Ahead of the holiday weekend dedicated to honoring the sacrifices made by workers, the NH AFL-CIO and the NH Democratic Party, blast Republicans over their failed and out of touch policies that harm working families.
Labor Day is the annual holiday to “celebrate the progress of American workers,” said NH AFL-CIO President Glenn Brackett. “American workers are what make our country great.”
Labor Day honors the decades of progress gained through the blood, sweat and tears of American workers who fought for policies like weekends, paid time off, sick days, maternity leave, social security, on the job safety programs like OSHA, and dozens of other policies that would never have been without American workers standing up for them.
Earlier this summer, Jeb Bush told the Union Leader that people just need to “work longer hours” showing just how out of touch he really is.
Americans are still suffering the effects of the Great Recession that stemmed from the failed policies of the George W Bush presidency and the deregulation of Wall Street.
Not to be outdone, Senator Rand Paul recently said, “Income inequality is from people not working hard enough,” and also said, “if you work all day long, you don’t have time to do heroin.”
American workers have pushed their productivity to the highest levels in history, yet all of those gains have gone to the wealthy instead of working families.
Many Americans have been forced to work two or even three jobs just to pay the bills as wages have declined over the last thirty years (adjusted for inflation). I highly doubt Jeb Bush has ever had to take on a second or third job to pay his bills.
NH Democratic Party Chair, Raymond Buckley, said that it is “Democrats who are fighting for working families.” Democrats are pushing for a higher minimum wage, equal pay for equal work, and protecting Social Security to ensure that workers can retire with dignity.
“Jeb Bush wants to “phase out” Medicare and John Kasich wants to change Social Security for those close to retirement age, jeopardizing their future. Not to mention failed Republican policies of the past that favor the wealthiest few and leave the middle class behind,” said Buckley.
In New Hampshire it is Republicans who blocked a minimum wage increase and now are holding the state hostage with their draconian budget that would repeal healthcare for 50,000 hard working Granite Staters, to preserve tax breaks from wealthy corporations.
Brackett highlighted that under President Obama’s leadership “America has had 64 straight months of private sector growth.’
“The GOP economic plan seems to be demanding that middle class workers work even longer, while refusing to do anything to help middle class workers and their families get ahead. If they keep this up, it won’t be difficult for hard-working Granite State families to see that putting the White House back in GOP hands would be a disaster for our middle class,” concluded Brackett.
CONCORD, N.H. – Jeb Bush is back in New Hampshire today, appearing at an event hosted by the Koch brother’s main political arm, Americans for Prosperity. Or rather, auditioning for Koch support. Jeb Bush himself has said that he considers the Koch network an “important part of any coalition to win.”
This certainly isn’t the first time the Kochs have auditioned Bush for the support of their expansive network of donors. And it’s not the first time they’ve worked together, either. In fact, AFP spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to defeat Supreme Court justices that invalidated Jeb Bush’s voucher program in Florida.
Not only that, but Bush and the AFP agree on a number of issues that would put the wealthy and corporations over middle class families here in the Granite State.
“Whether it’s supporting a budget that would favor the wealthy over the middle class, eliminating the Export-Import Bank that would hurt New Hampshire businesses, or opposing the minimum wage increase that would help over 100,000 Granite Staters, Jeb Bush and the Kochs are in lock-step with each other, but out of touch with everyday Granite Staters,” said New Hampshire Democratic Chair Ray Buckley. “This latest audition just proves that Bush would do what he’s done his whole career – elevate the priorities of people like the Koch Brothers over those of middle class families.”
You should know that New Hampshire has no state minimum wage, which means we follow the federal minimum wage, which puts us at the bottom of any other state in New England. But it’s not for a lack of trying… or a lack of public support. People here don’t think the minimum wage is lame. They want it, and they want to raise the minimum wage so their families have more opportunities to succeed and achieve the American dream you talk so much about.
