Rachel Maddow Eviscerates Scott Brown On Her Show. Brown Repsonds #BQHATEVWR

Maddow Show Screen Shot

In truth, I do not know if Scott Brown actually responded to Rachel Maddow’s comments on her show or not, I only guessed that is what he would have said.

Here is the clip from the 4-7-14 Maddow Show

For more fun, check out the new BUZZFeed on Scott Brown.
Community: 10 Things You Don’t Do If You Want To Be New Hampshire’s Senator 

Does Havenstein Even Qualify For Candidacy In The NH GOV Race?

walt havenstein

The NH Governor’s race just got a little more interesting, and more controversial.  Last week, multi-millionaire and former CEO of BAE Systems, Walt Havenstein, announced his candidacy for Governor.

“Our state is at a critical juncture, and I believe my experience, ideas, and leadership are what is needed to address the many challenges facing New Hampshire,” Havenstein told the Union Leader.

Havenstein has some major issues to deal with first.  After retiring from BAE, Havenstein moved to Maryland.  He still kept his house in Alton, but bought a multi-million dollar condo in Bethesda, Maryland where he has lived for the last few years.  Havenstein’s residency has created a firestorm of questions about his eligibility to run for office in New Hampshire.

The Nashua Telegraph explains, “The state constitution requires candidates for governor, state senate and Executive Council to live in the state for seven years before they run for the office.”

There is no doubt that Havenstein has owned property in New Hampshire for more than seven years, but did he “live” here?  The answer is resounding no.

After moving to Maryland, Havenstein filed for a homestead exemption on his million-dollar condo.  The tax exemption saved Havenstein thousands of dollars in Maryland property taxes.

Under Maryland law, “principal residence” has been defined to mean the “one dwelling where the homeowner regularly resides and is the location designated by the owner for the legal purposes of voting, obtaining a driver’s license, and filing income tax returns.”

A Maryland law was enacted in 2007 that requires all homeowners to submit an application stating that they meet the principal residence requirements, under penalty of perjury.  According to the Nashua Telegraph, “Havenstein said he didn’t recall signing that form.”

“Despite Walt Havenstein’s selective memory, in order to receive the tax breaks he received, Maryland law required Havenstein to certify that his Maryland home was his principal residence, including for voting, paying taxes, driver’s license and car registration,” said Julie McClain, NHDP Communications Director. “That certification and Maryland law clearly makes Havenstein ineligible to run for state office under New Hampshire’s Constitution. For him to state otherwise is to assert that he was committing tax fraud in Maryland, raising a whole other set of legal questions for Mr. Havenstein.”

So which is it? Is Havenstein eligible to run for NH Governor and committed tax fraud in Maryland, or is he ineligible to run because he is not a resident of New Hampshire?

Either way Mr. Havenstein is in deep trouble.  He could be facing legal problems for fraud and tax evasion in Maryland, but that is not the real problem.  How can anyone trust Mr. Havenstein as governor if he is willing to lie and cheat to run for office?  Every day that he continues to run for governor, his credibility continues to fall apart.

As former Senator Scott Brown is quickly learning, Granite Staters do not like people from other states telling them what to do.

[Fun fact: Scott Brown would be ineligible to run for NH Senate, Exec. Council, or Governor in NH due to residency requirements in NH Constitution, yet he can run for the representative from NH to the US Senate.]

We do not like these out-of-state carpetbaggers coming here and telling us, “We know how you feel, we are Granite Staters too.” No, you do not know how we feel! Just because you own a second home in New Hampshire does not make you a Granite Stater.  Did you have to shovel the 70+ inches of snow we in the Granite State got this winter? Mr. Havenstein, where were you last year when the winter thaw revealed our roads were falling apart?

Not here, that’s for sure!

How can anyone who does not truly live here begin to think that they know what real life is like in NH.  Mr. Havenstein, just go back to Maryland where you obviously live, and we will see you this summer with the rest of the tourists.

 

Scott Brown’s Wall Street Cronies Launch New Ads Trying To Buy Him New Hampshire’s Senate Seat

Scott Brown Pledge Meme!

