use tax dollars to increase workers’ income.

This revered king of capitalism wouldn’t require corporations to pay for the services that workers provide. Don’t be ridiculous! Instead, Buffett contends the government should pay!  That is, taxpayers would pay.

His plan differs from Georgescu’s and Rubio’s only in that Buffett would send money directly from the government to the worker instead of to a corporation. Rather than better pay, Buffett says workers should get larger earned income tax credits. Here’s what he wrote, “The process is simple: You file a tax return, and the government sends you a check.”

That way, the GOP can continue to condemn these workers as lolling on the government dole.

Under Georgescu’s and Rubio’s plans, corporations would file tax returns and the government would send them checks. But one percenters and GOP politicians never denounce that as corporations lolling on the government dole. That’s because they believe corporations are entitled to it. It’s a corporate entitlement.

This raises the issue of the role of government. Republicans contend that government is too big, that it does too much. They demand constantly that it be cudgeled and cut. But not the parts that kowtow to corporations. Those, the GOP says, should be puffed up and pampered. To them, government was created to serve corporations. If benefits from that happen to trickle down to citizens, Republicans consider that a bonus, but certainly not the main point of anything government does.

This is odd, though, from the party that so loves to declare its undying love for conservative interpretation of the U.S. Constitution because that document says the government is for people, not corporations.

Here, for example, are the Constitution’s first few words: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

It does not say, “We the corporations of the United States, in order to form more profitable entities, establish unfettered capitalism, suppress the rights of workers, appropriate foreign assets as desired for corporate growth, promote general profitability, and secure the blessings of unbridled capitalism to corporations and their shareholders, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

The government of the United States wasn’t created to spend taxpayers’ dollars to reward corporations that have stifled worker wages for more than three decades. The government of the United States was, however, created to promote the general welfare by raising the minimum wage, mandating paid leave and strengthening labor unions.

Trans-Pacific Partnership Does Not Address Currency Manipulation, Says Scott Paul Of The Alliance For American Manufacturing

Former Factory Closed (Image Michael Coghlan)

Former Factory Closed (Image Michael Coghlan)

Yesterday the eleven nations of the Pacific Rim said they have come to an agreement with the United States on the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  The details are still hidden from the public but a few details are leaking out.

One of the main issues of concern is that the TPP will not address the real problem of Currency Manipulation, where countries change the value of their currency to ensure an advantage in world trade.

The Alliance for American Manufacturing’s President Scott Paul spoke out about this new revelation:

“American workers and manufacturers support global trade and rules that promote a level playing field. Since negotiations on the TPP agreement began, we have consistently called for strong market opening features, high-standard rules of origin requirements, and enforceable mechanisms against currency manipulation.

“This deal lowers tariffs and some other non-tariff barriers to trade, but the agreement apparently does nothing to prevent TPP members from manipulating their currencies to gain a trade advantage. Currency devaluations can nearly instantly wipe out the positive effects of free trade agreements and lead to factory job losses in the United States. We are eager to learn if the TPP countries or the Obama administration will propose other mechanisms to address this serious concern.

“Furthermore, there are reports that this TPP text substantially weakens the rules of origin requirements in the 1993 NAFTA agreement. That means that goods from countries like China could be incorporated in products assembled in the TPP region and thereby enjoy the benefits of tariff-free access to the U.S. market without sharing any of the responsibilities of TPP membership.

“We, like many others, are eager to have access to the details so that we can more fully evaluate this agreement. We always stand ready to work with lawmakers to enact public policies that will create new manufacturing jobs in America.”

Until we address the reason why so many millions of jobs were shipped overseas and why countries like China continue to legally rig the system against American workers this trade agreement is effectively worthless.  Until we as a nation rebuild our manufacturing base, our economy will continue to be stagnant and our trade deficit will continue to grow out of control.

What You Should Know About That Completed TPP “Trade” Deal

global deal free tradeSpecial Guest Post from Dave Johnson of Campaign For America’s Future.  

Countries negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) say they have reached a deal. So here it comes.

Monday morning it was announced that a “Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Deal Is Reached,” presented as much as a foreign policy success as a “trade” deal.

“The United States, Japan and 10 other Pacific basin nations on Monday agreed after years of negotiations to the largest regional trade accord in history, an economic pact envisioned as a bulwark against China’s power and a standard-setter for global commerce, worker rights and environmental protection.

