In Case You Missed It: Republicans Use Koch-Funded Group To Attack Retirement Security

Key Point & Column Attributable to Matt Sinovic, Executive Director of Progress Iowa Key Point: Iowa Republicans held a meeting today — with less than a day’s notice — bringing an out-of-state, Koch-funded organization to the capitol in order to … Continue reading

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Our Lives on the Line – Event this weekend

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Motion to Proceed — Off a Cliff

Advancing Senate Health Care Legislation Will Harm Older Americans

The following statement was issued by Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, in response to the Motion to Proceed on the Senate Affordable Care Act Repeal.

 “The Senate’s vote today on the Motion to Proceed is an outrage.

“Neither the Senators nor the American public have any idea what measures the Senate will be voting on. Every proposal they have put forward so far is cruel, leaving at least 22 million people and as many as 32 million without insurance.

“Health care affects every Americans and represents 1/6 of our economy. Health reform should be undertaken thoughtfully with the goal of lowering costs and improving quality and access, not cobbled together by a handful of people behind closed doors. This cynical process will have devastating consequences for Americans of all ages, particularly older Americans.

“The 4.4 million members of the Alliance are mobilized and unified in our opposition to whatever horror lies ahead. We urge our elected officials to vote against whatever comes next.”

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Iowa’s daunting challenge as Congress battles on health 


You don’t need a crystal ball to see that the battle in Washington over health care carries big challenges for Iowa and other states. We’re doing what we can to serve that role, because over 200,000 Iowans could lose health insurance if the wrong course is taken.

Even if the votes will be taken in Washington, this is a state issue. It is puzzling that not all of Iowa’s state officials are treating it that way, as we show in this guest opinion in the Cedar Rapids Gazette, and this blog post, “Why Governor Reynolds is wrong.” 

Also see our other resources about potential health-care legislation impacts, with this paperabout the House bill and this two-pager about the Senate bill.

Keep watching our websiteFacebook page andIowaPolicyPoints blog for more information about this issue.

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Labor History

Labor Quote of the Day: Brooks Atkinson “Don’t be condescending to unskilled labor. Try it for half a day first.” July 26 In Chicago, 30 workers are killed by federal troops, more than 100 wounded at the “Battle of the Viaduct” … Continue reading

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Governor urged to back plan to let parents affected by individual health insurance crisis to buy hawk-i children’s health insurance

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   (Des Moines)  Today at the Iowa Statehouse, a state senator and an Iowa pediatrician proposed a plan to protect more than 11,000 Iowa children from losing health insurance on January 1 of next year.   The children’s parents are among those who … Continue reading

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Labor History

Labor Quote of the Day: Robert Reich “If the minimum wage in 1968 had simply kept up with inflation it would be more than $10 today.  If it also kept up with the added productivity of American workers since then, it … Continue reading

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Working Families Demand Freedom from Wall Street’s Rigged Economy

Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on the seventh anniversary of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act:

The politicians attacking the Dodd-Frank Act didn’t have their lives ripped apart the way too many working people did during the Great Recession that Wall Street caused. If they had, they wouldn’t threaten to roll back common-sense financial reforms that ensure working people are not the victims of another financial crisis.

Attempts to take away consumer protections by gutting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — which has returned $12 billion to consumers who were scammed — are a disgrace. Congress should be working on ways to strengthen financial regulations so greedy Wall Street bankers and hedge funds are not allowed to continue to gamble with the lives of working people.

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Our Lives on the Line

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ON JULY 29TH, AMERICANS ARE COMING TOGETHER ALL ACROSS THE COUNTRY TO SAY: OUR LIVES ARE ON THE LINE – WE NEED TO LIFT UP THE VOICES OF THE MILLIONS OF AMERICANS WHO ARE AT RISK OF LOSING THEIR CARE … Continue reading

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Kim Reynolds Can’t Just Shrug Off Senate Sex Harassment Scandal – Iowa Starting Line

Republicans love to use the term “leading from behind” when criticizing Democrats. Great leaders demonstrate their skills by boldly offering solutions following the revelations of problems.  They don’t stick their finger in the air to test the wind direction.

The verdict this week awarding $2.2 million to a former Iowa Senate Republican caucus staffer in a sexual harassment case is the latest failure by Governor Reynolds to execute that leadership. So far, she’s leading from behind; apparently waiting to see if the Republican sex scandal will just go away.

Kirsten Anderson, the former communications director for Senate Republicans, won the decision after she proved to a jury that her male supervisors were operating a “good old boys’ club” at the Statehouse that condoned rampant sexual harassment.

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Labor History

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Labor Quote of the Day: Wendell Phillips “The labor movement means just this; It is the last noble protest of the American people against the power of incorporated wealth.” Wendell Phillips (1811-1884) was an American abolitionist, orator, and attorney.  July 22 … Continue reading

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Labor History

Labor Quote of the Day: William Burrus
“Those unions that enjoy the right to strike have no guarantee that sacrificing their jobs and their livelihood will result in victory but they nevertheless engage in lengthy strikes, not because they are assured of winning but because they are determined to fight.”
Burrus is a former president of the American Postal Workers Union

July 21
Local militiamen are called out against striking railroad workers in Pittsburgh. The head of the Pennsylvania Railroad advises giving the strikers “a rifle diet for a few days and see how they like that kind of bread.” – 1877

Compressed air explosion kills 20 workers constructing railroad tunnel under the Hudson River – 1880

IWW leads a strike at Hodgeman’s Blueberry Farm in Grand Junction, Mich. – 1964

Radio station WCFL, owned and operated by the Chicago Federation of Labor, takes to the airwaves with two hours of music. The first and only labor-owned radio station in the country, WCFL was sold in 1979 – 1926

A die-cast operator in Jackson, Mich., is pinned by a hydraulic Unimate robot, dies five days later. Incident is the first documented case in the U.S. of a robot killing a human – 1984
Union Communication Services

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Rushing to vote Iowans off insurance | The Gazette

We have seen this film before. Legislators propose a new law that they claim will improve health care but pushes millions off health coverage, strips away protections in current law, tells cash-strapped states to pick up the tab and gives big breaks to the wealthy who don’t need help.

