Military Veterans and Public Sector Unions – Preserving good jobs for those who served.

union vetsWednesday January 18: Military Veterans and Public Sector Unions – Preserving good jobs for those who served.

Press Conference in Room 22 to encourage veterans to talk to their elected representatives

DES MOINES: – On Veterans Day at the Iowa Capitol, Veterans will gather there on Wednesday January 18th for a Lobby Day on behalf of Veterans issues. Many Veterans also happen to be union members, so when union rights are under attack, so are Veterans rights to collective bargaining and a decent job

WHO: Veterans

Welcome/Introductions Mark Cooper, President South Central Iowa Federation of Labor

Mark Fallis, Retired Des Moines NALC Letter Carrier

Dan White, UAW Waterloo,

Danny Homan, President AFSCME Iowa Council 61

Will Fischer, Executive Director Union Veterans Council of the AFL-CIO

WHAT: Press Conference and Lobby effort towards the preservation of on good public sector jobs and the impact a loss of these jobs could have on veterans.

WHEN: Wednesday January 18, 2017 12:00 PM.

WHERE: Room 22, Iowa State Capitol, 1007 E Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA.

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ICYMI: Hundreds of Iowans Rally Across the State, Take #OurFirstStand Against Health Care Changes

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DES DES MOINES –On Sunday, Iowans held rallies in Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs, Des Moines and Sioux City to voice their opposition to Republicans’ plans to overhaul health care. National Congressional Democratic Leaders, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, and Bernie Sanders … Continue reading

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The Governor’s health plan for public employees: A solution in search of a problem

We’ve seen this before; why would we try it again?

DSCN5662-detail240200Governor Branstad’s plan to remove health benefits from negotiations on state, county, city and school employee contracts presents more questions than answers.

The first question: What again is the problem? The Governor has not identified one with any specificity.

The second: What would be the effects? Local decisions on health care coverage reflect local realities; the Governor has not shown why a statewide plan would (1) cover employees adequately; or (2) save a dime.


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Women’s March January 21 – Everyone welcome

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*this event is the official event page representing the efforts of national Women’s March on Washington organization in the state of Iowa. On January 21, 2017 we will unite REMOTELY at the Iowa state Capitol during the Women’s March on … Continue reading

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Legislative Forums – Attend and Ask Questions

AMES Saturday, January 14: 8:30 a.m.-10 a.m. “Legislative Wake Up” with Story County Area Legislators at Ames City Council Chambers, 515 Clark Ave, 2nd Floor. Saturday, February 25: 8:30 a.m. 10 a.m. “Legislative Wake Up” with Story County Area Legislators … Continue reading

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Labor History

Today’s Labor Quote: Lucy Parsons
“Never be deceived that the rich will permit you to vote away their wealth.”

January 16
The United States Civil Service Commission was established as the Pendleton Act went into effect – 1883

Thousands of Palmer Raids detainees win right to meet with lawyers and attorney representation at deportation hearings. “Palmer” was Alexander Mitchell Palmer, U.S. attorney general under Woodrow Wilson. Palmer believed Communism was “eating its way into the homes of the American workman,” and Socialists were causing most of the country’s social problems – 1920

Former UAW President Leonard Woodcock dies in Ann Arbor, Mich., at age 89. He had succeeded Walter Reuther and led the union from 1970 to 1977 – 2001

January 17
Radical labor organizer and anarchist Lucy Parsons leads hunger march in Chicago; IWW songwriter Ralph Chaplin wrote “Solidarity Forever” for the march – 1915

President John F. Kennedy signs Executive Order 10988, guaranteeing federal workers the right to join unions and bargain collectively – 1962

January 18
U.S. Supreme Court rules in Moyer v. Peabody that a governor and officers of a state National Guard may imprison anyone—in the case at hand, striking miners in Colorado—without probable cause “in a time of insurrection” and deny the person the right of appeal – 1909

“Take This Job and Shove It,” by Johnny Paycheck, is listed by Billboard magazine as the most popular song in the U.S. – 1978
(Stayin’ Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class is a remarkable account of how working-class America hit the rocks in the political and economic upheavals of the 1970s.)

