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Sanders Supporters Attempt To Change Super Delegates Votes Through NH Democratic Convention

NH Convention 2016

Democrats line the street leading up to Bedford High School where the NH Democratic Party held their convention today.

An attempt by Bernie Sanders supporters, to change the New Hampshire Democratic Party platform regarding super delegates, failed at today’s NH Democratic Party Convention.

As the Democratic National Committee rules allow, super delegates freely choose whom they will support, regardless of whom the voters of their state voted for in the primary.

Secretary Clinton collected hundreds of super delegates before many of the primary votes were cast. Most of NH’s super delegates became outspoken surrogates Hillary throughout the primary.

After Sanders beat Clinton, 60%-38% in the NH Primary, voters began to call for the super delegates to change their position and support the candidate that the voters overwhelmingly supported.

At today’s convention, delegates were given the final copy of the party platform that included a resolution to pursue changes to super delegates in the 2020 primary. To many of the delegates this was not enough, but the convention rules, once adopted, would not allow for any amendments to the state party platform from the delegates on the floor.

Prior to the adoption of the convention rules, NH State Representative Peter Bixby offered up his own rule changes. The change was pretty basic, allow delegates to amend the resolutions, or the party platform, from the floor.

If this rule change would have passed, the New Hampshire Democratic Party could have passed a resolution similar to the one passed in Maine, which would have forced more super delegates to cast their vote for Bernie Sanders at the Democratic National Convention next month.

Both rules changes failed to get the required votes (140-293, 175-297). Unlike the convention in Nevada where a similar resolution was defeated by a voice vote, NH delegates cast their votes in a standing count.

Though Sanders supporters did not get the result they wanted, they process was done professionally. Rep. Bixby even commended Michael Rollo, the rules committee chair, for the way he handled the proposed amendment and the voting process.

After this amendment to the rules failed, the proposed resolutions and party platform were adopted by the convention body without any discussion.

The only question left is what are Sanders and his supporters going to do now?

Will Sanders go to the National Convention and endorse Hillary Clinton? Will he succeed in changing the National Party Platform to remove super delegates from future primary contests? Will those Democrats who supported Sanders in his campaign come together with Clinton supporters to ensure that Donald Trump does not become president?

Lastly, what will happen to all of the Sanders supporters who supported his strong progressive democratic policy ideas but do not call themselves Democrats? What will they do in the general election between Trump and Clinton? Will they keep pushing the Clinton campaign to take a stronger position on Wall Street reform and money in politics? Or will they end up supporting Donald Trump, the man who epitomizes everything that Sanders stood against?

The Sanders campaign scooped up nearly 40% of the overall Democratic voters in his run for the President. Without their support, Hillary Clinton will not be elected, and we will forced to endure four years of Donald Trump.

Clinton And Sanders Rev Up The Crowd At #NHDems2016 Convention, Attendees Call For More Debates

Bernie Sanders Supporters Outside NH Dems Convention

Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton Supporters Outside NH Dems Convention

Yesterday showed exactly how seriously the Democrats of the Granite State are taking this First in the Nation Primary, and exactly who really has a chance at the nomination.

More Debates

In most years, the NH Democrats’ Convention is really just a “rah rah Democrats” fundraiser and meet & greet for New Hampshire candidates. However, this year is very different. The Democratic rank-and-file demanded to be a part of the century-old tradition known as the First in the Nation Primary.

The head of the New Hampshire Democratic Party said, this year we have a “spirited primary,” and this was “the largest state party convention in NH History.”

That was a very nice way of saying we have a highly contested, no holds barred battle for the soul of the Democratic Party.   The upcoming primary is still months away — but battle lines have already been drawn.

Democratic activists holding signs outside the convention calling for more debates.  (Image from Steve Kloppenburg )

Democratic activists holding signs outside the convention calling for more debates.
(Image from Steve Kloppenburg )

Our primary has national implications and that means everyone wants to know whom New Hampshire will choose. However, there is one thing holding the party back: the candidates’ debate schedule. Specifically, the Democratic National Committee and its Chairwoman, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Shultz.

“We express our outrage with the DNC and NHDP for designing an extremely limited 2016 Democratic Presidential Candidates Debate Schedule with onerous Sanctions attached for non-compliance,” wrote a group of Democratic activists who actively protested Wasserman Shultz today.

The convention guests did not hold anything back as Rep. Wasserman Shultz took to the stage. The crowd began chanting, “We want debates, We want debates.”

