Category Archives: Labor

The Final Results of the Election…

If you haven’t seen where everything finally ended up after Florida was called (which took an awfully long time and right up to the very end the GOP said Romney had it… but he didn’t), then here it is:

This, to me, is a sure sign that Obama has a mandate to finish his agenda. To win by 126 electoral votes is not insignificant… it is a real rollover.

Now we will listen to Boehner claim that he is ready to cooperate, but will keep the House just a opposed to increasing taxes on the very rich and solving the rest of the economic problems. Will the House Republicans finally support Obama’s goal to increase jobs? Looks like they are going to stay just as opposed. Didn’t they learn anything from the election?

Mitch McConnell will probably keep the Republicans in the Senate from letting things go through, although they are still in the minority. McConnell is up for reelection in Kentucky in 2014, so maybe he will cooperate a little bit just to show that he’s not a schmuck. We’ll wait and see.

 

Here’s a small audio project for you and your iPhone:

I found this on Boing Boing the other day and it seemed to me an awfully clever idea: How to make a sort-of speaker for your iPhone.

It uses the cardboard toilet paper roll center that we usually just throw away. You just cut a slit in the middle that’s big enough to stick your iPhone in (speakers down, of course) and when you play music or radio or podcasts it’s like having an amplifier.

Try it. It takes about five minutes, Here’s what it looks like:

Love it.

 

I’ll bet the Romney Campaign is a little more nervous with today’s Gallup announcement.

Gallup’s 30 day moving average poll finds unemployment has dropped to 7.3%. While not an official jobs number in the sense that the BLS numbers are, it obviously correlates to the recent BLS numbers that had the right wing in a frenzy of conspiracy talk. Also correlating to the improving BLS numbers are the facts that recent jobless claims numbers are dropping dramatically and today’s consumer confidence number hit a 5 year pre recession high.

Can’t wait to hear Romney’s response to all of this.

 

Unemployment rate drops to 7.8%!

 

After listening to Romney accusing the President of not being able to get the unemployment rate below 8.1%, today the newest rate report was released. At 7.8% it’s lowest level since January 2009.

Let’s hear it for the President as the rate came down and jobs, even though just a little (114000 jobs in September), moved up.

Meanwhile, what has Romney done to support his country in helping promote unemployment activity? Why, nothing. Nothing at all.

 

Romney’s Pants are On Fire…

 

Romney pumped out at least 20 lies last night, masquerading them as fact. What I found interesting is the statement he made about his sons who could tell the same lies over a period of time until they were accepted as fact. This is obviously a family trait.

Here are some examples of Romney’s fabrications:

Mitt: “I don’t have a $5 trillion tax cut. I don’t have a tax cut of a scale that you’re talking about.”

A Tax Policy Center analysis of Romney’s proposal for a 20%  across-the-board tax cut in all federal income tax rates, eliminating the Alternative Minimum Tax, eliminating the estate tax and other tax reductions, would reduce federal revenue $480 billion in 2015. This amount to $5 trillion over the decade.

Mitt: “I will not under any circumstances raise taxes on middle-income families. I will lower taxes on middle-income families.”

The studies Romney cites actually further prove that Romney would, in fact, have to raise taxes on the middle class if he were to keep his promise not to lose revenue with his tax rate reduction. Combine this with his statement two weeks ago that “Middle Income” means an annual earning averaging $250,000.00 with a minimum of $200,000.00. That sure sounds like upper income to me. Us $50-60,000.00 folks will get taxed.

 

And what about corporations that ship jobs overseas?

If he’s such a businessman… who has actually sent companies to China… don’t you think he knows about the tax break?

I wonder ho many lies will come out of the VP debate? Ryan certainly has been spouting them since his nomination.

Frankly, I don’t believe anything the Republican candidates say. If they have learned to do a good performance of untruthful things then that is what has to be addressed. Obama better wise up to this.

