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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Sannie Overly could have taught Debbie Wasserman Schultz a lesson about how a party chair is supposed to do her job.

Schultz, a veteran member of congress from Florida, resigned as Democratic National Committee chair after that now famous email leak showed the committee evidently tried to stack the deck against Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary race.

Overly is Kentucky Democratic Party chair, a state representative from Paris and house majority caucus chair.

 

Working people and the issues we care about have been a prominent part of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this week. The program has been filled with union leaders and members, members of union families and longtime advocates and allies. Advocates like Hillary Clinton. Read more >>>

From WSJM: 

It was a priority for Michigan Republicans when this legislative session began, but not anymore. Speaker Kevin Cotter says an attempt to repeal the state’s prevailing wage law is off the table for the remaining 20 legislative days in this session. Cotter told Michigan’s Big Show that the Governor opposes the bill because it is contrary to his efforts to promote and encourage skilled trades in Michigan.

“At this point, the governor’s position on the issue has not changed,” says Cotter.

Republicans in the House contend cutting the wages of construction workers wouldn’t be the smartest thing to enact just before an election that you wanted to win. The Senate has passed the repeal earlier this year. A petition drive to put it on the ballot failed.

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Melania Trump's partly-plagiarized paean to her husband reminded my spouse's cousin of H.L. Mencken's 1924 description of political conventions.

Observed the legendarily acerbic critic dubbed "The Bad Boy of Baltimore:"

"There is something about a national convention that makes it as fascinating as a revival or a hanging. It is vulgar, it is ugly, it is stupid, it is tedious, it is hard upon both the higher cerebral centers and the gluteus maximus, and yet it is somehow charming."

FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 20, 2016) – The Kentucky Democratic Party released the following statement in response to Donald Trump Jr.’s comments at the Republican National Convention, where he compared our public schools to “Soviet department stores” and said they are run for the teachers and not the students:

“Kentucky’s public school teachers and educators deserve our full appreciation and support,” said Rep. Sannie Overly, chair of the Kentucky Democratic Party. “Their service to our communities in educating Kentucky’s children is critical, not only for the success of their students, but for the long-term economic development of our Commonwealth.

by Peter Wehner

SINCE Donald Trump assures us that the Bible is his favorite book, it’s worth asking: Just what is his theology?

After Mr. Trump met with hundreds of evangelical Christians a couple of weeks ago, James Dobson, who is among the most influential leaders in the evangelical world and serves on Mr. Trump’s evangelical executive advisory board, declared that “Trump appears to be tender to things of the Spirit,” by which Dr. Dobson meant the Holy Spirit.

Of all the descriptions of Mr. Trump we’ve heard this election season, this may be the most farcical. As described by St. Paul, the “fruit of the Spirit” includes forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, hardly qualities one associates with Mr. Trump. It shows you the lengths Mr. Trump’s supporters will go to in order to rationalize their enthusiastic support of him.

 By Kay Tillow

Health care in the United States is the most costly in the world. The per capita the US spends on health care is double the average of other industrialized countries, yet other nations have better outcomes in life expectancy, infant mortality, and most measures. In the US, we pay more but get less. About 40% of people in the US forego needed care because of cost.

The powerful, dynamic unions of the CIO established the highest standards for health care in the country lifting up the rest of the nation as they set the floor. Several decades later, after the rest of the industrialized world moved to universal health care systems, the collective bargaining power of US unions is no longer sufficient to advance and protect health care benefits. Profiteers have rigged the system. For-profit insurers and pharmaceuticals are holding our health care, our collective bargaining, and our democracy hostage.

Reining in that control now requires far more than collective bargaining. It requires a dynamic movement that rallies the rank and file of the labor movement, links with communities and the public, takes on the corporate controllers of health care, and pushes relentlessly until it passes national single payer health care, HR 676.

By Deirdre Shesgreen

 WASHINGTON — For nearly two decades, David H. Dilly worked as a strip miner for Simco-Peabody’s now-abandoned mine in Coshocton, where he helped remove layers of soil and rock to unearth Ohio’s rich coal beds.

Since being laid off in 2008, amid the global economic meltdown and a contraction in the coal industry, Dilly has received about $300 a month in pension benefits.

Now, Dilly’s retirement money is in jeopardy. The health and pension funds that Dilly and more than 100,000 other coal miners across the United States rely on are threatened with financial insolvency.

 Outsourcing Creates Jobs in the Long Run”.

That was the title of a blog written by Donald Trump for his students at the now defunct Trump University. You see, long before Trump made speeches this week in Pennsylvania and Ohio decrying the consequences of unfair trade deals, he was the head cheerleader and a major beneficiary of the policies that have battered America’s manufacturing base for decades. If you want to know Trump’s true position on the current corporate trade model, all you have to do is follow the money.

Trump has consistently sent American jobs overseas to line his own pockets. He personally profited from the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta). Most of his suits, ties and cufflinks are made in China. His dress shirts are made in Bangladesh. His furniture is made in Turkey. Trump talks a good game on trade, but his first and only loyalty is to himself. He embodies everything that is wrong with our current trade policies, from which CEOs thrive and everyday families suffer.

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Happy Fourth of July.

If you worked for steel baron Andrew Carnegie in 1890, the Fourth was your only day off in the year and you didn’t get paid.

Carnegie fancied himself a philanthropist, humanitarian, benevolent employer and patriot. He was also a Civil War draft-dodger who paid a poor Irish immigrant $850 - $150,000 in 2006--to fight in the Union army in his place.

Carnegie, too, was a bare-knucks union-buster who—with help from machine-gun and rifle-armed Pennsylvania state militia—crushed the Homestead Strike and the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steelworkers union in 1892.

 

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By S.V. DATE
Senior Political Correspondent, The Huffington Post

To see the original story, click here.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE, Ohio — If a candidate solicits big money from special interests, that candidate is on the take.

Or so argued presidential candidate Donald Trump — the same Donald Trump who now, as the presumptive Republican nominee and despite that year-long stance, is nevertheless soliciting big money from those same special interests.

Developer Llwyd Ecclestone and his wife, Diana, gave the Trump “Victory” fund $768,000. Real estate investor Thomas Barrack gave $299,600, while casino magnate Phillip Ruffin kicked in $284,600.

 

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And yet the candidate claims to be a friend of regular working people.

By DAVE JAMIESON
Labor Reporter, The Huffington Post

To see the original story, click here.

Donald Trump has a funny way of showing his love for unions.

GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump fashions himself a friend of union workers. He has bragged about having good relationships with labor unions. When the AFL-CIO recently endorsed his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, Trump claimed it was he who deserved the labor federation’s coveted backing.

“I believe [union] members will be voting for me in much larger numbers than for her,” Trump declared last month.

 

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By DUSTIN PUGEL

To see the original story with graphics, click here.

The average income of the top 1 percent of Kentuckians is 16.6 times greater the average income of everyone else in the state according to a new report by the Economic Policy Institute. The report determined the average income of the top 1 percent earners in Kentucky is $619,585 compared to an average income of $37,371 for the “bottom” 99 percent using IRS tax return data from 2013.

When looking at counties, the ratio of top income earners to the rest varies from 5.9 in Robertson county to 21.9 in Kenton county. Generally speaking, the greatest income inequality is in the so-called “golden triangle” bounded by the Northern Kentucky, Lexington, and Louisville areas that contain neighborhoods of both great wealth and high poverty. However, Pike County in eastern Kentucky and McCracken County in western Kentucky also were among the 10 counties with the highest income inequality.

Oldham County had the highest incomes for both the 1 percent and the 99 percent, and was still among counties with the most income inequality (24th). In contrast, Robertson County had the lowest average income for the top 1 percent of earners and also had the lowest income inequality.

 

 

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By DAVID A FARENTHOLD

To see the original story, click here.

Did Donald Trump violate IRS rules, by using a charity's money to buy himself a signed football helmet?

Four years ago, at a charity fundraiser in Palm Beach, Donald Trump got into a bidding war at the evening's live auction. The items up for sale: A Denver Broncos helmet, autographed by then-star quarterback Tim Tebow, and a Tebow jersey.

Trump won, eventually, with a bid of $12,000. Afterward, he posed with the helmet. His purchase made gossip-column news: a flourish of generosity, by a mogul with money to burn. "The Donald giveth, and The Donald payeth," wrote the Palm Beach Daily News. "Blessed be the name of The Donald."

 

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By SEAN GORMAN

To see the original story in the Richmond, Va., Times-Dispatch, click here.

U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez says a union job is a ticket to the middle class.

"If you are a member of a union, your median weekly income is roughly $200 more than if you are a nonunion member, and that doesn’t include benefits," Perez said in an interview with the Richmond Times-Dispatch, prior to headlining the Democratic Party of Virginia’s Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner on June 18.

We wondered if Perez’s figure is correct. Mattie Munoz, a spokeswoman for the labor secretary, said the information comes from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which tracks the earnings of union and nonunion workers.

 

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By BILL STRAUB

To see the original story, click here.

Way back in 1936 the Republican nominee for president, Kansas Gov. Alf Landon, fell to the FDR juggernaut by more than 10 million votes, losing his home state while carrying only Maine and Vermont.

Surveying the electoral map while ensconced in his election night headquarters, Landon began to laugh as if he was watching a Marx Brothers movie.

“What are you laughing at you old fool?’’ his wife delicately asked.

 

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By BERNIE SANDERS

To see the original story, click here.

Surprise, surprise. Workers in Britain, many of whom have seen a decline in their standard of living while the very rich in their country have become much richer, have turned their backs on the European Union and a globalized economy that is failing them and their children.

And it’s not just the British who are suffering. That increasingly globalized economy, established and maintained by the world’s economic elite, is failing people everywhere. Incredibly, the wealthiest 62 people on this planet own as much wealth as the bottom half of the world’s population — around 3.6 billion people. The top 1 percent now owns more wealth than the whole of the bottom 99 percent. The very, very rich enjoy unimaginable luxury while billions of people endure abject poverty, unemployment, and inadequate health care, education, housing and drinking water.

Could this rejection of the current form of the global economy happen in the United States? You bet it could.

 

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By JANE C. TIMM and ALEXANDRA JAFFE

To see the original story, click
here.

Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump touted his trade and economic plans in Monessan, Pennsylvania on Tuesday. NBC News fact-checked some of his claims.

CLAIM: "When subsidized foreign steel is dumped into our markets, threatening our factories, the politicians do nothing."

The facts: When China subsidized anti-corrosive steel, the U.S. Government slapped a 226% tariff on them to correspond with the subsidies.

 

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By KAREN CAFFARINI
Post-Tribune

To see the original story, click here.

A proposed ordinance that establishes more stringent standards for being considered the lowest responsible bidder on a public works contract is expected to be on Tuesday's Merrillville Town Council agenda.

The ordinance is endorsed by both the building trades and contractors as a means of lessening the damage they say was caused when state lawmakers voted to repeal the common construction wage law.

"With the repeal of the common construction wage law, we've seen a lot of out-of-town workers come here," Randy Palmateer, business manager for the Northwestern Indiana Building and Construction Trades Council, told Town Council members during a workshop Wednesday.

 

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FRANKFORT, KY. (June 28, 2016) – The following is a statement from the Kentucky Democratic Party on Gov. Bevin’s executive order to strip the state attorney general and auditor of their nominations to the Executive Branch Ethics Commission:

“It is obvious that Gov. Bevin wishes to have absolute authority in Kentucky, even over the watchdog group for executive ethics violations in the Commonwealth,” said Rep. Sannie Overly, chair of the Kentucky Democratic Party. “As Kentuckians, we should demand checks and balances in our government.”

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Matt Bevin’s Bad Move on Medicaid

When a thunderclap could be heard inside the Capitol Rotunda during Matt Bevin’s news conference about his proposal for a “waiver” from the federal government to revise Kentucky’s Medicaid plan, the Republican governor flashed a smug grin and said, “I think God is weighing in on this, and agrees with everything I just said.”

Or, maybe it was a sign of anger from the Almighty. The Good Lord would have reason to be upset: Bevin’s plan would allow Medicaid, which currently covers 1.3 million Kentuckians, to begin charging a monthly premium for coverage that is now largely free. It also would allow a “lockout” that would cut off Medicaid coverage for those who can’t pay on time. His plan would scale back coverage to that offered to state employees. His proposal offers no dental and vision coverage, which are now included in Medicaid.

Then Gov. Bevin’s senior Medicaid advisor, Mark Birdwhistell, added insult to injury. He said when people lose coverage they could enroll in a financial literacy class. He called it a “teaching opportunity.” Gov. Bevin added that this would allow people to gain “dignity and respect.”

 

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By LEO W. GERARD
United Steelworkers international president

To see the original story, click here.

After mouthing off in ways that had the effect of repeatedly shooting himself in the foot, Donald Trump tried to recover last week by puffing himself up as the jobs candidate.

“When I see the crumbling roads and bridges, or the dilapidated airports, or the factories moving overseas to Mexico or to other countries, I know these problems can all be fixed,” Trump told a New York audience, “Only by me.”

That would suggest Trump knows how to create infrastructure and manufacturing jobs. American jobs. Good-paying jobs. It suggests he appreciates the value of workers’ contributions to an enterprise. And that he understands the daily struggles of non-billionaires. This proposition is utterly ridiculous. The name Donald Trump is synonymous with the words “You’re fired!” He made money by brutally, publicly taking people’s jobs from them. And he clearly enjoyed it.

 

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By JOE BRENNAN
Kentucky Labor Institute

Currently there are 26 states that have "right to work" laws with attempts to extend such laws to Kentucky.

The argument for RTW is that it needed to stimulate businesses investing in Kentucky. But is it?

Kentucky has a history of offering tax incentives to entice potential investors to come to the state. These have exceeded actual state revenues by billions of dollars. We give away more than we take in.

 

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I’m happy to report a victory by the Owensboro Building Trades in the Henderson Municipal Power & Light Company prevailing wage court case.

In 2010, HMPL planned their annual scheduled utility outage. Due to a 2009 HMPL Board Resolution, the utility divided this routine annual project into several different bid packages to avoid the $250,000.00 threshold required for Kentucky’s Prevailing Wage Law to apply.

The KY Labor Cabinet found HMPL in violation by claiming that this one project that far exceeded $250,000 was multiple projects to circumvent the KY Prevailing Wage requirements. HMPL filed suit against the Labor Cabinet in Henderson Circuit Court and the Owensboro Area Building and Construction Trades Council joined on the Labor Cabinet’s side. The Henderson Court found HMPL in violation and HMPL appealed to the KY Court of Appeals.
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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360


A newcomer to the Kentucky Democratic Party’s Central Committee thinks the panel ought to have a designated seat for a union member from each of the Bluegrass State’s six congressional districts.

“I will advocate for it as best I can,” said Daniel Hurt of Grand Rivers, a Livingston County community on Lake Barkley.

Hurt, 22, was elected to the central committee at the state Democratic party convention in Louisville on June 5.
 

