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AFL-CIO

The mission of the AFL-CIO is to improve the lives of working families-to bring economic justice to the workplace and social justice to our nation. To accomplish this mission we will build and change the American labor movement.

We will build a broad movement of American workers by organizing workers into unions. We will recruit and train the next generation of organizers, mass the resources needed to organize and create the strategies to win organizing campaigns and union contracts. We will create a broad understanding of the need to organize among our members, our leadership and among unorganized workers. We will lead the labor movement in these efforts.

We will build a strong political voice for workers in our nation. We will fight for an agenda for working families at all levels of government. We will empower state federations. We will build a broad progressive coalition that speaks out for social and economic justice. We will create a political force within the labor movement that will empower workers and speak forcefully on the public issues that affect our lives.

We will change our unions to provide a new voice to workers in a changing economy. We will speak for working people in the global economy, in the industries in which we are employed, in the firms where we work, and on the job every day. We will transform the role of the union from an organization that focuses on a member's contract to one that gives workers a say in all the decisions that affect our working lives-from capital investments, to the quality of our products and services, to how we organize our work.

We will change our labor movement by creating a new voice for workers in our communities. We will make the voices of working families heard across our nation and in our neighborhoods. We will create vibrant community labor councils that reach out to workers at the local level. We will strengthen the ties of labor to our allies. We will speak out in effective and creative ways on behalf of all working Americans.

Blog Posts from AFL-CIO

AUDIO: America Votes President Joan Fitz-Gerald Talks Republican Primary

Joan Fitz-Gerald, President of America Votes, spoke with Rick Smith yesterday on the Rick Smith Show (WIOO and WEEO in Central Pennsylvania) about the Republican primary race.

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UPDATED: Right-to-work fight in Indiana hits a roadblock

The fight over right-to-work legislation in Indiana has become increasingly complicated for unions and other supporters of labor as their attempts to protest the passing of this legislation is now more difficult in light of new capacity restrictions in the Statehouse. “The fire marshal determined the Statehouse could safely hold 3,000 people at one time. With about 1,700 state employees and lawmakers in the building every day, that leaves room for up to 1,300 more people,” according to the Indiana Economic Digest.

“This is suppression of workers’ speech,” said Rep. Win Moses, D-Fort Wayne. “It’s a deliberate attempt to hide what they want to do, which is to destroy unions and reduce wages for working people. It’s arrogance – it’s almost beyond belief.”

On top of those limitations, special groups are being allowed access to the Statehouse through e-mailed waivers, further limiting the amount of people allowed to have their voices heard while speaking up against the right-to-work legislation. A prayer group was granted special access to the Statehouse through an e-mail that instructs members of the group to avoid the crowds of protesters by coming in through a side entrance and showing security guards a print-out of the email. By actions such as this, the state now can pick and choose who to allow into a building that is supposed to be for the citizens of Indiana.

**UPDATE** On Wednesday, Governor Mitch Daniels rescinded the crowd limit for the Statehouse that critics say was aimed at protesters. Daniels said "Democrats and media coverage of the change influenced the decision to change the policy back." The Governor also said he is dedicated to keeping the crowd at safe levels, but is not looking to limit public access.

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A Great Day in New Hampshire

Labor and progressive partners scored a huge victory in New Hampshire today, as the state House voted to uphold Governor Lynch's veto of the Right to Work bill. America Votes congratulates Labor, who worked so hard for months on this bill - and we thank the hundreds of volunteers who helped in this important effort.The AV office in Concord became an impromptu campaign headquarters this morning, as volunteers streamed in once they got word that today might be the day the Speaker would call for a vote.

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Senate Targets NLRB in Spending Bill

On Thursday, the House voted to approve the "Protecting Jobs from Government Interference Act," a Republican-backed bill prohibiting the NLRB from trying to block Boeing from moving to a new non-union 787 production line in South Carolina. The labor board would be barred from seeking to have an employer shut, transfer or relocate employment or operations "under any circumstances." The vote, 238 to 186, fell largely along party lines.

Building on Thursday's House vote, Republicans are now attempting to attach a rider barring the agency from pursuing any order threatening Boeing's new production line to the NLRB budget. The Senate Appropriations Committee has a narrow 16-14 Democratic majority, and Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), a member of the panel, has said that he is "leaning toward" the GOP amendment. The amendment, drafted by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is clearly aimed at the Boeing case, but its language would also impact the NLRB's powers in other cases where employers are shown to have moved facilities in order to retaliate against workers for union activities.

Boeing claims that the new South Carolina facility was built for cost reasons, but the company's executives have made past comments expressing concern over strikes and walkouts organized by unionized workers in the Seattle area. The NLRB's counsel found that Boeing's decision to locate in the right-to-work state of South Carolina constituted illegal retaliation against its union workers.