New Kelly Ayotte Campaign Video Tries To Hide Record Of Putting DC And Wall Street Special Interests Before New Hampshire
Ayotte Brags About Miserable Record On Issues Including
Working Families & The Economy, Education, And the Environment
Concord, N.H. – Kelly Ayotte is launching her vulnerable campaign stunningly early and it’s no secret why: Republicans know that her record of putting Washington and Wall Street special interests before New Hampshire has put her re-election at risk.
In a new campaign video, Ayotte tried desperately to run from her record of putting special interests first while turning her back on New Hampshire’s people, businesses, and economy – even bragging about her miserable on issues including working families and the economy, education, and the environment.
But if Ayotte believes she’s going to be able to hide the fact that she’s turned her back on New Hampshire, she’s going to be in for a rude awakening at the ballot box.
See below for some of the key facts missing from Kelly Ayotte’s campaign video:
Kelly Ayotte Claims She’s “Bipartisan” But The Truth Is She:
Played politics with public safety, pushing the Department of Homeland Security to the brink of shutdown.
“New Hampshire is a pro-gun state, but it is also a pro-gun safety state. Senator Ayotte voted against common sense criminal background checks and the 89% of her constituents who support them,” said Zandra Rice-Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress. “We will be on the campaign trail to remind voters of Senator Ayotte’s record and to also encourage her to do the right thing now. For two years she’s refused to host a town hall dedicated to how we can reduce gun violence, and in the town halls she has hosted her moderators screened out questions regarding her vote against background checks. Reducing gun violence is a pressing national issue and Kelly Ayotte owes the people of New Hampshire a straight answer on why she continues to side with the NRA lobby over her constituents.”
“Senator Ayotte saw her approval ratings in the state plummet after she voted against background checks in 2013 and she should expect the same ire as she seeks re-election,” Rice-Hawkins said.
Kelly Ayotte Claims She Looks Out For Families’ Economic Interests (Including K-12 Education And Child Care) But The Truth Is She:
Kelly Ayotte has a long history of looking out for her special interest donors and opposing even modest Wall Street reform. Ayotted has voted to roll back the Wall Street reform bill and slash funding for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which has received more than 2,000 consumer complaints from New Hampshire since December 2011.
“It’s no surprise that Wall Street special interests would try to save Kelly Ayotte after she’s consistently proven that she will always put special interests first while making New Hampshire consumers pay the price,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Press Secretary Aaron Jacobs. “This disgraced Wall Street Super PAC couldn’t buy a senate seat for Scott Brown last cycle, and they won’t be able to rescue Kelly Ayotte’s chances either.”
Kelly Ayotte Claims She’s Protected New Hampshire’s Environment And Natural Resources But The Truth Is She:
It is painfully obvious that Senator Kelly Ayotte is not working for New Hampshire families, and her record shows she will put Wall Street, Big Oil, the Koch Brothers and corporations ahead of working families.
This election, Granite Staters will be holding her accountable for her voting record, and that will lead to a major disappointment for Kelly in 2016.
Some wage-grade workers, like commissary employees, are facing pay cuts.Some wage-grade workers, like commissary employees, are facing pay cuts. Kevin L. Robinson/Defense Commissary Agency.
Across the country, city and state leaders are raising wages for their lowest paid workers as part of a growing movement to ensure all employees can earn a living wage. Yet the federal government remains frustratingly mired in the past, maintaining a minimum wage that pays employees less today than they would have earned in 1968.
Tens of thousands of federal and District of Columbia government employees are working full time, yet earning less than $15 an hour. These are not temps or interns; they are licensed practical nurses and canteen workers at our veterans’ hospitals, food service workers at our commissaries, and maintenance workers at our military bases. The Obama administration has shown a willingness to raise the minimum wage for its contractor workforce, but has said and done nothing similar for its own low-wage workers.
These federal workers are just as vital to the mission of their agencies as everyone else, yet they are unable to support themselves and their families on the paltry wages they earn from the government. To make matters worse, some employees who earn above the $15 threshold are in danger of seeing their salaries slashed due to callous actions by their agencies and Congress.