Did you walk out of the theater the first two times? Will you stay for this one? More importantly, will our senators?

In the coming days, we will get an analysis of the new Senate bill from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The analysis may come with little time in advance of a vote, as the Senate leadership is attempting to rush to a vote before the public, let alone Senate members, have a chance to fully evaluate it. (That is not new, either.)

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Iowa Under Fire

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Iowa GOP takes aim at IPERS

Jul 19, 2017 at 10:21 am  Print View

Once again, Republicans in the Iowa Legislature are inviting an out-of-state attack on the economic security of Iowa families.

Their target is the Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System — a well-managed, effective pension system that contributes $1.6 billion each year to the Iowa economy. Actuaries using audited, industry standards offer the 350,000 people contributing in the IPERS system what Iowa has long promised: a secure retirement that the state can afford.

Now Iowa Republicans are threatening to break that retirement promise by putting the Reason Foundation, an out-of-state special interest group, in charge of an official review of IPERS. Nothing is more critical to assuring a secure pension system than using good data — either in managing the system or in considering changes to it.

To provide data for this review, Republicans have entrusted a foundation funded by the Koch Brothers, which has a history of attacking public pension systems across the country. One Republican state senator claims that no decision has been made about the future of IPERS, but their decision to outsource their review to a group with a track record of siding against workers is like picking a player from one team to referee a game. How can we trust their credibility?

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Administration Falls Woefully Short in NAFTA Renegotiation Plans

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka issued the following statement after the release of the U.S. trade representative’s objectives for renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement:

The NAFTA objectives don’t inspire confidence that the Trump administration’s actions will meet its rhetoric on trade. If the administration is serious about renegotiating NAFTA in a way that raises wages and creates good jobs, it cannot continue to promise significant trade policy changes on the one hand, and produce vague, unambitious objectives in its official communications on the other. These objectives largely replicate those of the failed Trans-Pacific Partnership and won’t satisfy the expectations the president created for a revival of America’s manufacturing heartland. It’s also ironic that these objectives, released during the administration’s “Buy American” week, leave in place federal purchasing commitments that bypass “Buy American” laws. While we applaud the trade remedies objectives in particular, working families are disappointed with the document as a whole. We will continue to fight to create trade deals working people deserve.

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Labor History

Labor Quote of the Day: Louis H. Albert
“I don’t mind coming to work — I just don’t want to stay when I get there.”

July 20
New York City newsboys, many so poor that they were sleeping in the streets, begin a 2-week strike. Several rallies drew more than 5,000 newsboys, complete with charismatic speeches by strike leader Kid Blink, who was blind in one eye. The boys had to pay publishers up front for the newspapers; they were successful in forcing the publishers to buy back unsold papers – 1899
(Kids at Work: Your heart will be broken by this exceptional book’s photographs of children at backbreaking, often life-threatening work, and the accompanying commentary by author Russell Freedman. Photographer Lewis Hine—who himself died in poverty in 1940—did as much, and perhaps more, than any social critic in the early part of the 20th century to expose the abuse of children, as young as three and four, by American capitalism.)

Two killed, 67 wounded in Minneapolis truckers’ strike—”Bloody Friday” – 1934

Postal unions, Postal Service sign first labor contract in the history of the federal government—the year following an unauthorized strike by 200,000 postal workers – 1971

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Senators urge Governor Reynolds to ask Senators Ernst, Grassley to oppose health care changes that would hurt Iowans

The top two Democratic State Senators on the Iowa Senate’s healthcare budget and policy committees are urging Governor Kim Reynolds to contact U.S. Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley about the threat that healthcare legislation pending in the U.S. Senate … Continue reading

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Labor History

Labor Quote of the Day: Sue Carney
“At the core, labor unions are working men and women, unified as one force. Despite any personal differences that may exist between us, we have banded together to protect and improve the lives of workers. We rise up together for the greater good. We defend one another like family.”

Written in The American Postal Worker in 2014

July 19
Women’s Rights Convention opens in Seneca Falls, N.Y.  Delegates adopt a Declaration of Women’s Rights and call for women’s suffrage – 1848

An amendment to the 1939 Hatch Act, a federal law whose main provision prohibits federal employees from engaging in partisan political activity, is amended to also cover state and local employees whose salaries include any federal funds – 1940

Union Communication Services

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Charter Communications Workers and Customers Deserve Better

(Washington, DC, July 14, 2017) Concerned citizens handed out leaflets at more than 900 Charter Communications Inc. payment centers throughout the United States today, letting customers know about the corporation’s unchecked greed.

Charter Communications is one of the nation’s most profitable cable and internet companies, pulling in $29 billion last year.

“Screwing over workers and customers seems to be a hallmark of Charter Communications’ business model,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “Charter has disrespected workers in New York who remain on strike fighting for the freedom to negotiate together to maintain their pensions and health benefits. They also continue to disregard their customers’ needs by hiking rates while providing subpar service. This is not the way to run a company, and we support all the working people standing up to these corporate bullies.”

Approximately 1,700 IBEW Local 3 Charter employees in New York City have been on strike for nearly four months because of management’s demand for massive cuts to their pensions and health benefits. Charter is refusing to negotiate in good faith.

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