Friday, March 30, 2007

New Steelworkers


Congratulations to the workers at the Georgia Pacific Gypsum plant in Wheatfield, Indiana. The results of their vote to organize themselves was 60-25 in favor of unionizing.
These workers are now members of the largest industrial union in North America. They overcame all the obstacles that management threw at them and are now proud Steelworkers and have a family of over a million workers and retirees on their team.

"If you destroy a man's dignity, you will lose his respect. Power can be purchased, respect must be earned." Author Unknown

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Need for Change


On March 26th, Steelworkers and SOAR members joined in solidarity with workers at the Georgia Pacific Gypsum plant in Wheatfield, Indiana, on the eve of their vote to organize their own union.
It's a crying shame that workers in America have to undergo this outdated process of putting up with an employers intimidation, hostile union-busting tactics, to simply choose to organize themselves.
These workers had to attend half hour meeting each day while the employers unionbusting consultants pounded with anti-union speeches.
Workers should have free choice to organize themselves. An employer should not have the right to coerce them into opposing unions with bribes or special favors, or threaten them in any way.
Urge your U.S. Senators to co-sponsor the Employee Free Choice Act

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

We Need You!

Organizing Election Rally

Where?
484 E. 1400N.
Wheatfield, IN. just south of RMSGS

When?
Monday March 26th
6:00 AM - 7:15 AM.
&
6:00 PM. - 7:15 PM

The workers a Georgia Pacific Gypsum in Wheatfield, Indiana need your support!
Having filed for a Union election in February, they have endured a brutal campaign
by their employer to crush their effort to join the USW and gain their rights
to Union recognition.
On Tuesday March 27th, they will vote in an NLRB election. The workers there are holding strong,
but they need the support of all Steelworkers and SOAR members in our area to show their employer they will not be denied the
RIGHT to ORGANIZE!

Please plan to attend one or both of the rallies on Monday March 26th,
the day before their election, and show your support!
Their fight is OUR fight!

from the Gary/Portage area: take 80/94 east to Hwy 49 South,
Or US 30 east to Hwy 49 South
Go South on 49 to 1400N. Turn East on 1400N.
the plant is at the end of the road. approximately 1/4 mile

Sunday, March 18, 2007

ARA Supports Employee Free Choice Act

Resolution
Workers’ Right to Organize

Adopted September 6, 2006

Whereas the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948 states: “Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests;” and

Whereas 11 Nobel Peace Prize Laureates have called upon every nation, including the United States, to protect and defend workers’ rights, including the right to form unions and bargain collectively; and

Whereas 73 percent of the American public say laws protecting the freedom to join unions are important; and

Whereas only 12.5 percent of U.S. workers belong to a union; and

Whereas nearly 6 in 10, or 59 percent, of American workers would be in a union if workers could choose freely; and

Whereas 57 million nonunion workers say they want to join a union; and

Whereas employer attempts to obstruct unions is widespread and escalating; and

Whereas over half (52 percent) of private-sector U.S employers, when faced with employees who want to start a union, threaten to shut down or cut back operations if mployees join a union; and

Whereas a quarter of employers illegally fire at least one worker for union activity during organizing campaigns, and three-quarters of employers hire consultants or union-busters to help them fight union organizing drives; and

Whereas more than 20,000 American workers are illegally disciplined or fired for engaging in union activity annually, up from 6,000 in 1969 and under 1,000 per year in the 1950s; and

Whereas 45 percent of workers who win a union election still don’t have a union contract two years later because of employer delaying tactics and unwillingness to bargain in good faith; and

Whereas employers regularly use an array of administrative and procedural delays in the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) representation election process and in court proceedings; and

Whereas employers engage in unfair labor practices with impunity because the 1935 National Labor Relations Act’s penalties are weak and infrequently enforced; and

Whereas Human Rights Watch in 2000 reported that U.S. labor laws were grossly out-of-compliance with international human rights norms and were failing utterly to protect workers’ basic freedom to form unions and bargain collectively; and

Whereas the Government Accountability Office in 2002 estimated that 32 million U.S. workers lacked even the minimal legal protections to form unions and bargain collectively; and

Whereas since taking office, President Bush and his NLRB appointees have stripped federal labor law coverage, and hence protection, from graduate student employees, certain disabled workers, and employees of temporary help agencies; and

Whereas governors in Indiana, Kentucky and Missouri recently rescinded collective bargaining for state workers and half the states continue to deny public employees the basic right to bargain collectively with their employers.

Therefore, be it resolved that the Alliance for Retired Americans supports passage of bipartisan legislation such as the Employee Free Choice Act (S. 842 and H.R. 1696) introduced by Senators Edward Kennedy and Arlen Specter, and Representatives George Miller and Peter King respectively, which:

• Provides for the certification of a union when a majority of the employees at a workplace has signed written authorizations stating they wish to have union representation;

• Gives both employees and employers access to mediation and binding arbitration to reach an initial collective bargaining agreement on a timely basis; and

• Imposes stiff and quick enforcement of penalties for illegal employer conduct violating workers’ rights.

Be it further resolved that the Alliance for Retired Americans supports efforts to protect public sector workers from federal workplace rules or gubernatorial orders that undermine collective bargaining agreements and any attempts to privatize public sector jobs.

The Alliance for Retired Americans is a nationwide organization of three million retirees and other older and retired Americans working together to make their voices heard in the laws, policies, politics and institutions that shape our lives.

