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Showing posts from August, 2008

New Day for Labor 2008

Labor Day Press Conference and Union Rally with Congressman Pete Visclosky will focus on
Region’s “First-Contract” Fights

• When: Monday Labor Day September 1, 9:15 a.m.

• Where: Lowell Labor Day Parade at USW floats, Position 21, Deanna Dr., just south of George’s Family Restaurant (1910 E. Commercial/Rt. 2 in Lowell)

• Why: Three newly organized workforces at Worthington Steel in Portage, Georgia Pacific in Wheatfield and ARC Bridges in Gary who have been fighting for their first contract for up to 2 years are prime examples of the need for the Employee Free Choice Act, one of Labor’s main priorities for the 2008 elections.

• Who: Union workers from the Region, including all 3 contract fights, will hold a rally and press conference featuring Congressman Pete Visclosky, candidate for Governor Jill Long Thompson and USW District 7 Director Jim Robinson to explain to the public this growing and widespread tactic used by companies to attack workers who choose to organize for better wages a…

Shocking Choice by John McCain

Washington -- Senator John McCain just announced his choice for running mate: Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska. To follow is a statement by Rodger Schlickeisen, president of Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund.

"Senator McCain's choice for a running mate is beyond belief. By choosing Sarah Palin, McCain has clearly made a decision to continue the Bush legacy of destructive environmental policies."

"Sarah Palin, whose husband works for BP, has repeatedly put special interests first when it comes to the environment. In her scant two years as governor, she has lobbied aggressively to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling, pushed for more drilling off of Alaska's coasts, and put special interests above science. Ms. Palin has made it clear through her actions that she is unwilling to do even as much as the Bush administration to address the impacts of global warming. Her most recent effort has been to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove the p…

This election is green; not black and white

August 26, 2008

By Leo W. Gerard
USW International President
Presidential raceWhile some want to paint this year’s presidential race in black and white, for middle class America, it’s all about the green. Greenbacks. Team colors are clearly visible: The Republicans’ – green and gold. That’s obvious when their nominee, John McCain, is one of the richest men in the Senate. He’s so wealthy that when recently asked by a reporter how many homes he owned, he just couldn’t recall.
Seven, Senator, seven.
When schlepping around Arizona on the campaign trail got tough, his wife surprised him the gift of a private jet to ease the sojourn. When asked to define wealthy, he said, for him, a guy whose worth has been estimated at $100 million, rich is $5 million.
Team colors for the chosen Democratic candidates, by contrast, are basic red, white and blue. Presumptive nominee Sen. Barack Obama’s boyhood family struggled on food stamps for a time. His chosen vice president, Sen. Joe Biden, grew up in hard…

Quality Schools, Not School Vouchers

It’s back-to-school time. In conservative politics, that means it’s time to pull out their tired old ideological war-horse, school vouchers. But vouchers represent a cut-and-run strategy in public education. By definition, vouchers abandon the goal of—and shirk responsibility for—providing a quality education to all students. In fact, Americans have never liked school vouchers: voters have rejected every voucher and tuition tax credit referendum proposed in the past 30 years.

The Facts

There is no credible evidence that school vouchers improve student achievement. Two studies from Bush’s own Department of Education found that the voucher program in Washington D.C. has had no impact on students’ academic performance. An exhaustive eight-year study of Milwaukee’s school voucher program reached the same conclusion. The Milwaukee study also found that vouchers failed to raise public school achievement through competition, as many conservatives had claimed they would.

There is no credible evi…

Social Security Privatization Could Force Thousands In Indiana Into Poverty

Campaign For America's Future

CONTACT: Toby Chaudhuri

TUESDAY, AUG. 5, 2008

New Report Shows Social Security Privatization Could Cut Guaranteed Benefits
By $183K, Placing 145K Older People In Indiana At Risk Of Poverty

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. – Social Security privatization, embraced by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., would cut guaranteed benefits for thousands of future retirees in Indiana by thousands of dollars, according to a new report released today by the research arm of the Campaign for
America’s Future. Today’s report shows that more than 145,000 older people living in Indiana
would have a greater risk of falling into poverty, each losing more than $183,000 over the course of their lifetimes, by the time a privatization plan like the one supported by Sen. McCain and President Bush is fully implemented.

Campaign for America’s Future co-director Roger Hickey, whose organization has worked to
defend and strengthen Social Security for more than a decade, said t…

USW Statement on Passing of U.S. Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-11th-OH)

Pittsburgh, PA (Aug. 21) – Statement by Leo W. Gerard, President, United Steelworkers (USW), on passing of Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones.

“Cleveland Steelworkers and USW members across the nation are saddened by the loss of Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones. No one could stir a crowd quite like Stefanie. Her life force was so strong that she could project it into a weary crowd and get them all on their feet yelling for more.

She roused our 4,000 local union leaders at the USW Constitutional Convention in Las Vegas earlier this month with her fierce support of America’s union workers by quoting a passage from her favorite poem, ‘Let the union spirit take hold of this land. Let the union’s power fill every woman and man.’

Urging unprecedented activism in the upcoming November elections, she told us, ‘There are those who believe God’s going take care of everything. Well, that’s not faith. That’s superstition.’ Tubbs Jones, who supported Senator Hillary Clinton’s candidacy, urged eve…

Labor Day Celebration

LABOR DAY Pullman Community Is the Place to Be for Labor Day 2008!

Chicago’s Pullman neighborhood is shaping up to become the greatest place in the city to celebrate Labor Day in 2008.