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Success in the process to repeal Ohio's SB 5

Yesterday, opponents of Ohio Governor John Kasich’s anti-union bill, SB 5, that was signed into law this past march, achieved another victory in their attempts to repeal the law on the November ballot. This victory came by way of the state Ballot Board voting for a clear “yes” to support the law, and “no” to vote against it verbiage for the ballot this November.

Supporters of the law were trying to make the repeal efforts more confusing by submitting wording that would mean a “yes” vote translated into voting for the repeal of the law. It has been proven that voters who are skeptical or confused by an issue tend to vote no, therefore supporting the opponents of the law. With 13.7% of the population of Ohio as union members, higher than the U.S. average rate of 11.9%, this law is clearly an important issue to the people, and this new ballot wording will help their efforts to repeal it come November.

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Digging a little deeper into Labor Day

With the summer starting to wind down, that final weekend of parades and picnics celebrating Labor Day is around the corner. NPR posted an interesting interview with Jeff Cowie, an Associate Professor of Labor History at Cornell University, in which he discusses the history of the labor movement and what changes it has seen since the first time Labor Day was celebrated in 1882. Listen to the interview and view the transcript here.

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Collective Bargaining Law enacted today in WI

Today is the day that Wisconsin's collective bargaining law goes into effect. Right before public employees lose their rights to negotiate benefits and other terms of their employment, Gov. Scott Walker commented in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel saying he should have prepared the public for this law sooner to help ease some of the tensions that have erupted over it.

Walker says, however, that people should have been aware this was coming based on his campaign for governor in 2010. He doesn't see the elimination of collective bargaining rights as a rights issue at all, instead it's just "an expensive entitlement." Walker also doesn't see haw he ever attacked teachers, a group that has come out strong to protest the collective bargaining law, blaming it on them receiving misinformation from union leaders. Now that the law is enacted, recall elections are in motion to replace some of the legislators who voted for it. Read more of Walker's comments in the Journal Sentinel's article.

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Wisconsin Supreme Court signs off on Walker's Collective Bargaining Law

Despite numerous protests and 14 Democratic senators leaving the state for three weeks, the Wisconsin Supreme Court signed off on Gov. Scott Walker's law that eliminates collective bargaining rights for public employees. The law will now take effect on June 29, leaving public employees without any rights to collective bargaining.

Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne, a Democrat, sued to block the law from taking effect on the ground that the open meeting policy was not observed and the meeting in which the law was passed was not announced 24 hours in advance. A Circuit Court judge, Maryann Sumi, agreed and passed a permanent injunction on the law on May 27th, preventing it from taking effect. The Supreme Court decided that her action "usurped the legislative power which the Wisconsin Constitution grants exclusively to the legislature." Now it is only a matter of a few weeks and waiting for the ruling to be reviewed before public workers start to feel the effect of these restrictions on collective bargaining.

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Budget Cuts Put Important Programs on the Chopping Block

With the economy in its current state, many families must rely on food banks to keep food on the table and to keep their families going. In efforts to work within the faltering economy,conservative lawmakers are looking at cutting funding for important programs like food banks, leaving many hungry.

In places like Pittsburgh, PA where mills and plants are shutting down and leaving people without jobs, food banks become an important resource for the community. According to the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank "children in 'food insecure' homes are twice as likely to suffer poor health and one third more likely to be hospitalized." By cutting funds to food banks, the lives of children are put at greater risk.

Other important programs such as the AIDS Drug Assistance Program in Florida may fall victim to budget cuts as well. Governor Rick Scott has proposed looking to raise the income standard for receiving medication, cutting down the largest waiting list for HIV medication in the country, but also cutting down the possibility for people with low incomes to receive treatment. Programs like these and food banks are critical for people with lower incomes, but as long as politicians refuse to look to new sources of revenue, these important programs are going to continue to be threatened by drastic budget cuts.

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Unionized mines make for safer work environments

A recently released study has determined that in unionized mines there are 18-33% less traumatic injuries annually. This study was performed in the wake of the largest mine explosion in four decades that killed 29 men at a non-unionized mine last year.

Unionization allows for further attention from labor safety councils to mines and it also protects the workers' rights to voice their opinions when they feel there are problems or safety issues that need to be addressed. Overall, the number of injuries in mines annually is on the decline, but further unionization would help perpetuate this trend and continue to provide safer working conditions. Read more here.

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Collective Bargaining Rights Threatened Across the Country

It's not quite clear what makes this year different from all other years when it comes to worker's rights, but states across the country are making moves to "restrict or eliminate collective bargaining rights of public workers," with a force that has not been seen before. In an interview with NPR, Jeanne Mejeur

The fight in Wisconsin has led to recall efforts of 6 GOP state senators, where the law has not been enacted yet, but similar laws have been passed in other states as well.

