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IBEW Is Going Green With New Jobs

Jobs are slowly coming back. Now have unemployment at 7.8% nationally.  The Building Trades Unions have been some of the hardest hit workers in this recession.  When companies and towns are hoarding their money in the fear of economic collapse this means less money for expansion projects.

Durning this two year low some unions have taken the opportunity to train their workers for ‘Green Energy’ projects that are slowing gaining ground. Take for example these union workers in Vermont who are being trained on some of this new technology.

Green Tech Training Rolls Into VT.

“From solar panel installation to green electrical engineering the trailer is an invaluable educational tool on how to go green.”

The Green Mountain state is not the only ones who working to build a more eco-friendly electrical system.  The IBEW in San Deigo California (local 569) are going one step further. They are not only teaching their members how to install new green technology they are going out and building it.

Micah Mitrosky is an environmental organizer with IBEW and as she explains in the video she “works to make sure that green jobs, like solar, wind, geothermal, electric car charging stations are IBEW jobs, and also to build partnerships between our local and the environmental community, so we can build power and strengthen our labor movement.”

Projects like this a win-win. This project alone will provide 150 jobs for these IBEW workers all while reducing the dependance on fossil fuels for electricity production.

“It’s actually surprising if you look at the numbers and thousands of megawatts that we have under agreement, and the thousands of megawatts that we’re negotiating to be done by the IBEW. It’s a phenomenal amount of work,” said Nick Segura, Assistant Business Manager for IBEW Local 569.

The best part is that after the initial investment is recovered solar power projects like this will save millions of dollars.  In New Hampshire, they are currently building a new solar panel array on top of the parking garage at the Manchester Airport.  This 525 kW project is expected to save the airport $100,000 per year in energy costs.

Micah summed it up perfectly when she said

“We’re doing a project that is both creating good union jobs but is good for the local community and is exciting.”

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NH AFL-CIO President Mark MacKenzie on Scott Walker’s Re-Endorsement of Ovide Lamontagne for Governor

With his most recent endorsement, emailed to New Hampshire voters today, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is again telling us that Ovide Lamontagne would make New Hampshire more like Walker’s Wisconsin. That is probably a good choice for extremists, but a terrible choice for New Hampshire’s middle class families.


Governor Walker made a name for himself stripping teachers, firefighters and nurses of their rights and bankrupting the state in the name of an extreme, right wing agenda. Under Walker, class sizes increased and nearly 23,000 people lost their healthcare because of Medicaid cuts while millionaires alone got a huge tax cut. His economic agenda sent the state into a tailspin, wiping out 12,500 jobs in his first year in office alone.


It’s clear that Ovide Lamontagne plans to follow the same extreme path. In fact, he has already said that he would chip away at our rights at work with a right-to-work for less law. He has already pledged to reject federal money for our public schools and raise taxes for the middle class to pay for tax breaks for the wealthy. Lamontagne has made it clear that he would be “radically different” than New Hampshire Governor John Lynch by claiming that he would be “Scott Walker” if elected. His continued reliance on his extremist pal Walker proves the point.


We do not need Scott Walker’s policies in New Hampshire. Scott Walker’s endorsement makes it clear that Ovide Lamontagne does not understand New Hampshire priorities and would be a dangerous choice for workers.

Could Anyone Be Worse For Education Than Pres. Bush? Yes and His Name Is Mitt Romney

The election is coming down to to the wire and everyone is trying their best to win.  The problem is that Mitt Romney has been telling people something different durning the last few weeks and we need to make sure people know the truth.

For public employees and public education Mitt Romney would be even worse than President Bush (if that were even possible).

“He [Obama] says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers. Did he not get the message of  Wisconsin? The American people did. It’s time for us to cut back on government and help the American people.”
—Mitt Romney, Campaign Event, June 8, 2012

This week the Obama For America campaign started airing new ads highlighting Mitt Romney’s real positions on Teachers, Education, and Public Employees.

Digging a little deeper we find out how truly bad Mitt Romney will be for education.