 

 

I imagine that Romney will accuse Obama of not having created jobs…

 

… but I doubt if he will identify the actions of the Republican House majority or the Senate Republican filibusters in preventing Obama‘s 17 jobs bills t6o go through.

So what were the results of the Republican refusal to work with their president? Take a look:

Remember this when Romney brings up the 8.1% unemployment rate… remember it when he says Obama has done nothing to even attempt to create jobs.

 

 

A view from the far left…

 

…from Sam Webb, National Chairperson of the Communist Party:

 

“…I don’t believe that the Republicans even care if the economy rebounds. A sluggish economy in their view is their only path to the White House in this election cycle. If confronted, they will deny it, but if you judge them by their actions in Congress, it seems apparent that sabotage of the president’s economic plans is at the top of their agenda. It is the thin reed on which their return to power and domination rests.

“To say that Romney and his fellow Republicans are consciously undermining the economy for the purpose of winning this election is probably hard for many Americans to swallow.

“Even with their skepticism of politicians and the political process, many American people still believe that there are bounds beyond which neither party would go to accomplish its aims. That is not the case in this instance in my opinion. No matter what the cost and pain, Romney and the Republicans are hell bent on undermining any recovery of growth rates and jobs in order to emerge triumphant on Election Day.

It may bother you that Webb is a Communist, but he is an American Communist which means he has more of a left side political agenda and is strongly related to worker’s employment and unions. This is something the right has no concern with.

To see the rest of his article go HERE.

 

Cartoon(s) of the Week – Romney’s Convention Bounce?

 

Clay Bennett in the Chattanooga Times Free Press:

This week we evaluated results…

- and -

Mike Luckovich in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

… and not all bumps are wished for…

- and -

Lee Judge in the Kansas City Star:

… but we know he’s ready to bring his bounce to ordinary people…

- and -

Bill Day in The Commercial Appeal:

… and he brought his bounce to the celebration of Labor Day…

- and -

Bob Englehart in The Hartford Courant:

…but most of us wondered when we would Labor again… especially if we elected Romney.

 

Remembering Clinton’s Best Point…

… and, obviously, it means more things that you can’t believe Republicans when they point fingers. We’re all going to remember “Arithmetic.”

Thanks to Think Progress. And to Bill Clinton. And to Obama and the Democrats.

I was thinking about my own labor history…

 

Since I’ve been taking a look at unions today, it occurs to me that I have been a member of two unions back in my New York past.

As a theatre worker in the early 70s, I had experience as a member of AEA (Actors Equity Association) and LOBTET (the League of Off Broadway Theatre Employees and Technicians.) LOBTET was eaten up by Equity after a couple of years and does not exist anymore.

As an Equity member (which I had to join as a professional stage manager), I was involved in the Off Broadway strike in 1970 or 71. Equity was protesting the fact that actors in off-Broadway productions were often paid very little or nothing at all, but took jobs so that they might be seen by critics or casting direc tors or Broadway producers.

I had to picket the Theatre De Lys (now the Lucille Lortel Theatre) one night. I walked back and forth with my

Shelley Winters

picket sign, alone, while the General Manager of the theatre sat in the ticket booth and stared at me.

After a while I was joined by another Equity member, and this was one of the most interesting occurences in my theatre career. The other picketer was Shelley Winters!

Shelley and I picketed for about two hours, carrying on a neat social conversation, until we decided that it was past what would have been curtain time and we quit. She got a cab and I walked down the block to the subway.

That’s my Union Story.

 

Remembering the creation and importance of Labor Day…

The contributions made by unions to the betterment of America’s workers is primarily the reason we celebrate Labor Day. The influence of organized labor cannot be ignored.

Most of the benefits workers now enjoy are directly attributable to unions:

  • The 40 hour work week
  • paid holidays and vacations
  • sick leave
  • grievance procedures
  • collective bargaining
  • generally superior wages.

Unfortunately, we have come to take those benefits for granted. Benefits came about because of unions and soon became the norm for union workers and many non-union workers as well. All American workers owe a debt of gratitude to Organized Labor for its achievements.

