The Barack Obama infomercial

It's called "American Stories, American Solutions" and I haven't watched it yet, need more time



Any questions, please read why I am voting for Mr. Obama and why I urge all working people to do the same, Joe endorses Barack Obama under the Working Families Party line

Edit: 6 minutes in and it's all about working people...gotta sleep, goodnight.

Staten Island and Brooklyn need Mike McMahon in Congress

http://img444.imageshack.us/img444/3200/mcmahonco8.jpg"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." - Mike McMahon

->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:
http://img519.imageshack.us/img519/2303/pg12ndmg001up4.jpgMy 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.

Every single labor union in the New York City area is endorsing Mike McMahon, his stance on our returning veterans and infrastructure are also top notch, and from some friends and colleagues of mine, he is the real deal. Mike McMahon can also be voted under the Working Families Party, Line E.

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

Victory for Smithfield workers, Rico suit dropped, workers to get union vote!

"Truth, Justice and the American way" - narrator, Superman TV series

One Rico suit against unions and their supporters has been dropped, workers finally big winners, imagine we live in a world that just being able to get a union election is a major victory

From Metro DC Labor Council:
WORKERS WIN AT SMITHFIELD!
(10/27/08 6:20P) In a huge win for organized labor, Smithfield Foods dropped a racketeering lawsuit against union organizers Monday and agreed to let them hold a union election at the world's largest hog slaughterhouse. "In return, the United Food and Commercial Workers union agreed to end a publicity campaign against Smithfield that included calls for product boycotts to support its calls for an organizing election at the slaughterhouse in Tar Heel, N.C.," reported the Associated Press Monday afternoon. Smithfield -- the nation's largest pork producer -- estimated that the Justice at Smithfield campaign – which included a major focus on DC-area customers who make up one of Smithfield's largest markets -- cost it about $900 million. "The metro-area labor movement has been deeply involved in this struggle since it was launched over two years ago," said Metro Washington Council President Jos Williams. "Every local activist and labor supporter who turned out to rally, leaflet or march for Justice at Smithfield should be proud of their role in this win." The agreement was announced by Smithfield and the UFCW in a joint statement as the company's lawsuit was about to go to trial Monday in federal court. In a joint statement, Smithfield and the union said they "have agreed on what both parties believe to be a fair election process" on union representation at the Tar Heel plant. The settlement was sealed, and U.S. District Judge Robert E. Payne ordered the parties to say nothing further about the deal until after the union election. It was unclear when that election would take place.
- click here for Larry O'Dell's complete AP report. Photo: At the June 19 Justice at Smithfield campaign launch in DC; photo by Tiye Kinlow

Boeing and IAM agree to 4 year deal

Sorry gotta run, just squeezing this info in while I'm running out the door

From labourstarts newsfeed


Finally beat Kirsten to the punch, hopefully when she writes a new story she can bring it here

Added some nifty widgets to the site, Labourstart photo's and a video bar

I am really happy to be finding so many nice widgets around the net lately, it's getting easier to grab wonderful content and bring it to you. the newest stuff I have is the Industrial, Labour and Trade Unions of photo's from around the world and a video widget featuring one of the great artist on YouTube, please note I'm still testing all this stuff out, Just like the labor news widget I created with the use of YahooTubes on the top right, and the addition of the Amber Alert badge.

I'm trying to make this site one of the best for info for working people.

Later,
Joe

Longest-serving Republican in the US Senate found guilty

Directly from the "They're all scumbags" catagory

From Times Online (excerpt):

The longest-serving Republican in the US Senate has been found guilty of lying about free gifts he received from a wealthy oil contractor.

Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, had been hoping to win re-election next week, but last night he faced the end of his 40-year political career, after being convicted on seven corruption charges.

The guilty verdict will make a difficult race almost impossible for the 84-year-old senator, and brings the Democrats one crucial seat closer to realising their bid for a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

Stevens’s downfall will provide another unwelcome distraction for John McCain, whose efforts to run an anti-sleaze ticket have already been compromised by the Troopergate inquiry, which found that his running mate, Sarah Palin, had used her position as Governor of Alaska to settle a personal score
More at Politico: Messy trial ends with a decisive verdict

Sad. sadder and saddest

My girl says I'm a bit on the negative side, why would that be...

http://bigpicture.typepad.com/comments/images/2008/10/23/080924_rescue_plan.jpg

So when will banks give loans? Sadder

Saddest




Today Sad: Dennis Kucinich: Timing of Attack In Syria So Close To Election Questioned

July sadness: Republicans helping to encourage the use of more illegal alien labor

Military says Twitter, the social networking tool is for terrorists

Are you f@cking kidding me?

I heard this on the news tonight, the social network tool that you can send text messages to cell phones or friends online has been deemed a terrorist tool by the US military.

From Vnunut:
A report by US military intelligence has claimed that the messaging application Twitter could be used by terrorists as an operational tool.

The report into the increasing security implications of mobile technology envisaged terrorists using Twitter messages, or Tweets, to communicate and share images and locations of future terrorist attacks.

"Twitter is already used by some members to post and/or support extremist ideologies and perspectives," the report said.

"For example, there are multiple pro and anti Hezbollah Tweets. In addition, extremist and terrorist use of Twitter could evolve over time to reflect tactics that are already evolving in use by 'hacktivists' and activist for surveillance. This could theoretically be combined with targeting."

It notes that Twitter was used extensively by protestors at the recent Republican National Convention to identify the location of police and security guards in an effort to get around them.
It's called technology assholes, it's better than the mass beatings to American's that the stormtroopers at both the RNC and DNC dished out. Wheres the ACLU. This is quickly becoming a fascist police state.

eFluxMedia adds:
The report also focuses on newer applications for mobile phones such as digital maps, GPS locators and many more. The army report analyzes discussions on Al-Qaeda-affiliated online forums and the fact that terrorists and followers are discussing about the benefits of modern-day technology and how it can be used to coordinate a terrorist attack.

One of the online conversations was reportedly about the benefits of "using a mobile phone camera to monitor the enemy and its mechanisms," while another was about how one can use a Nokia 6210 Navigator for "marksmanship, border crossings, and in concealment of supplies" through the cell phone’s GPS functions.

Another similar, online chat focused on how terrorists could use voice-modification software in order to conceal their identity when making phone calls. Using the above-mentioned features as well as many other and adding Twitter use to that may have a bigger impact.

"Twitter was recently used as a countersurveillance, command and control, and movement tool by activists at the Republican National Convention," the Army report notes.

"The activists would Tweet each other and their Twitter pages to add information on what was happening with Law Enforcement near real time."