Legislation in regards to collective bargaining does not have to be an all or nothing issue. Nebraska could serve as a positive role model for other states battling with collective bargaining bills, as legislators and public employee unions were able to work together to draft legislation that truly was a compromise. While public employees still made quite a few concessions it protected the practice of collective bargaining and upheld the Commission of Industrial Relations as "an unbiased third party that, when asked, will review the facts and render a fair ruling." If more states could follow this cooperative model, perhaps it could eliminate some of the "bitterly partisan" tension that's surrounds the upcoming recall elections

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Stand Up For Workers; Union Plus Will Donate On Your Behalf!

Union Plus has issued a challenge to the supporters of labor. They will give $25 for every new Facebook fan and $25 for every Tweet using the #UnionPlus hashtag up to $100,000 to help America Votes fight back against the recent attacks on the labor movement.Please help us spread the word! There are a few different ways to help:1. Promote this challenge on your Facebook page! Ask fans to join the Union Plus Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/UnionPlus: For every new Facebook fan, Union Plus will donate $25 to the fund.2. Tweet using the hashtag: #UnionPlus and include @UnionPlus - Union Plus will donate $25 for every new tweet with this hashtag.eg. "Stand UP for Workers: @UnionPlus just donated $25 to the State Battles Fund on my behalf just by tweeting this hashtag: #UnionPlus |#1u"Union Plus supports the rights of workers to organize and collectively bargain for fair wages, a safe work environment, and to have a strong voice in the workplace - and we're proud to back up our stance with a $100,000 donation to the America Votes State Battles Fund. The money will go toward opposing state legislation, ballot measures, and executive orders that attack the labor movement.Please help us make this a success by kindly spreading this message to your supporters, family and friends on Facebook and Twitter!

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ALERT: NH "Right to Work For Less" Up for Full State Senate Vote on April 20th

As expected, NH HB 474 - Right to Work for Less - passed the Senate committee on a party line vote (4 to 1). We expect the full senate will vote on Wed April 20th. We need your help to continue to oppose this extreme anti-worker agenda.Continue reading to see how you can help in New Hampshire!

Here's how you can help:

CONTACT YOUR SENATOR: The senators are telling us that they need to hear from us! Take a minute between now and Tuesday to call and email your senator. You can find your senator's contact information here: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/senate/senatemembers.asp.

Key Message points:
• Include your name and address
• Ask the senator to vote NO on HB 474
• Tell them what type of work you do
• Include any of the following:

  • Right to Work for Less is opposed by employers across the state. This isn't something employers are asking for and it isn't something employers want.
  • Right to Work for Less doesn't create jobs - it isn't about rights and it's not about work.
  • States with similar Right to Work for Less laws have higher rates of poverty, higher rates of unemployment and lower wages.
  • Right to Work for Less is being pushed by out-of-state special interests. Right to Work for Less isn't right for New Hampshire

If you need help with your message, please contact us at protectnhfamilies@gmail.com.

JOIN A CANVASS: We are canvassing this weekend! We'll be out talking to voters about what is happening at the state house and asking them to contact their senator. These canvasses have been going great so far with a positive response from voters. Help us keep the momentum going!
Weekend Details

NASHUA: Join us on Saturday April 16th from 10 to 2pm or Sunday April 17th from 12:00 to 4:00 pm. We'll meet at the AFT hall at 7c Taggart Drive in Nashua. RSVP to john@nhforhealthcare.com.

CLAREMONT: Join us on Saturday April 16th from 10 to 2 pm. We'll meet at the Trinity Episcopal Church at 120 Broad Street in Claremont. RSVP to john@nhforhealthcare.com.

JOIN A PHONEBANK: Phone banks are up every day this week. RSVP to john@nhforhealthcare.com.

 

STATUS OF THE NH BILLS

HB 474 - Right to Work for Less legislation - passed out of the senate committee on a party line vote 4 to 1. The Senate committee stripped the damaging amendment added in the house. The full senate is expected to vote on a traditional Right to Work for Less bill on Wed. View the bill status report here.

HB 2 - part 2 of the state budget bill - was amended in committee to eliminate the right to collective bargaining. This budget bill as currently written is devastating for New Hampshire families, communities and tax payers and includes an underhanded assault on New Hampshire workers. The full house passed the budget (HB 1 and HB 2) Follow HB 1 here and HB 2 here. You can view a comparison of the Governor's budget and the house budget here.