No Wonder Scott Brown Is Refusing To Sign The People’s Pledge

Concord – As Scott Brown’s Wall Street cronies launch new ads for him in New Hampshire, Shaheen for Senate Campaign Manager Mike Vlacich says these ads are proof that Scott Brown is ready to let corporate special interests bankroll his campaign so he can vote to protect their interests in the Senate, not New Hampshire’s. Vlacich said he was ready to meet anywhere at anytime with representatives of the Brown campaign to sign the People’s Pledge to stop outside third party ad spending.  Brown proposed and signed the same People’s Pledge in his 2012 Senate campaign.

“Scott Brown is running from his own People’s Pledge, and it is because he is counting on the big banks to buy him New Hampshire’s Senate seat, with ads like this,” said Vlacich. “The people of New Hampshire know Jeanne Shaheen. They know they can depend on her to fight for them and make a difference for New Hampshire.”

“We are ready to meet anytime and anywhere to sign the People’s Pledge and stop these third party, out of state groups from pouring their millions into New Hampshire and polluting our airwaves,” said Vlacich.

More than $1.5 million has poured into New Hampshire from the Koch Brothers, Karl Rove and other Republican special interests to attack Jeanne Shaheen.  Brown stopped these third-party out of state groups by proposing and signing the People’s Pledge with his opponent Elizabeth Warren.

As recently as just a few weeks ago, Scott Brown was bragging about how well his People’s Pledge worked, and in 2012 he said Massachusetts voters deserved better than outside third-party attack ads.  The people of New Hampshire deserve better too, so Jeanne Shaheen has asked him to sign the same People’s Pledge for them.  Last week, two bipartisan nonprofit organizations committed to open and accountable government – Common Cause and Public Citizen – also asked both campaigns to sign the People’s Pledge.  They are asking Brown to respond by April 15th.

Guest Op/Ed: The People’s Pledge (By Senator Jeanne Shaheen)

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By Senator Jeanne Shaheen

Scott Brown had a great idea in 2012, when he ran for re-election to the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts. His opponent Elizabeth Warren agreed, and together they signed The People’s Pledge to stop third-party advertising in their campaign. That year, Brown encouraged “other candidates across the country to adopt similar agreements in their races to limit the impact of outside special interests.”

I very much admired the People’s Pledge. I believe it limited the influence of outside groups and allowed the people’s voices to be heard. It allowed the candidates to make their best case and voters to decide, without third-party advertising drowning them out.

What was a great idea in 2012 is still a great idea in 2014. That’s why I’ve asked Brown to sign the same pledge — his pledge — in this year’s U.S. Senate campaign in New Hampshire. Brown is so far refusing to sign, saying it’s too late, because third parties already have spent money on advertising in New Hampshire.

It’s a phony argument. We are at a very similar moment in this race as when Brown and Warren signed the pledge in January 2012. Third parties already had spent more than $3 million in Massachusetts when Brown and Warren signed the pledge — almost twice as much as what’s so far been spent in New Hampshire. In no small measure, that spending is what led to the pledge. And Warren signed the pledge even though she still faced a Democratic primary months away.

Only a few weeks ago, Brown enthusiastically embraced and endorsed his pledge again. “It worked,” he said at Cornell University last month, and he was right then, too.

The People’s Pledge worked in many important ways.

Common Cause, an independent group aimed at protecting voter rights, examined the impact of The People’s Pledge and found the pledge reduced outside spending, so-called “dark” or completely undisclosed money and negative advertising, and increased public disclosure of contributors and the influence of smaller donors.

The facts in this independent study are clear. Outside spending made up only 9 percent of total spending in Massachusetts, compared to more than 60 percent in the next most expensive races in the country. Contributions of less than $200 outweighed contributions from big donors in the Massachusetts race by 3 to 1: $23.5 million compared to $8 million. In the next most expensive races, big donors outmuscled the small by more than 5 to 1: $135 million to $23.8 million. There was five times more “dark” money in the top-spending states than there was in Massachusetts. Negative ads were barely 40 percent of the total in Massachusetts, compared to an average more than twice that — 84 percent — in the other races.

The People’s Pledge “imposed accountability on the race” and “candidates had to take responsibility for attacks lobbed at their opponents and couldn’t hide behind third-party groups,” The Boston Globe concluded. The People’s Pledge, they wrote, is “about preventing the state’s next Senator from coming into office beholden to special interests that may or may not be known to voters.” It “represented a commitment by both candidates to take ownership of their campaigns.”