Take Action: Tell the Gap to stop supporting union-buster's at Oak Harbor Freight

Cross-posted at DailyKos

Don't just sit there, take action!

From Labourstart:
Tell the Gap: Don't Harbor Worker Abuses
Don't let Gap Inc. support worker and retiree abuses!

Oak Harbor Freight Lines workers in Oregon, Washington and Idaho were forced to strike on Sept. 22 in protest of the freight company's violations of U.S. labor laws, as well as hostile efforts by the company to intimidate workers.

A day later, Oak Harbor took the outrageous step of cutting off health care benefits to its workers and retirees. Instead of negotiating with striking workers in good faith, Oak Harbor has imported teams of professional strikebreakers to coerce and scare loyal long-time employees.

Oak Harbor's biggest freight customer, Gap Inc., has supported the move to replace striking workers and cut off health care benefits to retirees.

REI, Urban Outfitters, and other companies have elected to suspend their relationship with Oak Harbor until the company finds a just and lasting resolution to the ongoing labor dispute.

Several organizations, including, Sweatfree Communities, the International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers' Federation, the International Transport Workers' Federation, Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior, and the International Labor Rights Forum have called on Gap Inc. to suspend its relationship with Oak Harbor.

Unfortunately, the Gap continues to ignore workers' rights abuses and use Oak Harbor to transport merchandise. Tell the Gap to stop harboring worker abuses.
CLICK HERE! To send your message to Gap Clothing!

Wake up people, we can't just let shit like this go anymore!

From The Teamsters website:

On Oct. 21st. Teamsters rappelled down the side of a building adjacent to The Gap’s headquarters in San Francisco to bring attention to the company’s support of union-busting freight firm Oak Harbor Freight Lines.

http://img258.imageshack.us/img258/4232/gaptq9.jpg
*Click above for larger image

“We are here today at Gap Inc. to let the people of San Francisco, and the country, know that Gap, Inc. supports union-busters,” said Dan Jurpik, a striking worker who participated in the banner drop. “I have worked for Oak Harbor for 14 years. Now they are slashing our health care and bringing in professional strikebreakers to coerce and scare loyal long-time employees.”

“This company is treating its employees badly,” said Al Hobart, President of Teamsters Joint Council 28 and International Vice President. “Not only do they not want to negotiate fairly, but now they have taken the outrageous step of slashing health care benefits for workers. And, to add insult to injury, they cut health care for retirees – the very workers who built Oak Harbor into a strong company.”

Oak Harbor’s biggest freight customer, retail giant Gap Inc., continues to provide support to Oak Harbor even after it cut retiree health care benefits, froze workers’ retirement income and slashed sick leave.

More than 600 Teamsters remain on strike in Washington, Oregon and Idaho against Auburn, Washington-based Oak Harbor, after bargaining unsuccessfully for a fair contract for the past 11 months.

CLICK HERE! It only takes a minute!

A huge thank's to Eric Lee at the folks at Labourstart for helping gather support for our fellow workers. A huge thanks to the labor and social justice organizations worldwide that are in support of our American workers.

Stand in solidarity CLICK HERE!

Video: The value of a dollar



The video that explains the value of gold Vs.the dollar on YouTube

Why unions are bad

<--Next: Video: The value of a dollar

Last: Italy went on strike and no one mentioned it-->


Gotta love Larry from the Trucking Board forum:
By Larry Retired
http://img442.imageshack.us/img442/2889/avatar88512mx6.jpgI've finally realized why unions should have never been created and should be put to rest for good.

If unions had never been created, there would have never been a middle class. That way ordinary people would have never been exposed to many of the creature comforts of the elite. What they didn't know wouldn't hurt them. We could all still be going to work in our childhoods, working 14 to 16 hours a day, seven days a week. We would die young, allowing our jobs to be passed on to the next fortunate generation. This way our jobs wouldn't have had to be exported to China, where those lucky souls are getting to do this admirable labor. There would still be a place for the greedy and unscrupulous, there always is. We wouldn't have the time or energy to be corrupting our minds with things like religion or recreation. Without all these distractions, our lives would be so much simpler. This scenario, after all, is the ultimate goal of the multi-national corporate elite. They have particularly escalated their push toward this end during the past 30-odd years.

The only downside that I see with this is that everything around us would be different, in most cases nonexistent. I mean if we, the masses, didn't have any money or time, there would be no need for all the stores, homes , doctors, roads, you name it. So as this brave new world is systematically foisted upon us by the corporate elites, don't be so damned ungrateful. They are only looking out for your own good, after all.

But since we already have these pesky unions, we all need to join together and help bring them down. Consider this, 33% of American citizens are making less than $15,000 a year, and 75% of us are making less than $50,000 a year. Now how ungrateful can we be, to expect that kind of compensation, with days off in many cases, to boot. In 1970 the largest corporation in America was General Motors. They paid their labor well, provided them with excellent benefits, and allowed them to retire with dignity. Henry Ford had the stupid idea that he needed to pay his help enough so that they could afford his products.

Today Walmart is America's largest corporation, where turnover is huge, pay is low, there are few or no benefits, and certainly no retirement. Can't you see where this is far superior to that of the recent past? If we can just keep heading in this direction for a little while longer, maybe we can get back to where we will be making so little and working under totally miserable conditions, that we can get back our basic means of production from China. Oh what a blessed thought, golly I can't wait.
Great post Larry, thanks. Larry is a retired Yellow city driver, dock worker and hostler. Retired in 2005, after 31 years.

See also my favorite misconception "Unions force jobs overseas"

Italy went on strike and no one mentioned it

From ANSA.it
2008-10-17 15:43
Strike brings Italy to a halt

Trains, planes, trams and Venice water buses stopped (ANSA) - Rome, October 17 - Tourists and residents were forced to brave the rain on foot Friday as a general strike against government reforms called by grass-roots unions brought public transport in big cities to a halt.

Protest marches paralysed traffic in Rome, Milan and Turin, and unions described the strike as ''a success beyond our wildest dreams''.

In Rome unions claimed some 300,000 people took part in the main rally at Piazza San Giovanni to protest against low salaries and temporary contracts for workers across various sectors as well as school reforms and health cuts.

In Milan around 50,000 people turned up for a similar rally at Piazza Duomo, and local police described the traffic situation in the city as ''chaotic''.

'Vaporetti' water buses in Venice were also down to a reduced service, with around 48% of operators adhering to the strike. Children left alone in classrooms made desperate calls to their parents to come and pick them up as teachers deserted schools to join marches, and in Rome police in riot gear guarded the entrance to the education ministry to prevent access by protesting university and high-school students.

