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Statement By Richard Trumka On American Airlines And US Airways Unionization Vote

Richard Trumka (The Nation / AP-Photo)
Richard Trumka (The Nation / AP-Photo)

Richard Trumka (The Nation / AP-Photo)

“Today, thousands of workers embraced a union future. The hardworking men and women of American Airlines and US Airways voted for union representation and a legally binding contract. Their collective skill has built successful airlines, and their collective voice will build successful workplaces.

“It should not be lost on the pundits that most of the nearly 14,500 new union members work in southern states. The right to a voice at work doesn’t have a geographic predisposition, and this victory will energize ongoing organizing efforts in the South.

“I want to thank all parties involved, including elected officials, for enabling workers to have a free and fair election. And I especially want to congratulate CWA and the Teamsters on helping give these workers a voice.

“Clearly, one of the largest labor organizing victories in the South in decades is a historic day. But it also shows that the future of the U.S. labor movement is alive, as these workers can be found at airports, call centers, even working from home. The right to collectively bargain will always be what our working family fights for.”

Today We Celebrate “Women’s Equality Day,” And Continue To Push Forward To Real Equality For Women

Suffragist Picketing

Suffragist Picketing“On August 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment was certified, securing for women the fundamental right to vote,” proclaimed President Obama.  “The product of decades spent organizing, protesting, and agitating, it was a turning point on the long march toward equality for all, and it inspired generations of courageous women who took up this unfinished struggle in their own time.  On the anniversary of this civil rights milestone, we honor the character and perseverance of America’s women and all those who work to make the same rights and opportunities possible for our daughters and sons.”

“In the 21st century, a mother should be able to raise her daughter and be her role model—showing her that with hard work, there are no limits to what she can accomplish,” continued Obama.

Just take a moment to think of all of the incredible achievement women have made in the last 94 years.

“On Women’s Equality Day, we continue the righteous work of building a society where women thrive, where every door is open to them, and their every dream can be realized,” concluded Obama.

No matter how far we have come, there is always work to be done.

“As we mark Women’s Equality Day, we must come together to close the wage gap and ensure that women and men receive equal pay for equal work,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster. “All across the nation, women continue to make an average of 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. This doesn’t just hurt women, but hurts working Granite State families across New Hampshire. That’s why I urge my colleagues in Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, legislation to help put an end to wage discrimination based on gender.”

“In addition to this wage gap, women face family-unfriendly policies that negatively impact their careers and slow down economic success,” opined Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter. “These barriers not only hold back women and their families, but also our economy. That’s why I support a women’s economic agenda – because we need policies that will give women a fair shot to succeed.”

“Women’s Equality Day is a call to action and a reminder that in the year 2014, there is still much work to be done toward achieving full equality for women,” said Senator Jeanne Shaheen.

For more than two decades, Jeanne Shaheen has worked to make a difference for women in New Hampshire. As Governor, she strengthened the state’s equal pay law and in the U.S. Senate, she cosponsored both the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act to strengthen equal pay protections for women in the work place. She strongly supports increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour to give a raise to thousands of working New Hampshire women who currently make up nearly 70% of the state’s minimum wage earners. Last month, she and her colleagues introduced the Not My Boss’s Business Act, which would reverse the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision and ensure that employers cannot deny their female employees access to basic health care, like contraception or mammograms.

Senator Shaheen took this as a golden opportunity to highlight the vast differences between herself and her main political opponent, Scott Brown.  “There is a real choice in this election. I’m fighting for equal pay for equal work, to increase the minimum wage to give thousands of hardworking women get a raise, and to make sure women can make make their health care decisions with their doctors, not their employers. My Republican opponents don’t share those values.”

Former Massachusetts Senator, and now New Hampshire Senate candidate, Scott Brown, cosponsored the Blunt Amendment in the U.S. Senate, which would have allowed employers to deny women access to coverage for basic health services they opposed on moral grounds, such as contraception or mammograms. Scott Brown opposes increasing the minimum wage and voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would have helped women fight to receive equal pay for equal work. Even Scott Brown’s own campaign co-chair noted that he was out of touch with ‘many, many, New Hampshire women’ on access to contraception coverage.  And when a reporter tried to ask him about the recent Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision he hid in the bathroom rather than discuss the topic.

This should be a wake up call for all women, young and old that we have yet to reach real equality.  Take this day as a reminder to register to vote this year.  It could have been your mother or your great-grandmother that had to fight for their right to vote.  Honor them by registering, and exercising your Constitutional right to vote this November.