  1. As Governor, Mitt cut funding to early childhood education. (Boston Globe, 6/9/07; Telegram and Gazette, 2/2/07)
  2. Mitt believe that teachers unions are advocating for smaller class size to increase union membership. (Romney, No Apology, p. 208)
  3. Supported the attacks in Ohio and Wisconsin on the rights of union members. As governor, he tried to eliminate collective bargaining rights for thousands of state employees. He has pledged to use the U.S. Department of Education to assail unions formed by educators and school staff. (Huffington Post, 4/17/12.)
  4. Wants to cut funding for police officers, firefighters and teachers. (New York Times, 6/12/12.)
  5. Romney also wants to make it harder for children to get a college degree. He wants to cut Pell Grants for millions of students (Huffington Post, 3/27/12.). He even went on to say that if you could not afford the school to take out a loan or “borrow money from your parents”.

What we do not need is a nation wide attack on our public employees and our public education like we have seen in Wisconsin.  We need to ensure that Barack Obama remains our President.  We need to continue his policies for expanding education, like more funding for early learning programs, expanded Pell Grants for an additional 3 Million people, and advocates against “teaching to the test”.  

Our future depends on the quality of the education we provide. The first step to moving out of poverty and into the middle class is a solid education.  Barack Obama knows that.

(For more information on Mitt Romney and Barack Obama’s positions on Education go to AFT.Org/Election2012/)

NATCA and IFATCA Celebrate International Air Traffic Controller Day

On Saturday, Oct. 20, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) will celebrate the International Day of the Air Traffic Controller, paying tribute to the work done by air traffic controllers throughout the international aviation community and in the United States.

The air traffic control profession is one that requires highly specialized knowledge, skills and abilities. Air traffic controllers must work rapidly and efficiently to coordinate the succinct movement of air traffic while ensuring its safe separation and maintaining total concentration. They must understand complex situations and make quick decisions while managing multiple flights at a time.

Air traffic controllers have an incredible amount of responsibility and the profession is subject to some of the strictest physical and mental medical requirements, making it one that is consistently regarded around the world as one of the most challenging.

Air traffic controllers in the U.S. operate the world’s largest airspace system to near perfection every day. Just over 15,000 men and women safely guide 5,900 flights per hour or, 98 flights per minute. They also ensure the safe departure and arrival of over 700 million passengers per year, the equivalent of more than twice the population of the U.S.

“We celebrate our profession with air traffic controllers around the world,” said NATCA President Paul Rinaldi. “These men and women do not expect to be thanked for their work, but today we do just that while also recognizing their dedication to the profession and their outstanding performances on a daily basis.”

“NATCA is very proud to be a part of the international community of air traffic controllers,” said NATCA Executive Vice President Trish Gilbert. “We are honored to share this day with controllers throughout the world, who work tirelessly day-in and day-out to ensure safety of the global airspace and of the international flying public.”

Special flyer from IFATCA

If We Don’t Stand Up For Our Rights, Nobody Will

If you’re a union member today, go to the union hall. Look around and feel the history and realize that you are in a sacred place. This is the altar that upon which the middle class was born. All that we gained, all that we enjoy as a labor force started here. It was baptized in the blood of our forbearers’, built upon the broken and battered bodies of the first to stand up for our workplace rights. Our early leaders were beaten, stabbed, shot and jailed as traitors by greedy industrialists. They persevered down through the decades. Our children went to schools instead of the mills because of the sacrifices the men and women made. Our wages became better and set standards for non union workers. The workplace became safer through their tireless work. We attained forty hour work weeks, vacations, overtime pay, pensions and health benefits. People starved, lost their shelter and sometimes their families so the dignity in our labor would be recognized. The country as a whole gained status and pride. We became that shining beacon that people from afar strove to come to or duplicate.


That is being lost now. Big business, in collusion with corrupt and bought politicians has staged an attack of unprecedented proportions upon us. We are locked out of the workplace in an effort to force us to give back the hard won gains. This is being done in a time of record profits, record pay and bonuses for CEO’s and upper echelon management and a shrinking job market due to outsourcing. They use these massive profits to form shadow groups in the form of patriotic organizations, usually starting with the names Americans, Liberty and Freedom to cover their real purpose of destroying the unions. We are their biggest threat. These groups write laws, set educational agendas to further the rich and enslave the rest of us. They use propaganda and lies through their fascist, biased TV stations and radio talk shows. These are nothing but bought and paid for ignorant ‘spokespersons’ used to vilify the very foundation of our country. They attack teachers, schools and the processes in which our students are taught. They seek to lessen education with slick programs such as “No Student Left Behind”, Charter Schools under little guidance from real educators. They, the well educated, seek to stop programs that would teach people High Order Thing Skills. The biggest educational threat to them is people with reason, logic and analytical skills. Workers with these skills question, they do not mindlessly perform tasks that are unethical.

