Join the Black Institute and a host of other labor, immigration and civil rights organizations for a rally at City Hall, Wednesday, May 1st at 5:00 pm. Let’s ALL unite to WIN!
Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney—who killed thousands of jobs as a corporate raider—recently said he “likes being able to fire people.”
Romney’s record as a corporate raider backs up his words: He supports laws that attack workers’ rights and make it easier to fire people. Laws like the so-called “right to work” bill being considered in Indiana that targets collective bargaining, robbing workers of union protection.
If Indiana’s so-called “right to work” bill passes, the state’s unions no longer will stand between corporate raiders like Mitt Romney and many of the workers they like to fire to boost short-term profits. And it will become much harder for everyday workers to improve their wages, benefits and retirement security.
If you agree with the AFL-CIO that our leaders need to work together on an agenda that actually creates jobs—and stop following the lead of corporate raiders like Mitt Romney—add your name to our “I like leaders who hire people” petition.
In 2011, we saw the beginnings of a new democratic movement for economic justice. We had the most solidarity I’ve seen at any time during my career in the labor movement. We shifted the debate. And we’ll keep doing it.
But to translate this movement into lasting change, politics matter. Not just who we elect for president, but our choices at the state and local levels, too.
America wants to work—and it is politics as usual, not economic obstacles, standing in the way of putting people back to work. That’s why we’re promoting a job-creating agenda in statehouses around the country this year, focusing on priorities like:
Even though ruthless, corporate-backed attacks on workers continue, make no mistake: Our message—the message of the 99%—is taking root. Many politicians haven’t caught up yet. But they will. They’ll have to. Because people all across the country are saying our economy and our democracy are out of balance. They’re saying it’s time to create jobs for every person who wants to work—jobs that can support our families and that can support our dreams.
Thank you for all the work you do.
Richard L. Trumka
What a huge day for progressive power! Yesterday, voters in nearly every region of the country turned out and resoundingly defeated right-wing attacks on:
- Workers’ Rights (Ohio);
- Choice (Mississippi);
- Voting Rights (Maine);
- Marriage Equality (Iowa);
- Immigrant Civil Rights AND Government By the People (Arizona);
- Public Education (North Carolina);
- AND MORE.
In the nationally-watched races and ballot initiatives across America, progressives won across the board. These hard-fought victories are not just wins for people in these states. The results have important ramifications moving forward into the 2012 elections, with this flexing of political muscle providing a good source of hope that maybe 2012 can be our 2010.
Let’s remember that most of the Republican presidential candidates came down on the losing side of virtually every one of these issues, showing how out of touch they and their party are with Americans’ values. Frontrunner Mitt Romney, whom many consider to be the presumptive nominee, after his usual hemming and hawing, came out strongly against workers’ rights in Ohio and said he would support the shockingly extreme “personhood” amendment in Mississippi that would have given fertilized eggs the rights of human beings. Even the overwhelmingly Republican — and culturally conservative — electorate of deep red state Mississippi rejected that radical position by a whopping 58%-42%. An astute political observer might accurately say that Mitt Romney was in fact yesterday’s, and thus Election 2011’s, biggest loser.
Ohio — workers’ rights and defending the middle class WIN
In Ohio, voters stood up their neighbors — their nurses, teachers, policemen and firefighters — and successfully repealed the right-wing governor’s Wisconsin-style attack on the fundamental collective bargaining rights of public employees — the law known as SB 5. Tallies are showing that over 60% of voters voted “No” on Issue 2, to repeal SB 5, with only six counties in the entire state showing majorities in favor of keeping the law. In all those counties, Republican Governor John Kasich won with more than 60% of the vote in 2010.
We worked hard, with PFAW activists in Ohio playing a critical role in the effort. Our allies in Ohio, especially our friends at We Are Ohio, led an inspiring and effective campaign. This victory will have a lasting impact in Ohio and national politics, as it staved off an attack that could have been crippling to progressives in a critical swing state.
The attacks on working people in Ohio, Wisconsin and other states are part of a right-wing effort to break the back of organized labor, which is a major source of progressive power and one of the only political counterweights to the corporate special interests that fund the Right. Like laws that disenfranchise voters in communities that traditionally vote more progressive, these new policies are a naked partisan power grab by Republican politicians, and at the same time serve as a big gift, basically a policy kickback, to their corporate contributors like the Koch brothers.
We will work hard to help replicate nationally for 2012 the Ohio organizing model that mobilized a middle-class revolt against right-wing extremism in that state.