The Veterans Affairs Department announced a plan last year to reclassify and downgrade 21,000 employees, most of whom work as a GS-7 or below, expanding an effort it began several years earlier that resulted in about 1,600 low-wage employees seeing their pay permanently cut following reclassification.
Meanwhile, the Defense Department wants to cut the salaries of commissary workers by as much as half, as part of larger plan to merge the Defense Commissary Agency with the Army and Air Force Exchange Service.
It’s disgraceful that the federal government has failed to raise living standards for so many of its own workers, and even is conspiring to slash wages for others.
Raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour will help not only the government’s own workers, but uplift the millions of working Americans who are paid at or below the current minimum wage. An employee receiving today’s federal minimum wage earns roughly half of what the same employee earned in 1968, when adjusted for inflation. Even President Obama’s proposal to increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour wouldn’t close that gap.
Higher wages mean higher standards of living for working families and less dependence on government assistance, better workforce morale and lower poverty, and investing in a better future instead of racing to the bottom.
But at its core, raising the wage is more than just an economic issue; it is a moral one. Anyone who works hard and plays by the rules should have a fair shot at the American Dream.
Rather than serving as an example for what not to do, the federal government should be a role model for other employers to emulate. It’s time for the federal government to lead from the front and treat its workers with the dignity and respect they deserve. It’s time to raise the minimum wage for all workers — including the federal government’s own workforce — to $15 per hour.
J. David Cox Sr. is national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents more than 670,000 federal and D.C. government employees nationwide.
“I think minimum wage is a classic example of a policy that is best carried out in the states,” Republican presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina recently told MacKenzie Flessas at WMUR-ABC TV’s “Conversation with the Candidate” in New Hampshire.
“To me, a national minimum wage does not make a lot of sense,” the former corporate CEO said in response to a question that began with the observation that, “In New Hampshire, someone who earns minimum wage earns less than $300 per week.”
MacKenzie is ECM’s New Hampshire field director. She and other ECM staff have also elicited replies during sessions of the TV campaign series from South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, former Texas Governor Rick Perry, Ohio Governor John Kasich and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Some highlights are provided here, and the full questions and remarks can be found at WMUR’s website.
ECM was able to ask former Florida Governor Jeb Bush a question today during taping of a program that will be broadcast Friday evening, May 29.
Senator Graham told ECM state director Mary Lou Beaver during one WMUR studio conversation that he has been a leading Republican champion in Congress for early childhood programs because, “by the time you are five years old, 90 percent of your mental development is there.” Graham promised that if he runs for president and wins, he will partner with states to assure adequate nutritional support for kids. But he warned that more ambitious plans to help children– “to give them a chance to compete in the twenty-first century” –will require entitlement reform.
Former Governor Perry told Beaver that he would “repeal Obamacare” and allow states to be laboratories of innovation for health care, suggesting health savings accounts, allowing insurance to be sold across state lines and tort reform as hopeful ideas. That was in response to a question from ECM about how to ensure that low-income children and their parents in New Hampshire would not lose health care access if the Affordable Care Act had to be replaced.
Governor Kasich said that he supports keeping the Earned Income Tax Credit to help low-wage working families, but he declined to endorse expanding or strengthening the program when asked. Kasich pointed instead toward education, including online programs, to help people get jobs that would pay more.
ECM will continue to ask candidates questions about policies that affect kids as part of our 2-year effort to put children at the center of campaign discussion during the presidential election process. In New Hampshire, Save the Children Action Network, a sponsor of the “Conversation with the Candidate” series, is a key partner in the effort to highlight early childhood issues.
We’ll continue to let you know what the candidates say!
America is in an abusive relationship with trade-obsessed politicians and corporations.
Despite their long history of battering the U.S. middle class with bad trade deal after bad trade deal, these lawmakers and CEOs contend workers should believe that their new proposal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), will be different. President Obama and the CEO of Nike, a company that doesn’t manufacture one shoe in the United States, got together in Oregon on Friday to urge Americans to fall once again for a trade deal.
