McConnell: Management “Enlightened”

Crossposted from Hillbilly Report.

I am always apolegizing to the entire enlightened world for Mitch McConnell. This time I must do it because Mitch McConnell definately does not know the meaning of the word “enlightened”. In a ridiculous argument against the Employee Free Choice Act McConnell once again proved that when it comes to understanding the problems that face working Americans he definately needs to brush up some on his history.

Of course, McConnell started out spewing the usual right-wing lie catch slogan:

If the Employee Free Choice Act, which McConnell calls the “Employee Forced Choice Act,” passes the Senate, the Democratic members will have to do it, he said during a telephone conference call with reporters.

http://www.kentucky.com/210/st…

Next, he offered forth this pathetic rambling which demonstrates just how out of touch he is with what is really happening in the American workforce:

McConnell said the AFL-CIO wants the measure approved because “private sector union membership has declined from a high of 35 percent in the 1950s to 7.5 percent now.”

That has happened “because we have very enlightened management in this country now, treating employees better and employees have decided they don’t want to pay the dues.”

Enlightened?? In the last several decades management and ownership have outsourced untold middle-class working jobs with benefits because they did not want to pay a living wage and sought instead to exploit desperate oppressed workers in third world or communist countries who are forced to work long hours at slave like pay. Even children are not exempted.

The same “enlightenment” that has caused these occurences in our own country have stagnated wages and created jobs that deny benefits and pay at or just above the poverty level. This same “enlightenment” refuses to pay workers enough to buy their own health insurance, refuses to provide health insurance and then spends hundreds of millions of dollars to fire up every right-wing nutcase about nazis killing their grandmothers.

Union membership is at least partially down because of the difficulty that workers have forming a union. Having participated in two such drives I can tell you the current system gives ownership way to much sway. The Employee Free Choice Act lets them decide whether they want their cards to serve as their vote, or if they want to wait several months and be forced to listen daily to anti-union propoganda on the clock, hurting their productivity.

It is not enlightened to be greedy, selfish and prey upon the most vunerable people in America and the world. It is not enlightened to lie through your crooked teeth about a bill that will help Americans achieve the middle-class. With reports showing that Corporate greed is creating a whole “Lost Generation” we need the Employee Free Choice Act now more than ever.

Get informed on what the Employee Free Choice Act really does.

Giving more people more freedom from powerful monied interests that seek to exploit their labors and markets is always the enlightened thing to do. Of course, men like Mitch McConnell have been too busy trying to roll back the Enlightenment to understand what it really means.

Senator Specter, Stand with Us

( – promoted by John Morgan)

Some of the biggest corporations in America are lining up to fight Pennsylvania’s working people.  They’re spending millions of dollars – some of it your tax dollars from the bailouts! – to stop corporations from being held accountable.

Join us – tell Sen. Specter to stand with Pennsylvania’s hard-working families and support the Employee Free Choice Act.

They think that they can send in CEOs to make Senator Specter forget about working people.  With your help, we can make sure that doesn’t happen…but we need your help right now.

Tell Senator Specter to stand with working families and support the Employee Free Choice Act.

Rabbis Send Specter a Message: Support Employee Free Choice

( – promoted by John Morgan)

Today, a coalition of Philadelphia-area rabbis and rabbinical students will meet with Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter to make the case for the Employee Free Choice Act.

Dozens of Pennsylvania rabbis and rabbinical students signed an open letter in support of Employee Free Choice, organized by the Philadelphia Jewish Labor Committee (JLC), and will deliver it today to Specter. Specter is a key vote in the fight for workers’; freedom to form unions and bargain-a fight that these rabbis know is critical to our economy and to basic fairness.

The meeting and letter are part of a larger outreach effort by the JLC to promote workers’ freedom to form unions and bargain. These values, say a growing coalition of rabbis, are a key part of the Jewish tradition of supporting the dignity of workers and the strength of communities.

The new site, Rabbis for Workers’ Choice, highlights the letter to Specter and includes other resources on Judaism, social justice and the Employee Free Choice Act.

In the letter to Specter, the rabbis ask the senator to look past the corporate disinformation campaigns that have mischaracterized the Employee Free Choice Act and think, instead, of the lives of workers who need the freedom to bargain for a fair share of the value they create.

