the blog of DC Drinking Liberally
DCDL’s journalist in residence, Art Levine, went undercover at a seminar for business owners wanting to learn how to fight union organizing among their employees and wrote an article about the experience for In These Times. See Art’s blog post for more, including his radio interview with Thom Hartmann on Air America Radio yesterday.
A message from Micha, an organizer of the Wednesday Drinking Liberally group (which is moving to Capitol Hill next week):
This Wednesday, at the Olsson’s Books in Dupont Circle (1307 19th St. NW), Andy Stern, President of SEIU International, will be speaking about and signing his new book A Country That Works: Getting America Back on Track. Details about the Author and Book are below.
The Signing will be at 7pm. Afterwards, starting around 8pm, we’ll be gathering at The Big Hunt, also in Dupont Circle (1345 Conn. Ave. NW) for discussion and drinks with Andy.
About the Book:
In A Country That Works: Getting America Back on Track Andy Stern, one of the country’s leading advocates for ordinary Americans who go to work each day, describes the serious economic challenges facing the vast majority of Americans, and uses compelling facts and figures to illustrate how close millions of American families are to crisis.
Stern argues that our political leaders, instead of pushing through vital reforms, have put us in jeopardy by manipulating the tax system in favor of the richest, failing to fix our education system, and not making desperately needed reforms to the health care system. He criticizes labor unions for not adapting to the changing economy and current political landscape, and for using ineffective, outmoded strategies that fail to unite more workers to improve their lives. In A Country That Works, Stern ultimately lays out a practical but visionary plan for reforms that would protect Americans from the looming crises, including an overhaul of the tax system, a transformation of the health care system, simple fixes to the retirement system, and overdue innovations in education.
About the Author:
Over the past decade, Andy Stern has been the head of the SEIU, one of the largest and fastest growing unions in North America. After launching a national debate about the fundamental change needed to reverse labor’s decline, Stern led SEIU out of the AFL-CIO to focus on uniting the nine out of 10 American workers not yet in a union, and was the driving force behind Change to Win, a new labor federation of seven major unions representing six million members.
Determined to build a truly 21st century union to help ensure that workers, not just CEOs, benefit from today’s global economy, Stern has initiated partnerships with overseas unions as well as multinationals to form effective, win-win alliances. He chairs Wal-Mart Watch, the advocacy group responsible for challenging the retail giant to become a leader in corporate responsibility toward its employees and host communities.
Stern began his union career in 1973 as a Pennsylvania social service worker and member of SEIU Local 668 and rose through the ranks before his election as president in 1996. He serves on the board of directors for diverse organizations, including the Institute of Medicine, Rock the Vote, and the Broad Foundation. A frequent blogger, he weighs in on economic and political issues on SEIU.org and as a regular contributor to online outlets such as the Huffington Post.
I hope to see lots of people there, in preparation for the first DC DL Wednesday night in our new location next week!
You may have seen Andy Stern on the Colbert Report last night.
Harry Reid isn’t going to let last week’s defeat of a minimum wage increase be the Senate’s the final word on the subject. He says Democrats will block an upcoming congressional pay raise if necessary to force the issue:
“Congress is going to have earn its raise by putting American workers first: A raise for workers before a raise for Congress,” said Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada.
Reid refused to spell out exactly how he will block a $3,300 pay raise scheduled for January 1 for members of Congress, who currently earn $165,200 annually. He said with 40 Senate Democrats backing the maneuver, “We can stop anything they (Republicans) try to do with a congressional pay raise.”
The Carpetbagger is delighted to see this move, and so am I. You’d almost think Reid was trying to give Amy Sullivan material for the “brilliant” side of Thursday’s “Democrats: As Lame as You Think or Secretly Brilliant?”
In the earlier vote, all the Democrats stuck together (except Rockefeller, who was absent recovering from surgery) and were joined by 8 Republicans, 4 of whom are up for reelection this year. All the other Republicans (except for Shelby, who was also absent) voted against the increase, and the amendment failed 52-46 — it required a 3/5 vote because of a procedural rule (something oddly missing from the Senate vote page).
Ten Republicans voted against the increase even though they’re up for reelection. In rough order of decreasing vulnerability, they are
Let’s hope their Democratic opponents ask them during the campaign why they opposed to giving a raise to the lowest-paid workers among us.
WAL-MART: THE HIGH COST OF LOW PRICE is a feature length documentary that uncovers a retail giant’s assault on families and American values.
The film dives into the deeply personal stories and everyday lives of families and communities struggling to fight a goliath. A working mother is forced to turn to public assistance to provide healthcare for her two small children. A Missouri family loses its business after Wal-Mart is given over $2 million to open its doors down the road. A mayor struggles to equip his first responders after Wal-Mart pulls out and relocates just outside the city limits. A community in California unites, takes on the giant, and wins!
Wednesday-night DCDL has a showing tomorrow, but it’s already full (though you may be able to squeeze in if there are no-shows). Fortunately there are plenty of other showings to sign up for, every day of the week. There are even some tonight — like the one at the Women’s National Democratic Club — that combine the movie premiere with the Democrats’ national organizing kickoff. Sounds like a great way to maximize your progressive event attendance.
Besides the historic anniversary I mentioned in my last post, today is the fourth anniversary of the President’s Daily Brief titled “Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US”. Read Faiz at Think Progress for the similarities between August 6, 2001, and August 6, 2005.
One similarity is that Bush is on yet another of his all-month August vacations in Crawford. And they said John Kerry acted French. Billmon at Whiskey Bar has one of his trademark quote compilations contrasting Bush’s vacation time with that of other presidents and that of the typical American worker.
Monday Bush modified his position on whether to fire those involved in exposing Valerie Plame:
Q Mr. President, you said you don’t want to talk about an ongoing investigation, so I’d like to ask you, regardless of whether a crime was committed, do you still intend to fire anyone found to be involved in the CIA leak case? And are you displeased that Karl Rove told a reporter that Ambassador Joe Wilson’s wife worked for the Agency on WMD issues?
PRESIDENT BUSH: We have a serious ongoing investigation here. (Laughter.) And it’s being played out in the press. And I think it’s best that people wait until the investigation is complete before you jump to conclusions. And I will do so, as well. I don’t know all the facts. I want to know all the facts. The best place for the facts to be done is by somebody who’s spending time investigating it. I would like this to end as quickly as possible so we know the facts, and if someone committed a crime, they will no longer work in my administration.
It seems Bush is now embracing the idea that it’s wrong to fire someone unless they’ve been convicted of illegal activity. That’s far stronger job protection that any labor union has ever asked for. Do you think we’ve been wrong about Bush’s attitude toward workers all along? Or maybe it’s just that it’s okay if you’re a Republican.
Titles are always a challenge. Outfoxed came in a breath of genius to my good friend Earl Katz, but usually it is tough going. And more so than usual with Wal-Mart. Let me explain…we were looking for something that framed the story, de-constructed Wal-Mart and drew attention, hence the subtitle — “The High Cost of Low Price.” However, in talking with George Lakoff, he wisely pointed out that people will primarily remember “low price.” Furthermore, even after weeks of discussion, when I started looking at the title in print and on the website, it doesn’t look like a movie title. So rather then compound the less then perfect title, back to the drawing board.
So he’s asking his blog readers for a title. Here’s my favorites so far:
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