UPCOMING EVENTS

APRIL 16th Nashua Canvass: Help us stop the reckless legislative attacks on New Hampshire families! The canvass will run for 10:00 - 2:00 and we'll meet at the AFT Hall at 7 C Taggart Drive, Nashua. RSVP to john@nhforhealthcare.com

APRIL 16th Claremont Canvass: Help us stop the reckless legislative attacks on New Hampshire families! The canvass will run for 10:00 - 2:00 and we'll meet at the Trinity Episcopal Church 120 Broad St Claremont. RSVP to john@nhforhealthcare.com

APRIL 17th Nashua Canvass: Help us stop the reckless legislative attacks on New Hampshire families! The canvass will run for 12:00 - 4:00 and we'll meet at the AFT Hall at 7 C Taggart Drive, Nashua. RSVP to john@nhforhealthcare.com

ON GOING: You can join the interfaith voices for a humane budget at the state house. Regular vigils are taking place at the State House. Learn more here.

SAVE THE DATE: The full senate is expected to vote on HB 474 on Wednesday April 20th. More details coming soon.

SAVE THE DATE: The full senate is expected to hold a hearing on the budget on April 21st. More details coming soon.

MORE VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

Letters to the Editor: We are working to inform voters and influence legislators with letters to the editor. We need your help to get the word out! Contact kehrenberg@aflcio.org for more information, templates or to let us know you sent a letter.

Contact the Senate: We need your help letting the NH Senate know that HB 474 is bad policy and bad for New Hampshire. Please ask your members and supporters to contact their senators and ask them to stand up for the middle class and oppose HB 474. Then let us know how they respond! If you need an action alert template or more information, please contact us at protectnhfamilies@gmail.com

BUILDING THE CAMPAIGN

We need your help bringing more allies to the table! We are looking to engage small business and employers, community organizations, and religious organizations across the state. You can help by talking to the businesses and organizations in your area. Materials to help you get the conversation started are attached. Please contact Josiette with any questions or suggestions to help us build the campaign at 603-545-4772 or jwhite@americavotes.org.

We are also looking to take the message out to your organizations. Schedule a presentation or request presentation materials by contacting Josiette at jwhite@americavotes.org or call 603-545-4772.

SPOTLIGHT ON RECENT NEWS AND LETTERS

Over 11,000 people have joined the campaign to Protect New Hampshire Families! Sign-on today and invite your neighbors, families and friends! Sign-up today by joining our Protect New Hampshire Families facebook page!

As always, you can donate to the fight across all of the states here.

 

 

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"We Are One" Day of Solidarity

America Votes and its partners across the country will take part in a number of events today and continuing throughout the week to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s trip to Memphis, Tennessee, where he had gone to stand with sanitation workers demanding their dream: The right to bargain collectively for a voice at work and a better life. The workers were trying to form a union with AFSCME. On that trip, Dr. King was assassinated.

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PA America Votes Partners in the News:

The latest news clips mentioning PA America Votes partners:Budget-cut protesters occupy Tom Ridge's officesPhiladelphia InquirerThe groups protesting in Ridge's office included several locals of the Service Employees International Union, as well as a number of environmental groups, such as Clean Water Action. The group first held a rally near the Capitol, then began marching to what it earlier described as an "undisclosed location" to deliver the invoice …

PA AFL-CIO: Corbett’s Budget Doesn’t Add Up for Pennsylvania’s Middle Class

 

Gant Daily

 

Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Rick Bloomingdale and Secretary-Treasurer Frank Snyder said that Gov. Tom Corbett’s budget passes the buck to local governments and school districts, forcing them to raise property taxes or cut essential services and programs to balance their budgets …

 

Corbett Overturns Rendell Regulations, First Step in Regulation Reductions?

PoliticsPA

“We’re very disappointed that DEP does not believe that it is necessary to do an environmental review of potential impacts on public lands before drilling takes place. We actually think that these are lands that should be given a higher level of protection because they’re publicly owned lands. We disagree with DEP’s view that they should get less protection,” said Jeff Schmidt, director of the Pennsylvania Sierra Club Chapter

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PA America Votes Partners in the News

The latest news clips mentioning PA America Votes partners:

Philadelphia rally seeks to boost spirits of unions under siege
Philadelphia Inquirer

The huge union rally in the Municipal Services Building plaza Thursday was organized ostensibly in support of Wisconsin public workers fighting to retain their collective bargaining rights. But every full-throated labor leader who stepped to the microphone framed the battle in Wisconsin as part of an existential threat that unions face everywhere ... "We built this country, and we're not going to let you take it away from us," said AFL-CIO Philadelphia Council president Patrick J. Eiding. "They're not trying to balance the budget; they're trying to decimate collective bargaining." The Philadelphia Council organized the lunchtime rally, which included about 20 area unions and about 1,000 sign-waving members, who periodically chanted: "We are one!" ... Cathy Scott, president of District Council 47 of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, which represents the city's professional, technical, and administrative employees, said the fight in Wisconsin was about "shifting power from working people and the poor to corporations" ... "The question isn't why do I have a pension and benefits and a good job? The question is, why don't you?" [UFCW 1776's John] Meyerson said. "If you want a pension, get a union. If you want benefits, get a union. If you want a good job, get a union" ...