… The trade initiative, dating to the start of his administration, is a centerpiece of Mr. Obama’s economic program to expand exports. It also stands as a capstone for his foreign policy “pivot” toward closer relations with fast-growing eastern Asia, after years of American preoccupation with the Middle East and North Africa.

The effect the deal will have on actual “trade” is unclear, since the U.S. already has trade agreements with many of the participating countries. Also much of the deal appears to be about things people would not usually consider “trade”, like investor rights and limits on the ability of countries to regulate.

Though the deal remains secret, here is some of what is known about the agreement deal.

● Currency manipulation is not addressed in TPP, even though Congress’ “fast track” legislation said it must be. To get around this, a “side agreement” supposedly sets up a “forum” on currency. Past side agreements have proven unenforceable. For this reason Ford Motor Company has already publicly announced opposition to TPP.

● A “tobacco carve-out” is in the deal, in some form. This was added because the agreement contains investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions that will allow corporations to sue governments that use laws or regulations to try to restrict what the companies do. These provisions restrict the ability of governments to protect their citizens so thoroughly that tobacco companies have used ISDS provisions in similar agreements to sue governments that try to help smokers quit or prevent children from starting smoking. TPP proponents felt that this carve-out will help TPP to pass, while the ability to limit other laws and regulations remains.

● President Obama has said TPP includes the “strongest labor provisions of any free trade agreement in history.” Previous “trade” agreements do not even stop labor organizers from being murdered, so even if TPP has “stronger” labor provisions, that is an extremely low bar.

● TPP reduces or eliminates many tariffs, further encouraging companies to move factories out of the U.S. to low-wage countries like Vietnam. An example of the effect TPP will have on U.S. manufacturing is Nike vs. New Balance. Nike already outsources its manufacturing to take advantage of low wages, while New Balance is trying to continue to manufacture in the U.S. When tariffs on imported shoes are eliminated Nike will gain an even greater advantage over New Balance. New Balance has said that the tariff reductions in TPP will force it to stop manufacturing inside the US.

● The reduction and elimination of tariffs reduces revenues for the governments involved.

What Next?

Here is a brief rundown on what to expect as TPP begins to make its way toward a Congressional vote:

● The TPP is still secret and according to the terms in this year’s fast-track legislation it will remain secret for 30 days after the president formally notifies Congress that he will sign it. That could be a while still, as the agreement’s details need to be “ironed out.” After that 30-day wait the full text has to be public for 60 days before Congress can vote. The full timeline is yet to unfold and will be reported here as it does.

● Expect a massive and massively funded corporate PR push. The biggest corporations very much want TPP. It massively benefits the interests of giant corporations and the “investor” class, even as it incentivizes moving jobs and production out of the U.S.

● While only a small portion of TPP is about what people would normally consider to be “trade,” TPP will be heavily pushed as a “trade” deal. Many people believe that “expanding trade” increases jobs. Note that closing a U.S. factory and importing the same goods “expands trade” because those goods cross a border.

Also see the American Prospect, “What’s Next for the TPP: Clyde Prestowitz in Conversation with David Dayen.”

Questions To Ask About TPP

When the still-secret TPP becomes public, these are some of the questions the public will want answered:

● What do regular, non-wealthy people in the U.S. get from TPP? Will it increase American wages? Will it have provisions that force wage increases in countries that currently pay very little, thereby helping those workers (and helping them buy American-made products, too) and reducing downward pressure on American wages? Or will there be NAFTA-style provisions encouraging outsourcing to low-wage countries like Vietnam, creating further downward pressure on wages and increasing inequality?

● What do people in the U.S. lose? For example, the Los Angeles Times explains, “U.S. industries such as auto, textiles and dairy, however, could experience some losses as they are likely to face greater competitive pressures from Vietnam, Japan and New Zealand.”

● Does the TPP contain badly needed provisions to require member countries to jointly fight global climate change?

● Will provisions on state-owned enterprises force further privatization of publicly owned and publicly operated infrastructure like the U.S. Postal Service, highways, water systems and other public utilities – even services like municipal parking operations?

● Will TPP enable the U.S. to continue using tax dollars to help American companies, like our “Buy America” procurement policies?

● Will TPP expand imports from countries where food is often found to contain banned toxic chemicals? If so, will TPP require increases in food and product safety standards and inspections?