 

Read President Obama’s Proclamation of Women’s Equality Day.

Read Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter’s full Op-Ed on Women’s Equality Day

NH Senate Republicans Block Minimum Wage Increase (Statement by Granite State Progress)

Image from @OFA_NH pic.twitter.com/ZG7B0GfERQ

Politician making $185,000 a year first to object to raising the wage for state’s lowest income earners

CONCORD, NH – The NH Senate voted 13-11 on party lines today to kill HB 1403, raising the state minimum wage. Statement from Granite State Progress:

“A Senate Republican making $185,000 a year called the minimum wage bill ‘feel good legislation’ but refused to spend even one day living in the shoes of his constituents who makes less than ten percent of his salary, even when they are working full-time,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress, in reference to Senator Peter Bragdon’s opening remarks. “Senator Bradley chose to use industry talking points instead of rely on economic data, and Senator Sanborn voted against the bill without disclosing the conflict of interest that he pays some of his workers minimum wage.”

“In contrast, several Senate Democrats took the Minimum Wage Challenge to live on minimum wage before voting on this bill. That experience illustrated for them the lack of affordable housing options, the slim budgets, and the constant anxiety that a minimum wage earner lives with every day. Questions about how to put gas in your tank and food on the table become very real when you don’t have a $185,000 golden salary to live on. Minimum wage earners work hard and play by the rules, but Senate Republicans sent a message loud and clear that they don’t care,” Rice Hawkins said.

In an online poll yesterday Granite State Progress asked whether Senate Republicans would table the bill, vote it down immediately, or vote it down after making misleading arguments. Option C won online and in reality. Below is a round-up of key political statements from today’s floor debate:

Sen. Peter Bragdon, R-Milford called the bill “feel good legislation”. Bragdon signed a contract this week for an $185,000 per year job.

Sen. Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro said that raising the wage would harm teenagers and entry level workers. In New Hampshire, 72 percent of minimum wage workers are over the age of 20 years old and have real breadwinner responsibilities. Bradley has previously refused to answer whether he believes in a minimum wage at all.

Sen. Andy Sanborn, R-Bedford claimed that raising the minimum wage would harm small businesses, particularly restaurants. Sanborn did not mention that he pays minimum wage to some of his workers at The Draft – nor did he declare a conflict of interest before voting against the bill.

Previously … Sen. John Reagan, R-Deerfield told the Laconia Citizen he “thinks it’s ‘silly’ to say that someone couldn’t be supported on minimum wage as they can take on multiple jobs.”

In contrast, Senate Democrats spent an hour urging their colleagues to support the bill: 

Sen. Sylvia Larsen, D-Concord called the legislation “one of the most important issues this session.”

Sen. David Pierce, D-Hanover took the Minimum Wage Challenge this week to try to live on a minimum wage budget.  He told fellow legislators you must “walk a mile in another man’s shoes before you make you decision.” Of the experience he said: “The minimum wage challenge produced such anxiety for me … I was shaken by the experience.”

Sen. David Watters, D-Dover also took the Minimum Wage Challenge this week to try to live on a minimum wage budget.  He told fellow legislators:

“Taking the Minimum Wage Challenge this week, it quickly became obvious to me that I couldn’t live and work in Dover without public support for food and housing.  The usual amount provided for food is $37.75 a week, so I went to Janetos, a local downtown market where people without transportation can shop at good prices, and, given the kind of community Dover is, everyone feels welcome and accepted.  $5.45 a day meant careful meal planning. A loaf of bread, peanut butter, eggs, lots of potatoes and pasta, a can of tomatoes, some cheese, two pieces of chicken, a head of broccoli, carrots, milk, and toiletries.  As the funds dwindled, I felt that anxiety of not having enough, putting things back on the shelf, buying by lowest price for a smaller quantity, and seeing that any staple, such as flour, oil, coffee, would mean not enough food for meals.  In planning for one peanut butter sandwich a day for lunch, I recalled when I was working in a factory or in construction filling my lunch box with four to six sandwiches, fruit, cookies, milk, and eating every crumb to keep up strength for hard work.  There’s just not enough to keep body and soul together …

Everyday experiences become a crisis on minimum wage.  I had some surgery this week—would Medicaid have covered the procedure and the $25.00 copay, or would I have had to put it off, try to ignore the problem, and hope for the best?  Or when to fill the tank, looking for a gas station with prices a few pennies less, and seeing the $40.13 it cost just to get to work for a week meant 5-1/2 hours of pay. My old car’s due for an oil change, too. Every day becomes an emergency when the tank runs low.