After attempting to speak over the crowd, Wasserman Shultz finally responded by saying, “enough is enough, we have a job to do. Let’s focus on the task at hand” She continued, “We are here to talk about winning in 2016, not about more debates.” She was obviously rattled by the outspoken crowd.

 

 

Both Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders have been outspoken about holding more debates. More debates allow for non-establishment candidates to get their message out to the people. In O’Malley’s case, it is his Debbie Wasserman Shultz at NH Dems Conventiononly chance to for people to really learn about who he is and stick around past New Hampshire and Iowa. In Sanders’ case, it is his chance to win over people in states outside of New Hampshire with his strong economic message, heading into the Super Tuesday primaries. Hillary Clinton says she is “open to more debates,” but has not used her considerable influence to push for more debates.

We need more debates. We need to show the rest of the country what we – Democrats – are running for. We need to show America that our message is their message. We need to stop letting the Republicans dominate the airwaves with their messages of hate and lies.
CNN, which hosted the GOP Debate on Tuesday night, said that it was their highest-rated debate in history, with over 24 million people watching.

We need to show America that Democrats can win in 2016, and debates are how we can do that. If Wasserman Shultz is not willing to change the debate schedule, many are ready to “make a change in DNC Leadership.”

Hillary Clinton Supporters Outside NH Dems Convention

Hillary Clinton Supporters Outside NH Dems Convention

The Main Event

Let’s not pretend that over 4,200 people attended this convention, which is usually held in high school gymnasium, just to listen to Governor Hassan, Senator Shaheen, or Congresswomen Kuster and Shea-Porter.

We were all there to hear Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

No offense to Martin O’Malley. Governor O’Malley, you have a good message of progress and yes, as Governor, you did some really good things – raising the minimum wage, passing marriage equality, expanding union rights, and worked to reduce crime and gun violence – but you are not what we are looking for in a President. You are saying the right things, but people are just not that into you, sorry.

To me it is amazing how close these two candidates, Clinton and Sanders, really are. They are talking about the same issues, in their own ways, but their solutions are what divides them.

IMG_0044Clinton started off by saying that “America does better with a Democrat in the White House,” and she is right. Over the last 100 years our most prosperous years have been when Democrats ran the country. “Trickle down economics was one of the worst ideas to come out of the 1980’s, except maybe big hair,” said Clinton. She also said she would fight for a higher minimum wage but did not give a number.

Sanders’ entire presidential platform is based on income inequality, wages, trade, and everything we did wrong in the 1980s-2008. Basically it boils down to this: corporations are hiding money overseas to avoid paying taxes and the wealthy are getting richer and richer every day while working Americans watch their paychecks shrink every year.

“Wages are too dam low,” Sanders said. “That is why I am pushing for minimum wage of $15 bucks an hour.”

You can begin to see what I am saying when I say they are close in some ways, but very different in others.

Clinton spoke of her plan to help college students deal with student loan debt. She calls it the “New College Compact.” Her plan is to allow students to “refinance student loans, like a mortgage or car loan.” She said, the “cost of college won’t be a barrier and student debt won’t hold people back.” The compact would push more federal money to public schools and would allow more students to attend college and leave debt free.
Like Clinton, Sanders has a plan to help college students and recent college grads. Sanders has already proposed legislation with his partner-in-progress, Elizabeth Warren, to allow college students to refinance their student loan debt like car loans and mortgages. But he differs from Clinton in how he wants to help people actually go to college. Sanders wants to make every public college and university tuition free, and he intends to make Wall Street pay for it.

“America bailed out Wall Street, now it is time for Wall Street to bail out the rest of America,” said Sanders. His plan is to place a transaction tax on all short-term investments called the “Robin Hood Tax.” Many, including Rep Keith Ellison and the National Nurses United have stood up in favor of the Robin Hood Tax on Wall Street.

As I said, the two are very close on many of the issues. Both (now) support Marriage Equality. Both support Employment Non-Discrimination Act prohibiting employers from firing a worker just because they are gay. This would give LGBT people the same workplace protections as everyone else. They both support ending the “school to prison” pipeline and ending mandatory sentencing that has put too many people in prison for minor drug offenses. Both support Planned Parenthood and a woman’s right to choose.