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From Bill Londrigan, Kentucky State AFL-CIO president:

Dear Executive Board & COPE Members:

You may have recently heard of the decision by the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance (KREF) to place certain requirements on union political contributions in response to the decision of a federal judge in Protect My Check v. Dilger, et al., representing the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance (C.A. # 3:15-42-GFVT).

Bill Finn has provided the attached Fact Sheet written by Attorney Anna Stewart Whites and the KREF Notice. Thanks to Bill Finn and Anna for providing this concise, in depth Fact Sheet. Since most of our unions are engaged in political activity they need to be aware of these changes. While KREF has made its decision in this regard close review of the potential impacts is warranted.

In Solidarity, Bill.

 

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COPE Endorsements – 2016 General Elections

U.S. Congress:
Samuel Gaskins – 1st CD
John Yarmuth – 3rd CD
Calvin Sidle – 4th CD
Nancy Jo Kemper – 6th CD

State Senate
Leslie Stith – 5th District
Julian Carroll – 7th District
Reggie Thomas – 13th District
Charlie Hoffman – 17th District
Morgan McGarvey – 19th District
Janice Odom – 21st District
Charles L. Linville, III – 27th District
Johnny Ray Turner – 29th District
Ray Jones – 31st District
Gerald Neal – 33rd District
Denise Harper Angel – 35th District
Perry Clark – 39th District

 

Read more >>>

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

This sentence from Hillary Clinton’s Columbus, Ohio, speech should be tacked on bulletin boards in every union hall:

“Interestingly, Trump’s own products are made in a lot of countries that aren’t named America: Trump ties are made in China, Trump suits in Mexico, Trump furniture in Turkey, Trump picture frames in India and Trump barware in Slovenia."

Indeed most union members do, including this retiree who voted for Bernie Sanders in the Kentucky primary. We're backing Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee who the AFL-CIO recently endorsed.
 

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By JACK BRAMMER
jbrammer@herald-leader.com

To see the original story, click here.
 
FRANKFORT -- With opposing parties unable to reach an agreement on their own, a Kentucky judge said Monday he would schedule a hearing as soon as possible on the legality of Gov. Matt Bevin’s controversial reorganization of a state worker’s compensation panel.

At a status hearing Monday morning, Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd said the hearing would be held June 22, July 11 or some date in between. He said he hoped to finalize the schedule within 24 hours.

Shepherd expressed disappointment that attorneys for the Republican governor and unions that have sued over Bevin’s executive order to change the Workers’ Compensation Nominating Commission could not work out an agreement.

 

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Trade Unionists, Friends and Supporters:

Our friends at the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance is holding their 4th Annual Sporting Clays Shoot in conjunction with the Northern Kentucky/Southern Ohio Bricklayer’s Council on Saturday, June 25th at the Elk Creek Hunt Club, Owenton, KY.

Union Sportsmen’s Alliance and the Bricklayers would like to invite Kentucky’s unions to participate in this event. There is still room for additional teams. You can check out the details for registration and times on the attached flyer. In addition, Union Sportsmen’s Alliance will be holding its 4th Annual Conservation Gala at the AFL-CIO Headquarters in Washington, D.C. on August 1st.

 

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EDITOR'S NOTE: We thank Todd Johnson for sending us this excellent, in-depth story.

By DAVID MADLAND and ALEX ROWELL

To see the original story, including graphics, click here.

Despite being constantly thrown about by politicians and pundits alike, the term “middle class” has no agreed-upon definition. But regardless of how one chooses to define it, by most measures the middle class is struggling. Over the past several decades, wages for the typical worker have been stagnant while household debt as a share of income has nearly doubled and inequality has reached near-record highs. Whether one is concerned about middle-class wages, incomes, mobility, or their relationship to the rich and the poor, one policy solution can help strengthen the middle class: strengthening unions. Unions increase workers’ wages and benefits, boost economic mobility in future generations, reduce runaway incomes at the top, raise the share of national income going to the middle class, reduce inequality, decrease poverty, and improve workers’ general well-being.

Study after study has come to the same conclusion: When workers come together in unions, they can help make things better for themselves, and indeed most Americans. Joining together enables workers to negotiate for higher wages and benefits, and when unions are strong, these benefits can spill over into other nonunion workplaces. Unions of working people also help ensure that government works for everyone—not just those at the top—by encouraging people of modest means to vote and by providing a crucial counterbalance to wealthy interest groups. Their ability to improve conditions in the workplace and in our democracy means that unions play a critical role in building the middle class.

That is why policymakers need to make strengthening worker organizations a top priority. Unfortunately, today the percentage of workers in unions is about 11 percent and less than 7 percent in the private sector, figures approaching the lows of a century ago. This decline has contributed to myriad struggles for the middle class. This issue brief reviews the research showing the many ways that strong worker organizations are necessary to strengthen and grow the middle class.

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By ALEXIS ZOTOS, Reporter
By ASHLEE CARLSTROM


To see the original story, click here.

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) – Two deaths on construction sites during the third week of June have some wondering whether the extreme heat could have played a part.

Authorities say a 55-year-old iron worker died on a Monsanto job site and a 49-year-old sheet metal worker died on the MCC site at Barnes Jewish Hospital.

The official cause of deaths has not been released but the construction union says two deaths during triple digit heat raises concerns.

 

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From Bill Londrigan, Kentucky State AFL-CIO president:

It is my sad duty to inform you that David Fisk, 56, of Brewers, stepfather of NCFO/SEIU Organizer Rebecca Peek, passed away unexpectedly Wednesday. Please keep Rebecca and her family in your thoughts and prayers.

Robert Smith provided the following information about Mr. Fisk’s arrangements:

Visitation:
Today, 4:00 PM - 8:00 PM (CDT) – Saturday, June 18th – 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
New Harmony Baptist Church
4757 Symsonia Highway
Benton, KY 42025

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Kentucky Democratic Party Chair Sannie Overly hopes Bluegrass State unions will help make history repeat itself on Nov. 8.

A big boost from unions enabled Overly’s party to sweep three of four March 8 special elections, thus stalling Republican efforts to flip the General Assembly’s lower chamber.

“The role of organized labor in the special elections cannot be overstated,” said Overly, who is also House Democratic Caucus chair.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Ask Daniel Lowry how important Bluegrass State unions are to the Kentucky Democratic party and he’ll emphasize one word.

“Crucial.”

“You can credit organized labor with a huge part of our success in March,” said Lowry, Frankfort-based KDP communications director. He meant Democratic victories in three of four special elections for the state House of Representatives.
 

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Dear Trade Unionists, Friends and Supporters:

On Monday we appeared before Judge Phil Shepherd for a hearing to schedule the dates for the upcoming hearings on our lawsuit challenging Gov. Bevin’s Executive Order abolishing and re-constituting the Workers Compensation Nominating Commission.

But instead of proceeding with the scheduling hearing Gov. Bevin’s general counsel Steve Pitt announced that Gov. Bevin had rescinded the Executive Order abolishing and re-constituting the WCNC and had issued a new Executive Order which created another new WCNC.

The new Executive Order decreased the number of board members from seven to five among other changes. Our counsel was only made aware of this move shortly before the hearing on Monday. Attorney Pitt introduced a Motion to Dismiss and Judge Shepherd set the deadline for Friday (tomorrow) to respond and set a hearing for Monday at 9:30 a.m.

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Dear Senator McConnell,

If your partisan claim ("In 2014, the voters sent a new majority to Washington, and now, under my leadership, it is clear that the Senate is back to work for the American people. In the past year, we have reported numerous bills from committees, passing many in the Senate on a bipartisan basis. I am encouraged by what the Senate has been able to accomplish when senators from both sides of the aisle are empowered again to find areas of common ground, and then work together to achieve a result") that under your leadership, Americans are now getting representation by those who have been elected to serve their constituents, then you have miles to go in order to reach the benchmark that the average American worker expects of you.

This includes that you, and your party, quit blocking the President's nomination for the Supreme Court justice.

Prove to the average citizen now that you have the position which you've always sought, and have been yearning for, that you are more interested in the United States of America as a country (that can do anything) and how dedicated you are in proving that Congress can operate for the people, and of the people, above the party politics that you are, and have been more interested in, at this time and during the past 12 years.

 

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By JONATHAN SWAN and MIKE LILLIS

To see the original story, click here.

Local union leaders across the Rust Belt are voicing confidence that their members will stick with Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in the race for the White House.

Trump has courted organized labor aggressively, staking out hard-line positions against free trade and immigration that resonated with blue-collar voters in the GOP primary.

Yet in interviews with The Hill, 58 local chapter leaders representing 19 unions in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin said they believe their members are overwhelmingly backing Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. The leaders represent local chapters with membership ranging from dozens to more than 1,000.

 

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To see the news release, click here.

The General Board of the 12.5 million member AFL-CIO voted today to endorse Hillary Clinton for President of the United States. The endorsement reflects a comprehensive, democratic process initiated a year ago to capture the interests of the working people the federation represents.

“Hillary Clinton is a proven leader who shares our values,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “Throughout the campaign, she has demonstrated a strong commitment to the issues that matter to working people, and our members have taken notice. The activism of working people has already been a major force in this election and is now poised to elect Hillary Clinton and move America forward.”

Lee Saunders, AFSCME President and Chair of the AFL-CIO Political Committee said, “This election offers a stark choice between an unstoppable champion for working families and an unstable charlatan who made his fortune scamming them. Working people know that Hillary Clinton has the temperament and experience to unite all Americans in our fight to increase incomes at home and extinguish threats abroad.”

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

What’s going to “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”?

“RUM,” according to a sign above the counter at the Coinjock, N.C., marina store.

“It’s our only hope,” wisecracked the guy running the cash register.

 

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 BY JACK BRAMMER
jbrammer@herald-leader.com

FRANKFORT

A Kentucky judge on Wednesday temporarily blocked Gov. Matt Bevin’s executive order abolishing the Workers’ Compensation Nominating Commission and then re-creating it with new members.

Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd said his temporary injunction sought by labor unions will remain in effect until he issues a final judgment or decides to amend it after an expedited review.

The judge set a June 13 hearing to set a schedule for an expedited hearing.

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By STEVE REILLY, USA TODAY

Donald Trump casts himself as a protector of workers and jobs, but a USA TODAY NETWORK investigation found hundreds of people – carpenters, dishwashers, painters, even his own lawyers – who say he didn’t pay them for their work.

During the Atlantic City casino boom in the 1980s, Philadelphia cabinet-builder Edward Friel Jr. landed a $400,000 contract to build the bases for slot machines, registration desks, bars and other cabinets at Harrah's at Trump Plaza.

The family cabinetry business, founded in the 1940s by Edward’s father, finished its work in 1984 and submitted its final bill to the general contractor for the Trump Organization, the resort’s builder.

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 4, 2016) – Democrats from across the Commonwealth gathered at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville for the 2016 State Democratic Convention. Democrats elected party leaders and chose delegates to the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

“This is an exciting time for Democrats in Kentucky, and we are building momentum ahead of the key races in the fall,” said Rep. Sannie Overly, chair of the Kentucky Democratic Party. “In March, when Democrats won three of four special elections across the Commonwealth, we saw how successful we can be when we work together.”

Approximately 1,500 Kentucky Democrats, who were elected at caucus meetings earlier this year, attended the convention. In addition to selecting Kentucky’s delegation to the Democratic National Convention, they also ratified the Kentucky Democratic Party’s selection of a chair and vice chair. Rep. Overly was elected chair in January and Neville Blakemore accepted the role as vice chair earlier this week.

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By BILL LONDRIGAN
Kentucky State AFL-CIO president

I apologize for the short notice of this event, however please come out on Monday morning, June 6th, for a Louisville Labor Breakfast and Campaign Briefing for Kentucky’s BEST Congressman, John Yarmuth.

Yarmuth represents Kentucky’s 3rd district.

The event is set for 8 a.m. (EDT) at Teamsters Local No. 89 Union Hall, 3813 Taylor Blvd.

RSVP by phone at (502) 891-8914 or by email at Campaign@yarmuthforcongress.com.
 

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The USW of Western Kentucky’s third annual “Chipping in for Our Communities’ Charities” open golf tournament is set for June 10 at Silo’s Country Club, www.siloscountryclub.com, 11435 State Rt. 286 in Kevil. Phone (270) 488-2182.

The event begins with lunch at 11 a.m. (CDT), followed by a shotgun start at 12:30 p.m.

This year’s proceeds go to benefit the McCracken County Sheriff’s D.A.R.E. program, Kentucky Sheriffs’ Boys and Girls Ranch and Kentucky State Trooper’s Island. Participants will have "an opportunity to help wonderful causes." 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Kudos to our brothers and sisters at the Ohio State AFL-CIO for helping expose Donald Trump as a bare-knucks union buster and a phony.

The Buckeye State labor federation has decided to get “early start on reminding its members just what Trump really stands for, with a series of fliers calling out his abuses of workers,” wrote Laura Clawson of the Daily Kos. (Click here to see her post.)

She citied one of the fliers:
 

 

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By GLENN KESSLER

To see the original post, click here.

“People are legitimately unhappy. The average person is about $3,000 or $4,000 a year worse off today than when President Obama came to office, [so] you can understand the anxiety and the desire for a kind of quick turnaround.”

— Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), remarks during interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” May 31, 2016

The U.S. economy changes from month to month. But old talking points never seem to die.

 

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By LEO W. GERARD
United Steelworkers of America, president

To see the original post, click here.

Donald Trump scorns traditional presidential candidate standards. The Donald doesn’t do what’s expected. And he certainly doesn’t do what he tells other candidates they must do.

If Donald doesn’t feel like debating, he stiffs his opponents and grabs attention doing something different. If he finally realizes there’s no way to force Mexico to pay for that “big, beautiful wall” he promised ad nauseam, he converts it to a virtual barrier, a mere video-game blockade.

And when he pledges to release his tax returns, then changes his mind, he simply comes up with an excuse not to do it. That’s Dodgin’ Donald. Donald Trump is a rich guy, a billionaire 10 times over, or so he claims. And rich guys in America don’t follow the rules that working guys must. In fact, fat cats like Donald celebrate breaking the rules. And that’s why he won’t release his income tax returns. What Dodgin’ Donald doesn’t want workers to find out from those forms is that while they paid the IRS every week, he paid nothing. Or next to nothing.

 

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By TOM EBLEN

To see the original post, click here.

Recent battles over raising the minimum wage have attracted a lot of attention. But on May 18, President Obama’s administration took another significant step designed to give many American workers a long-overdue raise.

The U.S. Labor Department increased the threshold at which salaried workers can be denied compensation for working more than 40 hours a week, from $23,660 a year to $47,476.

Beginning Dec. 1, anyone paid less than $47,476 annually must get time-and-a-half pay for hours worked beyond 40 hours a week. For the past decade, workers paid as little as $23,660, which is below the poverty line for a family of four, could be exempt from any overtime compensation if they were classified as managers, administrators or professionals.

