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Showing posts from 2006

Thanks to USW-Goodyear Strike Supporter


TO: USW-Goodyear Striker Supporter
FR: Leo W. Gerard, International President
DATE: December 22, 2006
RE: Goodyear

On behalf of 15,000 brave workers who courageously battled to last one day longer that the company, their families and more than 30,000 Goodyear retirees and surviving spouses, allow me to thank everybody who contributed to this victory.

We thank the entire labor movement, activist communities and progressive groups from all over North America for its unprecedented solidarity and acknowledge the efforts of fair-minded representatives of the media and financial communities, who took the time to understand the critical issues in this conflict.

As we said from the beginning, this contract campaign went far beyond a labormanagement
dispute. It was a battle to make a company live up to its commitments to past and current employees, and to secure a future for manufacturing in North America.

The support we received from the communities where our plants are located was extraord…

Tentative Agreement with Goodyear

USW, Goodyear Reach Tentative Agreement

For Immediate Release December 22, 2006

(Pittsburgh, PA) -- The United Steelworkers (USW) and the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company today reached tentative agreement on a new three year contract that the union said “secures retiree health care benefits and dramatically increases Goodyear’s investments in union facilities.”

“This agreement validates the solidarity of our members and their families, who wouldn’t allow the company to walk away from obligations earned through a lifetime of hard work and loyalty,” said USW President Leo W. Gerard.

“We owe a debt of gratitude,” he added, “to the entire labor and activist communities, which rose with unprecedented solidarity to challenge Goodyear’s assault on our members.”

“By securing solid medical and drug benefits for current members and retirees in the midst of today’s health care crisis,” said Thomas Conway, USW Vice President and the Chair of the union’s Goodyear …

Grinch of the Year

With 52% of more than 10,000 votes cast, Goodyear won the 6th annual online "Grinch of the Year" election sponsored by National Jobs with Justice. Nominated by the United Steelworkers, the company is criticized for forcing 15,000 US workers out on strike on October 5th. Despite concessions given by workers in the last round of contract negotiations that led to a billion dollar turn-around, Goodyear wants to close plants, off-shore jobs, and gut retiree health insurance.

"Goodyear truly is the Grinch Who Stole Christmas from working families this year" said Fred Azcarate, Executive Director of National Jobs with Justice. "15,000 families have been living on strike pay and their savings for almost three months, and their health benefits are set to expire on January 2nd."

Smithfield Tar Heel Division Chairman Joseph Luter III came in second place with 39% of the vote. Smithfield was nominated by the UFCW for paying workers poverty wages, failing to provide ade…

Save The Date!


FRIDAY, JAN. 19, 2007
1:30 P.M.

(specific location, transportation and other arrangements to be announced soon)

USW members on strike at
will be joined by their
to bring to Goodyear’s Corporate Headquarters
our fight for

For more information,
check the USW website at:

Goodyear Screws U.S. Troops

Production Shortage Affects Military Shipments

Goodyear rebuffs influential congressman


Although Goodyear continues to claim that it is meeting the military’s production needs, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee tells the company that with production levels reduced there is a shortage within the military.

Production Levels Reduced By 35%

Yesterday, Rep. Hunter announced a significant shortage of tires for Humvees, the workhorse vehicle in Iraq and Afghanistan. He requested the return to work of 200 skilled union workers in Topeka, Kansas to fulfill military needs that current replacement workers cannot meet.

Goodyear Has Repeatedly Refused USW Offers To Insure Military Supply

The USW has made numerous offers since the beginning of October to work with the company to ensure that the supply requirements of the military are met. Since Hunter’s call for a solution yesterday, the USW has twice offered a solution to the shortage. Not only has Goo…

Goodyear Screwing its Investors

Goodyear management provoked a labor dispute with the United Steelworkers by demanding tire building be done by workers making only 42 cents per hour.
Goodyear will not win this fight because the American people won't allow it.
In the meantime, investors will lose their shirts.

Sweatshop Man of the Year? We'll see.

