Skyline of Richmond, Virginia

AFL-CIO urges supporters to challenge White House about NLRB

02.16.10

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2010/02/afl-cio-urges-supporters-to-co.html

AFL-CIO urges supporters to challenge White House about NLRB

By Alec MacGillis
The Washington Post

In a clear indication that labor unions are running out of patience with the Obama administration, AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka sent out a sharply worded action alert to its entire e-mail list Friday evening, urging phone calls to the White House to protest its inaction on two nominees to the National Labor Relations Board.

Republicans have called one nominee, Craig Becker, a controversial choice for the board. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said he was “the first person nominated” for the NLRB “who comes directly from a labor organization.” Becker is the associate general counsel for the AFL-CIO and Service Employees International Union.

After the GOP threatened to filibuster the nomination, senators refused Tuesday to move to a vote on Becker, killing his confirmation. The White House has since indicated that President Obama will not appoint Becker to the position during Congress’ recess next week.

That latest news prompted Trumka’s e-mail, in which he also objects to the languishing nomination of labor trial lawyer Mark Pearce to the board. Larry Mishel, president of the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute, said it was not surprising that the AFL-CIO was taking up arms.

“It is pretty disheartening to see the president not really protecting his nominees,” Mishel said. “People need to see him fighting.”

The labor movement has swallowed a lot in the first year of the Obama administration. Unions had very high hopes after eight years of George W. Bush, who invited the president of the AFL-CIO across the street to the White House only once in eight years (when the pope visited).

And organized labor had done a great deal to help elect a Democratic president and congressional majority, turning out its members to vote for Obama in key Rust Belt swing states where he struggled with other working-class voters.

But Congress and Obama have barely budged on labor’s biggest priority, the Employee Free Choice Act, which would make it easier to organize workers. The legislation was watered down to pass muster with conservative Senate Democrats, but the loss of the 60th Democratic vote last month may well have doomed even the compromise version.

Organized labor’s other big agenda item, universal health care, is also in limbo. Even if a reform bill passes, it’s quite possible that it will not include some of the last-minute concessions that unions won to reduce the impact on their members. Of the greatest concern is a tax on costly health insurance plans, a tax that Obama pushed to include in the legislation over unions’ strong opposition.
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EDITOR’S NOTE: Call the White House and give them a piece of your mind. Call the White House Switchboard NOW: 202-456-1111 OR 202-456-1414. Tell them you want recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board of Craig Becker and Mark Pearce. They are highly respected labor lawyers whom President Obama nominated for seats on the National Labor Relations Board who the Republicans and Democratic Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska are blocking.

The Economic Elite Vs. The People of the United States of America - Part I

02.16.10

The Economic Elite Vs. The People of the United States of America - Part I

By David DeGraw, AmpedStatus Report

This is the first part of a six-part report. Part two will be posted on Wednesday. To be notified via email, subscribe to our newsletter here. http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/339/t/4630/signUp.jsp?key=4028

——-I: Causalities of Economic Terrorism, Surveying the Damage
——-II: The Rise of the Economic Elite
——-III: Exposing Our Enemy: Meet the Economic Elite
——-IV: The Financial Coup d’Etat
——-V: Overcoming the Divide and Conquer Strategy
——-VI: How to Fight Back and Win: Common Ground Issues That Must Be Won

“The American oligarchy spares no pains in promoting the belief that it does not exist, but the success of its disappearing act depends on equally strenuous efforts on the part of an American public anxious to believe in egalitarian fictions and unwilling to see what is hidden in plain sight.” — Michael Lind, To Have and to Have Not

It’s time for 99% of Americans to mobilize and aggressively move on common sense political reforms.

Yes, of course, we all have very strong differences of opinion on many issues. However, like our Founding Fathers before us, we must put aside our differences and unite to fight a common enemy.

It has now become evident to a critical mass that the Republican and Democratic parties, along with all three branches of our government, have been bought off by a well-organized Economic Elite who are tactically destroying our way of life. The harsh truth is that 99% of the US population no longer has political representation. The US economy, government and tax system is now blatantly rigged against us.

Current statistical societal indicators clearly demonstrate that a strategic attack has been launched and an analysis of current governmental policies prove that conditions for 99% of Americans will continue to deteriorate. The Economic Elite have engineered a financial coup and have brought war to our doorstep. . . and make no mistake, they have launched a war to eliminate the US middle class.

To those who feel I am using extreme rhetoric, I ask you to please take a few minutes of your time to hear me out and research the evidence put forth. The facts are there for the unprejudiced, rational and reasoned mind to absorb. It is the unfortunate reality of our current crisis.

Unless we all unite and organize on common ground, our very way of life and the ideals that our country was founded upon will continue to unravel…….

Before exposing exactly who the Economic Elite are, and discussing common sense ways in which we can defeat them, let’s take a look at how much damage they have already caused.

I: Causalities of Economic Terrorism, Surveying the Damage

The devastating numbers across-the-board on the economic front are staggering. I’ll go through some of them here, many we have already become all too familiar with. We hear some of these numbers all the time, so much so that it appears as if we have already begun “to normalize the unthinkable.” You may be sick of hearing them, but behind each number is an enormous amount of individual suffering, American lives and families who are struggling worse then they ever have.

America is the richest nation in history, yet we now have the highest poverty rate in the industrialized world with an unprecedented amount of Americans living in dire straights and over 50 million citizens already living in poverty.

The government has come up with clever ways to down play all of these numbers, but we have over 50 million people who need to use food stamps to eat, and a stunning 50% of US children will use a food stamp to eat at some point in their childhood. Approximately 20,000 people are added to this total every day. In 2009, one out of five US households didn’t have enough money to buy food. In households with children, this number rose to 24%, as the hunger rate among US citizens has now reached an all time high.

We also currently have over 50 million US citizens without healthcare. 1.4 million Americans filed for bankruptcy in 2009, a 32% increase from 2008. As bankruptcies continue to skyrocket, medical bankruptcies are responsible for over 60% of them, and over 75% of the medical bankruptcies filed are from people who have healthcare insurance. We have the most expensive healthcare system in the world, we are forced to pay twice as much as other countries and the overall care we get in return ranks 37th in the world.

In total, Americans have lost $5 trillion from their pensions and savings since the economic crisis began and $13 trillion in the value of their homes. During the first full year of the crisis, workers between the age of 55 - 60, who have worked for 20 - 29 years, have lost an average of 25% off their 401k. “Personal debt has risen from 65% of income in 1980 to 125% today.” Over five million US families have already lost their homes, in total 13 million US families are expected to lose their home by 2014, with 25% of current mortgages underwater. Deutsche Bank has an even grimmer prediction: “The percentage of ‘underwater’ loans may rise to 48 percent, or 25 million homes.” Every day 10,000 US homes enter foreclosure. Statistics show that an increasing number of these people are not finding shelter elsewhere, there are now over 3 million homeless Americans, the fastest growing segment of the homeless population is single parents with children.

Read more at http://ampedstatus.com/the-economic-elite-vs-the-people-of-the-united-states-of-america-part-i