Wisconsin Gov. Walker and Foxconn giveaway
Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017
Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker — the governor elected by the Koch Bros, who decimated unions and underfunded education — now wants to abandon real conservative principles and give Foxconn $3 billion of taxpayer money to open a large plant in Wisconsin to make components for Apple phones.
Yes, the same phones that are assembled in China, while the profits are shielded from U.S. taxes in Ireland by a process called tax “aversion” (thus avoiding billions in U.S. taxes).
So, I guess it’s okay to be a hypocrite and embrace socialism for giant corporations — as long as you can lure business to your state using taxpayer funds.
Ah, but you say it creates thousands of jobs. And, it does create 12,000 to 18,000 jobs. Do you think the people Foxconn hires will ever offset the $3 billion? No way.
And when the plant ages, do you think Foxconn will want another handout from Gov. Walker? You bet. Do you think they will move to another state if the governor doesn’t give them more concessions? Of course. What happens when the state needs more money? Do you think Foxconn will donate some of their profit? Think again.
Socialism for business and the rich . . . capitalism for us!
Oh, and as an extra benefit for Foxconn: Gov. Walker is eliminating a few environmental regulations (another Republican that doesn’t believe in climate change). He reminds me of our President.
Rep. Chapa LaVia is voting to help seniors
Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017
As a concerned citizen, I am appalled at the actions Gov. Bruce Rauner has done to thrust the state toward the brink of fiscal chaos.
Thankfully, our area has representatives like Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia, who put the needs of people above partisan rhetoric.
With the vote Linda took to override the governor’s veto of a fair and bipartisan budget, senior programs were able to avoid being shut down.
Because of the budget, our state’s Community Care Program will be fully funded. Additionally, Meals on Wheels will see its funding prioritized and increased for the coming year.
We should not forget that two years ago, the governor unilaterally changed the determination of need scoring for the Community Care Program, which tossed thousands of seniors aside and without the help they need. That is not the sort of reform Illinois needs to turn around. Thank you Linda Chapa LaVia for stepping up to do what’s right.
When will Congressman Hultgren denounce Trump?
Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017
Like most Americans, I watched the events unfolding in Charlottesville, Virginia with a mix of sadness, frustration, and anger. It was a telling reminder that for all of the progress we have made over the years, there are still those who will try to use hate to divide us. And those emotions only grew as President Trump failed to denounce the Nazi’s and white supremacists who inflicted the hate and violence.
As I visit with people across our community, I’m amazed at the compassion and dedication citizens show to their families, their communities and their nation. In so many ways, they live up to the ideals of this nation every day.
To be very clear: There are not “many sides” here. There is the side of America with most Americans, and there is the side of hatred, violence and white supremacy. I know on which side I stand. I will not stand with anyone who stands with the other side, or even anyone who tries to blur the line between the two.
When the President makes excuses and tries to justify the hate and violence, it demeans the good name of so many Americans. It’s wrong. But too many in his own party go right along with the President. They think they can oppose hatred without opposing the man who gives aid and comfort to hate groups.
Congressman Randy Hultgren is no exception. All he could muster in the face of this national tragedy was that he “expects” Trump to condemn white supremacists. But what happens when he doesn’t? What is Congressman Hultgren going to do beyond words?
My fear is that like so many times before, Congressman Hultgren will do nothing. So far, Congressman Hultgren has been nothing but a willing accomplice for Donald Trump.
Trump insults a Gold Star family and admits to sexually assaulting women? Congressman Hultgren still supports his election. Trump fires the FBI director? Congressman Hultgren calls it “concerning,” but still sides with Trump.
Trump pushed a health care bill so terrible even Republicans couldn’t justify it. It would have caused millions to lose their coverage, forced seniors to pay thousands more and allowed insurance companies to deny people with pre-existing conditions. Congressman Hultgren voted for it.
At some point, Congressman Hultgren, words are not enough. You need to stand against this man or you are supporting the very views and policies he supports.