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York.

In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a “workingmen’s holiday” on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country. By 1909 all U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and the territories have made it a statutory holiday.

On Labor Day, let’s look at the benefits brought to us by Organized Labor:

Benefits of Unions:

Reinforcement of  the middle class. States with higher rates of unionization have lower rates of poverty, crime, and failing schools.

Raise of wages for all workers. Studies show that a large union presence in an industry or region can raise wages even for non-union workers. Women in unions make 33% more non-union women, and are more likely to have employer-provided health insurance and pensions.

Reducing wage inequality. Unions raise wages the most for low- and middle-wage workers and workers without college degrees.

Creation of mine safety laws strengthening mine safety standards and protecting the rights of mine workers.

The legal participation of Organized Labor has gotten many bills through Congress. In the last 50 or so years these include:

    •    The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009
•    The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
•    The Voting Rights Act of 1965
•    The Civil Rights Act of 1964
•    The Equal Pay Act of 1963

So as we celebrate Labor Day, let’s look at it as not just a day off from work, but as recognition of the relationship of the worker to democracy.

Quote for Labor Day Weekend

 

 

There can be no better way to honor the American worker then to support an increase in the minimum wage to a living wage of at least $10 per hour. That would be one Happy Labor Day.

- Dennis Kucinich

 

Let’s get to know more about Paul Ryan…

Factual information is the kind of thing that can blow a hole in a wall of falsification.

We have a lot still to learn about Ryan… like these five facts:

Now, go HERE and read the 290 page research report on Ryan. See everything he’s voted for, every position he’s taken on things important to you… and more.

The next time your pals say there is no such thing as Global Warming, show them this:

If this doesn’t convince them, suggest they go live in the grain producing areas of the midwest. That should back up their belief (but don’t laugh too hard.)

How Romney and Bain made a fortune by taking away jobs… and making the people they fired help with their own dismissal.

This is pathetic, but it is why we can’t trust one word Romney says about creating jobs, or the way businesses are going to create jobs.

Take a look:

DONATE: http://www.prioritiesusaaction.org
If Mitt Romney wins, the middle class loses.

Leftist columnist Alexander Cockburn dead at 71.

 

Alexander Cockburn, radical columnist for The Nation and editor of the political newsletter CounterPunch, died Friday in Germany at age 71.

He had been receiving treatment for two years for cancer and lived in recent years in Petrolia, Calif. He was known for an acidic pen that spared few on either the left or right for hypocritical or corrupt policies.

His last column in The Nation covered the “culture of rabid criminality” in the international banking system. He predicted that even reform and tough enforcement wouldn’t save it from eventual collapse.

“He was an extraordinarily provocative, polemical, elegant columnist and writer. And he certainly was someone who never wavered in dissenting from what was the conventional line.”

 – Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation.

Cockburn was born in Scotland in 1941 and raised in Ireland, the son of the British novelist and Communist Claud Cockburn. In the 1970s and 80s he wrote for the Village Voice, but was fired for taking a $10,000 grant from the Institute of Arab Studies to write a book about Israel’s invasion of Lebanon. He also had a column for a time in the Wall Street Journal.

While writing for The Nation he became known for his battles in print with fellow columnist Christopher Hitchens. He co-founded CounterPunch on line with St. Clair in 1996.

 

 

Booknotes – Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt…

 

Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt by Chris Hedges and the brilliant graphic story teller, Joe Sacco is a brutal depiction of Reality!

 Journalist Chris Hedges and graphic artist Joe Sacco have covered the most depressed pockets of the United States combining graphic art and narrative nonfiction in their book Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt.  Together they report on how the greed and love of money by major corporations nationwide (including our devastated coal fields here in West Virginia) offering a ground up view of society when corporate capitalism is unregulated and unfettered.

 

This is a problem which we either deal with or succumb to. The Romney campaign will support the growth of these greedy corporations. Will You?