 

Local Rally Held In Support Of Wisconsin’s Workers
KDKA

Perhaps 500 workers and supporters from most of Pittsburgh’s labor movement turned out on short notice for this afternoon’s rally. ”We need to fight to make sure that they don’t rob any worker of their rights to collective bargaining, or their rights to be in a union,” said Leo Girard, of the United Steelworkers of America ...

 

Locals rally for solidarity
Wilkes Barre Times-Leader

Close to 200 representatives from the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals, United Food and Commercial Workers, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, and others gathered for a noon rally Wednesday …

 

Pa. labor groups vow to fight `right-to-work' bill
Centre Daily Times

Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Rick Bloomingdale said the bill would weaken unions and, in turn, drive down the wages that unions negotiate for workers. "We've got to kill it in the Legislature. We've got to drive a stake through its heart," Bloomingdale said. David R. Fillman, executive director of Council 13 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees - the largest state-employee union - shared Bloomingdale's dislike for the bill but was less worried about its prospects …


March protests looming Planned Parenthood funding end

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

If the amendment survives in the Senate, it would mean a nearly one-third budget cut for the seven Planned Parenthood centers in the region, said Kim Evert, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania …


Editorial: Ending Planned Parenthood funding will lead to more unwanted pregnancies

Philadelphia Inquirer

Last year, 49,000 people went to the South East Pennsylvania Planned Parenthood clinics for a total of 63,000 STD tests, more than 25,000 Pap tests, 13,000 screenings for cervical cancer, 14,000 breast exams, 17,000 doses of emergency contraception, and yes, 11,000 abortions …

 

Gas drilling in Pennsylvania state parks draws fire
Harrisburg Patriot-News

“The answer is not to turn our state parks and forests over to drillers and hope for the best,” said Jan Jarrett, president of PennFuture. “DEP should immediately open public comment on the previous administration’s policy, which was based on sound science.” Jeff Schmidt of the Pennsylvania chapter of the Sierra Club said, “This is where large numbers of people go for recreation and wild experiences” …

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A Message from AV President Joan-Fitzgerald on the Struggle in Wisconsin

Dear America Votes Supporter,As you watch events unfold in Wisconsin, please be aware that the very same scenario is ready to play out all across the Midwest. In many respects the Democratic members of the Wisconsin Senate that have fled the tyranny of their new governor are doing it for working people in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Indiana. But America Votes and our partners aren't going to let this happen without a fight (link to video). If the right to collective bargaining is eradicated with the stroke of Governor Walker's pen, the core of the middle class will be at the mercy of hostile legislatures who can change the terms of their contracts and working agreements for any reason.Our state director in Wisconsin has been working non- stop, without sleep, to coordinate the efforts to stop this bill from going forward. Phone banks have been set up and manned to get calls out informing people of the effort at the Capitol. Sites have been chosen for marches and demonstrations and America Votes' partner organizations are supplying the volunteers. We are proud to be a part of this effort to stop the erosion of worker's rights in Wisconsin.America Votes' directors in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan are readying themselves and their partner organizations for this struggle as well. We have worked in these states for the past 7 years and can bring a broad coalition to stop this effort to undermine the middle class. Please help me today to bolster our work in these critical states. Your donation of will go a long way to support these people who are standing up for all of us. We are providing much needed water and food to volunteers.As we are inspired by the resolve of the people of Wisconsin, we must be prepared in other states where these bills are ready to be introduced. Your help will strengthen our work, which allows greater coordination in this struggle.In the words of Mother Jones who spent her entire life fighting for the dignity of the working man in the face of the murders of the Ludlow Massacre:"Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living!"In solidarity,Joan Fitz-GeraldPresident, America Votes

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Senate Republicans Still Stalling

The "Lame Duck" session of Congress is underway this week, and just as they have throughout the 111th Congress, Senate conservatives are still using the filibuster to keep important pieces of legislation from moving forward.

Rebecca Lefton reports for Think Progress that today the Senate voted 58-41 against allowing debate on the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would strengthen the Equal Pay Act and help end discriminatory pay practices against women.  The bill had already passed the House and would have surely been sent to the President's desk had it received 2 extra votes.

Every Republican (except Lisa Murkowski, who was not present) as well as Ben Nelson (D-FL) voted against cloture, including Maine Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins.  Both Collins and Snowe voted for the Lilly Ledbetter Pay Act at the beginning of the term, helping to remove barriers for workers seeking compensation for discriminatory pay practices.

According to the National Women's Law Center, even after the passage of the landmark Equal Pay Act, women still earn $0.77 for $1 men make, translating into $10,000 in lost wages per worker per year.  Furthermore, mothers are the primary or co-primary breadwinners of 2/3 of American families.

Another important piece of legislation pending in the lame duck session is the extension of unemployment benefits.  But Arthur Delaney reports for the Huffington Post that Democrats have not scheduled a vote on an extension because they don't believe they have the necessary votes to overcome the filibuster.