These elite one percenters and their paid puppets are not patriots. They do not believe in the American way of life. They hide their wealth overseas and they use their massive wealth to skew the tax code for their profit, put their people in positions in government agencies to obfuscate the policies and rules that protect us. The problem is that they are winning, they have the money, they political power and the will to keep up the attack. They feel it is their destiny to rule this country and every one shall bow before their mighty power.

We need to look to our hall, realize our strength comes from the righteousness of our honest labor and our solidarity. We need to step up, step to the front and attack back nationwide in the same way they have attacked us. If we don’t do this our children will be back in the mills instead of schools, our workplaces will become death traps and we will have to work to our deaths. We will not be able to retire. We have to press our politicians for radical changes and if they feel it is much too risky to their coveted positions to put forth; we have to start looking at forming a new party. A party made up of working class men and women who understand the issues of the men and women who built this country, the working class not the rich elites. The present system does not work, it must be changed.
Steven Kloppenburg
Retired IUPAT member

You Are Better Off Now Than Four Years Ago As New Unemployment Claims Drop

Cross posted with permission from the United Steel Workers Blog

Four years ago, hundreds of thousands of people were applying for unemployment insurance benefits each week.  In the third week of October 2008, nearly half a million people filed initial claims, signaling that they had recently lost their jobs.  By the first quarter of 2009, every week more than 600,000 people were filing initial claims.


Now, instead, the labor market is improving.  In the week that ended Oct. 6, the number of workers filing new claims for jobless benefits fell to its lowest level in four and a half years.  More importantly, the number of new unemployment claims has steadily decreased since the spring of 2009.

The number of initial claims is an important indicator of economic health.  It is more precise than looking at the total number of workers who are receiving unemployment benefits because the total can be artificially depressed by workers whose unemployment benefits have run out. The number of new claims measures only those who have recently become unemployed, making it a much more accurate gauge of employment trends.  Reductions in initial claims over the past three years show that the rate of job loss has significantly dropped, meaning the economy is becoming stronger.

Reversing the rising unemployment of four years ago took substantial investment by the federal government.  The economic stimulus, passed in 2009, extended unemployment benefits, which gave furloughed workers additional time to find new jobs and gave them a few more bucks to spend, which, in itself, stimulated the economy. Just as importantly, the stimulus helped curb unemployment by supporting businesses.  $51 billion of the stimulus went toward stabilizing companies affected by the failing economy so that they would not be forced to lay off more workers.

In contrast to four years ago, the unemployment rate is now dropping.  Not only is the number of newly unemployed steadily declining, the number of new jobs is also growing.  There were 3.6 million job openings in August 2012, up 400,000 from August 2011 and up 1.2 million from the end of the recession in 2009.  Businesses have now turned a corner from simply maintaining their current workforces to adding new positions.

Recent trends in initial unemployment claims help explain the falling unemployment rate, which is now the lowest since January 2009.  As the economy continues to recover, fewer businesses feel they need to cut jobs and more are beginning to add them.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on Second Presidential Debate

From WIKIPediaTonight President Obama drew a stark contrast between Mitt Romney’s vision for the future and his own. In doing so, he could not have made the choice clearer for working families.

There are powerful contrasts in the values of these two people. President Obama signed the Lily Ledbetter Act; Governor Romney touts his “binders full of women.” President Obama favors respect and rights for all people; Governor Romney says immigrants will “self deport” if they are starved of jobs and income. President Obama believes everybody should have a fair shot and play by the same rules and he supports good teachers and education for all our children; Governor Romney believes that if the richest Americans do well, it will solve our nation’s economic problems.

President Obama believes in honoring hard work and respecting the people who do it, whether their name is on the front door or their front pocket. He believes in rebuilding the American manufacturing sector and rebuilding our national infrastructure — so we can strengthen our middle class. He believes in protecting the vital public services Americans rely on, as well as the people who perform them.

