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

Bernie Sanders (Michael Vadon FLIKR CC )

Bernie Sanders (Michael Vadon FLIKR CC )

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


APWU Step In To Voice Concerns Over Staple/Office Depot Merger

In Meeting with FTC Staff, Union Voices Skepticism about Essendant as a Substitute for True Competition in the Office-Supply Market  

WASHINGTON – On November 18, representatives of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) met with Federal Trade Commission investigators to present the union’s report Bad for Business.”  The report is an analysis of how the proposed merger of Staples and Office Depot would hurt American businesses if it were approved by federal regulators. 

The report examines the impact of the proposed merger of America’s largest and second largest office-supply superstore chains on business-to-business transactions.

The APWU study reveals that a combined Staples and Office Depot would have over $14 billion in annual sales to business customers in North America – nearly 14 times greater than its nearest competitor. Competitors to a combined Staples/Office Depot would be so small and weak that APWU President Mark Dimondstein has described it as “Bambi vs. Godzilla.”

In the meeting, held at the FTC’s Washington offices, the APWU also voiced strenuous objections to relying on office-supply wholesaler Essendant to remedy the harm that would be caused by combining the top two competitors.

Even with the addition of divested Staples corporate contracts, Essendant would not be a significant competitor in the office-supply market, the union said.

A spin-off of corporate contracts could not offer more than a short-lived solution because contracts could easily return to Staples, the APWU pointed out. FTC representatives responded that, as with any FTC-approved settlement, any possible settlement agreement in this case would need to exhibit “simplicity and concreteness.”

APWU representatives also stressed that Essendant was not a fair substitute for businesses looking for nationwide one-stop shopping comparable to what they currently receive from the two large competing retailers.

In addition to its “Bad for Business report, APWU also released a study in May 2015, “No Sale, describing why the merger of the giant office-supply chains was bad for consumers.

No Sale identified four specific reasons why the proposed merger of the only two remaining office-supply superstore chains in the U.S. should be blocked, including:

1. Mass market retailers, such as Target and Walmart, are not true competitors with office superstores. 

2. Once the office-supply superstore market shrinks to a single company, it will never grow back because the barriers to entry would be too high.

3. Internet retailers are not true competitors in the office-supply market. They can’t compete for business from the more than one in five U.S. households – about 65 million people – who do not have Internet access.

4. Higher prices and reduced choice – the inevitable consequence of a monopoly market – will cause disproportionate harm to communities of color and low-income households.

A decision from the FTC staff is expected on December 8, although another extension is possible. Reviews from regulators in Canada and the European Union will extend into 2016.


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

Stronger Together: Envoy Agents Vote for CWA Representation


Washington, D.C. — Nearly 5,000 Envoy Air agents (formerly American Eagle) joined together and voted overwhelmingly for representation by the Communications Workers of America in an election conducted by the National Mediation Board.  

The agents work at 102 stations nationwide and have a broad range of responsibilities for passenger service and fleet service work. Envoy is owned by American Airlines Group. 

Several agents attended the vote count at the NMB, including Takisha Washington, Christopher Rhodes and Aushya Hoover. 

Takisha Washington, from Dallas-Fort Worth, said, agents “need a union to create fairness, a safer work environment, job security and better wages.”  

Christopher Rhodes of Little Rock, Ark., said, “This is going to really help people out. We will be able to bargain for things like days off and healthcare, and we will be able to bargain to improve our wages.” 

“This means everything to me,” said Aushya Hoover of Rochester, New York. “We work right next to mainline airlines and they implement different rules for us. We’re treated unequally and unfairly. Now that we have a union, we can finally get some parity.”

“I think it’s great that Envoy agents have voted to be part of CWA,” said Chris Kress, an American Airlines passenger service agent at Dallas-Fort Worth. “We can’t let the company pit us against each other and against even lower paid contractors who are not employees.  Now all agents at the New American Airlines — Legacy AA, Legacy USAirways, Piedmont and Envoy — are part of the CWA family.  Like our red wrist bands say–we are stronger together.  It takes all of us standing together to improve our wages and working conditions.” 