Jobless benefits are set to expire at the end of the month, putting 2 million people in jeopardy with the holiday season fast-approaching.  Republicans have consistently opposed extensions, arguing that they add to the deficit. Reauthorization of benefits for a full year would cost at most $65 billion.

However, Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island argues that the same people who oppose extensions for the unemployed because of deficit concerns have no problem supporting an extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.

On the one hand they want to provide $700 billion in tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans but not pay for them. And on the other hand they're demanding that UI benefits for the middle class be paid for. That's a little like someone on a diet who orders a Diet Coke and a Big Mac simultaneously.

Not surprisingly, one union has jumped into the action as well. Visitors to the AFL-CIO's homepage are greeted with a clock counting down until benefits expire.

UPDATE: The White House released a statement condemning a minority of the Senate from preventing debate on the Paycheck Fairness Act. It highlights that it not only helps families ensure they aren't bringing home smaller paychecks than they deserve, but also businesses that are at a disadvantage for not using such discriminatory practices.

UPDATE: Pro-Choice women's group EMILYs List published a blog post yesterday calling on the Senate to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act.  Read it here.

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America Votes-CO Canvass 10/23

America Votes-CO volunteers joined with our partners to send hundreds out to knock on doors for progressive candidates.America Votes President Joan Fitz-Gerald joined AV-CO staff and volunteers for a great day of door knocking!

Volunteers met at six staging locations in Denver and Fort Collins for breakfast and training then hit the doors, talking to Coloradoans about the importance of getting out the vote! 

Early Vote opened in Colorado on October 18, so voters can cast their ballot now!  For more information on where and when to vote in Colorado, visit the website for the CO Secretary of State.

We'd like to thank the partners who helped make this day possible: AFL-CIO, Clean Water Action, Colorado Progressive Action, Environment Colorado, NARAL, New Era Colorado, Justice for All, Planned Parenthood, Progressive Future, Rocky Mountain Voter Outreach, and Working America.

 

 

 

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Reporting From the Field

We have one week until Election Day, and early voting has already begun in many states.Everyone at AV has been hard at work the last few weeks turning out voters in key districts and key states, fighting to preserve our Democratic majorities. Here are just a few examples of the great work everyone in the field is doing, brought to you via @Americavotes on Twitter

  • In CO. ready to rally rallies. Volunteers showing up all day to walk. Let's go!
  • Just left AFL in Jeffco. Lots of volunteers ready to walk. No enthusiasm gap here! Stakes r 2 high.
  • Ft.Collins lots of volunteers with PP and Naral ready to hit the doors with New Era.
  • Clean Water Action covering Ft. Collins for Markey and Bennet. Critical turnout area. Dedicated CWA people!
  • America Votes national staff heading into the field for GOTV. Stay tuned for on the ground reporting in CO, NH, NV, OH, PA and WI
  • At a canvass kick-off with Penn Action in PA-8! Let's go hit those doors.
  • WI: Prepping for massive GOTV program - 8 staging sites around state. 1000's of canvassers. 100,000+ doors. #tombarrett #feingold #WI

As always, follow America Votes on Twitter @Americavotes and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AmericaVotes.

 

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AV Partners Sprinting to the Finish

We're only two weeks away from Election Day, and campaigns across the country are in their final sprint to the finish.

We've talked about how the path to victory for Democrats is through a strong ground game
this year, and unions are coming through.  Kevin Bogardus at The Hill
is reporting that labor unions are making their final campaign pushes to get out the vote on November 2nd, if not before then. The SEIU has spent $200,000 in the last week on billboards, direct mail, and radio ads, upping their spending total to $1.3 million since mid-September.  The spending was in support of several house candidates including Reps. John Boccieri, Mark Schauer, Betty Sutton, and Dina Titus.

"This election is a clear choice," said Teddy Davis, a SEIU spokesman. "One side wants to strengthen the middle class and put people back to work. The other side wants to turn Social Security over to Wall Street, end Medicare as we know it and abolish the minimum wage."

Bogardus also reports that AFSCME has spent $5.2 million in support of Democrats thus far.  They've supported not only Boccieri, Schauer, and Titus, by Reps. Kathy Dahlkemper and Steve Kagen as well. The American Federation of Teachers has spent over $430,000 on canvassing for Democrats in New Hampshire, Florida, and Pennsylvania.  Meanwhile the AFL-CIO and Working America have spent over half a million dollars on canvassing and report that over 5,000 canvassers have knocked on over 100,000 doors, distributed 17.5 million fliers and sent 14.5 millions pieces of direct mail.

