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Showing posts from December, 2005

Union, a poem


By Charlie Averill

When I fail to take a stand

for what I know is right.

When I fail to lend a hand

by joining in the fight

Then you all can fix the blame

as history has shone,

on the one who bears the shame,

on me and me alone.

But hopefully we all have learned

that victory takes us all;

and gaining that for which we've earned

means answering the call.

Give your all and nothing short,

for it is no illusion,

That winning takes your full support

cause you're the "U" in UNION.

© Charlie Averill 1992


As told by Tommy Douglas in 1944. Mr. Douglas was leader of the New Democratic Party in Canada for 10 years.

It's the story of a place called Mouseland. Mouseland was a place where all the little mice lived and played, were born and died. And they lived much the same as you and I do.

They even had a Parliament. And every four years they had an election. Used to walk to the polls and cast their ballots. Some of them even got a ride to the polls. And got a ride for the next four years afterwards too. Just like you and me. And every time on election day all the little mice used to go to the ballot box and they used to elect a government. A government made up of big, fat, black cats.

Now if you think it strange that mice should elect a government made up of cats, you just look at the history of Canada for last 90 years and maybe you'll see that they weren't any stupider than we are.

Now I'm not saying anything against the cats. They were nice fellows. They conducted their gove…

NiSource looks for cheapy workers

Best healthcare in the World??

Those who oppose a national health care system in the United States often times say, "Heck no. We have the best health care system in the world."
Well now, don't you suppose that a good measure of how good a nations health care system is, would be to take a look at infant mortality?
The C.I.A. has ranked the nations of the world as to infant mortality rates, and guess where we are on the list?
Well, we ain't number one, that's for sure.
As a matter of fact, the United States is ranked number 43. That means that 42 countries have a better infant mortality rate than the United States. Surprisingly, some of those countries doing better than the United States are: Cuba, Germany, South Korea and the Czech Republic.
To hear more on this subject by Jack Clark go to his podcast page and click on #8

Bull Market for the Poor

I think the following article by Will Durst has merit:

Brian Williams of NBC asked George Bush if the federal government’s faltering response to Hurricane Katrina was due to racial indifference and, for a half a second, you could almost hear Dubya's vertebrae fuse together as he perceptibly grew about a quarter of a millimeter. His voice trembled, and he snarled with a noticeable lack of teleprompting, “You can call me anything you want, but do not call me a racist.”
Which was not the point, but it is true. It’s not fair to call the president of the United States a racist. This is not a man who gives the tiniest whit about black or white. This is a man who only cares about green, and whether or not you have any. In this country, if you’re rich, you’ll get taken care of. If you’re not, you won’t. Pretty much as simple as that.
He is neither an ageist or a sexist or a fascist or a typist. Or a homophobe. Or a xenophobe. Or a xylophone.
Rather, he is a cashist, the first Green President,…

My favorite Podcaster

The following article was adapted from a segment of the Blast the Right podcast. Jack Clark is a retired attorney now working full-time to advance progressive causes.

Bill O'Reilly's War Against Christmas

by Jack Clark

I don’t know how many of you are familiar with John Gibson. He’s one of the on-air personalities at Fox News. He’s the one that looks like Beavis or Butthead. I’m actually not sure which one is which so I can’t tell you which one I think he looks like. He actually may look like a cross between the two. In any case, did you know that he’s written a book worthy of that lovely cartoon duo? Gibson’s book is entitled The War on Christmas: How the Liberal Plot to Ban the Sacred Christian Holiday Is Worse Than You Thought.

No, I’m not kidding you. John Gibson and Bill O’Reilly have become the head cheerleaders in this latest right-wing propaganda-of-distraction effort.

