You can help change the economy! Big companies use their size and the fear of losing our jobs to force us to accept no raises or even lower pay and benefits. They can use their size to force communities, states and even the federal government to lower their taxes. You can help change the economy by standing with Walmart workers next week. They have the money but we have the people. Continue reading →
A new web video unveiled today by the National Education Association and Americans for Tax Fairness vividly shows how extending the Bush tax cuts for CEOs and the richest 2 percent of Americans would be paid for by cutting education funding for kids.
If you have a chance, please book mark this for weekend reading: Prosperity For America, and their Prosperity Economics report.
“Prosperity Economics: Building an Economy for All
Prosperity economics concludes that there is no trade-off between creating a strong, dynamic economy and fostering a society marked by greater health, broader security, increased equality of opportunity, and more broadly distributed growth.”
The 99% Spring movement is starting to make itself heard at corporate shareholder meetings around the country. And next week it really gets started and will be big. (I’ll be reporting from the GE shareholder meeting next week in Detroit.)
Did you know that shareholder protests shut down the annual shareholders meeting of energy-company EQT Corp. yesterday?
Our country is at a crossroads. We have a choice to make. Greater wealth for a few or opportunity for many. Tax breaks for the richest or a fair shot for the rest of us. A government that can be bought by the highest bidder, or a democracy that is truly of the people, by the people, and for the people.
The choice is in our hands. This spring we will act on that choice.
In the tradition of our forefathers and foremothers and inspired by today’s brave heroes in Occupy Wall Street and Madison, Wisconsin, we will prepare ourselves for sustained non-violent direct action.
From April 9-15 we will gather across America, 100,000 strong, in homes, places of worship, campuses and the streets to join together in the work of reclaiming our country. We will organize trainings to:
Tell the story of our economy: how we got here, who’s responsible, what a different future could look like, and what we can do about it
Learn the history of non-violent direct action, and
Get into action on our own campaigns to win change.
This spring we rise! We will reshape our country with our own hands and feet, bodies and hearts. We will take non-violent action in the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi to forge a new destiny one block, one neighborhood, one city, one state at a time.
Starting this spring with corporate shareholder season, the 99% Power coalition—workers and retirees, families fighting foreclosure and the unemployed, students, immigrants and environmentalists—have united together to build an economy and a democracy that works for all us, not just for the 1%.
Thousands of people will be inside and outside more than three-dozen corporate shareholder meetings across the country, including Wells Fargo, GE, Verizon, Sallie Mae, Wal-Mart, Bank of America, Verizon and more. We will directly face and challenge the 1% board members and executives that have only served to expand inequality, threaten democracy, destroy our environment and have put their desire for profit in direct conflict with the survival of families and communities.
99% Power will mobilize well over 10,000 people, from all walks of life and representing the diversity of the 99%, to engage in nonviolent direct action. All told, there will be more demonstrations connected to corporate shareholder meetings than at any point in American history. Together we fight to build a political and economic system that offers equal opportunity for all.
MARCH 22: VERIZON DAY OF ACTION
Verizon has made tens of billions in profits and its top executives walked away with $283 million in the last four years. But when it comes to the 45,000 workers who made Verizon’s success possible, suddenly the company cries broke.
Verizon has sent thousands of American jobs overseas and wants to outsource even more jobs, gut pensions, charge current and retired employees thousands of dollars more for health benefits, and cut disability benefits for workers injured during their jobs.
On March 22, CWA and IBEW workers and thousands of others will be rallying around the country to support good jobs and the U.S. Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act. Join us.
About The Call-Center Bill
The U.S. Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act is a bipartisan bill to help fight the offshoring of call-center jobs and protect consumers. This proposed legislation would let the public know which companies are engaging in sending jobs out of the country, let customers ask to use an American call center instead, and ban federal grants or guaranteed loans to American companies that move call center jobs out of the US.
Today many call-center jobs are being moved out of the country, mostly to India and the Philippines. This costs American jobs, and can be very frustrating to consumers who have to speak to people who they cannot understand because of language problems or cultural differences. The U.S. Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act gives consumers the right to ask where the person they are speaking with is based, and ask for an American-based representative instead. Among the things this bill would accomplish:
Require the Department of Labor to publicly list firms that move call center jobs overseas.
Make these firms ineligible for any direct or indirect federal loans or loan guarantees for five years.
Require 120 day advance notification of a proposed move off-shore.
Require call center employees to tell U.S. consumers where they are located, if asked.
Require that call centers transfer calls to a U.S. call center if asked.
Action Coming — Spread The Word!
This is a Big Deal, just look at end of this post for the list of organizations that are signed on to this so far – and more coming. April 9-15, 2012, the 99% Spring: 100,000 Americans will train for non-violent direct action. Sign up. And spread it around.
This spring, the 99% Spring.