Candidate for U.S. Congress (IL-14)
Tough votes put our state back on track
Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017
Recently, officials in Springfield overrode the governor’s veto to finally enact a balanced budget for our state. Seniors services, domestic violence shelters, non-profit organizations and other life-saving programs and agencies are receiving the funding they deserve.
Additionally, road projects and construction are starting again, putting many people back to work repairing our crumbling infrastructure. The budget that our local State Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia supported brought millions to our local economy, which creates jobs and builds the middle-class.
Taking tough votes that balance the budget and asking the ultra-wealthy to pay their fair share should be recognized, welcomed and praised, because if a budget was not enacted, and Governor Rauner got his way, Illinoisans would be saddled with a $26 billion tax hike next year.
That is what our governor wants: An insurmountable and unending crisis to manufacture and blame on people willing to do their job. Faced with a governor who would rather campaign than do what’s right, I thank Rep. Chapa LaVia for taking the tough votes necessary to put our state back to work and back on track.
Trustee, Village of North Aurora
Will one Republican challenge Trump?
Thursday, July 27, 2017
Is there one, patriotic Republican that will publicly display some backbone and tell Donald Trump and his family to stop the constant lies?
We all know about bullying women, the bigotry, mistreatment of immigrants (especially Muslims), privatizing public education, denying climate change and withdrawing from the Paris Accords, destroying affordable health care to give the rich a tax break, weakening wall street regulations and consumer protections in Dodd-Frank, alienation our allies in NATO and EU and refusing to insist China stop supporting North Korea’s development of nuclear missiles by imposing sanctions with real teeth and cashing in on the Presidency via functions at his various properties. It’s all unethical, but no Republican objects!
Of course, this dismantling of the progress made by President Obama is bad enough. But, we all know Trump, Kushner, Junior, Mannford Flynn and Page (and probably others), colluded with the Russians to hack the 2016 elections and undermine Hillary Clinton chances of winning.
Obviously, Putin would rather deal with Trump because he can be more easily manipulated and get Trump to dismiss the Russian hacking of our election, ignore their Ukraine invasion and lift the sanctions and split the U.S. alliance with NATO.
The latest revelation about Jared Kushner, Trump Jr. and Paul Mannford meeting with a lawyer trying to acquire dirt on Clinton during the campaign after denying it for more than six months just confirms the continuous lies that flow from the White House. But still – not a single Republican will stand up and challenge Trump over his collusion with the Russians, the Oligarchs and banks.
Is there one Republican that will demonstrate honesty, moral character and patriotism and tell Trump he’s switching Parties, like Morning Joe (three time GOP U.S. Rep. from Florida) from MSNBC did this week.
When are they going to put country ahead of Party led by a liar and someday putting us in danger to make money with the Russians? Are they just Trump enablers and apologists? Do they really care about their constituents or the country?
Are the Republican really that bad?
Thursday, July 20, 2017
Illinois has a new budget after almost three years of inaction by Gov. Bruce Rauner. Earlier this year, Rauner submitted a $37.3 billion budget, which was approximately $5 billion over budgeted.
He set his Republican Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno and other Republican senators to bargain with Senate Majority Leader John Cullerton. He gave a list of 13 negotiating items – his “Grand Bargain.” It appeared to work – Radogno was happy, as was Cullerton.
Two of the bills were brought to the senate floor and passed. Rauner then mysteriously called his senators and said, “no more bargain.” Radogno was beside herself. She tirelessly negotiated, for what she thought, would be an end to the devastation that gripped our state. It soon became apparent to her what has been true for almost three years: Rauner never actually wanted a budget unless it contained his non-budgeted items in his Turn Around Agenda, which includes his hatred towards all union workers, public or private.