We believe that the Employee Free Choice Act presents an opportunity to give concrete meaning to the often frustrated dream of a just society.

It provides an effective and concrete way for workers to form and join unions. And it opens a path toward transformational change. Adoption of the Employee Free Choice Act would give working people the strength and the opportunity to emerge from the despair that so often encumbers their lives.

These rabbis are part of a growing grassroots effort in communities of faith to support workers’ freedom to form unions and bargain.

To Button or Not to Button?

Arlen Specter’s staff dodged questions last evening as to whether he would attend this morning huge rally for the Employee Free Choice Act.  I was told it depended on his schedule as he had nine caucuses to attend.  That was a dodge because the caucuses meet at 8 and 9 am today while the rally is at 10.  Bill George came up to the Senator in front of the gathered media and invited him so Specter agreed to attend and speak.



Arlen Specter, noticably, however, was NOT wearing a button supporting EFCA.  Joe Sestak was when he arrived as the dinner remembering Lt. Governor Catherine Baker Knoll began.  The battle of the dueling buttons was interesting and caught my eye.  So much of what I do at meetings like these is to observe.  Body language, buttons, who is speaking with whom, etc. are all telling.  Knowing the players is crucial to that and that is a distinct advantage I hold over the other press this weekend.  I know who these State Committee people are, who the union people are and who the is running for what this year and next.  Watching the dynamics of a two day meeting fest always gives me scads of information.  I do most of my work here on Fridays in the hallways, lobbies and restaurants.  People take me aside to tell me what they’ll be running for and I take some aside to question them on key  issues which go into my decisions on whom I’ll be supporting.  I pop into a few of the caucus meetings but the vast majority of the information I gather here is in the hallways and receptions.  

I asked some Committee people from Philadelphia, for example, who they will be supporting in the Senate primary and they responded with this:  “whomever Congressman Brady tells us to.”  This is the Philadelphia Party hack machine in full evidence.  No one there has a mind of their own.  Interesting…

EFCA Rally in Philadelphia Tomorrow

From Stephen Crockett, please attend this rally.

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

Despite Specter No-Show, Labor and Community Activists Hold Successful Roundtable on Workers’ Right

Yesterday, in York, Pa., state Rep. Eugene DePasquale (D-York) convened a roundtable discussion of workers, community and small business leaders to discuss the vital importance of ensuring that an economic recovery includes everyone, not just Wall Street.

According to DePasquale:

In this tough economy we have heard about the challenges facing Wall Street. While those concerns are real and we all want our investments to do well, we must also focus on our workers and what challenges they are facing in this economy.

The discussion centered on the specific worker stories detailing the obstacles they experienced in organizing together to improve their own lives.

One group of workers who shared their story were former employees of Orbit Technologies, Inc.

Last summer electricians at the York-based contractor tried to join the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

According to IBEW Local 229 Membership Development Coordinator Stephen Selby, the workers were:

verbally and physically threatened, harassed on-the-job and eventually illegally terminated. These guys were just trying to exercise their rights under the law to freely organize their workplace and they found themselves out of a job for their efforts.

The company was found guilty of 10 unfair labor practices, but the fired workers are still waiting for the backpay owed them by the contractor.

According to one of the former Orbit workers:

Labor law is a joke. Orbit openly broke the law because they know they can get away with it.

Participants talked about the vital importance of the Employee Free Choice Act, legislation that would make easier for workers to form a union and increase penalties for companies that interfere with a worker’ right to organize.

Sen. Arlen Specter – who as a Republican sponsored the Employee Free Choice Act when it first came to a vote two years ago, but now opposes it – is viewed by many as the key swing vote on the bill.

According to York-Adams Central Labor Council Vice President Hank Maul:

If Senator Specter could join the Democrats by signing a card, than workers should have the right to join a union by doing the same.

Sen. Specter was invited to the event but didn’t attend.

Empty chairs was reserved for him and Rep. Todd Platts – another no-show.

According to Dr. Sean Flaherty, professor of economics at Franklin and Marshall College:

Specter needs to know that Democratic voters are going to judge him by the positions he takes and for union voters there is nothing more important than helping workers get some rights on the job by supporting the Employee Free Choice Act. He needs to do the right thing.

Small business owner Anthony Marceca told the group that unions help build the middle class which is key to economic recovery. Marceca signed a pledge in support of the Employee Free Choice Act during the discussion.

