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  • Title: AFSCME | It Takes a Lot of Brass: Romney and America’s Veterans
    Descriptive info: Print.. Font Size:.. It Takes a Lot of Brass: Romney and America’s Veterans.. September 21, 2012.. This coiumn by AFSCME President Lee Saunders is cross-posted from the.. Huffington Post.. and.. Firedoglake.. It takes a lot of brass, to paraphrase Pres.. Bill Clinton, to tell a room full of fat cats paying $50,000 for a meal, that nearly half of the American people are freeloaders sponging off the government.. Yet, as everyone now knows, that s exactly what Mitt Romney did.. He told his wealthy backers that 47 percent of the electorate who he.. falsely claimed pay no income taxes.. - will support President Obama no matter what.. Romney ignores the fact that just about every working American pays taxes of one kind or another, including payroll taxes that finance Social Security and Medicare, for example.. It is seniors, the disabled and the poor who make up the majority of citizens who don t pay income taxes.. Romney said these people see themselves as victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them.. His job, he continued, is not to worry about those people.. I ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.. It s not everyday that voters can see a candidate express such unbridled contempt.. There is another group of Americans who don t pay federal taxes, a group that Romney has insulted before: the 80,000.. young men and women fighting for our nation.. on the frontlines in Afghanistan.. Romney thinks so little of the contribution these brave Americans make that he gave his acceptance speech in Tampa without even once mentioning them.. He never even uttered the name of the country in which they were deployed and where more than 1,200 American lives have been lost during the past decade of war.. Romney later told Fox News that he didn t mention Afghanistan and our troops because they were not important.. Then he laughed about it.. Hard to believe.. Yet, when Fox News personality Brent Baier asked him if he regretted leaving the war and our troops out of his remarks, here s how Romney replied: When you when you give a speech, you don t go through a laundry list.. You talk about the things you think are important.. Romney said his support for a strong military budget should be interpreted as support for our troops, as though a budget is the same as the men and women in uniform.. Well, that s the kind of nonsense you get from a candidate who.. thinks corporations are people.. This omission wasn t the mistake of a Romney speechwriter.. As the Washington, DC, newspaper.. Politico.. noted earlier this week, the campaign brought in veteran speechwriter Peter Wehner to craft Romney s address.. His speech included remarks on Afghanistan, but the campaign rejected his work.. Romney and his campaign manager crafted the speech as given, and scrapped the references to our men and women in the military.. The reaction to this insult was immediate.. Bill Kristol, the neo-conservative editor of The Weekly Standard, blasted Romney s failure to say even a word about the war in Afghanistan.. Nor did he utter a  ...   on the bottom line, Romney ignored the real hardships faced by many of his state s neediest veterans.. While wasting tens of thousands of dollars for new television sets for his staff, Romney forced blind citizens including many veterans to pay a tax.. Under Romney, Massachusetts began a policy of requiring the blind to carry a certificate of blindness.. The blind were required to pay $10 annually for the certificate and $15 every four years for a blind identification card.. It s just another form of taxation, said Stephen Matthews of the Blinded Veterans Association.. John Ray, an 85-year-old blind veteran of three wars called the Romney blindness fees an amateurish act to bleed residents.. I just don t understand this foolishness, he told the Boston Herald.. We can expect the same kind of foolishness to spread across the nation if Romney and his allies have their way.. He has endorsed a budget that would force Draconian cuts in veterans programs, turn Medicare into a voucher program and eliminate hundreds of millions of funding from long-term care for seniors.. Romney has made no secret of his contempt for the men and women who sacrifice for all Americans.. It is the same contempt he feels for every American who relies on government to help when there is a need for a helping hand.. With fewer than 50 days until the election, there is still time to avoid his cruel and foolish agenda.. Posted In:.. From the President.. ,.. Politics and Elections.. Veterans.. Share.. Email.. Tweet.. Next:.. Jindal’s Job Hypocrisy Hurts Louisiana.. Previous:.. 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    Original link path: /blog/it-takes-a-lot-of-brass-romney-and-americas-veterans
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  • Title: AFSCME | Why November Matters