Union Communication Services

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Stand up for Our Principles

Join us as we host a rally to Stand up for Our Principles. We will be joined by Iowa AFL-CIO president Ken Sagar, Illinois AFL-CIO President Michael T. Carrigan, former Illinois State Director for Bernie Sanders Clem Balanoff, former Illinois State Senator and U.S. Congressman Glenn Poshard, and local Grace City Church Pastor Revered Dwight Ford. Everyone is welcome to this free event with food. Please bring a friend and share around. We should have a great turn-out!our priorities 2017

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Labor History

Today’s Labor Quote:American social worker Grace Abbott “Child labor and poverty are inevitably bound together and if you continue to use the labor of children as the treatment for the social disease of poverty, you will have both poverty and … Continue reading

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Calling All Union Veterans:

Wednesday January 18 is Veterans Day at the Capitol Join other Veterans at Capitol in Des Moines on Wednesday January 18th for a Lobby Day on behalf of Veterans issues. Many Veterans are also union members, so when union rights … Continue reading

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What Iowa’s “Chapter 20” Is And Why It’s Important To Workers: An Explainer

collective bargaing protectsThe biggest battle at the Iowa Statehouse this year will likely center around collective bargaining rights for state employees. At issue is Iowa’s “Chapter 20,” the section in Iowa code that governs collective bargaining, and the sweeping changes the new Republican majorities want to make to it that would weaken or eliminate workers’ ability to negotiate parts or all of their contracts.

But what is “Chapter 20”? Democrats and politically-engaged Iowans generally know the basics of collective bargaining, but many may be less familiar with that specific part of Iowa Code. Since Iowa reporters, legislators and activists involved in Iowa’s collective bargaining debate often use the term “Chapter 20” to describe it, Starting Line felt it might be helpful to provide an explainer piece on what all it entails.


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“To Promote Harmonious and Cooperative Relationships”: A Brief History of Public Sector Collective Bargaining in Iowa, 1966 to 2016

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“To Promote Harmonious and Cooperative Relationships”   “To Promote Harmonious and Cooperative Relationships”: A Brief History of Public Sector Collective Bargaining in Iowa, 1966 to 2016 The University of Iowa Labor Center, 2016 In 1974, Iowa’s Public Employment Relations Act … Continue reading

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What Iowans Are Reading: Paul Pate’s Voter ID Proposal Is “Unneeded”, “Indefensible” and “A Solution Without a Problem”

Des Moines–Last week Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate released his “Election Integrity Act” which outlines his plans to spend millions of dollars on a virtually nonexistent issue. Pate is asking Iowa taxpayers to shell out up to a million … Continue reading

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Chief justice: Funding cuts threaten courthouse hours, services

cadyInadequate funding for courts threatens to upend valuable programs that keep teens out of prison and help struggling families stay together, Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady said Wednesday.

The chief justice gave a broad warning to lawmakers during his annual Condition of the Judiciary address about possible outcomes if the Iowa Judicial Branch does not get the $194.3 million it requested for the next fiscal year. Some county courthouses might have to shift to part-time hours, juvenile court officers will have less time to spend helping at-risk youths and cases will be slowed by delays that are already being noticed, he said.

“The way ahead may be hindered by limited resources, but the will of Iowans for a fair and impartial justice system that meets their needs could not be stronger,” he said. “So, now is not the time to minimize expectations for the future, but to build upon them. It is the time to build the future with an investment that affirms the work of the judicial branch, and affirms the lives of families, children, business owners, employees and all Iowans.”


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Supervisors urge lawmakers: Don’t take away wage increases

workers-wages-vsTo Iowa Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix and House Speaker Linda Upmeyer:

We write as elected officials from the first four Iowa counties to have adopted a long-overdue increase in the minimum wage. We have proudly supported increases in the minimum wage beyond $10 in our counties, and are dismayed that some state leaders are now threatening to undo or prevent such increases — effectively lowering thousands of Iowans’ wages.

