Monthly Archives: July 2013

American Unions….Come Home America!

Thanks to the Labor Movement Image

American Unions….Come Home America!

What is Corporate Management’s dirty little secret? We are human beings! Management are not immune from disliking an employee; from getting angry with an employee; from wanting to get rid of an employee and retribution; from making decisions that are bad for employee’s; profits and productivity are first and foremost our objective.

I became a manager at 24 years old for Southern Pacific Communications, parent of Sprint Long Distance, starting my career with a staff of 30 customer service representatives. The communications industry was changing from year to year, as the divestiture of AT&T and the local phone companies were in full swing to open up the industry to free market competition.
In the 1980’s long distance companies like, Sprint, MCI, Alltel, Global Crossing, Argo Systems, were springing up overnight. GTE bought, SP Communications and became GTE Sprint Communications. Management was called into a meeting and told that GTE would be opening a regional customer service hub call-center in Dallas and that we would be laying off our staff in 6 months. In order to keep our call-center fully staffed until then, we were asked not to say a word to the staff until two weeks before the lay-off. We needed to keep productivity up and keep the staff from looking for a new jobs until then.

I had developed a relationship with my staff, I knew them as peers and as their manager. They would share their lives with me. I knew that some were buying cars and homes, increasing debt, but I could not warn them of the impending lay-offs. They trusted me, but I was management and my job was to make sure the company’s priorities and goals were being met. Did I think it was unfair? I did but I understood my role and did my job. On the day that I announced the lay-off, my staff looked stunned and betrayed, the first question out of their mouth, “How long did you know?”

When you are a manager you see all kinds of characteristic among your management peers, mean, nice, unethical, self-serving, good, bad, productive, lazy, hardworking, truthful, dishonest, harassers and manager’s that are respectful and caring…every human trait is represented. But one thing they all share is their dislike for “UNIONS”. “UNIONS” make it hard to manage. We can’t just fire a Union member. We can’t just lay them off without notice. We can’t harass them with abandon. We can’t fire them because we simply dislike them. We can’t make them work overtime without paying them overtime wages. We can’t treat them unjustly. Because the Union is there to speak for them we need to be mindful of good labor relations.

My advice to non-management staff after 30 years of managing! Unionize! Trusting your job security to a non-union company manager is basically at will, and that is the way “WE” like it. We will tell you that unions protect bad employees and that is unfair to you. We will tell you that those lazy union members make $25 an hour to put seatbelts in cars and isn’t that “unfair” it makes it very expensive to buy cars. We will tell you that your union dues will be used to campaign for “Democrats” and you should be resentful. We will tell you that the unions don’t do anything for you they just collect your dues. I am here to tell you those are all lies that “WE” tell you so that you will not unionize, because selfishly it makes “OUR” jobs harder and it increases labor cost for the Corporation reducing profits to shareholders. Neither of those two objectives are something you should be concerned with because that screws you out of job security and a “LIVING WAGE”.

As union membership has declined; so has job security and with it so has the standard of living for the American Middle Class. Corporate America is there to sell products and services and create profits for shareholders. There are great companies out there that understand the value of their human resources and their affect to the bottom-line, there is no doubt about it. But all too often there are bad managers even at those companies that will not do right by the employee. What about the Human Resources Department you may ask don’t they speak for the employee’s? NO NO NO, we have a fiduciary responsibility to protect the company from suits and liability. Of course that sometime benefits the employee but all too often we protect management first. In a non-union company you are on your own.