 

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By OLIVIA NUZZI

To see the original post, click here.

Draft Dodger Donald Trump Gets Hero’s Welcome at Rolling Thunder
Despite the fact he has lied to veterans and insulted POWs over the course of his campaign, Donald Trump was welcomed with open arms at Sunday’s biker rally.

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in. To bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations. —Abraham Lincoln, March 4, 1865

So, we love those signs. Make America great again! Very simple. Make America great again! So, in riding over, there are hundreds of thousands of people all along the highways, and they can’t get in! In other words, you’re very good at real estate. You got in! Congratulations! Congratulations. —Donald Trump, May 29, 2016

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Donald Trump says the GOP is going to turn into “a worker’s party…of people that haven’t had a real wage increase in 18 years, that are angry.”

His Las Vegas hotel workers are steamed, but I doubt they'd join. The Donald is the object of their disaffection.

Trump is fighting hard to keep them from having a union.

Trump the flip-floppier is flip-floppiest on a minimum wage increase. As of now, he opposes a federal minimum wage and wants to leave the issue up to states.
 

 

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To see the original post, click here.

DETROIT, MICH. – The UAW today endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, citing her support for UAW members, her lifelong commitment to the job security of American families, and her ability to unify and win in November.
“Hillary Clinton understands our issues on trade, understands the complexities of multinational economies and supports American workers, their families and communities,” said UAW President Dennis Williams.

Now is a time for unity, a time to focus on what lies ahead in November. Bernie Sanders has brought to this campaign a dialogue that has been needed for far too long. He has been, and remains, a great friend of the UAW, and of working men and women in this country. But, the fact is, Hillary Clinton has shown under pressure her ability to lead and get elected in November.

The UAW’s directors went through the process of surveying and listening to members for input into the campaign season. “We are a family of over 1 million active and retiree members with strong opinions. Now, we have to choose between two very good UAW friends and move forward as a united membership,” said Williams.

 

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The popularity of the GOP front-runner can be explained by the Dunning-Kruger Effect.

By DAVID DUNNING

To see the original post, click here.

Many commentators have argued that Donald Trump’s dominance in the GOP presidential race can be largely explained by ignorance; his candidacy, after all, is most popular among Republican voters without college degrees. Their expertise about current affairs is too fractured and full of holes to spot that only 9 percent of Trump’s statements are “true” or “mostly” true, according to PolitiFact, whereas 57 percent are “false” or “mostly false”—the remainder being “pants on fire” untruths. Trump himself has memorably declared: “I love the poorly educated.”

But as a psychologist who has studied human behavior—including voter behavior—for decades, I think there is something deeper going on. The problem isn’t that voters are too uninformed. It is that they don’t know just how uninformed they are.

Psychological research suggests that people, in general, suffer from what has become known as the Dunning-Kruger Effect. They have little insight about the cracks and holes in their expertise. In studies in my research lab, people with severe gaps in knowledge and expertise typically fail to recognize how little they know and how badly they perform. To sum it up, the knowledge and intelligence that are required to be good at a task are often the same qualities needed to recognize that one is not good at that task—and if one lacks such knowledge and intelligence, one remains ignorant that one is not good at that task. This includes political judgment.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Either Donald Trump is flat fibbing about the North American Free Trade Agreement or he’s clueless about the deal unions say has cost thousands of American jobs.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee wants voters—especially working stiffs--to believe he’ll ditch the trade deal when he’s president.

Trump is short on specifics about how he’d put the kibosh on NAFTA. So let’s get specific.

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Donald Trump ought to add Nomex pants for politicians to his clothing line and take the first pair for himself. 

Not a NASCAR fan?  Nomex is that flame resistant material in race car drivers' suits.

Anyway, Trump's trousers blazed anew when he claimed “Hillary Clinton wants to abolish the 2nd Amendment.”

 

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By SOLA AGUSTSSON

To see the original post, click here.

In 1988, business mogul Leonard Stern commissioned a television documentary to be made about Donald Trump, but the film was never aired because Trump managed to prevent its circulation.

“He did everything he could to suppress this documentary,” producer Libby Handros said. “And back in the day when we made the film, there were only a handful of networks. You had a few independent entities, but everything was controlled by big corporations, the three networks. And Donald was threatening lawsuits and stuff and they just didn’t need to take that on, even if the lawsuit would have no merit in the end.”

The documentary, Trump: What’s the Deal? is now available to be streamed online here.

 

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By ADAM HOWARD

To see the original post, click here.

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump isn’t ever at a loss for words. He tweets, he does interviews, holds rallies, and calls into every show imaginable. One thing he doesn’t do: allow himself to get pinned down.

For someone who never sought political office, he’s proven maddeningly good at wiggling away from direct questions. That ban on Muslims entering the country? Just a “suggestion,” he now says. Women need to be punished for having an abortion? He actually meant they’d probably “punish themselves.”

So that got us at MSNBC.com to thinking: What would we ask Trump if he had to give us a direct answer to the question — no wiggling, no prevarication, no promises of “winning” without offering details. Here’s a roundup of what we’d want to know.

 

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By RONNIE ELLIS

To see the original story, click here.

FRANKFORT — A newly constituted workers' compensation nominating committee will hold off on making recommendations for six vacant administrative law judges pending a court decision on Gov. Matt Bevin’s authority to revamp the commission.

Attorneys for Teamsters Local 89, the Kentucky AFL-CIO, a member of the previous and now disbanded commission and three workers with active workers' compensation claims went to Franklin Circuit Court Friday seeking a restraining order prohibiting the new commission from acting when it meets Monday.

They argued Bevin didn’t follow the law governing membership and terms of the commission when he disbanded the existing commission and established an entirely new membership by executive order.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

You’re at the bargaining table.

The lead management negotiator slides over a piece of paper. “You're going to love what I'm proposing," the guy says.

“Honest. It's so good you don't even have to check it out. Don't read it. Just trust me. You know I want to do right by my workers.”

What’s that you say? “That dog won’t hunt?” (Or you might use a two-word phrase that connects an uncastrated male bovine and what he plops in the pasture.)

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By MARY ORNDORFF TROYAN

To see the original post, click here.

WASHINGTON - Donald Trump's visit to Louisville on Friday to speak at the NRA's annual meeting is unfortunate, especially as the city battles rising gun violence, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth said.

“This is another example of Mr. Trump pandering to the worst instincts and most polarizing and extreme elements of society,” Yarmuth said in a conference call arranged by the Democratic National Committee.

Yarmuth, a Louisville Democrat who has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, said that by resisting proposals such as universal background checks for gun buyers, Trump and the National Rifle Association are out of touch with most Americans.

 

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By ROBERT KAGAN

Robert Kagan is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a contributing columnist for The Post.

To see the original post, click here.

The Republican Party’s attempt to treat Donald Trump as a normal political candidate would be laughable were it not so perilous to the republic. If only he would mouth the party’s “conservative” principles, all would be well.

But of course the entire Trump phenomenon has nothing to do with policy or ideology. It has nothing to do with the Republican Party, either, except in its historic role as incubator of this singular threat to our democracy. Trump has transcended the party that produced him. His growing army of supporters no longer cares about the party. Because it did not immediately and fully embrace Trump, because a dwindling number of its political and intellectual leaders still resist him, the party is regarded with suspicion and even hostility by his followers. Their allegiance is to him and him alone.

And the source of allegiance? We’re supposed to believe that Trump’s support stems from economic stagnation or dislocation. Maybe some of it does. But what Trump offers his followers are not economic remedies — his proposals change daily. What he offers is an attitude, an aura of crude strength and machismo, a boasting disrespect for the niceties of the democratic culture that he claims, and his followers believe, has produced national weakness and incompetence. His incoherent and contradictory utterances have one thing in common: They provoke and play on feelings of resentment and disdain, intermingled with bits of fear, hatred and anger. His public discourse consists of attacking or ridiculing a wide range of “others” — Muslims, Hispanics, women, Chinese, Mexicans, Europeans, Arabs, immigrants, refugees — whom he depicts either as threats or as objects of derision. His program, such as it is, consists chiefly of promises to get tough with foreigners and people of nonwhite complexion. He will deport them, bar them, get them to knuckle under, make them pay up or make them shut up.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Adam Brien of Calvert City was gobsmacked.

“I never expected to see a turnout like this in western Kentucky for a socialist,” marveled the former Service Employees International Union organizer.

Brien showed up for a Bernie-Sanders-for-president rally that drew a crowd of 2,000 in Paducah on Sunday. The fired-up throng proved a presage for Tuesday’s Democratic presidential primary.

 

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Kentucky State Building Trades Affiliates:

Last night’s Primary Election results are not official but it appears that all but 2 of the Building Trades endorsed candidates won their election.

Long-time State Rep. Tom Riner HD-41, was defeated by Attica Scott in Louisville. Attica is also a proven friend of Labor. Republican candidate Buzz Carloftis was defeated in his attempt in HD-71. Buzz proudly stood with Labor and against his party's position against Organized Labor.

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FRANKFORT, KY. (May 17, 2016) – "We congratulate Hillary Clinton on an extremely close win here in Kentucky, and we're excited about the energy she and Bernie Sanders have poured into the Commonwealth during the race," said Rep. Sannie Overly, chair of the Kentucky Democratic Party.

"We've seen thousands of Democrats turn out at rallies and campaign stops across the Commonwealth, and this makes us extremely enthusiastic about November's general election. We are fortunate to have two highly qualified candidates who each have innovative plans to create jobs, provide healthcare and prepare our workforce for the future.

"They both stand out as clearly better choices than the presumptive Republican nominee. We turn our attention now to our State Convention on June 4 in Louisville, where Democrats from across Kentucky will elect party leaders for the next four years and delegates to the 2016 National Convention in Philadelphia based on tonight’s results."

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By MICHAEL McAULIFF
Senior Congressional Reporter, The Huffington Post

To see the original post, click here.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON — Shortly before the House Benghazi committee ramped up its battles with the Department of Defense in its probe of the 2012 terrorist attack, the committee’s own top lawyer admitted at least four times in interviews with military officials that there was no more they could have done on that tragic night.

That’s according to a letter obtained by The Huffington Post that was sent Sunday to the chairman of the committee, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), from the top Democrats on the Benghazi panel and the House Armed Services Committee, Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Adam Smith (D-Wash.).

The Democrats are sending the letter after relations between the GOP-led Benghazi committee and military officials recently took a turn for the worse. The military accused the committee late last month of demanding increasingly frivolous interviews from irrelevant service members; Gowdy responded by calling that charge a “partisan attack.”

 

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By LEO W. GERARD
President, United Steelworkers of America

To see the original post, click here.

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald “I am really, really rich” Trump is, according to Forbes, the 121st richest person in America. So, yes, he is really, really rich.

He loves the perks of being really, really rich, like flying to campaign events in one of his own private jets, which means he blithely skips those annoying airport security lines that non-billionaires must endure. He enjoys kicking back in one of his five houses, including the 58-bedroom Mar-A-Lago mansion, where the $600,000 annual property taxes are three times the entire cost of an average American home. And, of course, Trump relishes the power he has to tell workers, “You’re fired.”

Born into wealth, Trump attended private schools and inherited $40 million when he was just 28 years old. He didn’t spend summers volunteering for Habitat for Humanity in Appalachia. He didn’t take a gap year to put that fancy private school education to use tutoring inner city kids. So, frankly, it’s easy to understand why he opposes raising the minimum wage. This guy who was born with a really, really silver spoon in his mouth doesn’t have a clue what living on $7.25 an hour means.

 

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Clinton made a campaign stop at the Little Castle restaurant in Paducah this morning. She also appeared at a rally in Bowling Green. Neither the national nor the Kentucky State AFL-CIO or their leadership have endorsed Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. There have been labor contingents at Clinton and Sanders rallies. To see the original post, click here.

By HOWARD FINEMAN
Global Editorial Director, The Huffington Post

The Clinton brand still has clout in the Bluegrass State, though not as much as it once did.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — If the Kentucky Democratic primary were the Derby, Hillary Clinton would be racing around the track a dozen times right now, passing the finish line again and again. Anything to secure a victory in the race.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, of course, is running hard in Kentucky, but that is to be expected. His brand is stubborn relentlessness, and he wants to pile up delegates to improve his policy and cult clout at the Democratic convention in July in Philadelphia.

Clinton is a different story. Statistically and practically, she is the Democrats’ presumptive presidential nominee. And yet there is a nagging worry even among her own party insiders that she is going to be a tough sell in November, the favorable Electoral College math notwithstanding.

 

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By JOSEPH GERTH

To see the original story, click here.

Hillary Clinton tried to shore up support from key Democratic constituencies on Sunday as she began her final push through Kentucky in advance of Tuesday's primary election.

The Democratic presidential front-runner attended church services at two African-American churches where she said she would attack "discrimination and systemic racism" and then rallied her supporters at a South Louisville union hall where she promised to rebuild the country's crumbling infrastructure.

"We can put millions of Americans to work," she said. "A lot of this will be good union jobs because the people with the skills to do the jobs will be able to do them."

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Some people who Feel the Bern swear they won’t vote for Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.

Western Kentucky union members, current and past, I spoke with at the Bernie Sanders rally Sunday in Paducah said they'll vote for Clinton if she ends up atop the Democratic ticket.

“I have nothing against Hillary Clinton,” said Jerry Sykes, a Calvert City United Auto Workers retiree who will cast a Sanders ballot in Tuesday’s primary.

 

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Tomorrow, Hillary Clinton will be in Louisville and Bernie Sanders in Paducah. Click here and here to see related stories and details.

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

“Be careful what you wish for, you might get it.”

I’ve been pondering that ancient admonition since some recent polls came out showing Donald Trump might not be a pushover for president after all.

More than a few of us who pack union cards were pulling for the Republicans to nominate him because we figured he’d be the easiest candidate to beat.

 

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By JOHN NULL

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders will hold a rally this Sunday in Paducah.

Sanders, a U.S. Senator from Vermont, will be at the Julian Carroll Convention Center (1 Executive Dr.) at 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon ahead of Tuesday's Democratic primary, according to Amy Iddings, who works for the Sanders campaign in Paducah. Iddings said that people who have volunteered for Sanders in Paducah will be given bracelets for early entry.

...Doors for the event will open at 11 a.m. Sunday. RSVPs are encouraged at this link.

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Kentucky State Building Trades Affiliates:

Hillary Clinton will be at Carpenters and Millwrights Union Hall tomorrow on Durrett Lane in Louisville. Please try to attend and respond to the RSVP Link listed below which has further details. Please pass this information on to your members for a good crowd.

Sunday, May 15

Louisville GOTV Event with Hillary Clinton
When: 2:15 PM EDT
Doors open at 12:15 PM EDT.
Where: Union of Carpenters and Millwrights Training Center, 1245 Durrett Lane, Louisville, KY 40213
Public RSVP Link


Bill Finn
State Director
Kentucky State Building and Construction Trades Council Read more >>>

To see the original post with graphics and charts, click here.

