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Suggested Amendments to the U.S. Constitution for 2011

12.30.10

Suggested Amendments to the U.S. Constitution for 2011

It has become clear that our nation has a severely crippled political system where the will of the majority and the best interests of the nation are being ignored so a very few obscenely wealthy individuals and many international corporations can reap absurd profits. Our American democracy and way of life are under serious attack by elite, powerful forces exploiting grave weaknesses in our system of government.

In my opinion, we need to start serious discussions about how to amend our Constitution in an effort to both correct institutional weaknesses and reduce to power of excessive wealth to undermine our nation. I am suggesting that we start introducing Constitutional Amendments in our state legislatures and in Congress to encourage public debate about these problems and how to best address them.

Below the reader will find some suggestions and It is hoped by this writer that others will suggest additional ways of strengthening American democracy, restraining excessive corporate power and making our government better able to deal with the modern problems facing us in the first half of the 21st Century:

(1) Corporations shall not have the right to spend shareholder money to influence elections. Executives who are convicted of using corporate funds to influence elections shall be barred from serving as corporate officers for life and be punished as felons.
(2) Corporations chartered in the United States of America and foreign corporations with operations in the United States shall be required to have as their first mission serving the public good before the mission of maximizing returns and maximizing the dividends of shareholders. American corporations failing to serve the public good shall be dissolved or have their management replaced at the discretion of the federal courts. Foreign corporations found to be not serving the public good shall be barred from operating in the United States or selling into the American market. The restriction on offending foreign corporations shall include sales via third parties or subsidiaries.
(3) All Congressional election districts shall be required to be drawn in as competitive a manner as possible by state governments.
(4) All votes in all elections in the United States must be counted with reasonable accurately and be cast using independently verifiable methods. All vote counting must be done publicly by government agencies. Private businesses and corporations may not be permitted to fill this government function.
(5) All trade agreements between the United States and foreign nation must be approved by a majority public referendum vote of American citizens of voting age. All previous trade agreements must be approved in the above manner within 4 years of the adoption of this amendment.
(6) All imported manufactured goods must be taxed by the federal government at a minimum rate to offset the financial losses involved to American workers, businesses and governments. No trade agreement may be placed into the referendum process for approval that does offset the financial losses listed above.
(7) All citizens shall be entitled to basic healthcare at public expense. The federal government has the responsibility to provide basic healthcare to all citizens and must fund adequately this responsibility.
(8) The right of American workers to organize and bargain collectively with employers shall not be restricted by employers, Congress or governments at any level. Employers are not permitted to interfere with the election process when workers are deciding rather or not to unionize and bargain collectively. Employers who violate the unionization rights of workers shall be considered felons and punished as felons subject to punishments established by Congress.
(9) All citizens have the right to gainful employment, at hourly rates at least equal to the established minimum wage, by the federal government, if able and willing to work, during periods of excessively high periods of unemployment, unless fired by the federal government for good cause or while serving a criminal sentence. Congress shall establish a reasonable definition of excessively high unemployment rate at a level of no more than 8 percent of the total available domestic workforce.
(10) Corporate officer elections of publicly traded corporations shall be conducted by the Commerce Department of the federal government. Shareholders voting to elect the corporate officers shall vote their shares independently on the salaries and other compensation packages of the corporate offices involved. A majority of shares voted by participating shareholders must approve these compensation packages. Candidates for these corporate offices may vote their shares in the election of corporate officers but may not vote their shares in the vote on compensation.

It is time for the American nation to react to the excessive power of huge corporations to control the lives of American citizens and the institutions of our government. These proposed amendments will be fought by powerful, wealthy forces but are long overdue. We can no longer ignore the damage that a tiny elite is doing to the American nation and the American Dream.

We need a vigorous public discussion of these problems and proposed solutions. It is this writers hope that the discussion will start here and that legislators in every state will force the discussion by introducing some or all these ideas in their respective legislative bodies.

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

Feel free to publish or reprint in full without prior approval.

Teamsters Union Local 773 files labor complaint against United Parcel Service

12.30.10

JANUARY 2011, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

Teamsters Union Local 773 files labor complaint against United Parcel Service

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

LEHIGH VALLEY, December 11th- The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union Local 773, Hamilton Street in Allentown, filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia alleging the United Parcel Service (UPS) in Stroudsburg violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

According to the Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge, which was discovered by the newspaper while reviewing petitions and complaints filed at the National Labor Relations Board, the Union alleges the Employer, 2129 East Rockdale Lane in Stroudsburg, violated Section 8 (a), subsections (1) and subsection (3) of the NLRAct.

The newspaper is the only member of the local media that reviews and publishes the information.

UPS is a package shipping company and according to the ULP employs approximately 1,000 workers at the Stroudsburg terminal.

The ULP was filed on behalf of the Union by Philadelphia Attorney William Josem on November 26th.

“The above-named Employer, by and through its agents, is engaging in a pattern and practice of disciplining employees because of the exercise of Section 7 and union rights by Teamsters Local 773 and by the employees,” states the complaint.

According to the Unfair Labor Practice complaint, the Employer Representative to be contacted is Frank Govan, indentified as the UPS Center Manager.

Allentown officials pass Project Labor Agreement legislation

12.30.10

JANUARY 2011, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

Allentown officials pass Project Labor Agreement legislation

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, December 19th- The Allentown City Council passed legislation that would almost assure local union tradespeople will be hired for city-sponsored building projects.

On December 15th the seven-member council voted 5 for to 2 against the Project Labor Agreement (PLA) legislation that will require union workers on Allentown sponsored building construction.

Under the PLA, projects that receive state or federal funding that cost more than $250,000, local unionized workers will need to be hired. The legislation has been implemented in other municipalities throughout Pennsylvania including the City of Scranton, and Lackawanna County. Also, the legislation has been passed by many school districts throughout the Commonwealth.

In the previous edition of the newspaper it was reported with the Republicans gaining control of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and the Governors Mansion, anti-union legislation, including banning PLA’s, will likely be introduced in the upcoming session of the General Assembly.

The Republicans will have a ten-seat majority in the Pennsylvania Senate and a 12-seat majority in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and a Republican Governor will be sworn in in January 2011.

In the previous General Assembly, the Democrats held the majority in the House of Representatives while the Republicans controlled the Pennsylvania Senate. The Governor was a Democrat.

In February 2010 Project Labor Agreements in Pennsylvania were under attack with business groups assembling in the state capitol rotunda stating the signing of PLA’s with members of the building trades unions should be eliminated.

A PLA is a comprehensive agreement signed by a builder and local craft unions under which a defined construction project is agreed to be completed by workers from local union halls, in return for the union’s guarantee of no strikes, a steady labor supply, and general labor peace. Under a PLA, a nonunion contractor could still be hired for a project, however if they are selected, local unionized workers must be hired.

According to Joseph Colucci, Business Manager of the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Re-Inforcing Ironworkers Union Local 36, which represent steel erector workers, PLA’s assure local workers will benefit from building projects.

Mr. Colucci said often out-of-the-area or worse out-of-the-state construction workers are hired for area building projects and after the project is completed they take the money earned back to their home region and spend the money there.

“You can’t argue against the economic benefit of a PLA. Local workers spend the money locally. It’s not rocket science,” said Mr. Colucci.

The legislation’s biggest critic is the Association of Builders and Contractors (ABC) construction group. The ABC is made-up of nonunion contractors and often lobbies for anti-union legislation.

Allentown Democratic Mayor Ed Pawlowski and councilman Mike D’Amore, a Service Employees International Union (SEIU) member, supported the PLA legislation.