When “WE” tell you the downside of “UNIONS” consider the source, we are not objective, we have an agenda and that agenda is profits and giving as much of those profits to shareholders. Unions have done much for the American Middle Class over the last 100 years and don’t let Corporate America or it self-serving CEO’s and management teams tell you different:

1. Founding of the Committee for Industrial Organization, later the Congress of Industrial Organizations or CIO (1938)
After the American Federation of Labor voted against organizing workers “across trades” in a factory, preferring to group workers by individual craft or trade, the CIO and its visionary leader, John L. Lewis, recognized the potential power of mobilizing workers across occupational lines in a given industry. The approach opened the union door to what would become labor’s core constituency — mass production workers.
2. Passage of the Social Security Act (1935)
This New Deal legislation provided workers with unemployment insurance, aid to dependent children and rehabilitation for the physically disabled. It also improved public health and provided pensions to workers in their old age. Today, AFSCME is leading the fight to strengthen and preserve Social Security — a benefit to some 44 million people.
3. National Labor Relations Act (1935)
Also known as the “Wagner Act,” this law served as the foundation for current U.S. labor law, granting unions the right to organize and obligating employers to bargain collectively on hours, wages and other terms and conditions of employment. AFSCME has used the NLRA to secure collective bargaining rights for workers across the country.
4. GM Sit-Down Strikes (1936-37)
Anti-union sentiments in the fledgling auto industry in the 1930s triggered a sit-down job action by 50 workers at a Fisher Body plant in Flint, Mich., an action that inspired similar strikes by 485,000 auto workers across the U.S. and Canada in an 8-month period. The Flint strike lasted 45 days, with strikers winning a five-cent-an-hour raise and an agreement by management to rehire the strikers and recognize the union.
5. Civil Rights Act/Title VII (1964)
This landmark legislation prohibited discrimination by employers or unions on the basis of race, national origin, color, religion or gender. AFSCME’s unprecedented growth in the 60s and 70s was due in large measure to the union’s reputation for fighting for fair treatment for all workers, but particularly minorities.
6. Public Sector Organizing (1962-1980)
In 1962, President Kennedy signed Executive Order 10988, which recognized the rights of federal employees to join unions. This order spearheaded the rapid expansion of all public sector organizing. A key event of this period was the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., killed while in Memphis on behalf of striking AFSCME sanitation workers.
7. Fair Labor Standards Act (1938)
The FLSA granted sweeping protections to workers — establishing a minimum wage (25 cents an hour) and the 8-hour work day, providing for overtime, and prohibiting the use of child labor in all businesses engaged in interstate commerce. Despite breaking important ground, the FLSA excluded large numbers of workers, not the least of whom were public service workers.
8. “Bread and Roses” Strike (1912)
This sometimes violent strike at a Lawrence, Mass., textile mill was named for the song sung by strikers determined to win more than a subsistence life. The strike became synonymous with the struggle of workers to better their working conditions.
9. World War II Support
The trade union movement that was beginning to flex its collective muscles at the end of the 30s put those same muscles to work on behalf of the war effort. And, like the patriots they were, American unions pledged not to strike and received no-layoff concessions for the duration of the war.
10. Occupational Safety & Health Act (1970)
Providing a safe workplace had been a primary goal of the labor movement since its inception. Many years later, President Nixon — a conservative Republican — was convinced to sign the first comprehensive federal legislation covering safety in the workplace. Unions work daily to enforce OSHA’s regulations, and also to expand and refine safe protections for all workers.

Practically ALL the benefits you have at work, whether you work in the public or private sector, all of the benefits and rights you value are there because unions fought hard for them against Corporate America who did everything they could to prevent giving you those rights. Many union leaders and members even lost their lives for things we take for granted today.

The demonization of Unions was a strategy to bust the Unions so that “WE” the Executive and Management Teams could reap the benefits of “AT WILL” working conditions, increasing productivity without impunity, taking your pensions, reducing your healthcare benefits, raiding 401k company stock and taking those profits for “Ourselves” in the form of outrageous bonuses, CEO salaries and “Shareholder” payouts. American Unions are not the enemy, 30 years of a right wing agenda focused on management priorities and bottom-lines profits have only served to hurt the American worker and your standard of living. It is time to come home America…Unions are good for American Labor… Look for the Union Label…

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Our Suffering Soldiers

The Republicans killed the Veterans Jobs Bill…These Veterans served our Country we cannot be indifferent!