Among all of the nation's governors, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has experienced the largest drop in support from his constituents as the Republican has struggled to handle the Flint water crisis.

A Morning Consult survey of more than 66,000 voters in all 50 states taken from January until early May found the number of voters who disapprove of Snyder has risen 17 points to 63 percent. At the same time, the percentage of voters who approve of Snyder has plummeted 13 points – the biggest swing in sentiment Morning Consult has found in any politician tracked in the past year.

Republicans take eight of the spots on the list of 10 most popular governors. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker is America's most popular governor, and he is followed very closely by fellow Republican Larry Hogan of Maryland. Delaware's Jack Markell is the country's most popular Democratic governor.

 

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Georgia is a “right to work state.” Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, said he prefers RTW states to free bargaining states.

By DAN CHAPMAN
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

To see the original post, click here.

Nearly half of Georgia’s “frontline manufacturing production workers” — auto workers, machinists, metal workers — receive public assistance, according to an eye-opening report released this week by the University of California, Berkeley.

Nationwide, one-third of these workers get food stamps, Medicaid, the federal Earned Income Tax Credit or other government aid. The benefits cost state and local governments about $10 billion annually, the analysis found.

In Georgia, the public assistance costs $427 million.

 

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Talking out of both sides of his mouth again?
 

#BadMoveBevin says he's hiring http://bit.ly/27dN8c6 -- after vowing to cut agencies by 9 percent: http://bit.ly/1TQwb0a
 

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This post originally appeared at the West Virginia AFL-CIO.

The West Virginia AFL-CIO has joined with several other unions representing the state's working people in launching a legal challenge of the Republican-led legislature’s "right to work" law.

West Virginia AFL-CIO President Kenneth Perdue said:

While we believe we have strong grounds for a constitutional challenge of the law, based in part on the recent circuit court decision on the right to work law in Wisconsin, we also have found several significant flaws in West Virginia’s Senate Bill 1 as it was written, amended and adopted. Based on our reading of Senate Bill 1, the so-called right to work provisions included in the legislation do not apply to ANY private-sector employees that have collective bargaining agreements in the state of West Virginia.

 

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Alarmed that Trump’s populist message may appeal to members, unions want the Democratic Party to return to its roots.

By DANIEL MARANS
Reporter, Huffington Post

To see the original post, click here.

WASHINGTON — Dozens of senior European labor union officials gathered this week at the AFL-CIO, the largest U.S. federation of labor unions, to trade ideas for fighting a xenophobic far right ascendant on both sides of the Atlantic.

The conference on Monday and Tuesday, jointly organized by the AFL-CIO, Working America, the federation’s outreach arm to non-union workers, and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, a social democratic foundation funded by the German government, illustrates the extent to which progressive movements across the developed world have begun to view the far right as a common, and urgent, threat.

But if the business-friendly wings of the Democratic Party and its European equivalents are hoping that the specter of Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, or the rise of the Front National in France, or the U.K. Independence Party in Britain, will draw organized labor to their side, they are in for a disappointment. American and European participants in Tuesday’s panel discussions place a sizable share of the blame for the far right’s rise on mainstream center-left parties’ drift to the center (think Bill Clinton’s New Democrats and Tony Blair’s New Labour).

 

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By PAUL KRUGMAN

To see the original post, click here.

Truly, Donald Trump knows nothing. He is more ignorant about policy than you can possibly imagine, even when you take into account the fact that he is more ignorant than you can possibly imagine. But his ignorance isn’t as unique as it may seem: In many ways, he’s just doing a clumsy job of channeling nonsense widely popular in his party, and to some extent in the chattering classes more generally.

Last week the presumptive Republican presidential nominee — hard to believe, but there it is — finally revealed his plan to make America great again. Basically, it involves running the country like a failing casino: he could, he asserted, “make a deal” with creditors that would reduce the debt burden if his outlandish promises of economic growth don’t work out.

The reaction from everyone who knows anything about finance or economics was a mix of amazed horror and horrified amazement. One does not casually suggest throwing away America’s carefully cultivated reputation as the world’s most scrupulous debtor — a reputation that dates all the way back to Alexander Hamilton.

 

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By KEN WARD, Jr.

To see the original post, click here.

Last evening at the Charleston Civic Center, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump certainly had a lot to say about coal miners. As the Gazette-Mail’s David Gutman reported:

The backdrop behind Trump was filled with men in miner’s stripes and hard hats waving “Trump digs coal” signs, and Trump peppered his remarks with his admiration for coal miners.

“I’ll tell you what folks, you’re amazing people,” Trump said. “The courage of the miners and the way the miners love what they do, they love what they do.”

 

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By MARK HENSCH

To see the original post, click here.

White nationalist and former KKK leader David Duke on Thursday said that his supporters see vast promise in Donald Trump, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee.

“The Trump campaign on a whole series of levels is a great opportunity for us to expose the people who really run the Republican Party, who run the Democratic Party, who run the political establishment and who are leading us all to disaster,” he said on his radio broadcast, as first reported by Right Wing Watch.

“Even though Trump is not explicitly talking about European Americans, he’s implicitly talking about the importance of European Americans,” added Duke, a former grand wizard in the Ku Klux Klan.

 

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By HUNTER

To see the original post, click here.

No matter how many times Donald Trump opens his mouth, he never gets any better at it. It's almost mesmerizing—he seems determined to prove to voters that his candidacy was always just a put-on, a satire-driven prank for the ages, but no matter what he says the audience just won't pick up on his hints. He seems desperate, at this point. Now he's outright telling people not to vote for him!

During a joyful, victorious rally speech in West Virginia on Thursday night, Trump told his crowd of 13,000 that they no longer had to vote in Tuesday's Republican primary — even though there are still a number of contested local races on the ballot. This came after Trump repeatedly told the crowd that he debated on whether to show up, as he no longer needed their votes in the primary. He said "just didn't have the heart" to stand them up.

That is the perfect satirical representation of Trumpism: Don't bother showing up to vote on things anymore, I've won and am done with you. That, coupled with musings to the crowd about how they very specifically don't matter to him at this point, but he'll still let them bask in his presence due to his own inescapable charity, is indistinguishable from any skit by any comedian about what a Donald Trump candidacy might look like.

 

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EDITOR'S NOTE:  We thank Todd Johnson for sending us this analysis of Trump's win.

By LEONARD PITTS, JR.
lpitts@miamiherald.com


To see the original post, click here.

So it has come to this: Trump 2016.

What first seemed a joke, then an unsettling possibility and then a troubling likelihood, became a grim certainty last week as Donald Trump, real estate developer turned reality show ringmaster turned would-be president, won an emphatic victory in Indiana’s Republican primary. His last remaining rivals, Ted Cruz and John Kasich, both dropped out within 24 hours, leaving Trump the de facto nominee of what used to be called, with some pride, the Party of Lincoln.

In response, a remarkable constellation of Republican officials and enablers have pronounced themselves unalterably opposed to the duly selected leader of their party.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Donald Trump, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, bragged about his “tremendous support within unions.” “The workers love me,” he claimed.

The Donald likely would be looking for love in all the wrong places if he campaigned in some deep western Kentucky union halls.

“When Donald Trump says that American workers are overpaid, obviously then he’s not in love with the union member,” said Jimmy Evans, business manager of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 816 in Paducah. “Union members don’t love him.
 

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By BILL FINN
Kentucky State Building and Construction Trades Council state director

The 2016 Kentucky General Assembly held their 60 Day Session from January 5 –April 15, 2016. Approximately 941 Bills were filed along with hundreds of committee subs, amendments and resolutions.

Kentucky’s Building Trades Members had a good Legislative Session, considering the anti-labor, anti-union attacks that have been waged on our neighboring states. There were 6 Bills or Amendments to change or repeal the Prevailing Wage Law. A Right-To-Work Bill and numerous rollbacks of protections for Kentucky’s workers were filed and failed.

The Kentucky House controlled by Democrats in a 53-47 majority is the only firewall we have to protect labor’s interest. The Republican majorities in our neighboring states have devastated the Building Trades member’s interests in the states of West Virginia, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan.

 

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By CHRIS D'ANGELO
Associate Editor, HuffPost Hawaii

EDITOR'S NOTE: Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders unequivocally support raising the minimum wage.

To see the original post, click here.

Even though Donald Trump somehow became the presumptive Republican nominee, the wealthy businessman can’t seem to figure out whether or not he thinks American workers deserve more pay.

Trump has flip-flopped on the issue of minimum wage several times, most recently on Wednesday, when he told CNN he was — once again — open to the idea of raising it.

Here’s a quick history of Trump’s ever-fluctuating stance on the issue:

Flip: During a Republican presidential debate in November, Trump said he would not raise the minimum wage and could not be sympathetic to protesters demanding it be raised to $15 per hour from $7.25, the current federal rate.

“Taxes too high, wages too high, we’re not going to be able to compete against the world,” he said at the time. “I hate to say it, but we have to leave it the way it is. People have to go out, they have to work really hard and have to get into that upper stratum.”

Flop: In December, Trump hit back at Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders for criticizing those comments. “Wages in are [sic] country are too low,” he wrote on Twitter. However, he offered no solution to the problem or acknowledgement of his previous sentiment.

 

Flip: In August, Trump returned to his original stance once more while appearing on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” He said the U.S. can’t end up in a situation where its labor is so expensive that it can no longer compete with other countries.

“I want to create jobs so that you don’t have to worry about the minimum wage. You’re doing a great job, and they’re making much more than the minimum wage,” he told MSNBC. “But I think having a low minimum wage is not a bad thing for this country.”

Flop: And on Wednesday, a day after winning the Indiana primary and becoming the likely Republican nominee, Trump signaled he was wavering once more, perhaps in an effort to secure votes from Sanders supporters.

When CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked him about the minimum wage issue, Trump said, “I’m actually looking at that because I am very different from most Republicans. I mean, you have to have something that you can live on. But what I’m really looking to do is get people great jobs so they make much more money than that, so they make much more money than the $15.”

But while he said he was still “looking at” the issue, Trump also warned that raising the hourly rate would make it hard for the country to be competitive.
 

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By ELIZABETH H. SHULER
AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer


The AFL-CIO has endorsed the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and
Grain Millers Union (BCTGM) boycott of the snack food items of Mondelez
International (“Mondelez,” “Mondelez/Nabisco”) that are made in Mexico.

The boycott is being conducted because Mondelez is shifting work from U.S.
production facilities, most recently in Chicago, IL, to a facility in Salinas
Victoria, Mexico.

Shortly after the Salinas Victoria facility went online in 2015, Mondelez
approached BCTGM Local 300 (Chicago) seeking $46 million in annual
concessions to secure an investment of $130 million into the Chicago plant.

 

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By JENNIFER SABIN

To see the original post, click here.

live in a political bubble. A lovely, liberal, northeastern bubble. The majority of my friends and family are Clinton supporters, and the rest favor Bernie. One or two Republicans I’m close to voted for Kasich in the primaries. I’m pretty sure there are a few closet Trump supporters in my life — and on my Facebook friends list — but as long as they stay in the closet, we’re good.

It’s what’s outside my bubble that keeps me up at night, especially now that Donald Trump has been anointed the presumptive Republican nominee. It’s what keeps me writing on and on about this election.

I have to thank Mr. Trump for opening my eyes to the American ugly I didn’t want to see. I needed a wake up call. I’m not closed off in some strange, futuristic liberal world. I live in a diverse community with a mix of political and social viewpoints, and I consistently read newspapers and websites with differing ideologies. I know my American history and I know what racist people have been saying about President Obama for the last eight years. I’ve watched the videos of young black men shot by cops. And I’ve listened to the calls for racial justice on college campuses. I’ve worked on a college campus where I was the minority, and my students have spoken and written about their experiences. Throughout my life I’ve heard stories from my Jewish friends about the nasty comments they’ve endured. So yes, I understand how deeply racism and bigotry run through American culture — as much as any educated, white, Protestant person can really understand it — even if I don’t hear it in my home or my backyard.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Not surprisingly, Donald Trump trashed NAFTA and outsourcing in his Hoosier primary victory speech, which was typically long on style and short on substance.

“We’re going to bring back our jobs and we’re going to keep our jobs,” the presumptive GOP presidential nominee bloviated. "We’re not going to let companies leave.”

Trump didn’t say how he planned to stop the outsourcers. Not surprisingly, he failed to mention that before he was a candidate, he was cool with shipping U.S. jobs and production abroad.

 

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Found on Facebook is a regular feature by Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council, a member of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board and president of USW Local 9447 in Calvert City. Read more >>>

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Who of the following supports “right to work?”
A. presidential candidate Donald Trump
B. newly ex-presidential candidate Ted Cruz
C. both

Who said “We hear terrible things about outsourcing jobs—how sending work outside of our companies is contributing to the demise of American businesses. But in this instance I have to take the unpopular stance that it is not always a terrible thing.”?
A. Donald Trump
B. Ted Cruz
 

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Republican Gov. Matt Bevin’s family bell manufacturing business is in Connecticut, home state of Roger Sherman and Oliver Ellsworth.

Delegates to the 1787 constitutional convention in Philadelphia, Sherman and Ellsworth are famous for proposing the “Great Compromise.” The historic agreement between large and small states created the fundamental framework of the federal government.

Kentucky is the home state of Henry Clay. Dubbed “the Great Pacificator,” Clay brokered three compromises between the North and South that staved off disunion and the Civil War for many years.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Jeff Wiggins likens Derrick Ramsey to Elaine Chao.

“They’re both anti-labor secretaries of labor,” said Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council.

Ramsey, the Kentucky labor secretary, recently told the Bowling Green Daily News that he supports a “right to work” law. Ramsey cited data he said showed RTW will improve the state's economy.
 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Ninety-nine Kentuckians lost their lives at work last year, Jeff Wiggins told the crowd at Paducah’s annual Workers Memorial Day service Wednesday night.

“It’s a shame,” added Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council.

“It’s a travesty. If one person gets killed on the job, it’s one too many. If one person gets injured on the job, it’s one too many.”

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Found on Facebook is a regular feature by Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council, a member of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board and president of USW Local 9447 in Calvert City. Read more >>>

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

This Workers Memorial Day I’m thinking of state Sen. Chris Girdler of Somerset.

I doubt he’ll attend a Workers Memorial Day program in his neck of the Kentucky woods.

Girdler is a conservative Republican who supports “right to work” and opposes the prevailing wage.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360


Look for the union label on a pair of entries in this year’s Kentucky Derby Festival Great Bed Races Monday at Broadbent Arena in Louisville.

The first green flag falls at 7 p.m., local time.

Boilermakers Local 40 of Elizabethtown is partnering with the Falls City-based Kentuckiana Girl Scouts Council and Wicked Sheets, a Louisville firm, on a brand-new racer.

 

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By SHAUN RICHMAN

To see the original post, click here.

