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Showing posts from December, 2008

“A Tribute to the Original, Traditional, One-Hundred-Percent, Red-Blooded, Two-Fisted, All-American Christmas...”

It’s Christmas Eve and like most everyone I suppose, the day has me remembering the good things from childhood around this time of year.

One of my favorite movies is the 1983 release of “A Christmas Story” which is a novel by Jean Shepherd and takes place in Highland, Indiana (I think) or maybe Hammond, and how he finagles his father into getting him a Red Rider BB gun.

Well, I also have that Christmas memory of hoping for the same BB gun. That was what Santa brought me that year and one my best gifts ever.

It’s a wonder some kid in the neighborhood didn’t lose an eye because we often had regular old shoot em up gun fights in the woods behind our house on Kelly Street in Hobart. Gosh those darned BB’s really hurt.

If you’ve never seen the movie, it is a must see, that’s for sure.

I wish you all a very peaceful Christmas.

Organizations that have endorsed the Employee Free Choice Act:

The following organizations have endorsed the Employee Free Choice Act:

ACORN Alliance for JusticeAlliance for Retired Americans American Friends Service Committee American Library Association – Allied Professional Association American Public Health Association (resolution) American Rights at Work Americans for Democratic Action Americans United for ChangeA. Philip Randolph Institute Apollo AllianceAsian Pacific American Labor Alliance Black Leadership Forum Business Responds to AIDS/Labor Responds to AIDS (BRTA/LRTA) California Church Impact Center for American Progress Center for America’s Future Center for Community Change Center for Corporate Policy Change America Now Church Women United Clergy and Laity Network United for Justice Coalition of Black Trade Unionists Coalition of Contingent Academics Labor Coalition of Labor Union Women (resolution—PDF) Council on American-Islamic Relations Coalition on Human Needs Coalition of Immokalee Workers Consumers for Auto Reliability and Sa…

Give Workers a Chance to Unionize

William M. George
President of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO

For the last 25 years, good jobs have disappeared and real wages have dropped, even though workers' productivity has soared. People have struggled to maintain their living standards through credit.

But you can't rebuild or maintain a middle class on credit. You have to do it the old-fashioned way: Workers need to be able to bargain for decent wages and benefits for our nation to have a true, sustainable recovery.

The Employee Free Choice Act would restore workers' freedom to improve their living standards - and our economy - by forming unions, free from employer interference. It would restore balance, giving working people the tools they need to win fair wages and treatment in corporate America.

Workers who belong to a union make 30 percent more than those who don't. In Pennsylvania, the union difference is $8,555 in yearly wages. And union workers are also much more likely to have health insurance and other benefits.


Toyota Republicans should cut their own pay

By Leo W. Gerard
USW International President
Dec 21, 2008

President Bush took to the TV Friday to announce that he wouldn’t walk past the financial crash of America’s Big Three automakers and do nothing to save their lives.
Refusing resuscitation, Bush said, would be irresponsible during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
A week earlier, 31 GOP Senators, mostly from Southern states, voted to avert their eyes and allow American auto companies to die. They opposed $14 billion in federal loans for GM and Chrysler, revealing that their loyalty lies not with America, not even with their own states, but with South Korea and Germany and Japan.
They are Toyota Republicans.
Toyota has non-union manufacturing plants in Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Texas – states whose senators led the GOP quest to slay the Big Three American auto manufacturers – Richard Shelby, R-Ala.; Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, and John Cornyn, R-Tx. Here’s the Republican from Mississippi, Sen. Thad Cochran, expl…

Steelworkers Acclaim Obama's Appointment of Rep. Solis as Next Labor Secretary

Pittsburgh - The United Steelworkers (USW) union today hailed President-Elect Barack Obama’s appointment of U.S. Rep. Hilda Solis (D-Calif.) as the next U.S. Secretary of Labor. “Our union has worked tirelessly to reverse the disastrous course that our nation has been led down during the past eight years,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. Celebrating President-elect Obama’s victory was a joyous occasion, but putting things right will not be easy.”“The right-wing advocates of the failed trickle down economics will not fall silent when the new Administration takes office,” he said. “Our union is looking forward, with overwhelming enthusiasm, to working with a labor secretary who is committed to supporting the needs of millions of working families in this country.”“We know that Hilda Solis is committed to bringing fairness and economic justice to American workers, especially those who go to work every day and have no voice in the workplace, that is, no union to represent…

Corporate Greed Finally Breaks the Economy

The American Worker is Under Assault with:

Attacks on UnionsJob-Killing Trade DealsSkyrocketing CEO PayAnti-Family PoliciesGlobal Race to the BottomNo Oversight for CorporationsRight-to-Work (for less) LawsOut-of-Reach Health CareRetirement InsecurityCorporate GreedMillions of Lost JobsRisky Stock Schemes
The economic crisis we are now in is the result of unchecked corporate greed and decades of attacks on workers. The last thirty years have seen the biggest shift of wealth in American history where the richest 1% of all Americans owns 40% of all wealth. The USW has warned again and again that this economic inequality would eventually result in disaster and now that time has come.

