You Can Help!!

  Election Day is Tues Nov. 8.  We will be in Asbury Park helping out in the 11th district.  One of the Assembly candidates, Vin Gopal is trending well down there.  He was the only Democrat endorsed by the Asbury Park Press.  As I have stated, picking up even one of the three seats in this district will be a huge victory.
    We will be meeting at the Berkeley Hotel, 1401 Ocean Ave, Asbury Park.  We are looking for help between the hours of 9 am and 7:30 pm.  If you have committed to helping in another district, please fulfill that obligation.  If you or your members have not committed as of yet and can help out, please email me your availability.  We will most likely be canvassing neighborhoods doing literature drops.
    I hope we can lend a hand to a slate of candidates who believe in core democratic values.

Firefighters Turn on Obama, IAFF Shocks Political World.

Apr 27, 2011 4:10pm
Source: Mary Bottari

 

 

 

 

Remember when the fight broke out in Wisconsin over the right to collectively bargain and President Obama and a phalanx of national democratic leaders spread out across the country fighting for the rights of American workers

Right, we don’t remember that either.

As unions battled for their very existence, the thunderous silence from Washington, D.C. did not go unnoticed by working families fighting for their livelihoods or by powerful political players. At least one organization has decided to hold a few of their former friends accountable. 

The International Association of Fire Fighters announced yesterday it would no longer be giving money to federal candidates. Rather, the 300,000-member union said it would put its energy and resources into the fight at the state level over collective bargaining. 

Wake Up Call for Democrats

The announcement sent a shock wave through the Washington Democratic establishment, because in recent years the union has given much more to Democrats than Republicans. It donated $1.9 million to Democratic candidates in national elections during the 2010 campaign cycle and only $408,000 to Republicans.
But union president Harold A. Schaitberger said he was turning off the tap. He told the New York Times: “We’re tired that our friends have not been willing to stand up and fight back on our behalf with the same ferocity, the same commitment that our enemies have in trying to destroy our members’ rights,” he said. “Quite frankly, our enemies are trying to kill us as a labor movement and union trying to represent workers and help the middle class.”
“Not only are extremist Republicans trying to destroy us — too few Democrats are standing up and fighting for us,” the union said in its announcement.

Take No Prisoners

The union’s endorsement has been prized by politicians across the political spectrum since the September 11, 2001 attacks elevated the heroic efforts of fire fighters in the public eye. In an effort to get federal legislation passed that that would require states to grant public-safety employees, including police, firefighters and EMTs, the right to collectively bargain, the union has stepped up its federal spending and has embraced a series of Democratic presidential candidates including Al Gore, John Kerry and Barack Obama.
But their agenda in Congress has stalled. Even when Democrats controlled both houses, the fire fighters could not get their priority bill pass the Senate’s cloture rules in the final days of the 2010 lame-duck session.

While the fire fighters applauded the courage of the “Wisconsin 14,” the 14 State Senators who fled the state to block a vote on Governor Scott Walker’s collective bargaining bill, they are much less enthused by their friends at the federal level.
In an interview with MSNBC’s Ed Shultz, Schaitberger said that Democrats at the federal level need to stand up and fight. “They need to have a collective voice, they need to do what the opposition has done. The opposition has been very focused, organized, orchestrated. Their message is very clear. They have their sights on the attack and they are willing to take no prisoners. We need our Democratic friends in Congress to have a unified voice, step up and fight back with us,” said Schaitberger.

“Not Politics as Usual Anymore”

Here in Wisconsin where the fightback began, Joe Conway, the head of IAFF Local 311 applauded  Schaitberger’s “bold move.”  “This is not politics as usual anymore.  We are under attack in Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, New Hampshire, Florida. If unions don’t survive, there won’t be any money for any candidate in the future.”
Conway said the union spent $50,000 in independent expenditures in the recent Wisconsin Supreme Court race and is now gearing up for the fight when one third of the Wisconsin State Senate is thrown into recall races over the summer. This decision at the national level would mean “more money for these local races in Wisconsin.”
“The Republicans have done a great job convincing people that whatever economic problems they are having in their life, they can blame on public unions,” says Conway. “But the truth is — and every study shows this — that unions bring up everyone’s wages, they improve everyone’s economic status. We have to win all of these state fights, not just for ourselves but for everyone.”