I am ready to make that commitment and have asked Brown to do the same. As governor and as a U.S. senator, I’ve worked hard to put New Hampshire first and make a difference for the people I represent. The people of New Hampshire deserve candidates who will take ownership of their campaigns and an election where they can hear the candidates and decide who will best represent their interests.

When Brown signed The People’s Pledge in 2012, he said third parties “are not good for the process,” and outside spending is “not good for the people of Massachusetts and they deserve better.” I believe New Hampshire voters deserve better, and in that spirit, invite Brown again to commit to the standard he set in Massachusetts.

 

Jeanne Shaheen is a Democratic U.S. Senator from New Hampshire.

New Poll: Strong Support for Raising Wages in 2014 Battleground States

Image from M.Scott Mahaskey:POLITICO

Gains for Candidates Who Support Critical Issue

View the Poll http://bit.ly/McBmJn

“Politicians who ignore the surging interest in raising wages do so at their own peril”

(Houston, TX) – Voters in five diverse, politically crucial states have made their priorities emphatically clear: they want political leaders, especially at the gubernatorial level, to focus squarely on wages, living standards and fair treatment.

A new poll conducted by Hart Research Associates found that nearly 60 percent of voters in the 2014 battleground states of Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are dissatisfied with their state’s economy. A full 91 percent of respondents say that they are falling behind economically or just keeping even. By an overwhelming 72-23 margin, voters are asserting that raising wages is “good for the state” and soundly reject the notion that it would hurt the state by increasing prices or costing jobs. Ultimately, the poll concludes that candidates have a lot to gain by making wages a central element in their economic agenda and campaign messages.

“Voters are way ahead of politicians on the issue of raising wages,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “From the minimum wage to paid sick leave to wage theft, voters across America are elevating basic paycheck issues to a new national prominence. Politicians who ignore the surging interest in raising wages do so at their own peril.”

The AFL-CIO Executive Council, currently meeting in Houston, has made the issue of raising wages a centerpiece of their work. The Council will be integrating raising wages into all aspects: from politics to immigration and organizing. This new poll reinforces the fact that the American public shares in these goals.

“America’s attention is more focused on workers, wages and fairness than ever in my lifetime,” Trumka said. “Behind this energy and commitment, the possibilities are enormous for working people.”

View the new poll results at http://bit.ly/McBmJn 

From February 8 to 11, 2014, Hart Research Associates conducted a survey of 1,012 registered voters in five gubernatorial battleground states: Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The survey explored voters’ economic concerns, and how those might impact their voting preferences this year. Approximately 200 interviews were conducted by telephone (landline and cell) in each state, with the overall sample weighted to reflect the actual voter population by state. The margin of error is ±3.1 percentage points for the overall survey, and higher for subgroups. This memo reviews the survey’s key findings.

Volkswagen Workers To Vote On Union Representation

UAW and VW

UAW and VWDETROIT –Volkswagen workers from the Chattanooga, Tenn., facility will vote in an election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on Feb. 12 – 14, 2014.  The NLRB set the election as a result of an agreement reached between Volkswagen Group of America (VWGOA) and the UAW.

The Chattanooga workers will decide whether the UAW can move forward with a new collaborative approach with VWGOA based on the principles of co-determination that would include the formation of a works council at its Chattanooga facility. This would be the first works council established in the United States.

“Volkswagen is known globally for its system of cooperation with unions and works councils,” said UAW President Bob King. “The UAW seeks to partner with VWGOA and a works council to set a new standard in the U.S. for innovative labor-management relations that benefits the company, the entire workforce, shareholders and the community. The historic success of the works council model is in line with the UAW’s successful partnerships with the domestic automakers and its vision of the 21st century union.”

Chattanooga is the only major VWGOA assembly facility without labor representation. With a works council, the Chattanooga plant would have a seat at the VW Global Group Works Council. Ultimately, such a labor relations model would give workers an integral role in co-managing the company and providing input on workplace improvements that would contribute to the success of the company and the workers.

“With a local works council, workers would have a voice they can use to make Volkswagen stronger; in safety, job security and efficiency,” said Jonathan Walden, Volkswagen paint technician. “Global representation means Chattanooga workers may have a strong voice in seeking new products and bringing more jobs to Tennessee.”