What are the results of this late push? We won't know for sure until Election Day, but early polling seems promising.  AFL-CIO Political Director Karen Ackerman told the Wall Street Journal that in Pennsylvania, Joe Sestak has increased his lead among union members from 45-39% on Labor Day to a current 55-29% edge.  This comes on the heels of a PPP poll released this week that shows Sestak leading Pat Toomey 46-45%.

Finally, Darren Goode reports for The Hill that the League of Conservation purchased $250,000 in ad buys supporting House members who voted for the contentious "cap-and-trade" climate bill last year.  Goode reports that the LCV's recent ad buys push its independent expenditures up to $3 million for the cycle, nearly eclipsing the $3.3 million it spent during the 2008 election.  This cycle, the LCV has been especially supportive of several candidates including, Schauer, Boccieri, Titus, and Sen. Michael Bennet.  Furthermore, the LCV partnered with Vote Vets to make a $250,000 ad buy in support of Sestak's Senate bid.

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Progressives Working Ground Game As Conservative Groups Storm The Airwaves

Sam Stein at the Huffington Post just went up with a piece about the importance of ground game and how it can be a saving grace in a few weeks, as progressive independent groups like Ameriac Votes partners LCV and AFL-CIO invest heavily in canvassing and GOTV.

Stein points out that:

In-person contact tends to be a much stronger way to persuade voters
than television ads. And while the AFL-CIO is limited to talking to
union members, an allied group, Working America, has the leeway to make
election pitches to non-union laborers. An official with the group says
they've knocked on "at least 700,000 doors in 13 cities and 9 states
across the country" to date.

Read the full piece here.

 

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AV Partners in the News

According to Politico, EMILYs List is working to turn out women voters in support of female incumbents across the nation.

A few America Votes partners have been in the news over the last 24 hours.

Alexander Burns writes for Politico about how EMILYs List is targeting female "surge" voters this cycle, especially in districts represented by their endorsed incumbents.  According to a recent poll commissioned by EMILYs List, health care and abortion rights remain very important to these surge voters, and the pro-choice group is seizing on these issues in their GOTV efforts.  Such GOTV efforts have already proven successful, as evidenced by Team EMILY! - a grassroots initiative that helped power EMILYs List endorsed candidate Ann McLane Custer to a 40 point win in the Democratic primary for NH-2.

At the Daily Kos, Mark Sumner interviewed Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune about the future of the environmental movement over the next few years.  Brune discusses a path to reduced dependency on coal and oil (even if Republicans make gains this year), mountaintop removal mining, auto fuel efficiency and much more.

Last but not least, the Minnesota AFL-CIO held its state convention and a key focus was rallying attendees to support DFL candidates, especially gubernatorial candidate Mark Dayton.  Sen. Al Franken also urged labor to vote this November, and Tarryl Clark, the DFL candidate opposing Rep. Michelle Bachmann received a standing ovation.  The convention was perhaps best summarized by AFL-CIO national secretary-treasurer who urged attendees to "roll up your sleeves"

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The AFL-CIO Is Dropping 2 million Mail Pieces in Aggressive Campaign

Politico Reports today that the AFL-CIO has come out with a new campaign targeting anti-labor Republicans.

The AFL-CIO has come out with a new campaign targeting anti-labor Republicans. They are attacking 6 Senate races, 4 governors' races, and 26 House races with 2 million pieces of mail. To activate its members, the AFL-CIO will call each mailer before and after the mail arrives in their mail boxes. Check out the mail pieces here:

 

Senate:

http://politi.co/aX8mfo; Pennsylvania

http://politi.co/cC0muE; Missouri

http://politi.co/939UzD; Wisconsin

http://politi.co/dcCgNW; Florida

http://politi.co/aRTKPe and Illinois

 

Governor:

http://politi.co/btazNn; Ohio

http://politi.co/bGm9nk; Michigan

http://politi.co/b4Ccp7 and Florida

 

House:

http://politi.co/9AUCiO

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AV News Round-Up: Tuesday, September 7, 2010

56 Days Til Election DayNot just jobs but good jobs and safe jobsRichard Trumka for Oregon Statesman-JournalAFSCME hits GOP over state aidBen Smith for Politico'They talk about me like a dog'Jonathan Martin for PoliticoGovernor's race: Rivals sharply divided on social issuesSteve Terrell for Santa Fe New MexicanIn an effort to get into the House, Ohio politicians are knocking on doorsAaron Marshall for The Cleveland Plain-Dealer

Not just jobs but good jobs and safe jobs
Richard Trumka for Oregon Statesman-Journal

Americans are worried about finding and keeping jobs

Many are desperate for any job at all in the worst recession since the Great Depression. Fifteen million people who want to work are stuck in unemployment lines. Just about as many are working part-time when they want to be working full time or have given up looking. It can be tempting to overlook dangerous workplaces and say now is not the time to prioritize workers' safety.