''The protest's enormous, extraordinary success demonstrates, despite the driving rain, that workers, students and teachers not only have no intention of keeping quiet but they want to continue to battle against a racist, classist government that helps bankers and speculators but does nothing for the general population,'' said Italian Communists' Party leader Paolo Ferrero.

Education Minister Maria Stella Gelmini said the strike was the result of ''a campaign of misinformation'' on the reforms from opposition parties trying to create public alarm.

Bus, tram and local train services are guaranteed during special time windows to allow Italians to get back and forth to work. These windows vary from city to city.

National rail company Trenitalia said long- and medium-haul trains were not affected by the strike.

A handful of international and domestic flights were canceled.
US main stream media fails to mention it......

More info
BBC, Op-Ed News,

Father Brian Jordan will run the NYC Marathon on behalf of killed and injured construction workers

Father Brian will run for both deceased union and nonunion workers during the marathon. "God loves us equally during life and death" says Father Brian "However, your chances for survival are far greater if you join the construction workers' unions and receive the proper safety training."
NYC IMMEDIATE RELEASE: OCTOBER 20, 2008
ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST TO RUN NYC MARATHON FOR CONSTRUCTION WORKERS WHO WERE KILLED OR SEVERELY INJURED ON THE WORKSITE

http://img503.imageshack.us/img503/3114/791204sp5.jpgOn Sunday, November 2, 2008, Father Brian Jordan will run in the annual New York City Marathon on behalf New York City construction workers who have either been killed or severely injured this past year.

Father Brian is the chaplain for the Building Trades and Construction Council of New York City. He began ministering among construction workers when he was a chaplain at Ground Zero from September, 2001 till June, 2002. He has attended many wakes, funeral Masses and memorial services for many of the deceased during the past year. Among them were the six construction workers killed on March 15 when a crane collapsed on Second Avenue and 52nd Street. Also two were killed on May 30 when another crane collapsed on First Avenue and 91st. Street. According to the Dept. of Buildings, 19 construction workers were killed so far this year. Construction workers have a higher rate of being killed on the job than police officers and firefighters. Particularly, among nonunion workers who do not have the sufficient training and safety equipment that is expected from their employers. Recent statistics point out that 1 out of every 5 Latino construction workers nationwide are either killed or injured on the worksite each year. The majority of these Latino workers are immigrants and work for nonunion contractors.

Coincidentally, November 2 is the Feast of All Souls on the Christian calendar. This solemn feast recalls the deceased by loved ones, family members and friends. Their continued prayers will help raise their souls into Heaven. In Latino culture(especially among Mexicans) they call November 2 the Day of the Dead

(El Dia de Los Muertos.) Father Brian will run for both deceased union and nonunion workers during the marathon. "God loves us equally during life and death" says Father Brian "However, your chances for survival are far greater if you join the construction workers' unions and receive the proper safety training."

Father Brian requests that the public give generously to a new fund that will dispense money gifts to family members of future victims of worksite accidents. This fund will be known as the Construction Workers' Relief Fund. It will be effective after the Nov. 2 Marathon. A special committee will be appointed to carefully distribute these funds on an as needed basis. Please make your checks out to:

CONSTRUCTION WORKERS' RELIEF FUND c/o

Building Trades and Construction Council

71 W. 23rd Street Suite 501

New York, New York 10010
Father Brian Jordan is well known for being there for our construction workers, in the above picture Father Brian blesses the I-Beam cross which was discovered under the debri at the World Trade Canter site, Father Brian is also an immigration counselor at St.Francis in NYC, and known as a spiritual adviser to the labor movement

Here's a video interview with Father Brian Jordan from April,2007 on immigration

Disposable worker dies and 13 year old injured working on Value Palace hotel in IN.

<--Next:Father Brian Jordan will run the NYC Marathon on behalf of killed...
"It's also possible no one will be held accountable."


Who? A couple of misclassified workers for a company named Carpetbaggers, working under the General Contractor Millstone. Jose Delgado, Sr., 31, of the 2000 block of Breaburn East Drive, Indianapolis, and his son, Jose Delgado, Jr., 13, who lives at the same address
What? One dies and his son, a 13 year old severely injured while working with him while improperly using a fork lift as an elevator
Where? A new hotel in Indiana, the Value Palace, which unfortunately has no standard on who they work with, some value, people die cutting corners. The Value Place hotel is located at the southwest corner of I-65 and County Line Road in Johnson County.
When? Last week, Oct 16th.
Why? Because they can get away with it.

From wthr.com 13 in Indiana:
http://img514.imageshack.us/img514/8127/17190459qb0.jpgGreenwood - A forklift accident two weeks ago claimed the life of a Greenwood construction worker. His teenage son was also on the site, and was also injured. Now OSHA officials may be looking into more violations.

As the new Value Place hotel takes shape in Greenwood, so too are state officials making progress on their investigation into an accident on the site two weeks ago.

Three tile workers were coming off the fourth floor into an aerial basket when, according to police reports, two of the workers, 31-year-old Jose Delgado, Sr. and his son, slid off the forks and the forklift fell to the ground. Delgado later died from his injuries. His son, at first reported to be only 15 years old, was also hurt.

"A construction site like this is not a place for a child like that to be working," said OSHA deputy commissioner Jeff Carter.

Carter says this week investigators learned the boy wasn't 15 after all. "We believe he's younger than that now. We believe he could be as young as 13," he said.

By law, that's too young to be on the job site. Investigators are also looking at the forklift used by the workers.

One thing OSHA investigators will have to determine is whether the workers were using the forklift incorrectly, or if that machinery is used in a similar fashion on this or other job sites.

The basket on the forklift is what OSHA investigators consider "homemade." Officials want to know if the workers were trained to use it.

"That basket we have questions about. It does not meet the standards," said Carter.

The contractor supervisor on site told police the day of the accident, "Any subcontractor may use the on-site forklift, but must sign a contract stating they must get the necessary training." He went on to say, "Millstone [the general contractor] does not allow people in the basket."

But two weeks after the fatal accident, Eyewitness News saw two workers in what appears the be the same forklift.

"The company will probably be cited," Carter said.

Citations are likely. But who the state holds accountable for one worker's death is still unclear.

The driver of the forklift, Antonio Torres, told police he didn't have a key to drive it and that he used a pocket knife to start the engine.

OSHA officials say citations may be directed at Torres, who is an independent contractor, Carpetbaggers, the company who hired him, and Millstone, the general contractor on the construction site. It's also possible no one will be held accountable.