The trade fanatics say everything will be different under the TPP – even though it is based on deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that lured American factories across the border, destroyed good-paying jobs and devastated communities. They plead: “Just come back for one more deal and see how great it will be this time!” And, like all batterers, they say: “Sorry about the terrible past; trust me about the future.”
This is trade abuse.
At the Nike world headquarters in Beaverton, Ore., the chief executive officer of Air Jordans told the chief executive passenger of Air Force One that Americans should believe in the TPP because it’ll be like Santa Claus stuffing jobs down chimneys across America.
The thing is, Nike could easily create 10,000 manufacturing and engineering jobs in the United States right now. No TPP required. It employs 1 million overseas, the vast majority in low-wage, high-worker-abuse countries like Vietnam, China and Indonesia. To bring 1 percent of those jobs – 10,000 – to the United States doesn’t seem like such a Herculean, TPP-requiring task, especially considering Nike’s massive profit margin.
Instead of manufacturing in America, Nike chooses to “just do it” in countries where it knows workers are abused. In the 1990s, the media slammed the corporation for sweatshop conditions in its foreign factories. Like a typical abuser, Nike promised to reform its ways. It said in a news release last week, “Our past lessons have fundamentally changed the way we do business.”
Promises, promises. Why doesn’t Nike simply insist on higher standards at its factories? What exactly is there in a trade deal with 11 Pacific Rim nations that is essential to Nike establishing higher standards and stopping the abuse of workers in factories making its shoes?
Oh, yeah, the American middle class, which has suffered most from past trade deals, is not allowed to know that. The TPP is secret. Well, except to the privileged corporate CEOs who helped write the thing.
In pushing for “Fast Track” authority to shove the deal through a Congress that has abdicated its Constitutional responsibility to oversee foreign trade, President Obama admitted “past deals did not always live up to the hype.”
Just three years ago, trade fanatics promised that the Korean deal, called KORUS, would definitely provide more exports and more jobs. Instead, U.S. goods exports to Korea dropped 6 percent, while imports from Korea surged 19 percent. So the U.S. goods trade deficit with Korea swelled 104 percent. That means the loss of 93,000 America jobs in just the first three years of KORUS.
What this means is that instead of exporting goods, America is exporting jobs. Foreign workers get the jobs making the stuff Americans buy. And they’re often employed by factories producing products for so-called American corporations like Nike. They’re employed by factories that collapse and kill hundreds. Factories that catch on fire and immolate workers trapped inside. Factories where workers are ill-paid, overworked and slapped when they can’t meet unrealistic production quotas. Factories that pollute grievously.
American workers no longer are willing to engage in this abusive relationship with trade fanatics. They no longer believe the promises of change. They don’t want the federal money TPP fanatics promise them to pay for retraining as underpaid burger flippers after their middle class-supporting factory jobs are shipped overseas. They’re over trade pacts that benefit only multi-national corporations like Nike.
To Fast Track and the TPP, they say, “Just Don’t Do It!”
Fight for 15 New York (The All-Nite Images FLIKR CC)
By Barbara Kestenbaum
On April 15, as I looked along 59th Street in Midtown Manhattan, there was electricity in the air. I saw thousands of union and non-union workers marching together in solidarity toward Columbus Circle, holding signs that read “Fight for $15 and a Union.” The demonstration was backed by many unions, including SEIU and the UFCW. These unions were there from the historic beginning of the Fast Food Forward movement in 2012, standing with men and women who had walked off their jobs for one day at McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Burger King, and other stores. I participated in this first demonstration and did so again on April 15. As I saw proud determination on the faces of the marchers, it reminded me of the line from James Sloan Gibbons’ Civil War poem about the enthusiastic response to Abraham Lincoln’s call for Union volunteers: “We are coming, Father Abraham, three hundred thousand more.”