● Does the TPP increase oversight of financial companies like banks, insurance companies and hedge funds?

TPP Pits Obama, Republicans, Wall Street And Big Corporations Against Democrats, Labor, Progressives

While still secret, the agreement is likely to have many of the same proponents and opponents as the fast-track trade promotion authority battle had. As the Los Angeles Times words ittoday, it “pits the White House, many Republicans and supporters of free trade against organized labor, civic groups and many lawmakers from Obama’s own party, who fear the deal will hurt workers and the environment.”

In a Monday morning call Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) said the TPP text Congress is allowed to see has not been updated for some time, so even they don’t know what is in it. Saying Congress has had to rely on leaks and hasn’t seen the supposed “side agreements” at all, DeLauro asked the administration to “have the courage” to show Congress and the public the text now.

DeLauro complained that leaked drafts show U.S. negotiators negotiating hard for pharmaceutical companies, but not for the interests of American workers. “The administration has put big corporations first, workers last.”

She said rules-of-origin requirements allow less than half to be made in U.S. and TPP countries, the rest can come from countries like China. “None of us can think of a clearer mechanism for taking American jobs”

Rep. Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.) said, “we’ve seen the nightmare NAFTA brought to our manufacturing sector and hard-working American families; this deal is NAFTA on steroids” because this is much broader. Multinational corporations will benefit from increased drug prices and access to cheaper labor.

Rep. Dan “Rock Star” Kildee (D-Mich.) said “what’s not there is there is a lack of any enforceable currency provision. This ties American manufacturer’s hands behind their back as they try to compete. Worse, new rules of origin allow the Chinese to provide more than half the content of a car and it will be treated as domestic. Combined with no currency rules, this will have a devastating effect.”

He added, “I would ask members who voted for fast track to look at the details. When they see specific details and impact on their businesses I think they will vote no.”

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) said, “I’m a car girl … we are only operating on early reports but already Ford and Chrysler are opposed, joining the UAW, and those companies have strongly supported previous deals.”

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) called TPP a “huge win for China because of currency, rules of origin; we get zero access to the Chinese market.”

On the ability to ensure even these ow rules of origin, Sherman said, “What about de facto rules? How does anyone police it? Are Chinese going to report companies that are mislabeling?”


The Teamsters are asking people to sign this petition:” Tell Congress: Show Me the Text on Reported TPP Deal.”

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has released this petition and is asking people for signatures: “Sign my petition to join our fight against the disastrous Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal. We cannot afford to let this trade deal hurt consumers and cost America jobs.”

The U.S. Trade Representative office has released this summary

East Coast Mayors Representing Over 12 Million People Blast Verizon

East Coast Mayors Representing Over 12 Million People Blast Verizon: Stop Stalling, Start Building High-Speed Internet – and Guarantee Good Phone Service to All Consumers

In Some Cities, Verizon Ignores Legislative and Contractual Buildout Requirements; In Others, Refuses to Build FiOS at all, While Letting Traditional Landline Network Deteriorate Everywhere

WASHINGTON- Mayors of 14 cities with over 12 million residents are fed up with Verizon.  The Mayors expressed anger at Verizon’s refusal to build its high-speed FiOS network at all in some cities while in others the company fails, to meet contractual and legal requirements to complete universal build-outs.  The Mayors also expressed concern about Verizon’s treatment of its workforce in ongoing contract negotiations. 

In a letter to Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam, the Mayors called on the company to sit down to discuss ways the company can better serve customers and resolve disputes with the Verizon workers who are in the midst of a contract negotiation. 

”As Mayors, we understand firsthand how vital Broadband is to the growth of our local economies and to nurturing a healthy, competitive marketplace in our state. Our residents use the Internet to search for jobs, build home-based businesses, educate their children and engage in the civic life of our cities.

“But consistently and increasingly, our consumers have complained that FiOS service is not available to them. These are not isolated complaints – there are millions of residents in communities throughout the Northeast who have been left without service, and with no plan or promise for future resolution,” wrote the Mayors.

“At the same time, we are hearing concerns that both in cities covered by a FiOS franchise or in which FiOS is still completely unavailable, Verizon has been abandoning the copper network and traditional landline customers are experiencing frequent service outages, delays in repairs and installations, and forced migration to the inferior VoiceLink product. As you know, the New York Public Service Commission stated in its recent Staff Assessment of Telecommunications in NY: ‘In many areas of New York City, the legacy copper infrastructure is in such poor condition that copper failures due to weather conditions can cause long delays for service restoration and Commission service quality standards are missed,’” the letter continued.