IMG_0035Both are for raising wages and building a stronger middle class by strengthening our manufacturing base and reversing some of the damage done by our trade agreements. Sanders has been an outspoken advocate against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). “We need trade policies that create jobs in America, not China, and together we will defeat this disastrous TPP,” said Sanders.

In early 2015, Clinton said, “Any trade deal has to produce jobs and raise wages and increase prosperity and protect our security. We have to do our part in making sure we have the capabilities and the skills to be competitive. It’s got to be really a partnership between our business, our government, our workforce, the intellectual property that comes out of our universities, and we have to get back to a much more focused effort in my opinion to try to produce those capacities here at home so that we can be competitive in a global economy.”

I will let you decide if they are really saying the same thing or not.

The Money Gap

Both say they want to end the corruptive influence of money in politics and pass a Constitutional Amendment to overturn Citizens United.

This is where I see the split.

At today’s convention Clinton said, “I will appoint justices who will protect the right of citizens to vote not the right of corporations to buy our elections.”

IMG_0060Sanders has been all over the country talking about campaign finance reform, even calling for the same Constitutional Amendment that Clinton is referring to. The difference comes from their donor support. “I don’t have a super PAC, I don’t want a super PAC.” Sanders boasted of how he is building his campaign with true grassroots support and small donations from everyday Americans at an average of $31 dollars.

This is where I see the biggest split between them. Both say they want to end the unlimited flow of dark money in politics, but only one is willing to stand up and say “no.” The Sanders campaign is trying to show that they can win this election without Wall Street hedge fund managers and special interests donating to his campaign, or billionaires who are only looking out for their best interests.

To many of Bernie’s supporters, this is their biggest issue. This is why they are organizing and building a campaign without hundreds of millions from super PACs.

Closing Thoughts

As I was leaving I stopped and talked to a woman who was sitting near me for the entire convention. She was jumping up and down when Clinton took the stage and at the time was obviously a Hillary supporter. However as Bernie was speaking, I saw her cheering, then standing and cheering, for what he was saying. I asked her, of the two, whom did she like better. She responded, “Hillary, I think she has the experience and the knowledge to win.” I followed up with what experience does Bernie lack that you think Hillary is more qualified? She told me honestly, she did not know anything about him. She had never heard him speak before, but she liked what she heard. She told me she was going to go home at look up his website and find out more about him after hearing him speak.

This, my friends, is what the primary is all about. It about listening to all the candidates, no matter how big or small their campaign may be, and judging for yourself who is the best to lead our nation.

This is also why it is so important to have more debates. We need all Americans to hear all of the candidates — so they can decide for themselves who will lead our party to victory in 2016.

 


Best Line of the Day

The best line of the day goes to Hillary Clinton. She was talking about how Donald Trump is a misogynist and is demeaning to women. His response to others calling him a misogynist was that he “cherishes” women.

Hillary responded by saying:

“Donald Trump needs to stop cherishing women and start respecting women.”


 

Advocates Gather June 2nd thru 4th to Focus on Worker Safety, Empowerment and Prevention Strategies

OSHA’s Jordan Barab and AFL-CIO’s Tefere Gebre are Keynote Speakers at Nat’l Conference on Worker Safety and Health Meeting in Maryland will Include Screening of “A Day’s Work,” New Doc on Temp Workers

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Linthicum Heights, MarylandThe National Conference on Worker Safety and Health, bringing together workers, safety advocates and health professionals from across the country, will take place this coming Tuesday June 2nd through Thursday June 4th at the Conference Center at the Maritime Institute in Linthicum Heights, Maryland.

“Our mission is to empower workers and make our workplaces safer,” said Barbara Rahke, board chair of the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH).  “This is a great opportunity to share ideas, learn best practices and work together to reduce the terrible toll caused by preventable illnesses, injuries and deaths in American workplaces.”

Who:               300+ Health and Safety Advocates

What:              Nat’l Conference on Worker Safety and Health

When:             Tuesday June 2 at 11:00 am thru Thursday, June 4 at 5 pm

Where:            Conference Center at the Maritime Institute,

692 Maritime Blvd, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090

Plus:                Lobby Day in DC and Action at U.S. Chamber of Commerce

on Friday, June 5 (More details to follow).

A complete conference agenda is available here. The program includes dozens of workshops by leading organizers and health and safety practitioners on Basic Health and Safety Rights; Building Capacity for Disasters; Bilingual Worker Education; Lessons from Fatality Cases; Making OSHA Work; Whistleblower Protections, and many other critical topics.

