The World is watching …
While the fight for Democracy breaks out all over the World, we see the marches the violence against protesters who have finally had enough. We see what most are calling the Arab World in possible transition. A movement against dictators and clerics who have ruled with iron fists and have engaged in outdated ancient practices.
Remember … there is always strength in numbers
It is so hard to understand, believe, accept, or fathom that we are in the 21st Century yet there are people on the Continent of Africa dying at the hands of their own in the Arab World for wanting to be heard, for wanting to be participants in their own futures and this is not new. There are mothers with children, older men and women and students are coming out in droves protesting to let tell these dictators it is time for a change. In a desperate move to control the truth of what they are doing to their own people, dictators have tried to cut off all connections to the outside world. They insist and expect the world to believe that the U.S. is at fault, meddling in the process of change, which should happen slowly. When the protesters did not leave, most if not all these tyrants offered up some concessions to the people like crumbs while trying to divert responsibility until their patience ran out with tantrums and threats, crackdown, use extreme force, and death to those who refuse to obey. Tyrants obviously, act without remorse because the people no longer choose to be their little children, slaves and or pawns in the effort stay in power. It is my hope that the Militia or Mercenaries rise up against these despots. As I watched in horror, I ask myself if these people have even allowed themselves a chance to stop and consider what personal, freedom would mean for them and their families. I also wonder if they feel they deserve to be happy let alone want an opportunity a change from the old ancient ways to a life with the freedom to speak, better wages, human rights, actually be a participant in the process of life. Then, like so many others have compared the uprisings in the U.S. over bargaining rights that have been a part of the Middle Class for over forty years and the forty-one year revolution for freedom in Libya.
We all know that the demand to be heard these days is great and how amazing it is to see people on two different continents with similar reactions by those who control, who truly are working for an agenda that is one of great self-interest. This seemingly symbiotic thing going on, though we are worlds apart the Arabs must fear not evil to get the change they need and want … it means that any fear of authority is not an option, the possibility of death while here in America we rely on lawmakers to do the right thing
The journey toward freedom is sometimes paved with danger
It is crunch time for overtime.
We’ve written a lot about the importance of the Obama administration’s new overtime rule: it will go a long way to making sure that workers get paid for all the hours they work. But it won’t happen on its own. Special interests are trying to weaken the new rule. That’s why the Department of Labor needs to hear your support.
We don’t make many direct calls for action in The Progress Report, so you can rest assured that this one is important. Raising the overtime threshold to $50,440 will benefit millions:
BOTTOM LINE: This is your last chance. Please go to FixOvertime.Org now to let the Department of Labor know you support the important new rule. Then forward this to your friends and family and ask they do the same!
This week, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner and the Republicans in the Missouri legislature have both shown that they are anti-middle class. Rauner and the Missouri legislature continue an assault on unions that has been particularly potent in the Midwest, to the detriment of workers across the region.
This Midwestern flavor of anti-unionism really took off back in 2005, when former Indiana Governors Mitch Daniels eliminated collective bargaining rights for public employee unions, which decimated public unions in Indiana. In 2012, Daniels continued his assault on unions by making Indiana a so-called “right-to-work” state, making it illegal for unions to collect dues from non-members, despite the fact that they negotiate employment conditions for all workers, union or otherwise. While conservatives claim that right-to-work creates more jobs, the evidence suggests that this policy costs the average full-time worker, unionized or not, $1,500 a year in lost wages.
A number of Midwest governors took Mitch Daniels’ example and ran with it. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker eliminated collective bargaining for most public employee unions in 2011, while Ohio Governor John Kasich tried, but failed to do the same in 2011 as well. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder mimicked Daniels’ agenda by making Michigan a right-to-work state in 2013. Both Michigan and Wisconsin saw union membership steeply drop as a result.
Now Governor Rauner and the Missouri legislature want to implement these union-bashing policies into their states. Rauner made headlines last year for supporting eliminating the minimum wage as a member of the 0.1 percent. But now, he has exceeded even those anti-worker by signing an executive order that effectively makes Illinois a right-to-work state for public unions.
Meanwhile, emboldened by the 2014 election, Republicans in Missouri are moving a “paycheck protection” bill through the legislature, which would “require some state workers to provide annual written authorization for union dues to be deducted from their paychecks,” according to the Washington Post. In addition to their attempt to slyly undermine unions, the Republican legislature will also attempt to pass a separate right-to-work bill. Instead of working to create a larger middle class, these Midwestern Republicans continue their attacks against unions, which have done so much to improve working conditions and help build the middle class.
BOTTOM LINE: Unions are incredibly important to creating an economy that works for everyone. These Midwestern Republicans have contributed to trends that weaken and shrink unions, even though research shows that unions and are one of the keys to an inclusive prosperity that decreases inequality and builds up the middle class.