Co-determination is a key factor in Volkswagen’s success.  Volkswagen has extensive experience with union representation and is globally recognized as being in the forefront of respecting the basic human rights of workers to organize and collectively bargain. Volkswagen’s Global Charter on Labor Relations and Social Charter go beyond international labor standards, establishing principles governing labor relations and social matters, even establishing principles on issues like the use of temporary workers.

“We have reached an agreement with VWGOA that will allow workers to express their opinion and decide on the question of union representation in an atmosphere of mutual respect and cooperation,” said UAW Region 8 Director Gary Casteel, who directs the union’s Southern organizing.  “The UAW commends the company and the Global Works Council for recognizing global human rights and worker rights in Tennessee.”

Cablevision Worker Testifies on the Future of Union Organizing

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cablevision 99 CWA

WASHINGTON, DC – Today Cablevision technician Clarence Adams is testifying before the House Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions on the future of union organizing.

Adams, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served in the Iraq War, has worked as a Cablevision field technician in Brooklyn for more than 14 years. Ever since he and his coworkers voted to join the Communications Workers of America (CWA) last year, management has refused to bargain with workers in good faith. In addition to intimidating and threating employees, Cablevision even illegally fired 22 workers for simply attempting to use the company’s “open door” policy to discuss the stalled contract negotiations.

“Ten years ago, I put my life on the line 6,000 miles away from home in the name of protecting the basic rights of American democracy,” Adams says in his testimony.  “I believed I was fighting so that the rights of every American would be protected.  I never thought that I would see the day that I, as an American citizen, would have my basic rights trampled on and no one would do anything about it.  I never thought that a big corporation could violate my rights and the government would let them get away with it.”

Cablevision is facing several unfair practice charges at a National Labor Relations Board hearing in New York City this week.

Today’s congressional hearing is taking a look at current trends in union organizing, including a recent decline in union participation and the increased role of worker centers in organizing efforts. It is also providing members the opportunity to examine how federal agencies are pursuing policies to help workers organize.

The hearing is scheduled at 10 a.m. in room 2175 Rayburn H.O.B. Watch the live webcast here.

Read Adam’s full testimony below:

Testimony of Clarence Adams
Before the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions
Hearing on “The Future of Union Organizing”
September 19, 2013

Thank you Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Andrews and members of this subcommittee for giving me the opportunity to testify. 

My name is Clarence Adams and I have been a field technician for Cablevision in Brooklyn for over 14 years.  I am also a proud veteran of the US Marines.   Ten years ago, I was among the first wave of American troops who invaded Iraq.  I was proud to serve my country and I was prepared to do whatever was necessary to defend the basic freedoms that make this a great country.

I want to tell you today what I and my coworkers have gone through just to try to join a union.

In the fall and winter of 2011, I and a large group of my co-workers decided to organize with the Communications Workers of America. 

Company management viciously opposed our efforts.  I was forced to attend literally dozens of meetings where Cablevision management told me CWA was corrupt.  They lied to me about the cost of dues and the likelihood of strikes. They threatened that my wages and benefits would actually go down if we joined together into a union.  But on January 26, 2012, an overwhelming majority of my coworkers in Brooklyn voted to join CWA. 

We were so excited.  We thought, now we’ll sit down with Cablevision and negotiate a contract that reasonably addresses our concerns.

We were wrong.  I soon learned that management had no intention of bargaining with us in good faith. They continued their campaign of pressure and intimidation.  As a union supporter, I felt like I was under a microscope every day I went to work.

A few months after we won our election, my Cablevision coworkers in the Bronx decided to begin organizing as well, to join us in CWA. 

In late April, James Dolan, the CEO of Cablevision, made it clear that he would stop at nothing to prevent more employees from joining our union. Dolan gave every single employee in the entire company – about 10,000 people – significant raises.  Except for us in Brooklyn.   He improved the health plans of every single employee in Cablevision.  Except for us in Brooklyn. He allowed techs all over his company to install Wi-Fi in parks. Except for us in Brooklyn. The only difference between those of us in Brooklyn and the rest of the company was that we exercised our legal rights to join a union.

And then, right before my coworkers in the Bronx held a vote on joining the union in late June, James Dolan personally visited them and stated that they shouldn’t make the same mistake we did in Brooklyn. He told them that Cablevision would now “abandon” Brooklyn.  He told them Brooklyn would be left behind in terms of investment and the workforce.  Management succeeded in frightening enough workers so that a majority voted against the union.