Mississippi — reproductive rights WIN
As I mentioned above, voters in Mississippi, a state in which Democrats didn’t even bother to run a candidate in several statewide races, overwhelmingly rejected a state constitutional amendment that would have defined a fertilized egg as a person. That dreadful law would have effectively turned ALL abortions, without exception for rape, incest of the health of the mother, into murder under state law. It would have done the same with many popular forms of birth control and the processes involved in fertility treatment, even creating legal suspicion around miscarriages.
A similar “personhood” amendment had twice been rejected by voters in Colorado by similarly large margins, but polling leading up to Election Day in Mississippi showed a toss up. It’s important to note that while many anti-choice conservatives expressed reservations about the far-reaching extremity of the amendment, just about every Religious Right group and Republican supported it … and it lost by 16 points … IN MISSISSIPPI.
Maine — voting rights WIN
Maine voters yesterday voted to preserve their same-day voter registration policy after the right-wing legislature passed a law to repeal it.
In another example of the Right doing everything it can to make ballot access more difficult for some voters, after Republicans took control of the governorship and the legislature in 2010, one of the first things on the chopping block was Maine’s same-day voter registration law.
Voters have been able to register at their polling place on Election Day in Maine since 1973 — if there is anything ingrained in the voting culture of Maine it’s same-day registration. Same-day voter registration is the reason Maine has one of the highest voter turnouts in the country (states with same-day registration average 6% higher turnout than states without it). It’s good for democracy … but apparently that’s bad for the Right.
Republicans had used the bogus straw man argument about “widespread voter fraud” — even though it’s never been a reported problem in Maine. They amazingly trotted out the argument that people who wait until Election Day to register are not “engaged” enough in the process, even though same-day registrants are simply abiding by the law of nearly 40 years, and showing up on Election Day is the ultimate demonstration of “engagement.”
The Maine Republican Party even ran a full page newspaper ad just before the election trying to portray the ballot initiative to “repeal the repeal” and save same-day registration as some sort of gay activist plot. The ad implied that Equality Maine’s support of the referendum was somehow insidious and revealing of some problem with the long-standing, pro-democracy law. In reality, LGBT rights groups did have stake in the results of yesterday’s same-day voter registration ballot initiative because if Mainers would not join together to defeat such a radical right-wing usurpation of voters’ rights, then the Equality movement in that state concluded there would be little hope in waging another campaign to enact same-sex marriage equality by referendum. So, yesterday’s victory for voting rights effectively leaves the door open for a future victory for marriage equality as well.
Iowa — marriage equality WIN
While the victory in Maine opens the possibility of a future win for marriage equality in that state, in Iowa, the state’s existing marriage equality law won a major victory with the election of the Democrat running in a special election for state Senate. Party control of the Senate hinged on this race and if the Republican had won, the legislature would surely move to undo marriage equality for same-sex couples in Iowa.
The Senate seat in question became open when Republican Governor Terry Branstad appointed incumbent Democratic Senator Swati Dandekar to a high paying post on the Iowa Utilities Board. Republicans knew full well that the bare majority Democrats held in the Senate would then be up for grabs, and with it, the fate of marriage equality. Congratulations to Democratic Senator Elect Liz Mathis, the voters who elected her and all the people of Iowa whose rights will continue to be protected by a state marriage law that holds true to our core constitutional values of Fairness and Equality.
Arizona — immigrant rights and democracy WIN
Voters in Arizona really made an impressive show of strength yesterday when they voted to RECALL Republican State Senator Russell Pearce, the architect of Arizona’s infamous draconian “show me your papers” immigration bill, SB 1070. Arizonans did themselves and the country a great service in rejected the lawmaker who pioneered the shameful racial profiling bill.
This is not just a victory for fair and humane immigration policy. The often untold story of SB 1070 is that it was engineered by the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a policy group funded by corporate special interests that essentially rights many of the laws pushed every year by right-wing state legislators across the country. SB 1070 was on its face an ugly, racist backlash against undocumented immigrants, but it was also a handout to the powerful private prison industry, which stood to benefit financially by mass roundups of undocumented immigrants who would, of course, be held in prisons.
The successful recall of the right-wing, anti-immigrant icon Russell Pearce was a win for fairness, for civil liberties and for the dignified treatment of America’s immigrant communities. But it was also a triumph over corrupt corporate influence in government and a victory for Government By the People.
Wake County, North Carolina — public education and racial equality WIN
Last month, voters in Wake County, North Carolina decisively defeated four conservative school board candidates responsible for scrapping the district’s lauded diversity policies. Yesterday, the final runoff election was decided by Wake County voters who handed victory, and majority control of the school board, to the Democrats.