Union supporters had reason to cheer earlier this month when Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s hated “right to work” law was overturned by a Dane County Circuit Judge. Unfortunately, the decision is all but certain to be overturned by Wisconsin’s conservative Supreme Court. But contained in the case is a line of questioning over the constitutionality of the right-to-work concept that has quietly been playing out in federal courts.

The result could be that all right-to-work laws are nullified—and sooner than you might imagine.

“RTW” takes money and power from unions, but is that a ‘taking?’

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Wheels keep coming off the “right to work” bandwagon.

I can almost hear the union-busters crooning that old “Hee Haw” tune:

Gloom, despair, and agony on me-e!
Deep dark depression, excessive misery-y!
If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all!
Gloom, despair, and agony on me-e-e!

 

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By JOE BRENNAN
Director, Kentucky Labor Institute

Alabama became a “right to work” state in 1953.

By now, it has had enough time to become a "model" of economic development.

Obviously, this has not happened. If RTW has favored anyone it has been the out of state, or out of country, investors who want total control of their factories, and their labor force.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360


Kentucky State AFL-CIO President Bill Londrigan says good candidates and a good union ground game added up to victory for a trio of labor-endorsed Democrats in the four special House elections.

“Though he lost, we had a good candidate in Bill Noelker, too,” Londrigan told a recent meeting of the state AFL-CIO Executive Board in Frankfort.

Noelker, an ex-Navy fighter pilot from Danville, came up short in the Republican-leaning 54th District.
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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Ralph Nader’s recent Huffington Post column reminded me of the old saying, “With friends like you, who needs enemies.”

Nader’s narcissistic presidential bid in 2000 helped put George W. Bush in the White House.

Now Nader is providing grist for the union-haters’ propaganda mill by writing that “long-entrenched, affluent big union leaders” who support Hillary Clinton for president are trying to lord it over small unions who Feel the Bern.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360


The union-haters would have John and Jane Q Citizen believe that “rich union bosses” shut rank-and-file union members out of the all-important candidate endorsement process.

They paint a picture of a bunch of old, paunchy, bald-headed guys in expensive suits going behind closed doors, breaking out the booze and cigars and turning thumbs-up and thumbs-down on candidates.

That’s baloney, of course.
 

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By BILL FINN
Kentucky State Building and Construction Trades Council state director

The Kentucky House and Senate Budget Compromise Committee reached an agreement on the 2-year State Budget about 3 a.m. this morning. Details are not known but according to the attached article a compromise was reached to include more money for the state pension obligation and lower cuts to the education budget for higher education.

The article states that Kentucky’s Prevailing Wage Law is included in the budget expenditures for the biennium budget. The budget proposal from the governor and Republican-led State Senate had prohibited the use of Prevailing Wage from their original budget proposals.

The Budget will go before both chambers for a vote tomorrow, Friday, April 15, for the final day of the 60-day legislative session which must adjourn by midnight.
 

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Dear COPE Member: This is a reminder of the COPE Meeting which is scheduled for TOMORROW, Wednesday, April 13th at 10:00 a.m. at the Office Pub & Deli, 614 Comanche Trail, Frankfort, KY. Please arrange your schedule to stay for lunch at the conclusion of the meeting at approximately 11:30 a.m. I look forward to seeing you tomorrow. In Solidarity, Bill Read more >>>

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

State Rep. Gerald Watkins, D-Paducah, says Donald Trump and surging union power in the Bluegrass State are two big reasons the Republicans aren’t likely to flip the Kentucky House of Representatives this fall.

Watkins cites polls that show Trump, who still leads the race for the GOP presidential nomination, would lose by wide margins to Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, the Democratic contenders.

“Add in the strength organized labor showed in helping Democrats win three of the four special elections and we have momentum on our side,” Watkins told delegates at the April meeting of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council. “We might even pick up some seats.”

 

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Found on Facebook is a regular feature by Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council, a member of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board and president of USW Local 9447 in Calvert City. Read more >>>

By BILL FINN
Kentucky State Building and Construction Trades Council state director

The final day of the 60-day 2016 Kentucky legislative session will be next Tuesday.

The legislators in Frankfort have not come up with the 2-year state budget at this time. If a budget is not reached by next Tuesday a special session would need to be called by the governor before the fiscal year ends on June 30. Governor Bevin has stated that he will not call a special session which makes any future action unclear.

Currently, in the governor’s budget proposal and in the Republican-controlled state Senate budget proposal is a prohibition against the use of the Kentucky prevailing wage law in any state expenditures.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

The host of a nationally-syndicated labor radio talk show wants union members to “thank” Sen. Mitch McConnell for his “help” with the Friedrichs case.

“He refuses to even consider a Supreme Court nominee from President Obama,” said Charles Showalter, whose Pittsburgh-based “The Union Edge: Labor’s Talk Radio” program is broadcast from coast to coast. “The high court, by a 4-4 tie, upheld a lower court decision favoring unions.”

In Rebecca Friedrichs, et al., vs. California Teachers Association, et al., the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had rejected a teacher’s claim that having to contribute a “fair share fee” to the CTA to help pay for collective bargaining abridged her right to free speech.

Showalter, a member of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, got the idea to “thank” the unabashedly anti-union McConnell from Jeff Wiggins, a Kentucky labor leader.

 

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Jim Pence says Mitch is 'a man for the people." Watch. Read more >>>

FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 31, 2016) – Today Rep. Johnny Bell was denied access to a news conference hosted by Gov. Matt Bevin. Governor's office staff members notified Rep. Bell that he was not allowed inside. It is the first time this has happened to him, and he has been a lawmaker for nearly a decade. Rep. Bell was stopped at the door while Gov. Bevin and other Republican lawmakers filed past.

Rep. Bell has served in the House of Representatives since 2007, and said he had attended hundreds of news conferences held by governors, but this was the first time he had been denied access.

 

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To see the editorial, click here.

The sudden widespread disruptions in Kentuckians’ access to health care and public benefits raise a host of questions.

Do the unexplained Medicaid and food stamp cancellations and day-long waits to talk to a case worker arise from a conscious decision by the Bevin administration to reduce assistance rolls?

Or, are they the result of “unforeseen technical issues” that accompany the rollout of any big new software program, as Health and Family Services Secretary Vickie Yates Brown Glisson said in a press release last week?

 

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By GUEST AUTHOR

This guest commentary was co-authored by Democratic state Reps. Jim Wayne, Joni Jenkins, Mary Lou Marzian, Darryl Owens and Tom Burch, all of Louisville; George Brown, of Lexington; and David Watkins, of Henderson.

Insider Louisville has offered the Governor’s Office an opportunity to respond, and we are awaiting a reply.

The superbly accurate reporting of the Louisville Courier Journal’s Deborah Yetter, which outlines in detail the outrageous lies and subterfuge perpetrated upon Kentuckians by Gov. Matt Bevin regarding kynect, Benefind and expanded Medicaid, has pushed our outrage to the limit.

Gone are our assumptions that the Bevin Administration is just incompetent and ignorant of Kentucky’s complicated healthcare systems.

Instead we are now unequivocally convinced that Gov. Bevin’s goal is to deprive hundreds of thousands of families, children and seniors of the excellent healthcare kynect and expanded Medicaid is providing.

 

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By BILL FINN
Kentucky State Building and Construction Trades Council state director

Yesterday was day 58 of the 60-day Kentucky General Assembly. The primary issue this session is for lawmakers to enact the Kentucky State Budget.

The budget proposal by the governor prohibits the use of the prevailing wage law on all projects. The State Senate version of the budget includes the prohibition of prevailing wage.

Each of these proposals includes a 4.5 percent reduction this year and a 9 percent reduction in each of the next 2 years on the post-secondary expenditures that colleges receive from state government. These reductions will have a dramatic effect on the amount of investments in construction projects that we rely upon.

 

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By IRWIN “BUDDY” CUTLER

The U.S. Supreme Court in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeals covering California and let stand that court’s ruling that a public sector union may continue to enforce a union security clause and collect dues or fair share fees from all workers in the bargaining unit. The Supreme Court affirmed the lower court only because there was a 4-4 tie in the Supreme Court, which means that the lower court ruling stands but without setting a precedent. It is binding only in the four states that are in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals – California, Arizona, Alaska and Hawaii.

 

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Dear Executive Board Members:

UFCW Local 227 president and Kentucky State Executive Board Member Bob Blair informed me that his niece passed away. Please keep Bob and his family in your thoughts and prayers. Bill

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Dear Executive Board Members:

See below for John Coomes’ e-mail with arrangement information for his sister Cynthia Stone and the link to the obituary. Keep John and his family in your thoughts and prayers. Bill

http://obits.dignitymemorial.com/dignity-memorial/obituary.aspx?n=Cynthia-Stone&lc=2684&pid=179423007&mid=6862895

From: John Coomes [mailto:johncoomes@bellsouth.net]
Sent: Monday, March 28, 2016 3:59 PM
To: Bill Londrigan
Subject: Re: John Coomes' Sister Passing

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

It looks like another wheel just fell off the “right to work” bandwagon.

The Supreme Court, by a 4-4 vote today, sustained a lower court ruling that employees must pay a fair share fee to support their unions.

In Rebecca Friedrichs, et al., Petitioners, vs. California Teachers Association, et al., the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals had turned thumbs down on a teacher who claimed that having to pay her union for representing her to school management violated her right to free speech.

 

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Dear Executive Board Member:

It is my sad duty to inform you of the passing of the sister of Tri-County CLC President, UA Member and Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board Member John Coomes. You will be informed of the arrangements when they become available.

Please keep Brother Coomes and his family in your thoughts and prayers. Bill.

 

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By THOMAS BLACK and ISABELLA COTA

To see the original post, click here.

Amid the rugged cattle farms that dot the hills of southern Kentucky, in a clearing just beyond the Smoke Shack BBQ joint and the Faith Baptist Church, lie the remains of the A.O. Smith electric-motor factory.

It’s been eight years since the doors were shuttered. The building’s blue-metal facade has faded to a dull hue, rust is eating away at scaffolding piled up in the back lot and crabgrass is taking over the lawn. At its zenith, the plant employed 1,100 people, an economic juggernaut in the tiny town of Scottsville, population 4,226.

Randall Williams and his wife, Brenda, were two of those workers. For three decades, they helped assemble the hermetically sealed motors that power air conditioners sold all across America. At the end, they were each making $16.10 an hour. That kind of money’s just a dream now: Randall fills orders at a local farm supply store; Brenda works in the high school cafeteria. For a while, he said, their combined income didn’t even add up to one of their old factory wages.

 

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Let's take a look at what Saint Reagan did during various harrowing events...
BOB CESCA

http://thedailybanter.com/2016/03/if-youre-outraged-over-obama/

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By BILL FINN
Kentucky State Building and Construction Trades Council state director

Today is Day 55 of the 60-day legislative session. The Republican-controlled Kentucky State Senate continues to attack the Kentucky Prevailing Wage Law.

House Bill-2 is the local option sales tax. HB-2 allows the voters to decide by ballot for an increase by cities and counties to levy additional sales tax to pay for local projects. HB-2 passed the House by a vote of 60-31 and then was sent to the Senate for action. On March 22, Republican Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer filed Senate Floor Amendment -3, to HB-2. SFA-3 prohibits the use of prevailing wage to be applied to any projects financed by the local option sales tax.

House Bill-309 is the Public, Private Partnership Bill. HB-309 passed the House by a vote of 83-11 and was sent to the Senate for action. Yesterday March 23, Sen. Thayer filed SFA-7 to HB-309. SFA-7 prohibits prevailing wage from being applied to any projects financed by the P3 legislation.

 

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By BILL LONDRIGAN
Kentucky State AFL-CIO president

Trade Unionists, Friends and Supporters: In what can only be described as unconditional surrender by the Republican controlled Kentucky State Senate, Senate President Robert Stivers took to the senate floor on Friday to announce that SB3 - RTW - and SB6 - Tort Reform would NOT BE voted on during this legislative session, effectively killing both bills. It is rare for the proponents of such bills to kill their own bills and it is even rarer for the President of the Senate to credit their deaths to the one factor that we all know has been holding back the onslaught of anti-worker legislation: Democrat control of the Kentucky House of Representatives, which was bolstered by the three out of four wins in the recent Special Elections. President Stivers stated clearly that "elections have consequences" and the consequences of the failure of the Republicans to win all four Special Elections and tie for control of the Kentucky House is the death of RTW and Tort Reform (as well as the previous death of Prevailing Wage repeal in the House Labor and Industry Committee) and so many other terrible pieces of legislation the Republicans had ready if they won those four critical seats.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Think voting really doesn’t matter? Talk to Bill Finn, Kentucky State Building and Construction Trades Council state director.

Because union-endorsed candidates won three of four special House elections this month, “right to work” is dead for now in the Kentucky General Assembly, Finn said.

State Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, announced Friday that the
“Kentucky Right to Work Act,” Senate Bill-3, “is off the table this session,” Finn added.  “The sole reason was the Democrats holding on to a majority in the state House, which the Democrats now control 53-47.”

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

“What can we do about the media when it is so anti-union?”

I hear that question all time, maybe because a lot of my union brothers and sisters know that I’m an old newspaper reporter.

Union folks in Kentucky were posing the same question more than a century ago. The Sept. 10, 1904, Ohio Valley Worker had an answer: “build up a Labor press—owned by Labor and controlled by Labor.”

 

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Found on Facebook is a regular feature by Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council, a member of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board and president of USW Local 9447 in Calvert City. Read more >>>

By SCOTTY PULLIAM

My Brothers and Sisters:

I'm sharing this with you to ask you to please read it and pass it along to every union member whose email address you may possess. I want to make sure all of our members know and understand what a lying, stinking piece of anti-union garbage Rand Paul is in reality.

This is the reason I got on his mailing list because you won't hear this kind of vicious rhetoric in any of his public speeches. His public face is designed to give people the impression that he is a reasonable guy. It's all a big lie. Please share this with as many people as possible so we'll be ready to dump this despicable bum in November.
 

 

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Found on Facebook is a regular feature by Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council, a member of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board and president of USW Local 9447 in Calvert City. Read more >>>

By BILL FINN
State Director, Kentucky State Building and Construction Trades Council


On January 26, HB-303, Gov. Bevin’s budget proposal, was filed. Included in the Governor’s budget proposal is language that prohibits the Kentucky Prevailing Wage Law to be implemented on any expenditure from state government.

On March 8, House Floor Amendment 3 was filed by Rep. Jill York to remove the prevailing wage language from the Governor’s proposal.

On March 14, the minority House Republicans submitted their budget proposal, HFA-4, which also removed the language regarding the prohibition of Kentucky’s Prevailing Wage Law.

 

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Samantha Bee’s new “Elected Paperweight of the Month” is Kentucky’s Republican governor. Bee hosts “Full Frontal With Samantha Bee” on TBS. To see a video, click here. Read more >>>

FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 10, 2016) – Eleven civil rights groups from across Kentucky have sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell calling on him to end the Senate Republicans’ cynical ploy to block President Obama from nominating a new justice to the Supreme Court.