Dr. Martin C. Jischke became Purdue University's 10th president in August 2000. A Chicago native, he received his bachelor's degree in physics with honors from the Illinois Institute of Technology, and earned his master's and doctoral degrees in aeronautics and astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A very smart man, no doubt. An educated man at least.
I wonder if he's smart enough to know what's best for his country.

As I understand it, Purdue University students are on a hunger strike while this guy says he needs more time to figure out whether or not to continue to purchase Purdue apparel items which are produced in sweatshop factories.

I hope he makes the right dicision. If not, I hope everyone boycotts Purdue.

Goodyear Investor Alert #6

Yes, We Have No Tires

Strike Impact on Goodyear Customers Grows

Since the beginning of the strike Goodyear has been telling its customers and shareholders that it will be able to continue to serve its customers. The Union has cautioned investors that Goodyear’s pre-strike reserves would soon run out and that the Company would lose business and important customers. Public comments by tire dealers can settle this debate.

Tight Market Even TighterAccording to an article in Modern Tire Dealer this week, in order to get tires, dealers have to “say some prayers and pull some teeth,” and the tires that they are getting are ones that were sitting in the warehouse from before the strike. Goodyear’s largest OTR customer, Purcell Tire & Rubber Co. has not received a shipment from Goodyear since the strike began. Another customer has had to substitute Goodyear tires with another brand.

Market Share Will SlipDealers selling consumer replacement tires have not fared much better. Reports of …

USW Blasts J.P. Morgan Analyst

USW Blasts J.P. Morgan Analyst Patel's Misinformation about Goodyear Strike
Union condemns analyst's "shoddy research"

For Immediate Release November 29, 2006

(Pittsburgh, PA) -- The United Steelworkers (USW) today sharply criticized the latest analysis of the USW-Goodyear strike by Himanshu Patel of J.P. Morgan Securities Inc. as a "deliberate attempt to hype the company's stock through promoting Goodyear's campaign to break the union by creating unfounded fears amongst the membership, families and communities."

Yesterday Patel wrote that "a key date for the strike could be January 3, when health care coverage for striking workers is cut off, which could spur increased pressure from union members to reach an agreement."

"Another projection that's dead wrong by a guy who just doesn't do his homework," said USW International vice president Tom Conway. "We want Goodyear to stop stone-wal…

Goodyear Investor Alert

Consumer Safety Alert

Will Goodyear tires be safe for your family?

The experienced workforce at Goodyear has been forced out on strike due to the company’s demands to gut their healthcare, close factories and bring in tires made in China and other low-wage countries.

For now, Goodyear is using replacement workers to make tires to be sold here in America.
Why is this important to you?
An independent Princeton University study has linked labor strife, including the use of replacement workers, with the production of defective tires.

The Princeton study examines the causes of the Firestone and Ford recall of 14.4 million tires in 2000. You may remember the rollover accident that caused so many deaths and horrific injuries on our nation’s highways.

These tires were linked by the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration to complaints involving 271 fatalities and more than 800 injuries.

So ask yourself:

Can you afford to trust Goodyear?

Goodyear Action Call


We will be protesting Goodyear's assault on the economic security and
basic rights of working families and Union members, as well as current and
future retirees.

When: Saturday, November 18, 2006

Time: 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon

Where: Goodyear "JUST TIRE" store located at 6154 S.
Kedzie, Chicago, IL

We will handbill customers and pedestrians, and hold a brief rally.
This will be the first of many days of action.

There will be a bus leaving McBride Hall, 1301 Texas Street, Gary,
Indiana at 9:00 a.m. Saturday. For additional information and/or to reserve
your seat on the bus call the District 7 office at 219-886-2596 or

Wear a union or SOAR hat if you have one.

Goodyear Condemned

AFL-CIO Executive Council Statement
November 14, 2006
Washington, D.C.


