Sunday, March 6, 2011

Hudson Valley Rally For Workers Rights Energizes The Masses

Almost 1000 people gathered to stand up for the rights of all American workers this past week in Rock Tavern, NY. It was a cold day and it was amazing to see all of the people there. There were men, women and children, there were college students and high school students along with those close to retirement.

Thank you to Pete Seeger for joining with us to sing Solidarity Forever and Which side are you on? The answer to that question was definitely the American worker.

Sometime in the future, the labor movement will look back and realize that Scott Wilson was the catylst this generation needed to energize the existing labor movement and to preserve the American Dream for the future generations of workers.

This movement is growing at an incredible speed. More to come soon...

Friday, February 25, 2011

Ed Was Way Ahead Last Week

Monday, February 21, 2011

Wisconsin Becomes Ground Zero For Workers Rights

Here is an example of what is in store for all American Workers,if they don't wake up and see what is happening to their "dream" and begin to openly support protecting workers rights again.

This is about the American right to collective bargaining. If you think that this is just a public employee issue - you are wrong. If you think it's purely a tax issue - it is not. The monetary requests of the Governor have been agreed to. They agreed to increase pension and health contributions.

This is now PURELY about the right to bargain. They have a Governor who believes that American workers should have no say or seat at the table.

This is something you would read about in China.

These people are now fighting for only that - the right to bargain. This is past paying more for health insurance or pensions - they already agreed on that.......this is an all out assault on American Workers rights - period. It IS political and CORPORATE DRIVEN. With a goal to "trickle down" the attack to the rest of the American Workforce. Don't be fooled, the only way to protect yourself is to band together.

Unions are the only avenue for workers to use to protect their rights and benefits they have worked hard for. No one else does that or is interested in doing that. Doesn't it make sense that corporations would fight their very existence?

That is what is going on in Wisconsin.
And that's an American fight.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Create Good Jobs And This Does Not Happen: Create Nothing And There Is No Where To Go

This issue will be playing out soon in many more states,towns and in many more places. Three things are clear: the budget needs to be cut, jobs and retirements need to be saved and new GOOD jobs need to be created.

The Huffington Post Amanda Terkel

WASHINGTON -- Public employees around the country have become the nation's scapegoats for the rough economy, with many Republican politicians in recent months criticizing them as privileged, overpaid and underworked -- unlike their private sector counterparts. But in Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker (R) is now in hot water, facing an overwhelming backlash from the state's residents.

Wisconsin is facing a $137 million budget deficit. In order to close it, Walker wants to sharply curtail the collective bargaining rights of public employee unions, effectively preventing them from negotiating benefits, hours and working conditions. (They would, however, still be able to bargain over base wages, and Walker decided to exempt firefighters and police workers from his measure.) Public workers would also have to contribute more money toward pension and health insurance plans.

What has attracted the most attention is Walker's threat to call out the National Guard in order to respond to a walk-out or any resistance to his plan.

The governor has insisted that he's not targeting public employees.

"I'm just trying to balance my budget," Walker told The New York Times. "To those who say why didn't I negotiate on this? I don't have anything to negotiate with. We don't have anything to give. Like practically every other state in the country, we're broke. And it's time to pay up." The Huffington Post was unable to get a comment from him on Wednesday.

The Republican Party of Wisconsin has said that Walker's plan will save Wisconsin $30 million over the next three months and $300 million over the next two years.

But some questioned whether his proposal is really financially necessary. The governor himself claims that Wisconsin can save $165 million by the end of next June simply by restructuring existing debt. Additionally, the share of corporate tax revenue funding the state government has fallen by half since 1981 and, according to Wisconsin Department of Revenue, two-thirds of corporations pay no taxes.

"I don't think there's any question that what Gov. Walker is trying to do here is not simply outrageous -- one of the worst things I've ever seen a Wisconsin governor do -- but he's just acting on a long-time corporate wish: the fantasy of destroying unions," former Wisconsin Democratic senator Russ Feingold told The Huffington Post in an interview on Tuesday. Feingold is launching a new political action committee called Progressives United, aimed at combating the influence of corporate power in politics.