In a sign of the growing frustration with Verizon’s refusal to invest in its wired network, the letter was signed by the Mayors of New York, Pittsburgh, Newark, Jersey City, Buffalo, Worcester, Paterson, Syracuse, Lowell, Albany, Brockton, Trenton and Revere and the Democratic candidate for Mayor in Philadelphia.

The anger has been growing across the East Coast as Verizon systematically refuses to invest in its infrastructure.  In August, it was the only major U.S. telecommunications company to turn down federal funding to build broadband in unserved, primarily rural, communities, leaving many residents in eight states and the District of Columbia without access to vital communications options.  The company was offered $568 million over six years by the Federal government to bring broadband to 270,000 locations in Washington, DC, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia. 

In New York State, the company refuses to avail itself of Governor Cuomo’s $500 million New New York Broadband Fund, which offers up to 50% subsidies to companies willing to build high-speed service in underserved areas.  For years, Verizon has steadfastly refused to bring its high-speed internet service (or FiOS) to areas like Buffalo, Syracuse, Albany, Rome, Utica and numerous other upstate New York cities, as well as much of Eastern Suffolk.  At a series of hearings held by New York State, elected officials from Buffalo, Syracuse, Albany, the North Country, the Southern Tier and the Hudson Valley decried the lack of FiOS in their communities.

Campaigns in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts have also called for FiOS to be built in their communities.

A damning audit of Verizon’s FiOS rollout in New York City found that Verizon has failed to meet its promise to deliver high-speed fiber optic internet and television to everyone in the city who wanted it.  During its negotiations for a city franchise, Verizon promised that the entire city would be wired with fiber optic cables by June 2014 and that after that date, everyone who wanted FiOS would get it within six months to a year.  The audit found that despite claiming that it had wired the whole city by November 2014, Verizon systematically continues to refuse orders for service.  The audit also found that Verizon stonewalled the audit process. 

At the same time, Verizon has been letting its traditional phone network deteriorate.  In a letter to the FCC it admitted that it had only spent $200 million or $3.50 per customer over the last seven years to maintain its copper landline network in eleven states and the District of Columbia.  The Communications Workers of America filed letters in six states and Washington, DC calling on them to investigate whether Verizon was neglecting its responsibility. 


Teamsters Union Decides Not To Make Any Endorsement Yet In Presidential Primary

presseal(WASHINGTON) – On Tuesday, Sept. 29 the Teamsters Union General Executive Board decided to not endorse a presidential candidate at this time.

The Teamsters look forward to meeting with Hillary Clinton, Sen. Bernie Sanders and any other candidate, regardless of party affiliation, who is committed to improving the lives of America’s working families. This would include Vice President Joe Biden should he choose to run. In addition to meeting with the candidates, the union plans to survey its leaders and membership as well.

Earlier this month, the Teamsters Union launched the “Let’s Get America Working!” campaign to encourage both Democratic and Republican lawmakers to work together to focus on creating good jobs through investment in our nation’s infrastructure.

“It’s long past time for Republicans and Democrats to put aside their differences and work together for the good of our country,” said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa. “The Teamsters will work with and support any candidate who puts the needs of America’s working families above the deep pockets of their corporate donors.”

Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.
Visit www.teamster.org for more information.
Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.

Union for Co-op Workers AND Co-op Food Stores Settle Unfair Labor Practice Case

Settlement agreement resolves charges that The Co-op Food Stores violated worker rights

UFCW_logo.svgLEBANON, N.H.– After a contentious union election at its Lebanon location, The Co-op Food Stores has signed a settlement agreement with the National Labor Relations Board and the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW). The settlement contains multiple actions ensuring that workers at The Co-op Food Stores know their rights and do not have those rights violated by their employer.

As part of the agreement, The Co-op Food Stores reinstated a terminated employee with back pay, will remove discipline from another vocal union supporter’s file and will change eight sections of its handbook to ensure that its policies do not restrict workers’ rights to organize. They will also post a notice at all four of its locations informing all their employees of their rights to organize and pledging not to violate federal law. These postings include a pledge not to surveil, threaten, discipline or fire workers for discussing their working conditions or forming a union.

