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October 25, 2011

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Car wash workers at Bonus Car Wash in Santa Monica, California, become the first to unionize in an industry where workers are often exposed to a variety of toxic chemicals without adequate protections, work for extended periods in the sun without rest or shade, and are paid a daily rate that is far less than the minimum wage. The contract provided a wage increase, health and safety protections, grievance and arbitration procedures, and prohibited the employer from firing workers without just cause.

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October 24, 1892

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Members of three unions – the Teamsters, the Scalesmen, and the Packers – go on strike in New Orleans for a 10-hour work day, overtime pay, and a union shop. A general strike involving 46 other unions and 25,000 workers quickly followed and the city came to a halt. After a number of failed attempts to divide and crush the strike, employers agreed to binding arbitration, and the workers won the 10-hour day and overtime pay, but not the union shop.

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October 23, 1989

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85,000 pounds of highly flammable gas released through an open valve ignites, resulting in a series of explosions and fire at the Phillips 66 plastics plant in Pasadena, Texas. Twenty-three workers were killed and 314 injured. OSHA’s investigation faulted the company for a host of health and safety violations and issued 566 willful and 9 serious violations with a combined total proposed penalty of over $5.5 million dollars.

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AFL-CIO Worker’s Voice PAC To Air Ads In Seven Key States

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With high stakes elections coming down to the wire across the country, the labor movement is going up on radio and TV in support of working family candidates.  The ads will build on the effective grassroots campaign that labor has been running for several months including door knocking, worksite leaflets and phone banking.

Workers’ Voice has just launched full 60 second radio ads designed to educate working families about the stakes on November 4th and promote the candidates who will work for their economic interests:

  • Senator Mark Begich (Alaska)
  • Senator Mark Udall (Colorado)
  • Congressman Bruce Braley (running for Senate in Iowa)
  • Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (running for Senate in Kentucky)
  • Congressman Mike Michaud (running for Governor in Maine)
  • Mary Burke (running for Governor in Wisconsin)

Each ad will run through Election Day in multiple markets across each state.

In addition, a 30 second television ad in Michigan launches today and will air through Election Day.

Each of these ads focus on economic issues and aim to clarify for voters which candidate will fight for a secure and growing middle class.

The Iowa radio ad is an example: By including Senate candidate Jodi Ernst’s own words in support of Social Security privatization, the ad steps above the din on an issue (retirement security) of deep-seated concern to working people in Iowa.

To listen to any of the radio ads, click below:

Alaska US Senate, Radio

Colorado US Senate, Radio

Iowa, US Senate Radio

Kentucky US Senate, Radio

Maine Governor Radio

Wisconsin Governor, Radio

And the Michigan Governor TV ad can be found here

Manchester Police Patrolman’s Association Endorse Maggie Hassan

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DSC_0236Manchester Police Patrolman’s Association Endorses Governor Maggie Hassan for Her Record of Supporting Public Safety in the Queen City

Fourth Public Safety Organization to Endorse Governor Hassan for Re-Election

Manchester—Praising her strong leadership and record of fighting for the priorities that help keep New Hampshire’s largest city safe, the Manchester Police Patrolman’s Association endorsed Maggie Hassan for re-election.

“Governor Hassan’s strong leadership and proven record of protecting our communities make her the clear choice on public safety in this election,” said MPPA President Ken Chamberlain. “We are proud to endorse Governor Hassan for re-election and know that she will always work to bring DSC_0229together members of both parties to get things done to strengthen public safety and ensure that our law enforcement officials have the support we need to protect the people of Manchester.”

“It’s a tremendous honor to have earned the support of the Manchester Police Patrolman’s Association again this year as we work to keep Manchester safe and solve problems the New Hampshire Way,” said Governor Hassan. “Maintaining the safety of our communities and citizens is the most important job of state government, and through our bipartisan budget, we’ve made critical investments in protecting our communities, without a sales or income tax. We maintained drug task force teams, funded the cold case unit, restored the CHINS program, and through our bipartisan health care expansion plan, thousands of people will have access to substance and alcohol treatment coverage for the first time.”

“But my opponent is pushing a so-called ‘plan’ that’s straight out of the Bill O’Brien playbook and would blow a $90 million hole in our state budget, placing critical investments in public safety at risk. We have come too far to let my opponent take us backward, and together we’ll continue to keep New Hampshire safe and move our state in the right direction,” added Governor Hassan.