The following are some of the guiding economic principles in place over the last thirty years that have crippled our economy and left American workers under assault like never before:

Deregulation – The anti-worker economy and its practitioners reduced and eliminated rules for how corporations carry out their bu…

A Farewell Kiss

Yesterday at a news conference in Baghdad, an Iraqi journalist threw both of his shoes at President George W. Bush.

"This is a farewell kiss, you dog," he yelled in Arabic as he threw his shoes. "This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq."

Now let me be clear. I didn’t like to see that happen on the news, and I don’t condone or appreciate my country’s president being attacked in any way.

However, I must confess that if my country had been invaded and attacked by another nation with bombs for no good reason killing thousands of my countrymen. And if the invader had occupied our country for five years displacing millions of innocent civilians and killing and maiming hundreds of thousands. And if the leader of that invading country responsible for these atrocities was giving a speech, I think I would want to throw more than my shoes at him.

Bleepin Union Haters next to bite the dust

Many thanks to Indiana's U.S. Senators for voting to loan the auto companies their 14 billion bucks to get them through this depression. Both Senator Lugar and Senator Bayh voted the American way.

The Union Haters who voted for their foreign car companies which are located in "right to work for less states" are the ones we need to concentrate on kicking out in the next election. They vote for the race to the bottom for American workers, hate the unions (except for their own) and don't know what it means to be a patriotic American.

Here are their bleepin names:

Allard, Colo.; Barrasso, Wyo.; Bennett, Utah; Bunning, Ky.; Burr, N.C.; Chambliss, Ga.; Coburn, Okla.; Cochran, Miss.; Coleman, Minn.; Corker, Tenn.; Crapo, Idaho; DeMint, S.C.; Ensign, Nev.; Enzi, Wyo.; Grassley, Iowa; Gregg, N.H.; Hatch, Utah; Hutchison, Texas; Inhofe, Okla.; Isakson, Ga.; Kyl, Ariz.; Martinez, Fla.; McCain, Ariz.; McConnell, Ky.; Murkowski, Alaska; Roberts, Kan.; Sessions, Ala.; Shelby, Ala…

America's choice: destruction or construction

By Leo W. Gerard

International President, United Steelworkers

From sea to shining sea, America is suffering.

She is, however, afflicted with an avoidable condition she brought on herself, like a hangover. Only this one’s interminable and internationally contagious.

She did it by choosing over the past 30 years to establish an economy that worshiped avarice. That decision has destroyed her financial system and taken down with it much of the world’s.

Now America must decide whether to be swayed by the greedy urging her to continue basing her economy on the destructive policies of deregulation, de-unionization, globalization and privatization or to construct a new financial system focused on industry and profit shared by the workers who produce it.

Over much of the 20th century, the nation created real wealth by manufacturing – taking raw materials from the ground, using machines, energy and labor to convert them into products and selling those here and overseas. That process, to make steel o…

Passing of Larry Spitz - A Sad Day for the Labor Movement

Today, we in the labor movement are saddened upon the passing of Larry Spitz, Emeritus member of the Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR). Larry passed away on Friday, December 5, 2008

Below is a short “Bio” of Larry published in the “SOAR Executive Board Connection” newsletter in February, 2006.

Larry Spitz, Emeritus

Larry Spitz was one of the early organizers of the labor movement in New England. In 1933 he went to work as an organizer for the United Textile Workers of America. In 1936 he participated actively in the New England area in the formation of the Committee of Industrial Organizations (CIO) and was appointed by John L. Lewis to a three man committee which headed the organizational drive of the CIO in the State of Rhode Island.