Video of Sen. Watters participating in the Minimum Wage Challenge grocery shopping trip is below.

Utterly Disgusting! The NH GOP In The NH Senate Kill A Minimum Wage Increase

NHLN Logo .jpg

Utterly disgusting, despicable, shameful, disgraceful, and appalling are all words I would use to describe the actions taken by the Republican Senators in the NH Senate today as they voted to kill the minimum wage increase.

Straight down party lines the Senate voted 13-11 to kill the minimum wage bill that would have helped lift 76,000 Granite Staters out of poverty.

“Later this evening, a sales clerk in Derry or a waitress in Hampton will return home from a hard day’s work and will have to decide whether to pay the bills on her kitchen table or to go to the grocery store – because she doesn’t have enough to do both,” said Jeff McLynch, executive director of the New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute. “The Senate had an opportunity today to ease their struggles and the difficulties faced by thousands of New Hampshire residents like them. Yet, rather than pass a modest, gradual, and sustained increase in New Hampshire’s minimum wage, the Senate simply walked away.”

“Senate Republicans have again voted against the best interests of Granite State families,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley.

“I am disappointed that Senate Republicans voted today against a bill to restore and increase New Hampshire’s minimum wage, a measure that an overwhelming majority of Granite Staters support because it would strengthen our economy and help improve the economic security of working families,” stated Governor Hassan.

“Increasing New Hampshire’s minimum wage will lead to more economic growth by rewarding hard work and improving workers’ productivity,” stated Senate Minority Leader Sylvia Larsen. “Senate Democrats believe we must raise the minimum wage, because increasing the minimum wage leads to greater income opportunity, so everyone will have a chance to succeed and get ahead.”

“Senate Republicans had the chance to put partisan politics aside and do the right thing for the 76,000 residents of New Hampshire who would benefit from this bill, but they failed them with this vote today,” concluded Larsen.

The minimum wage increase would have helped 76,000 low-income workers including.  The facts do not lie, 72% of the New Hampshire’s minimum wage workers, who would directly or indirectly benefit from this bill are age 20 and older with nearly 40% being 30 and older. 59% are women and 14% are parents.  Increasing the minimum wage would have benefited over 21,000 children are living NH.

Due to inflation and legislative inaction, New Hampshire’s minimum wage has lost 23 percent of its purchasing power since 1979. Failure to adopt a new increase means that the real value of the minimum wage could fall to just $6.50 per hour within the next several years.

“New England can be an expensive place to live,” McLynch added. “Policymakers in every other state in the region have acknowledged this reality and set their minimum wages above the federal level. Only New Hampshire expects people to continue to stretch $7.25 per hour to meet that high cost of living.”

“A Senate Republican making $185,000 a year called the minimum wage bill ‘feel good legislation’ but refused to spend even one day living in the shoes of his constituents who makes less than ten percent of his salary, even when they are working full-time,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress, in reference to Senator Peter Bragdon’s opening remarks. “Senator Bradley chose to use industry talking points instead of rely on economic data, and Senator Sanborn voted against the bill without disclosing the conflict of interest that he pays some of his workers minimum wage.”

“In contrast, several Senate Democrats took the Minimum Wage Challenge to live on minimum wage before voting on this bill. That experience illustrated for them the lack of affordable housing options, the slim budgets, and the constant anxiety that a minimum wage earner lives with every day. Questions about how to put gas in your tank and food on the table become very real when you don’t have a $185,000 golden salary to live on. Minimum wage earners work hard and play by the rules, but Senate Republicans sent a message loud and clear that they don’t care,” Rice Hawkins said. (Read full statement from GSP here)

“Senate Republicans have again voted against the best interests of Granite State families,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley. “No one who works full time in New Hampshire should have to live in abject poverty, but that’s the world we live in because of GOP obstructionism. Raising the minimum wage would not only help lift thousands of families out of poverty, but it would also stimulate our local economy and alleviate pressure on our public assistance programs. The Republican Senate caucus, not to mention gubernatorial candidate Walt Havenstein and Senate candidate Scott Brown, should be ashamed of themselves. By opposing this commonsense measure, they are effectively damning the families that most need our help.”

“People working full-time in New Hampshire should be paid enough to support their families and I will continue fighting to restore and improve our state minimum wage in order to boost our economy and strengthen the economic security of thousands of Granite Staters,” concluded Hassan.

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.”

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