    Descriptive info: News / Publications.. WORKS: Summer 2012.. Why November Matters.. Return to Table of Contents.. Why November Matters.. Political involvement is a critical part of addressing the challenges we face as workers, union members and citizens.. By Lee Saunders.. President Saunders.. This is a defining moment, not only for our nation but for our union.. Throughout this issue of.. WORKS.. , we re talking about just how important this moment in history is for us.. The priorities we set and the plans we carry out will determine whether collective bargaining is protected, retirement security is restored, public services are strengthened, and the American Dream survives.. Our success hinges on our ability to grow our union, because we cannot win the fights of tomorrow unless we grow today.. Here s what we must keep in mind: Our ability to organize is tied directly to our involvement in politics at all levels.. When we have local, state and federal laws that support workers rights, public service workers can organize and improve their own lives.. Re-Electing President Obama.. Given what s important to us, our top priority is re-electing President Obama because he is the best choice the only choice to uplift working families.. I ll give you one quick  ...   Romney and I were there at about the same time, our purposes were vastly different.. That gave me additional proof that Romney is not someone we can trust.. (Nor can we trust his Vice Presidential pick, Rep.. Paul Ryan, who prefers to raise taxes on working families so he can lower them for rich ones.. ).. It s About Right Versus Wrong.. In addition to re-electing the President, we must elect pro-worker candidates at every level of government and hold them accountable.. We must encourage more working people and AFSCME members to run themselves like.. Missy Sorenson.. We must build capacity this fall for the 2013 state legislative fights.. And we must begin a serious, far-reaching national conversation with AFSCME members so that our strategy aligns with the severity and nature of our challenges.. Political involvement is part of our union s DNA; it is essential to our ability to stand up for our families who continue to believe that working hard and playing by the rules still matter.. PHOTO: Luis Gomez.. Next Page.. News /.. Publications.. FEATURED.. AFSCME WORKS, Fall 2013.. Main Street’s New Moment: What Election 2012 Means for America’s Working Families.. “Main Street Moment” by Gerald W.. McEntee and Lee Saunders.. Press Room..

    Original link path: /news/publications/newsletters/works/summer-2012/why-november-matters
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  • Title: AFSCME | Remarks of Pres. Lee Saunders
    Descriptive info: 2012 Press Releases.. Remarks of Pres.. Lee Saunders.. For Immediate Release.. Friday, June 22, 2012.. Lee Saunders.. President Saunders gave the following acceptance speech at AFSCME’s 40th International Convention upon being sworn in as the union’s first ever African-American president.. LOS ANGELES.. Sisters and brothers, I want to thank you for the tremendous honor you have bestowed upon me.. Together, we will be partners in moving this great union of ours forward.. Your faith in me means more than you will ever know.. I thank my wife Lynne and my sons Lee and Ryan for everything they ve done and everything they ve dealt with over these long, long months.. I have to thank Gerald W.. McEntee a fearless and visionary leader.. A famous admiral once said: There are no great men -- Just great challenges which ordinary men are forced by circumstance to meet.. With all due respect to the admiral, I must disagree.. Gerald McEntee is a great man.. To my AFSCME sisters and brothers who were part of this journey, your belief that we were on the right road together lifted me up time and time again and truly kept me going.. We waged this campaign for the future of our union and for the future of our members and working families throughout this nation.. This was not my campaign.. This was our.. campaign.. And of course, I want to congratulate my partner, Laura Reyes, on becoming the first female Secretary-Treasurer of AFSCME! Laura has broken the green glass ceiling for all the sisters of our union!.. I want to say something to Danny Donohue.. During the course of this campaign, we disagreed on a number of points, and at times, we disagreed strongly.. But you are my brother and I know that on one central point, we are in full agreement: AFSCME is the greatest union in this nation, with the greatest activists anywhere.. We ran for office because we both are deeply committed to the sisters and brothers of this union and I look forward to working with Brother Donohue and with all of you to move this union forward.. This was a campaign in which important issues were raised about the future of our union.. We elected new leadership following the 31-year presidency of Brother McEntee.. Such campaigns are never easy, and when they are waged in the midst of severe budget pressures, assaults on public services, and attacks on the character of public-service workers, they are even more difficult and more vigorously fought.. Because the stakes are so high, competing ideas were put forward about how to proceed..  ...   