I’m going to analyze some excerpts from a Bill O’Reilly t…

Senator Bayh helps Steelworkers

Senator says China's predatory pricing hurts domestic steel workers

Washington, D.C. -- U.S. Senator Evan Bayh today urged President Bush to apply existing U.S. trade laws to provide much-needed relief to U.S. steel workers struggling against a flood of imported steel from China. Over the past three years, Chinese companies have been releasing an overwhelming amount of standard pipe into the market, driving the cost of imported steel below the cost of the raw materials that domestic manufacturers use to make the same product. As a result, several steel plants have been forced to close, in spite of existing trade laws passed specifically to counterbalance the unfair advantage China enjoys because of the unfair trade policies it continues to practice.
"Chinese companies are using currency manipulation, illegal subsidies, and a host of other unfair trade practices to gain an unfair advantage over U.S. workers," Senator Bayh said. "It's time for the Administration to …

Steelworkers re-elected

In a show of unity, the Indiana State AFL-CIO re-elected its statewide leadership team by acclamation during its 24 th Biennial Constitutional Convention, held in Indianapolis from December 5 to December 7, 2005. President Ken Zeller, a member of the United Steelworkers (USW) was elected to his third term without opposition.

Other Steelworkers re-elected without opposition to the Executive Council were Vice Presidents:
Jim Robinson
Gigi Baker
Charlie Wyatt
Garland Stovall

OOOOPS......Got to go......Bush's FBI is tapping my phone line.

Why I'm boycotting Colgate

The Colgate-Palmolive Co. factory in Clarksville, Indiana wants to have operations in a so-called “right-to-work” state.

Colgate has announced that it will close the 475-employee factory by January 2008 to “increase efficiency and competitiveness.”

“Gov. Mitch Daniels blames state’s lack of ‘right to work’ law for departure.” That is the headline of an article that appeared in the Gary Post Tribune this morning.

Right to work, my foot! Colgate-Palmolive Co. wants cheapy labor…….plain and simple, and this quote by anti-union Governor, Mitch Daniels, is nothing less than his way of saying that he wishes Indiana would become a Right to work (for less) state.

Vote Now for Grinch of the Year

Vote now for the greedy grinch who has done the most harm to working families this year! For several years, Jobs With Justice coalitions across the country have held local 'Grinch of the Year' elections to determine the most deserving greedy Grinch in their hometowns. This year, national Jobs with Justice will sponsor the fifth annual online Grinch of the Year election to determine the national figure who does the most harm to working families.

The contest seems to be between Verizon Wireless, Donald Rumsfeld, and Wal-Mart.

Verizon Wireless
For more than a decade, Verizon Wireless has shown total disregard for labor law and the rights of workers to a voice in the workplace and to a fair contract. Workers at Verizon Wireless who want a union voice have been fired and laid off, harassed and intimidated by supervisors, required to attend “captive audience” meetings and mandatory anti-union training. Call centers that had a growing number of union supporters were shut down between 2…

SOAR Chapter Vice President in Prison

Yesterday afternoon at our SOAR Chapter meeting in Plymouth, Indiana, we received the very unfortunate news that our Chapter Vice President has gone to prison.

Harry Faust from Peru, Indiana, served our chapter well as Vice President and we will miss him. Two of the many times that Harry answered the union’s call to action come to my mind.

The first occasion was when retirees were asked to help distribute literature to workers at a foundry in Rochester, Indiana. Harry eagerly agreed to help. He set himself up in front of the entrance gate. When a big, tough looking stupidvisor told him that he was on company property and that he would have to move or get arrested, Harry, having helped lay the natural gas main at that location years before, knew that it was not the companies property, and that is was public property and simply told the stupidvisor that he wasn’t going to move……..and he didn’t.

Another time, Harry was one of several retirees from USW District 7 who made the trip to Miami t…

Save our American Pipe and Tube Industry Jobs

President Bush, Enforce our Trade Laws

Please Help Support Us

Section 421 case on standard pipe was filed on August 2, 2005 by 7 U.S. producers and the United Steelworkers (USW) at the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). The ITC held an injury hearing on September 16, 2005. The ITC issued an affirmative (4-2) injury vote on October 3, 2005 and found that imports of standard pipe from China caused market disruption to the industry.

Products covered in the 421 case are welded circular non-alloy standard and structural pipe used for plumbing, sprinkler systems, fencing and construction.