Highlights include:

Tuesday, June 2, 7:00 p.m.: Screening of “A Day’s Work,” a new documentary about the lives of temporary workers, with a follow-up talk by producer Dave DeSario and Tim Bell of the Chicago Workers Collaborative, a non-profit organization which advocates for temps and other low-wage workers.

Wednesday. June 3rd at 1:00 p.m.:  Keynote address by Jordan Barab, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health at the U.S. Department of Labor.

Wednesday. June 3rd at 7:00 pm:  National COSH Awards Banquet, recognizing local activists for innovation, organizing, activism and training. Also: The Annual Tony Mazzocchi Award, honoring a legendary health and safety pioneer.

Thursday June 4 at 8:45 a.m.: Media panel with Lydia DePillis, workplace reporter at the Washington Post; Howard Berkes, correspondent for National Public Radio’s investigative unit; and Michael Grabell, investigative reporter at ProPublica.org

Thursday, June 4 at 12:30 p.m. Keynote address by Tefere Gebre, Executive Vice President of the AFL-CIO.

“This is more than a conference. It’s a movement,” said Mary Vogel, Executive Director of National COSH.  “This will be a tremendously exciting event, bringing together people from different organizations, speaking different languages, with wide and varied experience on safety issues. We share a passion for doing all we can to make sure workers’ voices are heard, so that every worker can come home safely, every day, to his or her family.”

National COSH is the convenor and lead sponsor of this event.  Additional sponsors include LaborSafe Consulting, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, the United Auto Workers, the Communication Workers of America, the Service Employees International Union, and the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees (IBT).

Note to reporters and editors: Media are invited to attend the National Conference on Worker Safety and Health, but not all sessions will be open. Please contact Roger Kerson, roger@rkcommunications.net to register in advance and for further information.

 

The State Employees Association (SEIU Local 1984) Elects New President

Rich Gulla (SEA/ SEIU 1984 President)

Rich Gulla


Rich Gulla wins approval of member delegates at Annual Convention

Concord, NH, October 6, 2014 – Yesterday, the delegates at the 2014 SEA/SEIU Local 1984 Convention elected their leadership team for the next three years.

Rich Gulla, a resident of Hillsborough, was elected as the new SEA/SEIU Local 1984 President, unseating the incumbent, Diana Lacey.

Gulla, an employee of the NH State Liquor Commission, has been an active member of the SEA/SEIU Local 1984 Board of Directors since December of 2012. Gulla is the current Chair of the Steward Committee and serves on the SEA Building Association Executive Board; the Political Education Committee; the Financial Advisory Committee; the Constitution and By-laws Committee; the Collective Bargaining Advisory Committee; the SEA Land Study Ad Hoc Committee; the Collective Bargaining Senate and the Master Bargaining Team for the Executive Branch. He first became active in the organization in 2010.

“I am humbled by and grateful for the support of the delegates,” said Gulla. “I look forward to working with all SEA/SEIU Local 1984 members to continue to build and strengthen our union.  I also thank Diana Lacey, who led the organization for the last four years and laid the foundation for our continued work.”

“I understand the magnitude of this position and am ready to accept the challenge,” said Gulla.  “I will visit worksites throughout the state to listen to the needs and concerns of our members. I will then work closely with them in resolving any issues that may impede their ability to perform their jobs to the best of their abilities. I have the utmost respect for our members and the many services they provide for our towns, municipalities and our state.”

The delegates also re-elected Ken Roos as First Vice President; Tammy Clark as Second Vice President; Shelley Elmes will continue as Secretary; and Ralph Tilton will continue as Treasurer.

Jim Nall; Cindy Perkins; and Judith Brideau were elected to serve three-year terms as Board Director.

The Annual Convention is the highest governing body of the union. It is at convention that the organization’s most serious business is conducted. In addition to elections, this year’s delegation adopted one Resolution and one Constitutional Amendment.

Guest speakers included Governor Margaret Wood Hassan; political candidates U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen; U.S. Representatives Carol Shea-Porter and Annie Kuster, and NH Senator Lou D’Allesandro; NH Department Commissioners Chris Clement and George Copadis; and representatives from the SEIU International Union.

