Skyline of Richmond, Virginia

Reaching Out to the College Community

05.31.09

I believe that Democratic organizations, progressive groups and labor unions need to increase their outreach efforts aimed at American colleges and universities. Campuses provide a very large percentage of campaign volunteers. They are the source of nearly all future opinion-makers including journalists, book authors, officeholders, business leaders and policy experts!

Generating a better understanding of progressive policies and politics early can only strengthen the prospects for progressive change over the next few generations. Organizing potential activists while in college and educating them should not be an “on and off” effort centered around Presidential election cycles.

The effort should not rely on students seeking out organizations like the College Democrats, ACLU or the AFL-CIO. The organizations should be seeking out students to engage with in a systematic way. Civil Liberties groups, environmentalists, civil rights organizations, campaign reform advocates, peace groups, human rights activists, etc should all be mounting issue awareness campaigns, recruiting and organizing activities on almost every American campus.

Professional marketing and promotional services devoted to the college market are available. I own and manage College Marketing.com http://www.CollegeMarketing.com which offers a diverse mix of public relations, advertising and promotional services.

As host of Democratic Talk Radio and Editor of Mid-Atlantic Labor.com, I understand the progressive political community. I want to see it effectively reach the vast majority of American college students with our messages.

If you represent a progressive organization or labor union, I might be able to help you grow your exposure on college campuses locally, regionally or nationally. We can promote the growth of organizations. We can help potential candidates get their campaign messages to college students and academics.

We can promote issue advocacy messages. Trade policy, healthcare, labor laws, the Fairness Doctrine in broadcasting, clean elections, taxation, employment, poverty, energy policy, foreign policy and almost any specific policy position can benefit from postering college bulletin boards, distributing flyers or placing ads in college newspapers with targeted messages. Many more customized creative public relations efforts can be executed by College Marketing.com.

We can increase traffic to blogs and political web sites. We can help drive book sales or subscriptions to progressive magazines or newpapers. We can promote music and movies with progressive content. We can motivate students to lobby.

You will not have to rely on volunteers who may or may not properly execute your projects. Your professional staff will not be diverted from their other important activities. You will have professional expertise with decades of experience in reaching the college community with advertising, promotional and public relations campaigns.

Your effort can reach a large number of campuses if desired or be scaled much smaller based solely on your needs. All of our efforts are customized to meet your specific campaign needs. Costs will usually be very, very reasonable.

Please call me at 443-907-2367 or email me at demlabor@aol.com to discuss your needs and how we can help meet them.

In solidarity,

Stephen Crockett

Battling Over Employee Free Choice

05.30.09

Battling Over Employee Free Choice
The fate of labor’s top legislative priority is in the Senate’s hands.

By David Moberg

http://inthesetimes.com/article/4450/battling_over_employee_free_choice/

On March 9, supporters of the Employee Free Choice Act carry money bags at a rally in Layfaette Square in Washington, D.C.

Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.), who has proposed making it illegal for union organizers to visit workers’ homes without prior consent, will likely face a progressive primary challenge in the Fall.

When Congress votes on the Employee Free Choice Act, it will decide not only whether workers will be able to organize unions more easily and whether America will build a stronger economy based on shared prosperity. It will also decide how democratic America will be.

The fate of the proposed legislation hinges on a few senators under intense pressure from corporations. But labor leaders remain optimistic that the legislation will pass—most likely with some tweaks.

“We’re definitely in a tough fight,” says Stewart Acuff, assistant to AFL-CIO president John Sweeney. “This is the largest grassroots campaign in labor history. We’re going to play it out as hard and strong as we can.”

The legislation, a top union priority supported by President Obama, would provide legal recognition of a union at a workplace if a majority of workers signed statements of support. Now, even if a huge majority of workers sign union cards, employers can demand that the National Labor Relations Board hold an election, giving the company and anti-union consultants time to bully employees into voting against unionization.

The bill would also stiffen penalties for all-too-common employer violations of labor law—such as firing union supporters—and provide the option of mediation and arbitration of first contracts when employers balk at serious bargaining.

Business groups and their right-wing allies focus on claims the law would deny workers’ right to a secret ballot, which they portray as the hallmark of democracy. But businesses clearly oppose the bill not for any alleged democratic shortcomings but because they oppose unions. In doing so, they oppose freedom of association, a bedrock democratic principle.

Minority rule
Workers can join political or community groups at will, without secret ballots, but can only form unions without a ballot if the boss agrees. Most employers make union elections as much a free and democratic expression of workers’ views as North Korea’s secret ballots.

The congressional process of deciding on the legislation is a little more democratic, but still deeply flawed. A solid majority in the House voted for EFCA in 2007, but while a majority in the Senate would now, supporters need 60 votes for cloture, or ending debate. With the recent defection of Pennsylvania’s Arlen Specter to the Democratic Party (and assuming Al Franken becomes Minnesota’s new senator), Democrats and independent supporters will number 60. That means Dems will in theory have the votes needed to end an inevitable EFCA filibuster.

But in March, Specter, who co-sponsored EFCA in 2007, said he would no longer support cloture on the bill, reiterating this point when he announced his party switch in April. And Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), from the home state of notoriously anti-union Wal-Mart and Tyson Foods, said she would not support EFCA in its current form because it is too “divisive.”

Both senators face re-election next year. Running on the Democratic ticket, even with Obama’s promised support, Specter could face a significant progressive primary challenge. Specter’s switch is more likely to increase the likelihood of a compromise than win EFCA 60 votes. That could leave labor a tough choice between a stale half loaf today or a possible whole loaf in the next Congress.

Since the 40-plus senators now supporting a filibuster disproportionately come from less populated states, a tiny minority is undemocratically blocking expanded democracy for the majority.

In fact, a clear majority of Americans favor EFCA’s provisions, according to surveys by Hart Research. After pollsters described EFCA reforms, 73 percent of Americans surveyed supported it (including 69 percent in right-to-work states). Even when respondents heard the most potent arguments on both sides, strong—albeit smaller—majorities supported EFCA by margins of about 19 percent.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a shadowy network of front groups have kept most businesses—even those who accepted majority sign-up to recognize a union—toeing a hard line against the bill.

But some small business owners around the country have spoken out for EFCA as good for business and the economy. “We need a strong working middle class or my business will suffer,” says Darren Horndash, owner of the 33-store Wisconsin Vision optical chain. He says his unionized employees’ loyal performance helps retain customers.

Corporate opponents claim widespread unionizing will shut down businesses and cost jobs, but a new study by the Economic Policy Institute concludes that “the biggest fear voiced by employer groups regarding unionization—that it will inevitably drive them out of business—has no evidentiary basis.”

