Friday, July 23, 2010

Ask a Working Woman

It’s simple: Working women are the experts on the challenges working women face at work, at home and getting by in a tough economy. And if you want to know something, the best thing to do is ask an expert.

That’s what Working America and the AFL-CIO are doing with the 2010 Ask a Working Woman survey, and they could use your help.

If you’re a working woman (whether you work outside or inside your home), please take seven minutes to complete the survey. This is your chance to share how you feel about your job, how the recession has affected your family and what you hope and worry the next five years will bring.

For more than 12 years now, Working America and the AFL-CIO have been surveying women every two years or so, asking about their concerns and experiences, the challenges they face and the hopes they hold. You can be sure decision makers and the media will hear what you and tens of thousands of other women have to say. Please, take the survey now.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Congress Passes Comprehensive Financial Reform

The Senate gave final approval to a financial reform bill today, voting 60-39 to send the measure to President Obama for his signature. Arkansas Senators Pryor and Lincoln voted for the legislation; Congressman John Boozman (R-AR3) voted against it in the House.

Today’s vote represents a historic shift of power—away from big bankers and CEOs to working families and Main Street. For years, big banks have profited on the backs of working families. Millions of working families lost their jobs and still can’t find work because of the reckless and selfish actions of Wall Street and the big banks.

After the financial meltdown brought on by Wall Street’s greed and irresponsibility, it would have been an outrage for the status quo to stand. Yet all but three Republicans in the U.S. Senate voted against reforming our bloated and unaccountable financial sector.

Fortunately, President Obama and working family leaders in Congress stood firm to put our country back on track toward an economy that works for everyone. In the end, fifty-seven Democrats and three Republicans voted for this landmark legislation. This vote will make it a lot harder for big bankers to indulge their greed at the expense of working people.

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act will:

· Create a strong consumer protection agency to protect working people from predatory lenders;

· Shed light on the shadow markets by requiring most derivatives to clear and trade on open, transparent exchanges and mandating that large managers of hedge funds and private equity funds register with the Securities and Exchange Commission;

· Give long term investors new tools to hold corporate boards and senior management accountable; and

· Help prevent future bank bailouts by creating a council of regulators to oversee systemic risk, giving regulators authority to dissolve failing financial institutions while prohibiting bailouts for bank shareholders and executives

· Moving toward restoring of Glass Steagall by limiting banks ability to make risky bets backed by taxpayer funds.

We will continue to fight for reforms that will further address too big to fail financial institutions and make Wall Street pay its fair share to create the 8 million jobs it helped destroy.

As we look ahead to November, when voters will once again have the ability to stay on the path to change or look back to the failed policies of the past, this vote is a defining line in the sand. Working families will be dedicated to supporting leaders who vote to create jobs and hold Wall Street and big business accountable.

Voters now have a clear picture of those who stand on the side of Main Street and those who choose instead to stand on the side of Wall Street. We will not forget.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Special Convention of the Arkansas AFL-CIO

The Special Convention of the Arkansas AFL-CIO is to be held August 21st in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The purpose of the convention will be to take action on recommendations of State COPE concerning candidates who will be running for office in the November 2nd General Election. Your credentials will be mailed to you soon. The registration fee is $50.00 per delegate, alternate, and guest.

The one-day convention will convene at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday August 21st, 2010 at the Clarion Resort at 4813 Central Avenue, Hot Springs, Arkansas, thus allowing over 5 weeks for campaigning. Candidate interviews will take place on Friday, August 20th. Any delegate desiring to sit in on candidate interviews is welcome to attend.

The Special Convention will be considering candidates for U.S. Senate, U.S. Representative, all State Constitutional Offices, and State Legislative contests. Ballot issues will also be considered.

It is very important that all affiliates be represented at the Special Convention. Working together we can continue to build a more unified labor movement and a better Arkansas for all of our citizens.

The special hotel room rate for convention delegates is $95.00 for a single or double. The hotel is holding a block of rooms for our convention delegates. Their cutoff date is July 20th, 2010. Please make your reservations early by calling toll free 1-800-432-5145. Be sure to specify the reservation is for our convention.

It is each local union’s responsibility to make their delegates’ room reservations. Thank you for your cooperation on this. Also, please don’t forget to send your convention credentials to us no later than August 11th.

Fraternally yours,

Alan B. Hughes


Arkansas AFL-CIO

Please note:

= Deadline to apply to register to vote in the General Election is October 4th.

= Early voting begins for the General Election on October 18th.

Ask Senators Lincoln and Pryor to support our Public Safety Employees

The House of Representatives has approved the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2010 (H.R. 4899) that included an amendment incorporating the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act (PSEECA), which would provide firefighters, police officers, and emergency medical personnel with collective bargaining rights in Arkansas and other states and localities that do not currently provide them, establish minimum standards for collective bargaining rights for these groups, and give the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) the power to regulate and enforce these rights.

The Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act assures that fire fighters, police officers, and other first responders in every state will have the right to talk to their employer about how to improve public safety and do their jobs more safely. The initiative was included in a supplemental appropriation bill adopted by a vote of 239-182 on Thursday, July 1. Representatives Berry, Ross, and Snyder supported the provision; John Boozman voted NO.

“Seventy-five years after passage of the National Labor Relations Act, fire fighters are a step closer to having the same rights that workers in the private sector have had since 1935,” says IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger. The Fraternal Order of Police has a good analysis here.

While most fire fighters and law enforcement officers are already provided bargaining rights under state laws, too many public safety officers do not have the ability to present ideas about how they can better protect the public safety. The Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act will ensure that Arkansas and every other state allows discussions between first responders and the agencies that employ them, and will promote productive partnerships between labor and management.

Collective bargaining is especially important in light of the fiscal crisis facing many states, cities and counties. Over the past two years, fire fighters and police officers have offered millions of dollars in concessions and given back raises and benefits previously agreed to in order to prevent cuts that would undermine public safety.

The Senate will take up the measure following its July 4 recess. This legislation is important to our union brothers and sisters serving in public safety agencies, so let's generate at least 200 calls from our members in Northwest Arkansas. It will only take a few minutes of our time, but it can mean so much. Please call Senators Lincoln and Pryor this week ask them to support it. Senate Bill 3194, also known as the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act, was introduced by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The House version that passed last week is included in H.R. 4899.

Call both offices of both Senators and ask them to support the Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act. You can also call these numbers after hours and leave messages.

Senator Blanche Lincoln
DC OFFICE: (202) 224-4843

Senator Mark Pryor
DC OFFICE: (202) 224-2353
LITTLE ROCK OFFICE: (501) 324-6336