with the severity and nature of our challenges.. We must continue the focus on organizing, even in hostile, Right-to-Work states, because we cannot win the fights of tomorrow unless we are growing today.. We must propose long-term solutions to strengthen pensions, emphasizing that most of our members pay into their pensions, and that those pensions contribute to local economies.. To that end, I am appointing a special task force of IEB members who will study this issue, consult with experts, and put forward sound strategies.. We must work our hearts out to re-elect President Obama.. And we must holdHollllold politicians of all political stripes accountable for what they say and what they do.. Because when it comes to what affects our members and our rights, it s not about left versus right; it s about right versus wrong.. And let me be perfectly clear about this: Our union does not work for any political party; we work for justice and fairness in the workplace.. If someone takes us on, it does not matter whether they are a Democrat or a Republican, conservative or liberal.. We are taking them.. on.. And they are going down.. These are only a few of the tasks that are before us.. The path ahead is difficult, but I have no doubt that if we put aside what divides us, focus on what unites us, and set our hearts on solidarity, we can achieve what seems impossible.. Let us go forth in solidarity with one mission with one goal: to build AFSCME into the strongest force it can possibly be for our members and for our nation.. Once again, thank you, God bless you, and for the sake of AFSCME, this union we all love for the sake of each and every one of our members let us all move forward together.. AFSCME's 1.. With members in hundreds of different occupations from nurses to corrections officers, child care providers to sanitation workers AFSCME advocates for fairness in the workplace, excellence in public services and prosperity and opportunity for all working families.. ###.. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO.. 1625 L Street, N.. W.. Washington, D.. C.. 20036-5687.. Telephone: (202) 429-1145.. Fax: (202) 429-1120.. Recent Press Releases.. Jan 08.. Jan 07.. Lee Saunders on the Extension of Emergency Unemployment Insurance.. Dec 05.. Statement of AFSCME Pres.. Lee Saunders on the Death of Nelson Mandela — a Champion of Democracy, Justice and Freedom.. Dec 04.. AFSCME's Saunders: “Ruling Paves The Way For The Decimation Of Detroit’s Working Class.. Nov 21.. Lee Saunders: This is a major step toward resolving Senate obstructionism..

    Original link path: /news/press-room/press-releases/2012/remarks-of-pres-lee-saunders
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  • Title: AFSCME | Standing Up from State to State
    Descriptive info: WORKS: Spring 2012.. Standing Up from State to State.. Standing Up from State to State.. Our solidarity has encouraged working people across the country to demand their rights.. By Lee A.. Saunders.. Sec.. Lee Saunders (Photo by Luis Gomez).. We ve seen attacks against public services and union members intensify during the past year.. Corporate-backed politicians continue to make us pay for state and local budget crises we didn t create.. They claim our members pay and pensions are the causes of the problems.. But the real problems are the governors, mayors, state legislators and all the others who stubbornly refuse to make the richest Americans pay their fair share.. Looking for politicians like Rick Snyder in Michigan or Jan Brewer in Arizona to see the light is like waiting on a cat to bark.. So we re fighting hard and finding partners across the country.. We haven t won all the battles but we ve beaten the odds.. (See.. Bracing for Battle.. ) Through it all, our solidarity has encouraged working people to demand their rights.. Our successes and even our short-term losses are inspiring us to keep standing up and fighting back.. Showing Our Strength..  ...   mitigated some of the worst aspects of his proposal.. Cuomo won legislative approval to force workers to contribute even more to their pensions, but we defeated his effort to create a defined contribution plan, similar to a risky 401(k), for new union employees.. That would have placed workers future in the hands of the same Wall Street firms that crashed our economy.. We came together, in solidarity, like never before.. We showed our strength.. Writing Our Story.. As President McEntee and I emphasize in our book,.. The Main Street Moment.. , we ve got to move the fight beyond our union by building coalitions.. In the November elections, we must work to defeat the anti-worker politicians de-funding and privatizing public services, destroying retirement security and weakening workers rights, whether they re in the statehouse or have their sights set on the White House.. Most of all we must remember especially as we celebrate our 75th Anniversary that we ve faced challenges in every era.. And each time, we ve risen to those challenges.. That s not just the AFSCME story of yesterday.. That s the AFSCME story of today, and it will be our next chapter.. Previous Page..

