->Click the image to the right for large printable card you can take with you when you vote
What can I say, we had many years of Republican Vito Fosella as our Congressman, and while there were a few items I agreed upon with him, for the most part he didn't see the same picture as me. He ignored my stance on media consolidation, stating in a mass generated e-mail that if corporations owned more TV, radio and newspapers, it would be better for all of us. He also did not respond to my offer to do anything in my power to help keep my local hospital, Victory Memorial, open. So I was a bit discouraged, but that was then, this is a new day.
First let me explain a bit about my Congressional district
My district, the 13th. Congressional district of New York, which encompasses all of Staten Island and the southern part of Brooklyn, has the highest density of any Congressional district in the entire United States, with over 92,000 union households. For too long we had a person in office at the Congressional level that didn't quite understand what difficulties workers face on a daily basis. Now we have a chance to elect someone who knows who his neighbors are, so here's what Mr. McMahon has to say about labor, in excerpt:
My neighbors and friends in both Staten Island and Brooklyn leave their homes and families early each morning to put in a hard day’s work, helping our City function and supporting their families. As a child I learned from them the values that continue to guide me today – the honor of hard work, the importance of family, and the power that we have when we stand together.
The great American ideals of justice and fairness demand that we treat each and every hard working man and woman - from fire fighters to teachers, from police office officers to sanitation workers, from construction workers to nurses, and so many other important but often overlooked jobs -, with dignity and respect. First and foremost this means a fair wage for a fair days work, appropriate benefits so that they and their family have health care access, financial security, and time off to spend as a family.
Employee Free Choice Act:
Sadly the fight for dignity and respect on the job has never been more difficult then today. Far too often, when workers courageously stand up and demand union representation , unscrupulous employers respond with illegal threats and intimidation. Firing workers, changing shift times, and even threatening to close places of work are becoming all the more common in union organizing campaigns. The nation’s foremost enforcer of labor law, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), is simply ill-equipped and unable to decide these cases in a timely fashion. This means that even when illegal acts are found, the ruling often comes years after workers have been intimidated from voting for union representation, and the atmosphere for union organizing has been poisoned beyond the point when a free and fair election is possible. This, clearly, is not what was envisioned by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt when he and Congress enacted the National Labor Relations Act over 70 years ago. As Americans, we must stand together to say that this type of harassment is unacceptable anywhere in the world, let alone in our nation’s own work places.
It is for these reasons that I strongly and proudly support the Employee Free Choice Act. This vital legislation will return the decision about union representation to the rightful decision makers – the workers. Once this most important piece of legislation is enacted into law, workers will be able to declare their desire for union representation through the signing of union authorization cards. The union will be able to hold those cards until a majority have been signed, at which time they will be submitted to the NLRB. No longer will employers be able to hire union busting law firms that employ vicious campaigns of threat and intimidation in preparation for a union election date. No longer will workers’ votes be cast under the watchful eye of their employer. The Employee Free Choice Act will finally begin to return democracy and fairness to our nation’s workplaces.
I am proud to have stood with the hardworking men and women of my City to protect their jobs and living conditions. When the sons and daughters of our City were called up to active military duty and temporarily forced to leave their families and municipal jobs to proudly serve our country in the War on Terror, I fought to make sure that the housing and food compensation that they received with their deployment was not subtracted from their City pay checks. Before I and my colleagues on the City Council demanded this change in City policy, City employees that were called up to active duty were required to return to the City the lesser of their City salary or their military compensation, including the cost of housing and food.
Just as I successfully fought in 2003 to save nearly two hundred good paying Teamster jobs at the City’s Department of Sanitation, I will fight with equal vigor for:
- Labor and Environmental Standards in all International Trade Agreements. Our country needs fair trade that raises the wages and standards of all workers, not trade that makes it free for employers to export jobs and exploit workers.
- Increased funding for the Occupational Safety & Health Administration and other Similar Federal Agencies. Federal agencies charged with enforcement of our nation’s labor laws need to be sufficiently resourced and empowered to do their jobs. Needless and senseless workplace accidents must be stopped before they happen, and when they do, employers that are at fault must be held accountable for their actions. In this day and age workers should not be dying on our construction sites -as has tragically been the recent case in New York City - or in our nation’s mines. We have the technology and ability to do this work safely and we owe it to the hard working men and women of our nation and their families to ensure their safety.
- Increasing the National Minimum Wage. The legal minimum wage needs to be raised further and we must ensure that all levels of government are vigorously enforcing the law and prosecuting those who violate it. Men and woman should be paid equal and fair wages for a fair days work, and in order to support their families these wages must keep pace with inflation and the rising cost of living.
- Ensuring that all Government Funded Projects Pay a Prevailing Wage for All Construction Work. If there is a single dollar of federal funding in a development project, all construction should be done at the prevailing wage rate. The practice of segregating Federal and local government funding and structuring the project to minimize the work done at a prevailing rate, as is far too often the case in New York City, simply must come to an end. As a member of the New York City Council I fought to end this practice by introducing legislation, Introduction 733, requiring that all City subsidized projects, whether directly or indirectly funded, pay a prevailing wage rate. I will continue this fight once elected to the United States Congress.
Not until we return dignity and respect to our workplace will our nation ever live up to the great ideals upon which it was founded. I will work hand and hand with my partners in organized labor in the fight for economic justice both here at home and abroad.
More info on Mike McMahon can be found on Mike McMahon For Congress
More info on who Working Families supports and their issues can be found at WFP.org