The following is in case you haven’t looked around lately: millions of jobs destroyed, wages cut, working people told “shut up and take or we’ll send your job to China, too,” homes foreclosed, crushing student loan debt, unions denied collective bargaining rights, budget cuts, crumbling schools with skyrocketing class sizes and teacher layoffs, and a huge rise in the number of children in poverty.
These things are a result of rampant greed—the deliberate manipulation of our democracy and our economy by a tiny minority in the 1%, by those who amass ever more wealth and power at our expense.
From the Christian Science Monitor, here is what happened to the workers in one company when the Romney/Bain machine “came to town”:
The new owner, American Pad & Paper, owned in turn by [Mitt Romney's] Bain Capital, told all 258 union workers they were fired, in a cost-cutting move. Security guards hustled them out of the building. They would be able to reapply for their jobs, at lesser wages and benefits, but not all would be rehired.
Watch the first teach-in on the economy, National Teach-In To Take Back The American Dream for background on how we got here, and ideas about what next. And spread it around. 99% Spring
Campaign for America’s Future and more than 30 major grassroots organizations in the “99% Spring” are coming together to help train 100,000 people across the country to participate in sustained non-violent, direct action to stand with the 99%, and reshape our country.
“From April 9-15 we will gather across America, 100,000 strong, in homes, places of worship, campuses and the streets to join together in the work of reclaiming our country. We will organize trainings to:
Tell the story of our economy: how we got here, who’s responsible, what a different future could look like, and what we can do about it
Learn the history of non-violent direct action, and
Get into action on our own campaigns to win change.”
The coalition is calling for a national convergence of training, education, and action between April 9 and 15 to: shape a collective vision of an economy that works for all Americans – not just the wealthiest 1%; learn about the history and application of non-violent direct action; and put what we learn into direct action to expose the injustices of the moment and demand change from those responsible.
You can read more about “99% Spring Movement” here: http://the99spring.com/ Read the letter from key movement leaders & organizations calling for a 99% Spring.
350.org, Alliance for a Just Society, American Federation of Teachers, The Campaign for America’s Future, Change to Win, Citizen Action of New York, Citizen Engagement Lab, Color of Change, Communications Workers of America, Engage, Fuse Washington, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, Greenpeace, Institute for Policy Studies, Jobs With Justice, Leadership Center for the Common Good, Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment, MoveOn.org, Movement Strategy Center, National Day Laborers Organizing Network, National Education Association, National Guestworker Alliance, National People’s Action, New Bottom Line, National Domestic Workers Alliance, New Organizing Institute, The Other 98%, The Partnership for Working Families, PICO National Network, Progressive Democrats of America, Pushback Network, Rainforest Action Network, Rebuild the Dream, The Ruckus Society, Right to the City Alliance, Service Employees International Union, smartMeme Strategy & Training Project, UNITE-HERE, United Auto Workers, United Electrical Workers Union, United States Student Association, United Steel Workers, United Students Against Sweatshops, UNITY, Working Families Party. This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF. Sign up here for the CAF daily summary.
Thom Hartmann, host Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor Heather McGhee, Demos Leo Hindrey, businessman and “Patriotic Millionaire” Natalie Foster, Co-Founder, Rebuild the Dream Robert Borosage, Campaign for America’s Future
Not long ago, in A Win For Labor – FAA Bill Drops Anti-Union Language, I wrote that, “negotiators have dropped the anti-union language for votes to start a union. Republicans were insisting that no-shows be counted as “No” votes. Delta’s check must have been mailed late.”
Well, not so fast. While dropping a blatant anti-labor requirement that any non-voters be counted as ‘no’ voters, it turns out that the bill remains solidly and sneakily anti-labor. This is supposed to be a bill about airline safety and security, but the fight is over anti-labor provisions… what’s up with that? Laura Clawson at Daily Kos writes in, Unions call on Democrats to reject poison pills buried in Republican ‘compromise’ on FAA,
When Republicans suggested that they would agree to a compromise on Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization, dropping their demand to count workers who did not vote in union representation elections as having voted against the union in exchange for raising the threshold of workers asking to get a union representation election from 35 percent to 50 percent, there were two possibilities: Either Republicans were dropping a huge demand in exchange for something relatively minor and it was a bit of a win, or there was something sneaky buried in what Republicans now wanted.
Why This Fight?
The reason there is a fight over labor rules in an FAA bill at all is that Delta Airlines is trying to keep unions out, so the 1% can keep from paying good wages and benefits to the 99%. And, as usually happens, they are offering the Republican Party a share of the take if they can just make it happen for them. Such is our present-day political system. It seems to come down to who is giving the most money to the Republican Party gets priority in legislation. (“Drill, baby, drill!”) Compromise?
If you start with a bill that says, “kill all the unions, kill all the unions, kill all the unions, kill all the unions” and take out one “kill all the unions” is that a compromise? The unions are still killed three times over.