    Original link path: /news/publications/newsletters/works/spring-2012/standing-up-from-state-to-state
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  • Title: AFSCME | Saunders: We Must Build a Main Street Movement
    Descriptive info: Saunders: We Must Build a Main Street Movement.. by Korey Hartwich | March 14, 2012.. AFSCME Sec.. Lee Saunders this week appeared on radio outlets across the country, talking about the labor union s.. 75 year history.. and its future.. In an interview with Workers Independent News (WIN), he linked AFSCME s campaigns for workers rights to a broader Main Street movement in which individuals are pulling together to fight for working families..  ...   have another very proud 75 years in the future.. He added that AFSCME will be.. aggressive in promoting public service and promoting working families.. and building the middle class.. Listen to the WIN newscast here.. And for a longer version of.. the interview visit 92.. 1 FM.. in Madison, Wis.. (interview begins at 25:20).. On St.. Patrick’s Day, Celebrate With a Union Beer.. New Yorkers Say ‘Tier It Down’ to Tier 6 Retirement Plan..

    Original link path: /blog/saunders-we-must-build-a-main-street-movement
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  • Title: AFSCME | Asserting a Claim on Democracy
    Descriptive info: Asserting a Claim on Democracy.. by Sec.. Lee Saunders | February 17, 2012.. Lee A.. Saunders (Photo by Luis Gomez).. In 1968, Dr.. Martin Luther King took his struggle for black workers and their families to Memphis, Tenn.. , because he understood the connection between civil rights and workers rights.. It was there that the.. 1,300 sanitation workers of AFSCME Local 1733.. went on strike to demand respect, fairness, and a voice in the issues that mattered to them.. The sanitation workers weren t simply fighting for better pay and safer working conditions.. When I had the privilege of representing our members at the ceremony dedicating the Martin Luther King Jr.. National Memorial, in Washington, D.. , I spoke about how these men were asserting a claim on our democracy.. As we observe Black History Month 2012, AFSCME members from coast to coast are asserting the same claim.. We are protesting the politicians callous disregard for struggling families and their failure to demand that the wealthiest Americans do their fair share.. AFSCME members are also partnering with other groups to overturn.. restrictive voter laws.. designed to keep millions away from the polls.. We re taking part in a.. Main Street Movement.. and exercising our  ...   are the hardest hit by unemployment.. Attacks on voters rights and the refusal of the President s opponents in Congress to join him in creating good jobs both come from the same place: a disregard for working people, a quest to bust as many unions as possible, and a higher loyalty to the rich and well-connected.. Ultimately, the goal is to push the American dream a dream that the labor movement helped inspire further out of the reach of families that work hard and play by the rules.. That s why the President is standing up for good jobs, and it s why his administration.. is reviewing restrictive laws that could disenfranchise.. as many as 5 million voters laws that are 21st century versions of poll taxes and literacy tests.. The members of our union worked hard in 2008 to get out the vote for candidate Barack Obama.. With.. our endorsement of the President s re-election.. , we look forward to knocking on doors, phone banking, driving voters to the polls, and doing all we can to ensure the President s victory in November.. Prison Privateer Offers to Buy Prisons from Starving States.. Attacks on Worker Rights Can Be Defeated, Says Ohio AFSCME Leader..