Envoy agents have been mobilizing for the right to union representation and to negotiate for fair wages and to improve their jobs. Without a union voice, agents had little or no job security and no say about their wages, as their work is often outsourced to a lower bidder. Their jobs are stressful and demanding, with agents cross-trained and cross utilized to carry out a number of different jobs.   

In addition to the Envoy agents, CWA represents 15,000 agents at American Airlines and about 4,000 agents at Piedmont. The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA represents nearly 60,000 Flight Attendants at 19 airlines. 

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation Answers Charity’s Plea for Help

With less than a month until Operation Santa Claus delivery day, the situation looked dire. Though the charitable program of the State Employees’ Association had found sponsors for thousands of children, more than 400 still needed help. Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation came to the aid of these children with a generous contribution of $4,000.

Operation Santa Claus, also known as OSC, first began over 50 years ago when a small group of state employees decided to pool their resources to provide Christmas gifts for children in need. Since that time, the program has grown exponentially providing holiday cheer for about 3,000 children living all around the state.  NH DHHS social services case workers identify the children and through the generosity of active and retired state employees, members of other SEA/SEIU Local 1984 bargaining units, the public and corporations each child receives items they need, as well as items they want.  Many of the children are abused, neglected or homeless.

OSC put out a plea for help in the State Employees’ Association online newsletter, which caught the attention of WMUR-TV. The station broadcast a short feature, which drew a response from the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation. The Foundation donated $4,000 to sponsor the remaining children.

“Knowing that these children will have a happy Christmas filled with good cheer and gifts is thanks enough for us,” said Beth Roberts, Senior Vice President, Regional Markets for Harvard Pilgrim Health Care.  “At Harvard Pilgrim giving back to the community is an essential part of our mission throughout the year, and we are delighted to join with state employees and others in supporting Operation Santa Claus.”

Linda Farrell, a State of NH retiree and the chair of the Operation Santa Claus Committee, said OSC is truly a community effort that depends on its volunteers and donations big and small.

“We couldn’t succeed without help from caring people and organizations across the state,” Farrell said. “We’re incredibly appreciative of this donation from the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation, which will help hundreds of children.”

“We also want to thank WMUR-TV for getting the news out,” Farrell said.

“Together, with the people who donate a few dollars or sponsor just one child, or a company that donates hundreds of dollars, the community comes together to help make the holiday season just a bit brighter for children and families in need,” said Richard Gulla, President, SEA/SEIU Local 1984. “On behalf of our organization, I thank Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation for helping us reach our goals this year.”

“All children who needed sponsors will get presents to open on Christmas Day, just as they have for all of Operation Santa Claus’ 55 years of operation,” said Gulla. “Volunteer help is needed on drop-off days of Nov. 30, and Dec. 1 and 2, as well as the distribution day of Nov. 10. If you can volunteer some time on one of those days, you can email seaosc@seiu1984.org.”

You can read more about OSC online at www.seiu1984.org/operationsantaclaus.

Leo W Gerard: One Percenters Stuff Their Pumpkin Pie Holes

This Thanksgiving, in dining rooms across America, the turkey will be smaller, the stuffing more meager, the pumpkin pie sliced thinner. Gratitude will be given. But roiling just below the surface, for far too many families, will be economic anxiety.

The vast majority of working Americans haven’t seen a real raise in 35 years.Meanwhile, every year, their health care costs rise. Their employers eliminate pensions. And their kids struggle with rising college or technical school tuition and debt. Workers worry whether they will ever be able to pay the bills.

By contrast, on the other side of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the richest 1 percent are supersizing their feasts. For example, three families will spend $45,000 – each – for Marie Antoinette-style meals, gold flakes and all, at the Old Homestead Steakhouse in New York City. That’s up by $10,000 from the restaurant’s Thanksgiving fare for eight last year. It’s more, for one meal, than the average American worker earns in a year.

The 1 percent can spend $45,000 for a Thanksgiving supper because they’re gobbling up virtually all of the income from workers’ productivity increases. And now they’ve launched a new assault on workers. It’s a lawsuit called Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association (CTA). The 1 percent hopes it will prevent public service workers like teachers from joining together to collectively bargain for better wages and working conditions. If the $45,000-Thanksgiving-dinner crew wins the case, they’ll go after private-sector labor organizations next. They intend to gorge themselves until there’s nothing left for workers.