And a new Center for Economic and Policy Research study, led by Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Thomas Kochan, argues that unions are associated with high-performance workplaces yielding 15 to 30 percent “performance premiums” in efficiency, quality, employee engagement and profitability.

Cracks in the monolith?
One group of big companies—partly unionized Costco and staunchly anti-union Whole Foods and Starbucks—has broken with the hard-line Chamber of Commerce. The companies have proposed quicker elections, before which unions and business would both have access to workers. But it opposes majority sign-up and arbitration, and also proposes a new right of employers to initiate union decertification. While unacceptable to unions, the group’s proposal shows cracks in the corporate monolith.

Unions are keeping up the fight for EFCA as proposed, but they acknowledge changes may be needed to win over 60 senators. If Lincoln and Specter can be persuaded to help end a filibuster, they’re confident all other Democrats will as well.

“Taking steps to rebalance the playing field was always going to be tough,” says Change to Win Executive Director Chris Chafe. “But we’re still in a strong position to achieve major labor law reform … It will look a great deal like [EFCA].”

Some changes—such as designing sign-up cards that explicitly give workers the choice of an election or immediate approval of the union or lengthening the time before arbitration can be requested—would not seriously compromise the legislation. But many proposals, including one from Specter that would bar union organizers from visiting workers’ homes without prior consent, would tilt the playing field even more against unions.

Likely proposals to mandate elections within a short time—say, five to 10 days after a union petition—are problematic, even if unions got equal access to workers. “It takes a short time for employers to poison the well,” one organizer explained. Indeed, the fundamental problem is that employer speech in a workplace is inherently coercive, since the boss has power over a worker’s job.

“We are weighing a bunch of options, but the last thing we want to do is make the mistake of the other side and bully or threaten people,” AFL-CIO’s Acuff says. “It doesn’t work well, but it also points out what we’re trying to stop—the bullying and intimidation every day in the workplace.”

A Tough Fight
Unions have maintained a steady push for EFCA, including more than 400 actions during Congress’ spring break. They’ve mobilized non-union supporters and given prominent roles to workers with personal stories to tell, like Colorado electrician Dan Luevano.

In 2005 Luevano and most of his fellow workers at Ries Electric near Denver asked their boss to recognize the Electrical Workers as their union to help resolve problems. The boss called everyone in and threatened to fire them if they voted for a union. Luevano said he would, and the next workday he was fired. Though the National Labor Relations Board reinstated him, his boss isolated him and cut his hours while continuing to violate labor laws by fighting the union.

Luevano eventually left Ries Electric for a union firm. But he has told his story in community forums and interviews, and in congressional hearings and meetings with Colorado senators.

“I wouldn’t want anyone to go through what I went through,” he says. “I’m not a professional lobbyist, just a working person, trying to make life better for my co-workers and our families.” By doing so, Luevano is also trying to make America better—and more democratic. It’s a tough fight.

GET INVOLVED:
Employee Free Choice Act-oriented websites:
One Million Strong petition http://www.freechoiceact.org/page/s/araw
AFL-CIO petition http://www.unionvoice.org/campaign/passefca_II
American Rights at Work http://www.americanrightsatwork.org/employee-free-choice-act/
SEIU: The Battle for EFCA Heats Up http://www.seiu.org/employeefreechoice/

Help In These Times publish more articles like this. Donate today! https://secure.groundspring.org/dn/index.php?aid=2959
Subscribe today and save 46% off the newsstand price! https://www.inthesetimes.com/subscribe/

David Moberg, a senior editor of In These Times, has been on the staff of the magazine since it began publishing. Before joining In These Times, he completed his work for a Ph.D. in anthropology at the University of Chicago and worked for Newsweek. Recently he has received fellowships from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Nation Institute for research on the new global economy.

Come support the Employee Free Choice Act, Wed., June 3 in Philadelphia

05.30.09

Dear Activist,

The Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce is actively working to prevent you and others from having your rights on the job by publicly opposing the Employee Free Choice Act.

Join us on June 3rd at 5 pm sharp at the corner of Broad and Walnut St. (the Bellevue Hotel) to tell the Chamber of Commerce board members and their Young Professionals Network to stop opposing this important reform.

The U.S Chamber of Commerce and Big Business allies have fought against:

The eight-hour workday for women

Child labor laws

The Family and Medical Leave Act

The Voting Rights Act

Raising Americans with Disability Act access standards

Overtime payments for millions of workers through reforms of the Fair Labor Standards Act

OSHA ergonomics regulations that would protect workers from occupational injuries

Increases in the minimum wage

Living wages

Now they’ve added the Employee Free Choice Act to the list.

“Our top priority is preventing the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act.” - U.S. Chamber of Commerce website

Big Business and their Chambers of Commerce are demanding bailouts and tax breaks while laying off workers and paying big bonuses.

They’ve also launched an anti-worker propaganda campaign, funding front groups to spread lies about the Employee Free Choice Act, pretending to care about worker privacy. The Chamber earmarked $20 million in 2008 and 2009 alone to defeat the Employee Free Choice Act.

No surprise. These corporate interests oppose everything from the minimum wage to safety rules to family leave and unemployment compensation.

Suddenly corporations care about worker privacy. Yeah, Right.

It’s plain as day: workers are struggling in this country. Today’s workplaces are tilted in favor of lavishly-paid CEOs who get golden parachutes while working families struggle to get by. When workers attempt to improve their lives by associating with their co-workers to bargain collectively with their employers, they are often met by immoral, illegal and intentional resistance.

The Employee Free Choice Act, a bill now in Congress, will help to level the playing field for workers. The bill will give workers a fair and direct path to form unions through majority sign-up, help employees secure a contract with their employer in a reasonable period of time, and toughen penalties against employers who violate their workers’ rights.

With a free choice, working people can bargain for better pay, health care and pensions and build a better life themselves and their families.

Unionized workers have more job security, earn 30% more than their non-union counterparts, and are much more likely to have health benefits, short-term disability insurance, life insurance, and pensions. More than half of all U.S. workers, more than 60 million, say they would join a union if they could. But illegal threats and a broken legal process prevent workers from organizing and negotiating for better lives.

It’s simple. Corporations like the current rules, which let them get away with illegal firing and intimidation, to block worker justice and maintain their profits.

“A majority of my coworkers at the museum have signed up to join the union that we created, but we know that we probably can’t have one. The company has already used illegal intimidation to punish our supporters. The Employee Free Choice Act is the only thing that will give workers a fair chance at being able to exercise our rights on the job.” Thomas Robinson, AlliedBarton Security Guard.
##

Eduardo Soriano-Castillo

Philadelphia Jobs With Justice

1315 Spruce St. Room 331

Philadelphia, PA 19107

Field Organizer

http://www.phillyjwj.blogspot.com

w 215-670-5857

Gov Howard Dean Emergency Meeting in Delaware

05.28.09

Governor Howard Dean Presents: The Public Health Insurance Option – A Prescription for Guaranteed, Affordable, Health Care for All
Join Democracy for America, Health Care for America Now, and the SEIU Change that Works Campaign for a special guest, Governor Howard Dean, who is offering up a prescription for change in health care reform this year. What is a “public option?” Why is it so important? What can we all do collectively to help win REAL changes in health care reform in 2009 that bring quality, affordable, health care for everyone in America?

