Democrats release committee assignments for the 2017 session of the Iowa Legislature

(Des Moines) Senate Democratic Leader Rob Hogg has released the committee assignments for the Democratic members of the Iowa Senate for the 201­7 session of the Iowa Legislature.   “A lot of groundwork is done during committee meetings, where there … Continue reading

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Labor History

December 09 Ratification of a new labor agreement at Titan Tire of Natchez, Miss., ends the longest strike in the history of the U.S. tire industry, which began May 1, 1998, at the company’s Des Moines, Iowa, plant – 2001 … Continue reading

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USA’s 3rd Annual Des Moines Area Conservation Dinner

You’re invited to dine for conservation.

Click here for PDF Flyer and Sponsorship form

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Trump attacks our labor brother

Donald Trump ran for president promising to respect the working people of America. Now, at his very first opportunity to show respect to America’s working families, the president-elect has failed the test.

Just last week, Trump was touting his effort to keep jobs at a Carrier plant in Indiana from moving overseas. Thanks to corporate tax breaks offered by Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, Carrier is keeping hundreds of jobs in the state. These Carrier workers are no doubt relieved to be spending the holidays knowing their jobs are more secure, and we are grateful for it.

I'm With Chuck

But Trump wasn’t honest with the workers at Carrier or the American people. And Chuck Jones—the president of United Steelworkers Local 1999 who represents the workers at that plant and has fought hard to bring the plight of his workers to the public’s attention—knew he had to hold Trump accountable. He explained Trump was taking credit for 350 jobs that were already slated to stay, but that 550 workers would still lose their jobs.[1]

“Trump and Pence, they pulled a dog and pony show on the numbers,” he said.

And because Jones told the truth, Trump—the president-elect of the United States—responded by personally attacking Jones and our union sisters and brothers across this country.

Trump took to Twitter and said[2] Jones “has done a terrible job representing workers” because Jones wouldn’t let Trump get away with lying. He suggested the steelworkers should be working harder.[3]

Trump attacked a union activist for standing up for his members. We need to stand up to him and hold him accountable.

We’ve put together a page where you can send a message directly to Trump letting him know how you feel about his disrespect to Chuck Jones, the Steelworkers, and working women and men across America.

Click here to tell Donald Trump to show respect to America’s working families.

Thank you for standing up and helping us hold Trump accountable for the promises he made to the working people of this nation.

In solidarity,

Lee Saunders
AFSCME President

Randi Weingarten
AFT President

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Chuck trumps President Chump

 
Trump once gain does something stupid and is called out, but are the people still dumb?

Fake News. We love it, we fall victim to it and we hate it. It’s an issue that we must come to grips with before we end up like Germany 1933. Fake News exists and we must be mindful of it. The attack on Chuck Jones, a United Steel Workers local union president, on Twitter by Trump is in fact real news. Since everyone has an opinion and a Twitter handle – the masses are speaking out. If I had a magic wand, I would force every red state voter and misguided union member who voted for Trump to read Chuck’s Op Ed. It’s simple and to the point, an easy read. It is his side of the story. But I know that some people won’t read it because it’s long or they heard that the communist at UCOMM put it up on their blog. Plus there is no imagery of busty women in Chuck’s Op Ed or fart jokes in the Google ads. It’s not sexy enough, the truth is boring. Trump is not. He is an entertainer. So I pulled this excerpt from Chuck’s piece:

“What I can’t abide, however, is a president who misleads workers, who gives them false hope. We’re not asking for anything besides opportunity, for jobs that let people provide for their families. These plants are profitable, and the workers produced a good-quality product. Because of corporate greed, though, company leaders are racing to the bottom, to find places where they can pay the least. It’s a system that exploits everyone.”

Across this great nation, good people are speaking up. We were not in the room when Chuck had to tell the members that their jobs were going to Mexico. We didn’t have to take the midnight phone calls and comfort grown men weeping.   The Presidency used to be a noble office, now it’s a fool’s throne. What is happening in Indianapolis is nothing new. Organized labor has been fighting corporate greed and working to save good jobs for decades. Never has a “President” done something so stupid, but the people are still dumb and they love him. It’s going to have to take a bunch more Chucks, Carriers and tweets for the nation to finally wake up. I hope it won’t be too late, but I am getting prepared. Are you?

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IDP Statement on Donald Trump’s Visit to Des Moines

DES MOINES – This evening, Donald Trump will hold a rally in Des Moines as part of his Victory Tour across election battleground states.  Trump claims the tour is his way of saying “Thank You” to the voters in states that helped him win the presidency. The reality is the tour is nothing more than a media stunt to distract America from his unprecedented conflicts of interest and the extremism embodied by his closest advisors and Cabinet nominees including Steve Bannon and Sen. Jeff Sessions. After campaigning on a promise to “drain the swamp”, Trump wasted no time as President-Elect to surround himself with Washington insiders, billionaires and lobbyists as trusted advisers and potential Cabinet members. In response to President-Elect Trump’s visit to Des Moines, Iowa Democratic leaders issued the following statements:

“After pledging to ‘drain the swamp’ in Washington, D.C., Donald Trump is filling his transition team with special interest lobbyists, wealthy donors, Washington insiders and billionaires like himself.