This is what a $75-a-pound turkey struts like.

This is what a $75-a-pound turkey struts like.

The Marie Antoinette $45,000 Thanksgiving includes two turkeys. Because when would one, 20-pound free-range, organically raised bird at $75 a pound ever be enough?

The Friedrichs case is about power. Individual workers don’t bargain for raises with gigantic multinational corporations and government agencies. They beg.

But when workers band together and seek raises as a team, they gain for themselves the power necessary to negotiate. That’s intolerable to 1 percenters. And that’s why they’re backing the Friedrichs case – to seize that negotiating power from workers.

Defending their right to collectively bargain are public service workers ­– the likes of firemen, teachers, social workers and public health nurses. The labor organizations these workers belong to try to ensure that they receive living wages and decent retirement benefits.

But just as importantly, public service workers also use their collective voice to negotiate in the public interest, including improving response times for paramedics and lowering social worker caseloads to allow adequate time to investigate child abuse allegations.

Public school teachers, who spend an average of $500 a year out of their own pockets for classroom supplies, routinely bargain to secure the smaller class sizes that parents want, to protect the recess breaks that elementary students need and to preserve arts and music education.

In addition, significantly, a study last spring showed that more than half of teachers have used their own money to help students experiencing crises, to get them clothing or to feed them.

The Marie Antoinette $45,000 Thanksgiving includes gravy made with Pappy Van Winkle bourbon, which goes for $4,900 a bottle. Because when would $9 worth of cooking sherry ever be good enough?

The paychecks of all workers are on the line in the Friedrichs case because if the 1 percent succeeds in stripping rights from public service workers, it will go after those of everyone else.

This creates great economic risks, not just for union members, but for non-union workers and their children.

As it is now, a union member earns, on average, $200 more a week and receives better benefits than a worker who is not in a labor organization. If the 1 percenters succeed in robbing private sector as well as public service workers of their bargaining rights, then the wealthy will gain clout to eliminate that union advantage and eventually to suppress all wages.

When union members lose, all workers lose.  That’s because their ability to secure better wages pressures employers whose workers aren’t organized to raise their pay too. In addition, a study released earlier this year showed that the children of union members as well as the children of non-union members who live in high union density communities experience greater upward mobility.

That means entire communities benefit from the work of labor organizations. And entire communities would suffer if the 1 percent can weaken or destroy them.

The Marie Antoinette $45,000 Thanksgiving includes whipped sweet potatoes festooned with $1,600-an-ounce Royal Osetra caviar. Because when would the red-light-special, $115-an-ounce can of fish eggs ever be acceptable?

Providing the big bucks to push the Friedrichs case is the Center for Individual Rights (CIR), which is bankrolled by 1 percenters and right-wing organizations. Its name is significant. It wants to isolate workers, render them individuals rather than members of teams acting concertedly to win benefits for all.

The name of the group opposing CIR is noteworthy as well. It is America Works Together. It supports workers’ right to jointly seek advancement of all members of the group. Of course, labor organizations like the National Education Association (NEA), the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and my union, the United Steelworkers (USW), are members of America Works Together.

But the coalition also includes civil rights, faith, legal and health organizations.Among them are the Alliance for a Just Society, Coalition on Human Needs, Interfaith Worker Justice and The Main Street Alliance.

America Works Together is an alliance of alliances advocating for the right of American workers to form alliances. It’s a symbol of the idea it supports – that community creates power.

The Marie Antoinette $45,000 Thanksgiving final course is pumpkin ice cream decked with 24-carat gold flakes and a $4,200 bottle of private reserve rum-infused eggnog sauce.

That’s dessert for the 1 percent.

The 99 percent is seeking just deserts before the U.S. Supreme Court so that workers will retain the right to organize and collectively bargain for wages that will enable them to provide not a garish Marie Antoinette meal but a simple Norman RockwellThanksgiving for their families.