JOE THE PLUMBER CAMPAIGNS AGAINST EFCA IN PITTSBURGH TONIGHT

(See Joe the Plumber try to manipulate Pennsylvanians this week. – promoted by PA Eagle Eye)

REAL licensed plumbers use a snake to unclog pipes.  Joe the Plumber, an unlicensed plumber, but nonetheless a snake in his own right makes a stop in Pittsburgh at the Radisson in Green Tree tonight at 5:30pm to rail against the Employee Free Choice Act.  

Republicans have turned to their “go to” flunkie Joe the Plumber once again in crunch time to come to Pennsylvania to campaign against the Employee Free Choice Act. Joe will make 3 stops in Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, and Philadelphia to convince Senator Arlen Specter (R) to stab working families in the back by withdrawing his prior commitment to support the EFCA, which he even recently co-sponsored. Amidst pressure from greedy big business out-sourcing type and an election challenge from right wing looney tunes Pat Toomey and Peg Luksik, Specter has decided to conveniently “postpone” his support of EFCA until the economy improves.  

However, Senator Specter up-to-date has failed to give an explanation to working families of exactly which barometer signs (or benchmark indicators) he will use to judge whether or not he can return to supporting EFCA.  Ironically, these same big business groups will likely turn on Specter anyways and support Toomey in the Republican primary, regardless of how Arlen votes on EFCA.  Simply put, Patrick Toomey promotes “more greedy” policies… thus he will certainly receive the support of big business.

Peering into the big business mentality is really quite disturbing in some aspects.  Their warped logic is that it IS OKAY to reward themselves and their upper crust friends at the top in white collar positions with lavish bonuses and six figure salaries. Yet however, IT IS UNACCEPTABLE to them when the notions of a dollar an hour across the board raise, or better benefits for workers are mentioned.  

This is why the EFCA needs to pass.  The EFCA will assure workers the right to be free from intimidation, and lessen company control from the workers decision-making in whether or not to have a Union. Unions have obviously been dubbed “evil” because they fight for fair wages and better benefits for workers. Right now, the big business-likes fear EFCA because in the past they have screwed over these same workers at Wal-Mart McDonalds, etc., and have been able to have a hand in controlling and stifling union-organizing by using threats, firing workers, intimidation, and privately offering bonuses to in effect bribe employees to vote against it.  These are all unconstitutional and illegal acts if these were to be done in a regular political election.  

Pennsylvania working families need EFCA to fight for better wages and benefits to keep up with cost-of-living increases and as a solution to the burden of corporate welfare which puts an enormous strain on all hard-working taxpayers.  Perhaps Joe the Plumber can answer this question. Joe, when a business short changes an employee on benefits intentionally, who do you think picks up the tab for that businesses decision to do so?  

C’mon Joe, even though you’re a tax dodger… you still know the answer… THE TAXPAYERS, which is exactly why we need the EFCA to help corral corporate welfare.  

Joe the Plumber in his own-self in effect is a microcosm of fraud that big business represents on this issue.  They expressedly reject the notion of “workers create wealth” and thus should be treated with the dignity that they and their families deserve.  That dignity means giving workers cost-of-living raises adequate benefits, and them being able to share in the wealth that company has created.  The Plumbers Union, 300,000 members strong has expressly rejected Joe the Plumbers anti-worker views, and cited a statistic from a recent survey that does not bode well for Joe the Plumber as he tries to manipulate people this week in Pennsylvania.  70 percent of unlicensed plumbers would like to join a Union without fear of retribution.  

http://community.post-gazette….

In wrapping up… I wished Joe the Plumber would visit Pennsylvania every week.  He is basically a flunkie of the GOP, who is dispatched to rail against policies that are actually for his own best interest (such as EFCA).  “Geez, Joe… talk about shooting yourself in the foot!” The message most Pennsylvanians get is “don’t be hoodwinked like Joe the Plumber”.  Of course, even though Joe has sold his morals long ago, best sure to stop by the Radisson tonight at 5:30pm to tell Joe the Plumber what you think of his anti-worker policies!  

Does God send natural disasters as punishment?