 

Now that they’ve wasted our time over Health Care Repeal, will the Congress get down to Jobs?

There are only about 40 days left in  the Congressional season before these champions of non-accomplishment go out to lie and buy their votes. Yet what they should be doing is getting the Middle Class jobs, not waiting to see if Romney is elected.

In Las Vegas, today marks a protest of appointed U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) to get him to support H.R 5542, the “Bring Jobs Home Act.” Heller has been focused on by the AFL-CIO. Heller, along with the Republican Party, have never voted for any  Job Bills proposed by President Obama or the Democrats in congress, and it’s not likely that he or his Party will start now.

The Bring Home The Jobs Act would end a tax benefit for companies that move jobs overseas and, instead, would add a tax credit for companies that move jobs back to the United States. The bill would also prohibit the first group of companies from receiving federal grants or guaranteed loans.

The AFL-CIO is also promoting the “United States Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act” that would make public the names of companies that move call centers overseas (H.R. 3596.)

The Democratic Party in both the House and the Senate have backed Bills in the past that would end corporations from receiving a tax break for creating jobs overseas, while giving a tax credit if they create jobs in the United States, but the Republican Party stopped them with a no vote in the House and a filibuster in the Senate.

Of course, wasting time on repealing an unrepealable Health Care bill was worth the effort for Boehner and his Bozos.

And what is their job strategy based on? This:

Things are looking up for the Housing Market…

Permits to build new homes rose sharply in may, suggesting a beginning housing recovery remains on track.

The Commerce Department said on Tuesday that although groundbreaking on new homes dropped last month, upward revisions to data for March and April put starts above 700,000 for five straight months, a first since 2008.

This means a big turn of eventst is under way: while the broader U.S. economy appears to be losing steam, housing is gaining traction and has become a relative bright spot. Homebuilder sentiment has risen to a five-year high.

“The incipient recovery in housing market activity, in short, seems not to have been affected by the recent softening in much of the other economic data,” said Ian Shepherdson, an economist at High Frequency Economics in Valhalla, New York.

Starts for single-family homes, which account for most of the market, increased 3.2 percent.

If Obama is bad for business, why are foreign investors racing to invest in America?

From CNN Business:

“The State Department expects to issue over 6,000 “investor visas” in the current fiscal year, which would be an all-time record. Other countries, meanwhile, are following the U.S.’s lead, keen to spur growth in lean economic times.”

And Politicus USA summarizes:

The Dow Jones has increased 85% from 2009-2012, the S&P 500 has increased 98% since Obama took office, and corporate profits after taxes have increased 68% since President Obama took his oath. Now finally, Obama has turned this economy around from losing 750,000 jobs a month in the first quarter of 2009, to averaging growth of 150,000 jobs per month. So either foreign investors are really stupid to invest in America, when they could be investing more in Brazil, Russia and China or they see amazing economic strength coming down the pipe for America!

How much investment in America has Mitch McConnell (or John Boehner) or Mitt Romney brought in?

From what I can see: nothing.

Good article today over at PoliticusUSA.com (Updated):

Mitt Romney: The Economic Guru Who Specializes In Killing Jobs

(here’s a snip, but go read the whole article HERE.)

Romney has yet to offer any solutions to help the American people who are struggling because of Bush-era policies Willard promises to implement if he is elected president. One might be inclined to say Romney is a fool for promoting Bush’s failed economic policy that sent Americans into unemployment lines and nearly crashed the economy, but it is more that Romney could not care less about the American people. In fact, Willard has made it clear that he intends on creating hardship for the poor, elderly, Veterans, gays, women, and the middle class with his Draconian cuts to critical social safety nets, and the severity of his policies are only matched by his promise to eliminate unionized public sector jobs because they are earn more than $19,000 annually.