About The State Employees’ Association/ SEIU Local 1984

SEIU 1984 LogoThe State Employees’ Association of New Hampshire represents about 11,000 public and private-sector employees across the Granite State.  First formed in 1940 as a social organization, the SEA won passage of New Hampshire’s Public Employee Labor Relations Law in 1975.  Since then, the union has negotiated hundreds of contracts with state, county, municipal and private-sector employers.  The SEA affiliated with the Service Employees’ International Union in 1984.  With two million members, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in the Americas.

Questions For Scott Brown After The NH GOP Convention

After this weekend “big show” aka the NH GOP Convention the entire political world suddenly knew that the NH GOP passed some type of “fetal personhood” amendment.

Then on monday night, Scott Brown came out against the abortion amendment. This left we wondering a few things.  I welcome the Scott Brown campaign to contact me with answers to these questions.

Questions for Scott Brown’s campaign:

1.       If he disagreed with the Party’s platform on abortion – which was adopted Saturday – why did it take him until MONDAY NIGHT to announce his disagreement?  http://nhpr.org/post/brown-disagrees-gop-personhood-plank (Did he have to think about it?  Or did he not know about it, until Monday?  Or did he just think it was not worth mentioning?)

2.       Does he agree or disagree with the Party’s new plank opposing marriage equality for religious reasons?  (“Recognize marriage as the legal and sacred union between one man and one woman as ordained by God…”) http://www.nhinsider.com/rep-steve-vaillancourt/2014/9/20/nh-republicans-push-freedomexcept-for-gay-people.html

3.       Does he agree or disagree with the intention to “take any and all actions possible to protect against the implementation of any part of Sharia law in NH, including legislation outlawing Sharia law”?

4.       He is heading the Republican ticket in New Hampshire.  Why didn’t he have more influence over the official Party platform?  (Was he even AT Saturday’s Convention?  Was there any press coverage of his remarks there?)

5.       And… why can’t New Hampshire voters find the Party platform on the Party website?  http://nhgop.org

I expect to hear nothing, but I will be sure to let you know if they decide to respond.

At The NALC Convention, Letter Carriers Show Their Support For All Workers

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Having  just returned from Philadelphia and an NALC Convention that was inspiring.  I am struck by the fact that Letter Carrier solidarity towards our political fight  for survival has continued to strengthen since our last convention in 2012. What has also increased in intensity is the national war on workers. Battlegrounds were all around us, many speakers at the convention relayed stories about attacks on worker rights and when we stepped outside we saw visible proof with the Carpenters Union picketing the convention center and UNITE HERE picketing the Radisson Warwick Blu which was one of our host hotels. Clearly all our grievances are connected.

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Senator Bernie Sanders speaking at the NALC convention

Senator Bernie Sanders delivered a fiery speech which was interrupted multiple times with standing ovations by the nearly 7000 delegates.”Well, I’ve got a message for Mr. Donahoe,” Sanders said. “At a time when the middle class is disappearing and the number of Americans living in poverty is at an all-time high, do not destroy middle-class jobs at the Postal Service. At a time when senior citizens and small businesses depend on the Postal Service operating six-days a week, do not end Saturday mail. At a time when the Postal Service is competing with the instantaneous communications of e-mail and high-speed Internet services, do not slow down the delivery of mail, speed it up. And do not dismantle the Postal Service by shutting down a quarter of the mail processing plants left in this country.”

The address by National Postal Mail Handlers Union President John Hegarty stressed the importance of the newly signed postal alliance which has all four postal unions working together to save the Postal Service. “The Postal Union Alliance puts it out there for all to see; we are united and we can’t be defeated.”

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NH State Association of Letter Carriers members Wayne Alterisio and Lew Henry stand with locked out Carpenters

Outside the convention center was a group of locked out carpenters. The Carpenters union which was locked out  seems to have a valid grievance and is currently in court trying to end their lock out. By some reports the Carpenters have been vigilant in contract enforcement and this may have played a role in the hard-line stand  from the convention center. In the spirit of solidarity the carpenters were enthusiastic participants with Letter Carriers and community groups in the Stop Staples rally held on Wednesday. The most contentious issue in their negotiations was a clause to allow increased low wage temporary workers.

NALC3A mile away UNITE HERE organized a  boisterous rally at the Radisson  Warwick Blu Hotel on Friday. The contagious spirit was reminiscent of early OWS in NYC . The workers are in difficult contract negotiations looking for a fair contract with job security. Workers are looking for protection from contracting out their jobs to low wage workers. For a company that is making millions of dollars a year giving its workers a fair contract should not be an issue. This is the latest example that corporate greed is always an obstacle to fairness.