Calling Walker's actions "big government at its worst," Feingold said that Republicans are trying to pit private workers against their public counterparts.

"This is an attempt to divide and conquer," he added. "What they did is teed up the rhetoric in the last few years about how public employees -- the notion is that somehow they're making huge amounts of money and they don't have to work very hard, and they're doing fine because their jobs and pensions are guaranteed while people in the private sector are suffering. Surely, there is enormous reason for people in the private sector to be frustrated -- and particularly working people who have had their jobs shipped overseas by trade agreements that have been backed by these big corporate interests that are benefiting from Citizens United. But the idea here on the right and the corporate side is to divide working people against each other, to turn private employees against public employees out of some kind of resentment."

Thousands of Wisconsin residents have showed up for rallies in Madison, with hundreds of Wisconsin residents signed up to testify on Tuesday against Walker's plan. Many of them ended up rolling out sleeping bags and sleeping in the building's rotunda overnight. With a GOP legislature on his side, Walker could get a vote as soon as Thursday. On Tuesday, the Republican co-chair of the Joint Finance Committee helped speed along the process by preventing a "citizen filibuster" and limiting the amount of time that residents had to speak, prompting protests from the people who were shut out of hearing without being heard.

Opposition to Walker's proposal has come not only from unions, but also veterans organizations and even the Green Bay Packers.

"As a publicly owned team we wouldn't have been able to win the Super Bowl without the support of our fans," wrote current and former members of the Packers in a statement. "It is the same dedication of our public workers every day that makes Wisconsin run. They are the teachers, nurses and child care workers who take care of us and our families. But now in an unprecedented political attack Governor Walker is trying to take away their right to have a voice and bargain at work."

There are roughly 175,000 public sector employees with union representation in Wisconsin. Of those, 39,000 are state employees and 106,000 are teachers.

UPDATE, 3:40 p.m.: In an interview with Fox News' Greta Van Susteren on Tuesday, Walker played down the number of protesters. Van Susteren observed that tens of thousands of residents have turned out to protest, saying, "I don't think Madison has seen a protest like that in quite some time." Walker replied, "In the end though, you're still talking about 5.5 million in the state. You're still talking about a couple of hundred thousand state and local government employees. So sure, you're going to have a few riled up about this, there's no doubt about it."

UPDATE, 5:00 p.m.: The AP reports that Republicans in the Wisconsin legislature plan to introduce significant revisions to Walker's bill.

UPDATE, 5:02 p.m.: On Tuesday, the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents wrote a letter to Walker expressing concern that his budget would remove UW-Madison from the UW system, which would in turn create unnecessary competition between the colleges:

We do not yet know what you have in mind for the University of Wisconsin System, but it has come to our attention that elements of your proposed 2011-13 biennial budget might remove UW-Madison from the UW System. As leaders of the UW System and long-time Wisconsinites who care deeply about the welfare of all UW campuses, we want to express strong concerns about this significant restructuring, especially without broad consultation and careful deliberation.
A Walker spokesman told the AP that more details will be released in the governor's budget next Tuesday.

UPDATE, 10:42 p.m.: Madison public schools were closed on Wednesday, because a large number of teachers and staff called in sick to protest Walker's bill.

UPDATE, 12/17: Madison public schools are closed for the second straight day, and some Milwaukee schools are also shut down. The University of Wisconsin is preparing for large protests, and on Wednesday, the provost sent out a message to the campus community (via HuffPost reader Thom Q.):

Students, faculty and staff,
The University of Wisconsin-Madison is aware that classes may be disrupted tomorrow (Thursday, Feb. 17) as a result of reaction to the budget repair bill.

We value public debate and participation in the political process, however, we do not believe that this should come at the cost of a day of instruction for our student body. We are advising students to attend class, and faculty and staff to teach in the way they normally would. It is the responsibility of instructors to ensure that students' educational opportunities are preserved.