The Kentucky Democratic Party is joining their call for Sen. McConnell to end the unnecessary partisan gridlock, and push Senate Republicans to do their job and hold confirmation hearings for President Obama’s nominee.

“Sen. Mitch McConnell is once again putting the Republican Party’s narrow agenda ahead of the best interests of our nation,” said Rep. Sannie Overly, Kentucky Democratic Party chairperson. “The Constitution is clear — the president has the authority to nominate a new justice to the Supreme Court. Instead of doing their job, Senate Republicans are trying to change the rules to benefit themselves.”

 

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 16, 2016) – Kentucky House Democratic Leadership has proposed a responsible budget that restores funding to education, fully funds state pension systems, both Kentucky Employees Retirement System (KERS) and the Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System (KTRS), has a debt ratio that is $76 million lower than Gov. Bevin’s proposal, all while creating the largest “Rainy Day Fund” in Kentucky History.

"The House’s budget is one that protects the future of Kentucky and puts the people of the Commonwealth first," Kentucky Democratic Party Chair Sannie Overly. "This budget also funds innovative ideas like “Work Ready Kentucky” scholarships and still manages to have less debt than the governor’s proposal."

"This budget symbolizes the principles the House Democratic Caucus stands for,: said House Speaker Greg Stumbo. "It protects and promotes education; it is fiscally responsible because it borrows less than Gov. Bevin proposed but provides more than he did for our public retirement systems, and it funds the most innovative post-secondary education plan in nearly a generation that will ease student-loan debt while increasing the size of our college-educated workforce. This is a sound budget that threads the needle in the best possible way, because it accomplishes every major goal that Democrats and Republicans alike have said is important. I don’t think it is possible to come up with anything better."

 

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Click here to see a new DeLane Adams Animoto of Saturday’s Louisville Highlands St. Patrick’s Parade. Adams is the AFL-CIO’s Southeast Region communications director.

The Animoto features photos by Berry Craig, Kentucky State AFL-CIO webmaster-editor. Photos are available free of charge from Craig at bcraig8960@gmail.com.
 

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Members of Louisville Ironworkers Local 70 earn their living erecting bridges and buildings.

Their dizzying steel-hanging demonstration wowed crowds again Saturday at the annual Highlands St. Patrick’s Parade.

The show featured a guy in a hard hat shinnying up a tall steel girder on the local’s float. When the climber reached the top, he let go and leaned backward, arms outstretched and supported only by a safety harness.

 

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Found on Facebook is a regular feature by Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council, a member of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board and president of USW Local 9447 in Calvert City. Read more >>>

By LAURA CLAWSON

To see the original post, click here.

TThe Trump International Hotel Las Vegas recently lost its claim that workers were intimidated by the Culinary Workers Union into voting to join the union. Now the hotel faces a National Labor Relations Board complaint for just the kind of thing it claimed (falsely) that the union was doing: Telling workers they’d get favorable treatment if they rejected the union and firing or holding back union supporters.

Specifically, the complaint alleges that a hotel labor consultant told employees last year that the Culinary would not help them and said “it would be futile for them to select the union as their bargaining representative.” The consultant also guaranteed “job opportunities to transfer to different positions” if workers stopped supporting the union, according to the complaint.

The complaint says those alleged actions mean the hotel “has been interfering with, restraining and coercing” workers exercising rights guaranteed by law.

 

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By MARY B. POTTER
Editor, West Kentucky Journal

To see the original post, click here.

Before Tuesday's special election to fill two House seats vacated by Democratic legislators lured away by Governor Bevin and two GOP seats open because of victories last November in the State Auditor and Agriculture Commissioner's races, Frankfort Democrats worried that a GOP sweep could create a deadlocked House (and encourage fence sitters to cross the aisle from blue to red).

After Tuesday's special election, they may still be celebrating winning three out of four open House seats in Tuesday's special election. One race in the Pennyrile region illustrated how a campaign that blends volunteers, fundraising with state and federal support can be successful.

The race for 8th District House Seat with precincts in Trigg County and Christian County resulted in 59% healthy margin of victory for the Democratic candidate. The win, according to several activists was the result of hard work on the part of the candidate, his team, state legislators and youth, education and labor volunteers.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

House leaders say union support was vital to the Democrats’ big win in in Tuesday’s special elections.

Kentucky State AFL-CIO-endorsed Democrats won three of four races, boosting the party’s majority to 53-47.

“I don’t think you can overstate just how important organized labor was in the special elections,” said Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg.
 

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Found on Facebook is a regular feature by Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council, a member of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board and president of USW Local 9447 in Calvert City. Read more >>>

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Gail Hardy has volunteered in more political campaigns than she can remember.

“I have not seen a candidate work as hard as Jeff Taylor and his team in the last 25 years,” said the retired Cadiz teacher and Kentucky Education Association and Democratic party activist.

Taylor, a retired Tennessee Valley Authority senior project manager for economic development from Hopkinsville, was one of three union-endorsed Democrats who won special elections to the state House of Representatives Tuesday.

 

 

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Congratulations to Democrats Jeff Taylor, Chuck Tackett and Lew Nicholls. This version of  "Happy Days Are Here Again!," the unofficial party anthem--and FDR's grand old 1932 campaign song--is for you. So come on, brothers and sisters, SING ALONG!


  

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 8, 2016) – "Kentuckians have spoken, and these victories are a repudiation of Gov. Bevin's efforts to dismantle public education and healthcare," said Kentucky Democratic Party Chair Sannie Overly. "Trying to dismantle Kynect, which has helped more than half a million Kentuckians obtain health insurance, is a perfect example of the bad decisions Bevin is making that will hurt the people of the Commonwealth. These candidates won because they are all good leaders – and they will serve Kentucky well. Tonight is not just a victory for them, but it is a victory for every Kentuckian."

"We are grateful and humbled by the resounding victories tonight that our candidates accomplished all across Kentucky," said House Speaker Greg Stumbo. "When Democrats stand up for education, health care, for protecting senior citizens, we win. These elections tonight clearly show the House Democratic agenda, especially protecting public education and making kids work ready for the 21st century, is accepted by voters in Kentucky in the East, in the West, and Central Kentucky."

"Tonight represents a win not only for the Democratic Party but for Kentucky families," said Attorney General Andy Beshear. "Families disagree with balancing the budget on the backs of elementary students through cuts to Family Resource and Youth Services Centers and other programs. They disagree with draconian cuts to higher education that make college even less affordable for working families. And they disagree with taking healthcare away from our friends and neighbors who need it the most."

 

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By BILL FINN
State Director, Kentucky State Building and Construction Trades Council

Kentucky’s Building Trades members had an unprecedented victory with 3 of the 4 Special Elections for the 4 Open House Seats in Kentucky. The tide has shifted for the assault on Working Families in Kentucky. With victories in HD- 8 Jeff Taylor, HD-62

Chuck Tackett and HD-98 Lew Nicholls, the Democrats have improved upon a 50-46 majority to a 53-47 majority in the Kentucky House.

A clear message has been sent to Governor Bevin and the Republicans in Frankfort that the divisive social and religious issues in Kentucky are not foremost on the minds of Kentucky’s working families. It’s about jobs, education, health care, pensions, safety and opportunity. Attacks on prevailing wage and enacting a “right-to-work” law have continued to be brought on our members and tonight Kentuckians clearly spoke at the ballot box.

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Labor-endorsed Democrats have won three of four special elections for the Kentucky House of Representatives, the only legislative chamber in the South Republicans don't control.

“These elections were a repudiation of Gov. Matt Bevin’s anti-worker policies and a rejection of the Republicans’ continuing effort to ‘flip the House’ as they call it,” said Bill Londrigan, Kentucky State AFL-CIO president.

Jeff Taylor, Chuck Tackett and Lew Nicholls will be heading to Frankfort to boost the Democrats’ House majority to 53-47.
 

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By BILL LONDRIGAN
Trade Unionists, Friends and Supporters:

TOMORROW is SPECIAL ELECTIONS Day in the following four House Districts:

HD 8 - Christian and part of Trigg Counties - Jeff Taylor - endorsed candidate
HD 54 - Boyle and Casey Counties - Bill Noelker - endorsed candidate
HD 62 - Scott and Owen Counties - Chuck Tackett - endorsed candidate
HD 98 - Greenup and part of Boyd Counties - Lew Nicholls - endorsed candidate

 

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EDITOR' S NOTE: The Kentucky State AFL-CIO has endorsed all four Democrats running in the special elections.

Gov. Bevin and his buddies want a rubber stamp. But it’s our job to make sure that doesn’t happen. Vote tomorrow in the Special Election in Kentucky House Districts 8, 54, 62 and 98.

First – Can you vote tomorrow?

Click here to see if you are in House District 8, 54, 62 or 98.

We have great candidates:

Chuck Tackett is running in District 62: Owen, Scott and part of Fayette
Jeff Taylor is running in District 8: Christian and Trigg
Bill Noelker is running in District 54: Boyle and Casey
Lew Nicholls is running in District 98: Greenup and Boyd Counties
What is at stake?

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

A Republican attack ad claims the four Democrats running in Tuesday’s special elections are all in for “destroying coal jobs” as part of President Obama’s “war on coal.”

There is a war in the coalfields. But anti-union Republicans are waging it against miners.

One of the Republicans, Sen. Chris Girdler of Somerset, has opened the latest battlefront in Frankfort by proposing legislation under which the state would quit inspecting mines for safety violations.

 

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By JIM HIGHTOWER ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

To see the original post, click here.

Antonin Scalia is gone. The nastiest and noisiest of right-wingers on the Supreme Court is dead.

But he can't be any more brain dead than Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader of the U.S. Senate. In a blatantly partisan ploy to prevent President Obama from nominating a successor to Scalia, McConnell has cited a historical precedent dictating that presidents who are in the last year of their term do not name new justices to the high court. "Therefore," he babbled, "this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president."

What a silly old squirrel McConnell is! Article II of the U.S. Constitution plainly states that the president "shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint ... Judges of the Supreme Court." Note that the Constitution says the president "shall" do this — as a duty to the nation. Nothing in the founding document suggests that this power and duty is voided in an election year. In fact, 13 Supreme Court nominations have been made in presidential election years, and the Senate took action on 11 of them. McConnell's assertion is bogus (and silly), for history and the Constitution clearly back Obama.

 

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

If you pack a union card and live where there’s a special election Tuesday, Matt Bevin wants to you go any place but to the polls.

Kentucky’s tea party Republican governor knows that the lower the turnout, the higher the chances for a GOP sweep.

Bevin claims his win Nov. 3 was a mandate. But turnout was less than 31 percent. In other words, about 16 percent of eligible voters made him governor.

 

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By BILL LONDRIGAN
Kentucky State AFL-CIO president

Trade Unionists, Friends and Supporters: There are just four short days to go before the critical Special Elections on Tuesday, March 8th and WE NEED YOUR HELP!! We need you to continue to reach out to union members and their families to motivate them to get to the polls on Tuesday.
 

Our grassroots efforts are in full swing and we have identified union supporters that we need to get to the polls on Tuesday. As you know, these are Special Elections with historically low turnout and the UNION VOTE will make the difference. So we need to make a final push in order to elect our endorsed candidates in each of these districts. Below is information on how you and your members can get involved and help us win for working families on Tuesday.

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

“Voters in Tuesday’s special election for Kentucky House District 62 should not be fooled by an ad from the Kentucky Opportunity Coalition, a dark-money outfit that was started to support Sen. Mitch McConnell’s 2014 campaign,” warns a Lexington Herald-Leader editorial.

Likewise, voters in House District 98 ought to be wary of Republican Tony Quillen's promise to oppose “right to work” and prevailing wage repeal. If he wins, he might have to eat his words, but more on that in a minute.

In District 62, Democrat Chuck Tackett is battling Republican Phillip Pratt.

 

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By RETIII

To see the original post, click here.

Recent reports indicate that Democrats likely will face a significant third party challenge in the next general election, with such third party members committed to enabling an agenda that would, among other things:

-- slash taxes on the wealthy and corporations, and increase taxes on the poorer
-- cement Republican control over the Supreme Court for decades
-- repeal the Affordable Care Act and return to a growing population of uninsureds

 

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By ANDREW KACZYNSKI

Click here to see the story.

In his speech after his victory on Super Tuesday Republican frontrunner Donald Trump said he’d stop American jobs from moving overseas and win minority votes by bringing jobs back.
 

“I’m going to do great with virtually every group,” stated Trump. “The reason is I’m going to bring jobs back.”
 

Back in the days of Trump’s blog on the website of his now-defunct Trump University website, however, he wrote a post in defense of outsourcing titled, “Outsourcing Creates Jobs in the Long Run.”
 

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Unions are seeking volunteers for a final Saturday get-out-the-vote push for the quartet of labor-endorsed Democrats in the special elections for the state House of Representatives.

Tuesday is election day.

“Please try and find any time you have available to volunteer to help get-out-the-vote among our members for the labor-endorsed candidates,” urged Bill Finn, Kentucky State Building and Construction Trades Council state director.

 

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By JONI JENKINS

To see the original story, click here.

Along with other elected officials, I have reflected much on the intersection of faith and politics. As a person of faith, I cannot totally divorce that part of myself when I walk into the governmental/political arena.

While my Christianity influences every personal and political decision I make, I have been hesitant to publicly reference my faith in performing my governmental duties.

As an adult, I joined the United Church of Christ, a denomination noted for its many firsts — the first to ordain women, persons of color and persons of diverse sexual orientation — and because it spoke to my beliefs of social justice and God’s abundant love. The UCC is just one of the many mainstream protestant Christian churches that share these doctrines.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

I just put my cyber-signature on the “Voting Blue—No Matter Who” online petition

“As the 2016 elections heat up, Democrats look forward to winning in November,” the petition says. “Voter debates during primary season are expected—but after a nominee is chosen, we party-up, unify, and grow stronger.” 

Another way to put that is the old union expression, “United We Stand, Divided We Beg.” Divided we get union-busters Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, John Kasich or Ben Carson, the Republican hopefuls left.
 

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Found on Facebook is a regular feature by Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council, a member of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board and president of USW Local 9447 in Calvert City. Read more >>>

EDITOR'S NOTE: Gov. Matt Bevin is a Scott Walker fan. Bevin favors RTW, too.

By capper

To see the original post, click here.

Governing is reporting the depressing news that West Virginia became the 26th state to pass the so-called Right to Work law. It also reports that Republican gubernatorial candidates are stumping on the promise to also attack the workers in their respective states.

Let Wisconsin serve as a warning to these states on the real effects of these Wage Theft laws.

Five years ago, Scott Walker and the other Republican meatpuppets passed Act 10, which is nothing more than RTW for public sector workers. Last year, they attacked the private sector by passing RTW for them as well. Each time, they promised that it would bring more high paying jobs to the state and Wisconsin would be the land of plenty.