815 16th Street, NW, Floor Washington, DC 20006 (202) 637-5399 (888) 373-6497
www.retiredamericans.org

Thursday, March 15, 2007

End the War in Iraq



Resolution to End the War

The American people voted overwhelmingly in 2006 to end the war in Iraq. Over 60% of the people want the war to end as rapidly as possible. But the Bush administration has made it clear that they will not respect the majority opinion.

The war cannot be won with military force and only serves to put our troops needlessly in harm’s way and wastes billions of dollars that could be much better used at home to solve problems like health care and Social Security.

We call on Congress to continue their oversight responsibility and to work to bring the troops home and end the war as rapidly as possible.

We also call on Congress to really support the troops by guaranteeing full and increased funding for veterans benefits and health care. We call on Congress to enact a new GI Bill that will truly provide funds for returning veterans for education, home ownership and financial help for restarting their lives and taking care of their families when they come home.

Resolution passed by SOAR Chapter 31-9

Sunday, March 11, 2007

How War Mongers Support our Troops

I find it so sad, but at the same time, so disgusting, how the war mongers who weren't satisfied with fighting AL QAEDA in Afghanistan, but instead chose to follow Bush's stupid, unprecedented, pre-emptive invasion of Iraq, continually squeal "support the troops", "support the troops", while at the same time display their form of patriotism by not supplying those same troops with proper vehicles and body armor and who know what else, and then once they're home, forget about them.
We can really support the troops by guaranteeing full and increased funding for veterans benefits and health care.
Our troops could use a new GI Bill that will truly provide funds for returning veterans for education, home ownership and financial help for restarting their lives and taking care of their families when they come home.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Continental Tire, Shame Shame


Mixed feelings about UNC sports
By Mark West
Larry Little is an avid basketball fan in general, and a huge UNC
Tarheel fan in particular. He has videos of UNC games dating from 1979.
In October Of last year, Larry got a rare opportunity to visit the
hallowed halls of UNCs home court, the Dean Smith center. I was with
Larry on that occasion, and I witnessed the excitement of his thrill of
a lifetime. Larry was as giddy as kid on Christmas morning. The pictures
on the walls in the hallway of the Dean Smith center came to life for
him. I, not being as big of a fan, was Larry's classroom and he was the
instructor.

He tells me about this guy and that guy. "This is Michael Jordan" he
says, he played on the 1982 championship team. This one played in 1987,
here's Julius Peppers who now plays football for the Carolina Panthers,
"He played both basketball and football for UNC in 2000" Larry says, and
"UNC went to the final 4 that year, what a great athlete Julius Peppers
is" he says. In the trophy room of the Dean Smith center is where Larry
took over one hundred pictures of the history of UNC basketball,
including pictures of the bust of the great Dean Smith himself.

Although Larry is still a fan of UNCs sports, and is proud of UNCs
success in making it to basketballs NCAA tournament this year, and is
cheering for them in the ACC tournament, the business of UNCs sports
sponsorship has a bitter taste for him. You see the reason that Larry, a
retiree with 32 years of service with Continental Tire in Charlotte,
North Carolina, was visiting UNC in October of last year, was that he
was part of a group of former Continental Tire employees, and retirees,
that met with UNCs athletic director, and some of the UNC athletic
department's staff, to ask them to disassociate UNC with Continental
Tire.

On September the 6th 2006, Continental Tire announced a sponsorship
agreement between UNC and Continental Tire. Travis Roffler, Continental
Tire's Director of Marketing stated that the sponsorship of the UNC
athletics program shows "Continental Tire's commitment to the Carolinas,
our dealers and their communities". In July of 2006, Continental Tire
laid off hundreds of Carolina workers, sent their jobs to cheap labor
countries such as Brazil and Mexico, implemented a healthcare plan for
retirees forcing them to either pay up to $1600 per month or loose their
healthcare.

Larry, along with myself, a former Continental Tire employee, wonder how
a company can put its retirees in such dire straits, and send jobs to
Mexico and Brazil be committed to the Carolinas? Larry has visited UNC
several times since that initial October visit. He hasn't been inside
the Dean Dome again, but has been on the outside with his fellow
retirees and former co-workers passing out information at basketball
games to fans, exposing the black eye on UNC.

Larry is torn between his passion for UNC and his misgivings about UNCs
association with Continental Tire. He wonders if the basketball net that
UNC just scored on is bought and paid for, at his and his fellow
retiree's expense. He wonders why a University will continue to accept
sponsorship money from a corporation that misrepresents itself, and in
essence is using the UNC Tarheels to bolster an untrue image on the
backs of blue collar Carolinians. Larry simply asks why?

Mark West is a member of USW Local 850 and former CTNA employee. For
more information on the Steelworker's struggle at Continental Tire, check out www.SolidarityAtConti.org

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

EFCA Passes in the House

The Employee Free Choice Act Passed in the U.S. House of Representatives. It gives workers, not corporations, the right to decide how to vote for a union. It makes it harder for employers to interfere and places real penalties on those that do. Finally, it provides first contract arbitration for employers who seek to stall and delay negotiations for wages and benefits.

In our country, a person isn't fired because he joins a church, or the VFW, or the Masons. Well, he shouldn't be fired for joining a union either, but that in fact is what happens.

Now if we can get our U.S. Senators to vote the right way on this legislation, our country will be much better off. It's the right thing to do.

Unfortunately, Indiana Senator Richard Lugar hasn't seen the light yet and hasn't cosponsored the bill.
He needs an awakening.