From the beginning, he has wanted Right-to-Work and said, “Union men and women, along with union leaders, are evil and immoral people.” He has called for the repeal of Prevailing Wage, drastic cuts to workers’ compensation laws and term limits. Without these non-budget items, there would be no budget. Understand this – it’s the governors job, and ONLY the governor, that can submit a budget. The Senate and House appropriate the funds for the budget. House Speaker Michael Madigan catches a lot of heat on a lot of issues, but when it comes to the budgets Rauner submits, he refuses to put Rauner’s Turn Around Agenda items on the table because those items are not budgetary items.
June 23, Madigan and House Minority Leader Jim Durkin met and passed a preliminary budget. The vote was 90-25, with 26 Republicans voting for the measure. Durkin said it was a good budget and could not see any reason Rauner wouldn’t sign it. The budget didn’t include Rauner’s anti-worker demands and Rauner again refused to accept it.
Radogno finally realized Rauner had no intention of signing a budget. She resigned from the Senate July 1. The budget of $36.5 billion finally passed both Senate and House and overrode the governors veto. Almost $1.2 billion less than the budget the governor submitted. A tax increase went from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent, a tax increase that was also in the Republicans negotiating terms. But of course, nobody wants to talk about that, or admit that on the Republican side.
More than $3 billion in spending cuts. It contains the very same income tax rate Republicans proposed Rauner himself called for in the Special Session. It provided funding for community mental health and substance abuse. But again, what it didn’t have was Rauner’s anti-worker agenda. Rauner says it was not a balanced budget. But it was his budget, and he vetoed his own spending plan. Rauner has since fired his chief of staff, and has hired Kristina Rasmussen of the ultra-right winged and fiercely anti-labor Illinois Policy Institute. That should be the line in the sand for every single union worker, both public and private.
If Rauner is successful in getting re-elected, and if by the slimmest of chances Republicans capture the House and Senate, the very first order of business will be to enact Right to Work, repeal Prevailing Wage, and require huge cuts to current workers’ compensation laws. If any labor man or women does not believe this, then its time to take off the blinders and start fighting for your jobs. Eighteen months from now might be too late.
Time to impeach Gov. Rauner
Thursday, July 13, 2017
After reading the Letter to the Editor in the June 20 Labor News by State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit criticizing Gov. Bruce Rauner, I want to respond by saying I completely agree with Rep. Kifowit.
As the top politician of the state, Gov. Rauner should not have taken more than two years to come up with a reasonable budget for the state of Illinois. Every governor in the state’s history has come up with a budget shortly after taking office.
Gov. Rauner’s delay and refusing to negotiate in a reasonable manner has cost the state millions of dollars, forced cancellation of numerous necessary services for the needy, caused irreparable harm to the working middle-class, possibly closing schools, lost jobs and a list that goes on and on.
The state has a debt of more than $15 million, which will take years to pay off. The state is in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. He has proposed a budget to aid corporations and his wealthy colleagues. He found enough money to extravagantly rehab the governors residence in Springfield, but can’t pay the everyday legitimate and necessary bills.
Yes, the budget was finally passed, but no thanks to Gov. Rauner. He vetoed the budget after it was passed, but his veto was overridden by the Democrats and several of his Republican cronies.
The phrase “impeach Gov. Rauner” has come up several times in the last few months. Dereliction of Duties certainly would be grounds for impeachment and he would qualify.
Rauner announced this week he is beginning plans for running for re-election and would plow millions of dollars into the campaign – as he did in his first term, and hopefully last. He will put on his flannel shirt and khakis and smile, giving the image of the working man, which he is not. He is a billionaire and may be able to buy the election again, but it is difficult to believe the public would repeat that mistake.
But, stranger things have happened. Multi-billionaire Donald Trump was elected President, even though he didn’t win the popular vote. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, but Trump won the one that counted, the Electoral College. Money talks, but let’s hope common sense will take over.
Concerned Aurora resident,
Trump caved at G-20
Thursday, July 13, 2017
So, after Trump continues to dismiss our intelligence agencies reports and fails to seriously challenge Putin’s for hacking our election during their G-20 meeting, he proposes working with the Russians on cybersecurity. Talk about letting the fox in the chicken coup!