Where: Delaware Building Trades Council Sheet Metal Workers Hall

911 New Way Wilmington DE 19805

When: Friday May 29th, 3-5pm

What: Dr. Howard Dean speaks on Health Care Reform, a “public health insurance option” - and what we can all do to achieve it in 2009.

This event is FREE and open to the public

##
Jennifer A. Hill
Change That Works Delaware
State Director
SEIU
302-293-8682

Pa. judge orders talks in school labor dispute

05.23.09

Pa. judge orders talks in school labor dispute

The Associated Press

Article link

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. - A judge in northeastern Pennsylvania has ordered a school board and the district’s support staff union to resume contract talks , and not to give up until they work out a deal.

Luzerne County Judge Peter Paul Olszewski Jr. ordered talks in the Crestwood School District labor dispute to begin Friday night and continue through the weekend. The union agreed to end its strike, which began Monday. It involved 118 workers such as custodians, secretaries and cafeteria workers.

Members of the Crestwood Education Support Professionals Association had been working under the terms of a contract that expired in 2001, though agreements including pay raises were reached through June 30, 2004.

Delaware State Worker Coalition and Allies Fight Massive Pay Cuts: Part 1

05.22.09

Delaware State Worker Coalition and Allies Fight Massive Pay Cuts: Part 1

Most states are facing tough economic times and having great difficulty balancing state government budgets. This is certainly true in Delaware and surrounding states. Pay cut proposals for state workers were floated in Maryland and Pennsylvania but quickly rejected. Other solutions managed to at least temporarily stem the tide of red ink were found without unduly punishing state employees.

In Delaware, the Democratic Governor Jack Markell has put his political weight behind a massive 8% pay cut for state workers. The proposal is almost universally opposed by every labor union in the state and the vast majority of the progressive community. The reception for the massive pay cut proposal in Democratic Party circles has been fairly cool to outright hostile. Opposition to the pay cuts has been growing and getting increasingly organized.

All those opposition groups contend that the Governor did not give enough consideration to alternatives like tapping the Rainy Day Fund, the detailed set of proposals by State Representative John A. Kowalko, Jr. commonly referred to as the “Kowalko Plan” or specific ideas coming from actual state employees. Alternatives have been either under-reported or utterly disregarded by most of the media in the state. Representative Kowalko has offered to present his plan to any group of citizens in the state desiring to learn about the “Kowalko Plan.”

The State Workers United for a Better Delaware is a coalition of labor organizations in opposition to the proposed 8% across the board pay cuts for state workers. Included in the coalition are the Delaware State Troopers Association, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 81, the Delaware State Education Association (DSEA), DSEA-Retired, Teamsters Local 326, the Correctional Officers Association (COAD), Communications Workers of America Local 13101, the State Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), FOP Lodge 3, FOP Lodge 10, FOP Lodge 11, the Delaware Attorney General Investigators Association and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 27. The proposed pay cuts will impact 33,000 state workers in Delaware.

According to police sources, an estimated 2,500 state workers and supporters rallied in front of Legislative Hall in Dover the evening of May 6, 2008 to officially launch the coalition. This was one of the largest labor union crowds gathered in Delaware in recent memory.
While there were numerous prominent speakers sharing comments from the stage, workers and allies in the crowd were eager to share their views on the proposed wage cuts and the current economic situation in Delaware.

Jeff Pittman, a spokesperson for AFSCME, stated that “the proposed 8% pay cuts will hurt all Delaware taxpayers. It means 8% less in the pockets of all state workers. There will be 8% less spent with small businesses in Delaware. There will be 8% less from state workers in collection plates at churches and 8% less in donations to charitable causes. Altogether, $91 million will go missing out of the Delaware economy.”

UFCW Local 27 Assistant Organizing Director Brian Nesbit said, “An 8% pay cut would have a devastating impact of the spending power of Delaware residents. We already have an income crisis in America. The last thing we should be doing is cutting the wages of working Americans.”

Vice President of the Delaware State Troopers Association Thomas Brackin was very positive in his comments about the labor support, “this issue has galvanized the entire labor movement. We have received calls from every labor union in the state. To have everyone together and united on this issue is unprecedented and wonderful.”

He went on to say, “Across the board pay cuts are a quick fix solution however this is a long term problem and the only way to get out of a deficit of this magnitude is to grow your way out not cut your way out. When you negatively impact the buying power of the State’s 30,000 employees you simply deepen the problem. Frankly I am disappointed that rather then make the difficult and unpopular decisions to enhance revenue the governor and his staff took the easy way out with across the board cuts for State Employees knowing they will be back to the drawing board next year without a better long term solution.”

As if to prove Brackin’s point on labor solidarity, the United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 1183 Financial Secretary Alena Bandy was spotted in the crowd. There are no state workers represented by UAW Local 1183.

Although they are not subject to the proposed pay cuts, the entire leadership of ATU Local 842 attended the rally. This union local stands solidly with the state workers fighting the proposed pay cuts.

Wali Rushdan, President of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 842, remarked, “The thing about unions is that we stick together. This rally and effort shows that unions are coming together in support of state workers. If they fail, we all fail. Pay cuts for state workers puts pressure on all workers in Delaware. It sets a really bad precedent! We have to make politicians understand that we have a backbone and are willing to prove it.”

Teamsters Local 326 President John J. Ryan, Sr. was accompanied by at least 15 fellow members of his local. Ryan stated, “Although we only represent 12 state workers (Harbor Patrol Officers) out of our approximately 2,000 members, we are here to support all our brothers and sisters working throughout the state. It is important to note that there are alternatives to the proposed pay cuts. For example, we could save a great deal of money if we changed the way group homes are organized and financed. Doing this would help create more jobs for Delawareans instead of out-of-state contractors.”

Delaware Working Families Party Organizer Daniel Charlton expressed his opinion by stating “Delaware’s state workers are the ones providing essential services to the rest of our residents. We cannot ask them to sacrifice 8% of their income without looking at fairer options. There are better ways of closing the budget gap than asking only state workers to sacrifice. This is a time when we all need to come together to work for the best solutions and singling out state workers does not meet that standard.”

The National Treasurer of the FOP Thomas F. Penoza is a Delaware resident. Recently, he helped found and serves as President of the Delaware Attorney General Investigators Association. Penoza stated “Markell wants us to keep providing services to the citizens of Delaware but is asking us to make an unreasonable contribution to the total sacrifices needed to balance the state budget. The proposed pay cuts are putting too much of the burden on too few.”