The storm center of perhaps the most famous industrial conflict of the 19th century was the charming and wholly owned planned community where industrialist George Pullman manufactured the sleeping cars.

Although the factory is partially gone, the dramatic Clock Tower remains and industrial artifacts from the vanished steel industry are on display. The Hotel and factory property belong now to the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency and can be toured by appointment.

The partly-restored factory/Clocktower building will serve as the perfect backdrop for the day's celebration, which begins at 2:00 p.m. -address 11035 S. Cottage Grove Ave (111th St).

Labor Day visitors will have the unexpected pleasure of hearing from historic personalities associated with labor struggles throughout the years. These w…

Georgia Pacific Worse than Rotten

The best example I can think of as to why we need the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) is a rotten company located in Wheatfield, Indiana.

The Georgia Pacific Gypsum Company in Wheatfield, Indiana has been lollygagging and dragging its feet for over a year now as their workers try to negotiate a first contract with this lousy company.

The company isn’t fooling anyone. A fair contract can be negotiated in a couple of days when the company involved is honest and on the up and up.

One part of the EFCA provides for first-contract mediation and arbitration. It Provides that if an employer and a union are engaged in bargaining for their first contract and are unable to reach agreement within 90 days, either party may refer the dispute to the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) for mediation. If the FMCS is unable to bring the parties to agreement after 30 days of mediation, the dispute will be referred to arbitration, and the results of the arbitration shall be binding on the par…


Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, made the following statement today at a press conference organized by Americans United for Change on the 73rd anniversary of Social Security.

Retirees have mixed feelings on today’s anniversary. Social Security is one of our nation’s greatest success stories – it has kept millions out of poverty and has allowed older Americans to retire with dignity. But at the same time, Senator McCain and his allies continue to slander Social Security and promote dangerous privatization schemes. Senator McCain has voted for privatization on several occasions.

Older voters are one of the largest, most reliable – and swing – blocs of voters in this year’s elections. The Alliance will devote the next 82 days to educate retirees on issues such as Social Security.

Today, grassroots activists with the Alliance for Retired Americans are organizing 25 Social Security events, ranging from delivering birthday cakes and cards to Social…

Middle class needs right to bargain, secure contracts like CEOs have

By Leo W. Gerard
USW President

Kosher abuse

In May, when immigration officials raided the kosher meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa and hauled out 389 undocumented workers, the news was all about immigration violations, but now the focus is on the employer, Agriprocessors Inc.

That’s because it turns out that while purportedly giving ritual consideration to the animals to be slaughtered, Agriprocessors failed to treat with dignity, or legality, the teenagers, and children, some as young as 13, in its employ. The 57 adolescents, some working 17-hour shifts, six days a week, testified to wielding knives and other dangerous tools prohibited for young workers.

The Agriprocessors incident raises difficult questions in the Jewish community. If meat is denied the kosher label because the animal does not die within seconds of precise slitting, is it kosher when the 13-year-old child who processed it was illegally hired, worked a 17 hour day and was refused overtime pay? What if a 16-year-old und…

Indianapolis is DEAD LAST!

Yup, that’s right.

When it comes to processing and holding hearings on the denied claims of individuals for disability benefits, Indianapolis ranks dead last. And offices responsible for handling denied claims for individuals in Northwest Indiana rank among the most backlogged in the nation.

For example, the Fort Wayne office handles claims for individuals from Laporte County to Allen County. They rank 130th of 147 in the country with an average processing time of 711 days.

Orland Park ranks 131st with a processing time of 714 days.

And Indianapolis ranks 147th--or last in the country---with a processing time of 896 days! They would handle claims for Pulaski County south.

Most claimants are waiting at least 18 months, and up to and beyond 2 years to wait for a hearing on the denials of their claims. Both of the local SS offices and hearing offices for northern Indiana are understaffed and cannot handle the number of applications or appeals.
Providing SSA with adequate funding i…

John McCain & Bush

McCain says that nobody has been a stronger supporter of Bush than him.

John McCain

Voted with bush 89 percent of the time - 95 percent of the time in 2007.Supports the Bush administration's massive tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.Supports Bush's disastrous policies on children's health care and Social Security.Says he "would be proud to have President Bush campaign with" him and support him.Source: AFL-CIO

John McCain on Retirement Security

John McCain on Retirement Security

John McCain has supported privatizing Social Security.

John McCain

Supports replacing Social Security with privatized accounts.Voted to raise the Medicare age.Voted to raid Social Security funds.Voted against protecting seniors from higher Medicare premiums.Source: AFL-CIO

John McCain on Workers' Rights

Lilly Ledbetter was denied fair pay at her job. John McCain opposes a bill that would protect workers like Ledbetter from discrimination.

John McCain on Workers' Rights

John McCain

Voted to block the Employee Free Choice Act.Voted against bargaining rights for federal employees.Supports a national law to make it harder to get a voice on the job.Opposes the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Source: AFL-CIO

John McCain on Trade

John McCain on Trade

John McCain announced his support for more bad trade deals--while standing in front of a shuttered factory in Ohio.

McCain voted for NAFTA, CAFTA and other bad trade agreements.McCain has voted to outsource federal contracts overseas.McCain strongly supports the Columbia FTA.McCain voted to give Bush "Fast Track" authority to pass more bad trade deals.
Source: AFL-CIO

John McCain on Health Care

John McCain's health care proposal would:

Tax your health care benefits.Lead employers to eliminate benefits.Leave working families at the mercy of big insurance companies.Fail to cut costs or cover more people.
Source: AFL-CIO