Skyline of Richmond, Virginia

Repost: Perriello walks the walk!



Virginia’s 5th Congressional District Democratic candidate Tom Perriello doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk. Rather he puts his signature on it. In this instance, it was a Communication Workers of America’s Million Member Mobilization card in support of the Employee Free Choice Act.

Tom has long been a supporter of Unions, and in fact his great-grandfather was a Glassblowers Union leader. When he began his campaign, Perriello sought out the input of union leaders on the issues important to working families and the conditions of local economies . He continues to ask for their ideas and suggestions.

From personal experience, most politicians don’t mind having the support of labor or the money they receive, but would rather no one knew the union was behind them. That is not the case with Tom. I was invited to speak at the press conference for Perriello’s 7-point Economic R.E.V.I.V.A.L Tour in Martinsville on July 7, 2008.

After 6 terms of Congressman Virgil H. Goode Jr’s “Do Nothing - Aw Shucks” attitude, a win in November by Perriello will be like a breath of fresh air. Ousting the entrenched incumbent may be a reality for Tom and the 5th. Perriello has reached the $1 million dollar mark and is still raising money at an impressive rate. A recent whirlwind fundraising tour brought author John Grisham (The Firm, The Pelican Brief) to south side Virginia. Grisham stumped for Perriello because for 15 years, he has been Tom’s neighbor in Charlottesville.
Perriello’s campaign was recently designated “Red to Blue” by the DCCC, and will now attract national attention and greater financial backing from the Democratic Party.

Bricklayers Endorse Obama


Bricklayers Endorse Obama

by Seth Michaels, Aug 4, 2008

The Bricklayers (BAC) union has endorsed Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) for president.

The BAC Executive Council voted unanimously this weekend to endorse Obama and mobilize the union’s 100,000 members to elect Obama and a worker-friendly Congress in November.

John J. Flynn, president of the Bricklayers, says Obama is the right candidate to create new jobs, rebuild America’s infrastructure and restore workers’ freedom to form unions.

BAC is proud to stand with Sen. Obama, who has stood by working families during his years as a community organizer, as an Illinois state legislator and in the United States Senate. He has the courage, conviction, experience and judgment to bring about the change America needs.

Last month, the AFL-CIO endorsed Obama and launched a new website, Meet Barack Obama, to educate and mobilize union members. This fall, the AFL-CIO is carrying out an unprecedented grassroots mobilization to elect a working family-friendly Congress and president.

Workers Urge Democrats to Focus Platform on Employee Choice, Jobs, Health Care, Trade


Workers Urge Democrats to Focus Platform on Employee Choice, Jobs, Health Care, Trade

by James Parks, Aug 5, 2008

In recent decades, corporate power has grown at the expense of ordinary workers, who see the results every day—in exported jobs, stagnant wages, lost pensions and unaffordable health care. And union members have urged the Democratic Party and its nominee, Sen. Barack Obama, to make restoring that balance a major part of the party’s platform, campaign and policy agenda.

The keys to rebuilding the economy, they said, include passing the Employee Free Choice Act and enacting new economic, health care and trade policies that benefit everyone. Speaking before the Democratic Party’s platform drafting committee last Friday, AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker said:

We know that at some point the recession will end, but without a restoration of worker bargaining power, we will see a repeat of the last recovery—a recovery that was only experienced by the top 10 percent of income earners.

The single, most important priority for the labor movement next year will be reforming our labor laws to empower workers and allow them to form unions free of harassment, intimidation or fear of firing.

The 2008 Democratic platform must make the important connection between restoring the right of workers to organize and bargain collectively and restoring fairness and balance to our economy. I urge you to include the Employee Free Choice Act as a central plank of the platform.

Holt Baker was one of nine union leaders and rank-and-file workers who addressed the Democratic Party’s platform drafting committee in Cleveland on Aug. 1–2. They all told the committee that a major change is needed in the way the country treats its workers.

With unemployment at its highest level in four years, the need for good jobs is clear. In July alone, the nation lost 51,000 jobs, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Bloomberg reports that the combination of job losses and decreasing property values, stricter lending rules and near-record energy prices have sent consumer confidence levels close to the weakest in 16 years in July.

Misti Wells, a single mother of three from Eaton, Ohio, told the committee she is a “first-hand account of how bad things have gotten.” She took a buyout in 2006 from the General Motors factory where she worked and went back to school. But, degree or not, Wells still doesn’t have a job, her unemployment checks have run out and her landlord can’t afford to keep letting her skip paying her rent.

Says Wells:

My kids will go stay with their dad but I might be sleeping in a cardboard box. And that’s the problem. There’s no help for people trying to help themselves. Every day I spend trying to find a job and there simply aren’t any out there.