WHEREAS the Steelworkers Union, on behalf of its more than 15,000 members and 30,000
retirees and their families, reached an innovative collective bargaining agreement with the
Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in 2003, in which they made significant sacrifices to bring
the company back from the brink of bankruptcy; and,

WHEREAS these sacrifices included closure of the Huntsville, Alabama, plant; wage and benefit reductions; massive changes to improve productivity and efficiency; as well as increased retiree contributions to health care benefits; and,

WHEREAS these sacrifices have restored Goodyear’s profitability to $228 million after taxes
last year alone, which the company’s executives have used to grant themselves
multi-million dollar bonuses; and,

WHEREAS Goodyear has ignored the sacrifices made by Steelworker members and retirees
during the curre…

Goodyear Update

Nationwide Protest Will Target Goodyear for ‘Abandoning America’s Workers, Retirees and Communities’
Tuesday, November 14, 2006

PITTSBURGH — The AFL-CIO will join the United Steelworkers (USW) in launching a nationwide Day of Action against Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company (NYSE:GT) “to protest Goodyear’s assault on the economic security and basic rights of working families and Steelworker members, as well as current and future retirees,” the USW and AFL-CIO announced today.
In a meeting in Washington today, the Federation’s Executive Council voted unanimously to:
Discredit Goodyear’s abandonment of American manufacturing, workers, retirees and their communities;Join with Steelworker members on informational actions at stores selling Goodyear products;Condemn Goodyear’s assault on the health security of its workers and retirees as destructive to organized labor’s ongoing efforts to win accessible and affordable health care for all; andEncourage employers with whom affiliates have contra…

Free Traders Sent Packing

At least 15 House of Representatives free-trade incumbents were beaten by fair trade challengers with another 10 races too close too call.

6 Senate free-trade incumbents were beaten by fair trade challengers.

Every single co-sponsor of the anti-sweatshop legislation (HR 5635) who was seeking re-election in the House of Representatives WON!

Every co-sponsor of the anti-sweatshop legislation in the Senate (S 3485) who was up for election also won as did Bernie Sanders (VT) and Ben Cardin (MD) who were co-sponsoring House members vying for Senate seats. The only co-sponsor to lose was House co-sponsor Harold Ford (TN) who lost his bid for the Senate.

Rapid Response expects the free-trade leadership of the Congress to quickly bring at least one NAFTA-like trade bill up for a vote in the next couple of weeks before the new Congress can be sworn in. We expect this to be the Peru Free Trade Agreement.

source: November 8, 2006 Rapid Response INFOALERT

Thanks from Joe Donnelly

Joe and Jill Donnelly

Thank You!

Thanks to all the phone callers, canvassers, volunteers, supporters and voters who made this victory possible. Together with my staff, these volunteers worked for months to spread the word about my campaign and get out the vote.

I will work tirelessly in Congress to make all your hard work meaningful and to represent all the people of the second district.

Thank you for your support.


Stay the Course, Stay the Course, Stay the course???

Bull!--Vote for Change!

Vote for Joe Donnelly!



Websters New World Dictionary:

“designating, of, or characteristic of a government or state in which one political party or group maintains complete control and illegalizes all others.”

Brothers and Sisters, Ladies and Gentleman,

Our wonderful country has been trending in this direction for some time. You can help save our country.

Vote on November 7th!

Great News for USW Retirees and Spouses

Innovative Trust Fund Makes Payment to 40,000 USW Retirees and Spouses

For Immediate Release October 31, 2006

(Pittsburgh, PA) More than 40,000 United Steelworker retirees and spouses who lost health care coverage in the bankruptcies of four steel companies are getting financial help with their Medicare Part B premiums from an innovative trust fund bargained by the USW to assist them.

Checks will be mailed during the first week of December to 40,476 USW-represented retirees and spouses of Bethlehem Steel, LTV, Acme Metals and Georgetown Steel, said Thomas Duzak, director of pension and benefits for the USW.

The checks will reimburse eligible individuals for up to six months of Medicare Part B premiums paid during the first half of 2006. A single retiree will receive $531 and couples $1,062. Premiums were typically $88.50 a month for Medicare beneficiaries.

“This benefit payout reflects our continuing commitment to represent the interests of retirees…

National ARA Endorses Tom Hayhurst

On Monday, November 1st, 2006, the Secretary-Treasurer of the National Alliance For Retired Americans, Ruben Burks, announced the ARA endorsement of Tom Hayhurst, for Indiana’s 3rd Congressional District, because of his stand on strengthening Social Security rather than privatize it, and his determination to get a decent Medicare Prescription Drug Program, absent any so called “Donut Hole”.
Additional photos can be seen by going to the Indiana ARA website.