Early this year, on January 30th, I was among 70 Cablevision workers in Brooklyn who decided to take advantage of the company’s “Open Door Policy,” which encourages employees to go to management at anytime to discuss issues of concern. 

I arrived before my shift started to meet with a manager, any manager, for only five minutes to express my frustration that the company was stalling during bargaining. That morning, management eventually agreed to invite 22 techs into a conference room. I was one of those techs.

I was shocked when the Vice President, Mr. Rick Levesque, came into the room and told us we were being “permanently replaced.” 

Cablevision’s “Open Door Policy” specifically says that the company “does not tolerate retaliation against employees for having views different from ours,” but on this day, that policy wasn’t worth the paper it was written on.  

Thanks to a massive pressure campaign, the company has been forced to hire all of us back.  I am proud that my 21 co-workers and I who were fired stayed strong through this ordeal.  And when we walked back in the door, we showed our fellow workers that this is still a fight that we can win. 

But I have to say I am very, very upset about what happened to us and what has happened since we voted in the union.  The NLRB has filed charges against Cablevision,  and we still await justice. Cablevision threatened my livelihood by illegally firing me, and they have shown utter contempt for the rule of law.  And so far there have been no consequences for them.   Cablevision has hired  over 50 lawyers, literally,  to defend their unlawful actions. It is simply obscene for them to spend so much on lawyers, instead of sitting down to negotiate with their employees.

I just want a shot at the American Dream. I want some job security.  I want to know that I can’t be fired without just cause.

Ten years ago, I put my life on the line 6,000 miles away from home in the name of protecting the basic rights of American democracy.  I believed I was fighting so that the rights of every American would be protected.  I never thought that I would see the day that I, as an American citizen, would have my basic rights trampled on and no one would do anything about it.  I never thought that a big corporation could violate my rights and the government would let them get away with it. 

I am sad to say that my experience has taught me that our current labor laws are broken. Workers who dream of reaching the middle class and who hope for some job security shouldn’t have to endure months and even years of fear and intimidation at work.

I was there when my country asked me to risk everything in Iraq. Is it too much to ask for my government to protect my right to join a union at work?   

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my story with you today.

The NH AFL-CIO Hosts Annual Labor Day Breakfast (Video’s of speeches)

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NHAFLCIO breakfast 10The struggle and successes of New Hampshire workers was the basis of the this year’s Labor Day breakfast hosted by the NH AFL-CIO.

The event opened with short and fiery speech from NH AFL-CIO President Mark MacKenzie. He started the morning off by reminding everyone of the connection between labor unions and the community.  Reflecting on the anniversary of the March on Washington, MacKenzie highlighted how we defeated Right To Work for less and the rule of Bill O’Brien.  We also worked as a community to elect Maggie Hassan and flip the NH House.  MacKenzie talked about the dream that car wash workers and McDonalds workers have of a higher minimum wage, a living wage enabling workers to live a decent life. Everyone deserves an opportunity to live the American Dream: to have a good job, a pension, and decent healthcare.

MacKenzie also addressed the attacks on voting rights across this country.   He said “When people wake up in this country, they have a dream that they can go to the polls without harassment. Voter rights is still an issue in this nation and we have to put this behind us.  Everyone should have the right to vote.

After President MacKenzie, we heard from Governor Maggie Hassan.  Her speech was a list of all that we have accomplished since she took office.  Unlike other some other Governors (for instance, Scott Walker), Governor Hassan admires and respects our dedicated public employees.

“You make up the highly skilled workforce that attracts innovative businesses and allows them to succeed. You are the ones who make our communities strong and protect the well-being of our people.” 

She also focused on the issue of mis-classification of workers.  “We must continue to enforce existing laws to prevent the mis-classification of workers, so that workers receive the full benefits and protections they deserve.”

After an introduction that included a long and distinguished list of her accomplishments, we heard from NH’s senior Senator, Jeanne Shaheen.

“It is wonderful to be with all of you to celebrate the enormous contribution that working men and women and organized labor have made to build a strong New Hampshire.”

She spoke about the obstructionism that fills the US Senate.  The GOP has been blocking every one of President Obama’s nominees.  She said she still would like to see the filibuster rule changed.

Sen. Shaheen also spent a few minutes on the subject of Syria.  When she returns to Washington, she will listen to classified briefings and be part of the decision about what our country should do.