“On the campaign trail, Trump told voters that he was going to give the power back to the people. As the President-Elect Trump has assembled the wealthiest, ultra-rich Cabinet in history. Trump’s Cabinet appointees are worth $11 billion and counting.

“If Donald Trump truly wants to represent the working classes and all Americans, he needs to appoint proven leaders with a history of job creation, not Wall Street hedge fund managers.”

Rep. Todd Prichard (HD-52)

“Donald Trump’s selection of Rep. Tom Price as Secretary of Health and Human Services sends a dangerous signal to Iowa’s senior citizens. Price is one of the most outspoken critics of Medicare and favors a voucher system that would raise health care costs by tens of thousands of dollars per year.

“Iowa is home to one of the nation’s largest elderly populations, and millions of Iowans living on a fixed income rely on Medicare for their sole health care coverage. Any attack on Medicare is an onslaught on elderly Americans who worked hard for vital health care coverage that they have earned and that they deserve.”

Jean Pardee (Iowa Democratic Seniors/Retiree Caucus Chair)

“A nominee for Attorney General should have a history of protecting the rights of all Americans and not possess one hint of racism or history of discrimination. Jeff Sessions’ past is littered with a history of racially insensitive statements that include calling both the ACLU and the NAACP ‘un-American’.  If these institutions that are in place to stand up for the rights of disenfranchised are ‘un-American’ in the eyes of Senator Session, how can he be trusted to govern without bias?

“To be quiet and allow this to happen without challenge by any leader of any party is to be implicit in the unfair treatment of minorities in this country. It’s is up to all leaders, including Senator Ernst and Senator Grassley, to stand up to Sessions’ nomination and keep radical extremism out of our nation’s highest-ranking offices.”

Representative-Elect Ras Smith (HD-62)

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“No one voted on the idea of destroying Medicare and Medicaid and putting ALL Americans’ health and security at rise. We Need Medicare NOT CouponCare.”

Thank you for your dedication to the Iowa ARA where we fight to make the voice of all seniors and retirees heard loud and clear. We exist for today’s retirees AND for those who want to retire SOMEDAY. President-Elect Donald … Continue reading

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Here are two opportunities for Iowans concerned about Medicaid.

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FIRST, next Tuesday, December 13th, is the final meeting of the Legislature’s Health Policy Oversight Committee before the 2017 session.  The meeting begins at noon in Room 103 at the Iowa Statehouse.

This meeting will be livestreamed at the Iowa Senate Democrats’ Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/IowaSenateDemocrats/   You do not need to be a Facebook user to watch the video of the meeting.  However, if you have a Facebook account, you will be able to post comments.

SECOND, to prepare for the December 13th meeting, legislators have created a survey for agencies and medical professionals who provide services as part of Iowa Medicaid.

If you are a member of this group, please complete this short survey: http://interspire.iowasdc.info/surveys.php?id=32  If not, please share this link with your providers.

If you have any questions, please reply to this message.

Thank you!

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Labor Quote

Labor Quote: from the American Federation of Labor’s founding document’s preamble in 1886:
“A struggle is going on in all of the civilized world between oppressors and oppressed of all countries, between capitalist and laborer…”

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Iowa House Speaker Announces Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs

(DES MOINES) – Today House Speaker Linda Upmeyer (R-Clear Lake) announced committee Chairs and Vice Chairs for the Eighty-Seventh General Assembly.  They are as follows: Standing Committees: Administrative Rules Review Rep. Dawn Pettengill (R-Mount Auburn) – Chair Administration and Rules … Continue reading

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GOP plans new assault on unions

GOP plans new assault on unions
© Getty Images

Republicans in crucial states across the country are planning a renewed assault on the political power of labor unions after GOP victories in November’s elections handed the party control of states where Democrats have long defended union rights.

Labor unions have been on the defense in states like Wisconsin, Ohio and North Carolina in recent years, after Republicans swept to power in the 2010 midterm elections. Republicans in those states have advanced measures limiting public employee unions’ collective bargaining rights and unions’ power to compel workers to contribute dues.

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Labor History

December 08
Twenty-five unions found the American Federation of Labor (AFL) in Columbus, Ohio; Cigarmaker’s union leader Samuel Gompers is elected president. The AFL’s founding document’s preamble reads: “A struggle is going on in all of the civilized world between oppressors and oppressed of all countries, between capitalist and laborer…” – 1886
(There is Power in a Union: The Epic Story of Labor in America: This thoughtful and highly readable history of the American labor movement traces unionism from the textile mills of Lowell, Massachusetts in the 1820s to organized labor’s decline in the 1980s and struggle for survival and growth today. Illustrated with dozens of photos, posters and more.)