 

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By BILL LONDRIGAN
President, Kentucky State AFL-CIO


As you know, there are four special elections scheduled for Tuesday, March 8th to fill vacated seats in House Districts 8, 54, 62 & and 98.

Some familiar phrases come to mind in describing these special elections: "for all the marbles" - "do or die" - "now or never" -"sink or swim," -etc. Each accurately describes the situation that workers and unions face at the present moment.

Our opponents have pinned their hopes of taking control of the Kentucky House of Representatives--the only legislative chamber in the entire South that is not controlled by Republicans--on winning these four Special Elections. But we have news for them - labor and our allies are not going to let this happen!!

 

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Found on Facebook is a regular feature by Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council, a member of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board and president of USW Local 9447 in Calvert City. Read more >>>

 Our friend Jim Pence at Hillbilly Report sent us a special graphic he created: Read more >>>

They're using robocalls and volunteers to drum up support.

By CHRISTINA WILLKIE
National Reporter

To see the original post, click here.

As the Republican presidential primary moves into the American south, white supremacist groups are working to mobilize racists to get out the vote for Donald Trump.

On Wednesday, David Duke, the white nationalist and former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard, encouraged his radio show listeners to volunteer for Trump's campaign. "Call Donald Trump’s headquarters [and] volunteer," he said on the "David Duke Radio Program." At Trump campaign offices, he said, "you’re gonna meet people who are going to have the same kind of mindset that you have.”

In Minnesota and Vermont, a white supremacist super PAC called the American National Super PAC has begun circulating a robocall in support of Trump.

 

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Click here to see another great Animoto from DeLane Adams -- this one highlighting our Kentucky State AFL-CIO endorsed candidates on March 8: Jeff Taylor, Bill Noelker, Chuck Tackett and Lew Nicholls.  Read more >>>

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

I went to the Kentucky secretary of state’s webpage and clicked on “March 8, 2016 Special Election.”

I found the names of eight candidates, Barack Obama not among them. But you wouldn’t know that from ads Republicans are running against the four Democrats.

One web ad calls them “Team Obama.”

 

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Found on Facebook is a regular feature by Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council, a member of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board and president of USW Local 9447 in Calvert City. Read more >>>

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360


This from a Democratic state legislator from rural western Kentucky:

“A card-carrying union member told me that he recognized that he had voted [for Gov. Matt Bevin] against his pocket book. But he said from the teachings of his church, it was his responsibility to put God first—ahead of his pocket book, his family and everything else.”

This from The Mind of the South (1941) by W.J. Cash:

 

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From Tom Waldrop, a partner in Trifecta Real Estate Services in Mayfield:

I think I have a unique perspective. I actually paid prevailing wage when we built the VA clinic in front of Walmart. Not from the perspective of a School Board member or city official, this money came out of my pocket. It was the most pleasant building experience we ever had, came in complete prior to the deadline, under budget, despite missing 10 days of no power due to the 2009 ice storm. When you pay good wages, you get the brightest and the best. Every single trade worked together and we got a great product. I can only hope the schools and public projects are as successful.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Gov. Matt Bevin is a big fan of Scott Walker. He touted Wisconsin’s governor on “The Glenn Beck Show.” Walker "has fundamentally transformed" the Badger State, Bevin told Beck. “You just start putting the correct principles in, and jobs come rolling in and your debt goes away,” Bevin added. “And things just turn around.”

To see the editorial in its original form, click here.

What’s a politician to do after his ballyhooed campaign for the Republican presidential nomination flames out before the first vote is cast? In the case of Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, it means returning home to the anti-labor obsession that got him noticed in the first place — and signing into law, less than two weeks ago, a “reform” plan that promises to gut much of the state’s historic Civil Service system.

Gone are objective Civil Service examinations; instead, as of July, hiring for state jobs will be based on résumés and the impressions they leave on administrators perusing them. Gone, too, is seniority as a bulwark for job protection; administrators will now be able to do layoffs based on subjective evaluations of a worker’s job performance.

New hires who had six months’ probation will now be under a two-year watch in which to please their masters. And should anyone wonder where the power lies in this “streamlined” system, the law centralizes hiring decisions firmly in the governor’s administrative office, with a new system of merit bonuses at the ready.

 

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Found on Facebook is a regular feature by Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council, a member of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board and president of USW Local 9447 in Calvert City. Read more >>>

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Kentucky State AFL-CIO endorsed Nicholls.

BY JACK BRAMMER
jbrammer@herald-leader.com

To see the original story, click here.

The two candidates in a March 8 special House election in northeastern Kentucky got hooked on politics in different ways.

Democrat Lew Nicholls of Greenup was a page in the state House when his late father served in the chamber in the early 1960s. Republican Tony Quillen, also of Greenup, was mesmerized by the stories he heard from local politicians while pumping their gas at his father’s Mayberry-type service station.

Nicholls became a district and circuit court judge. Quillen, a consultant with an engineering company, has been on the Greenup County Commission the past 18 years.

 

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By SUSIE MEISTER

To see the original post, click here.

It was January 20, 2001, and I was at George W. Bush’s inaugural ball. I had spent months campaigning for him, and it had not been easy. After the Florida electoral debacle complete with “hanging chads,” Katherine Harris (and her fifteen minutes of shame), and ultimately the Supreme Court’s Bush v. Gore decision, I was finally enjoying the fruits of my labor as I celebrated the new president that I worked to get elected.

My role in the campaign wasn’t glamorous, but I was a twenty-year-old political science, religious studies double major who saw this election as the beginning of my work for the Right. I had recently appeared on MTV’s reality show, Road Rules, where I represented the worldview of conservative evangelicals in all its virginal, Christian glory in a very public way (complete with an episode detailing my “downward spiral” that amounted to me swearing once and stealing a pair of bowling shoes). Now I wanted to turn my moment in the spotlight into something meaningful.

During the campaign, I attended Young Republican meetings, drove Bush’s trusted advisors, Andrew Card and Karen Hughes, in the motorcade when they came to town, and now I was working the inaugural ball as the celebrity handler for special guest, Drew Carey. During the evening, he admitted that he wasn’t actually a Republican, but a libertarian. “Good enough,” I thought to myself, “As long as he isn’t one of ‘those liberals.’” I believed my involvement in the campaign was just the beginning of my efforts to promote the conservative movement and perhaps my own career as well.
 

 

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The Democratic party of Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties recently honored the Northern Kentucky Central Labor Council with a plaque thanking the union organization for its “unyielding commitment to Democratic values and principles.”

CLC delegates received the plaque at the tri-county party’s first annual Northern Kentucky Awards Dinner on the campus of Northern Kentucky University at Highland Heights.

Accepting the award on behalf of the labor body was CLC President Tim Donoghue, who is retired from CWA Local 4400, and delegate Jim Cole, IBEW Local 212.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360


A veteran Kentucky labor leader wants a “right to belong” law.

“The Republicans and the chamber of commerce have been pushing ‘right to work’ legislation in all these states, but what we need is ‘right to belong’ legislation,” said

Jeff Wiggins, a member of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO executive board.
Wiggins, who is also president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council, said a lot of Republicans belong to the chamber of commerce, the country clubs and business-friendly groups like Rotary.
 

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By ALLISON PRANG and JOHN McDERMOTT

To see the original story, click here.

Boeing Co. and labor unions are a couple of hot business topics in South Carolina.

Presidential hopeful Donald Trump has broached both while campaigning in the Palmetto State this week, while also throwing China into the mix.

The Republican candidate made the bold if improbable prediction that Boeing, one of South Carolina’s biggest manufacturers, could shift all of its plane-making operations to China in short order unless he’s elected as the nation’s chief executive. The company builds the 787 Dreamliner in North Charleston and employs more than 7,500 workers in the region.

 

 

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Found on Facebook is a regular feature by Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council, a member of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board and president of USW Local 9447 in Calvert City. Read more >>>

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Machinist Howard “Bubba” Dawes is for Hillary Clinton. Fitter Greg Stevens is leaning toward Bernie Sanders. Electrician Jimmy Evans “really isn’t picking sides right now.”

But the three veteran trade unionists from western Kentucky agree they’ll support whoever wins the Democratic nomination.

Keeping the White House Democratic is what matters most to them.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Will the real Mitch McConnell please stand up?

(I was big fan of the old "To Tell  the Truth"  TV show.)  

“The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President,” the senate majority said in a statement right after the unexpected death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia.
 

 

 

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Seems Mitch McConnell was OK with George W. Bush nominating judges in 2008 during a presidential election year.

Check out his video clip: Supreme Court: Mitch McConnell Wants It Both Ways.

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By ADAM EDELEN

To see the original article, click here.

Kentucky is headed the wrong way, down a dangerous road.

The prevailing sentiment in Frankfort these days is that we can somehow take a shortcut to prosperity. That by cutting education, reducing workers’ wages and protections and eliminating access to health care for people who work for a living, we can best move Kentucky forward.

Such thinking is a fiction.

 

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By STATE REP. REGINALD MEEKS, D-Louisville

I believe this was the week many realized ‘they could’ve had a V 8’! You know the commercial. The one where the light bulb goes off in the lady’s head and she suddenly realizes there was a smarter way than eating a boatload of raw veggies to get all those vitamins she needed – by having a drink of V 8 juice.

It seems that cabinets, agencies, offices, departments, and institutions from Pikeville to Paducah are floundering, trying to figure out how to meet Governor Bevin’s call for 4.5 percent budget cuts between now and June, and 9 percent budget cuts in fiscal year ’17. After all, he left those heavy decisions on their desks, even though so many of them are completely new to government. Indeed, public employees, their families, service providers, teachers, law enforcement personnel, and others appear shocked as they have begun to see what these cuts really mean and how they will impact their ability to do their jobs.

The House has begun its due diligence to: (1) learn the details of this proposed budget, (2) hear from those making decisions on where to recommend cuts, and (3) develop agreement with each other on what the Commonwealth can and cannot live with in terms of those recommendations. Of course, there is much more to this than space allows, but you get the point. This is not going to be pretty…
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By JOE SONKA

To see the original story, click here.

Former state Auditor Adam Edelen and popular Kentucky Sports Radio host Matt Jones are forming a new political organization outside the Kentucky Democratic Party to “do the work that the party should be doing, but doesn’t know how to,” according to a source familiar with the formation of the group.

Jones declined to comment about the group to IL and Edelen did not return an email and phone call, but our source says the two decided to form the group because the state party is failing to effectively fight for Democrats and has long been run by a “good old boy” network that has alienated them.

The yet-to-be-named organization is to mount a 120-county strategy to do organization and outreach in every part of the state, regardless of its political makeup. It has nearly completed a 20-member executive committee made up of three to four sitting state legislators, some local elected officials, and prominent individuals from outside the political sphere — with these members coming from all corners of the state and with interests in a wide array of public policy.

 

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By BILL FINN
State Director, Kentucky State Building and Construction Trades Council

Please read the West Virginia Building Trades update of last week’s action by their General Assembly. Republican majorities in the House and Senate repealed prevailing wage and voted to make West Virginia a "right-to-work" state. Democratic Governor Tomblin vetoed both measures but they overrode his vetoes last Friday with a simple majority (same as Kentucky’s law).

This will be Kentucky’s future if we don’t elect Democrats in the House special elections on March 8 and in the November election for the Kentucky House. Republican leaders in the Senate, House and the governor's office have made clear these same intentions. Please vow to contact our members in Districts 8, 54, 62 and 98 to elect the labor endorsed Democrats in these special elections. We need all hands on-deck to survive the assault on labor in this terrible political climate.

From: Steve White [mailto:stevewhite@actwv.org]
Sent: Friday, February 12, 2016 2:21 PM
To: Dave Efaw
Subject: Legislative Update 2/12/16

 

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To read the original editorial, click here.

The news of Justice Antonin Scalia’s death was barely an hour old when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared that President Barack Obama should not appoint anyone to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court.

McConnell’s action is jarring on at least two counts.

First, there’s the general churlishness of so quickly using an unexpected death to pick a political fight. While others were issuing statements of condolence, McConnell was angling for advantage.

 

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Found on Facebook is a regular feature by Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council, a member of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board and president of USW Local 9447 in Calvert City. Read more >>>

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Ron Leach, the ex-Green Beret running for the U.S. senate in Kentucky, says some people are surprised to hear he’s a Democrat.

“We’ve got a volunteer army that primarily comes from lower middle class and poor families,” he replies. “There is a desire to serve, of course.

“But for many, it’s a chance to get a leg up. When they return home, whether after a short enlistment or a career, they should have the expectation of earning a living wage for their families. They should have the expectation of affordable health care and of getting an education for themselves or their children.

 

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By BILL FINN
State Director, Kentucky State Building and Construction Trades Council

February 16 is day 28 of the 60-day legislative Session.

Republicans hold a 27-11 majority in the Senate. Democrats hold a 50-46 majority in the House. There are four crucial special elections for the four Open House seats on March 8.

Please help volunteer your time and recruit others to help win these Special Elections. The list of bills below confirms who stands with Kentucky’s Building Trades members:

 

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State Rep. Mary Lou Marzian said her bill aims to show anti-abortion advocates another side of government involvement in the bedroom.

By DAVID MOYE
Reporter, The Huffington Post


To see the original story, click here.

Call it the "What's good for the goose is good for the gander" bill.

A female Kentucky state legislator has introduced a bill that would require men who want to use erectile dysfunction drugs like Cialis, Viagra or Levitra to get a note from their wife first. Then they'd have to make two visits to a doctor and promise to only take the pills before sex with a spouse.

Kentucky Rep. Mary Lou Marzian (D) introduced the bill on Thursday as a way to protect men's health and ensure they are informed about a drug with potentially dangerous side effects, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

 

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By JUDITH E. SCHAEFFER

To see the original post, click here.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) immediate reaction on Saturday to the news of the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was a knee jerk, hyper-partisan announcement, an obstructionist claim that the Senate should not act on any nominee submitted by President Obama but instead should leave the Court short-handed for at least a year. According to McConnell, "The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President."

McConnell has it all wrong. The American people have already had "a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice." In 2012, Americans went to the polls and re-elected Barack Obama as President, giving him the constitutional responsibility to submit nominations for any judicial vacancies occurring during his term in office, including Supreme Court vacancies. Senators have a similar constitutional obligation to advise and consent on nominees. They are free to reject an Obama nominee on the merits if they deem that person unfit, but the assertion that this entire year has become off-limits to filling a Supreme Court vacancy has no constitutional basis; it would also harm the Court itself as well as devalue the votes cast for Mr. Obama in 2012.

In 2012, President Obama was of course re-elected to a four-year term, not a three-year term as McConnell is trying to make it. In fact, by McConnell's "logic," no President in his or her second term should be permitted to fill any Supreme Court vacancy. Why would it have mattered if Justice Scalia had passed away a few months ago, or a year ago? Why not wait for the next President to be elected, and give the people "a voice" in the selection of the new Justice?