Doug Watts, President of FOP Lodge 10 said his union represents about 260 members in Delaware. In regards to the pay cut proposal, Watts said, “I do not think this is fair. The Governor said the budget solution should be fair, shared and compassionate. I do not see these features in his state worker pay cut proposal. It is not fair to balance the entire state budget on the backs of 33,000 state workers.”

Brian P. Douty, Secretary of the FOP State Lodge, clearly stated his organization’s position. “The Delaware FOP represents over 2,200 law enforcement officers in this state encompassing 14 local lodges that include Probation and Parole, the Capitol Police Department, Alcohol and Tobacco, Fire Marshals and DNREC, in addition to municipal law enforcement agencies. All of us protect and serve the citizens of Delaware. We are providing valuable services and facing danger daily. We should not be facing these proposed severe pay cuts in return for doing our duty as law enforcement professionals.”

DSEA Executive Board member Tom Chapman shared his views, “We are in full support of the citizens of Delaware during these tough times in the state. We understand that there is a budget crisis. However, we cannot balance the state budget on the backs of lower and middle income workers which make up the vast majority of state workers.”

Shula Reaves, Vice President of COAD brought the issue home by explaining how the proposed pay cuts would impact his family. “I think this proposed pay cut is terrible. We really cannot afford it. My wife also works for the state. We are going to take a double hit on both pay and health insurance. This is unfair to my children. We have not had a pay raise in 5 years.”

The State Workers United for a Better Delaware in coming weeks will be staging numerous additional events in Dover to fight the pay cut proposal. There will be more Coalition Lobby Days on May 27, June 3, June 10, June 17 and June 24.

Written by Stephen Crockett (host of Democratic Talk Radio http://www.DemocraticTalkRadio.com and Editor of Mid-Atlantic Labor.com http://www.midatlanticlabor.com). Mail: 698 Old Baltimore Pike, Newark, DE 19702. Phone: 443-907-2367. Email: demlabor@aol.com .

Feel free to publish or post without prior approval.

Facing Progressive Pressure, Obama Backs Off Panama Free Trade Agreement

05.21.09

http://www.ourfuture.org/blog-entry/2009052121/breaking-facing-progressive-pressure-obama-backs-panama-free-trade-agreement

BREAKING: Facing Progressive Pressure, Obama Backs Off Panama Free Trade Agreement
By David Sirota

This is huge news for the Make Him Do It Dynamic:

May 21 (Bloomberg) ## A U.S. trade accord with Panama, which is opposed by labor unions, won’t be submitted to Congress for approval until President Barack Obama offers a new “framework” for trade, an administration official said.

The decision, announced by Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Everett Eissenstat at a Senate Finance Committee hearing today, is a reversal from statements in March that the U.S. wanted to pass the accord soon…

Eissenstat’s comments follow remarks by John Sweeney, the head of the AFL-CIO labor federation, that unions would oppose a rush to ratify the deal. Also today, 55 House Democrats told House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to reject the Panama accord unless it is renegotiated.

If you regularly read Ourfuture.org and OpenLeft, you know we have been tracking this story, including the AFL-CIO announcement and the announcement today by the Populist Caucus to put major pressure on the White House to stop this NAFTA-style agreement. Indeed, as someone who has been working on this issue for a decade, I never thought I’d actually see the day where we, the progressive movement, could actually make a president back off (even temporarily) the NAFTA trade model.

Hilariously, Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), the K Street trade lobbyist dressed up as a U.S. Senator, has been relegated to desperation, insisting that we must pass the Panama Free Trade Agreement immediately despite the loophole-riddled pact and despite the country’s status as a tax haven because “The Panamanians may back out.” Yes, that’s right - Congress must pass this because it is supposed to take orders from the Panamanian government. What a joke.

Where this all goes from here is anyone’s guess - it might just be a temporary delay with no change, but it might be something much bigger. Either way, as I’ve said before, what we’re seeing is very real evidence of the potential for major change. You’ve got a White House retreating, you’ve got the Congress’s chief trade whore making laughably absurd arguments, you’ve got progressive institutions making demands, and you’ve got rank-and-file Democratic lawmakers insisting on reforms.

As I said, this is what the Make Him Do It Dynamic looks like.

G.M. and Union Reach Deal on Contract Changes

05.21.09

By NICK BUNKLEY
Published: May 21, 2009

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/22/business/22auto.html?_r=1

DETROIT — The United Automobile Workers union said Thursday that it had reached a tentative deal with General Motors and the Treasury Department that would help G.M. cut its labor costs and reduce its obligations to a new retiree health care fund by billions of dollars.

The U.A.W. did not release details of the deal, which is subject to ratification by G.M. workers. The agreement is expected to be similar to one reached last month with Chrysler, which allowed that automaker to substitute equity for up to half of the $10 billion owed to its retiree health care fund. G.M. owes about twice that amount to the fund for its workers.

The deal is one of the government’s requirements for G.M. to win more loans but is not enough in itself to keep the carmaker from having to file for bankruptcy protection on June 1, the government’s deadline. More important, G.M. needs to persuade nearly all of the bondholders who hold more than $27 billion of its debt to swap their claims for stock in the restructured company. Most analysts expect the offer to fail.

Two days ago, G.M. said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it did not expect to reach an agreement with the U.A.W. before May 26, the deadline for bondholders to decide on the exchange offer.

But the U.A.W.’s president, Ron Gettelfinger, and G.M.’s chief executive, Fritz Henderson, have been involved in intense talks with Treasury officials in Washington since Monday.

G.M. has said it wanted to give the U.A.W. nearly 39 percent of the company, while bondholders would receive a 10 percent stake and existing shareholders would account for 1 percent. The Treasury, which has lent $15.4 billion to G.M. since December, would forgive half of that debt and receive a majority interest in G.M.

Earlier this month, Mr. Gettelfinger said he expected the union to reach an agreement with G.M. that contained nearly identical terms as the one with Chrysler. “I cannot believe that Treasury would mediate something better at G.M. to put Chrysler at a disadvantage,” he said on May 4. “The collective bargaining piece of it should pretty much be a template.”

Yet on Tuesday, he was quoted by reporters in Washington as saying that the parties had “a long way to go” to reach a deal.

New report on corporate anti-union tactics

05.20.09

Wanted to alert everyone to the release of a new report from Cornell’s Kate Bronfenbrenner, “No Holds Barred,” that details the growing problem of management tactics that block workers’ ability to form unions.

here’s the report:

http://www.aflcio.org/joinaunion/voiceatwork/efca/upload/No_Holds_Barred.pdf

and our blog post on it:

http://blog.aflcio.org/2009/05/20/corporate-anti-worker-tactics-on-the-rise/

A landmark study examining workers’ freedom to form unions and bargain shows that the problems the Employee Free Choice Act would address are getting worse.