LiUNA Endorses Hillary Clinton

LIUNA Banner

Washington, D.C. – Following a deliberative and democratic process to thoroughly consider the opinions and the views of LIUNA members; including a membership poll and a vote of the General Executive Board, Terry O’Sullivan, General President of LIUNA, made the following statement today on the endorsement of Secretary Clinton:

LIUNA is proud to endorse Secretary Clinton for President of the United States. The strong, proud and united members of LIUNA will be on the frontlines of the 2016 elections; on the streets, knocking on doors, making calls and encouraging family, friends, and neighbors to elect Hillary Clinton as the 45th President of the United States.

LIUNA members and leadership believe that Secretary Clinton is the right leader to move our country forward and the most qualified candidate to address the many challenges facing the United States.

LIUNA members are deeply concerned about the direction of our country and are looking for a real leader who will create good jobs, rebuild our country, and grow our economy. Secretary Clinton’s record proves that she is a tough and tested fighter for our nation and for working men and women.

LIUNA is eager to work with Secretary Clinton, as the next President of the United States, to help enact legislation and promote policies that provide long-term investment in America’s roads and bridges, and encourage a real all-of-the-above approach to energy development. We also look forward to working with Secretary Clinton on repeal of the so-called Cadillac tax, fair postal reform, and policies that protect pensions and support public employees.

After Secretary Clinton received the endorsement, Hillary Clinton relased the following statement:

“I am honored to have earned the endorsement of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, one of the fastest-growing and most diverse unions in the country.”

“Unions like LIUNA have helped build the great American middle class, and they are essential as we work to build the good-paying jobs and careers of the 21st century. It’s time to put more Americans to work modernizing our infrastructure—building roads and bridges, repairing leaky pipelines, upgrading our water systems, and hardening our energy system against the threats of cyberattack and climate change. As President, I will fight to increase investment in our infrastructure, including our energy infrastructure, and will protect the prevailing wage standards and project labor agreements that make construction careers middle-class careers.”

Iron Workers Endorse Hillary Clinton for President

 (image Keith Kissel FLIKR)

(image Keith Kissel FLIKR)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Machinists Union Announces Bob Martinez to Succeed Tom Buffenbarger as International President

Washington, D.C. – The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) announced that General Vice President Bob Martinez, Jr. will succeed current International President Tom Buffenbarger, who steps down on Jan.1, 2016 after a 45-year career that spans service as a local IAM Shop Steward to more than 18 years as the IAM’s top elected official.

The announcement follows a vote by the union’s 11-member Executive Council, in accordance with the IAM Constitutional requirement for senior elected officials to leave office at age 65. Martinez, a 35-year IAM veteran will serve the remainder of Buffenbarger’s current four-year term, which concludes July 1, 2017. 

“There have been 13 International Presidents since the Machinists Union was founded in 1888,” said Buffenbarger. “The strength of this union has always been its ability to cultivate leaders who respect and reflect the values and goals of our membership. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be part of that heritage and I have full confidence that Bob Martinez is the right person to carry on that proud tradition.” 

A native of Texas, Martinez served in the U.S. Navy before joining the IAM in 1980 as an aircraft assembler at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Ft. Worth, TX. Rising through the ranks, Martinez held numerous positions at the local and district level before assuming the office of Southern Territory Vice President in July 2003. In addition to his current position as Vice President in charge of IAM Headquarters, Martinez serves as a Trustee of the IAM National Pension Fund, and is Vice President on the National Executive Board of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA). 

Buffenbarger’s tenure as International President was marked by a commitment to organizing, financial stability and a recognition that diversity in local and senior leadership is a key to remaining relevant in the modern workplace. The current IAM Executive Council is now among the most diverse in the labor movement, including men and women of African American, Hispanic, Native American and European heritage. 

The IAM is among the largest industrial trade unions in North America and represents nearly 600,000 active and retired members in aerospace, transportation, manufacturing, shipbuilding, woodworking and other industries. Visit www.goiam.org for more information about the IAM.

Stamp Money Out Of Politics With The Stamp Stampede And The NH Rebellion

Image provvided by Stamp Stampede NH

Image provided by Stamp Stampede NH

Today the NH Rebellion sent out an email talking about a program, that we here at the NH Labor News have been supporting for months now, called the Stamp Stampede.

