Skyline of Richmond, Virginia

Labor Singer Anne Feeney in Concert at Temple University


From the Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO



in Story and Song




$5 Admission at the door

Free for Temple students with OWLcard

TAUP (Temple Association of University Professionals, AFT Local 4531), along with CLUW (Coalition of Labor Union Women, Philadelphia Chapter), Jobs with Justice, Temple AFSCME (District Council 47, Local 1723), Temple Student Labor Action Project (SLAP), and TUGSA (Temple University Graduate Students Association, AFT Local 6290), will sponsor a musical evening on May 2, featuring labor singer extraordinaire, ANNE FEENEY.

The concert will be made possible in part by a grant from the Pennsylvania Labor Education Center, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, of the PA State System of Higher Education (

Pittsburgh-based agitator Anne Feeney performs music designed to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” For the past 35 years she has lived her life on the front lines, performing at thousands of demonstrations, rallies and picket lines. Learn more about Anne Feeney’s songs, work and CDs at, and sign up for her wonderful “Fellow Travelers’ Advisory” (

Anne Feeney has been called “the best labor singer in North America” by Utah Phillips, and “a catalyst in the topical song movement” by Peggy Seeger. Please come, enjoy the music and spread the word.

Temple’s Student Center South is on 13th St. between Cecil B. Moore and Montgomery. From the CB Moore stop on the Broad St. SEPTA Line, walk one block east, and turn left on 13th St. The Student Center South is the second building on the right. See you on May 2!

For information:


Teamsters on Radio


Richard Negri wrote on April 20, 2009 at 2:09pm

Although he is a burgeoning celebrity in central Pennsylvania, Rick Smith says he is an average man—and that might just be what makes him so popular.

A truck driver for Roadway Express, Smith is a member of Local 776 out of Harrisburg. On the weekends when he’s not on the road, Smith can be found in the studios of WHYL AM 960, broadcasting his voice—and his opinions—over the airways.

Host of a self-titled radio show, Smith provides the listeners in his area with something he calls unique and different—the perspective of a working-class, union man.

“Everything here is very conservative and very far to the right. In our area, my radio show offers a progressive point of view. I look at things through the eyes of a working man because that’s what I am,” Smith said. “I discuss the struggles of keeping a roof over my head and food on my table; I think people can identify with that.”

Labor Education

Smith isn’t the only Teamster radio host with which the public identifies. Tackling many of the same issues is Gary Washington, host of the WRFG 89.3 show “Labor Forum,” which is based in Atlanta.

A Teamster member since 1972, Washington uses his air time to discuss issues that are close to his heart. He takes his cues from civil rights and labor activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. As a result, “Labor Forum” has become one of the most listened to programs on WRFG, with fans tuning in from near and far.

“On my program, we always try to keep people in tune with the work of Dr. King,” Washington said. “Labor was always an important thing to him. Although his plate was full, he always made time for labor.”

Aside from promoting King’s messages of peace and equality, Washington also uses his radio show to highlight activities of Teamster members. Often, his guests include workers who are trying to organize.

“We are putting out the message of the Teamsters Union that it is important to be organized,” Washington explained. “You can complain, but you won’t get anywhere. One voice is just a voice in the wilderness, but voices together are like an ocean with the strength of a tornado. You have to organize.”

Many of the guests on his show are also college students and Washington said that isn’t coincidental. Without a strong labor curriculum in public schools, Washington takes it upon himself to educate Atlanta’s young people about the labor movement and the importance of labor unions.

Forum for Labor

While Washington aims to educate others about labor, Smith’s goal is to offer the average working American a friendly forum for open discussion. His show was originally set to be a program “of, for and by the working people,” but over the years it has morphed into something more—an answer to right-wing talk radio programs which have controlled the AM airways for years.

“What I like best is taking on the right wring. I like the combative nature of the program,” Smith said. “Once you start putting out a reasonable argument and start to answer the far-out right wing talking points, people begin to understand.”

In the four and a half years since Smith started his show—dubbed “The Rick Smith Show”—he has tackled nearly every labor-related topic, ranging from the Employee Free Choice Act to the government bailout of the “Big Three.” His guests have included such high-profile figures as then-Sen. Hillary Clinton, Sen. Ted Kennedy and Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa.

Aside from inviting guests to voice their opinions on his program, Smith also makes it a point to tell his own story—one that involves hard work, dedication and the American dream.

“I grew up in a housing project on the west side of Cleveland. By American standards, we were poor. Thanks to hard work and help from the union, I now live in a good neighborhood and I have health care and a pension. I could still be in the projects working myself to the bone like a lot of people, but I’m not because of the union,” Smith said. “I hope that what I have done in my life shows people that unions are good things.”

Top Ratings

Although finding new and fresh topics for the program can sometimes be a challenge, Smith says it is one from which he never tires—and neither do his listeners. Since its debut in 2005, Smith’s weekly show continues to score high ratings, always falling among the top five most-listened to WHYL shows each week.

