AFL-CIO President Trumka’s Statement On Senate Colture Vote on Unemployment Insurance

Richard_Trumka

Richard_TrumkaLast year, lawmakers appallingly deserted 1.3 million jobless workers and went home for their own holiday without extending unemployment insurance benefits. Today, the Senate took an important step to assist those still searching for work when it cleared the way for a temporary unemployment benefits bill.

Unemployment insurance serves as a lifeline for millions of jobless Americans and their families. For many job seekers, unemployment benefits are the difference between total hopelessness and a place to live and food on the table.

The urgent business before us now is fixing what’s wrong with our economy. Maintaining the unemployment benefits program won’t just keep families out of crisis. It helps to spur the economy and keep it growing.

The Senate should quickly act to pass this bill and the House must act immediately. Further failure will mean more than 3 million more qualified people who will be denied extended benefits. Millions of Americans counting on unemployment insurance to help them through tough times are counting on the House to do the right thing.  We cannot afford to leave any working families behind.

Granite State Progress Wants Sen. Ayotte To Hold Town Hall Meeting Specifically On Gun Violence

Gun

Sen. Ayotte refused to acknowledge the family member of Sandy Hook victim, or to answer constituents about her vote against gun violence prevention; Granite State Progress calling for Sen. Ayotte to host town hall specifically on gun violence prevention

TILTON, NH – Just one day after community members rallied at the State Capitol calling on U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte to answer directly why she sided with the NRA lobby over the 89 percent of her constituents who support background checks, Ayotte refused to explain her vote at a town hall and her campaign team even limited questions on the topic. Ayotte also chose not to acknowledge the daughter of a Sandy Hook victim who attended the event.

Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins issued the following statement:

“We are ashamed of Senator Ayotte’s actions today just like we are ashamed of the vote she took against commonsense gun violence prevention measures. If the family of a victim of any other national tragedy had been present, Senator Ayotte would have acknowledged them. Senator Ayotte is afraid to talk about her vote against gun violence prevention, because it was also a vote against 89% of her constituents. It is clear from her under-publicized town halls and refusal to engage in real conversation that she thinks her constituents will just forget about her vote.”

“We are here to tell her that’s not true. New Hampshire is a pro-gun state, but it is also a pro-gun safety state. We call on Senator Ayotte to host a town hall solely focused on gun violence prevention and explain in full why she sided with the NRA lobby over constituents.”

During the Tilton town hall, staff of Granite State Progress called out for Ayotte to answer questions about her vote after she dodged the sole question she took on the topic. The Granite State Progress staff was sitting directly behind Erica Lafferty, the daughter of the Sandy Hook school principal killed protecting children in December, when the Senator refused to answer. After Ms. Lafferty left in disgust, Granite State Progress stood up with signs that read “Shame on You.”

American Airlines Service Agent Deserve A Voice Not To Be Outsourced

AMR In Trouble

American Airlines is once again sticking it to their unions.

American Airlines (AMR) is still spending millions of dollars to block the service agents from holding their election.  The election would officially recognize the Communication Workers of America (CWA) as the sole representation of the workers.  This election has been held up for months due to a technicality over the percentage of people who say they want the union representation prior to the elections.

“We filed for this election almost a year ago and the company has been uncooperative from the beginning,” said CWA Organizing Director Sandy Rusher. “What are they afraid of? They know what we know – a union will give agents a voice and a seat at the table. Agents haven’t given up and we won’t give up on them.”

Two American Agents event went to Congress looking for assistance with this matter. See the video here.

No matter what American Airlines says the hard working agents are not giving up.  The agents and CWA have been fighting for their election for months and now they will finally get the vote they are asking for.

American Airlines agents will vote for representation beginning Dec. 4, when voting instructions will be mailed, and ending Jan. 15, 2013, under a schedule announced Nov. 1 by the National Mediation Board.

“After more than a year of needless delays, we finally can vote to form our own union, to secure a real voice on the job,” said Anne McCarthy, BOS. “It’s about time,” added Ted Tezino, SRO. “This shouldn’t have been in the courts in the first place. To all the agents out there who are undecided, I say wake up and see what’s going on! The company is not on our side.”

Ted is right American Airlines is not on their side.  A local Dallas TV station aired this story on the problems American Airlines is having with their third party contractor (embeded below).

The story highlights that the third party contractor may not have the proper clearance and credentials to access the secure side of the airport.  They have also been receiving numerous complaints on the work these contractors have been doing across the country.  These contractors are reportadly responsible for over 300 flight delays in their first two days.

These are only some of the horrors being brought to light about this outside contractor.

Agents for American Airlines need to know that without a union their jobs will be outsourced too.  AMR will cut your job, just to hire you back at less pay and no benefits.

Stand up for your rights and get out there and vote between Dec 4 th and
Dec 7 th.
 Get all the information about how to vote and make your voice heard!

 

My name is Matt and I stand in solidarity with the Service Agents at CWA!

 

Granite State Progress Launches New State House Report Card Website

Granite State Progress Logo

Six Weeks to Election: Granite State Progress Launches State House Report Card of 200+ Roll Call Votes

Website allows constituents, voters to see for themselves the issue positions, statements and videos of State House legislators and candidates

CONCORD, NH – Six weeks before the general election, Granite State Progress is making publicly available a State House Report Card of more than 200 roll call votes from the past session, categorized by issue and legislator.