All these workers realize that prosperity spreads  from the middle class out not from the top down. If trickle down economics works we would be flooded in jobs at the present time. The wealthy have not owned such a high percentage of our nations wealth since before the Great Depression of the 20’s. With the extreme wealthy making money at unparalleled rate why wouldn’t they pay their workers a fair wage.

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At a workshop local fast food workers outlined their plight against the reckless greed that has run rampant through their industry. A moving presentation from a fast food worker who was fired last week from his job for participating in activism to raise the minimum wage. It was eye-opening. He has two small children and was trying to survive on $7.25 an hour. In reality he had no choice but to fight to raise the wage. He had nothing to lose.

Corporate owned politicians are hell-bent on eliminating public services and replacing those union middle class jobs with low pay, no benefit, non-union jobs. It is accelerating the race to the bottom. In the private sector turning middle class jobs into temp jobs is happening at an alarming rate.  How can the ultra wealthy not comprehend  they are creating an unsustainable economic structure?

Our economic system can either make many people prosper for a long period of time or a few prosper for a short time. Judging by the building wave of economic discontent the clock is starting to run out on our plutocracy.

Randi Weingarten Re-elected AFT President

AFT President Weingarten  (Photo by Bruce Gilbert)

AFT President Weingarten (Photo by Bruce Gilbert)

Lorretta Johnson re-elected Secretary-Treasurer; Mary Cathryn Ricker chosen to succeed Executive Vice President Francine Lawrence 

LOS ANGELES—Delegates at the American Federation of Teachers national convention voted overwhelmingly to re-elect AFT President Randi Weingarten to a third term. The vote affirms the AFT’s commitment to solution-driven, community-engaged and member-empowered unionism that focuses on uniting union members, the people they serve and the communities in which they live. Also re-elected to lead the 1.6 million-member union was AFT Secretary-Treasurer Lorretta Johnson, who has held that position since 2011.

Joining Weingarten and Johnson as the AFT’s new executive vice president is the president of the Saint Paul Federation of Teachers, Mary Cathryn Ricker. Ricker will replace Francine Lawrence, who plans to retire this year.

Ricker has led AFT Local 28 since 2005 and has been a member of the AFT K-12 Teachers program and policy council since 2006. She has previously represented the AFT internationally in Finland and the Middle East; and she has represented the Saint Paul Federation of Teachers on mayoral Sister City delegations to Germany and Mexico. Ricker is a National Board Certified middle school English teacher who has taught in classrooms all across the country and internationally.

The union also elected 43 vice presidents representing each of the AFT’s divisions: K-12 teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; public employees; and healthcare workers.

“Over the coming two years, we will work to achieve all these dreams—of a more just society; an economy that works for all Americans; healthcare that puts patients ahead of profits; and public education from early childhood through 16 and more that nurtures the potential of every student in every way,” said Weingarten. “But dreaming does not mean dozing. We are leaving this convention charged up. Fired up.”

“Let us not waver in our commitment to make sure that every child, no matter their ZIP code, gets an amazing public education,” said Johnson. “Let us not falter in our fight to collectively bargain for wages and benefits.”

“I am energized by this convention and the mandate you’ve given our union and us leaders to work tirelessly to reclaim the promise of America and restore the gains that have been rolled back—by being solution-driven, community-engaged, member-involved and, yes, I guess this Minnesotan can be a little badass too,” said Ricker.

The AFT has been holding its biennial convention, which began on July 11 and ends today, at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Earlier in the convention, the more than 3,500 delegates passed a series of resolutions and special orders of business to increase educational and economic opportunity, including:

Creating a Healthcare System That Puts Patient Care Above Profits
Safe and Effective Nurse Staffing Saves Lives, Prevents Errors
Ending the Exploitation of and the Reliance on a Contingent Academic Labor System in Higher Education
Support U.S. Postal Workers: Boycott Staples
Our Commitment to Fighting Back and Fighting Forward
The Role of Standards in Public Education
Real Accountability for Equity and Excellence in Public Education

CLICK HERE to say Congrats to President Weingarten on Twitter.

AFT Convention in Los Angeles – July 11-14 Fighting Back, Fighting Forward on Top Domestic Issues

WASHINGTON—The American Federation of Teachers’ mid-July convention in Los Angeles will focus on fighting back and fighting forward on key domestic issues to reclaim the promise of America, including the Common Core State Standards, due process and tenure for educators, and investing public pension dollars for much-needed infrastructure projects.