********

The Madison-based Center for Media and Democracy has been reporting live on developments from Wisconsin at [http://www.prwatch.org/ PRWatch.org.]

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Union Alert!

Hello everyone. Located on the sidebar is a “blogroll” which just means links. I put the links to our major unions located around the state & the country. Check through them from time to time because each unions website is full of good info. For instance, I checked CWA’s website just now & found this posted on their front page;
 
Wed, 04/20/2011 – 10:12am

Statement on Meeting with Sweeney and Oliver

To: All CWA Members
From: Hetty Rosenstein, NJ Director

You may have seen a Star Ledger article about a meeting between Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Oliver regarding healthcare.

I was present at the meeting as CWA’s representative.

Sweeney and Oliver met with the unions at the State AFL-CIO in order to attempt to persuade us that we should support a legislated healthcare proposal.

CWA and other unions rejected this and made it clear that healthcare is collectively bargained and that we want to bargain a contract with the governor.

This meeting was to be an off the record meeting with these political leaders, but the fact that there was a meeting and possible details of it was “leaked” to the Star Ledger.  A reporter was waiting at the door as we left the meeting!  Because it was an off the record meeting, none of the union leaders confirmed anything to the Star Ledger.  Unfortunately, that made this meeting appear to have more substance that it did.

The position we took in the meeting is the same position our union has taken with Governor Christie and is the position we are taking before the Public Employee Relations Commission (PERC) in the Unfair Labor Practice we are filing this week against the Christie Administration.

Healthcare is negotiable and legislating it makes it illegal for us to bargain and is a backdoor approach to destroying collective bargaining in New Jersey.   We have said this to our members, to the Legislature, to the Governor, to the press.

We have a proposal and we want to bargain.

Average Property Tax Bills Rise 4.1% in 2010 – Biggest Increase Since 2007

 

Average Property Tax Bills Rise 4.1% in 2010 – Biggest Increase Since 2007

It’s time for Governor Christie to explain to the taxpayers why, under his watch, the average property tax bill in 2010 went up 4.1%, while during the last two years of the Corzine Administration, average property taxes increased by 3.3% in 2008 and 3.7% in 2009.

Governor Christie will be quick to blame the legislature for not acting fast enough on his “tool kit”, but shouldn’t we as taxpayers, expect some results at this point, and more importantly, accountability from the Governor. If this 4.1% property tax increase is an indication of things to come, some may begin to question the Governor.

The Governor has a record that he must stand by. He has cut millions from state and school aid, extended tax breaks for millionaires, signed into law a two percent cap on property taxes, rolled back pension and health benefits for state workers. If the results are not what the Governor expected, it is difficult for him to push the blame off somewhere else.

Let’s look at the reality of our state’s situation? Taxes are not going down for middle class families, property taxes are up 4.1%, New Jersey’s public and private sectors shed a combined total of 13,000 jobs in January, the jobs being created to replace the ones lost in the recession tend to be low-wage, part-time, and lack health benefits.

There is no solution to our state’s problems contained within the partisan playbooks of either the Democratic or Republican parties. If Governor Christie wants to get serious about addressing property taxes, unemployment, and the state’s finances, he must stop playing politics, even if it means disappointing his many admirers.

To address the state’s property tax problem without talking about things like taxes on top earners is like trying to restore a car without taking a look under the hood. You can knock out the rust, give the car a nice paint job, and spruce up the interior, but our state needs a full rebuild. Unfortunately, the Governor has painted himself into a political corner with regard to taxes, and cannot even open the hood of that car.

Whether he likes it or not, Governor Christie is the star of this show, and he will be judged based on the results he produces, not the blame he can assign to those around him or by the rating he can generate in the national media. The fact that will hit home for most New Jerseyans is that in 2010 their property taxes increased 4.1%.