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Specter to Vote Against EFCA

PoliticsPA is reporting that Sen. Specter will vote against cloture on the Employee Free Choice Act.  Sixty votes will be needed to bring the measure to a vote over the Republican filibuster.  Senate Republicans filibustered 95 bills in the last session and every major bill so far this one.  Snarlin’ Arlen is becoming a full fledged member of the Party of NO approaching his doomed re-election campaign.  He has no chance of receiving the AFL-CIO endorsement next year giving good news to Josh Shapiro.

Pennsylvania Report from the Center for American Progress Shows Positive Effect Unions have on Penn

(This is important information. – promoted by John Morgan)

On Wednesday, February 18, 2009, workers, community members, union activists, and local media gathered for a discussion on the current economic crisis and the union advantage.  Coinciding with this discussion was the release of a Pennsylvania Report by the Center for American Progress that found if union membership increased in Pennsylvania by 5% we could expect to see approximately $852,000,000 pumped into the state economy annually.

Keystone Research’s Labor Economist, Mark Price, presented the findings of the report during the discussion.  Price said, “It’s critical that we free up workers to choose to join unions.  One of the impediments to workers who want to join unions is that Labor Law has been tilted over time against them.  If we can pass the Employee Free Choice Act and grow the labor movement, Pennsylvania can expect to benefit from higher wages, greater access to healthcare, greater pensions for workers, and an economy that produces more broadly shared prosperity.”

More from Price here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…

In addition to Mark Price, Allegheny Labor Council President Jack Shea participated in the discussion along with 3 local workers and the Vice President for the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU).  Workers included CWA Local 13500 member John Vignovic, Geneva Taylor from UFCW Local 325, and USW Local 1408 member Keli Vereb.

President Shea is a champion for working people in Allegheny County and believes now is the time for the Employee Free Choice Act.  President Shea cited a survey conducted by the AFL-CIO that found over 60 million people would join a union today if they had the opportunity and weren’t faced with coercion, harassment, and discrimination from their employer.  President Shea shared with the audience that workers forming unions through majority sign-up is not a new practice.  “Last year alone almost ½ million workers joined unions, the vast majority through majority sign-up.”

More of President Shea’s comments here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…

John Vignovic is an employee at Verizon in the Small Business Retention Department.  John’s been a member of CWA Local 13500 for 11 years and a union steward for 9 years.  “My union job gives me certainty in uncertain times,” said Vignovic.  He went on, “Without my union job I could not be putting my daughter through college right now, much less have paid off my own student debt.”  Vignovic worked hard during Labor 2008 to ensure President Barack Obama was elected and he says he plans to work just as hard until the Employee Free Choice Act is passed.  John closed his comments by asking the crowd, “What time is it? Employee Free Choice Act time!”  

Video from John Vignovic here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…

Geneva Taylor serves as the Secretary-Treasurer for UFCW Local 325 and is an employee at Bay Valley Foods.  Geneva spoke to the crowd about being a working mother of two who still finds the time to participate in actions for the Employee Free Choice Act.  “We need people to realize how important the Employee Free Choice Act is to workers, employers, and to our economy.  We all need to get involved in passing this legislation because all workers deserve the right to choose to join a union and get the benefits I have,” urged Taylor.

To hear more from Geneva Taylor, follow this link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…

USW Local 1408 member Keli Vereb also shared a compelling story with the audience Wednesday.  In 1992, Vereb was a single mom attending school during the day and working at night while living with her parents.  After graduating college Vereb could only find positions offering just over the minimum wage with few benefits.  “When U.S. Steel called me about a union job, it was probably the best thing that ever happened to me,” said Vereb.  “My wages more than doubled, I had full benefits, and a pension,” she explained.  Keli Vereb, like John Vignovic, is also looking forward to her daughter graduating from college soon, an accomplishment that may not have been possible without her union job she admits.  

More from Sister Vereb here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…

Jamaal Craig, Vice President for the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU), highlighted how unions have helped uplift the African American community in Pennsylvania and throughout the U.S.  Craig said, “Unions have helped African Americans break glass ceilings and overcome countless obstacles and barriers in the workplace.  We want to continue on this road and that is why the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists fully supports the Employee Free Choice Act and our members will work tirelessly until it is passed in Congress.”

Follow this link to hear the rest of Jamaal Craig’s comments:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…

Visit the PA Labor blog for more information on the Employee Free Choice Act!!!

http://employeefreechoice.type…