The FAA bill contains a number of provisions that make it nearly impossible to establish a union, including but not limited to:
the percentage of workers that say they wan a vote on unionization increases from 35 to 50 percent
tricky election run-off rules open up elections to even more company interference
a procedure allowing for the wholesale decertification of a whole host of unions through mergers
So Will Dems Cave?
So the question is, will Democrats cave on this? Some are saying that they have “made compromises” but what has happened is they took out one part that makes it almost impossible to form a union while leaving in other parts that make it nearly impossible to form a union. The only “compromise” appears to be from almost impossible to nearly impossible and labor is screwed either way. Or, from above, the unions are killed three times over instead of four times over.
As David Dayen reports at Firedoglake, a number of labor organizations have signed a letter rejecting this “compromise.” The unions signing the letter are the United Auto Workers union; Teamsters; Communications Workers of America; Association of Flight Attendants-CWA; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees-IBT; American Federation of Government Employees; International Association of Machinists; National Education Association; Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen-IBT; Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen; Service Employees Local 32BJ-National Conference of Fireman and Oilers; Sheet Metal Workers; United Steelworkers; American Train Dispatchers Association; Transportation Communications Union-IAM; Amalgamated Transit Union; United Transportation Union; and UniteHere. Fight Back Against Attacks By The 1%
Stand with these unions to help protect the middle class from attacks by the 1%. CALL YOUR SENATORS TODAY and tell them you want the FAA bill to be about airline safety and security, not busting unions.
Then, click here to sign a letter, Stop This Radical Threat to Workers’ Rights:
Radical anti-union members of Congress are attempting to rewrite the Railway Labor Act and change the role of the National Mediation Board without debate or discussion. They have included drastic changes to the law in the FAA Reauthorization bill.
The changes these radicals are seeking would: Make it much harder for airline and railroad workers to hold union representation elections. Threaten airline and railroad workers’ right to a secret ballot during union representation campaigns, allowing for management intimidation and retaliation. Allow airline and railroad management to decertify unions without an election in a merger.
Today thousands of unemployed people and others came to D.C. to tell Congress and “K Street” that they need jobs not cuts; that we should tax the rich, and that unemployment benefits must be extended before they run out at the end of the year.
I am in Washington to join them at the Take Back the Capitol “99 In DC” event. This is not the OccupyDC group, but it is supportive and very much like the Occupy group, with “Mic Check” and “We are the 99%” and “Banks got bailed out, we got sold out” chants going on everywhere. (Special note: There are no drum circles!)
The center for the activities is a series of large tents on the Mall in front of the old Smithsonian building. There is a stage for entertainment in the evening, a food tent with GREAT food, a New Media tent, a Peacekeepers tent, and other facilities. The event is organized by a number of groups, including the Service Employees International Union, along with local groups around the country. I talked to several people who came out from Idaho last night who organize food distribution and other services for poor and unemployed people, and they had stories about the terrible way unemployment is affecting people there.
Today people gathered in the morning in groups to prepare to visit members of Congress. There were three tents where groups gathered. There was the A-G tent, the H-O tent and the P-Z tent. I was joining the group that was heading over to Rep. Darrell Issa’s office, and thought it was appropriate that we would meet in the H-O tent because he is such a big corporate … well, you know. Anyone Can Visit
A lot of people don’t realize it, but anyone can visit the office of any member of Congress. You can come to D.C. and locate your member of Congress’s office and go in and say you live in that district and want to say, “Hi.” Or say other things. They work for you. Everyone in our delegation was from California, which is why Rep. Issa was chosen for a visit.
The group walked in the rain down the mall to the Capitol and turned right to the Rayburn building where some of the members of Congress and various committees are located. We had to pass through security which involved putting any bags and computers through an X-ray machine, and walking through a metal detector. We didn’t have to take off our shoes. Rep. Issa’s Office
The group collected and went to Issa’s office, walked right in, and asked to see the Congressman. He was over at the Capitol, an aide said she would speak with the people there, but the people wanted to see Rep. Issa himself. She asked if the group could please move to the hall, and they said they would wait right there, thank you. After some back and forth, please clear a path for visitors, please move to the hall, I’ll meet with you instead, etc., she called the Capitol Police who said that the office had requested them to please leave. So they left the office and waited in the hall.
After a while the group decided to leave a few people at Issa’s office and head over the another California Congressman’s office, Rep. Dan Lungren. They arrived at Lungren’s office, same story, we want to meet with the Representative, the aid said she would talk with them, no thanks we want to talk to the Congressman himself, etc. But this office did not call the Capitol Police, and they were especially nice, even bringing water and coffee. (Pretty good coffee.)