The ousted board members had been backed by the Koch-funded Tea Party group Americans For Prosperity (AFP). This past summer, People For the American Way and PFAW’s African American Ministers in Action (AAMIA) program joined with Brave New Foundation to cosponsor the release of their “Koch Brothers Exposed” video that told the story of AFP’s involvement in the school board election and the board’s effort to resegregate schools. I’m proud that we were able to help shine a light on the Right’s unconscionable attack on public education, racial equality and civil rights.
More Notable Results
The citizens of Missoula, Montana passed a resolution in support of amending the Constitution to end corporate personhood and undo the Supreme Court’s disastrous decision in Citizen’s United v. FEC. The referendum was initiated by a City Councilwoman Cynthia Wolken, an active member of our affiliate PFAW Foundation’s Young Elected Official (YEO) Network.
In Kentucky, Democrats won four out of five statewide races with incumbent Democratic governor Steve Beshear winning in a landslide over his Republican challenger.
In New Jersey, after two years on the losing side of confrontations with Gov. Chris Christie, Democrats seemed to turn the tide, fighting off well-funded Republican challenges and gaining one seat in the state Legislature.
And in Virginia, the GOP was expected to take majority control of the state Senate — which they only needed two seats to do but might have fallen just short. With a paper-thin margin of 86 votes in one race handing preliminary victory to the Republican, there will surely be a recall and Democrats are at least publicly optimistic.
There were more progressive victories in local races around the country, and some losses. For the most part, however, the losses were either very minor or very expected. Where the eyes of the nation was focused, and where progressives put energy and resources, we won across the board. This morning, as we look ahead to 2012, the Right should be very nervous.
Thank you for your ongoing support — it makes all the difference, every time … and 2012 will be no exception.
Michael Keegan, President
Pop quiz: What would happen if H.R. 2587—a bill that House Republicans plan to bring up for a vote as early as this Thursday—became law?
A. It would eliminate any remedy for alleged law-breaking by the Boeing Co.—which is accused of moving aircraft production away from its Washington Statefacility in retaliation for workers exercising their legal rights—before an ongoing trial can finish.B.It would gut our labor laws, so a company can never again face meaningful punishment for moving jobs to retaliate against workers who engage in perfectly legal behavior.C.It would show that a company with the right politician friends is above the law.D. All of the above.
If you answered D, you’re correct.Please help us stop these attacks on workers—combined with a get-out-of-jail-free card for Boeing—now. Click here to take action.Back in April, the general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)—the federal agency tasked with protecting workers’ rights—took a routine step: enforcing a law that’s been on the books for more than 70 years.In America, no company is above the law.And on some things, the law is clear. For example, a company cannot retaliate against workers for exercising their legal rights by moving their jobs.When Boeing moved aircraft production away from its Washington State facility after workers exercised their legal right to strike, the board did its job: it investigated. And after examining the facts, the NLRB’s general counsel charged that Boeing illegally retaliated against its workers.
Rather than let the NLRB do its job, House Republicans are trying to let Boeing off the hook before their trial even finishes. They’ve already tried to interfere with the NLRB’s investigation and even threatened the agency’s general counsel. Now, they’re trying to pass a bill that both lets Boeing off the hook for alleged violations of workers’ rights and makes sweeping changes to the National Labor Relations Act that would result in serious, harmful changes to jobs and workers’ rights throughout the country.
Congress should be finding ways to work with the president to create jobs. But partisanship, led by tea party Republicans, has so dominated our national debate that many of our elected leaders are willing to ruin our economy to grab headlines and attention.
Instead of taking up bills that create jobs, House Republicans are once again pursuing a destructive political agenda. Of the many casualties, workers’ rights have climbed to the top of the list. It’s time for this to stop.
P.S. Here are just two examples of what life would look like for workers under the Republicans’ plan:
Dear Carmen,On my very first business trip, I left my wallet in a New York taxi—with more than $200 in it. This was right after college, so that was a TON of money for me. And I thought it was gone for good. But then, he brought my wallet back.The taxi driver didn’t just call me. He braved rush hour traffic to bring back my wallet and didn’t charge me a dime.
I ♥ that taxi driver—and workers like him who go the extra mile for other people every day. And I just let the world know.
Who do you “heart”?
Maybe it’s coal miners. They risk their lungs and their lives every day to provide the power that keeps our country going.
Maybe it’s the plumber who got your wedding ring out of the drain. What a huge relief that must have been. I’ve heard in some places sanitation workers have even gotten wedding rings out of the sewer. Amazing!
Click here to take action. It takes about 15 seconds to let us know who you heart this Labor Day.
P.S. Please take action and tell us who you heart on Labor Day. Then forward our message to your friends and family so they can take action, too.
P.P.S. See a weird symbol in this message, like a box? It’s supposed to be a heart symbol, but for a very small percentage of users, it appears as something else.