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  • Title: AFSCME | Energized for the Fight
    Descriptive info: WORKS: Fall 2011.. Energized for the Fight.. Energized for the Fight.. Even in the face of short-term defeats, AFSCME sisters and brothers have been resilient.. By Sec.. Ready for Action | Sec.. Saunders addresses attendees of AFSCME s Public Safety Congress in Houston, Texas.. (Photo by Luis Goméz).. Since the attacks on AFSCME members began, I ve traveled coast to coast to stand with the social workers, corrections officers, nurses and school bus drivers of our union.. I ve seen us respond with energy, determination and, above all, the optimism that comes from believing that together, we can win.. We understand how difficult these battles are.. Yet even in the face of the short-term defeats that have come our way, we have been resilient.. Our sisters and brothers strength has inspired not just members of our union, and not just other labor movement activists, but also workers throughout our nation who, until now, have felt ignored and demoralized.. Concern About the Future.. Everywhere I ve gone, I ve seen members of our AFSCME family get angry but anger has stoked activism and made us want to fight back.. It also inspired members to get their friends and neighbors involved and to bring other activists and organizations onto the frontlines.. We ve built strong coalitions in every place we re under attack, because people now understand that it s not just union members or workers in state and local governments whose security is threatened; the American dream itself is at risk.. I was  ...   the governor s anti-union law, but stood with us nonetheless.. Even more remarkable, however, were the students, retirees, farmers and environmentalists who joined us.. In this tough year, AFSCME has actually grown stronger.. These fights focused us on what we do well, and what we can do better.. For instance, we have partnered with affiliates, not only sending financial help, but developing plans of action and committing other resources to help execute those plans.. Here are a few other examples:.. We ve also created new tools, such as legislative hotlines through which AFSCME members placed nearly 100,000 calls.. We invested in an aggressive Facebook campaign to defeat a paycheck deception bill.. More than 850,000 people saw the campaign, and whether they were Democrats, Republicans or Independents, many of them liked what we had to say.. Through the new Faces and Voices program, rank-and-file members are trained as spokespersons, using their personal stories and facts from their home states to speak up for public services and workers rights.. Paul Brewer, a Council 79 member, said the training helped him get a letter-to-the-editor published and deliver a clear, succinct message in a television interview.. Pull Together.. There s no doubt these are challenging times.. And it looks as though things will not get easier anytime soon.. But in these kinds of times, you face a choice: Hope that the same old tactics will result in victory, or pull together and fight back with new energy and new strategies.. Our union has made the right decision..

    Original link path: /news/publications/newsletters/works/fall-2011/energized-for-the-fight
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  • Title: AFSCME | Revive the Dream
    Descriptive info: Revive the Dream.. August 23, 2011.. This entry by AFSCME Secretary-Treasurer Lee A.. Saunders is cross-posted from.. Martin Luther King Jr.. - I Have A Dream Speech.. (Photo from e-strategyblog.. com on Flickr).. Hundreds of thousands of Americans are expected to gather this weekend in Washington, DC, for the dedication of.. the Martin Luther King Jr.. Memorial.. Few can doubt that this is an extraordinary and historic moment.. Only four other Americans George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt have been given this honor: a national memorial on the hallowed grounds of our National Mall.. As the first memorial to honor an African American, and the first to honor an individual who was never elected to high office, the memorial for Dr.. King stands as a symbol of progress and purpose, dedicated to a man whose vision and courage transformed our nation and gave hope to the world.. The dedication this weekend also coincides with the 48th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.. It was at that march where Dr.. King delivered the speech that proclaimed his vision of an America that would live up to the words of our founders and the ideals of the Declaration of Independence.. I have a dream, he said, it is a dream deeply rooted in the American Dream.. On that August day, Dr.. King also challenged the economic injustices that existed in America.. He spoke of Americans living in a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity, and of those who languish in the corners of American society, living as an exile in his own land.. Too many of those challenges remain in our society today.. In the depths of the greatest economic disaster since the Great Depression, middle- and lower-income Americans have been hit hard.. Unemployment among young, African-American males, for example, is above 30 percent.. As National Urban League Pres.. Marc Morial noted last month on Meet the Press,.. unemployment.. among blacks has actually worsened.. since the start of the recovery.. King was a champion of both civil rights and economic justice.. They were both essential parts of his Dream for America.. That is why he fought so strongly for the right of American workers to  ...   It was also about dignity.. King understood.. All labor has dignity, he told the AFSCME members in Memphis.. You are reminding the nation that it is a crime for people to live in this rich nation and receive starvation wages.. Their cause was crucial to him because, as he said: What good does being able to sit at a lunch counter do if you can t afford to buy a hamburger and a cup of coffee? Dr.. King recognized that civil rights and workers rights are intertwined.. If workers do not have a voice in the workplace or the right to stand up for themselves to negotiate at the bargaining table, then the voices of some people those with wealth and power matter more than others.. King would be gratified today that millions of Americans share his commitment to social and economic justice.. Moreover, they are mobilizing in numbers that have been rarely seen since the 1960s.. Throughout the country, we see the beginnings of.. a Main Street Movement.. that will reinvigorate and revive Dr.. King s hope for a beloved community, where all Americans work together for the common good.. We see it in the opposition mounting in more than a dozen states to right-wing efforts to limit the ability of minorities, the poor, seniors and students to vote by passing.. Draconian voter-identification bills.. Nearly a half century after Dr.. King s dream of voting rights was enacted into law, Americans will not stand for backdoor efforts to return to Jim Crow.. The Main Street Movement has brought together working families, civil rights organizations, church groups, students, environmentalists, the LGBT community and others to counter the efforts of radical elected officials, who have tried to turn back the clock to a time when only the powerful had a voice and a future.. As we commemorate Dr.. King with a remarkable memorial on the National Mall, we need to remember the challenge he posed to all of us: to create a nation that provides every citizen with the opportunity to stand with dignity.. We need to be involved in this struggle and to do everything in our power to revive the dream for which Dr.. King gave his life.. Warren Buffett Is Right: Tax the Rich.. CEOs Asleep at the Switch..