Illuminate

 

A very depressing statistic:

Chance that a death among U.S. service members is a suicide: 1 in 5

And this, from usnews.nbcnews.com:

Through April, the U.S. military has recorded 161 potential suicides in 2013 among active-duty troops, reservists and National Guard members — a pace of one suicide about every 18 hours. The Army, the largest contingent of the armed forces, sustained 109 reported suicides during the first four months, according its latest report.

Soldiers fight for our government from thousands of miles away, yet when they come home, the government does little for them. They can’t even get healthcare for war injuries without waiting years. They can’t find jobs. Many are homeless. They don’t get proper mental health care. When they suffer from suicidal thoughts, there isn’t adequate help for them. They don’t get much of anything.

These are our brothers and sisters. So why is our government…

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To the Party of Christian Values…”Who Am I To Judge Them?” Pope Francis

Pope FrancisSt. Peter's Basilica

Pope Francis On Gays: Who Am I To Judge Them?

By Paul Brandeis Raushenbush posted: 07/29/2013 8:01 am EDT  |  Updated: 07/29/2013 11:34 am EDT Huffington Post

ABOARD THE PAPAL AIRCRAFT — Pope Francis reached out to gays on Monday, saying he wouldn’t judge priests for their sexual orientation in a remarkably open and wide-ranging news conference as he returned from his first foreign trip.

“If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” Francis asked.

His predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, signed a document in 2005 that said men with deep-rooted homosexual tendencies should not be priests. Francis was much more conciliatory, saying gay clergymen should be forgiven and their sins forgotten.

Francis’ remarks came Monday during a plane journey back to the Vatican from his first foreign trip in Brazil.

He was funny and candid during a news conference that lasted almost an hour and a half. He didn’t dodge a single question, even thanking the journalist who raised allegations reported by an Italian newsmagazine that one of his trusted monsignors was involved in a scandalous gay tryst.

Francis said he investigated and found nothing to back up the allegations.

Francis was asked about Italian media reports suggesting that a group within the church tried to blackmail fellow church officials with evidence of their homosexual activities. Italian media reported this year that the allegations contributed to Benedict’s decision to resign

While stressing Catholic social teaching that calls for homosexuals to be treated with dignity and not marginalized, Francis said it was something else entirely to conspire to use private information for blackmail or to exert pressure.

Francis was responding to reports that a trusted aide was involved in an alleged gay tryst a decade ago. He said he investigated the allegations according to canon law and found nothing to back them up. But he took journalists to task for reporting on the matter, saying the allegations concerned matters of sin, not crimes like sexually abusing children.

And when someone sins and confesses, he said, God not only forgives but forgets.

“We don’t have the right to not forget,” he said.

Life Liberty and Justice for All

“Who am I too judge them” a great question for Christians.  For the past 30 years the Republicans have used “homosexuality” as a wedge issue and the Catholic Church was complicit in the persecution of the gay community.  Today Pope Francis took the first step in pivoting the Holy Roman Catholic Church back to focusing on social issues, income inequality, hunger, healthcare and the plight of the poor.   The comments from the Pope are Biblically rooted and for years have been ignored and overlooked by conservative Christian religions around the world.

Jesus Christ spoke for the poor, sick and disenfranchised.  As Christians we are asked to be Christ-like and the Holy Scriptures are clear, we are not to judge each other:

Matthew 7:3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”

Luke 6:37 “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;”

Romans 14:1-23 As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. …

Corinthians 4:1-21 This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God. ..

John 8:7 “And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Matthew 7:1 “Judge not, that you be not judged.”

Matthew 5:22  “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire”

Romans 2:1 “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.”

 John 3:16By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.”