The investigation is expected to take another two weeks.
So how does this happen?

let's ask Chris the Carpenter from Indiana, in a story entitled "Joe the Plumber-meet Chris the Carpenter!!":
Now the quarter of a million mark wouldn't really be that hard to meet. I can't speak with any first hand knowledge, but being on the inside looking out, I can say with much certainty that there are people in our line of work that do much better than we do. And I think $250,000.00 is quite obtainable. See, as a union contractor we are obligated to pay the union benefits and wages that our contract states but if we were a non-union contractor we could get by a lot cheaper. Now I know there are some stand up non-union contractors that pay a good wage to their employees, offer health care and a 401k etc. But those guys know, as well as I do, that there are those out there that take advantage of people and don't do things on the up and up. I know because I see them on a regular basis on jobs throughout central Indiana.

I'm talking about the elephant in the room in the construction industry. It works like this. A guy secures a contract to do a job, say, roofing, masonry, landscaping, drywall, whatever. He then purchases the material and he finds a labor broker. This is usually a legal immigrant that can speak English and knows a lot of other immigrants that need jobs, are usually illegal and have little or no English skills. They will work very hard and they are very reliable. AND, they work very cheap. Now the contractor knows what the labor rate runs and he can charge just a little less than we do or what the legit non-union guy does. He then sub-contracts to the labor broker who then sub-contracts to the illegal immigrants. This is all done on a piece meal basis. In other words, a set amount is paid for the installation of the product, i.e.; 15 cent/square foot of drywall or 45 cents per concrete block. This way, the price is set and the contractor and the labor broker can't lose. It's up to the actual worker to bust his butt to make any money because he only gets paid for the set amount of material in the job. And it's pennies on the dollar compared to the wages my guys get or the good non-union contractor employees get. The contractor then gives the illegals a 1099 form instead of paying the taxes, workman's comp., insurance, not to mention providing a safe environment and the workers don't worry about it because they won't file taxes anyway. They work very, very cheap because the broker knows they won't say anything if they want to keep their job because there is a whole line of people ready to take their place.

Just recently, a small hotel was being built just West of Indianapolis and the floor covering was contracted this way or something similar. On a Saturday, workers were stocking material using a forklift that was supplied by the General Contractor. The workers tied a box to the forks and was using it as a man lift to get material to the second floor. (Totally against OSHA regulations) The box broke loose and two workers in the box fell to the ground. It was a father and son. Illegal immigrants from Mexico. The boy was 14 years old. Both died. This is not an isolated incident. If these workers were fortunate enough to live and only receive serious injuries, this story would never be told because they would be whisked away and 2 more put in their place. There has been no follow up story to the contractors on this project, and I'm sure that somebody got in trouble. But those lives are lost forever. And the work will be done in this manner over and over again because nothing is being done about it.

I hope you all understand that I'm not putting the blame on the illegal immigrants. I understand their plight. If I had to feed my family and I could make money to do that in Mexico, I would be there in a heartbeat. The blame is to be placed on the employers that take advantage of these people so they can line their own pockets. I'm not trying to solve the immigration problem right now. I'm trying to show Joe the Plumber that it's not as glamorous as it looks. So go ahead Joe, buy that company. Run a legitimate business. Put in the hours to make it work. Build yourself up to make that $250-300,00.00. Believe me, if I get to $300k, I'll pay the 4-5% extra taxes and never blink. But how much are you going to be paying the people that got you to that level? You gotta pay them a decent living wage too. You'll never do any of it without good employees. So you gotta spread the wealth with your employees first or you'll never make it as an employer.

So, go for it Joe!! See ya on the jobsite, huh?

Chris the carpenter Central Indiana
Picture and some info from:
The Indy Channel, AllVoices.com

Yellow Rat Bastard workers fight back and join a union

WooHoo, a little over 7 months after I reported on the unsavory employment conditions in my article "NYC: Yellow Rat Bastard's owner turns out to be a scumbag" about how Yellow Rat Bastard had been paying its employees below minimum wage, without overtime, without taxes and had retaliated against employees who complained, the workers have fought back and decided to become members of a union.

For a few months after I wrote that story I was the number 2 hit on Google for the term "Yellow Rat Bastard", time has dropped me down the list, along with possibly some help by employees of the firm spreading the name around and creating a few separate entries for the site, but all's fair in the internet, at least for now. (I do this for free, they should have just hired me, hey look I'm #7 for The Employee Free Choice Act on Google today)

I know as matter-of-fact, that my story has been read thousands of times by people just looking through Google for info about the store, possibly all of the employees who decided to become union.

From the RWDSU site:
Yellow Rat Bastard Workers Join RWDSU in New York (10/7/08)


Workers at urban youth fashion retail chain Yellow Rat Bastard have joined the RWDSU, continuing on a path to a union contract that they have sought for three years. The 160 workers joined the RWDSU via a card check recognition on October 3.

Workers at Yellow Rat Bastard, which has seven stores throughout New York CIty, have continually suffered abuses including criminally low pay and overtime violations. Earlier this year, the clothing chain agreed to pay a $1.4 million settlement to over 1,000 workers who had been cheated out of fair pay. The lawsuit, filed by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, came as a result of the efforts of the Retail Action Project, a partnership between the RWDSU and the community group Good Old Lower East Side.

"This another step toward justice, dignity, and respect for the workers at Yellow Rat Bastard, whose owners have too often lived up to their store's name," said RWDSU President Stuart Appelbuam. "We can only hope that management agrees to respect the decision of its workers and negotiates a contract in good faith."
A handshake and an 'atta boy" at the next CLC meeting from Mr.Applebaum would be nice, as I would be honored to meet the man whose writting's I wholeheartedly admire.

Finally being able to shop at Yellow Rat Bastard with a good conscience is even better, now if they will sign a 'no sweatshop, fair trade" pledge, I'd be thrilled. We'll take what we can as we can get it I guess.

Joe's atta boy goes out to the 160 workers who now are union, after the abuse they took, I'm really happy for them, my only advice, is give your employer a good days work and speak to your friends and family on the diferance between justice you finally have and what you went through to get there. Together we are strong, divided we beg.

You can read some of Stuart Applebaum's writings at various sites around the internet and the homepage of the Jewish Labor Committee, which he serves as President.

The JLC is a fantastic site, which the heritage of the American Jew is woven into today's world, they do not forget where they came from, the employee abuse, like so many of our heritages suffered. It is important that we all learn from the past.