In stark contrast, Mitt Romney is advocating for policies that he perfected at Bain Capital: Hollow out the middle class, outsource jobs and give even more tax breaks to the top 2 percent and make working families pay for them.  Despite his sudden flip from the ‘severe conservative’ to ‘Moderate Mitt,’ we’ve seen him dismiss half the country behind closed doors and sneer at the people who work hard every day and struggle to get by. Working America is a lot smarter than he gives us credit for — and we overwhelmingly reject his core policies that threaten the middle class.

Carhartt, Made For The American Worker, By American Workers

Everyone knows the clothing brand, Carhartt.  They make the clothes for people who work outside all day long.  Carhartt has been an American company since 1889 and are growing stronger every year.

The Carhartt brand was started by Hamilton Carhartt who believed as much in workers as he did in his clothes.  He once said

“I believe that when a man wears an article that I manufacture, his self-respect is increased because he knows that it is made by an honest manufacturer, who is honest with his employees”
Hamilton Carhartt

Carhartt manufactures thousands of different types of clothes from rugged overalls to cool and comfortable t-shirts.  They make these clothes at two facilities in the United States and other facilities around the world.

While I would love to say that all the products they made were made here in the United States, I am still happy to say they have created a “Made in the USA” line. This line of clothing is made by UFCW union members at the Tennessee and Kentucky Mills.  These clothes will have a special ‘Made in the USA’ Logo (see right).

Carhartt serves the blue collar worker and now it is time for the blue collar workers to support Carhartt’s Made in the USA Line.  We need to show the rest of the clothing manufactures that clothes ‘Made in the USA’ sell better than any other brand.

Below is a video created by Carhartt that explains their dedication to the American Worker and to American manufacturing.

Canvassing With AFL-CIO Sec-Tres Liz Shuler


AFL-CIO Sec Liz Shuler and NHLN Blogger Matt Murray

Brothers and sisters,

A very special guest will be joining us for our Labor Walk on the Seacoast next Sunday. Liz Shuler, secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO, will knock on doors with us in Sunday’s “Walk for Working Families”.

Secretary-Treasurer Shuler knows more than anyone how important elections are for working families. She knows this election will determine whether we have collective bargaining in New Hampshire, which has brought so many Granite State families into the middle class, and she knows that you can’t raise a family unless you can earn a living wage. Can you join Liz this weekend in walking for New Hampshire families?

Walk for Working Families


155 West Road, Portsmouth

Sunday, October 21st, 1-4 p.m.

Click here to sign up.

Liz Shuler understands that real change happens when we have real conversations about how to build better and happier families. She’s spent the last few years mobilizing young workers – and now young worker groups across the country are helping turn the tide in states like Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. She is changing the conversation around what’s important in this election, by getting women to host house parties to talk with their friends, daughters and mothers about why they vote.

You can start the conversation with your own family and friends – bring them to our walk on Sunday and prepare to be fired up by Liz about what these walks mean for Granite Staters. If you can’t make it on Sunday, don’t worry – we have another walk on Saturday in Nashua.


Nashua Labor to Labor walk

Nashua Teachers Union Hall

7C Taggart Drive, Nashua, NH

Saturday, October 20th, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Click here to sign up.


In solidarity,

the New Hampshire AFL-CIO

International President Wise of the Ironworkers Talks About the “CHOICE” We Face This Election

Today the President of the IronWorkers, Walter Wise, put out a new message to all of the IronWorkers in America.  “This election is about choice” he said.  Pres. Wise is absolutely right.  Do we want a President who wants to reinvest our country by rebuilding our nations roads and bridges, therefore putting more workers on the job? Or do we want to elect a President who fights for “corporate people” and the Associated Builders and Contractors?

While this message is directed to the members of the Ironworkers union, it is the same for all people who work in any building trade.

The Presidents Message

As a Union Ironworker, you have a choice to make this Presidential Election.  When President Obama urged Congress to pass a vital infrastructure bill to put more Americans back to work, Romney’s political party said “no.”  Now, where is the investment for our future? The answer is simple: Job-creating infrastructure investments have been blocked by Republican filibusters in the Senate.

A special video message from General President Wise: You have a choice to make in this Presidential Election.

Fairness & Equality For All: A Special Endorsement Message From General President Wise.

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