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  • Title: AFSCME | Undermining the Right to Vote
    Descriptive info: Undermining the Right to Vote.. July 25, 2011.. There is no right more precious in our nation than the right of citizens to cast a ballot on Election Day.. That is why generations of Americans have sacrificed and even died in efforts to expand the right to vote.. Yet across the country, powerful corporate interests and the right-wing politicians who do their bidding are working hard to make it more difficult for citizens to vote.. In more than two dozen states this year.. , bills have been introduced to restrict the right to vote; and in several states where Wall Street-backed Republicans control both houses of the legislature, governors have signed these fundamentally misguided measures into law.. As a result of these cynical attempts to turn back from the progress America has made in expanding voting rights, millions of voters are in for a surprise when they go to the polls.. They will find new requirements that have never before existed, requirements that have been put in place to keep particular voters students, minorities and senior citizens from having their voices heard in our democracy.. In Ohio, for example, Gov.. John Kasich and the.. Republican-controlled Legislature.. pushed through a measure that limits early voting and places new burdensome requirements on absentee ballots.. I think it is very calculated, said State Sen.. Nina Turner of Cleveland.. The corporate-backed restrictions on voting are designed to reduce the ability of low-income and minority voters to cast a ballot, particularly by forcing boards of elections to close their doors on the weekend before Election Day.. Voters whose jobs, family responsibilities or disabilities make it difficult for them to stand in long lines, often for many hours, will now find it harder to exercise their fundamental right to vote.. Ohio is not alone in enacting voter suppression laws.. In Florida.. , Gov.. Rick Scott pushed through a vast set of new and burdensome regulations that are designed to restrict the ability of working middle-class voters to cast a ballot.. The period for early voting shrinks dramatically, and voters who have moved to a new county or have married and changed  ...   state-issued identification.. That shouldn t surprise us.. While most adult Americans have a driver s license, it is not necessarily true for large groups of Americans.. Students, other young people and the working poor living in metropolitan areas often rely on mass transit, rather than own a car.. Senior citizens living in nursing homes or with their families often give up driving.. The blind and others with physical disabilities don t drive.. All of them will be affected by these new restrictions.. Proponents claim that these changes are necessary to protect against voter fraud, but as a detailed study published by.. the Brennan Center for Justice.. notes: By any measure, voter fraud is extraordinarily rare.. Former Pres.. Bill Clinton.. got to the heart of the matter in early July when he summed up the efforts made to restrict the right to vote: There has never been in my lifetime since we got rid of the poll tax and all the Jim Crow burdens on voting the determined effort to limit the franchise that we see today.. What these laws are really about is consolidating the power-grab of the billionaires and Wall Street corporate barons.. It is no coincidence that these restrictions on voting rights occur in many of the same states where the wealthy have attacked collective bargaining rights, privatized public services and cut programs that serve the working middle class to the bone.. They have every reason to fear that.. the Main Street Movement.. created in the wake of their regressive policies would hold them accountable for their actions on Election Day.. That is why they are attacking the right of seniors, minorities and workers to cast an unfettered vote.. That is why their actions are not only wrong, but a direct assault on our nation s commitment to democracy.. Voters have every right to be angry about these cynical efforts.. We need to hold accountable the politicians who took these radical steps the next time we vote, before they eliminate our voice at the ballot box completely.. Americans Reject Cuts to the Middle Class, Favor Higher Taxes on the Wealthy, Corporations.. Madison Meets Cairo..