Fight For $15 – Rally and March – 04/15/15 Image by Barry Solow FLIKR CC
As a DC37 union member (Ret.), it filled me with pride to march with my union brothers and sisters, members of the IBT, UAW, USW, CWA, CSEA and more. All were protesting the unlivable wages so many non-unionized workers are paid as they toil at backbreaking jobs in restaurants, car washes, laundries, and as home care attendants. The marchers also included adjunct professors at universities who also work long hours for shamefully low pay. People young and older were marching because they feel intensely that in this rich nation of ours, all working people should be able to afford good homes, nutritious food, adequate health care, and not be forced to work two or more jobs just to squeeze by. I very much agree with Mary Kay Henry, president of SEIU who said about the demonstration:
“Workers proved that by joining together, they can improve their lives.” She emphasized that McDonald’s deciding to raise wages at the stores it owns “is not nearly enough….The overwhelming majority of McDonald’s workers [those at franchisee-owned stores] will still be paid wages so low that they can’t afford basics like rent and groceries.” She stated that SEIU remained “more committed than ever…” to securing for “all workers…the right to join together in a union to improve the lives of all working families.”
(Image byThe All-Nite Images FLIKR CC)
All Americans need to know what Eli Siegel, founder of the education Aesthetic Realism, explained about America’s profit economy in a series of landmark lectures beginning in 1970. I was fortunate to hear many of these talks, in which he provided solid evidence from history, economics, literature, and current events, showing that contempt—“the addition to self through the lessening of something else”—is at the basis of America’s economy, the profit system. Contempt includes the seeing of one’s fellow human beings in terms of how much profit can be made from their labor, while paying them as little as possible. Further, he showed that ethics, working throughout history, had culminated in the failure of profit economics. A current sign of this, among others, is that in February, 2015 McDonald’s sales fell “by a startling 4 percent in the United States and by 1.7 percent globally” (New York Times 3/9/15). And, according to a later article (NYT 5/05/15), the “sales slump”’ continues.
In recent years, as a result of our failed economy, there have been waves of fierce union-busting efforts by corporate America and some state governments, including taking away a union’s ability to sustain itself and its membership through dues. Every dollar paid to a union worker in wages diminishes an employer’s ability to line his own pockets. In fact, I’ve learned that the one way profit economics can continue at all is by making working people poorer. That is what’s behind the attacks on unions, and it explains the constant suffering by millions of families, including the shameful fact that one out of five children in America is not getting sufficient food.
“The Fight for $15 and a Union” movement has given a voice to millions of low-paid workers. In over 200 cities—New York, Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, Los Angeles, and more—they are being heard loud and clear as they say “Hell No” to poverty wages. On April 15, there were mass demonstrations and sit-ins. Many fast food restaurants were unable to serve their customers and had to shut their doors. All this sent a powerful message to corporations such as McDonald’s and Walmart that workers will fight to end the abuses they are suffering at the hands of corporate America.
The people of America, including union officials, have a right to know what Ellen Reiss, Aesthetic Realism Chairman of Education, has been describing for many years about the failure of profit economics and the importance of unions. In a recent issue of the international periodical The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known, she writes with clarity and feeling about the huge meaning of the Fast Food Workers movement and how it’s been reported on by the major media. She presents four key points, three of which are quoted here:
“1) There has been an effort to indicate that the Fight for $15 movement is admirable—but to have it seen as apart from unions. In fact, the central slogan of the demonstrators is: “$15 an Hour and a Union.” But in so many media accounts, the second phrase is just left out.
“Unions—in particular the Service Employees International Union and United Food and Commercial Workers—have done much to have this movement exist; they, chiefly, have organized and funded it. Yet a lot of the media coverage gives the impression that low-wage workers somehow just got together in some vague grassroots way. And the reason is: if the reporting let Americans see how much unions are working to bring justice to these employees, and how much the employees know they need a union, Americans would love and value unions and want them–even more than many, many Americans now do.
