Pennsylvania may be the next battlefield in big business' war on the working class. Republican Governor Corbett -- his popularity at an all-time low -- and his allies in the state legislature may be about to ram through union-busting "right-to-work" (RTW) legislation.
Leaders and activists from UE Locals 1177 and1110, UE Western Region and Warehouse Workers for Justice (WWJ) protested outside the office of Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) in downtown Chicago on Monday, December 10, demanding that, in the so-called "Fiscal Cliff" negotiations, he oppose any cuts in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid or other important social safety net programs and instead impose higher tax rates on the rich. They joined protestors organized by Stand Up Chicago, MoveOn.org, and Chicago Jobs with Justice in delivering postcards signed by over 5,000 individuals.
In response to the "fiscal cliff" negotiations between President Obama and Republicans in Congress, U.S. Labor Against the War (USLAW), of which UE is a member organization, is promoting a rational, people-first solution to the federal budget.
A group of progressive Senators and Representatives, led by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) held a press conference on Thursday, November 15 to call for protecting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in any deficit reduction deal. See a video clip of their press event here.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders appeared on MSNBC's The Ed Show with Ed Schultz on Nov. 8 to rally resistance to any fiscal deal that "balances the budget on the backs of the elderly, the sick and the poor." Sanders urged Pres. Obama to visit every one of the 50 states "no matter how conservative" and ask the people, "Do you really believe we should give tax breaks to billionaires and cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid?"
Mitt Romney has been deliberately sketchy about what the federal budget will look like if he wins the election, but what we know about his plans is not good. Congressman Paul Ryan, Romney's running mate, has had a lot more to say about the budget, and it's even scarier.
When Mitt Romney chose Paul Ryan as his running mate, he not only aligned himself with the extremist budget proposals put forward over the past two years by Ryan and the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives. Romney also enlisted in the "War on Women" that many Republican politicians - including Ryan - have been waging.
Mitt Romney is urging employers to tell their workers how to vote. Labor journalist Mike Elk has reported on a June 6 conference call, which was posted on the website of the National Federation of Independent Business, in which Romney told his listeners that President Obama has been bad for business, and then added:
Mitt Romney was born into wealth and privilege. His father, George Romney, was a corporate executive in the auto industry who in 1954 became president and CEO of American Motors (manufacturer of the Rambler and other brands), and in 1963 was elected governor of Michigan. Mitt attended the elite private Cranbrook School in Bloomfield Hills, MI, Stamford University and Brigham Young University, and went on to amass a personal fortune of around $250 million, first as a business consultant and then in the private equity business, mainly as co-founder and CEO of Bain Capital.
Working people have more at stake in this year's election than in any election in decades. One of the two major parties has become more hostile to workers' rights, unions, and the social protections for which labor has fought, than any of us have seen before. The future of unions in the United States, and the survival of many of the things that we have fought for, is on the line on November 6.