Most importantly, the Jewish Labor Comittees policy statement on the worker abuses at AgriProcessors, which in part states:

In reviewing the complaints of Agriprocessors’ employees, the JLC learned that there is a clear pattern of employer negligence and even lawlessness. Among the most troubling practices by Agriprocessors are:

• abuse of child labor laws;
• failure to pay workers the full amount of wages they have earned;
• unnecessary exposure of workers to dangerous -- even life-threatening -- working conditions;
• sexual harassment.

The JLC has also learned that Agriprocessors is actively waging a campaign of intimidation and harassment against workers who have expressed an interest in exercising their legal right to union representation.

In this atmosphere, it is clear that the recent ICE raid at Agriprocessors, though apparently legal, only buttresses the conviction shared by many undocumented workers that our government is not only indifferent to worker abuse, but works in collusion with management to penalize workers who challenge it.

While there are many differing perspectives regarding immigration reform, the American Jewish community shares a common conviction that all workers -- regardless of their immigration status -- must be free to exercise their rights and challenge employer abuses. Our belief is grounded in the collective memory of American Jewry of the gross exploitation of Jewish immigrants by employers who, like Agriprocessors, abused and robbed them of their right to dignity in the workplace.

I wish it could be "the American community shares a common conviction that all workers -- regardless of their immigration status -- must be free to exercise their rights and challenge employer abuses", because if that were true, there wouldn't be a slave class in this country.

Every part of my Heritage was abused when they entered the country. The difference today is that the government, lobbyists and the corporations have made all facets of immigration an open faucet, with no throttle. It seems that even if the people already here got human rights, were able to be in a union and have a pathway to citizenship that that faucet would still be jammed open, letting in the next wave.

It's a continuous flow of worker suppression, and we the tax payers are subsidizing the the employers responsibilities.

The conservatives scream 'socialism', the last 30 years, especially the last 7.5 have honed this into a science, keep allowing the undocumented workers in, let the citizen workers pay for the things that the employers of these workers are supposed to pay for, and make sure that the undocumented workers will live in a state of fear. This to me is a corporatist socialism that is not acceptable. The divisiveness of their methods is insidious, you actually have rabid "McCain" supporters who scream that their opposing view is socialism, while they are living in a semi-socialist society where only a few are benefiting.

Add in a whole lot of anti-union policies, absence of working rights for undocumented's , an abused Visa system and a new army of ICE storm troopers to get sent into service if the slaves get out of line, and we are heading into a really bad place.

Fear is their weapon and if we do not overcome their campaign against the people who work in this country, bad days are coming.

An undocumented class of workers is unacceptable in our country. Having citizens and non-citizens competing for work is insanity. This is undermining all of our hard fought labor laws and rights, this is hurting all of us and you dare complain of socialism.


If big business and their conspirators had their way, we would all be making $2 an hour, fighting for a crumb of bread and terrified to raise any concern for our safety. Many idiots write that "unions are a thing of the past, we don't need them anymore, we now have federal labor laws that take care of us", that sounds good, until your boss tells you "I can get 15 illegals here to do your job" and even if he doesn't get the job done right, even if a portion of them get hurt or killed, he can still scoop up more to finish it the next day. So you work harder to make him more money, to keep him competitive, or you just get so disenfranchised that you refuse to care, you are beaten to straying away from the conversation, you take your lumps in solitude, you become fractured and the entire labor movement becomes a confused fragmented mess, with all sides fighting against the middle, and when the heart of a leader dies and he/she steps in line or even worse becomes on the take, the conspirators are lined up to spread the word of their infractions, to belittle and dishonor the movement. Like vultures they swarm, to get the masses to avoid unionization. They get workers to chew off their leg against their own interest.

It's your world, let's really think and talk about this more. The closure of the faucet and the liberation of the workers in America should be our first concern in the next Presidency.

The pro-worker movement should be there also

The video McCain wouldn't like you to see: paid volunteers

After a legnthy interview with a the Orlando campaign for John McCain, where the person interviewed stated that they have tons of volunteers in the race, after interviewing a few of em, we find that most are paid


Q at the end of video: Why do they sign confidentiality agreements?

Johnathan from the GOP: Because they are employees

Amber Alert: 7 year old, Chicago

http://www.codeamber.org/images/kingil.jpgThe Illinois State Police Issued the Amber Alert on Friday evening after the boy was abducted in Chicago and his Grandmother and another relative were found shot to death. The suspect is considered armed and dangerous.

Julian King is a black male, 7 years old, 4 feet 11 inches, 130 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a brown polo shirt with stripes and khaki pants.

The suspect is unknown at this time.

The suspect vehicle is a white 1994 Chevrolet Suburban with Illinois tag number X584859.


Anyone with information is asked to call 911.



The information above is from Code Amber

I found the amber alert gadget which alerts us of missing children and is displayed on the right hand side of the site, you can add it to your website by going to Code Amber website

I urge other site owners and webmasters to add it to your site, it's not a big distraction and it just might save a kids life.

Joe endorses Barack Obama under the Working Families Party line

If you're like me, when you get to the voting booth, you immediately get sick of having to choose the lesser of 2 evils at the voting booth. The nicer of 2 huge criminal organizations.

While Independents are a hard runner, even such people that I respect that could have really made some changes, such as Dr. Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich, chose to be a candidate in one of the major parties, knowing fully well that you need their "membership" in today's world to even have a chance of getting elected at that high stage of the game. I mean look at Congress, only one Independent, its a scary situation, not much choice.

Good cop, bad cop. The Republican's and Democrat's know where their bread and butter are, the war chests of the big 2, but just like the "big 3", it seems they sit on changes until after the fact, and while the Democrats are the good cop in the public's eye, they still sign bad laws and raises for themselves, hurt working people, they are a rouge "good cop" and viewed as our only choice, and unfortunately for President I would have to agree, McCain's voting record against the working man and our returning veteran's is atrocious, at least it's easy to see which side he's on, a champion for huge corporations and the arch-enemy to the American worker.

On McCain's stance on my two biggest issues, the American worker and how we treat returning veterans I would have to vote for Barack Obama by default. I remember voting for Ross Perot just on his stance against NAFTA, the Bush Sr. written policy which Bill Clinton pushed against Congressional wishes into law. Look where we are now!

I watched all the good industrial American union jobs on the Queens, New York shoreline vanish, just like Ross predicted. Eight years of Bush Jr. has us embedded in a forgotten war, as long as the profiteers are in the black, nothings mentioned. Bush has waged a war on the American worker since his first unconstitutional Executive Order, which made any project that recieved Federal funding, our tax money if you are counting, inellegible to receive a "Project Labor Agreement", his latest unconstitutional Executive Order was to make any PRIVATE business that is deemed a subcontractor of a Federal contract ineligible to recognize it's memberships wishes to be in a union via a card check agreement. Explained simply that even if the company/corporation agrees ahead of time to allow it's workers to decide that they want to be in a union by just having the majority of workers sign cards, it will not be legal.