“2) Then there are the persons, sometimes quoted in the media, who are blatantly against this new ‘Social-Justice Movement’: the persons who present a wage increase for fast-food workers as ruinous to business and therefore to America. They say: The demonstrations are taking place only because Big Bad unions are trying to get money into their coffers! The fast-food workers would be satisfied with their situation if unions didn’t stir them up (as slaves would have been satisfied in the 1850s, were it not for those awful abolitionists).
“4) Then, there are the media reports which admit that unions have been useful in the ‘Fight for $15’ movement—but which say that the unions are engaging in a new method: that unions have been dying off and had to come to something new to keep alive. This angle is ridiculous. Unions are doing what they have always done, what they created themselves to do: fighting for economic justice to workers; showing workers that in joining together, each person can take care of oneself by taking care that others get what they deserve. Unions have used different techniques over the years. But what they are doing in the ‘Fight for $15’ movement is utterly in keeping with their history: for instance, fighting for justice for garment workers in New York City; textile workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts; auto workers in Detroit, Michigan; coal miners in West Virginia; teachers in American classrooms; truck drivers on the many and long American roads. American unions are as American as our Declaration of Independence, and they stand for the same justice. ”
Ms. Reiss concludes: “Beginning as early as age 18, Eli Siegel wrote with passion and logic about the fact that economics should be based on the answer to this question: “What does a person deserve by being alive?” This is the question that must be answered if working men and women—and their families—are to get the economic and social justice that is rightfully theirs.”
As we celebrate our Mothers today – whether they’re still with us or not – it’s important to note our commitment to support mothers of all kinds. Here in New Hampshire, Democrats continue to support working mothers and work to strengthen middle class families. We’d like to celebrate Gov. Maggie Hassan, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Rep. Annie Kuster for their leadership supporting working families, as well as being incredible mothers themselves. Happy Mother’s Day!
As we look ahead to 2016, Democrats are committed to fighting for mothers while the GOP makes it clear they are wrong on equal pay and a minimum wage increase – that will help mothers and their children get ahead.
Equal Pay for Women
Jeb Bush stated that he did not know what the Paycheck Fairness Act was when asked about it.
Marco Rubio said the Paycheck Fairness Act was about “scoring political points,” “wasting time,” and a “show vote.”
Scott Walker repealed an equal pay law saying it was a “bogus issue.”
Rand Paul compared the Paycheck Fairness Act to the Soviet Politburo.
Chris Christie vetoed equal pay legislation calling it “senseless bureaucracy.”
Ted Cruz voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act and derided it as a “show vote.”
Raising the Minimum Wage
Jeb Bush said “we need to leave it to the private sector… This is one of those poll-driven deals… I’m sure it’s a great soundbite.”
Here it is the video you have all been waiting for, Senator Bernie Sanders just after announcing he official campaign for President addresses the delegates and friends of the NH AFL-CIO 2015 Convention in North Conway, New Hampshire.
If you already know who Senator Bernie Sanders is, then watch this video and you will fall in love with him all over again.
If you do not know who Senator Bernie Sanders is, then watch this video and see what his vision is for America.
A vision where healthcare is a right and everyone has quality healthcare provided to them
A vision where our children get a good high quality education and can get a college education without being saddled with hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loan debt.
A vsion where a single mother does not need to get food stamps to feed her son even though she already works full time. Where workers are paid a living wage of $15 an hour minimum.
A vision where the government listens to the scientific community and starts to reverse the effects of global warming and leaving our planet better for our children and grandchildren
A vision where corporations pay their fair share in taxes and are no longer allowed to hide their profits in offshore accounts to avoid paying taxes.
A vision where a secretary does not have to pay a higher rate in her taxes than the CEO of the corporation she works for.
A vision where American workers are put first and corporate profits are put second. Where Americans are buying American made goods. Where American corporations are investing in the future of America by building new manufacturing facilities here in the USA.
Senator Sanders also spoke at length about the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the disastrous effects that NAFTA and previous trade agreements have had on American workers.
The speech is a little over 30 minutes long, but I promise you will hardly notice once Bernie starts rolling!
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