For additional guidance about political activities on campus, information about appropriate use of IT resources, please refer to my message of Monday evening:

If you have questions, please consult with the appropriate supervisor, instructor, or department chair.


Paul M. DeLuca Jr.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Online Organizing Key to Workers’ IBEW Win

by Mike Hall, Jan 4, 2011 AFL-CIO News

When workers decide they want to come together and form unions, it’s a well-documented fact that management is none too happy about it.

Talk with your fellow workers in the lunchroom, speak out at a forced, closed-door meeting with the boss, or—heaven forbid—wear a pro-union shirt, hat or sticker and you’re sporting a bull’s-eye for retaliation. In more than one-third of organizing campaigns, pro-union workers are fired.

In Newburgh, N.Y., last spring, workers at an Anheuser–Busch InBev’s Metal Container Corp. plant—where a previous organizing attempt drew intense management harassment and the firings of some workers—employees reached out to Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 363.

But as the IBEW Now News Blog reports:

The fear of captive-audience meetings, harassment and other actions by the employer left many at the plant wary of how to press forward without management sidelining their efforts.

So organizers got crafty and set up a special blog strictly for the 164 employees to debate, strategize, air concerns and ultimately come together for victory, all while avoiding many of the union-busting tactics so common in most campaigns.

IBEW Local 363's Sam Fratto says the blog was like having a “24-hour-a-day union and campaign meeting. Because of their past experience, workers were afraid to talk among themselves on the floor. But this time with the blog, nobody’s jobs were in jeopardy because management couldn’t single out who was for or against the union."

Over the course of the summer, the blog became an online meeting spot for the 164 workers, who knew plant management was monitoring the blog.

We knew they were monitoring the blog and we didn't care. It didn't matter. In fact, we used it to our advantage.

The blog was also being watched from 9 different countries including England, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Germany, China and Japan.

Despite management’s efforts to hone in on pro-union workers, captive-audience meetings couldn’t refute what the workers were reading and commenting about on the blog. Says Fratto:

The company tried to get people to spill info about the campaign, but the workers just stayed silent. And since nobody’s wearing T-shirts or handing out stickers or fliers, who could they put the pressure on? Nobody.

In August, the workers voted overwhelmingly to join IBEW and are now in contract talks. Visit the can plant blog here:

Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year To Everyone!

Happy New Year to the hard working people who make up the shrinking middle class.

Happy New Year to the hard working employers too, the ones who treat their employees fairly.

Happy New Year to all of the people who support labor and understand the vital need for American labor to be organized.

We need to set the standards in the world. We ended 2010 down at number FIVE - not good.

Have a safe and prosperous New Year.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Congratulations To Employees Of Deb-El On Settling Their First Union Contract

The employees of Deb-El, a Sullivan County company that manufactures and processes egg products have unanimously votes yes for a union contract. The 57 employees of the Thompsonville company had to fight a long battle to get that contract because management of Deb-El foods, Inc. did not want them to become unionized.

Workers finally have clear, written rules to follow in regard to their employment with the company.

Prior to having a contract, rules were a one way street - without a contract, an employer can make and change any rule or procedure at will and at any time - without any regard to how it affects the employees. This is very frustrating to workers who have things changed on the fly that can adversely affect them and their families without so much as a discussion.

The contract, approved this week by a unanimous vote of the workers, is a five year pact.

Represented by Local 342 of the United Food and Commercial Workers,the workers have benefits they never had before, said union spokeswoman Kate Meckler.

“It provides for guaranteed wage increases over the course of the contract. It provides for benefits they never had before like real vacation pay and real time off,” she said. They also have access to union funds and access to the 401K and annuity plan, which they never had before, Meckler said.

Congratulations to the Deb-El workers! Now show the company that there was really no need to fight it and prove how a unionized plant can be an advantage for both the workers and the company.