Time Zone Fiasco, Toll Road Sale and now the South Shore R.R.?

Dave Niezgodski

On August 3rd, NICTD (Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District),
(South Shore), Staff met with INDOT Commissioner Tom Sharp. NICTD’s ridership has been on a steady upward stream that has not been seen since the early 1960’s.
Due to this steady increase in ridership it has become necessary to seek state and local funding in order to purchase 14 new cars amounting to a sum of close to 45 million dollars.

NICTD’s request to Commissioner Sharp & others present at the meeting dealt with winning approval for a multi - year funding mechanism utilizing CMAQ (congestion, mitigation, air quality) and Northwest RDA funds.

During a portion of this meeting Commissioner Sharp informed NICTD Staff that CMAQ funds would not be sufficient to address the timeline that NICTD required in order to promptly order the 14 new cars. Commissioner Sharp also recommended that NICTD explore all possible means including a P3, lease or sale of the railroad in a plan similar to the one that …

senior voter guide

National ARA Endorses Joe Donnelly and Julia Carson

On Wednesday, October 25th, 2006, the Secretary-Treasurer of the National Alliance For Retired Americans, Ruben Burks, announced the ARA endorsement of Joe Donnelly, for Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District, because of his stand on strengthening Social Security rather than privatize it, and his determination to get a decent Medicare Prescription Drug Program, absent any so called “Donut Hole”.


On Friday, October 27th, 2006, National Board Member of the National Alliance For Retired Americans, Charlie Averill, announced the ARA endorsement of Julia Carson, for Indiana’s 7th Congressional District, because of her stand on strengthening Social Security rather than privatize it, and her determination to get a decent Medicare Prescription Drug Program, absent any so called “Donut Hole”.

Additional photos can be seen by going to the Indiana ARA website.

Alliance for Retired Americans Comment on President Bush Touting Social Security Privatization on CNBC

For Immediate Release:

The following statement was issued today by Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans.

President Bush's statement yesterday that Social Security will be high on his agenda in 2007 should be of grave concern to both current and future retirees.

This is yet another reminder that seniors cannot trust President Bush and a Republican Congress with their retirement security.

Change is long overdue in Washington, as shown by how this Social Security debate can still linger even in the face of such widespread opposition by the American people. Apparently they must not have heard the national outcry over the President and Republican leaders wanting to gamble away Social Security on the whims of the stock market.

Social Security privatization is as failed and outdated as those who are trying to sell it to the American people.

For more information on the Alliance, visit

The Alliance for Retired Americans is a national …

Strike Ends at Bunny Bakery

The members of USW Local 1191-05 reached an agreement with Lewis Baking/Bunny Bread in LaPorte last nite.
The workers are now back to work.
Thanks for your support.
What a great union we have!
Buy all the Bunny bread you want.
Experienced Bakers are back on the job.

The Magnificent Eight

Listening closely to the Donnelly-Chocola debate last night and learning from some of the statements made, has given me one more reason to vote for Joe Donnelly for Congress, and here it is:

A vote for Chocola would mean that Dennis Hastart would once again be the Speaker of the House. He’s the one accused of, and under investigation for, protecting the republican party, rather than protecting the congressional pages from sexual harassment and molestation from the likes of Mark Foley.

Bunny Bread Sucks

LaPorte IN:

The 150 members of USW Local Union 1191-
05 were forced to strike Lewis Baking/Bunny Bread in LaPorte
when the company refused to offer a fair and equitable
The bakers who went the extra mile, worked a week past the
expiration date of the previous agreement in an attempt to
get a settlement without a work stoppage.
The experienced bakers at Lewis Bakeries make Bread,
Brown and Serve Rolls, as well as Hot Dog and Hamburger
Buns under the brand name of Bunny Bread IGA, Jewels,
Nickels, and Aldi’s.
You should be aware that these products are not being
produced by the experienced bakers who normally make
Please help your neighbors, the bakers at Bunny Bread
make a fair wage and a decent standard of living.
Bakery Workers are Tired of Crumbs
They're fighting for a Slice

The pickets are located at 800 Boyd Avenue in LaPorte, IN
If you drive or live near there, please stop by and lend your support.