The ITC found that in 2005 the average selling price of Chinese pipe was 3.7% below U.S. producers’ average cost of raw materials. Imports from China of circular welded non-alloy steel pipe, or “standard pipe,” have surged from 10,000 tons in 2002 to 270,000 tons in 2004 and are on track to exceed 380,000 tons in 2005. No U.S. manufacturer or farmer can compete with imports sold at prices below their …

Compassionate Conservatives??

I don’t know if any of you heard President Bush’s speech the other night, but after the speech he was asked a question which I remember this way.

“Mr. President, how many Iraqi’s including civilians have died so far in this war?”
His response went something like this, “Oh, 30,000 more or less, and we’ve lost 2,100 or so soldiers.”

Then he tried to be a commedian by interrupting the next questioner with something like this, “if I don’t like your question, I’ll just make up an answer.”

And this is a Christian and a so called “right to life” president?

You know what? I think Bush values the lives of those not yet born, and those who are on their death beds wanting to die, and his millionaire buddies, but I don’t think he gives a rip for the lives of anyone else.

Now, I suppose I can look for the FBI to break down my door tonight thanks to Bush’s Patriot Act, but you know what? I don’t care.

Albert Einstein once said, “What is the meaning of human life, or of organic life altogether? To answer t…

The Good and the Bad

The AFL-CIO has just published their Interim House Scorecard, a document which is a running record of votes that are of interest to the AFL-CIO but is not the official AFL-CIO 2005 voting record.
The vote descriptions are as follows, left to right:


the votes are scored this way:
R=the Representative voted for workers
W=the Representative voted against workers

Please note that Congressman Pete Visclosky has the distinction of having voted for workers on every issue and Congressman Chris Chocola has the distinction of having voted against workers on every issue.

More tax breaks for the wealthy

Democrats in the House of Representatives had an alternative proposal to the Tax Reconciliation Act which would have increased taxes on those earning more than $500,000 per year. Chris Chocola, the Representative in Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District voted to go ahead and give this big tax break to the wealthy which will most certainly raise the federal deficit. This is just one more vote against the working people of our country.

Chocola also voted to lift tariffs on most goods traded between the United States and Bahrain. The bill did not include any environmental and worker protection clauses.

Chris Chocola is not helping American workers when he votes this way. Maybe the Senate will display more sense.

40th Wedding Anniversary

It was 40 years ago today that I married Elaine Adams. We got hitched at the City Methodist Church in Gary, Indiana on December 11th, 1965 with a dinner afterwards at the Hotel Gary.

When I think of how long I’ve known Elaine I really do have to think about it. Let’s see…I met her in 7th grade. We were in the same home-room together. Home-rooms were the first period of the class day and were made up of students according to alphabetical last names.

I remember so well how pretty I thought she was. Although I had my eye on her, she wouldn’t give me the time of day. As a matter of fact, she teased me. She sat a few seats in front of me and I do remember our eyes meeting once and she just batted them at me.

I couldn’t let anyone know I was interested in her because I was on the football team, and we weren’t really supposed to be very interested in girls. Most of the gals dated Freshman boys anyway.

It wasn’t until we were Juniors that we began dating. It was in August at the beginning of foot…

Trip to Michigan

I promised to take Elaine on a short vacation, so about a month ago, we decided to go to northern Michigan and take a look at the changing colors of Fall.
We were on our way to Petosky, having booked a room at the Perry hotel, when I remembered that we had a couple of Chapter members living in Baldwin, Michigan. We decided to pay a visit to Norm and Jeannette Theil. Since I had just had our chapter newsletter printed the day before and still had them in the trunk of the car, we would also hand deliver it to them.
Well, a few miles out of Ludington and heading east towards Baldwin, Elaine gave them a call on her cell phone. Jeannette gave us directions, but Elaine failed to write them down, so we did our best to recollect the roads and landmarks, but after half an hour or so, decided we’d better make another call. However, we were so far into the sticks, communications weren’t possible, so we continued to play it by ear with no luck. After twenty or so more minutes we tried the cell phon…