Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Political Endorsements

The Northwest Arkansas Labor Council has endorsed the following candidates for the May 22 primary, judicial and ballot issue elections. After reviewing candidate questionnaires and discussion at the March meeting, we believe that these candidates are highly qualified and share many of our concerns for working families. As always, how you vote is your decision.

Arkansas Supreme Court, Position 4: Raymond Abramson*

Arkansas Court of Appeals, District 3, Position 2: Niki Cung

Circuit Judge, District 4, Division 4: Cristi Beaumont
Circuit Judge, District 4, Division 6: Mark Lindsay

Circuit Judge, District 19, Division 2: Brad Karren
Circuit Judge, District 19, Division 3: Tom E. Smith

State Senate, Dictrict 7, Republican Primary: Jon Woods
State House, District 85, Democratic Primary: David Whitaker

State Senate, Dictrict 7, Democratic Primary: Diana Gonzales Worthen (unopposed)
State House, District 81, Democratic Primary: Wolf Grulkey (unopposed)
State House, District 84, Democratic Primary: Adella Gray (unopposed)
State House, District 86, Democratic Primary: Greg Leding (unopposed)
State House, District 89, Democratic Primary: Yessie Hernandez (unopposed)

Benton County Sheriff, Republican Primary: Kelley Cradduck

Washington County Public Transit Tax: FOR

For more information on this ballot initiative, see http://www.transit.org/

We also recommend signing the petition to place the THE CAMPAIGN FINANCE AND LOBBYING ACT OF 2012 on the November ballot.
For information on this ballot initiative, see http://www.regnatpopulus2012.com/

One endorsement for the November election: Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan

*Note: Judge Jo Hart was endorsed by the Arkansas AFL-CIO. She did not return the Judicial Candidate Questionnaire sent to her by the NWA Labor Council.


Thanks to everyone who contacted Senators Pryor and Boozman on today's vote. The Republican effort to undermine fair union elections was defeated today, 45-54. Senator Pryor voted to keep the NLRB’s rule to help ensure that workers who want to vote to form their own union have a fair opportunity to do so. Senator Boozman, as always, voted with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to weaken worker rights. Thanks again for your work!

Corporate-bought politicians are taking aim at workers again. And this time, they’ve got fair elections for workers in the crosshairs.

In December, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)—the federal agency that protects workers’ rights—issued a rule that modernizes the NLRB election process and helps ensure workers have a fair way to form a union without unfair delays and manipulation of the process by employers.

Now, anti-worker politicians in Congress are trying to ram through a resolution to undo this modest step forward for the 99%.

The resolution is headed for a vote in the U.S. Senate this week, and we need your voice in this debate. Please take 30 seconds to write your senators NOW.

By limiting delays and frivolous litigation, the NLRB’s rule helps ensure that workers who want to vote to form their own union have a fair opportunity to do so.

From the day a worker is hired, companies have every opportunity to communicate with employees about the pros and cons of having a union. But extremists have pushed a congressional resolution that would overturn the NLRB’s new election procedures: They’re trying to pay back their corporate donors by slashing workers’ rights on the job once again.

Let your senators know that voters won’t stand for this senseless attack.

The stakes are too high for working families to stay on the sidelines. If corporate-backed politicians pass this week’s attack on fair elections, they’ll:

  • Resurrect the barriers workers face when they want a simple up-or-down vote on forming a union, giving an unfair advantage to law-breaking CEOs.

  • Encourage costly delays and litigation, paving the way for employers who want to retaliate against workers.

  • Make it even harder for employees to form a union and negotiate for fair pay and benefits, weakening the middle class and our chances at a brighter economic future.
From statehouses across the country to Congress, the forces of the 1% are openly and brazenly waging war on workers. This attack on the NLRB is just the latest in this relentless series of nationally coordinated assaults on workers and collective bargaining rights. Rather than working together to create jobs, restore tax fairness and jumpstart our economy, extreme legislators are pushing divisive policies that put workers' rights on the chopping block.

Corporate politicians won’t let up until even the most modest workplace protections have been eliminated. But you can help stop this attack in its tracks.

Tell your senators: Don’t reverse progress for workers.

Thank you for all the work you do.

In Solidarity,

Stephen Smith


Four decades ago, Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act, promising every worker the right to a safe job. Unions and our allies have fought hard to make that promise a reality—winning protections that have made jobs safer, saved hundreds of thousand of lives and prevented millions of workplace injuries and illnesses.
But our work is not done. Many job hazards are unregulated and uncontrolled. Some employers, like Massey Energy and BP, cut corners and violate the law, putting workers in serious danger and costing lives. Each year thousands of workers are killed and millions more injured or diseased because of their jobs.
The Obama administration has moved forward to strengthen protections with tougher enforcement on serious violators and proposed new safeguards for workplace hazards. But business groups and the Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives are attacking these stronger measures, falsely claiming they kill jobs. They are pushing legislation to make it difficult, if not impossible, to issue needed safeguards to protect workers and the public.
We cannot and will not let them turn back the clock and destroy the progress we have made to make jobs safer and save lives. Safety laws and regulations don’t kill jobs—but unsafe jobs do kill workers.
On April 28, the unions of the AFL-CIO observe Workers Memorial Day to remember those who have suffered and died on the job and to renew the fight for safe workplaces. This year we will fight to create good jobs in this country that are safe and healthy. We will fight for the freedom of workers to form unions and, through their unions, to speak out and bargain for respect and a better future. We will demand that the country fulfill the
promise of safe jobs for all.

Workers Memorial Day • April 28, 2012

Decades of struggle by workers and their unions have resulted in significant improvements in
working conditions. The Obama administration has moved forward to strengthen worker protections.
But business groups and the new Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives are trying to
block stronger measures and roll back existing protections. It is time to organize, take action and fight
for safe jobs for workers, including:
  • Defending safety and health protections and workers’ rights from industry attacks.
  • Requiring employers to find and fix hazards and implement a worksite safety and health program to
    prevent injuries, illnesses and deaths.
  • Winning new workplace safeguards for silica, combustible dust and infectious diseases.
  • Prohibiting employer policies and practices that discourage reporting of workplace injuries.
  • Protecting workers from ergonomic hazards that still cripple and injure more workers than any other
    workplace hazard.
  • Increasing attention to the safety and health of Hispanic and immigrant workers who are at much
    greater risk of death and injury.
  • Strengthening protections for miners, including tighter standards for coal dust to protect against
    Black Lung.
  • Passing the Protecting America’s Workers Act to provide OSHA protection for all workers who lack
    protection, stronger criminal and civil penalties for companies that seriously violate job safety laws
    and improved anti-retaliation protections for workers who raise job safety concerns.
  • Ensuring workers’ right to have a voice on the job, and to freely choose to join a union without
    employer interference or intimidation.

What You Can Do on Workers Memorial Day

  • Organize a rally to demand creation of good jobs and safe jobs in your community.
  • Hold a candlelight vigil, memorial service or moment of silence to remember those who have died on
    the job and to highlight job safety problems in your community and at your workplace.
  • Create a memorial at workplaces or in communities where workers have been killed on the job.
  • Distribute workplace fliers and organize a call-in to congressional representatives during lunch times
    or break times. Tell your members of Congress to oppose efforts to roll back protections and to
    support legislation to create good jobs and safe jobs.
  • Hold a public meeting with members of Congress in their home districts. Bring injured workers and
    family members who can talk firsthand about the need for strong safety and health protections and
    the freedom to join a union. Invite local religious leaders and other allies to participate in the meeting.
    For additionalthat the country fulfill the
    promise of safe jobs for all.