Through her bipartisan budget, Governor Hassan fought to protect critical investments in public safety – without a sales or income tax. The Governor restored the CHINS program, invested in drug task force teams, funded the cold case unit, and launched Media Power Youth, a public-private initiative to increase media literacy and reduce and prevent youth violence.

The Governor also worked across party lines to strengthen community-based mental health services and pass a bipartisan Medicaid expansion plan that is providing coverage for mental health and substance use treatment to thousands of hard-working Granite Staters, strengthening the safety and well being of our communities.

The MPPA is the fourth public safety organization to endorse Governor Hassan for re-election, joining the New Hampshire Troopers’ Association, Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire, and the New Hampshire Police Association.

Today in labor history for the week of October 20, 2014

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October 20
Eugene V. Debs, U.S. labor leader and socialist, dies in Elmhurst, Ill. Among his radical ideas: an 8-hour workday, pensions, workman’s compensation, sick leave and social security. He ran for president from a jail cell in 1920 and got a million votes – 1926
(The Bending Cross: A Biography of Eugene V. Debs: Eugene V. Debs was a labor activist in the late 19th and early 20th centuries who captured the heart and soul of the nation’s working people. He was brilliant, sincere, compassionate and scrupulously honest. A founder of one of the nation’s first industrial unions, the American Railway Union, he went on to help launch the Industrial Workers of the World—the Wobblies. A man of firm beliefs and dedication, he ran for President of the United States five times under the banner of the Socialist Party, in 1912 earning 6 percent of the popular vote.)

Hollywood came under scrutiny as the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) opened hearings into alleged Communist influence within the motion picture industry. Dozens of union members were among those blacklisted following as a result of HUAC’s activities – 1947

Presidential candidate Ronald Reagan writes to PATCO President Robert Poli with this promise: if the union endorses Reagan, “I will take whatever steps are necessary to provide our air traffic controllers with the most modern equipment available and to adjust staff levels and work days so that they are commensurate with achieving a maximum degree of public safety.” He got the endorsement. Nine months after the election, he fires the air traffic controllers for engaging in an illegal walkout over staffing levels and working conditions – 1980

2014.10.20history-merle.travisDeath of Merle Travis, songwriter and performer who wrote “Sixteen Tons” and “Dark as a Dungeon” – 1983

Two track workers are killed in a (San Francisco) Bay Area Rapid Transit train accident. Federal investigators said the train was run by a BART employee who was being trained as an operator as members of the Amalgamated Transit Union were participating in what was to be a four-day strike – 2013

October 21
Wisconsin dairy farmers begin their third strike of the year in an attempt to raise the price of milk paid to producers during the Great Depression. Several creameries were bombed before the strike ended a month later. The economy eventually improved, allowing the farmers to make more money – 1933

October 22
Bank robber Charles Arthur “Pretty Boy” Floyd is killed by FBI agents near East Liverpool, Ohio. He was a hero to the people of Oklahoma who saw him as a “Sagebrush Robin Hood,” stealing from banks and sharing some of the proceeds with the poor – 1934

October 23
President Theodore Roosevelt establishes a fact-finding commission that suspends a nine-months-long strike by Western Pennsylvania coal miners fighting for better pay, shorter workdays and union recognition. The strikers ended up winning more pay for fewer hours, but failed to get union recognition. It was the first time that the federal government had intervened as a neutral arbitrator in a labor dispute – 1902

Explosion and fire at Phillips Petroleum refinery in Pasadena, Texas, kills 23 and injures 314 – 19892014.10.20history-phillips.petroleum

Postal workers Joseph Curseen and Thomas Morris die nearly a month after having inhaled anthrax at the Brentwood mail sorting center in Washington, D.C. Other postal workers had been made ill but survived. Letters containing the deadly spores had been addressed to U.S. Senate offices and media outlets – 2001

October 24
The 40-hour work week goes into effect under the Fair Labor Standards Act, signed by President Roosevelt two years earlier – 1940

U.S. minimum wage increases to 40¢ an hour – 1945

October 25
What many believe to be the first formal training on first aid in American history took place at the Windsor Hotel in Jermyn, Penn., when Dr. Matthew J. Shields instructed 25 coal miners on ways to help their fellow miners. Upon completion of the course each of the miners was prepared and able to render first aid. The training led to marked decreases in serious mining injuries and fatalities – 1899
2014.10.20history-educate(Back in 1899 workers were trained to help other workers. Education for Changing Unions is for those looking for new and better ways to educate workers and communities about unions and the principles for which they stand. It is filled with spirited new ideas, practical exercises and issues under debate. It’s written in a clear and accessible style that’s designed to stimulate working people and teachers in many settings and locations.)