But, you have to figure Trump’s probably angling for more financial help from Russian banks and Oligarchs by making it easier for Putin to interfere in the next presidential election. Trump is dangerous.
Union people vote for union supporters
Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017
It sees like every time an election cycle comes up, organized labor say this is one of the most important elections ever and that we have to get out and vote.
All elections are important and it’s our right as American citizens to exercise our right to vote. It’s also important to be an informed voter – especially labor people. You would think a person in a labor union would vote for a candidate who is supportive of collective bargains and union issues. But we know that with the election of Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and the election of Donald Trump for president – both who have huge anti-labor agendas, this isn’t always true. When Trump selected Mike Pence to be his running mate, that should have been the line in the sand. The only person with more hatred towards organized labor, than our own Bruce Rauner, is Mike Pence.
We have local elections coming up. There are important elections for mayor and for city councils. One is in Aurora where Linda Chapa LaVia is running for mayor. Linda has been one of the major voices in defense of working men and women and a strong supporter of organized labor. Linda comes from a working class family and has been a great voice for the blue collar city of Aurora. She is an outstanding representative who, I believe, will be an even better mayor, and she deserves our support.
Another important race is in Bolingbrook where Will County Board Member Jackie Traynere is running against Roger Claar, a 30+ year incumbent. Jackie is another fearless advocate for working men and women. Jackie is heading up the Bolingbrook United Party, which includes Jamie Olson for village clerk, Robert Jaskiewicz, Terri Ransom and Mary Helen Reyna for Trustee positions. These are important elections.
It’s also important to get our brothers and sisters of organized labor on one page and vote for people who are supportive of our interests. Kentucky just went Right to Work. Missouri is almost sure to follow, leaving Illinois and Minnesota on an island. When we get great candidates like Linda Chapa LaVia and Jackie Traynere, who both supports labor issues with their votes and actions, it is important to get out and support them. It is a no-brainer.
Supporting collective bargaining rights
Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016
As President of the Joliet Firefighters Local 44, I represent more than a 150 firefighters and paramedics who put their lives on the line everyday to keep our community safe. Our organization works on behalf of its members to ensure fair and safe working conditions, a livable wage, and an absence of work-place discrimination. We work to negotiate our contracts with honesty, integrity and with respect to budgetary concerns.
So I was surprised to see a recent political ad attacking Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant for protecting our right to collectively bargain, especially since the benefits of such extend far beyond union organizations. Issues important to working people such as sick leave, overtime pay, social security, unemployment, workers compensation, workplace safety standards, family leave, medical leave, minimum wage, structured workdays and the weekend many non-union workers enjoy, are all the result of union collective bargaining efforts.
One only needs to look at her opponent’s record as Plainfield District 202 School Board President to understand why she would attack the right to collectively bargain in a negative political ad. Michelle Smith has tried to outsource hundreds of custodial staff – most from right here in our community – in order to force layoffs and reduce salaries and sick leave. This comes after repeatedly voting to give pay raises to school administrators and five-straight years of property tax increases.
Recently, on behalf of hundreds of firefighters throughout the 49th Senate District, the Joliet Firefighters Local 44 and the Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois endorsed Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant for a second term in the Illinois Senate.
In the short time since Sen. Jennifer took office, she has encouraged small business growth, improved public safety, increased education funding and taken on special interests in Springfield to protect our communities. She also supports our right to collectively bargain. Now – more than ever – we need to continue to elect common-sense legislators that will represent working families in Springfield.
President, IAFF Local 44
Standing up against intolerance
Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016
The North Carolina State legislators passed the controversial HB2 into law. This law, now commonly known as the Bathroom Bill, allows the discrimination against the legal protection of the LGBT community.
Recently, the NCAA and the ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference, a collegiate athletic conference) announced they would be moving the ACC championships to alternate sites. Issuing a statement on their decision, in part, it read: “We reaffirmed our collective commitment to uphold the values of equality, diversity, inclusion and non-discrimination.” All 15 universities signed the commitment, saying, “We believe North Carolina House Bill 2 is inconsistent with these values, and as result, we will relocate all neutral site championships for 2016-17 academic year.”