“No Holds Barred: The Intensification of Employer Opposition to Organizing,” authored by Kate Bronfenbrenner, the director of Cornell University’s School of Industrial Relations, documents a disturbing increase in corporate tactics to interfere with, block and delay workers’ attempts to form unions. Workers who want to form a union all too frequently are subject to harassment, mandatory meetings, threats and even illegal firings.

The study, released by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) and the American Rights at Work Education Fund, updates earlier studies by Bronfenbrenner. “No Holds Barred” examines more than 1,000 union representation campaigns over the past four years and finds that “intense and aggressive” tactics to block workers’ freedom to form unions are becoming more commonplace.

Coercive tactics to defeat attempts to form a union are all too common, with bosses threatening to close plants during 57 percent of union campaigns and threatening to cut wages and benefits in 47 percent of cases.

In more than 60 percent of union campaigns, workers are forced to attend mandatory one-on-one sessions with supervisors and given anti-union messages or interrogated about support for a union.

The use of negative tactics by employers during union campaigns, like threats of layoffs, has increased, while the use of positive tactics, like promises of wage hikes, has decreased.

The number of employers using 10 or more identified coercive tactics has doubled.

Even for those who do win the election, 52 percent still have no contract a year later, and 37 percent are still without a contract two years after they vote to join a union.

Brofenbrenner writes that these coercive tactics have a chilling effect on workers, which means they’re not able to exercise their basic freedom to form a union and bargain for a better life:

Our findings suggest that the aspirations for representation are being thwarted by a coercive and punitive climate for organizing that goes unrestrained due to a fundamentally flawed regulatory regime that neither protects their rights nor provides any disincentives for employers to continue disregarding the law. Moreover, many of the employer tactics that create a punitive and coercive atmosphere are, in fact, legal.

We’ll be covering the release of this report in greater detail later today, as Bronfenbrenner and other workplace experts discuss the findings today in a Capitol Hill briefing. It’s a critical study in why we so badly need reform that protects the freedom to form unions.

##
Seth D. Michaels

blog.aflcio.org

Delaware Laborers’ kick off “First Annual Labor in Film Series” with free showing of Roger & Me

05.18.09

We would like to extend an invitation to you and your fellow union members. Please share this invitation with all our union brothers and sisters. Of course, not-yet unionized workers are welcome to attend.

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The Laborers” International Union of North America and LIUNA Political Leaque of Delaware are presenting a free screening of the award-winning documentary by Michael Moore Roger And Me on Thursday, May 21 at the Theatre N at Nemours (11th & Tatnall Streets, Wilmington, Delaware). This is first film in the First Annual Labor in Film Series. Showtime begins at 7pm.

Before the film begins, there will be a speaker. Sam Lathem, President of the Delaware State AFL-CIO will be introducing the film series. He will briefly address topics related to the role of labor unions, the labor movement and the auto industry in Delaware.

Roger and Me is Michael Moore’s award-winning first film about his hometown Flint, Michigan, and the impact that the GM plant downsizing had on the town. “Roger” is GM CEO Roger White, who Moore is trying to interview during the entire filming.

Additional details about this film are available at http://theatren.org/Films/2009/May/Roger-and-Me .

While his screening is free, we will have Fat Rick’s All-You-Can-Eat BBQ available at a very reasonable cost, which you must order in advance (so he’ll have enough food!). Doors open for the food and speeches at 6pm.

The discounted meal ticket price for “Laborers Union (LIUNA) Members is $5.00.

The $10.00 meal ticket price is for “non-LIUNA members”.

Click on applicable meal ticket price on the right side of this page http://theatren.org/Films/2009/May/Roger-and-Me to make meal reservations.

Upcoming films in the series include:

Thursday, September 10th: Unbought and Unbossed (Shirley Chisolm)

Thursday, November 5th: The Life and Times of Harvey Milk

Thursday, February 4, 2010: 10,000 Black Men Named George

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Any questions, please call Stephen Crockett @ 443-907-2367

Painters Union members picket Lackawanna College

05.17.09

May 2009 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Painters Union members picket Lackawanna College

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

SCRANTON, April 17th- Members of the Painters and Allied Trades International Union Local 218 conducted informational picketing in front of the Lackawanna College Student Activities Center on Jefferson Avenue in Scranton on May 1st and May 4th protesting the hiring of a nonunion contractor by the school to renovate the facility.

According to Robert Griffiths, Business Representative of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 21, as many as five of his members could have been hired if Lackawanna College employed a union contractor. Mr. Griffiths stated the project involve funds provided by the state and/or federal government and workers should be paid wages covered under the Prevailing Wage Act. He participated in picketing the center and stated the union is investigating into whether workers of the nonunion contractor were being paid the wages required under the legislation.

There are union workers employed on the renovation project including members of the Sheet Metal Workers International Union Local 44, which would not cross the picket line of the Painters Union on May 1st. Local 44 members are installing new duck vents throughout the facility. Because of the refusal of the Sheet Metal Workers members to cross the picket line, the daily renovation construction was halted.

The protest included a ten foot high inflatable rat with Lackawanna College President Ray Angeli name posted on the front.

According to John Gatto, Assistant Business Manager of District Council 21, members of the union have ratified a new contract with the association of signatory contractors. The term of the agreement began on May 1st, 2009 and will expire on April 30th, 2012. Mr. Gatto stated the members will receive approximately a five percent increase in wages and/or benefits each year over the term of the agreement.

Mr. Gatto told the newspaper only four hours of negotiations were necessary between the parties before the agreement on a new pact was reached. District Council 21 has 325 active members throughout Eastern Pennsylvania including Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties. The union represents painters, and drywallers.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton (PA) -Region’s unemployment rate increases to 8.7 percent

05.17.09

May 2009 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Region’s unemployment rate increases to 8.7 percent

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, May 1st- According to labor data provided by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Labor and Industry, the region’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 8.7 percent, increasing by two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous month. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) includes Lackawanna, Luzerne and Wyoming Counties. Twelve months ago the unemployment rate for the region was 3 and three-tenths percentage points lower at 5.5 percent. The last time the region had a unemployment rate this high was in March 1994.

The MSA’s unemployment rate continues to remain higher than Pennsylvania and the nation. The unemployment rate in the state is 7.8 percent, increasing by three-tenths of a percentage point from the previous month. Pennsylvania has a seasonally adjusted civilian labor force of 6,431,000 with 499,000 not working and 5,932,000 with employment. The national unemployment rate is 8.5 percent, increasing by four-tenths of a percentage point from the previous month. There are 13,161,000 civilians in the nation without employment.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA civilian labor force, workers between eighteen and sixty-five years old, decreased by 1,900 from the previous month to 284,400 and increased by 3,600 during the previous twelve months. There are 24,700 civilians not working in the MSA, increasing by 400 from the previous month, and increasing by 9,200 from twelve months ago.