The Stamp Stampede is tens of thousands of Americans legally stamping messages on our nation’s currency to #GetMoneyOut of Politics. As more and more stamped money spreads, so will the movement to amend the Constitution and overturn Citizens United.

The NH Rebellion has laid it out in four simple steps:

1)  Watch Ben & Jerry’s Video (below) –  You’ll find out that stamping is very much legal, easy, and on one $1.00 bill, reaches over 800 people!

2)  Buy a Stamp – Stamps are normally $12.00 on the site, but our friends at Stamp Stampede are offering NH Rebels a special discount code to take 25% off.  At checkout, add discount code NHR25.  At that price, buy them for holiday gifts!    

(NHLN Note: if you’re a member of CWA, you can get a stamp from your LPAT coordinator. )

3)  Stamp Your Money –  Your self-inking stamp will last for thousands of impressions on any denomination of bill.  And you’ll feel good about it, AND you’ll help Stamp Money out of Politics!   

4)  Repeat, Repeat, Repeat  . . .

It’s time to #GetMoneyOut of politics and take back our government.


Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, The Case To Push Right To Work Nationally

Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association

Another day, another attack on working families.

The Supreme Court is about to hear a case, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association that could overturn a nearly forty-year decision that allows unions to negotiate “fair-share” fees for non-union members who benefit from the union’s contract.

“We are disappointed that at a time when big corporations and the wealthy few are rewriting the rules in their favor, knocking American families and our entire economy off-balance, the Supreme Court has chosen to take a case that threatens the fundamental promise of America—that if you work hard and play by the rules you should be able to provide for your family and live a decent life,” wrote NEA President Lily Eskelsen García, AFT President Randi Weingarten, CTA President Eric C. Heins, AFSCME President Lee Saunders, and SEIU President Mary Kay Henry in joint statement.

For decades corporations have been trying to bust our unions in an effort to suppress workers and pocket more of the fruits of our labor. Twenty-five states have already passed, so-called Right To Work laws, that make it illegal for unions and employers to negotiate a fair share clause’s in their contracts.

Nearly forty years ago the right for unions to charge a fair share fee was challenged in the Supreme Court. In the case, Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, the court upheld the union’s right to negotiate a fee from non-members who benefit from the contract.

For generations unions have protected workers and help to counterbalance the corporate race to the bottom. In free-bargaining states, workers on average, make $1553 dollars more annually.

“It’s abundantly clear that right to work laws are negatively correlated with workers’ wages,” said Elise Gould, Senior Economist with the Economic Policy Institute.

This case, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, is just another example of the extreme right wing pushing their anti-worker agenda on all workers. The case has been pushed by the Center for Individual Rights with strong support from wealthy businessmen and ultra-libertarians Charles and David Koch.

“The list of foundations and donor-advised funds supporting the Center for Individual Rights reads like a who’s who of the right’s organized opposition to labor,” wrote Adele M. Stan in the American Prospect.

The Center for Individual Rights (CIR) is also known for taking cases to the Supreme Court to overturn rulings on Immigration, Affirmative Action, and the Voting Rights Act. CIR quickly gained support from anti-worker groups including “the Cato Institute, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Fund, and the Mackinac Center, a major force behind the 2012 anti-union legislation enacted in Michigan,” who filed amicus briefs to the Supreme Court on behalf of the plaintiff, Friedrichs.

The AFL-CIO and AFSCME also filed amicus briefs opposing this corporate funded attack on workers rights. Along with the AFL-CIO and AFSCME more than 70, civil and human rights groups, including the NAACP, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the National Women’s Law Center, and GLAD, filed their own amicus brief opposing this attack on workers.

“For nearly 40 years, unions have bargained to further opportunity for women, people of color, and LGBT workers,” said Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “At a time of increasing inequality, and when the odds are increasingly in favor of the wealthy and against the American worker, we urge the Court to adhere to its own precedent and reaffirm Abood so that unions representing all public sector workers, both members and non-members, may continue to effectively bargain for vital workplace benefits and protections.”

When workers stand together, we win. These attacks on our rights and freedoms have not gone unnoticed and will not stop us from continuing to organize to make the lives of working people better.

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