The convention will take place July 11-14 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

On July 10, the AFT will host a major community event at All Peoples Community Center in East Los Angeles, focusing on literacy, anti-hunger and health. In partnership with First Book, 10,000 free, new books will be distributed to disadvantaged children and their families, along with bags of groceries. Another set of 5,000 books will be delivered to the Los Angeles Food Bank, while hundreds of books also will be distributed at several other sites around East Los Angeles.

AFT conventions are policymaking events, with the more than 3,500 delegates discussing and voting on numerous resolutions, such as ensuring accountability for equity and excellence in public education; delinking the implementation of the Common Core standards from the consequences of high-stakes assessments; maintaining due process and tenure; creating a healthcare system that puts patient care above profits; and ending the reliance on a contingent academic labor system in higher education.

AFT President Randi Weingarten will give the keynote address on July 11, which will include some exciting announcements.

Delegates will hear from various lawmakers, policymakers and political candidates, including California Gov. Jerry Brown; Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti; U.S. Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.); U.S. Rep. Michael Honda (D-Calif.); and Tom Torlakson (California’s superintendent of public instruction). Appearing by video will be first lady Michelle Obama; Tom Wolf, Pennsylvania Democratic gubernatorial candidate; and Mary Burke, Wisconsin Democratic gubernatorial candidate. Former President Bill Clinton will appear by video to discuss the AFT’s work with the Clinton Global Initiative on the investment of public pension dollars for infrastructure projects.

In other notable sessions, delegates will hear from community members who have been deeply involved with local AFT affiliates on various issues and campaigns, including actress Cynthia Nixon and her wife, Christine Marinoni, from New York City, parent Helen Gym from Philadelphia, and student Asean Johnson and activist Jitu Brown from Chicago.

The AFT will live stream all general session speakers.

Reporters who will be covering the convention should contact Laura Pometto for hotel and credentialing information.

Highlights of the AFT 2014 convention:

Thursday, July 10        4 p.m. – 6 p.m.—Distribution of First Book books, groceries
All Peoples Community Center, 822 E. 20th St., Los Angeles

Friday, July 11            9:30 a.m.—Opening session
California Gov. Jerry Brown, greetings
AFT President Randi Weingarten, keynote address 1 p.m. – 2 p.m.
—Press availability with President Weingarten

Saturday, July 12        9:30 a.m.—General session
Speakers include Rep. Mark Takano, Superintendent Tom Torlakson, Mississippi Freedom Summer activist Mark Levy, Chicago student Asean Johnson, New York activist Zakiyah Ansari and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

                                    2:30 p.m.—General session
Speakers include Cynthia Nixon and Christine Marinoni.

Sunday, July 13          10 a.m.—General session
Debate and vote on Common Core State Standards resolution and accountability resolution.
Discussion of Share My Lesson online lesson plans and First Book initiatives.
Announcement of winners of the AFT’s Prize for Solution-Driven Unionism and Innovation Fund grants.
Speaker: Rep. Michael Honda.

Monday, July 14         9 a.m.—General session
Officers’ election results announced.

The AFL-CIO Welcomes Progressive Organizations Despite Some Union Opposition

Richard Trumka (The Nation / AP-Photo)

Richard Trumka (The Nation / AP-Photo)

Recently the AFL-CIO held their quadrennial convention. The convention hosted thousands of union members and had speeches from many union supporters.  Over the last week almost every union has focused on a single event from the convention that specifically talked about a campaign project they are working on.  Some talked about immigration, others focused on income inequality.

One of the biggest stories that came from the convention is the AFL-CIO’s shift to include progressive organizations.  This is first time that organizations that are not specific to unions have been allowed to affiliate.  The AFL-CIO has always had their own affiliate organizations like Working America and the Alliance for Retired Americans.   The major difference is that these are organizations that were started by the AFL-CIO and became their own national entity.

Does anyone think that we would have defeated all of the extreme legislation from former NH Speaker O’Brien’s Tea Party legislature without assistance from these progressive organizations?  Together we packed the capitol steps with over 5,000 people in protest to budget cuts and anti-worker legislation.

Labor has relied on progressive organization to help get signatures on petitions that oppose anti-worker legislation. Likewise progressive groups rely on the massive number of union activists to help bring attention to their issues.  In many cases the people fighting for workers rights are the same ones fighting for women’s health rights.