GOP

One more “wedge” issue has fallen.  Again I urge “ALL” atheist, agnostics, progressives, liberals and Democrats to hold the “Party of Christian Values, the GOP” to the tenets of the Holy Scriptures.  Take the judgmental wedge issues from them and use the Bible to do it!  The Republican time of division is over…

“As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him…”

GOP Ransom Demands….Republican Disdain for the American Middle Class…

The Republican Party has released its menu to destroy the American Middle Class, further proof of their disdain for those that are not in the 1%, entrepreneurs, Corporate Chieftains or the investor class.  Their misguided belief that Americans have no value unless they are part of the aforementioned groups is despicable and insulting to those hard-working Americans that have chosen a different path for themselves.

Yarnell Fire 1Yarnell Fire 2

19 Firefighters, members of the Prescott Fire Department’s Granite Mountain Hotshots, were killed this month while fighting the Yarnell Hill fire, northwest of Phoenix.  These Firefighters were men of honor that put their lives on the line for other Americans.

Among the dead was Eric Marsh, the unit’s 43-year-old superintendent.

Also killed, according to the city of Prescott: Andrew Ashcraft, 29; Robert Caldwell, 23; Travis Carter, 31; Dustin Deford, 24; Christopher MacKenzie, 30; Grant McKee, 21; Sean Misner, 26; Scott Norris, 28; Wade Parker, 22; John Percin, 24; Anthony Rose, 23; Jesse Steed, 36; Joe Thurston, 32; Travis Turbyfill, 27; William Warneke, 25; Clayton Whitted, 28; Kevin Woyjeck, 21; and Garret Zuppiger, 27.

God Bless These Men...They are simply Heroic, Legendary...

God Bless These Men…They are simply Heroic, Legendary…

These men were not Wall Street tycoons, they were not Corporate moguls, Millionaires or Billionaires. But they were Heroes.  These men were worth every penny of their salaries, pensions and more.

Teacher 1Teacher 2

I am sick and tired of hearing Republicans putting everyone else down for not wanting to open their own business, for not wanting to dedicate their lives to making money.  Some of us want to be nurses, firemen, police and teachers.  For some Americans a job is just a job and they get their fulfillment from participating in their church activities, being a Scout Master, coaching their son’s baseball team.  There was a time in America when “We the People” could choose a simple life without the Republican Party calling us deadbeats, moochers and lazy leaches.  There was a time when the Senate and House were men of honor, Statesmen and they protected the interests of the American Middle Class.  They knew a strong Middle Class was good for America.

Nurse ICUNYPD

There was a time when the House of Representatives didn’t hold the Nation hostage to extract every concession they could from the Middle Class. Penalizing them and decrying them for simply being part of the working class.  The Republicans want more and more concessions from the Middle Class as Corporate America has dramatically increased its cash piles over the past few years, stashing more and more dollars every year since 2007.  In 2012, U.S. non-financial companies filled their coffers with an additional $130 billion, taking their total cash to a record $1.45 trillion as the economy has stagnated and the labor market has moved sideways.  At the same time U.S. firms hoard 58% of their cash, or $840 billion, overseas according to Forbes Magazine.

Trickle down supply-side economics is a failure.  Avarice and hoarding prevents the Voodoo economic theory from working. It is the Governments job to watch out for it Citizens, I dare say they are not doing their job.  It is not the job of the Republicans to fill the pockets of shareholders, but to insure that “We the People” are treated fairly and that justice is applied to our economy so that everyone in the United States can benefit from the fruits of their labor.  Wages in the United States have not kept up with the increasing productivity of the American Worker. From 1973 to 2011, worker productivity grew 80 percent, while median hourly compensation, after inflation, grew by just one-eighth that amount, according to the Economic Policy Institute, a progressive research group. And since 2000, productivity has risen 23 percent while real hourly pay has essentially stagnated. Americans are working their butts off and the Republicans do everything within their power to keep as much of those profits for the 1%.