Click here if you're unsure of what time it is in LaPorte, Indiana, they're…

Losing Track of Time

Indiana is the laughing stock of the country thanks to our Governor, Mitch Daniels, and his Lapdog, State Representative Steve Heim, who chose to spit in the faces of the majority of Hoosiers by instituting the nuttiest, craziest time zone mess ever.
When our representatives fail to follow up on their promises, and instead, just follow the leader, it's time for them to be fired.
We can make sure that at least one of these guys hit the road next month.

Here is a song that tells it like it is:

Losing Track of Time

George Schricker: Lead Vocal & Rhythm Guitar
Steve DeFord: Keyboards & Backup Vocals
Bruce Bartlett: Bass & Tamborine
Produced by Bruce Bartlett
West Wind Studios
Elkhart, Indiana

Spending the Social Security Surplus

Social Security is the most popular government program in history, providing monthly benefits to 43 million Americans. Forty percent of seniors would fall below the poverty line without their Social Security check. In 2001, there were an estimated 3.4 workers paying Social Security payroll taxes for the benefit of each retiree; by 2030, the ratio will fall to an estimated 2.1 workers per retiree. Last year, Congress approved a budget agreement that would spend the Social Security surplus. According to an analysis by Congressional Quarterly, “the agreement projects declining deficits over the succeeding four years, reaching $210.9 billion in FY 2010. However, all of these deficits count Social Security surpluses. If Social Security surpluses are not counted, the FY 2010 deficit would be $470.8 billion.” Both the House and Senate approved the measure.
"NO" was the pro-middle class vote.
Chris Chocola voted YES
It's Time for a Change!

A Message to Union Retirees

by George J. Kourpias

I joined a union – the Machinists union – in 1952. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

I’ve been fortunate to serve in a number of different positions in labor and government over the years, but there is no title that has ever meant more to me than being called “brother.”

The labor movement built the middle class in this country. We have made great strides toward justice on the job and in our communities. We have so much to be proud of.

But unfortunately, the story hasn’t been that good lately.

Union retirees are seeing what we built begin to crumble. Good jobs sent overseas.
Pensions and health care vanish in the blink of an eye. Big corporations walk away from their commitments to workers and retirees – knowing that the government won’t stand in their way.

As retirees, we worry about what we are leaving behind for our children and grandchildren.

On November 7, we can begin to change this. The entire U.S. House of Representatives, one-third of the U…

USW Announces Intent to Terminate Goodyear Contract

Notice Delivered; Extension Agreement ends in 72 Hours; Likelihood of a Strike Increases

For Immediate Release October 2, 2006

(Pittsburgh, PA) -- The United Steelworkers (USW) announced today that it delivered the required notice to the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company and that unless a tentative agreement is reached; the contract will terminate on October 5, 2006 at 1:00 p.m. EST.

As a three-year master contract approached its July 22, 2006 termination date, both sides entered into a day-to-day extension agreement that provided both the company and the USW the option of terminating the agreement upon delivering a 72-hour notice.

"We've been telling the company that we would stay at the bargaining table as long as progress was being made," said USW executive vice president Ron Hoover. "There's no sense continuing these talks if Goodyear is intent on gutting our contract and closing our plants."

"It's a sad…

More States Losing Jobs

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) August jobs data for the 50 states and Washington, D.C. shows that the recent slowdown in job growth is spreading through more states even as growth remains strong in others.

Fourteen states lost jobs in August and nine states lost jobs over the two months of July and August. States losing jobs over the past two months include Nebraska, Michigan, Oklahoma, Kansas, Rhode Island, Alabama, New Jersey, Ohio and Wisconsin. Indiana, Tennessee, North Carolina and Connecticut also faced near stagnation in their jobs market as a total of 20 states had less than 0.15% job growth over the two-month period.

At the same time, several Mountain and Southwest states – and a rebuilding Louisiana, Georgia and Mississippi – enjoy strong job growth.