Congresswoman Annie Kuster also addressed the crowd.  The last time she was at the Breakfast, she was campaigning for New Hampshire’s Second District seat.  Now she is the sitting Congresswoman representing the largest geographical portion of the state.  She took a moment to thank the people in the room who helped elect her.

“I want to thank all of our friends in labor. It is very clear to me that I would not be standing here without each and every one of you.”

She also talked about her ‘Congress in your company’ campaign, that is working to connect Congress with local businesses and manufacturers, in a effort to strengthen our ‘Made in America’ brand.

Just before we ate Reverand Gail Kinney offered a prayer.  Rev. Kinney is an ordained minister from South Danbury, as well as a dedicated union member (UAW) and long time activist.

Her blessing for workers is so strong and powerful that I cannot begin to tell you about it, just watch it for yourself!

Below are a few random images from the event.  All photos and video were taken by Matt Murray.

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Workers At Nissan In Canton Deserve A Voice In The Workplace

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no threats no intimidationBeing a labor activist, I know how hard recent years have been for all workers.  The constant attacks on working families have been the foundation of many political campaigns.

Workers in unions have been fighting for survival against bills like “Right To Work” or repeals of collective bargaining rights.  Other workers are fighting to gain union representation — workers like the service agents at American Airlines who endured months of trials, NLRB hearings, and delayed votes in an attempt to unionize.

Workers in the recent fast food and retail walkouts are fighting for better pay and the right to unionize.  For these workers, collective bargaining is even harder because the industries have not previously been unionized.  They have to organize thousands of workers, most of whom are part-timers with no job security.

Union organizing is also much more difficult than it used to be.  Some employers routinely violate the National Labor Relations Act, figuring that they probably won’t be caught – and even if they are caught, they’d rather pay the fines than negotiate with a union.

The workers at the Nissan plant in Canton Mississippi have been fighting for months now to have a fair election for representation.

They want a fair election because they want workers to have a voice in the workplace.

“They need the security of knowing that when they speak up about safety or quality, their job isn’t in danger.

With a union, workers can sit down with management to discuss the important issues of working conditions, policies, pay and benefits, as well as ways to improve the company’s processes and products.

Workers would also use a voice in the workplace to ensure Nissan does right by Mississippi. Mississippi community members expect more from Nissan than intimidation in the workplace.” [From http://www.dobetternissan.org/why-workers-want-a-union/ ]

Historically, one of the main reasons worker organize is to seek fair wages.  The workers in Canton are no different.  Nissan has received $1.3 billon dollars in incentives for building their plant in Canton.  Even with all those incentives workers at Nissan are paid less than workers in the same jobs just 400 miles up the road.

In fact a new report issued by Good Jobs First revealed that Nissan collected nearly $290,000 for every new job it created in Canton.

Another major issue is the fact that Nissan is supplementing their workforce with lower paid, temporary workers.  These workers do the same jobs as “career” employees yet they are classified as temporary and that means they have no job security at all.  Imagine trying to get a auto loan after you tell the bank you are a only a “temporary employee” at Nissan.

“According to workers at Nissan’s Canton plant, almost all the new jobs Nissan is creating in production – nearly 1,000 – are being filled by temps. Nissan should immediately acknowledge that these “temp” workers are actually the same as Nissan technicians, and they should give up their “temporary worker” model of employment.” [From DoBetterNissan.org]

Since workers started to organize at Nissan they have been building community support, because the local economy relies on factory workers’ incomes.  Together, they have formed the Mississippi Alliance for Fairness at Nissan.

“The Alliance believes that if Nissan management addresses workers, individually or in groups, on the issue of unionization, then the Nissan Workers Fair Election Committee must be afforded equal time and access to address Nissan workers” [From Do Better Nissan - Alliance]

The Alliance has strong support from local faith groups as well as Congressman Bernie Thompson.

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Actor Danny Glover with workers from the Canton Nissan plant.

Nissan workers have also received support from actor and activist Danny Glover.  Last year the UAW presented Danny with the UAW Walter Reuther Social Justice Award for his support of UAW members and all working people.

Local Canton residents are not the only ones who are fighting back against the injustice of not allowing workers to organize. College students have created Student Justice Alliances (SJAs) in various states including Mississippi, Florida and Georgia. They are a growing force supporting the campaign by Nissan workers to gain a voice on the job and stop the company from intimidating and threatening employees.