During the years 1943 to 1946 he served in the United States Army participating in the Philippine campaign. Upon his return to the United States in 1946, he was appointed by Philip Murray as Sub-District Director of the United Steel…

Save the Jeep; Save the Nation

by Leo W. Gerard
President, United Steelworkers Union

In 1941, car manufacturer Willys-Overland demonstrated the strength and sturdiness of its new Army scout vehicle – the Jeep — to Congress by driving it up the U.S. Capitol steps. Invented and manufactured in the USA, the Jeep would become an icon of American ingenuity, durability and mechanical ability. Soldiers loved the lithe little vehicle for its uncanny capacity to go anywhere. The New York Museum of Modern Art would exhibit it in 2002 and describe it as a masterpiece of functional design. Now it’s 58 and constructed by United Auto Workers for Chrysler in Toledo, Ohio.Disregarding Jeep’s help in securing this country against fascists, conservatives like former Republican Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney are calling for its execution. Romney and his conservative compatriots want Congress to deny Chrysler, GM and Ford federal loans so that the Big Three go bankrupt. Using false wage information, these conservatives have persuaded th…

Keep the snow and ice off your windshield

Now, take it from a guy who keeps his car out of the garage all winter. Don’t waste time and effort scraping snow and ice off of your windshield.

Get a nice big piece of cardboard from your nearest electronics or appliance store big enough to cover the width of your windshield. Punch a couple holes in each end. Cut two pieces of elastic about the length of the width of the cardboard and insert the ends in the holes of each end of the cardboard. Pull the ends through the holes and tie them together.

Lift the windshield wiper blades up and leave them up.

Center the cardboard on the windshield and pull the elastic over the side view mirrors. Do this every night and before an expected snow storm.

One of those big boxes used for the new television sets works great. Ask for a box from their display televisions. Then you can make two covers, keeping one in the garage. In the morning, or after the snow stops, pull it off the windshield and put it in the trunk.

Source: A poor member of the Steelw…

Right Wing Nuts

It's ok to spend 12 billion dollars a month to invade and bomb Iraq, but these right wingers don't think it's worth loaning 34 billion dollars to keep the automobile industry on its feet.
Right wingers in congress who end up voting against helping the big three auto companies thus saving millions of jobs, pensions, and health care for their retirees must be given the final boot at the next election.

NIPSCO Credit When Credit is Due

A few months ago I replaced my 30 plus year natural gas furnace. I then applied to the NIPSCO EneryHarvest program in an attempt to get their advertised rebate for purchasing an energy efficient furnace.
A couple weeks ago I received a check from NIPSCO for $250.
What a great deal from NIPSCO.
What a wonderful program.
This company seems to be doing their part to help our environment, and conserve our natural resources.
I congratulate NIPSCO on this program and encourage others to take advantage of it by clicking here

Phony Conservative

I got a kick out of Governor Sarah Palin yesterday. She's a real hoot.

During the presidential campaign, she kept going after Barack Obama for “palling around with terrorists”, because he was acquainted with that professor from Chicago who was a terrorist so many years ago.

Then, yesterday, she was in the same room and sucking up to Obama; the same guy who she accused of Palling around with that terrorist.

Two faced, I’d say.

As well, during the campaign she kept referring to Obama as a Socialist because he wanted to “spread the wealth around”. Well what was she palling around with Obama for?…… got it. She wanted to spread the wealth around……to Alaska.

I’m telling you, these so called conservatives are a dying breed. So phony.

Auto Company Scoundrels

Today, the jackass CEO’s from the big three auto makers will testify before congress and present their plans for getting their companies up and running.

It will be interesting to see how they travel to Washington this morning. The last time they testified, they all three took separate private corporate jets, then requested a 25 billion dollar loan.

What is it about some CEO’s of big corporations that make them so elitist? What makes them think they’re better than everyone else?

Such egos they have. They need to come down to earth. Power. Power sure does change people. A down to earth person who is otherwise normal, when given too much power, has to be very careful not to give in to falling prey to the instinct to think they’re better than everybody else.
At the same time, I sure have to give credit to these companies for negotiating fare contracts with the UAW. They pay living wages and provide good benefits which is more than I can say to many other auto companies that exploit workers.


What a nice long week end

Wow, what a great four days. The turkey was delicious and it was nice to be able to snooze on the floor while watching the football and basketball games on television.
We certainly deserved the break.
In preparationfor the bad weather, I got a big piece of cardboard to keep the frost, ice and snow off the windshield. Seems to be working just fine.
Gosh, the stock market is has sure taken a hit today, down more than 600 points. I'm glad I've been investing in whiskey, bullets and toilet paper.
Tomorrow we'll see if the big shot CEO's from the auto companies float in by their three jets or if they hitch hiked.
Sure hope they get some help, otherwise, I'm afraid Indiana will lose even more jobs.