Louisiana and Michigan continue to have fewer jobs yr/yr and a total of 20 states – from Kansas and Rhode Island to Oklahoma and Illinois have added less that 1.1% to their job market over the past 12 months. (Despite losin…

The Truth About Right to Work

by David Chlebek, Vice President USW Local 12775

To most people, right to work sounds like something that we should all be in support of. In a perfect world everyone should have a right to a job. However, right to work is far from that. Simply put, right to work legislation are laws at the state level that legally ban workers who by a majority vote decided to form a union in their workplace. The truth is that no one has the inherent right to work for a living or the right to a job. By Federal law unions must represent all workers-members and nonmembers-in contract negotiations and other workplace issues. This means that your dues dollars pay for helping nonmembers get the same contract benefits that you have.

Currently there are 22 states that have right to work laws. Oklahoma is the most recent. A right to work law would allow nonmember workers to get all of the benefits of a union membership and pay nothing while forcing unions and their members to foot the bill for those not willing …


Seeking a political candidate who will do something about the 44,900 manufacturing jobs American workers are losing every month. A candidate who will get our government to start enforcing the trade laws it refuses to enforce now, so we can stop countries like China, India and Brazil from stealing American jobs.

Send resume to: the voters

Chocola no friend of Seniors

Trial Lawyers Get the Word Out on High Prescription Drug Costs…

The Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA) on Tuesday launched a $500,000 television and radio ad campaign in five congressional districts blaming GOP lawmakers for not seeking lower prices for Medicare’s prescription drug program. The ads accuse the lawmakers of blocking provisions that would have required Medicare to negotiate with drug companies for the best prescription cost. Members of Congress singled out by the ads are Reps. Heather Wilson of New Mexico, Deborah Pryce of Ohio, Chris Chocola of Indiana, Charles Taylor of North Carolina and Don Sherwood of Pennsylvania. “An ATLA spokeswoman has accused these lawmakers of ‘voting repeatedly to restrict access to justice,’ and she is absolutely correct,” said George J. Kourpias, President of the Alliance. The trial lawyers' ads will run through Sept. 7, and air as the latest Associated Press-Ipsos poll shows 49 percent of seniors favoring the Democrat in…

Toll Road pact a mistake

by Nancy Dembowski

The failures associated with decisions made in the Indiana General Assembly affect each of us dramatically. We have learned this the hard way in the past two years, when the majority in the legislature, including my opponent, stopped listening to us. This was very evident in the passage of daylight-saving time, a plan that has caused confusion, frustration and disruption across the state.

Our Toll Road was sold as the only way that Indiana would be able to pay for 10 years worth of road construction. The meager $3 billion payoff we received does not match the $130 billion foreign investors will receive during the remaining 65 years of the lease. Our Toll Road, once promised to be free by Gov. Harold W. Handley, has now been pledged for 75 more years of tolling taxation. Further, investors may raise tolls by 6.2 percent each year of the plan.

This so-called lease will not see its end in most of our lifetimes, or for that matter, the lifetimes of our children and grandch…

When Republicans Were People

"I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity."
- - General of the Army D.D. Eisenhower

From the address by President Dwight D. Eisenhower "The Chance for Peace" delivered before the American Society of Newspaper Editors, April 16,1953.

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.
This world in arms is not spending money alone.
It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.

The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities.
It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population.
It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals.
It is some 50 miles of concrete highway.
We pay for a single fighter with a half million bushels of wheat.
We pay for a single destro…

Chocola Manure

Three and 1/2 inches of rain, plus the addition of a soil amendment consisting of the latest mailings from Chris Chocola has produced this gigantic corn stalk over 15 feet tall.
Surely, some entrepreneur could sell Chocola Manure. I have a hunch that shredding this stuff might be the best way to go for a quick boost to plants, but keep in mind that it does rot pretty quickly.