“They’ve kept us around because the show is surprisingly popular,” Smith said. “There is nothing in this area like it.”

The same can be said for Washington’s show, which has received attention from laborers in Canada, Australia, England and France.

“The Rick Smith Show” can be heard every Saturday and Sunday from noon to 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. More information about The Rich Smith Show can be found at

“Labor Forum” with Gary Washington can be heard every Tuesday from 4:30 to 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. More information about the show can be found at

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Article reprinted from the Teamsters Facebook pages.

Podesta Group, other top Democratic lobbyists lead fight against Employee Free Choice Act


Podesta Group, other top Democratic lobbyists lead fight against Employee Free Choice Act

If you missed, Tom Frank had a provocative column in the Wall Street Journal yesterday about the likely demise of the Employee Free Choice Act ## the bill that labor has made its #1 priority for the new era of Obama and Democratic politics.

First, it’s important to note the EFCA isn’t dead yet. Labor has vowed it will keep fighting, and as Roll Call reports they were in full force during the recent Congressional recess:

Union organizers held more than 400 grass-roots events, sent more than 27,000 letters to Members of Congress and put in nearly 100,000 calls supporting EFCA. Additionally, the unions spent more than $1 million on two TV ads over the recess, AFL-CIO spokeswoman Amaya Smith said.

But after the defections of key Senators like Arkansas Democrat Blanche Lincoln ## and even pro-labor stalwarts like Ohio’s Sherrod Brown (D) predicting it will be watered down ## Frank observes that the EFCA as we know it won’t pass:

After massive lobbying both by labor and by business, it appears that the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), which, as it now stands, would allow workers to organize in many cases merely by signing cards instead of holding elections, will not have the 60 votes required to get past a Republican filibuster in the Senate.

Even Andy Stern of the Change to Win labor federation is signaling compromise is on the horizon given the math.

But it’s important to step back a moment and ask how, after the rush of hope that surrounded the victory of Obama and Congressional Democrats ## backed by millions in labor contributions ## did we get to this point?

Many have pointed to the well-financed corporate opposition to the act ## a war chest which, among other things, has been used to fund dubious research warning that the labor bill would cost “thousands of jobs.”

But Frank points to an important and under-reported piece of the story ## lobbying firms with strong ties to Democrats who are helping deep-six labor’s agenda. After asking why Democrats seem treat labor like an ATM machine for campaign cash, only to turn their backs on them in Congress, Frank offers these devastating set of facts:

[M]aybe it’s just the money. Consider the lineup of lobbyists that retail giant Wal-Mart has assembled to make its case against EFCA. According to lobbying disclosure forms filed with the House and Senate we find that Wal-Mart’s lobbyists include Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti (which employs former presidential candidate John Kerry’s liaison to Congress during the 2004 campaign), a former legislative director for Rahm Emanuel, and a former assistant to Arkansas Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln.

Wal-Mart has also secured, according lobbying disclosure forms filed with Congress, the services of Tony Podesta, of the Podesta Group, one of the hottest lobby shops in Democratic D.C. Mr. Podesta is joined in pushing Wal-Mart’s views on EFCA by a former assistant to Democrat Mark Pryor, the other senator from Arkansas. [FS note: The firm was co-founded with John Podesta, a lead Obama advisor, although he’s no longer listed on the group’s manifest.]

The real standout on Wal-Mart’s labor-issues roster, though, is D+P Creative Strategies, which wears its liberalism as proudly as last week’s tax protestors did their three-cornered hats. According to its Web site, D+P “highlights partnership, shared benefits, and a commitment to advancing social justice goals.” The disclosure form for its Wal-Mart EFCA activities lists a former assistant to Labor Secretary Hilda Solis. The bio of its principal, Ingrid Duran, who is also listed as a Wal-Mart lobbyist, declares that the firm’s mission is “to increase the role of corporate, legislative and philanthropic efforts in addressing the concerns of Latinos, women, and gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) communities.”

There’s much more evidence of the ties between these firms to the Democrats. For example, this month the Podesta Group ## which proudly boasts [pdf] of its special access in the new Democratic administration ## announced the addition of six new principals to their lobbying army. Half have solid Democratic resumes.

The case of the former aide to Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) ## Walter Pryor (no relation) ## now lobbying against the EFCA for Wal-Mart is especially bizarre. As Wal-Mart Watch pointed out last month, Walter Pryor’s lobbying filing for Wal-Mart lists him as still being an aid to Sen. Pryor ## which is impossible, because legislative aides aren’t allowed to lobby.

Melhman & Co. started out as a mostly GOP shop, but ever since 2006 has been cultivating its Democratic Party connections.

Labor has mobilized people and money in unprecedented amounts to get the Employee Free Choice Act passed. But at the end of the day, the money and connections of the corporate opposition ## including Democratic lobbyists ## may carry the day.