fresh voices from the front lines of change








Leo Gerard

How To Protect The Right To Organize

Workers whose labor makes profits for executives should not live in abject poverty. This is what labor leaders have been saying for two centuries, and it's what Abigail Disney, granddaughter of the co-founder of the Walt Disney Co., said when she called out Disney's current CEO for making what’s supposed to be the happiest place on earth pretty darn miserable for its workers. It's great that Abigail is speaking out, but Disney executives, like bank and oil company executives, don’t play well with others. They won’t give workers more unless workers force them to. And the only way to do that is with collective bargaining – that is, the power of concerted action. In order to restore balance to an astronomically uneven economy, Congress must restore workers’ power to organize. Democrats took a first step toward accomplishing that when they introduced the Protect the Right to Organize (PRO) Act in the U.S. House and Senate. It would give back to workers the power they need to demand their fair share of the profits created by the sweat of their brows. Americans need more than nice rich people speaking up for them — they need the power to speak and stand up for themselves. An economy is only as healthy as its workers are empowered. The PRO Act is the pathway to that power.

Carson Guts Homeless Shelter Gender Protections

Ben Carson guts homeless shelter gender protections 24 hours after telling Congress he wouldn’t. ThinkProgress: "Transgender and gender non-conforming people could soon be barred from federally funded shelters, after the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced plans Wednesday to scrap recently added regulator protections. HUD’s rulemaking would rescind the Equal Access Rule that currently requires shelters that wish to segregate clients according to their gender to modify their structures accordingly – rather than turn people away. Homeless shelters serve a particularly crucial role in protecting the lives and safety of gender minorities, who are often put out on the street early in life by intolerant families and are frequent targets for violent bigots once they find themselves in such a vulnerable situation. The Equal Access Rule, enacted in 2012, has been heralded as an essential protection by hundreds of advocacy groups concerned by this cycle of abandonment and violence."

Pipeline Opponents Hit Back Against Anti-Protest Laws

Pipeline opponents strike back. The Intercept: "Opponents of oil and gas pipelines in three states are fighting back against new anti-protest laws aimed at suppressing fossil fuel industry dissent. Two lawsuits in Louisiana and South Dakota, and a promised suit in Texas, are the first signs of a concerted pushback against a nationwide, industry-led effort to halt the most confrontational arm of the climate movement. Since Donald Trump was inaugurated as president, at least 17 states have introduced laws that create new penalties for pipeline protesters. Texas came a step closer to becoming the sixth state to enact a version of the law on Monday — it awaits only reconciliation between the House and Senate versions. According to the Texas Observer, the authors of the Texas bill both recently attended ALEC conferences and an array of oil and gas companies and industry groups, including Shell Oil Company, the Texas Pipeline Association, Exxon Mobil, Enbridge, Phillips 66, and Anadarko Petroleum officially registered to support the bill. Louisiana and South Dakota will be the first to test the constitutional waters. A total of 19 anti-pipeline activists and organizations have signed on as plaintiffs in two lawsuits arguing that the states’ anti-protest laws are unconstitutionally vague and violate the First Amendment."

Mnuchin Kills Harriet Tubman $20 Bill

Harriet Tubman $20 bill no longer coming in 2020: Mnuchin says redesign postponed. CNBC: "The redesign of the $20 bill featuring Harriet Tubman will no longer be unveiled in 2020, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Wednesday. The unveiling had been timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. Mnuchin said the design process has been delayed and no new imagery will be unveiled until 2028. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., introduced a bill earlier this year that would direct the Treasury to print Tubman’s portrait on all new $20 bills starting in 2021. The companion bill was sponsored by Reps. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., and John Katko, R-N.Y., in the House of Representatives. In a statement, Shaheen said 'this delay sends an unmistakable message to women and girls, and communities of color, who were promised they’d see Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill.'"

Bank CEO Tried To Bribe Trump Adminsitration

Bank CEO charged with trying to bribe Trump administration. Axios: "Federal Savings Bank CEO Stephen Calk has been charged with bribery for trying to solicit a position in the Trump administration from former campaign manager Paul Manafort in exchange for $16 million in loans. The Southern District of New York's press release notes that Calk believed he could use Manafort's influence on the Trump transition team to obtain a senior administration position. The alleged quid pro quo was revealed during Manafort's trial for financial crimes last summer, after prosecutors presented an email Manafort sent to his deputy Rick Gates that read: 'We need to discuss Steve Calk for Sec of Army.'"

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It’s Time For The Democratic Party To Stand Up. Miles Mogulescu: "Trump’s staged walkout from a meeting with Democratic lawmakers on infrastructure, followed by a Rose Garden temper tantrum, is just the latest example of House Democrats appearing to beg Big Daddy Trump for candy, just so he can slap their hands and say, 'No Children! Go to your rooms." Trump wants to be strong, and make Democrats appear weak, vacillating, and without clear principles. Indeed, House Democrats’ strategy of stepping back while Trump stonewalls is starting to look more like an unprincipled shirking of their duty to stand up for the Constitution, and commence impeachment hearings before Trump turns America into a Presidential dictatorship. That’s why it’s time for a Democratic Party that stands up for the rule of law and the Constitution, instead of constantly holding its fingers to the wind and following meekly."

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