If Americans really want to know what a Romney presidency will look like, then look at his real field of expertise as a vulture capitalist. He earned millions shuttering businesses, relocating companies overseas, and eliminating jobs to increase profits for himself and Bain Capital, and although it worked out well for the rich, it was devastating to American workers who lost their jobs, retirement, healthcare, and their homes.

…….

Willard Romney’s focus is attacking President Obama for telling the American people the truth about the economy, and running away from his area of expertise which is creating wealth for a privileged few while eliminating jobs. It is interesting that President Obama does not tout himself as an acclaimed economist like Romney, but his policies saved America’s economy. There is a reason Romney wants to be president and it has nothing to do with helping the American people or growing the economy, and he is using his expertise as a liar to convince voters that eliminating police and firefighter jobs, giving more tax cuts to the wealthy, and portraying the government as destructive is a sound economic policy.

The only thing voters need to know about Romney is that he is not an economic guru. He is a wealthy investor who earned millions killing jobs, bankrupting companies, and shipping businesses overseas that qualifies him to be a vulture capitalist, but not the president.

So many people haven’t learned this yet. It is really depressing to think about it. Unfortunately, he not only doesn’t seem to know the economic implications of his statements, he certainly does know how to lie about them.

Romney seems to be taking the voters of this great nation for total fools. The facts are out there, and they are not pretty. Romney is a purebred vulture capitalist, the kind of multi-millionaire that snaps up family businesses and solid companies just to shut them down, kill good-paying jobs, and get a fat write-off to pad his own bottom line. His “business experience” is the kind of experience that America cannot afford to have in the White House. And the only instance where Mitt took the reins of government… ie: the State of Massachusetts… and tried his hand at “job creation,” he failed miserably.

Romney cannot be allowed to run away from the fact that he was literally the worst “job creator” in the nation over his four years in office.

Is beard length a police department requirement or religious persecution?

An Orthodox Jew who was weeks away from becoming a New York City police officer says he has been kicked out of the police academy for refusing to trim his beard.

Former recruit Fishel Litzman of Monsey said he was fired on Friday after multiple confrontations with the department over the length of his beard.

“As an Orthodox Chasidic Jew it is absolutely forbidden in my religious beliefs to cut or trim my beard in any way.

“I am being disciplined only because I maintain my religious beliefs and observances.”

According to the NYPD, Litzman had been notified about the beard on two other occasions. Although he rocked the police tests with scores of 99, 100 and 96, he also got written up for minor mistakes like being in the locker room too early and forgetting his gym gear.

Isaac Abraham, an activist in Brooklyn’s Hasidic communities, said it was a shame that allowances couldn’t be made for Litzman’s beard. The NYPD’s chief spokesman insisted they made every attempt to accommodate Litzman.

Litzman’s lawyer, Nathan Lewin, is convinced it is religious discrimination:

“They knew from when he took the exam and applied that he would not trim his beard. He said from the outset it was a matter of religious observance. He never made a secret of it.”

Republicans shoot down Equal Pay law in the Senate.

From RTTGlobal Financial News:

Senate Republicans on Tuesday blocked a bill that Democrats say would increase paycheck equity for women. Republican lawmakers argued the bill would put an undue strain on businesses.

Voting 52-47, the Senate fell eight votes short of the 60 necessary to hold an outright vote on the bill. All 47 Republicans in the chamber voted against it, with the exception of Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., who was absent.

The bill, dripping with election-year politics, was intended to close a pay gap between women and men by increasing litigation opportunities for women, closing a variety of legal loopholes, strengthening federal enforcement authority and barring employers from retaliating against employees who share pay information with colleagues.

Even though women make 84¢ an hour for every buck a man makes in the same job (some say 77¢), the attempt today to remedy that situation in the U.S. Senate was pretty much pissed on by 100% of the Senate Republicans.

