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Budget Cuts Threaten Enforcement Of Job Discrimination Laws (from @AFGE)

EEOC faces employee furloughs at time of record high discrimination complaints, AFGE says

Potential budget cuts from sequestration would devastate the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s ability to enforce laws that protect American workers from job discrimination, according to the American Federation of Government Employees.

The sequestration scheduled to take place in March would slash an estimated $23 million to $30 million from EEOC’s $360 million annual budget, which amounts to a cut of between 6.5% and 8.2%. Given that the bulk of EEOC’s budget goes to pay employee salaries and expenses, EEOC would have no choice but to lay off workers without pay for extended periods of time.

“EEOC simply cannot absorb a cut of this magnitude,” AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said. “This cut would cripple the agency’s ability to enforce laws that protect against workplace discrimination. EEOC cannot enforce laws without frontline staff allowed to be on the job.”

EEOC already has been suffering under the second year of an unprecedented budget cut, which has reduced its budget each year by $7 million. Because EEOC is a small and historically underfunded agency, even this “haircut” has meant the loss of 9% of the agency’s staff.

To make matters worse, these cuts are occurring at a time when workload is way up. EEOC has seen historically high charge filings during the past three years, receiving 99,412 charges of workplace discrimination in fiscal 2012 alone. EEOC continues to struggle with an unacceptable backlog of 70,312 cases and average processing times exceeding nine months.

“These extended delays represent lost opportunities for Americans who want to work.  Cutting EEOC is counterintuitive at a time when job creation is the nation’s priority, because the agency’s mission is all about jobs,” said Gabrielle Martin, president of AFGE’s National Council of EEOC Locals, No. 216.

It is anticipated that, in the event of extended employee furloughs, EEOC would ensure that the intake of new discrimination complaints remained open. However, there would be no staff available to process these cases, so the backlog would skyrocket, Martin said.

“For all intents and purposes, the United States would cease to have enforceable civil rights in the workplace should sequestration occur,” she said.

AFGE represents employees on the front lines of protecting civil rights in the workplace. EEOC’s investigators, attorneys, mediators, administrative judges and other staff contribute to job creation by enforcing this nation’s civil rights laws, which protect against discrimination on the job based on race, religion, color, national origin, sex, age disability and now genetics.

AFGE is calling on Congress to avoid sequestration and employee furloughs in fiscal 2013. Going forward, EEOC’s budget for fiscal 2014 must be restored to at least $367 million, which would match EEOC’s operating budgets in 2010 and 2011.


Shipbuilders Take Aim At Romney’s Statement About The NAVY

The election is coming down to the wire and we all know this is going to be close.  That is why union members across the country are getting out and telling their friends and neighbors about what this election means.  Members from every major union are canvassing the streets to talk about Mitt Romney and Congressional candidates and their plans for the working class in America.

Just last sunday the NH AFL-CIO and union members from across New Hampshire came together in Portsmouth to help spread the word about President Obama and Carol Shea-Porter.

Unions help provide a voice in the workplace they are also working to ensure you have a voice and an advocate on Capitol Hill.  Paul O’Connor, President on the Metal Trades Council at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard understands this.  He and former Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter have been working together for many years.  At the NH AFL-CIO Labor Day breakfast, O’Connor introduced Carol by saying, “we have come a long way“.  O’Connor continued by stating

“Carol is a strong supporter of working people, not just in New Hampshire but across the nation”.

Durning monday nights debate Mitt Romney implied that President Obama is not interested in having a well equipped military.  O’Connor responded to this implication.

“President Obama understands the value of a strong Navy,” O’Connor said. “It’s not just about numbers of ships. It’s about the quality, the firepower, the technological superiority.”

Ron Ault, President of The Metal Trades Department had this to say in response to Mitt Romney’s comment during the monday night debate.

“The Metal Trades represents the workforce at the Naval Shipyards and the Norfolk Navy Public Works Centers at the Norfolk Naval Operations Base as well as at private shipyards that build naval warships- President Obama correctly pointed out it is about the capability of our Naval warships- not just the quantity of ships. We are building the most versatile, most capable technologically advanced warships in the world, fully capable of engaging multiple targets simultaneously.  America is far and away superior to any of the Navies of any nation on earth.”

USW Local 8888 President Arnold Outlaw wants to make sure that everyone understands who they are voting for and why their vote is so important.

 “Mitt Romney is somebody who dismissed 47% of America, our veterans, seniors, and working families. His policies prove that he does not care about the interests of middle class workers including shipbuilders. United Steelworkers Local 8888 and its 7,000 plus members proudly support President Obama’s efforts to rebuild the middle class by fighting for workers’ rights, health care, safety protections, and retirement security.”

With less than two weeks left we need everyone to get out there and spread the word.  Volunteer with your local campaign or union hall.  Make some phone calls, knock on some doors, what ever you can do to help.  Most of all get out and vote!

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Aaron Romley USW Local 8888 talks about the importance of the election and reelecting President Obama.

“I don’t get the feeling he (Romney) cares about the working class, and that bothers me a lot,” stated Aaron Romley USW Local 8888

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