I applaud the stance taken by both the NCAA and the ACC conference for standing up for human rights and standing against intolerance, especially the highly conservative ACC. This vote could not have been an easy decision. It is hoped other venues will do the same and protect basic human rights.
While I strongly agree on diversity and rights of all, there is another basic human rights scandal going on, and it seems it has not met with the same condemnation. It is the complete silence from our college campuses that have allowed their universities to become breeding grounds for sexual assault and physical abuse.
Because of the silence/inaction by the NCAA and our professional sports venues, predators have been able to carry on their attacks as some move onto their professional careers. Of course, the biggest scandal erupted on the campus of Penn State University with a sexual abuse scandal that rocked America.
Assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was convicted of abusing young boys who were apart of his Second Mile foundation, which was started to help impoverished children. Currently, Penn State University has paid out more than $93 million to victims and Sandusky was sentenced to what will be a life sentence. This monster will never see the light of day, and rightly so. Unfortunately, the Penn State University hero worshipers have continued to deny, especially its self-ordained saint, ex-coach Joe Paterno, who, with sworn testimony, and sworn court depositions, knew about these abuses and did nothing.
As for Penn State University, it should still be under sanctions by the NCAA. The Penn State University fanatics continue to come out and celebrate the life of their “anointed saint” coach, Joe Paterno, even after his years of involvement covering up for the monster he helped to create.
Not far behind Penn State University lies Baylor University, the nation’s largest Baptist college in Texas. Six sexual abuse allegations and the inaction of university officials has caused head football coach Art Briles and president and chancellor Ken Starr to resign. Art Briles has since gone on an apology tour to try and save his name and his coaching career.
Briles gave a half-hearted apology, saying, “that it was his staff that made all the non-decisions on the rape charges.” He went on to say his staff would only inform him of major incidents. He would not be informed on the minor ones.
Baylor is not alone on its silence, or the treatment of the women victims. In the case of Briles, he will certainly garner another head coaching position because, unfortunately, winning trumps everything – even moral decency. As in most allegations, the women are treated as the predator, not the victim. We hear the same pat answers: “We do not condone sexual or domestic abuse.” It’s their united front, their excuse, for allowing predators to continue.
When it comes to sports its all about winning another game. These assaults seem to happen daily have been so frequent, we are no longer shocked. For that, I say shame on us.
So what is the cost or the price of sexual assault against a woman or child? Well, the answer for the NCAA is a lot less then the selling of tickets and the revenue a sports venue can generate. The estimated profit by the NCAA is said to be more than a billion – just for this current year – and therein lies the silence and the problem of fans. Fans cheer, and root, and idolize their sports teams, as well as their heroes – no matter how tainted or immoral those heroes may be.
Price of freedom
Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016
A major uproar has developed, and at the center of this uproar is 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand during the playing of our National Anthem. His protest is in regards to the violence affecting black communities in this country. This has brought a frenzy to people on both sides of the issue.
Some are calling Kaepernick a traitor, calling for his arrest, or to be thrown out this country. In other words, they want to silence Kaepernick and others from exercising the very freedom that forever has been a symbol of this great country – a freedom that is the very symbol of what our flag has stood for ever since we won our freedom from England.
It’s not just freedom for some, but for every single American. It appears to me, some have forgotten exactly how and why this country was founded in the first place.
In contrast, presidential nominee Donald Trump is going around saying just how lousy this country is, and he is the only one that can fix this country. For calling our nation a lousy country, his frenzied, crazy, followers go gaga over every racist, bigoted speck he gives.
When it comes to the ever hypocritical NFL, who continue to defy morals and human law over its domestic violence stance, we have become so jaded over domestic violence, we seemed to put that hand-in-hand with the NFL. Of course, we have had Rae Carruth sitting in prison for soliciting the murder of his girlfriend. Everybody knows Ray Rice and Greg Hardy.