“The 150-plus members of the Mississippi Student Justice Alliance from Tougaloo and Jackson State University in Jackson, joined by supporters from other colleges in Georgia, Florida and Tennessee, are taking the issue into neighborhoods, car dealerships, auto shows, on-campus rallies, the Internet and YouTube.” [From Facing South]

In partnership with the United Auto Workers, these students are helping to spread the word about the treatment of workers at Nissan.  Armed with signs and video cameras, these students have been holding informational pickets at Nissan dealerships throughout the south.

Check out the video of how these students were treated as they peacefully held a sign on the sidewalk.

The UAW had this to say about the video on their Facebook page:

“We now understand why Nissan has such a difficult time understanding that workers have a right to organize. It turns out that Nissan, through one of its Washington, D.C.-area dealers, also apparently has a hard time understanding another basic human right: the right to free speech.

Members of Concerned Students for a Better Nissan were bullied by dealership officials at Passport Nissan in Marlow Heights, Md., as they were raising awareness to consumers about Nissan workers in Canton, Miss., and Smryna, Tenn.

They were outside the dealership on public easement and held a banner that read “choosejustice.com” and urged Nissan to do the right thing by allowing workers at its plants a free and fair vote on organizing their workplace.

As this video shows, this bit of constitutionally protected First Amendment activity didn’t sit too well with dealership officials. One official took hold of the sign and wouldn’t let go, even as the student protesters begged them to release their sign. The sign was finally returned to the students after the police arrived.

Future awareness-raising events will be held at Nissan dealerships by these and other concerned students to let the public know about the injustices committed by the automaker.”

Workers deserve a voice in their workplace.  They deserve a fair election.  Nissan could learn a lot from the American auto manufacturers who have collectively bargained with the UAW for years.  The UAW helped the American auto manufacturers rebound after the 2008 recession, and now have the number one vehicle on the market (Chevy Impala).

Strong financial gains can be made when workers and management work together.  Together you can make an even better product, have safer and more efficient worksites, and be a more profitable company – all at the same time.

Manchester Mayoral Candidate Arnold Blasts Mayor Gatsas After School Audit

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Earlier this month, the Manchester school district was audited by Curriculum Management Systems (CMS).  They looked at what things were working, and what things needed to be changed.  The audit, which came in at just under 300 pages, showed more examples of the same failed policies from the Mayor and the Manchester School Board.

Ted Siefer of the NH Union Leader reported:

“With cold precision, the CMS report marked Manchester inadequate in column after column, and it plotted graph lines that showed declines or scant improvement in test scores over four years.”

Since the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year the Manchester School District has been one of the biggest continuing news stories in New Hampshire.  Math classes with 40 kids.  Classrooms so overloaded that children did not have desks, and were forced to sit on filing cabinets.  Neighboring towns that participate in the Manchester Schools District  scrambling to see if they could move students to different schools and threatened to not bring students back next year.

After the audit was released, mayoral candidate Patrick Arnold, released this statement.

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“The audit validates what most of us in the city already know about the state of the Manchester School District – Mayor Gatsas’ failed leadership has left our school system in desperate need of a new vision for success.  

Among the many challenges observed, the auditors made special note of the strained working relationships and infighting on the School Board. Mayor Gatsas’ my way or the highway management style does not facilitate resolution of this challenge, nor does it promote a healthy vetting or legitimate debate of the issues we face in our district. That is why I’m running for Mayor – because our city and our school district need new leadership and a collaborative approach to solve the tough problems we face.  

In the meantime, I will ask the Joint Aldermanic-School Board Committee on Education to evaluate the findings of the audit and facilitate discussion on how best to execute the auditors’ recommendations for improvement.” 

The NH Union Leader also highlights that the Manchester School Board is not the only issue the Mayor needs to address.  The city is in negotiations with the Manchester Education Association for new teacher contracts. The United Steel Workers for contracts at the Water Works.

“No doubt, Roche (USW Representative for the MHT Water Works) wouldn’t be so upset were it not for the raw deal he feels is being offered: a fourfold increase in health insurance premiums – from 5 to 20 percent – with just a half-percent raise.”

As the mayoral elections are starting to heat up, we need to take a serious look at what Mayor Gatsas has done to Manchester over the last few years, and how it is going to take many more years to recover from those changes.