United MEC Government Affairs Committee Update

Date: November 1, 2011
Type: Report

We Are One Ohio Victory

On Tuesday, November 8, 2001, in an off-year election, voters across the country cast their ballots in several important races and voted on several hotly-contested ballot measures. In Ohio, voters sent a pro-worker message to Republican Governor John Kasich with an overwhelming vote in support of collective bargaining rights for Ohio's public employees. The labor community and its allies soundly defeated an anti-worker ballot measure 61 percent to 39 percent.

Unlike Wisconsin, Ohio has a people's veto and the citizens had their say on Senate Bill 5 (SB 5), the anti-worker initiative championed by Governor Kasich. Ohioans voted to repeal the bill which limited collective bargaining rights, expanded no-strike standards and increased health care costs and retirement contributions. Ohio SB 5 passed the Ohio State legislature and was signed by Kasich in March. The law remained on hold until the referendum was decided.

This vote was a major victory for labor Unions and collective bargaining rights. The outcome may also have consequences for the 2102 Election with both presidential candidate Republican Mitt Romney and U.S. Senate candidate Republican Josh Mandel having come out in favor of keeping the unpopular anti-worker law on the books.

AFA and CWA volunteers joined thousands of Union Members in contacting Ohio voters to vote NO on Issue 2. Congratulations to all on a job well done!

Elections 2012

November 7th marked the one year countdown to Election Day 2012!

The 2012 campaign cycle will be the first presidential election since the 2010 Supreme Court ruling that allows independent political groups to accept unlimited donations. Fortunately, Unions represent one of the few organized forces that can provide a counter balance to the influence that corporate money will have in these elections

The United MEC will be holding our bi-annual Voter Registration/Absentee Voting and Voter Information Drives at each Local Council. There is too much at stake in 2012 to let any of our colleagues, family or friends sit out this election.

We Are The 99%

The 99% movement continues to remind us of the power and strength we have when we act together. When we all speak, we can make our voice heard. It will be critical that we use our power and strength at the ballot box on November 6, 2012.

Congressional Candidate Meet And Greet

The AFL-CIO hosted a meet and greet with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) to introduce over 100 democratic congressional candidates who are running for Congress in 2012. Representatives from our MEC Government Affairs Committee attended the event and met a number of candidates who are running in Congressional Districts where we have a large number of United and Continental Flight Attendants. The event was an opportunity to discuss Flight Attendant specific issues with these candidates.

Women Of Labor

While our MEC Government Affairs Committee was in Washington, we were able to attend a Women of Labor event with AFA-CWA International President Veda Shook. The event was hosted by Congresswomen Betty McCollum, Rosa DeLauro and Lynn Woolsey to highlight the significance of electing women to Congress and the dynamic relationship between these women in Congress and women leaders in the labor community.

The event, held in the magnificent Members Room in the Library of Congress, was a roundtable discussion with Secretary of Labor, and former member of Congress, Hilda Solis. Our MEC Government Affairs Committee as well as our International President, Veda Shook, had the opportunity to discuss OSHA safety and health protections (or lack of) for Flight Attendants and the lack of movement on the 2000 Memorandum of Understanding signed by OSHA and FAA.

Congressman Joe Walsh

A letter from AFA-CWA International President Veda Shook was mailed to all AFA-CWA Members in Illinois' 8th District, represented by Republican Representative Joe Walsh. This letter was the first in a series of grassroots actions that are being planned around Walsh's recent comments in opposition to meaningful Flight Attendant security training.

Freshman Representative Joe Walsh (R-IL) is known for his anti-Obama rhetoric on cable news and his refusal to pay his ex-wife for child support. During a recent meeting with constituents Representative Walsh made the absurd claim that "worker Unions have more power and money than corporations".

AFA-CWA Members in his District are being urged to call Representative Walsh and tell him that Flight Attendants are essential in maintaining safety and security. Representative Walsh can be reached at 202.225.3711.

Other News From Capitol Hill

Targeted Wall Street Trading Tax

On Thursday, November 3, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR) introduced the Wall Street Trading and Speculators Tax Act, S. 1787/H.R. 3313. This legislation would impose a .03 percent tax on the trade of certain financial transactions undertaken by banking and financial firms. The measure does not harm long-term investing like retirement funds, but instead targets financial trading and complex transactions undertaken by financial and investment firms.

This small tax could raise billions to create jobs, lay the groundwork for long-term economic prosperity and help reduce the national debt. The European Union is considering a similar proposal, but with a tax rate that is more than three times higher.

By setting the tax rate very low, U.S. lawmakers believe the measure is not likely to impact the decision to engage in productive economic activity. It would reduce speculative and risky Wall Street activities and encourage longer-term investments that would strengthen rather than endanger the economy.

Honoring America's Labor Unions

A resolution honoring the labor movement was introduced in the House by Representative Donald Payne (D-NJ). The resolution recognizes the importance of Unions in building and maintaining a strong and healthy middle class. Rep. Payne's resolution highlights the fact that Union's provide important benefits to the 99% of Americans that need to work for a living by allowing them a voice in our economy and democracy.

Bipartisan Letter "Say No To New Taxes" On Health Care Benefits

A bipartisan group of 160 members of Congress signed onto a letter urging the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, known as the supercommittee, to reject any proposals to tax employer-sponsored healthcare benefits. The letter was spearheaded by Representatives Joe Courtney (D-CT) and Tom Coles (R-OK). CWA joined Representatives Courtney and Coles in asking members of the supercommittee to keep employer-sponsored health coverage free from taxation.

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