The MSA has the fifth largest labor force in Pennsylvania. The Philadelphia MSA has the largest labor force at 2,996,600 with 238,100 not working; the Pittsburgh MSA is second at 1,135,300 with 88,100 without jobs; the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the third largest labor force at 423,800 with 35,100 not working; and the Harrisburg/Carlisle MSA has the fourth largest civilian labor force at 286,800 with 20,200 residents without employment.

Of the 14 MSA’s within Pennsylvania, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA is tied with the much smaller Williamsport MSA for the highest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania. The Williamsport MSA has the smallest labor force in Pennsylvania at 59,700. The Altoona MSA has the second smallest labor force with 64,900 civilians and the Johnstown MSA is third with 69,100 civilians.

The State College MSA has the lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 5.6 percent with the Lebanon MSA having the second lowest unemployment rate in the state at 6.7 percent and the Harrisburg/Carlisle MSA third at 7.0 percent.

Lackawanna County has the lowest unemployment rate in the MSA at 8.1 percent, increasing by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous month and jumping two and eight-tenths of a percentage points from one year ago. Lackawanna County has a labor force of 107,900, decreasing by 600 from the month before and decreasing by 1,000 during the past twelve months. There are 8,800 Lackawanna County residents without jobs, increasing by 200 from the month before and increasing by 3,100 from one year ago.

Luzerne County has the highest unemployment rate in the MSA at 9.1 percent, increasing by three-tenths of a percentage point from the previous month and increasing by 3 and four-tenths of a percentage points from one year ago. Luzerne County has a labor force of 162,000, the largest in the MSA. The labor force has decreased by 700 from the month before and increased by 2,500 during the past year. Of the labor force 14,700 are not working which is 300 more than the month before and 5,600 more than one year ago.

Wyoming County has a unemployment rate of 9.0 percent, increasing by six-tenths of a percentage point from the month before and increasing by 3 and three-tenths percentage points from one year ago. Wyoming County has a labor force of 14,600, unchanged from the month before and increasing by 200 during the past year. There are 1,300 Wyoming County residents not working, increasing by 100 from the previous month and jumping by 450 from one year ago.

In The MSA, total nonfarm jobs dropped by 6,600 from one year ago to 252,900. In the sector, manufacturing jobs was the biggest loser, dropping 2,800 with construction jobs number two decreasing by 1,100.

Paul Kanjorski wants the USPS facility to remain open

05.17.09

May 2009 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Paul Kanjorski wants the USPS facility to remain open

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

WILKES-BARRE, April 29th- Democratic 11th Legislative District House of Representative Paul Kanjorski strongly expressed his concern with the results of a United States Postal Service (USPS) study that recommended the closure of the mail processing and distribution facility on Main Street in Wilkes-Barre. He also urged the Postmaster General to reject the study’s recommendation and keep the Wilkes-Barre post office and its jobs for its employees.

The USPS conducted a five-month feasibility study that will determine if the agency should move the operation from Wilkes-Barre to Scranton or the Lehigh Valley. The Gallup Organization, the largest survey company in the nation, conducted a customer satisfaction survey for the USPS.

The USPS stated the discussion of moving the mail processing is in response to the 30 percent decline in first class mail over the past decade.

Workers employed at the facility on South Main Street have held several demostrations in front of the facility protesting the possible closing of the center. The workers, represented by the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) Local 175, the National Postal Mail Handlers Union (NPMHU) Local 308 and the National Association of Letters Carriers (NALC) Union Branch 115, have been joined by other union members and supporters expressing their desire of keeping the facility opened.

According to John Kishel, President of Branch 175, which represents 240 postal service workers that process mail including clerk personnel and maintenance workers at 24 USPS facilities in and around Wilkes-Barre, should the move of processing mail to Scranton or the Lehigh Valley be made, customer service will be affected and it will impact the City of Wilkes-Barre and surrounding communities negatively.

Bill Smith, Local 308 agrees with Mr. Kishel and stated mail will need to be re-routed to Scranton or the Lehigh Valley and then back to Luzerne County causing a delay in home delivery.

“We are in very difficult economic times, and the potential closure of the mail processing and distribution facility in Wilkes-Barre could have negative repercussions throughout the area. We must protect the jobs of the employees at the current facility. I have been advocating against the closure since the study was released,” stated Mr. Kanjorski.

Two unions in dispute because of UNITE disaffiliation

05.17.09

May 2009 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Two unions in dispute because of UNITE disaffiliation

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, April 25th- UNITEHERE International Union and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) are in dispute against each other because of the group of union members that have disaffiliated from UNITEHERE and joined the SEIU.

On March 20th former UNITEHERE members gathered in Philadelphia for their first meeting since disaffiliating from the international union several weeks before and joining the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

UNITEHERE was formed in 2004 when the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees (UNITE) merged with the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union (HERE).

UNITE was formed in 1995 when the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) and the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union (ACTWU) merged. The two unions mostly represented workers employed within the garment industry including throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania. HERE represented workers employed at casinos and hospitality services including hotels and restraurants. According to the United States Department of Labor (DOL), UNITEHERE had approximately 450,000 active members before UNITE disaffiliated from the international union.

In early March rank and file leaders of UNITEHERE Joint Board voted overwhelmingly to disaffiliate from the union. Since then, more than 75,000 workers have signed petitions voicing support for the disaffiliation.

Approximately 375 delegates were invited to participate in the meeting in Philadelphia. The meeting was the first founding convention for the new union and was attended by union representatives from the Pennsylvania Joint Board, which represents UNITE members in Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania.

UNITEHERE filed a complaint with the Change-to-Win (CtW) labor federation, which both unions are affiliated, because of the disaffiliation and the group joining the SEIU.

The group, called Workers United, stated for many reasons the merger did not work, claiming UNITEHERE lacked agreement on priorities, and strategies to win for members.

The union represents 1,100 workers at the T.J. Maxx warehouse in Pittston.

Rally with the Steelworkers at the Sands casino in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

05.15.09

Rally with the Steelworkers

Where: At the Sands casino Bethlehem
When: Monday May 18, 2009
Time: 4pm, meet 3:30pm at Steelworkers building to car pool if u like
Parking: At 4th and Williams Sts. walk to grassy area to rally

Working people, politicians, Steelworker friends are welcome to attend.

