Tag Archives: Blue Collar

The Progressive President and the American Middle Class…

march-on-washington

I have been accused of being hard on this President when it comes to privacy, chained CPI, Larry Summers and intervention in Syria. However I have been a tireless supporter of this President. I have never given up hope on his agenda. That does not mean that as an Independent Progressives I will not speak up when his agenda may hurt the freedom and liberty of Americans. I believe in this man and I know his accomplishments. This “BLACK” President has done more for the American Middle Class in four and a half years than the Republican Party has done in 30:

1. Passed the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare’s)
2. Passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act
3. Earned Income Tax Credit. Under current law, working families with two or more children currently qualify for an Earned Income Tax Credit equal to 40 percent of the family’s first $12,570 in earned income. The stimulus set the rate at 45 percent for families with three or more children and made other adjustments. The fiscal cliff bill extends these provisions for five additional years, through 2017.
4. Child Tax Credit. The stimulus set a new threshold for refundability of the credit, and the fiscal cliff bill extends that for five years, though 2017
5. Marriage penalty. A “marriage penalty” describes what happens when a couple pays more income tax if they file jointly as a couple than they would if they had remained single and filed as individuals. The fiscal cliff bill permanently extended marriage penalty relief for the standard deduction, the 15 percent bracket, and the Earned Income Tax Credit.
6. Dependent Care Credit. The dependent care credit benefits taxpayers who have child care expenses for children under 13 and disabled dependents. Under Bush, the amount of eligible expenses was increased. The fiscal cliff bill makes those changes permanent.
7. Adoption tax credits. Taxpayers who adopt children can receive a tax credit for adoption expenses and can exclude adoption expenses paid by an employer from the calculation of their income. Under Bush, the terms of this credit became more generous, and under Obama’s health care law, these benefits were extended and the credit was made refundable. The fiscal cliff bill extends these provisions permanently.
8. Increase minority access to capital
9. Implement “Women Owned Business” contracting program
10. Create a consumer-friendly credit card rating system
11. Establish a credit card bill of rights
12. Expand loan programs for small businesses
13. Close the “doughnut hole” in Medicare prescription drug plan
14. Require insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions
15. Provided tax credits to Americans who need help to pay health premiums
16. Require large employers to contribute to a national health plan
17. Require health plans to disclose how much of the premium goes to patient care
18. Reinstate executive order to hire an additional 100,000 federal employees with disabilities within five years
19. Increase the Veterans Administration budget to recruit and retain more mental health professionals
20. Expand Veterans Centers in rural areas
21. Fully fund the Veterans Administration
22. Expand housing vouchers program for homeless veterans
23. Fully fund the Violence Against Women Act
24. Increase funding for national parks and forests
25. Expand Pell grants for low-income students
26. President Obama signs hate crimes bill, Wednesday, October 28th, 2009 President Barack Obama has signed a bill to expand the federal hate crimes law. The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, named after two men who were killed more than 10 years ago because of their sexual orientation, was included in a defense bill that Obama signed on Oct. 28, 2009.
27. Repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy
28. Strengthen the levees in New Orleans
29. Toughen enforcement for Internet exploitation of children
30. Send first-time nonviolent drug offenders to rehab if appropriate
31. Create new criminal penalties for mortgage fraud
32. Reduce dependence on foreign oil
33. Reverse restrictions on stem cell research
34. He is bringing home “OUR” Sons and Daughters from Iraq and Afghanistan
35. He brought Osama Bin Ladin to justice for his attacks on 911

march_on_washington

Today is the anniversary of the “March on Washington”. As Americans we have been told throughout history that minorities were inferior, that they could not accomplish what White Americans could accomplish. It took over 230 years for a Black man to become the President. To prove that this Black man was not up to the task White Conservatives would not lift a finger to help this man make things better for the American Middle Class. They threw every obstacle at this President, they said “NO” to all of his ideas. They were intransigent and destructive to democracy. They mocked this man, they ridiculed him. They behaved less than Statesmanlike. But this Black President stood proud and he faced this Nation with incredible grace and dignity that no Republicans has exhibited since his election in 2008.


I have never been more proud of “MY” President and never more proud of the Progressives of all Races, Ethnicities, Religions, Sexual Orientation and social classes. On this day I salute the first African American President, Barack Obama. So many Americans have sacrificed throughout our history to make this possible and he has not disappointed that effort. I dare say that no White Males, Progressives or Conservative could have maintained such dignity in the face of the behavior and disrespect showed to him by the right wing of this Country.
But today I have a dream that this will not be the last African American President, that a Woman will be given her chance to lead, that “ALL” Americans will be given the chance to fulfill the “American Ideal”….ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL…

All_Men_are_Created_Equal

Advertisements

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…