Please also note that the first business association to endorse John McCain in this years Presidential bid was none other than, The Associated Building Contractors, the staunchly anti-union group of construction corporations that want to eliminate unions altogether, they have fought against prevailing wage, fought against project labor agreements and are the benefactor of workers without rights across our nation, they are the enemy of the American construction worker and they have blindingly aligned themselves with the Republican party, the ABC would be happy if they could import foreign workers to do their projects with sovereignty of retaliation by any American who chose to protest their actions, it has been in the works for years. They want to disqualify American workers and use a slave class, that is their agenda. That is not true Republican value, that is not true Conservative value, that just makes me sick.

Now how did the self-proclaimed Maverick fare with our veterans? Think about this, the young men and women who are actively fighting in this war have donated 6 times as much to Barack Obama, why you may ask? Because John McCain's record of voting for their interests has been horrible, he was against an updated version of the GI Bill, and was absent from the voting, as a matter of fact the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America issued a report card on the candidates and John McCain has scored a D on legislation that would help our returning vets, a D, Barack Obama who has also been campaigning and missed a few votes scored a B.

Even Ron Paul has received 4 and a half more contributions from our active military than John McCain.

As a labor activist and independent writer, I feel that I must tell you how I'm voting, and I must tell you why? If Barack Obama hold onto one of his promises, even if he isn't able to accomplish any of his tasks, the worker movement in this country will be way ahead of the game as opposed to any of the John McCain measures . Barack Obama is a somewhat unknown in the circles of main stream politics, but he is not a Bush or a Clinton, he may actually have an agenda that isn't just give the corporations everything they want on a silver platter, and possibly make life better for the people in these United States. One thing is for sure, that if he gets elected he will owe it to labor to make sure that our issues are heard.

I will hold accountability to labor to make sure that we are heard, or will call for new leadership, we can never allow another NAFTA fucking in my lifetime, we can never allow a wholesale sell off of the industries we have left and we must encourage businesses that sell stuff here, to make it here, with good paying American jobs. Barack Obama has already taken stands against contractors in Chicago when they misclassified workers to avoid American workers and pay them below wage, I am hoping that he will continue in his stance against illegal activities like that.

One of the most scary ideas on John McCain, is his amnesty plan, which didn't have wording to stop the influx...to which I scream, what part of making those that are already here citizens makes you think that the next one that enters will not undermine him? A really failed policy which he has abandoned.

Not to mention the fact that McCain want's me to pay the tax burden of my employers health insurance plan as my own taxable income, are you fucking kidding me an man who claims "why should anyone's tax get raised in this economy?" is going to make me pay tax on something that is exempt now? and I wouldn't even be able to get the $2,500/$5,000 tax credit if my employer supplies the policy!

Does Barack Obama scare me, sure he does, I didn't like him voting for the FISA and Bailout bill, does John McCain scare me, oh yeah, along with those measures he has voted against the interests of the American worker 100% of the time, so I would say he is a lot scarier. Hell if I were one of the spin doctoring idiots on the campaign, I would have to say that John McCain is an economic terrorist, his policies and the wishes of those who have invested interests in him this election will cause much fear and panic for the American working family.

I am voting for Barack Obama and how I'm gonna do it

So what can I do, here's what, I'm going to vote for Barack Obama, here in New York I get to have that independent feeling, and maybe tell him exactly why.

Well this election, in New York you can send a clear message to the Big 2, a message that say's that the only reason that you are voting for this candidate is his stance on labor, on our bread and butter. On Nov.4th. in New York, you can vote for Barack Obama under the Working Families party, and it will count as a vote for him, but at the end of the day, when the ballots are tallied, and if indeed Mr.Obama does win the Presidency, he can see that you and I voted for him only on his stance for the working man.

While there are a few, not many, hiccups in some of the issues that Working Families Party are fighting for, I feel that there is a distinct agenda that is in our best interest.

Hell, we can always join the local meetings and get our voice heard. It's a new party, it's grassroots and netroots, it's not the Big 2 and it can be better if we get involved in it..

Here's where WFP stands on the issues:
The Working Families Party is fighting for a more just world.

One where the economy works for everyone. One where politicians are held accountable to working people, instead of big-money backers. One where all of us, no matter where we come from, can find a good job, get healthcare when we need it, afford a home, send our kids to good schools, and have a secure retirement.
Green Jobs, Green Homes, Real Tax Solutions, Clean Elections, Affordable Housing, Education, Equal Rights, Good Jobs, Living Wages, Healthcare for All, Paid Family Leave, Public Transportation, Veterans and Military Families
On November 4th. send a clear and distinct message to the Big 2, I am voting only for real values, the values of the working people, and even if I do not agree 100% with WFP, it's a lot more than I agree with the Big 2.

From The WFP site on Presidential election 2008:

Vote Change Like You Mean it

After 8 long years of disastrous, far-right government, Working Families need a champion in the White House like never before. Barack Obama’s campaign has inspired millions of Americans to fight for the issues the WFP has long championed, whether it’s an economy that works for everyone, healthcare for all, protecting social security, or the right to join a union.

This November, Obama will appear on the Working Families Party ballot line - “Row E” - across New York. Votes for Obama on the WFP line count just the same, but they also let you vote your values and send a powerful message: New Yorkers demand real progressive change.

http://img444.imageshack.us/img444/2625/wfpballotmedqd5.gif
Remember, if and when Barack Obama get's elected, it's up to us to hold him accountable, renegotiate Free Trade agreements, reinvest in infrastructure, create green jobs, it will all be on the table and I'm ready. Keeping American's working is this site top priority, would I reregister as a WFP member, that would take me learning just how grassroots they are and possibly honing in on their motives, letting Barack Obama know that I am voting for him for issues that matter to me, "One where politicians are held accountable to working people, instead of big-money backers.", is a good start.

Take Action Now!