Meanwhile Rep. Issa showed up at his office, demanded that the people there show ID to prove they are from his district. One of them was, but she pointed out that Issa gets campaign money from donors and corporate PACS from all over the country, and that his committees represent the entire country, so why wouldn’t he talk to citizens. He said no, booted them from his office, and took off.
This is going on in offices of dozens of members of Congress today, demanding that the 99% and the unemployed be heard, just as much as the corporate donors and billionaires be heard. They are asking for unemployment benefits to be extended, and for infrastructure projects that will employ millions and improve the economy, providing jobs for the long term. They are asking Congress for legislation to allow judges to “cram down” mortgage amounts so people do not lose their homes. They are asking for tax increases on the rich and new taxes on Wall Street speculation to pay for essential services so those services do not have to be cut.
Tomorrow they are going after K Street.
This is a slide show of pictures so far:
“You can’t evict an idea whose time has come.” That was the message posted on OccupyWallSt.org as early this morning, police began to storm the Occupy Wall Street protests in Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan.
To prove it, supporters of the Occupy movement have vowed to pull out all the stops to make November 17 a day of national occupation. That day is the two-month anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street protests that sparked a national and international movement. There were already 303 “We Are the 99%” protests scheduled for that day around the country, organized with the help of MoveOn.org. Now those gatherings have added urgency as a rebuke to the efforts to squelch the occupations and silence their voices. As the OccupyWallSt.org statement says, “This burgeoning movement is more than a protest, more than an occupation, and more than any tactic…This moment is nothing short of America rediscovering the strength we hold when we come together as citizens to take action to address crises that impact us all. Such a movement cannot be evicted.”
Here are just some of the bridge events this Thursday, Nov. 17:
These demonstrations are part of a National Day of Action against policies that have enriched the 1% and impoverished the 99%. People nationwide will march and rally at structurally unsound bridges and other sites in need of repair to demand that America be put back to work now and that the economy work for the 99% once again.
New York, NY – 6 p.m. March on Brooklyn Bridge
Chicago, IL – 3:30pm, LaSalle Street Bridge
Washington, DC – 4:30 p.m. protest at Key Bridge
Los Angeles, CA – 7:00am, 3rd St. and Hope St. in downtown LA (to march and demonstrate at the structurally deficient 4th Street bridge)
Philadelphia, PA – 4 p.m., Market Street Bridge, near historic 30th Street Amtrak Station
Pittsburgh, PA – 3 p.m., Greenfield Bridge
Seattle, WA – 4:00pm, Montlake Bridge
Miami, FL – 40p.m., Brickell Drawbridge
Baltimore, MD – 4:30 p.m., Howard Street Bridge
Boston, MA – 4:30 p.m., Charlestown Bridge
Portland, OR – 8:00am, Steel Bridge (east side of bridge)
Houston, TX – 3:30pm, Travis Street Bridge
Detroit, MI – 3:00pm, 2nd Avenue/94 Bridge
Milwaukee, WI – 3:30pm, North Ave pass over I-43
Minneapolis, MN – 4:00pm, 10th Avenue Bridge
CWA / Verizon Worker March
The biggest labor action right now is Verizon’s workers who are trying to preserve middle-class jobs from a predatory giant corporation that is trying to send all the money to the 1%. Verizon workers have been marching from Albany to New York City and will arrive at Verizon HQ on Thursday.
I received this statement from the Communication Workers of America:
“The Communications Workers of America strongly condemns the decision by Mayor Bloomberg to forcibly remove protesters from Zuccotti park. In two short months, Occupy Wall Street has focused the world’s attention on the deep frustration felt by working people about an economy that no longer works for the middle class. The 99% have seen good jobs disappear while the rich get richer and the big banks make billions with impunity. Mayor Bloomberg may have cleared the park for now, but Occupy Wall Street’s message cannot be silenced. No one can evict an idea whose time has come.
“Now more than ever, CWA members will join the massive day of action on Thursday, November 17. Verizon workers who have been walking for over a week from Albany, NY — over 150 miles in total — will arrive at Verizon Headquarters at 140 West St in New York City on Thursday at 4 pm to join hundreds of their coworkers in a March to Foley Square. Their message is the same message we are hearing from Occupy Wall Street and beyond: The 99% are standing up against corporate greed and against a government that more and more puts the interests of the 1% ahead of the middle class.“
Forty-five thousand union members at Verizon, no longer a majority at their company, are negotiating with a company set on imposing conditions more like those of their non-union co-workers: higher healthcare costs, job insecurity and raises left to management discretion. Workers (most from the Communications Workers of America) struck for two weeks when their contracts expired in August, then returned to work with an agreement to “restructure bargaining.” Since then, Verizon has relented on some insulting but comparatively low-cost concessions, like eliminating the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday. But overall it maintains “pretty much the same position they had when we went on strike,” according to Bob Master, who coordinates CWA actions against Verizon in New York and seven other states.