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Legislative Wrap Up - 07/14/2011

This past legislative session in Arkansas, Alabama and Tennessee have been downright horrible for workers and the working families. Louisiana is still in session and the assault on workers and workers' rights continue in the same fashion.

Here is a sample of the disrespect we are being subjected to: Alabama- a) the legislators voted to no longer hold dues check-off from public employees, b) restricted public employee unions from making political contributions, c) re-enforced laws with further restrictions on public demonstration (informational picketing and hand billing). Arkansas- a) reduced unemployment benefits and made it easier for business to terminate employees without having to pay unemployment, b) froze unemployment weekly benefit and lowers the minimum weekly benefit. Tennessee- a) made it illegal for teachers to form unions b) made it a felony for labor organizations to make political contributions, c) will not allow public entities to withhold dues check-off.

In our district council we represent various public employees (maintenance Painters), this is a national agenda by the political right to reduce, strip and crush Workers and basic worker rights. The Reagan/Bush appointed majority Supreme Court has rewarded the business community and corporate America with the "Citizens United" a ruling giving them the ability to buy any election of their choice. Businesses are being allowed to financially influence (buy) any election without disclosing its donors with no limits on the amount of money they spend, yet there are laws and restrictions on what a labor organization can do. Not very American is it?

There will be plenty of school board and local elections coming up this fall, if you aren't registered to vote please do so. We need to elect candidates who support workers and working families. As members we can do this in various ways: 1) register to vote (family members too), 2) attend your local labor council meeting to screen potential candidates, 3) participate in public demonstrations with our unions and community partners & 4) VOTE.

Register to Vote/Get educated on the issues/Agitate

Let's take control of our future, remember the preamble of the constitution begins
"We the people" not "We corporate America"

by Lindsay C. Brown, Business Representative, IUPAT District Council 80

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