Health care is another major issue on the union movement’s agenda. Forty-seven million Americans are without health care insurance. Holt Baker reminded the panel that the AFL-CIO, earlier this year, conducted a health care survey and received letters from more than 27,000 people decrying the lack of coverage and high costs. They also wrote of friends and family putting off treatment for serious diseases because they could not afford to pay. Says Holt Baker:

These letters are a challenge to our country—and they are a special challenge to the next president. Here we are, the richest country in the world. We can find $10 billion a month to spend on a war in Iraq, but we leave millions of our own citizens to fight a war against asthma, cancer, HIV/AIDS and diabetes without even basic health care coverage.

Just ask Bruce Bostick, a retired steelworker from Ohio, who told the platform committee he retired after 30 years at Republic Technologies in Ohio, only to have the company declare bankruptcy and drop his pension of $1,100 a month to a meager $125 a month. He also lost health care coverage. Although he describes himself as in good shape and never having had any life-threatening diseases, he is finding it impossible to locate a health insurance company that will cover him.

Edward Coyle, executive director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, said retirees all across the country are struggling with the skyrocketing costs of health care, prescription drugs, gas, groceries and home heating costs. Older Americans on fixed incomes are bearing the heaviest brunt of our nation’s failed economy. Many seniors worry that they are the last generation that will ever be able to retire after a lifetime of work.

Coyle, who was speaking in his role as chair of the Leadership Council on Aging Organizations, added:

In the growing economic uncertainty of retirement, we urge the Platform Committee to call for strong federal oversight of private pension plans, oversight that protects workers’ retirement savings from the corruption of corporate lawbreakers. Additionally, we urge the Platform Committee to strongly affirm a commitment to Social Security. This includes rejecting the misguided calls by President Bush and Sen. [John] McCain to privatize Social Security.

The nation needs a new direction on trade, the workers said. David Landrum, a 24-year veteran at the General Electric plant in Bloomington, Ind., who says his plant is closing in a year, laid it out straight when he said:

My factory and others shutting down is from bad trade deals, pure and simple. Our good paying and respectable jobs are being sent to Mexico, so that employers can avoid paying decent wages and benefits.

United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard says Landrum’s analysis is right on.

How can we lose more than 3.5 million manufacturing jobs and see more than 40,000 facilities shuttered and ask our citizens to support trade policies that have shipped their jobs overseas? How can we let policymakers tell our children that they should work hard and go to college to get one of the “jobs of the future” when those jobs, increasingly, are being done offshore as our nation’s advanced technology trade deficit with China alone amounts to more than $67 billion?

While the public has increasingly shown its concerns with the direction of our nation’s trade policies, our elected leaders do not stand united on what course to pursue. We must confront the need to reject the status quo approach to trade and adopt a new framework that is pro-worker, pro-trade, pro-growth, pro-equity.

“The Man Who Made Kathie Lee Cry”- Charles Kernaghan speaking at USW Local 10-1 Hall in Linwood, PA


From The Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO

“The Man Who Made Kathie Lee Cry”

Charles Kernaghan is the executive director of the National Labor Committee in Support of Human and Worker Rights. Charles Kernaghan is the world’s foremost expert on sweatshops and child labor. Besides exposing the fact that Kathy Lee Gifford’s WalMart clothing line was made by children in Central American sweatshops, he has also taken on companies like Nike, Gap, Kohl’s, JC Penney, Alcoa, Toyota, Mattel and many others and has forced them to change the ways in which they treat their workers. Also, Kernaghan’s partnership with the USW has helped end human trafficking and 21st century slavery in Jordan for tens of thousands of workers making products for the U.S. marketplace.

“Because of Charlie’ s crusades… we’re beginning to learn the awful truth about workers around the world who are slaving away their lives in sweatshops, who are denied the right to join or form a union in order to fight back a provide a better life for their families.”

## AFL-CIO President John Sweeney

Wednesday August 13, 2008 ## 6 PM

USW Hall Local 10-1

Chichester Avenue, Linwood, PA

Invited Special Guests Include Several Local Elected Officials and Candidates

Directions To Union Hall:

From Philadelphia and North:

Take I-95 South to Exit 2 (Route 452). Make a left at the end of the exit on to Rt. 452 (Market St). Follow Market Street to first traffic light and make a right on to Laughead Ave. At the first stop sign, make a left on to Huddel Ave. On Huddel Ave, go straight through first traffic light at Chichester Ave. Immediately after the light, you will come to a stop sign. Make a left at the stop sign on to Palmer Drive (Palmer Drive is an alleyway). The Union Hall will be the stone building on your right at the end of Palmer Drive.

From Wilmington and South:

Take I-95 North to Exit 1 (Chichester Ave). Make a right at the end of the exit on to Chichester Ave. Follow Chichester Ave to the first traffic light and make a right on to Huddel Ave. Immediately after making the right, you will come to a stop sign. Make a left at the stop sign on to Palmer Drive (Palmer Drive is an alleyway). The Union Hall will be the stone building on your right at the end of Palmer Drive.

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Wednesday, August 13 , 6:00 p.m. at the USW Local 10-1 Hall in Linwood, PA. (Check their website for directions -