Tag: Employee Free Choice Act

Congress members coming home next week; Talk to them

A reminder that change may have come to Washington, but it hasn’t made it to Iraq yet.

Iraq Moratorium #19 is only 10 days away, on Friday, Feb. 20.

Here’s one idea for action from United for Peace and Justice:  Schedule a meeting with your members of Congress, who will be home on a recess that week, and ask them to end the war and occupation of Iraq.

Of course you can always protest outside of their offices.  But why not ask for a face-to-face conversation and see what happens?  UFPJ says:

To make sure you can get appointments with your elected officials you need to call now. Go here to find out who your Representative or Senators are and their contact information.  We want members of Congress to know they are getting calls from UFPJ. We want legislators to know that we are connecting the issues of the war and the economy.

There are three messages we want to deliver to the members of Congress.

1) The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan must end! We believe that security will be forged internationally and diplomatically, not by the United States unilaterally occupying nations. Furthermore, the economic crisis has created and exposed tremendous human needs in our own country. Millions are without health care, stable housing, and living wage jobs. The priority of the national treasury must go from a war economy to a peace economy where the winners are all of us, rather than military contractors. A first step in this process must be to stop the funding for these wars! It is critically important that Congress knows the antiwar movement is as strong as ever.

2) It is time to fix our country’s health care system! We encourage you to support HR 676, the Single Payer Health Care bill. Passage of HR 676 would mean that health care is provided by a single source, rather than dozens of private insurance companies making profits. This would be a cheaper way to cover health care costs, as it is all over the world where governments guarantee health care. Health insurance being separated from employment would also help U.S. corporations who cannot compete with international corporations, who do not have to provide employee health care. For more information on this bill go here.

3) We support passage of the Employee Free Choice Act!  This bill allows workers to unionize when a majority of people demonstrates their support for a union representing them by signing union cards. Passage of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) would result in more workplaces being unionized. With unionization, workers get the benefit of collective bargaining, which results in higher wages. Higher wages means more spending power that boosts the economy; higher wages means families can be supported without every adult working multiple jobs, which leaves little time for families, children, and being an informed citizen. For more information on this bill go to

AFL-CIO site.

Support for both HR 676 and EFCA is a good place to start. UFPJ member groups such as Progressive Democrats of America and US Labor Against the War are already working on them.

Everyone doesn’t live in a town where there is a Congressional office, of course. But you can bring cell phones and contact numbers to your Moratorium event and place calls from there. Keep the heat on.

This idea also ties in with the Raise Hell for Molly Ivins Campaign, which has been urging contact with members of Congress, in their home offices, on the Third Friday of the month and has produced a video with Vietnam vet Ron Kovic to promote it.

But we’re not telling you what to do to mark the Iraq Moratorium.  That’s not our role.  It’s simply to encourage people to do something, individually or collectively, on the Third Friday of the month to end the war and occupation.

Whatever you’re planning, please list it and share your plans with others. Here’s the link.

To see what others are doing, read reports from last month, get some new ideas, read about the peace movement, donate to Iraq Moratorium, buy a T-shirt, or just surf, visit the website/

And Now? (w/poll)

I know it’s hard to move on, but I really hope that in the months and weeks leading up to January 20th, the left liberal blogosphere will not focus its attention single-mindedly on every rumor of Obama cabinet appointments or even every toothsome morsel of gossip about Republican backbiting and infighting.

It seems there are three main responses progressives and leftists are taking to the new administration-in-formation.

The first is the classic honeymoon:

Cut the guy some slack, he’s got a lot on his plate. Already the election has had a transforming effect on the mood of people in the country and more good stuff is on the way. Now is not the time to be tugging his coattails.

The second is to try and lobby or bring direct pressure to bear on the Obama/Biden team, the Congressional Dems and/or the Democratic Party machine around a broad agenda or, more commonly a particular issue. In particular, This takes the form of trying to call in markers by forces who worked hard to produce the Obama landslide. The clearest example is the drive announced by the Change to Win union coalition to get the Employee Free Choice Act “card check” law passed in the first 100 days of the new administration. The AFL-CIO, for its part, is calling for a million EFCA petition signatures to be delivered on Inauguration Day. Similar calls have been launched by health care reform groups, (The push here to defend the 50 state strategy and its organizing core seems to fall into this category.)

The third is the one I want to argue for. It has already been modeled modeled by the Proposition 8 activists in California and their supporters around the country in the wake of Tuesday’s vote.. They chose a target, the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints (a/k/a the Mormon Church), and lit it up with militant demonstrations, extensive muckraking exposure of the facts, and public online debate over, and planning for, a possible boycott of Utah.

I would characterize this third option as creating a firestorm of struggles, locally-based in the main, around critical issues. These will by and large not make the administration-to-be their main target but will create facts on the ground in terms of social unrest among important sections of the people, which will have to be factored into their planning and policy-making.

A couple of additional points on this strategic approach:

1. Those arguing for the second approach should bear in mind the FISA battle of this spring, when folks across the left liberal blogosphere, a sector Obama owed bigtime, fought urgently to get him to stand up for constitutional rule in this country. A broad united front of progressives, liberals, civil liberties advocates and libertarians was quickly built. Funds were raised and teevee ads even made. What his backers got from Obama was one live-blog session with some staffers defending his unconscionable support for the Bush-engineered FISA bill, which passed.

2. Some may object that this doesn’t deal with the big picture can be made, but let’s take the example of the global economic meltdown and the rapidly deepening depression in this country. Obama’s seventeen-advisor panel is drawn from the very clowns and crooks who dragged the world into this mess. The best thing that could happen before the inauguration would be a wave of protests-against plant closings here, foreclosures there, tuition hikes on campus, service cuts in broke communities. The bankers, the automakers, the shippers are already whispering in every ear they can find, amplifying their urgency with “common sense” and the rustle of lobbying cash. We have to show that listening to them has real social costs as well as fiscal ones.

3. The worst thing about Obama for many of his supporters was his “tough guy” military stance, The promise of an eventual substantial withdrawal from Iraq-providing the high command agrees-is more than undercut by his pledge to dump thousands more troops into Afghanistan (the Graveyard of Empires, going back millennia) and “plans to increase the size of the Army by 65,000 soldiers and the Marines by 27,000 troops.” It is time for the anti-war movement, which has done so much to crystallize opposition to the occupation of Iraq (and thus to turn the public away from the Republicans), to step up again. Troops are dying, Iraqis are dying. The war has brought unimaginable devastation to their country and costs ours $2.5 billion a week. We can’t wait for Inauguration Day to make our voices heard. A good place to start is the Iraq Moratorium. This locally-based Third Friday protest will be observed by groups and individuals around the country on November 21, for the fifteenth straight month. Make plans to take part now!

Crossposted at

Daily Kos