Sign the Health Care Petition
Our goal is to win secure, high-quality health care for all. We are mobilizing a 1 million-member army of activists to keep health care reform at the top of the 2008 political agenda—and to put our health care system on the road to recovery after the elections. Sign the petition for secure, high-quality health care for all today.
Support the Employee Free Choice Act
The Employee Free Choice Act would restore workers’ freedom to form unions and bargain—without management interference. Our goal is to present the next president and Congress with 1 million signatures urging them to enact the Employee Free Choice Act. Sign the Online Card to show your support today.
Stop the U.S.-Colombia Trade Deal
In Colombia, dozens of unionists are killed and attacked every year, while the Colombian government systematically undermines union members’ rights. Tell your representative to oppose a trade deal with Colombia until its government makes real progress in protecting the lives and rights of union members.
End Unfair Trade Practices
The U.S. House is preparing legislation to address unfair and unsafe trade practices by China and other nations. We need your help to ensure the legislation they come up with contains strong and effective remedies to make certain these countries play by the rules. Tell your representative to fight for working families and put an end to these unfair trade practices.

Joe the Plumber: Hey, Joe by David Macaray

He’s a non-union craftsman using a respected union logo. In some places, that would still get you a well-deserved ass-kicking. Union credentials, especially in the skilled trades, are hard to obtain and really count for something. You hire a union plumber, electrician or mechanic, and you know that you’ve hired a competent worker, an expert.

Directly from the pages of CounterPunch:
McCain's Latest Blunder

Hey, Joe

by DAVID MACARAY

By now, most people have heard of Joe Wurzelbacher, the Ohio plumber’s assistant whom John McCain chose to promote as a symbol of working class Americans who will be victimized by Barack Obama’s announced tax plan. Talk about a clumsy promotion. During the course of Wednesday’s presidential debate, “Joe the Plumber” was mentioned a staggering twenty-five times.

Leaving aside Wurzelbacher’s personal views on politics—which turn out to be a mixed bag of knee-jerk homilies, including calling the Iraq occupation a “good thing,” railing against people who “criticize” America, arguing that social security should be privatized (after the latest Wall Street debacle, wouldn’t we all be broke?), and declaring that no one should have to pay taxes—his work background needs to be examined.

After all, this guy was yanked out of obscurity by the Republican Party’s nominee for president, and held up to the country on national television as a representative of America’s hard-working plumbers. He’s Joe the Plumber, the poster boy for the country’s blue-collar skilled workers. It’s important we know who he is and what he does.

First of all, Joe the Plumber is not a plumber, at least not a licensed one. His job title is “plumber’s assistant.” He works for Newell’s Plumbing and Heating, a two-man outfit in Toledo, run out of a garage behind Al Newell’s house. The way McCain portrayed Joe the Plumber, he was this budding entrepreneur looking to buy his own company, only to have that dream in danger of being destroyed by Obama’s confiscatory tax plan.

In 2003, Joe the Plumber applied for a plumber’s apprentice program and took adult education classes to that end. He never finished the program and never received a license from the city of Toledo or Lucas County, Ohio. As a plumber’s assistant, he’s not required to have a license, so long as his boss has one (which Al Newell does). But Joe the Plumber is also not allowed to call himself a “plumber.” Joe the Plumber is a fiction.

Second, the reference to Newell’s business as being worth between “$250,000-$280,000,” is very likely another falsehood. Because Al Newell does little fix-it jobs (repairing toilets, leaky pipes, etc.), local plumbing companies in and around the Toledo area estimate his business to be worth a fraction of the amount mentioned by McCain’s people, who needed the higher figure as a basis for making their case.

Third, while no one can say for certain, it’s improbable that Joe the Plumber is in a position to buy Newell’s business, modest as it is. Not only did the single father with a 13-year old son earn about $40,000 last year, he has a $1,182 lien against him from the state of Ohio for failure to pay back taxes. Also, isn’t there that little matter of a major credit crunch going on with the banks?

Fourth, as has been noted by the media (and reluctantly acknowledged by Joe himself), Joe the Plumber’s biggest beef with Obama—that under his plan he’d have to pay additional taxes—is baseless. In truth, under the Obama tax plan he would actually have his taxes lowered. Ah . . . so he had it totally backwards. Sort of like the White House had it on WMD in Iraq. I guess that’s why they call them “low information” voters.

Fifth (and this is the one that’s freaking out union workers all over the country), despite the fact that Joe the Plumber is not a licensed plumber or a union member, and despite the fact that Al Newell does not run a union shop, on his MySpace page Joe the Plumber has the balls to use the union logo from Columbus Local 50 of the United Assn. of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry.

He’s a non-union craftsman using a respected union logo. In some places, that would still get you a well-deserved ass-kicking. Union credentials, especially in the skilled trades, are hard to obtain and really count for something. You hire a union plumber, electrician or mechanic, and you know that you’ve hired a competent worker, an expert.

Making this whole thing even more gruesome, not only is Joe the Plumber posing on his website as a union member, but Local 50 has already formally endorsed Barack Obama for president. Ouch.

So, whom do we blame here? Joe the Plumber for being a knuckle-head, or the McCain campaign for not properly vetting the guy? Maybe it’s a little of both.

Let’s not forget that McCain’s brain trust is the same team who didn’t know that Sarah Palin’s daughter had gotten knocked up, that her husband wanted to secede from the United States, and that Palin herself was mired in a messy political scandal. Compared to that stuff, I suppose Joe the Fake Plumber doesn’t look too bad.

David Macaray, a playwright and writer in Los Angeles, was a former labor union rep. He can be reached at dmacaray@earthlink.net

Downloadable and printable Employee Free Choice Act petition, and some more info

This is a bit of a modified version of the one which I received from the New York Central Labor Council

with over 700,000 signatures, we have to get to the million mark.

Just click the image below and print it

We have run it throughout the jobsites here in New York, and I am happy to say we have gotten quite a response, I haven't picked them up from the hall in recent weeks, but last i checked, we had over 600, I will be picking them up this Wednesday and dropping them off at the AFL-CIO office some time next week.

You can do this too, get the number of your local AFL-CIO, CTW or Labor Federation or Council and send them there, I'm sure the internationals would also accept them.

Just do something


So what's the fact's?


Here's some recent fact's I wrote on The Employee Free Choice Act to a user over at UnionReview who asked in the story "Don't get fooled by McGovern's anti- Employee Free Choice Act ad's during the debate tonight":
Secret Ballot?
Submitted by NYCElectrician3 on Mon, 10/13/2008 - 6:55pm.

Can somebody explain the whole loss of a secret vote thing to me I have searched and searched but my brain is having trouble filtering fact from made up stuff.
To which I responded:

currently, if a group want's to get out of a union: Let's say that more than half of your local want's to get out of your union, and be non-union, all they would have to do now is get a petition signed by more than half the work force that states that they want to get out of the union and send it to the NLRB. Then all of the workers would no longer be in a union.