Chocola Corn

My wife Elaine planted and cared for this corn which today measures 13 feet 3 inches tall. I’ve been trying to find out how she did it but she won’t tell me.
Today, she went out of town and I thought I would cook myself some beets, but having never done it before, started looking for a recipe when I came across the following stuck between pages of one of her cook books:

To Grow Chocola Corn:

Plant corn seeds one inch deep and two feet apart.When plant is three feet tall, take all of the mail received from Congressman Chris Chocola telling us how great Medicare Part D is and cut into three inch squares.Gently bury these squares three inches deep encircling the plant, being careful not to let them touch the roots, and cover lightly.When plant is six feet tall, bury the Chocola mail that deals with how he is “saving the nation more than $100 million annually” at the same depth, but about 1 1/2 feet from the stalk, once again encircling the plant. Surplus mailings can be placed in the compos…

Chocola gets another "F"

If you will go to the AFL-CIO web site

Then, under "HOT FEATURES", click on "How Did Your Members of Congress Vote?"

Then, click on "2006 Interim House Voting Record"

I believe that you will discover that Chris Chocola had the worst voting record for workers than any other member of the U.S. House of Representatives. At least, that's how it appears to me.

He would have had a 100% record against labor, but he was absent for the vote on Mine Safety and so wasn't able to vote against it.

I may be all wrong about this but my eyes got blurry going over the W's and R's.

If you're a worker, or a retiree, you cannot afford to vote for this guy.

Dembowski Endorsed by Retirees

News Release

The Executive Board of the Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR) Chapter 30-18, had no difficulty recently in unanimously endorsing Nancy Dembowski, candidate for Indiana House District 17. This chapter of SOAR is composed of former employees of NIPSCO.

Mrs. Dembowski, the former Mayor of Knox, Indiana, and former State Senator, assured the organization that she would be responsive to the local needs of working families and retirees before downstate politics. Also, she said that doing the right thing by our children and grandchildren is more important to her than short-term political gain and quick cash.

She also said she would fight to relieve the burden of rising property taxes, and ensure that the Legislature actually consider the impact of how every law they debate effects working families and retirees.

The chapter was impressed with the fact that Nancy Dembowski’s late husband, Ed, was a former Steelworker and an active member of SOAR. Nancy has been an …

Tentative Agreement At BFGoodrich

July 25, 2006

(Knoxville, Tenn.) -- The United Steelworkers (USW) announced this evening that a tentative agreement has been reached at BFGoodrich. The master agreement covers 4,000 members at three plants in Fort Wayne, In., Tuscaloosa, Ala. and Opelika Ala. BFGoodrich was designated last month as the target company in establishing an agreement in the tire industry. Master contracts are also being negotiated at Goodyear and Bridgestone/Firestone.

Details of the tentative agreement will not be released until membership at the three locals conduct informational meeting on the proposed contract. Ratification votes will then take place at the three locations. A "majority of the majority" will be required for contract ratification. This means that 50% plus one vote overall and two-of-the three locals must vote to accept the tentative agreement for it to become contract.

"We believe we achieved our industry goals when it comes to protecting retiree health care benefits and secu…

Bush's NLRB

Report Points to Unfair and Inconsistent Rulings in Favor of Employers

The Democratic staff led by Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, have produced a 25-page report detailing how the rulings of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) have either taken away or "severely restricted" the rights of millions of workers to organize into unions over the past five years.

"President Bush has filled the NLRB with anti-union members who have made it more difficult for workers to organize a labor union," Miller said in a statement releasing the report, Workers' Rights Under Attack by Bush Administration: President Bush's National Labor Relations Board Rolls Back Labor Protections. The NLRB has "used double standards, rationales, and unfair, inconsistent rulings to give employers more power over workers," he said.

The report lists several large groups of workers who have been excluded from the …

Oman Free Trade Agreement

Our National Security is at Risk!

This week, lawmakers in the House of Representatives discovered alarming provisions
in the text of the Oman Free Trade Agreement (FTA) that could have major
implications for our national security interests.

• Under the agreement, companies such as Dubai Ports World – the same
operation that set off a political firestorm earlier this year when they tried to
purchase the right to operate our ports – could set up in Oman and then attempt
to acquire a U.S. port operation.

• Even if Congress opposes this, the Oman FTA would allow the company to drag
the U.S. in front of UN or World Bank tribunals to demand our country
compensate them for any lost profits!

• This could happen with our ports or other national security assets.