Some 25,000 silk dye workers strike in Paterson, N.J. – 1934

In what becomes known as the Great Hawaiian Dock Strike, a 6-month struggle to win wage parity with mainland dock workers, ends in victory – 1949

The Tribune Co. begins a brutal 5-month-long lockout at the New York Daily News, part of an effort to bust the newspaper’s unions – 1990

John Sweeney, president of the Service Employees Int’l Union, elected president of AFL-CIO – 19952014.10.20history-bitter.pill.bookcover
(A Bitter Pill: A Lenny Moss Mystery: As president of SEIU, Sweeney represented hospital workers. In this entertaining mystery, hospital worker and union steward Lenny Moss and his friends at James Madison Hospital are in the fight of their lives. The new hospital president, Robert “Third Reich” Reichart, has turned the hospital into a for-profit facility and launched a campaign to decertify the union. If successful, the decertification drive will destroy the union and compromise patient care as staffing levels are slashed and departments get outsourced to private firms.)

After a two-year fight, workers at the Bonus Car Wash in Santa Monica, Calif., win a union contract calling for pay increases, better breaks and other gains. “They didn’t treat us like people,” nine-year employee Oliverio Gomez told the Los Angeles Times – 2011

October 26
After eight years and at least 1,000 worker deaths—mostly Irish immigrants—the 350-mile Erie Canal opens, linking the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean. Father John Raho wrote to his bishop Source Link

Shaheen Campaigns with Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, NH AFL-CIO President in Hooksett

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Manchester – This evening Senator Jeanne Shaheen campaigned with Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, New Hampshire AFL-CIO President Mark MacKenzie, and more than a hundred supporters from the labor community at an event in Hooksett, where the three discussed how Shaheen’s record standing up for New Hampshire working families contrasts with Scott Brown’s record of supporting out-of state corporate interests and companies that outsource jobs.

“When it comes to jobs and the economy, Scott Brown and I have two very different records,” said Shaheen. “I believe we need to increase the minimum wage because it’s what’s right for New Hampshire families, but Scott Brown opposes the increase. I know we need to once and for all end giveaways for Big Oil, Wall Street and companies that ship jobs overseas, but time and again Scott Brown voted to protect those special breaks. And I want to make sure we’re doing everything we can to support New Hampshire small businesses across our state, but Scott Brown voted against them when he was representing Massachusetts. The difference is clear: I have never stopped fighting to make a difference for the families and businesses that make up the backbone of our state’s economy, and I never will.”

“Jeanne Shaheen has a long record working to create good paying jobs and has always fought to ensure hardworking people get the fair shot they deserve,” said Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. “When he was Massachusetts’ senator, Scott Brown voted against unemployment benefits. He voted to water down Wall Street reform. And he helped big corporations ship American jobs overseas. When you see his record up close like we did, you see he’s not someone who has spent his career standing up for working people. Jeanne Shaheen has.”

“Outsourcing is the type of business practice that lines the pockets of millionaires like Scott Brown but is devastating for communities here in New Hampshire,” said Mark Mackenzie, President of the New Hampshire AFL-CIO. “When jobs are shipped overseas, families suffer, unemployment increases, and communities are decimated. The fact that Scott Brown personally profited from this practice is wrong, and we need to reelect our Senator, Jeanne Shaheen, who we know will always stand up for working families here in New Hampshire.”

Jeanne Shaheen has spent her career fighting for good paying jobs here in New Hampshire. Shaheen led the fight to pass the bipartisan Small Business Jobs Act, which has helped countless New Hampshire businesses expand and create new jobs. Shaheen also cosponsored the bipartisan Travel Promotion Act, which invested in New Hampshire’s tourism industry, the second largest in the state, supporting nearly 70,000 jobs. Shaheen is currently fighting to increase the minimum wage because she believes no one in New Hampshire should have to work full time and still live in poverty.

Meanwhile, Scott Brown opposes increasing the minimum wage and voted to support tax loopholes for Big Oil, Wall Street and companies that offshore American jobs.  Since losing in Massachusetts, Brown has made over a quarter million dollars as a board member of a company that touts outsourcing American jobs to China and Mexico as part of its business plan. Legal documents dated just two days before Brown entered the U.S. Senate race in New Hampshire bear his signature endorsing the company’s outsourcing strategy.

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