The pinnacle of the NFL’s hypocrisy recently hit home over the handling of Josh Brown. Who is Josh Brown? Currently, he is the place kicker for the New York Giants. He also has at least 20 domestic violence charges against him from every city in which he has played. Brown even violated a restraining order against him. And for all this, guess what the punishment was handed down by the heavy-handed law of the NFL? A one-game suspension. Yes – one game, to which Giants CEO was almost apologetic to Brown for having to give him.
So when Brown kicks a game winner, he’ll be mobbed by his teammates and given a standing ovation by adoring fans – all for winning another game. We allow this to go on in the name of freedom.
When it come to Kaepernick, if he is so passionate as he appears to be in protest on the violence going on in the black community, I suggest he take the next step, (and a lot of them), purchase a good pair of shoes, and get out and walk the streets of the cities of the country. Go out and listen to the people who live in these communities. Martin Luther King did this over 50 years ago. Freedom works for some – not so much for others!
Our indifference to domestic and sexual abuse
Thursday, July 28, 2016
Every two minutes a person is either sexually abused, or is victim of domestic violence. One in five high school girls will be physically or sexually abused by a person they know, or who they are dating. The number our military killed in the Afghanistan/Iraq wars was 6,488. The number of women killed during the same time frame by a partner or ex-partner was 11,700. These are staggering statistics, to say the least.
It seems now, on a daily basis, we can pickup a newspaper, or listen to the nightly news and hear about another domestic abuse or sexual assault case. Most of the reported cases involve one of our beloved sports teams and one of our sports heroes. We all remember the most classic case – involving O.J. Simpson and his wife Nicole Brown Simpson, which ultimate ended in the double murder of Nicole, and her friend Ronald Goldman.
Whichever side you were on, the not guilty verdict sent a frenzy through the public.
It was perhaps the first case to show our beloved athletes in a scenario some of us fans refused to believe. Fans have put these men and women on a pedestal so high, the reality of what occurs -we refuse to believe.
Since the horrific Simpson case, we have been deluged by the likes of Ray Rice shown punching his now wife Janay Palmer knocking her out and dragging her limp body out of the elevator. For that punch, Rice was suspended for two games, and he was to undergo court supervised counseling.
And the list goes on: Greg Hardy, Ra McDonald, Jonathan Dwyer and Johnny Manziel. Let’s not forget Jovan Belcher, who shot himself after he had killed his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins. His Kansas City Chief’s teammates held a prayer service for him at midfield.
These instances of domestic violence are horrific. But, it also has shown the indifference fans have when it involves one of their sports heroes.
It hasn’t stopped at the professional sports level. Recently, Baylor University was once the doormat of the Big 12.
NALC thanks you for food drive participation
Thursday, June 9, 2016
As the 2016 NALC Food Drive comes to a close, we wish to thank those that participated. Letter Carriers in Aurora, Montgomery, Yorkville, Plano, Oswego and Sugar Grove collected food May 14 while delivering mail.
The NALC Food Drive is THE largest one day food drive in the country. Since 1992 more than 71 million pounds, worth an estimated $150 million, has been collected. This year, it was expected we would see in excess of 71 million pounds, but totals are not in yet.
We want to thank MEIJER food stores for the generous contribution of bags that were distributed across the area.
The totals for this area are in, and this is where we stand: Aurora: 37,000 pounds; Montgomery: 15,200 pounds; Yorkville, which includes Sugar Grove and Oswego: 15,000 pounds, and Plano: 3,200 pounds.
A huge thank you to the schools who participated. It is always exciting to see our young people giving back to their community.
This is a City Letter Carrier event, but we could not accomplish all we did without the support of the United States Postal Service, The American Postal Workers Union and the National Rural Letter Carriers Association, THANKS to all of you. We are already looking forward to next year – our 25th Anniversary of the Food Drive. I hope that you will all be a part of this historic event!
NALC Branch 219