Is this really the time for Congress to consider an agreement that not only puts workers
at risk, but also our national security? How much more can we bow down to corporate

Supporters of the Oman FTA are working overtime to play down this…

Peabody Miners: Fed Up and Fired Up

Mine Workers (UMWA) President Cecil Roberts often says: “When you get fed up and fired up, you got to get ready to stand up.” Coal miners are standing up in the coalfields across the country, demanding to be treated with respect and to have a voice to make sure their jobs are well paid and safe.

In recent years, the UMWA has responded to the requests of hundreds of nonunion miners at Peabody Energy’s facilities across the country for assistance in getting a voice at work. In December 2005, workers at 19 Peabody mines in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia launched the Justice at Peabody campaign.

Says John Cox, a miner at Peabody’s Farmersburg (Ind.) mine:
I pay anywhere between $300 to $500 a month in prescription drug costs because of Peabody’s sub-par health benefit package. Only with a union contract will we have better pay and benefits because it’s obvious Peabody is not going to give it to us.

Peabody, the world’s largest private coal company, provides 10 …

Social Security Under Attack

The Bush Administration released its mid-session budget review on Tuesday, and it included a proposal to spend $721 billion over the next ten years to privatize Social Security - $9 billion more than originally proposed. In a speech on the budget, President Bush specifically alluded to the cuts to Social Security benefits which would be required as part of his plan, saying, "We need to cut entitlement spending." Americans United, a coalition that includes the Alliance and was crucial to beating back privatization efforts last year, is mounting a renewed campaign to call attention to individual politicians' positions on the issue. The group is drafting scripts for a national media campaign against candidates and incumbents, including Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Rep. Clay Shaw (R-FL). Americans United plans to begin the advertising blitz no later than the first week in August, kicking off in as many as five of its nearly 20 targeted states.

Previously, on a June 20 …

CEO-Minimum Wage Ratio Soars

In 2005, an average Chief Executive Officer (CEO) was paid 821 times as much as a minimum wage earner, who earns just $5.15 per hour. An average CEO earns more before lunchtime on the very first day of work in the year than a minimum wage worker earns all year.

This extreme compensation ratio reflects both the extraordinary growth of CEO pay and also the diminishing value of the federal minimum wage that has not been raised since 1997: adjusting for inflation, the purchasing power of the minimum wage is now at its lowest since 1955.

The ratio wasn't always so extreme. As recently as 1978, CEOs were paid only 78 times as much as minimum wage earners.

Written by Economic Policy Institute (EPI) president Lawrence Mishel.

Sweatshop Goods? Ship Elsewhere!

Finally, legislation has been introduced in the U.S. Congress that attacks the sweatshop exploitation of workers across the globe. The “Decent Working Conditions and Fair Competition Act” has been introduced in the senate by Sen. Byron Dorgan and in the House of Representatives by Rep. Sherrod Brown. This is the bill we have been waiting on!

S 3485 and H.R. 5635 will:

• Ban the import or sale of sweatshop goods in the U.S.
• Establish strong rules for government purchasing – stops sweatshop products from being purchased with our tax $$
• Allow competitors or shareholders to sue company if it is found to be importing sweatshop goods.
• Outlaw goods made by children
• Define sweatshops as workplaces that do not meet the basic ILO standards for: minimum wages, rights to form a union and to collectively bargain and no slave labor.

There are many in Congress who have long hoped for this type of legislation and just as many or more who hoped this day would never come. They know this bill puts cand…

Tax cut for the top .27%??

Republicans in Congress are trying to abolish the estate tax. Last week they were 3 votes short of the 60 votes they needed to prevent a Democratic filibuster on the issue.
Since the estate tax repeal was pushed by Republicans, you know darned well that lies are being made to try to get support for it. Just like WMD’s in Iraq. You also know that repealing the estate tax, like all other legislation put forth by this administration will only benefit the richest among us.
They named it the “death tax”. Boy, isn’t that a scary name? Well, we all will die, won’t we? Now just stop to think about that. Who do you know that ever paid an estate tax? The only people subject to the estate tax are those single people with estates worth over two million dollars and couples with estates of four million. That’s 1% of the population. To call it a “death tax” is nothing more than a lie!
Another lie is that it’s double taxation. Well sorry, but that’s how the system works. A person pays taxes on wages, an…