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  • Title: AFSCME | Organizing Effort in Vermont Inspires Us All
    Descriptive info: WORKS: Spring 2013.. Organizing Effort in Vermont Inspires Us All.. Organizing Effort in Vermont Inspires Us All.. The collective strength of Vermont providers will create change for them and their clients.. It gives them a more powerful voice.. By Laura Reyes.. Laura Reyes (Photo by John Focht).. For more than a year,.. home care workers in Vermont.. have been mobilizing, lobbying and building a union.. Their hard work paid off recently when the state finally passed legislation recognizing their right to collective bargaining.. Carol Delage, a volunteer organizer for Vermont Homecare United/AFSCME, says that she and other home care workers organized for the same reason workers around the country organize.. We deserve quality working conditions, good salaries and benefits, dignity and respect for the valuable work we do.. With AFSCME, we will get it.. Create Change.. It gives them a more powerful voice as they work to protect funding during these difficult times.. Just as importantly, these new union members will add to the collective voice of AFSCME in all our battles to make sure that the middle class survives in the United States.. Home-bound seniors and people living with disabilities need our help and support to keep the funding that allows them to continue living independently at home.. To fight  ...   are fighting funding cuts in the Legislature.. AFSCME members from across the country understand the importance of building strong unions to represent those who provide public services.. That s why volunteer member organizers traveled to the Green Mountain state during the current campaign.. They came to pitch in and help build our union.. Mary Jones was one of them.. A home care worker from Pennsylvania, she spent a week organizing in Vermont.. What s happening to home care workers in Vermont is similar to what we went through, she says.. AFSCME represents approximately 125,000 home care providers nationwide.. More than 90 percent of home care workers are women.. And even though many work as much as 70 hours a week, the pay is less than $10 an hour with no overtime.. That s just wrong.. Thanks to the hard work of members who are helping in Vermont, we are fighting to lift those workers up.. Passionate Commitment.. Home care workers have a passionate commitment to the people they serve.. As a home care provider in California, I saw how effective we became when we joined together to fight for dignity and respect on the job.. That s why I am inspired by the organizing done by home care providers in Vermont..

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  • Title: AFSCME | Why We Must Stand with Immigrant Workers
    Descriptive info: WORKS: Winter 2013.. Why We Must Stand with Immigrant Workers.. Why We Must Stand with Immigrant Workers.. We need a roadmap to citizenship for all who want to be one.. Laura Reyes.. Moments after he was sworn into office for the second time, Pres.. Barack Obama spoke these words, Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity.. We ve known for a long time that our immigration system is broken, that too many aspiring citizens get trapped in a line with no end, that too many families are being torn apart.. Members of Congress have tried to mend it with bills that haven t worked.. But this year, with the President s support, Congress will look at a comprehensive approach to fix our immigration system and work to create a clear path to citizenship for the 11 million immigrants living in this country.. Here s what is in it for us.. When corporate tyrants are able to exploit workers, everyone s wages and working conditions suffer and our economy suffers.. Even further, exploitive employers have created an underground economy to avoid paying taxes, which  ...   for immigration reform.. We aren t joining in this fight because of what s in it for us.. We aren t even joining in this fight because of our history in struggles of solidarity.. We are joining in this fight because of the stories of our own sisters and brothers.. Our Stories.. We must look to the home care provider in California, who prays that no one learns that she is undocumented so she can continue to care for her ailing child.. We must look to the medical interpreter in Washington, who helps keep his community healthy by keeping undocumented families healthy, too.. We must look to the human services worker in Minnesota, who has to deliver the bad news that she can only provide aid to the children who are citizens and not the ones who aren t.. We must look to the sanitation worker in Florida, who lives miles away from his family and struggles to capture the American Dream for them.. These stories, these members are the reason AFSCME will fight for a clear path to citizenship for immigrant workers in this country.. No matter your reason, we hope you will join us in this fight.. PHOTO: Sergio M.. Fernandez..

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