“We believe that this election was not free from intimidation and interference by management, and this settlement agreement begins to right some of the wrongs” said UFCW Local 1459 President Dan Clifford. “As at The Co-op Food Stores, Local 1459 stands by every retail worker who wants a voice at work and feels intimidated and harassed for standing up.”

UFCW Local 1459 represents hundreds of co-op workers across five co-op stores in Western New England. The local will continue to support workers at the Co-op Food Store locations who want to join other workers across the country and work together for improved wages, hours, and working conditions.

“Although the election was unsuccessful, we have made real change at the co-op and will continue to stand up for what’s right,” said Kristin Henault, Cheese Clerk at The Co-op Food Stores Lebanon location. “Workers and member-owners have been coming together to improve this co-op for several years and much more will be done to ensure Co-op Food Stores lives up to its cooperative principles.”

Nashua Firefighters Local 789 Endorse Jim Donchess For Mayor Of Nashua

NASHUA – Nashua Fire Fighters Association L#789, their executive board and delegates, have endorsed Jim Donchess for Mayor of the city of Nashua. Election Day is November 3, 2015. 

“We know that Jim will be a fighter for our issues here in Nashua. This city needs a leader who will look out for middle class families and support strong public safety,” stated John McAllister, President of Nashua Local #789.

“We are confident that Jim has the experience and dedication that Nashua needs in order to make the city thrive. We know that he will never turn his back on public safety, or on fire fighters,” stated Gordon Wilson, Steward-at-large.

“I am very honored to have the endorsement and support of Nashua fire fighters Local #789.  Our fire fighters are the brave employees who help to ensure public safety to the people of Nashua.  We look forward to working with the members of Local #789 toward success in the election for Mayor on November 3,” said Jim Donchess.

Nashua L#789 is part of the International Association of Fire Fighters, which represents professional fire fighters and paramedics throughout the United States and Canada. Nashua L#789 represents 165 members and serve six fire stations in the city of Nashua.

On Capitol Hill, Envoy Airline Agents Ask Congress for Help in Setting Union Election


Washington, D.C. — Some 35 agents who work at Envoy Air are in the nation’s capital today, asking their members of Congress for help in their bid for a union representation election.

They came to Capitol Hill representing 5,300 colleagues who work at 110 airports nationwide, staffing ticket counters, gate and ramps. Envoy worker leaders have meetings today with Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and several other representatives and staff.

More than four months ago, agents working with the Communications Workers of America (CWA) submitted authorization cards from more than 50 percent of the workforce requesting that the National Mediation Board (NMB) hold a representation election.

The NMB, however, issued a ruling stating that just half of the workforce was eligible to participate in a union representation election. Agents and CWA say all agents should be allowed to vote and are calling on the NMB to act now to “let us vote.”

Their jobs are stressful, demanding and sometimes dangerous. Recently in Houston, a ramp worker was nearly killed, suffering multiple injuries when he was crushed between an airplane and a bag belt loader. The Houston workers, with CWA’s help, established a safety committee to stop unsafe working conditions.

The agents have very little job security and their work is often outsourced to an even lower bidder. Workers either lose their jobs or sign on with a new company, losing any seniority or other benefits they might have accumulated with the previous employers. Wages range from about $9 to $15 an hour, but it’s not unexpected that wages are undercut by contractors making $8.50 an hour or less.

John Zupancic, an agent in Pittsburgh who had worked for American Airlines/TWA for 36 years, was forced to take a pay cut when Envoy took over operations.  Alphonzo Dandridge worked the ramp in Memphis until July when Envoy announced it was shifting work to another ground handling company that paid $8.50 an hour with no benefits.

“These workers know that nothing will change at Envoy until they have their union, and that’s why agents are fighting back and calling on the NMB to schedule their election now,” said CWA President Chris Shelton. “They have the support of every CWA member in this fight.”

Envoy Air is owned by American Airlines Group and operates regional flights and baggage services for American and other airlines.

Agents from these stations attended the day of action: Memphis, Tenn.; Houston, Corpus Christie, Wichita Falls, and Beaumont, Tex.; Lawton, Okla.; Los Angeles; Miami, Jacksonville, and Fort Meyers, Fla.; Little Rock, Ark.; Pittsburgh; New Orleans; Louisville; Chicago; Cleveland, Columbus, and Dayton, Ohio; Madison, Wis.; Joplin, Mo., and Rochester, N.Y.

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