There are two problems here… problems which won’t go away while we still have the same Democratic-to-Republican ratio:

- The need to have 60 votes, and not a simple majority, to pass an item. This is what is called a “filibuster” and used to be pulled out only rarely, on extremely important bills that had strong disagreements. And it used to require all Senators to be present and those filibustering had to keep speaking on the floor or give up (remember Jimmy Stewart in “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington“?). This all changed when Republicans decided when Obama was elected to make ALL votes filibusters… and no one has to speak. They just declare it and it automatically goes to the 60 vote requirement. As Mitch McConnell told us in 2008, he’s not going to let any legislation brought in by Obama pass.

- A significant realization that Senators (both parties) can be influenced (read “instructed”) to vote as requested by their major funders. Corporations and Chambers of Commerce did NOT want to equalize the pay of women to that of men. Why? It would cost them more. So this is why 100% of Republicans…even women… sat on their hands on this one.

Obama was a major supporter of this bill. Romney never said a word about it, even though many expected he would show his relationship to his party by expressing his support for their action.

In his statement on the Republican negative vote, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid asked Romney why he had not at least called some of the Republican Senators to say he supported this bill (one of his assistants had e-mailed a response to the net that Romney had always supported equal pay.)

“This is a common-sense measure with broad public support. Nine out of 10 Americans – including 81 percent of men and 77 percent of Republicans – support this legislation. But once again, the only Republicans who are left opposing a common-sense measure to improve our economy and help middle-class families are the ones here in Washington.”

What do you women readers think of this? Does it affect you? Are you paid less than men where you work for similar occupations?

When Romney fingers Obama on Solyndra, he should wash his hands off first…

This from today’s Boston Herald:

A Bay State solar panel developer that landed a state loan from Mitt Romney when he was Massachusetts governor has gone belly up — a day after the GOP presidential hopeful ripped President Obama’s green-energy investments.

Lowell-based Konarka Technologies announced late yesterday that it filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection and will cease operations, lay off its 85 workers and liquidate.

“Konarka has been unable to obtain additional financing, and given its current financial condition, it is unable to continue operations,” CEO Howard Berke said in a statement. “This is a tragedy for Konarka’s shareholders and employees and for the development of alternative energy in the United States.”

The demise of Konarka could become a hot topic on the campaign trail because Romney personally doled out a $1.5 million renewable energy subsidy to the Lowell startup in 2003, shortly after taking office on Beacon Hill.

And on Thursday the GOP candidate was stumping outside the shuttered Solyndra solar-panel factory in California, blasting the Obama administration’s $535 million loan as a symbol of “crony capitalism.”

“If Romney gets a little bit of heat because he participated in some of these policies at a point in time, it’s all fair in the world of politics,” said state Sen. Marc Pacheco (D-Taunton). “He’s criticizing on one hand, he’s got to take criticism on the other.”

A Romney spokesman could not be immediately reached for comment.

(there’s more)

I’m really tired of hearing how Obama is costing WV coal jobs. Not True!

This is for you folks out there who are buying the Tea Party Joe Manchin lies. From West Virginia Blue, a blog I have great respect for:

West Virginia Coal Mine Jobs Rise Under Obama

      Despite the lies told by Sen. Joe Manchin (Joe Manchin) and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (Joe Manchin) and the Friends of Coal Barons Who Kill Miners, President Barack Obama’s EPA has not spelled doom to coal jobs. In fact, the opposite is true:

While the Obama administration and the EPA may be taking a harder look at mountain top removal mining permits, a quick look at coal mining employment in West Virginia reveals that since Obama took office in the winter of 2009 coal mining employment has grown by over 1,500 jobs or by 7.4%. If we measure from the end of the national recession in June 2009 (or the 2nd Quarter of 2009) to the third-quarter of 2011 (the latest available data), employment in the coal mining industry has grown by 3,100. For comparison, total employment in West Virginia has only grown by 2.9% over this period.

People have to really hate Obama to push the lies that come out of the coal industry, out of Manchin’s office and out of the Romney Campaign. It’s possible that the West Virginia politicos (even those claiming to be “Democrats”) have other goals in mind for this pathetically poor state.

We’ll see.

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