Lets us know if u can attend. call 610-867-3772

Card Check and Gut Check

05.15.09

Card Check and Gut Check
By Harold Meyerson
Thursday, May 14, 2009

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/13/AR2009051303016.html

If our nation was governed by business’s version of democratic choice, we would hold elections to determine the winner, but nearly half the time the incumbent would remain in power even if he lost.

In its campaign to derail the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), business has fearlessly depicted itself as the defender of elections and the secret ballot as well as the foe of the dread “card check” ## the process, championed by unions and included within EFCA, that would allow workers to sign union affiliation cards rather than compelling them to go through a ratification election in which harassment and firings of workers are all too common.

But the kind of democratic choice that business favors is choice without consequence ## a position made clear by its opposition to the other key component of EFCA: binding arbitration between company and union if they’ve been unable to agree on a contract within 120 days of a union winning the election. A study of first-contract negotiations by John-Paul Ferguson and Thomas A. Kochan of MIT’s Sloan School of Management makes clear why such arbitration is needed. After surveying 22,000 unionization campaigns between 1999 and 2004, the authors found that even after a majority of workers voted for a union, they actually reached a contractual agreement with management (which is currently under no legal obligation to come to an agreement) only 56 percent of the time.

Heads, management wins. Tails, the employees lose.

It’s a lovely system for businesses that don’t want to pay higher wages or accord their workers some rights, and they’ve been fighting hard to keep it that way. They’ve managed for now to cow some cowable Democratic senators, which is why Iowa Democrat Tom Harkin, who is trying to steer EFCA through the Senate, is negotiating with a number of his colleagues. “It’s a moving target,” Harkin says.

That it’s moving at all is the result of Arlen Specter’s hop from Republican to Democratic ranks, which has compelled Specter to look to his left instead of his right to see where his next opponent is coming from. Just as the threat of defeat in next year’s Republican primary concentrated Specter’s mind and sped him out of the GOP, so the threat of a union-backed opponent in the Democratic primary ## spurred by Democrats’ bewilderment and anger at Specter’s post-conversion opposition to the president’s budget, his cheering on the spectral candidacy of Minnesota Republican Norm Coleman and his opposition to card check ## has prodded Specter to find some middle ground on reforming labor law. (It takes a rare talent to alienate not just the party you’re leaving but also the party you’re joining, yet Specter’s been up to the task.)

Labor, Harkin and his fellow liberals are willing to make changes to EFCA to win the support of their Democratic colleagues, so long as those changes don’t perpetuate management’s ability to avoid unionization by threatening workers and refusing to negotiate contracts. Accordingly, the scramble is underway for modifications to card check and binding arbitration that still meet labor’s goals.

Rather than give the arbitrator the right to impose a contract, some senators, Specter among them, have expressed interest in a form of arbitration used in baseball to settle contract disputes. In a baseball arbitration, the union and management submit their proposed contracts to the arbitrator, who tries to get them to narrow their differences, asks for their final offers and chooses the one he finds more reasonable.

Among the suggested alternatives to card check are proposals to shorten the currently open-ended period between the request for election and the actual vote (today, management can stall a vote almost indefinitely) and to allow workers to vote by mailing their ballots to the National Labor Relations Board in Washington, which (like absentee voting) would preserve the secret ballot but enable workers to escape the regimen of threats they often encounter in the weeks preceding an election.

If, after all the negotiations, Harkin and the unions conclude that the only bill that’s enactable in this congressional session is too watered down to protect workers trying to unionize, they would, understandably enough, not want it to go forward. In that case, why don’t the Democrats just put the original bill ## card check, binding arbitration and all ## to a vote and see which of their members choose to go on record against protecting those workers? If Specter and his fellow waverers wish to avoid that vote and the wrath it would incur among their onetime union backers, they’d do well to support the alternative provisions that restore Americans’ rights in the workplace.

meyersonh@washpost.com

Why I Support Brian McGlinchey for Delaware Democratic Party Chairperson -by Dana Garrett

05.14.09

Why I Support Brian McGlinchey for Delaware Democratic Party Chairperson

by Dana Garrett

http://delawarewatch.blogspot.com/

I am a proud and enthusiastic supporter of Brian McGlinchey as the next Democratic Party Chairperson for the state of Delaware. I have known Brian for a few years and have found him to be an intelligent, friendly and resolute person. Brian is highly organized and creative as well as a first class strategic thinker. He is assertive without being aggressive, a distinction that Delaware’s civility-challenged, current Democratic Chairperson at times doesn’t comprehend.

Brian is a lifelong Delawarean and has been actively involved in Democratic politics for over twenty years. He has worked for the election of Democrats as both a campaign strategist and a fundraiser and presently serves as regional director of government affairs for the Laborers International Union of North America. Contrary to rumor, Brian is not employed by the Delaware State AFL-CIO. He serves as the legislative chairman, a non-paid position.

Brian is a true progressive. I know that one of his goals as chairperson is to champion grass roots political organizing and education programs for rank and file Democrats in Delaware. Brian is particularly fond of the Sen. Paul Wellstone way of grass roots political organizing. I believe that if Brian becomes the chairperson, the recent gains that Democratic candidates have made across Delaware will expand and deepen in their vote margins. Brian will see to it that Delaware Democrats get the training to help make it happen. (When has John Daniello ever done anything like that for Delaware Democrats?) Delaware Democrats will not have to rely on a catastrophic presidency like George Bush’s or another Obama tsunami to make electoral gains locally.

Be Glad that Brian McGlinchey is a Union Worker

I have found it bewildering to hear and read some Democrats complain that McGlinchey is employed by a union. I would expect such a complaint from the Republicans but not from Democrats. If the USA’s present financial crisis demonstrates anything, it shows that Americans do not bring home enough money in their paychecks to meet their obligations. Union workers tend to make more money than nonunion workers. That Brian McGlinchey has advocated for legislation to protect workers on their jobs, union and otherwise, and to ensure high paying jobs for Delawareans is a badge of honor and accords with the highest principles of the Democratic Party.

The rumored complaint is that as a union representative Brian McGlinchey will be forced to support labor-friendly Republican candidates. This is a complete red herring. Brian has received assurances both from the Laborers Union and the AFL-CIO that if he is elected party chairperson, he will not be required to do anything to support a Republican candidate in any manner whatsoever. As far as Brian’s past electoral experience is concerned, he wrote recently in an e-mail sent to some Democrats:

I have never personally given any money to a Republican candidate nor worked for one. I have never made a phone call nor walked a district for one. And I don’t plan on starting now. My own brother, Bill, Chair of the 11th District Committee, faced off against Republicans in his bid for State Representative and Senate.

My campaign experience consists entirely of working for Democrats.

Never worked for a Republican before and will not be required to do so in the future. Ask yourself why some people are making this canard an issue. Why won’t they tell the truth about Brian McGlinchey?