Steel WorkersSteel Workers Golden Gate

The Romney Ryan Campaign used “We Built That” as their slogan.  You were able to build that because American productivity increased 80%.  Donald Trump is not out there welding steel beams in his newest skyscraper, it is American Labor that is building that!  American Labor build the bridges, harbors, roads, skyscrapers, ships, dams, airports, hospitals, schools and universities that made this Country great and don’t ever let some rich fat cat make you feel guilty about touting your accomplishments and contributions to America.

Empire State BuildingGolden Gate

It is time for the American Middle Class to unite and demand their share of the profits, we have increased our productivity and now it is time for Corporate America to stop hoarding money and to pay a “LIVING WAGE”.

republicanRansom

As the debt ceiling raises its ugly head again, listen closely to what the GOP is asking for; if you are a Middle Class Republican listen closely and ask yourself, how do these “ransom” demands help “ME” and “My Family”.

  • For a long-term deal, one that gives Treasury borrowing authority for three and a half years, Obama would have to agree to premium support. The plan to privatize Medicare, perhaps the most controversial aspect of the Ryan budget, is the Holy Grail for conservatives who say major deficit-reduction can only be achieved by making this type of cut to mandatory spending. “If the president wants to go big, there’s a big idea,” said Scalise.”
  • “For a medium-sized increase in the debt limit, Republicans want Obama to agree to cut spending in the SNAP food-stamp program, block-grant Medicaid, or tinker with chained CPI.”
  • ”For a smaller increase, there is talk of means-testing Social Security, for example, or ending certain agricultural subsidies.”

Privatizing Medicare? How does privatizing Medicare help any Senior or Family making less than $100,000 per year (80% of American households)?  Medicare is one of the American Middle Class’ most beloved benefits.  When the Republicans talk about cutting Medicare, remember that they want spend the money saved from Medicare on border security.  The cost of the 20,000 additional agents alone was put at $30 billion over a decade. The cost of building and maintaining a double set of steel fences along 700 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border could be five to 25 times greater than congressional leaders forecast last year, or as much as $49 billion over the expected 25-year life span of the fence, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service. So cutting Medicare to reduce the deficit is a GOP red herring and they are lying to you Middle Class.

Tinkering with Social Security? Chained CPI? “Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit. Social Security is totally funded by the payroll tax levied on employer and employee. If you reduce the outgo of Social Security, that money would not go into the general fund to reduce the deficit. It would go into the Social Security Trust Fund. So Social Security has nothing to do with balancing a budget or erasing or growing the deficit.”—Ronald Reagan  https://yahoothom.wordpress.com/2013/07/11/privatizing-social-security-not-worth-the-gamble/ 

The Republicans continue to talk about jobs, but have done nothing in 30 years to create good-paying American jobs, falling back on the free market ideas that have only served to outsource good-paying American jobs to low-wage third world Countries to line the pockets of the Investor Class, more HOARDING!  The on-going Middle Class recession; good paying Union jobs replaced by low paying jobs at  Walmart and McDonalds have created a class of hard working poor Americans that have to rely on food assistance to make ends meet.  Where is the compassion in the GOP as they cut food assistance to working class Americans while giving “Corporate Agriculture” the most generous farm subsidies in history?  

The American Middle Class does not have the luxury to be partisan lemmings.  Wake up Middle Class America!  These are not sports teams, the Republican Party is trying to destroy the American Middle Class standard of living to create a pool of low-wage workers, while gorging themselves like gluttonous Jabba the Hutt on our productivity and to extract every cent they can from our pockets.

Worth reading from the New York Times

Seems that Fox News was the best thing that ever happened to PROGRESSIVES! Imagine that! Great read excellent autopsy for the Grand “OLD” Party!

Ghoh

Has the G.O.P. Gone Off the Deep End?
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/17/has-the-g-o-p-gone-off-the-deep-end/?src=me&ref=general
 
Only misses one thing: The program of the lunatic fringe is to take over the Party, even if the process makes it useless to own! Perhaps they hope to build it back up, but the demographic shift, providentially, will take them out!

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