This idea to allow progressive and liberal organization drew quick fire from some of the leaders of major unions.

Harold Schaitberger, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), said he sees “great value” in labor finding different groups to align with politically. But the federation needs to stick to representing workers rather than become a social movement itself, according to the union chief. 

“However, to say that we are going to grow this labor movement by some kind of formal partnership, membership, status, place in this federation, I am against. This is the American Federation of Labor. We are supposed to be representing workers and workers’ interests,” Schaitberger said. “We are not going to be the American Federation of Progressive and Liberal Organizations.” (The Hill)

Terry O’Sullivan, president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) told The Hill, “Does that mean we are going to turn energy policy of the AFL-CIO over to the Sierra Club? I have concern about that, as well as I should.”

The AFL-CIO is right, we need the help of these progressive organization to help move our message and to help strengthen our ranks.  There are many examples of where labor and progressives have formed alliances that are working to combat issues not typical of labor unions.  One example is the Blue-Green Alliance.  The Blue-Green Alliance is a partnership between Carl Pope (former director of the Sierra Club) and the United Steel Workers union.  Together they are pushing to create new jobs by cleaning our environment.

Right now Carl Pope and the Blue-Green Alliance are pushing to replace coal burning power plants with new environmentally friendly natural gas power plants.  Replacing or refurbishing all of these power plants will save consumers money in the long run, while rebuilding our manufacturing base due to a high demand for building materials like steel.  Projects like this will also put hundreds of thousands of laborers back to work.

Unions are constantly under attack from organizations like ALEC and the Americans For Prosperity.  They are pushing anti-worker legislation like ‘Right To Work (for less)’ and a complete repeal of collective bargaining rights, effectively killing the unions at the same time.

It was not that long ago that Harold Schaitberger was here in New Hampshire fighting against Right To Work and a Collective Bargaining repeal.  He stood on the steps of the capitol in Concord on a cold winter morning and spoke to a crowd of union members and union supporters.  Those same supporters are the ones who are jumping at the chance to be a part of the AFL-CIO.

Nobody is trying to tell the AFL-CIO that they must take direction from these outside organizations.  This partnership will allow the AFL-CIO to continue to lead on workers rights issues. Just because these organizations are affiliated with the AFL-CIO does not mean they have any vote into the direction the AFL-CIO moves.  That is the job of the Executive Board.

With union numbers declining we need as many labor supporters as we can find. If this means we need to strengthen our partnership with progressive organizations I welcome that.

Can You Help Matt Murray Of The NH Labor News Win A Scholarship To Netroots Nation 2013?

Matt Murray and Richard Trumka

Matt Murray (NH Labor News) and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka
Taken at Netroots Nation 2012

For over two years now I have been working to build the NH Labor News.  What started as a project with the NH AFL-CIO, the NH Labor News blog grew into a full social media presence.  The NH Labor News now has over 1000 Facebook fans and over 2100 followers on Twitter.

My main goal in creating the NH Labor News was to create a single stream of labor related information for union members (and union supporters), a place to get information about what is going in here in the Granite State and beyond.

Throughout the last two years we have covered everything from the funding problems with the USPS to local Public Employee Labor Relations Board hearings and everything in between. Over the last year I helped push for support of Governor Maggie Hassan, Rep Carol Shea-Porter, Rep Annie Kuster, President Obama and dozens of local NH candidates.

Now I am asking for you to help me.  I need your votes.

I along with over 3000 people, I  will be attending the annual Netroots Nation event in California this June.  For those who do not know about Netroots Nation, it is an annual event where bloggers and social media experts come to together to share their knowledge with everyone else.  This builds a large, strong social media presence when it comes to progressive issues.  The connections are invaluable, and the knowledge is unmatched.

Netroots Nation does have some costs associated with it. This is how you can help me.  Democracy for America is offering a scholarship to cover registration and lodging at NN13.  This would only mean that I would need to come up with transportation to California (if you want to sponsor my airfare contact me directly).

Please take one minute to Vote for MATT on the DFA website. http://nn13.democracyforamerica.com/applicants/64?complete=true

EVERY VOTE COUNTS

Then share this post on your Facebook walls and on your Twitter accounts.  The more votes I get the better my chances of winning a scholarship.  With you help I can attend this amazing event.

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Matt Murray attending a rally for President Obama in Manchester NH

 

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