The website can be viewed at http://www.granitestateprogress.org/service/legislator-report-cards.

“It’s hard to know whether your legislator did what you thought they would when you elected them,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, Granite State Progress Executive Director. “Granite State Progress selected more than 200 roll call votes on a wide variety of issues to help constituents understand the voting record of their individual legislators, many of whom are running for re-election. We’ve also included details about the representatives’ affiliations and relevant press releases, news clips or videos that point to their overall character.”

While many organizations issue report cards based on issue priorities, the Granite State Progress site will allow people to choose for themselves the issues that are most important to them. Each piece of legislation includes a link to the General Court’s website for more information.

“Our goal is to provide comprehensive information about who voted which way, so that someone who is concerned about education policy can find out just as much information as someone who is focused on budget and revenue issues,” Rice Hawkins said. “We’ve removed the confusing legislative jargon around these bills and instead explained, in a straight-forward way, what they really mean for Granite State families and small businesses.”

 

Examples of the roll call vote descriptions include:

  • Rep. Will Smith voted for repealing major sections of the anti-bullying law and leaving our children vulnerable to bullying on-line and off school grounds. (HB370, Roll Call #69, 3/15/2011)
  • Rep. Will Smith voted for eliminating open primaries, which are a key part of the first in the nation primary. An open primary allows undeclared voters to participate in either the Republican or Democratic Primary as they see fit. (HB1595, Roll Call #139, 3/8/2012)
  • Rep. Will Smith voted for prohibiting New Hampshire from participating in any program that establishes fuel standards as part of lowering carbon emissions. (HB1487, Roll Call #114, 3/7/2012)

“With many of these legislators running for re-election, it’s important for their constituents to know how they spent their time in Concord the past two years,” Rice Hawkins said. “This website finally makes available the same type of resources and attention that top of the ticket races have enjoyed for years.”

The State House Report Card currently contains the voting records of State Representatives from 2011-2012.  While Granite State Progress does not endorse candidates for office, in 2008 and 2010 it issued a progressive voter guide compiling the endorsements of several other key New Hampshire advocacy or membership groups.  The endorsement listings for this year’s election will be added to the website in mid-October, along with relevant information about key candidates for the House and the full slate of Senate candidates.

Members of the community can also download template postcards and palm cards to share with friends and neighbors concerning the state house votes and how individual legislators voted.

 

The website was built by Hoeferweb, a virtual Internet Marketing and Strategy Agency based in Keene, New Hampshire and online at www.hoeferweb.com.

Judge Decides To Block CWA Election

As if union organizing was not hard enough now the courts are making it even harder.  The Communication Workers of America have been working for over a year to organize the service agents at American Airlines.  Today the workers at American Airlines got a huge push, backwards.

“Today’s ruling by US District Court Judge Terry Means is a disgrace and a travesty of justice for 10,000 passenger service agents at American Airlines. The Court, despite a clear reiteration of congressional intent by the Senate authors of the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization, determined that the 50 percent showing of interest standard should apply to agents who have been waiting for seven months for their lawful, democratic vote.”

The fact is that earlier this year Congress passed the FAA Reauthorization bill which modified the percentage of signed petitions are needed to call for an election.  This process can take years when you are dealing with a large corporation or in the case of American Airlines, vast geographical diversity.

CWA filed for an election prior to the passage of FAA Reauthorization actually passing in Congress.  However American Airlines is using this new law to push back against the union and stall the election process.  We all know that the longer they can stall the election process the more time they have to deceive the workers into voting against the union. ”American Airlines and the court continue to willfully misrepresent federal aviation law. In correspondence with American Airlines CEO Thomas Horton, Senators Reid, Rockefeller and Harkin made clear that retroactivity did not apply, and addressed this specific petition in their discussion on the Senate floor. Judge Means is ignoring these statements, but he cannot change the facts.” The Communications Workers of America immediately will appeal this decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals.

These agents have been denied their democratic right to vote, now by a District Court Judge. This is a travesty in a country that prides itself on democratic tradition.

“Here in America we’re taught to respect democracy and our right to vote. Sadly, the court’s decision today is an attack on the rights of these average Americans, agents who just want the opportunity to participate in a democratic election,” Sandy Rusher, CWA Organizing Director, said.

Jasper: Union backlash, low turnout did me in

This is just another example of the untapped power that we as voters in NH have.  Shawn Jasper who is a majority leadership member and was also seen sleeping in the committee hearing (video here).  It is clear the people of New Hampshire have spoken and rejected the anti-worker stance of Shawn Jasper even at the local level.  I think that needs to be careful because he may not win his seat in the NH House this fall.

Jasper: Union backlash, low turnout did me in – NashuaTelegraph.com: “HUDSON – Low voter turnout, enemies he’s made over decades in politics and a backlash by union supporters were the factors Shawn Jasper believes contributed to his loss Tuesday. “The unions had every reason to oppose me,” Jasper said Wednesday, reflecting on why he lost by 73 votes to Nancy Brucker, a former teacher and relative newcomer to politics. Jasper has served on the board 16 years off and on since 1984. He also has served off and on as a state legislator since 1985, representing Hudson and earning a place as part of the Republican leadership in state House of Representatives. His votes in Concord to curb labor unions hurt him in the town election, Jasper said.”