114-day newspaper strike begins, New York City – 1962

President Bill Clinton signs The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) – 1993

Nearly 230 jailed teachers—about one-fourth of the 1,000-member Middletown Township, N.J., staff—are ordered freed after they and their colleagues agree to end a 9-day strike and go into mediation with the local school board – 2001

Faced with a national unemployment rate of 10 percent, President Barack Obama outlines new multibillion-dollar stimulus and jobs proposals, saying the country must continue to “spend our way out of this recession” until more Americans are back at work. Joblessness had soared 6 percent in the final two years of George W. Bush’s presidency – 2009

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Labor History

December 07
Heywood Broun born in New York City. Journalist, columnist and co-founder, in 1933, of The Newspaper Guild – 1888

Steam boiler operators from 11 cities across the country meet in Chicago to form the National Union of Steam Engineers of America, the forerunner to the Int’l Union of Operating Engineers. Each of the men represented a local union of 40 members or fewer – 1896

More than 1,600 protesters staged a national hunger march on Washington, D.C., to present demands for unemployment insurance – 1931

United Hatters, Cap & Millinery Workers Int’l Union merges into Amalgamated Clothing & Textile Workers Union – 1982

Delegates to the founding convention of the National Nurses United (NNU) in Phoenix, Ariz., unanimously endorse the creation of the largest union and professional organization of registered nurses in U.S. history. The 150,000-member union is the product of a merger of three groups – 2009

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First change by Iowa Senate Republicans guts oversight of economic development projects

iowa cap at night[Des Moines] The first decision by the new Republican majority in the Iowa Senate was to eliminate the Senate Economic Growth Committee.  The committee oversees hundreds of millions of dollars in state economic development efforts by multiple state agencies.  The Senate Republicans’ decision runs counter to that of the Republican-controlled Iowa House, which today announced that the House Economic Growth Committee will continue.*

“Senate Republicans should reconsider their decision to gut legislative oversight of Iowa’s job creation efforts,” said Senate Democratic Leader Rob Hogg (D-Cedar Rapids).  “The Senate Economic Growth Committee has helped Iowans create jobs with innovative programs in infrastructure, community development, and emerging technologies.  The committee’s job is to improve these efforts and provide a safeguard against crony capitalism.”

Legislation developed by the Senate Economic Growth Committee was supported by bipartisan majorities in the Iowa House and Senate and signed into law by both Democratic and Republican Governors, including Governor Branstad.  A 2016 example is Senate File 2300, legislation that will help make Iowa a key player in the next generation of renewable chemical production.

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BUY Union, American and Iowan

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A Tribute to labor’s legacy

Cool Labor Site: AFSCMEroots
Produced and published by AFSCME Council 5, AFSCMEroots is a tribute to labor’s legacy. Council members give moving spoken-word performances as they portray the leaders who built the labor movement. http://www.afscmeroots.org/

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Stopping TPP – Thanks

Our efforts over the past seven years have made the flawed Trans-Pacific Partnership deal deeply unpopular. Because activists like you tirelessly wrote letters, signed petitions, marched at rallies, introduced resolutions and so much more—even while facing almost insurmountable odds—elected leaders … Continue reading

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Labor History

December 05 Unionists John T. and James B. McNamara are sentenced to 15 years and life, respectively, after confessing to dynamiting the Los Angeles Times building during a drive to unionize the metal trades in the city.  They placed the bomb in … Continue reading

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Iowa Republicans’ First Target: Cops’ Healthcare – Iowa Starting Line

iowa-state-patrolFresh off a sweeping victory in November that was won in large part to support from working class voters, Iowa Republicans have found their first place to make cuts: police officers’ health care benefits.

With complete control of Iowa’s government for the first time in 20 years, Governor Terry Branstad and the Republican House and Senate majorities are expected to take aim very early on at public employees’ collective bargaining rights. They’re likely to try to wipe out Chapter 20, the part of Iowa code that allows public employees to negotiate with the state over salaries and benefits. That applies to state workers, police officers, teachers and firefighters.

However, Republicans are not waiting around until the legislative session in January to start their effort to undermine working people’s rights and paychecks. They’re already playing hardball in end-of-year contract negotiations with the police and public employees unions, anticipating having an even stronger hand once the legislature makes changes.

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Progress Iowa Holiday Party

We have exciting news, with TWO terrific speakers joining us at our holiday party on December 20! Jason Kander, the Missouri Secretary of State and recent U.S. Senate candidate will be there! So will Sister Simone Campbell, the Executive Director … Continue reading

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