But disasters at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia, the Tesoro refinery in Washington, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf and other workplaces tell us otherwise. There is never a right time for substandard and unsafe workplaces. Now, when economic conditions and our corporate culture give rise to corner-cutting, is exactly the time to safeguard working people on the job.

Every day, 14 workers die on the job, never to return home. Another 2700 workers are seriously injured every day. Additionally, in 2008, an estimated 137 workers died each day from occupational diseases like asbestosis, cancer and black lung.

These chilling statistics are a stark reminder that job creation alone is not enough. We cannot allow lowest-common-denominator jobs-unsafe, low-pay, no-benefit jobs-to be the norm.

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AFSCME hits GOP over state aid
Ben Smith for Politico

At a moment when Republicans across the country are casting public workers and their unions as an increasingly dire threat to fiscal health, public labor giant AFSCME is set to announce a $1.5 million television, radio and Web campaign boosting Democrats and attacking Republicans in four battleground states: Michigan, Nevada, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

"We are going to do everything we can to make sure voters understand who worked to save our struggling economy and who chose to play politics with our lives and jobs," AFSCME President Gerald McEntee said in release announcing the ads. "We will support those who stood with us. The choice in this election is too important for anyone to sit on the sidelines."

The television spot aims most pointedly to reward Democrats - and punish Republicans - for their votes on an August jobs bill that included cash to help states avoid budget cuts that would have put teachers' jobs and Medicaid funding on the chopping block.

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'They talk about me like a dog'
Jonathan Martin for Politico

Two years after appearing here on Labor Day to kick off the final stretch of his historic campaign, President Obama returned Monday to speak to union members, in a starkly different political environment.

The Democrats, on the ascent at Obama's 2008 "Laborfest" visit, are now unmistakably a party on defense.

The president touched on his historic accomplishments - healthcare reform and new financial regulations - but spent more time discussing a new infrastructure plan and warning what Republican victory would mean.

By rolling out a $50 billion transportation proposal two months before the mid-term elections and twice mentioning statements from "the Republican who thinks he's going to take over as Speaker," Obama testified to the straits Democrats now find themselves in: They urgently need to convince voters that they're working to bolster the still-wobbly economy - and find a reason to give the electorate pause about voting for the GOP to register their anger about the status quo.

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Governor's race: Rivals sharply divided on social issues
Steve Terrell for Santa Fe New Mexican

Although the issues in the gubernatorial race mainly have centered on the economy, corruption, education, the environment and crime, there are a number of social issues that set Diane Denish and Susana Martinez apart.

These are issues such as abortion, gay rights and medical marijuana. Few would argue that these are anywhere near as important as problems like unemployment or failing schools. And yet, these are the issues that generate heat and inflame the passions.

In general, like the parties they represent, Republican Martinez, who is the district attorney of Doña Ana County, tends to fall on the socially conservative side, while Denish, the Democratic candidate, is more on the progressive side. In the three areas looked at here, the two find little, if any agreement.

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In an effort to get into the House, Ohio politicians are knocking on doors

Aaron Marshall for The Cleveland Plain-Dealer

Forget the TV ads made by high-priced consultants. Skip the town hall meetings and the endless parades. Toss the mail pieces and stick the yard signs in the trash. And, please, log off of Facebook and Twitter.

For those who want to serve as one of the 99 members of the Ohio House of Representatives, the old ritual by which actual candidates meet actual voters at their doorsteps is still the best route to a November win.

Call it the last bastion of retail politics on the Statehouse level, but the door-to-door campaign is alive and knocking, particularly in pocket-sized House districts where 20,000 votes could put you in office. Both parties hope their candidates hit upwards of 1 million doors total across the state before Election Day.

Read more

 

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Labor Gearing Up for Governor in Ohio

Perhaps two of the most underreported aspects of the 2010 midterm elections are the numerous races for control of Governors' Mansions and State Legislatures across the country. While, the mainstream media has focused primarily on whether Democrats can maintain control of Congress, in many states the party that controls state legislatures and governorships will control the redistricting process. And as America Votes Executive Director Greg Speed has written, controlling the redistricting process can mean sending more representatives from your party to Congress. Thus far, the national media has largely ignored redistricting, but many donors and national organizations have made it one of their primary focuses.

The latest example comes from Ohio, where The Hill's Sean Miller reports that the AFL-CIO and other labor groups are putting their focus squarely on the Governor's race between incumbent Democrat Ted Strickland and Republican challenger John Kasich. Why? In a word, redistricting.

"But there's added significance to the governor's race because the office plays a powerful role in the redistricting process, which takes place after the 2010 Census is completed in December. Ohio is expected to lose up to two of its 18 seats because of a population decline, which means the governor's office and the General Assembly will be grappling over how to redraw the state's House boundaries."

That's why out of a bevy of important and competitive races throughout the Buckeye State, the governor's race might the most important out of all of them.

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