You don't need a secret ballot to decertify a union!

OK, so we got that out of the way.

Currently if a group of workers, let's say 100, wants to be in a union, they will have to seek out an organizer, if one is not currently working on the case, then get at least 30%+1 of the grroup to sign cards that state their intention.

Now the fun begins, because after the workers sign the cards and the organizer sends them to the NLRB to set a date for a "secret ballot" election, most companies will get themselves a union-avoidance firm to figure out what steps to take to make sure the workers will not become unionized. Usually, from what I have read, the interim is roughly about a month and a half.

Under the advice of said firms and anti-union lawyers, the company will then do everything possible to stop their workers from becoming union. This includes, even though it is illegal, firing pro-union workers, creating an atmosphere of worker against worker, showing movies that are against unions, having closed door meetings with each employee one on one, threaten to leave the country if they decide to become union, in a recent case here in NY with the Carpenter's trying to organize the workers at a nonunion site they threaten the employees with guns and destroying records of employment if they vote yes to union.

If it's illegal, how do they get away with it? Because in the past 30 years, the NLRB has been underfunded and torn to ribbons by politico's who get their backing from corporations. Currently it takes months, sometimes years to go through all the back log's of NLRB complaints. Not to mention the penalties are usually extremely low if any at all.

Here's some food for thought, if the current "secret ballot" election was even moderately fair to employees, how could anyone possibly explain all the Wal-Mart's, Target's, McDonald's and Home Depot's that are a predominant fixture of America landscape, and not one of them has a single union employee?

The Employee Free Choice Act would change that, it would make it so that if 51 of those 100 employees mentioned above were to sign a "union authorization" card, they would be in a union.

Hence the union avoidance and anti-union lawyers, who are contributing enourmously against the legislation, would lose their bread and butter. That, my friend is a billion dollar industry and they aren't gonna give up so easy.

Another tidbit in the legislation is the increase in fines against unscropulous employers who break the law during an organizing drive and a time frame where the first contract must be negotiated or an independent board will create one.

Currently, even if the employees were to get through the gauntlet of everything stacked against the and "secret-ballot" vote in a union, theres no reason to believe that the employer will ever recognize their union.

For instance the employees of Goya foods, who voted to be union in 1998, I think have finally got their first contract in 2008:

Ten years later, workers are still waiting.

NEW YORK, April 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On April 24th, a three-judge
panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta ruled that Goya
Foods must negotiate a contract with Goya warehouse and sales workers in Miami
seeking better wages and working conditions. UNITE, a predecessor union of
UNITE HERE, won National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) elections to organize
these workers in 1998. But a decade later, the workers still do not have the
benefits of a union contract.

During the organizing campaign, Goya used a host of tactics - including
harassing workers who supported the union, threatening workers, and holding
mandatory meetings full of anti-union diatribes - in an effort to avoid
unionization. After the workers voted overwhelmingly for union representation,
Goya worked to frustrate the workers' desires. The company had weak
enforcement of federal labor laws on its side as it sought to weaken and
divide the workers to the point at which they would give up on forming a
union. UNITE filed charges with the NLRB, challenging Goya's recalcitrance
during bargaining, their unilateral changes in working conditions, and their
discriminatory treatment of those who openly supported the union.

In 1999, the NLRB's General Counsel charged Goya with at least twenty-three
violations of U.S. labor law, including threats of job loss, plant closings,
interrogation, discrimination in work assignments, and the firing of at least
three union supporters. Later in 1999, Goya stopped bargaining with UNITE and
illegally withdrew recognition of the union.

So now you know a few of the fact's about The Employee Free Choice Act, it would turn the tide against the oppressors of the American worker, it could actually bring back the middle class, or at least stop us from paying for the subsidized medical that all those nonunion employee's at the Wal-Mart's and Target's need to get now. It might actually give a few people in this country a couple of disposable income dollars that they could reinvest into businesses.

Remember also, that it wasn't until business interests changed the way people organized into a union that a "secret ballot" was created, the card check was the way the labor movement started. AT&T uses the card check for it's wireless employees, they seem to be doing well, so do H&M clothing stores and they are expanding across the island of Manhattan. There are others, but it's late.

Hope that explained a bit of it. If you get a chance sign the petition, it's the One Million Strong button on the side of the site,

heres more from my site, a must view video is at the link "Video: Massive corporations against The Employee Free Choice Act", it can explain it better than me.

The Employee Free Choice Act

What do I know, I'm just 1 of the 7% of American's in the private sector who are in a union, so I may have missed a point or 2, as with everything else I write, if anyone out there see's an error, I'm willing to learn.

That's the facts brother, spread it around the job, get more signatures.

If more people were union in this country, it would bring up the standard for all workers, except those lawyers and lobbyist I mentioned above.

There's no room for us to be bamboozled anymore

Peace,

Joe

PS: Just rethinking about the "democracy of a secret ballot", I don't remember voting for Secretary Treasurer Paulson, Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, Transportation Secretary Mary Peters...

They have beaten the balls off the middle-class and the American Worker for quite some time, how about that guy Bush sent to head the NLRB, in the campaign against the American worker, Robert Batista, he just resigned to work for the biggest anti-union law firm in the United States, didn't vote for him either. Shit I didn't even get a chance to sign a card...

UnionGal, point's out in her article Not so fast CNN

Take this op-ed in the Hill by Gordon Lafer, a political scientist at the University of Oregon and the author of Free and Fair? How Labor Law Fails U.S. Democratic Election Standards:
For instance, in elections for Congress or the president, it is illegal for a private corporation to tell its employees anything that favors one candidate or the other. But in workplace elections, it is standard practice for supervisors to hold repeated one-on-one conversations with the individuals they oversee. Here, the person who has the most direct control over hiring and firing, promotion, raises, hours and duties tells their subordinates in no uncertain terms why a union would be bad for them. The message is clear: If you ever want a raise, or a day off to take your kid to a doctor, you better not support the union.

Many of the tactics used to intimidate employees are legal. However, because federal labor law contains no possibility of punitive fines, prison or any other type of sanction, employers break the law at will. Last year, approximately 15,000 Americans were illegally fired, suspended or otherwise financially punished for trying to form a union in their workplace.

An election where one party controls the media, requires voters to attend its rallies, enforces a gag order on opponents and fires voters for backing the opposition is undemocratic and un-American. The Employee Free Choice Act would reform the current system to guarantee that Americans who want to form a union are able to do so in part by ending the charade that we call a Labor Board election by giving workers a second option: the choice to form a union by a majority sign-up process
Kirsten's article is a great read
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