It’s Time for a New Generation of Leadership

I personally witnessed John Daniello tell a local blogger in legislative hall “If you don’t turn that camera off, I will shove it down your throat.” The blogger didn’t even have has camera turned on. I believe that John Daniello’s reputation is a source of embarrassment to the party. I am not alone in my belief.

We will have a different type of party leader in Brian McGlinchey. We will have a Democrat who is a true democrat, someone who is able to work cooperatively with others with the view of building party unity and electing Democrats to office in Delaware. Brian will bring experience, vigor, progressive thinking and innovation to the job as party chairperson. Brian McGlinchey has my unreserved support.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Dana is one of my co-hosts on Democratic Talk Radio along with John Morgan. This article comes from the Delaware Watch Blog.

I personally know Brian McGlinchey very well. He is a strong labor activist and has the best political mind of anyone I have ever met! His work ethic is amazing. His ego is small but the work he does is huge. Brian loves working people. He is a tireless crusader for the rights and needs of the little guy!

His ability to multi-task dwarfs my own. I thought this was something I was unusually good at until I met McGlinchey!

He is compassionate in dealing with all kinds of people. I have witnessed hundreds of examples of acts of kindness and charity from Brian in the last two years.

While I have nothing against any other candidate, I believe that nobody could do more to strengthen the Democratic Party in Delaware than Brian McGlinchey. I believe in him so strongly that if I was running against him I would still vote for Brian McGlinchey!

Personally, I completely support the candidacy of Brian McGlinchey as Chair of the Delaware Democratic Party and urge every Democrat to do the same! If you are a union supporter or Democrat with friends in the state, please contact them in the next two days and ask them to contact their Democratic leadership in support of the McGlinchey candidacy.

In solidarity,

Stephen Crockett

Editor, Mid-Atlantic Labor.com http://www.midatlanticlabor.com
Host, Democratic Talk Radio http://www.DemocraticTalkRadio.com

Join SEIU for a Health Care Forum in Delaware on evening of May 28th!

05.14.09

Invitation to Health Care Forum

Date: Thursday May 28, 2009
Time: 6pm
Location: 698 Old Baltimore Pike
UAW Local 1183 Training Building

Join SEIU (Service Employees International Union) and HCAN (Health Care for America Now) to gather our best ideas and most pressing concerns about the Federal Health Care effort.

Background of Federal effort:
Sen. Baucus is the chair of the Senate Finance Committee is writing a bill and holding roundtable discussions on what should be done and it can be paid for.

Sen. Kennedy chair of the Senate HELP committee is drafting a bill that will include the most comprehensive approach possible without the funding.

At the national level many groups are meeting during the Memorial Day work period. Join other Faith and Community groups working on healthcare on May 28th at 6pm, UAW Local 1183 Old Baltimore Pike in Newark.

We are asking you to consider your group’s most important priorities for the Health Care Bill and bring it to the meeting.

After a discussion we will compile a document that will include recommendations from all of the groups attending or sent to us via email. This document will be presented to Sen. Carper, Sen. Kaufman and Rep Castle personally. This document will be non-binding and each group will have different priorities. We are not recommending or endorsing a specific plan but creating a record of our ongoing work and commitment to Health Care that Works!

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Jennifer A. Hill
Change That Works Delaware
State Director
SEIU
302-293-8682

Women earn 78 cents for every dollar a man earns in U.S.

05.14.09

May 2009 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Women earn 78 cents for every dollar a man earns in U.S.

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, April 29th- The United States Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis said under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act funds will be made available to local communities for job training and employment services to help women in the workplace.

“Women earn just 78 cents for every dollar a man earns. Women of color earn even less. Countless women are losing thousands of dollars in salary, income and retirement savings over the course of a lifetime. As a result, women often must work longer or harder to make ends meet,” stated Ms. Solis.

She said the Department of Labor is working hard at implementing the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, which has had a direct impact on women. While women have a lower overall unemployment rate than the general population, women are also impacted when a spouse loses a job.

“Increases to unemployment insurance and extensions of benefits become the lifeboat for families who are struggling in this recession. The Recovery Act provides a 65 percent tax subsidy for the cost of health benefits, making them more afforable for the unemployed, and will help millions of families keep their health coverage. Additional funds have been made available to local communities for job training and employment services. These programs will help women across generations and socio-economic groups by attaining higher paying, career-ladder jobs in nontraditional fields,” the secretary continued.

Resolution passed calling for the USPS to issue miners stamp

05.14.09

May 2009 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Resolution passed calling for the USPS to issue miners stamp

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, April 23rd- The Pennsylvania House of Representatives unanimously approved H.R. 98 which calls on the United States Postal Service (USPS) to issue a stamp honoring coal miners past and present for their service to the nation, something some members of the labor community in Northeastern Pennsylvania have been wanting for many years.

“America became the greatest nation in the world because of the power of Pennsylvania coal, and today our homes are warm and our cities are lit thanks to the incredibly difficult and dangerous work miners perform under the harshest of conditions,” House Speaker Keith McCall, Democrat from Carbon County said.

“This resolution asks the Postal Service’s Stamp Advisory Committee to do the right thing and honor our miners for their contributions.”

For more than fifteen years individuals and groups including the United Mine Workers of America (UWWA) Union have tied to presuade the USPS to issue a stamp, or series of commemorative stamps, recognizing and honoring the coal miners.

Citizens, many who are descended from coal mining families, have held rallies and conducted petition signing events to attempt to convince the USPS to issue a stamp recognizing coal miners.

Wayne Namey, a member of the United Food and Commerical Workers (UFCW) Union Local 1776, who works as a clerk at a Pennsylvania Wine and Spirits Store in Luzerne County, has organized several events over the past several years gaining signitures of the public that supports the USPS issueing a stamp and presented the petitions to the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee.

The Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee is tasked with evaluating the merits of all stamp recommendation to the postmaster general. For more than fifteen years the UMWA have petitioned the USPS to issue a stamp.

Those wishing for the USPS to issue a stamp have made their case to the postal authorities of the historical and industrial national significance of the contribution of coal miners to the industrial might of the nation. Coal mining along with railroads, steel, oil, have been pillars of the industrial revolution of the nation, supporters have stated.

“The committee has approved stamps honoring cartoon characters and sports heroes, but we haven’t had a stamp honoring the men whose labor built our nation. Today every member of the House spoke as one and we’re letting the committee know that 12 million Pennsylvanians want to see our miners get some long overdue respect,” added Mr. McCall.

Mr. McCall told the newspaper copies of the resolution passed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylavnia General Assembly have been delivered to the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee, c/o Stamp Development, United States Postal Service in Arlington, Virginia and to the presiding offiers of each House of Congress.

This is the fourth time Mr. McCall has sponsored a resolution calling for a stamp honoring miners.