Collectively, our counties are home to more than one third of the state’s private-sector jobs and some of Iowa’s fastest-growing communities. As county supervisors, we heeded calls from our constituents to take action because we could not afford to ignore the crisis created by low wages in our communities. One out of every six of our kids lives in poverty. For nearly a decade, our state government has refused to address this crisis — leaving Iowa families behind while 29 other states, including five bordering Iowa, took action to raise their minimum wages. So local government had to step up.


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Labor History

January 13
The original Tompkins Square Riot. As unemployed workers demonstrated in New York’s Tompkins Square Park, a detachment of mounted police charged into the crowd, beating men, women and children with billy clubs. Declared Abram Duryee, the Commissioner of Police: “It was the most glorious sight I ever saw…” – 1874

Latino citrus workers strike in Covina, Calif. – 1919

(Exact date uncertain) As the nation debates a constitutional amendment to rein in the widespread practice of brutally overworking children in factories and fields, U.S. District Judge G.W. McClintic expresses concern, instead, about child idleness – 1924

Union Communication Services

Today’s Labor Quote: Jack London
Here’s his classic definition of a scab—someone who would cross a picket line and take a striker’s job:
“After God had finished the rattlesnake, the toad, the vampire, He had some awful substance left with which He made a scab. A scab is a two-legged animal with a cork-screw soul, a water-logged brain, a combination backbone of jelly and glue. Where others have hearts, he carries a tumor of rotten principles”  jack london

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Stand Up for Health Care on Sunday

alliance of retired americansJanuary 15th is a day to fight back and take “Our First Stand” to save our health care.

Senators Chuck Schumer, Bernie Sanders and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and allies are hosting more than 25 rallies that day to show opposition to plans to eliminate and destroy the Affordable Care Act, Medicare and Medicaid.

Will you show you care about health care this Sunday, January 15th?

Republicans have been vocal and brash in their eagerness to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement and simultaneously cut Medicare, and Medicaid. And with complete control of Congress, the only thing stopping them is you.

Click here to find an “Our First Stand” rally near you.

Together we must fight to protect all Americans’ right to affordable health care.

Thank you,

Richard Fiesta

Executive Director
Alliance for Retired Americans

Cedar Rapids, IA 310 3rd St SE 1 p.m. Maddie Anderson (515)229-7661
Council Bluffs, IA 501 5th Ave. 1 p.m. Maddie Anderson (515)229-7661
Des Moines, IA Neal Smith Federal Building
210 Walnut Street
1 p.m. Maddie Anderson (515)229-7662
Fort Dodge, IA City Square Park 2 p.m.
Manchester, IA 100 E. Main St., Manchester IA Noon – 2 p.m. Maddie Anderson (515)229-7663
Sioux City, IA 526 Nebraska Street 1 p.m. Maddie Anderson (515)229-7663
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Working Together Press Conference

Several public workers spoke out at the Iowa Capitol on January 5, about the impact proposed legislation could have on working families in Iowa.

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Charlie Wishman at Crossroads, discussion labor and legislation

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The attacks have begun


Iowa Legislature – Prefiled Bills

Proposed Iowa Budget

Here are some of the bad bills introduced







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We need a 28th Amendment

citizens-united-money-is-not-speechNo matter which of the presidential candidates had prevailed in last month’s election, America continues on a perilous path toward plutocracy, a government of and for the rich and powerful. Power rapidly is concentrating into the hands of billionaires, global corporations, and secretive Super PACs. Large donors receive control of state and federal offices, and concentrated money is perverting justice and equal representation. We must end this.

As a Republican, a progressive Democrat, and an independent, we join together to ask all Americans to support the 28th Amendment to our Constitution to win effective government and equal rights for all Americans. No one else but the American citizenry can do this, and no half-measures that fail to address our constitutional crisis can set our course right.

Make no mistake, we do face a constitutional crisis, not just a “campaign finance” problem. The dangerous lack of balance, fairness, inclusion and trust in our political system in large measure results from disastrous decisions by a divided Supreme Court, including Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. In Citizens United, the court decreed that corporations, unions, and billionaires have a “free speech” right to spend unlimited money to decide elections and policy, and they are doing so with a vengeance.


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