 

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Found on Facebook is a regular feature by Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council, a member of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board and president of USW Local 9447 in Calvert City. Read more >>>

By JOHN CHEVES

jcheves@herald-leader.com

To see the original story, click here.

FRANKFORT -- An “outraged” Attorney General Andy Beshear said Thursday he will try to defend a consumer-protection law challenged by the life insurance industry.

On Monday, Gov. Matt Bevin’s Department of Insurance dropped the state’s legal defense of the Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits Act, which was being challenged by three insurance carriers owned by Kemper Corp. of St. Louis, Mo. Oral arguments in the case were scheduled for Friday at the Kentucky Supreme Court.

The law requires insurance companies to make “good faith efforts,” using public death records, to determine if policyholders have died so their benefits can be paid. Under former Gov. Steve Beshear — the attorney general’s father — the state argued that the law should apply to policies in effect when the law passed in 2012. The insurance companies sued, calling that a retroactive rewriting of their contract terms.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360


Jeff Taylor says “left to work” is a better name for “right to work.”

“What ‘right to work’ really means is ‘left out in the cold with less pay,’” said the labor-endorsed Democrat from Hopkinsville who is running in the March 8 special election for the vacant seat in House District 8, which includes Christian County and part of Trigg County.

Taylor is a retired Tennessee Valley Authority senior project manager for economic development. His GOP opponent is Walker Wood Thomas, a former city council member in Hopkinsville, the Christian County seat.

 

 

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To see the original editorial, click here.

In late 2014, when Warren County became the first in Kentucky to enact a local right-to-work law, there were assurances that the legal costs would be picked up by a Florida-based group, Protect My Check.

Since then, 11 other counties have enacted similar anti-union ordinances, which a federal judge in Louisville last week ruled are illegal.

The ruling came in a challenge brought by a union to Hardin County’s ordinance. U.S. District Judge David Hale shredded every argument offered by Hardin County and others who filed briefs on behalf of local right-to-work laws, which ban labor agreements requiring employees to join or pay dues to a union.

 

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By JOHN CHEVES

jcheves@herald-leader.com

To read the original story, click here.

FRANKFORT -- Gov. Matt Bevin’s new insurance commissioner this week dropped Kentucky’s legal defense of a 2012 consumer-protection law intended to help life insurance beneficiaries.

The Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits Act requires insurance companies to make “good faith efforts,” using public death records, to determine if policyholders have died so their benefits can be paid. Several insurance companies owned by Kemper Corp. of St. Louis, Mo., sued the state in 2012 to argue that the law should not apply retroactively to their thousands of existing policies in Kentucky.

Attorneys for Insurance Commissioner H. Brian Maynard — a former life insurance executive — on Monday filed a motion to dismiss their previously aggressive defense of the law before the Kentucky Supreme Court. Oral arguments in the case were scheduled for Friday at the high court. The state prevailed in Franklin Circuit Court, but the companies won at the Kentucky Court of Appeals.

 

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The Louisville Metro Council will convene today to vote on an ordinance that will violate Article 14 of the CWA/BST bargaining agreement. The ordinance will allow non-CWA workers (contractors) to begin rearranging sections of our network infrastructure to make room for Google fiber.

CWA Local 3310 would encourage all of our fellow Louisvillians to patronize AT&T, because AT&T is the only option in our city for high speed internet access, mobile telephones & tablets, television & traditional telephone services that are supplied by highly skilled workers who are protected under bargained labor agreements. However, that doesn't mean that we are opposed to the competition that a company like Google would provide. After all, with competition, prices tend be lower and it drives companies to provide a better customer experience. With that being said, CWA opposes this ordinance in its current form because it would allow the blatant violation of contractual language that has been fought for by generations of telephone workers. This is an example of government overreaching its bounds to inflict its will upon its own citizens and causing harm upon a minority for the alleged prosperity of the greater good!

We need the help of each and every person that we are able to reach with this message. Please call your city councilperson to express to them that the government of this city should not be in the business of willfully violating a legal agreement between the constituents of our city and their employer!

 

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To see the original post with links, click here.

Is a vote for Republicans here in Kentucky a vote for Comcast?

What does the Republican State Leadership Committee and Comcast have in common? Well for starters, according to Open Secrets, Comcast contributed $377,964 to the Republican State Leadership Committee. And the Republican State Leadership Committee is working to flip the Kentucky House of Representatives from Democrat to Republican.

Does anyone really believe Comcast would hand over $377,964 to the Republican State Leadership Committee and not expect anything in return?

Comcast has already started playing games with their data usage plans here in Kentucky.

 

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Found on Facebook is a regular feature by Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council, a member of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board and president of USW Local 9447 in Calvert City. Read more >>>

Despite bipartisan support for a plan to save the workers' retirement and healthcare, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stands in the way.

By JOBY WARRICK AND LYDIA DePILLIS

To see the original story, click here.

When Sen. Mitch McConnell strode into the Capitol for last month’s State of the Union speech, he took with him a guest whose presence was sure to be seen as a slap against the Obama administration and its policies on coal.

“I brought along this unemployed coal miner here,” McConnell (R-Ky.) said, gesturing to fourth-generation mineworker Howard Abshire, “to see the person who put him out of work.”

The Senate majority leader said he wanted to call attention to President Obama’s “heartless” regulations that he argues have devastated communities in Abshire’s native eastern Kentucky. Yet just weeks earlier, McConnell’s office had delivered its own blow to Appalachian coal towns: It blocked efforts to rescue health and pension funds on which thousands of retired and disabled miners rely.

 

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The Associated Press

FRANKFORT -- Federal officials say Kentucky could have to return more than $57 million in unused grant money because of Republican Gov. Matt Bevin's decision to dismantle Kynect.

The federal government gave Kentucky a $289 million federal grant to plan and establish Kynect, a health exchange where Kentuckians can buy private insurance plans with the help of a federal subsidy. State officials have spent all of it except for $57.5 million.

A letter from acting administrator Andrew Slavitt of the federal Department of Health and Human Services to Bevin last month says that state officials cannot use that money to move the state to the federal exchange. The money would have to be returned.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

The other day, I heard a Democratic candidate for the state House of Representatives tell about some public grade school teachers who are sorry they voted for Republican Gov. Matt Bevin.

His daughter teaches with the teachers who evidently have a bad case of buyer’s remorse.

“She told me she went to school the day after the election, and they were all up in arms over what Mr. Bevin wants to do with their retirement,” the House hopeful said. “They wanted to organize and go to Frankfort and lobby Mr. Bevin.”

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360


Jeff Taylor thinks he’s rattling the Republicans.

“If that’s all they’ve got, good luck to them,” said Taylor in response to a new Republican State Leadership Committee website that ties him and the three other Democratic candidates in the March 8 special House elections to President Barack Obama.

Taylor, a Hopkinsville Democrat, faces Republican Walker Wood Thomas, also of Hopkinsville, in the western Kentucky Eighth District. It encompasses Christian County, of which Hopkinsville is the seat, and part of adjoining Trigg County.

 

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To see the post, click here.

If you’re a Democrat in Kentucky I suggest you should take the time to know and understand the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) because they’re about to get very busy here in Kentucky. They’ve already fired up a website called “STAND AGAINST TEAM OBAMA” with a link to our site. This is what they write on their site: "Taylor doesn’t bother hiding it: 'So go ahead and ask me, ‘Did I vote for Barack Obama? Heck yes, twice.'” The Hillbilly Report, January 18, 2016.

The Republican State Leadership Committee’s article is referring to Jeff Taylor Democratic candidate for House District 8 in Western Kentucky.

...The Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) is serious about taking over the Kentucky State House of Representatives and like I’ve said they’ve already started.

 

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One of the most disturbing proposals in Frankfort is the push for charter schools. All of us who have benefitted from public schools know we never would have succeeded in life without free public education, qualified and dedicated teachers, and the opportunity to mix with students from different religious, racial, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds.

Charter schools are for profit. They are pushed by corporations and right-wing foundations. Schools should not be business opportunities.

Louisiana and Ohio have led the charter movement for business, religious and racial reasons. They have taken public funds and promoted their political and social agendas. They even use public bus money to transport their selected students to schools that offer no science, lack labs, often lack libraries.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG

To read the original story, click here.

Dangerous immigrants loyal to an “inflated ... despot” are imperiling our country.

Bent on foisting their “false religion” and its “anti-Christian” law on America, these fanatical foreigners are “a foe to the very principles we embody in our laws, a foe to all we hold most dear.” They are “the chief source of crime in this country” to boot.

All that bigoted baloney might sound like a Donald Trump stump speech. But it’s stock Know-Nothing boilerplate from the 1850s.

 

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Found on Facebook is a regular feature by Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council, a member of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board and president of USW Local 9447 in Calvert City. Read more >>>

Found on Facebook is a regular feature by Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council, a member of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board and president of USW Local 9447 in Calvert City. Read more >>>

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360


David Ramey says he “wouldn’t be where I am today without organized labor.”

The Murray Democrat, whose father belonged to the United Steelworkers, wants to unseat State Rep. Kenneth Imes, R-Murray.

“I am with you till the last dog dies,” Ramey told the February meeting of the Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council in Paducah. “It’s who I am and I’m not going to apologize for it.”

 

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By BRUCE SCHREINER

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - A top Republican lawmaker conceded Friday that GOP-backed legislation to ban labor unions from requiring employees to join them is unlikely to get a vote in the Kentucky House this year.

House Minority Floor Leader Jeff Hoover said many of his Republican colleagues aren’t showing a willingness to make a concerted push for “right-to-work” legislation to make union membership optional.

“It’s just not something that’s really on the top of our priority list right now,” Hoover told reporters.

 

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DeLane Adams has done it again.

Federal Judge David Hale’s decision against the dozen county “right to work” ordinances inspired him to make another Animoto, this one titled “A Win For All Kentucky’s Working Families.”

“Kentucky’s working families won when a U.S. District Court in Kentucky ruled that these so-called right to work ordinances cannot be adopted at the local level,” said Adams, the AFL-CIO’s Southern Region field communications director.
 

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By BRAD BOWMAN

To see the original story, click here.

Sen. Wil Schroder (R-Wilder) has sponsored a prevailing wage bill for two years and he’s prepared to do so again next year as a House committee struck down the bill again Thursday.

The bill would have exempted schools from paying construction workers the average benefits and wages on construction projects of $250,000 or more for educational facilities, which was a sticking point for House Democrats on the committee and a stalemate in the legislature for years.

Schroder testified before the committee with a packed room of union construction workers behind him leaving little standing room.

 

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By BILL FINN
State director, Kentucky State Building and Construction Trades Council

On Thursday February 4, over 500 Union members came to the State Capitol to let their voices be heard.

Senate Bill – 9, Prevailing Wage Repeal on Educational Facilities was heard in the House Labor and Industry Committee. Former State Director Charlie McCoy and I testified against this attempt to lower wages and benefits of Kentucky’s hard working construction workers. SB-9 died in Committee by a vote of 14-6. 

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Federal District Judge David Hale’s decision striking down Hardin County's “right to work” ordinance was a victory for Kentucky’s working families, says Bill Londrigan, president of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO.

“These illegal ordinances would have affected all working people, union and non-union, by decreasing wages, lowering median household incomes, increasing poverty and undermining workplace safety," he added.

"In short, these ordinances are wrong. The courts rejected out-of-state special interests’ attempt to take over local governments by pushing a radical outside agenda.”

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Predictably, the union-busters are in high dudgeon over Federal District Judge David Hale’s recent ruling that, in effect, invalidated a dozen county “right to work” ordinances in Kentucky. 

One of those conservative, anti-union groups griped that the ruling “not only pushes aside the will of the people as expressed through their Legislature, it completely negates the intention of this nation's founders in establishing a Constitution that empowers sovereign states and their citizens.”

 

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Loarna Rae Key was the wife of Jim Key, a member of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board, vice president of USW Local 550 and a trustee of the Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council.

Loarna Rae Key, 65, of Paducah, Kentucky, died at 4:20 a.m. Wednesday, February 3, 2016, at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee.

Loarna was a member of Lone Oak First Baptist Church. Loarna was a retired teacher from McCracken County Schools, where she was a special education teacher at Concord Elementary School. She also taught for 13 years in Illinois. She was a member of Paducah/McCracken County Retired Teachers and Kentucky Retired Teachers Association.

Loarna served as president of the Lone Oak High School Boys Basketball Boosters Association. Loarna enjoyed family and being involved in the activities that Jarad and Nikki were involved, especially basketball. She love spending time with granddaughter, Alexandra, who was born on Loarna's birthday.

Loarna is survived by her husband of 38 years, Jim Key; one daughter, Lori Nicole "Nikki" Key Murphy and husband, Josh of Atlanta, Georgia; one son, Jarad Nicklaus Key of Louisville, Kentucky; one granddaughter, Alexandra Loren Murphy; and several cousins.

Preceding her in death were parents, Loarn Leroy Shuemaker Jr. and Betty Victoria Morse Shuemaker.

Services will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, February 6, 2016, at the Tigert Memorial United Methodist Church with the Revs. Mike Williams and Stan Reid officiating. Burial will follow at Greenlawn Memorial Garden Cemetery in Villa Ridge, Illinois.

The Key family will receive family and friends from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, February 5, 2016, at the Lone Oak First Baptist Church; and from noon until service time on Saturday at the church.

Expressions of sympathy may be made to Concord Elementary School Library, 5184 Hinkleville Road, Paducah, KY 42001. You may leave a message or light a candle at milnerandorr.com.

Arrangements made by Milner & Orr Funeral of Paducah.

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BY ADAM BEAM
Associated Press

To see the original story, click here.

FRANKFORT, KY. -- Local governments in Kentucky can increase the minimum wage, but a federal judge ruled Wednesday that they can't ban labor unions from requiring employees to join them.

In competing court cases that pitted Democrats against Republicans in a pair of polarizing workplace issues, the courts have now declared them distinct.

When Louisville became the first city in Kentucky to increase its minimum wage in 2014, the next day Warren County passed a law banning mandatory labor union membership as a condition of employment — the so-called "right to work" legislation. Eventually, 11 other counties, including Hardin County, would join them.

 

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By BILL LONDRIGAN

I am pleased to let you know that U.S. District Judge David J. Hale has issued his ruling on the union lawsuit challenging the Hardin County RTW Ordinance and has ruled decisively in favor of the union plaintiffs.

Judge Hale found no merit in the arguments of defendant Hardin County and ruled in support of each argument our attorney’s presented.

Many thanks to our lawyers, both in Louisville and Washington, D.C., and the support and encouragement of so many others that made this suit possible and this very significant win for workers and unions in our Commonwealth and across the nation.

 

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Good from Bad Water

Union members have been helping out Flint, Michigan, residents during its water crisis. Read the full article>>>

By JUDD LEGUM

To see the original story, click here.

Due to the inaction of state and federal officials, thousands of people in Flint have been exposed to unsafe levels of lead in their water. Now a group of union plumber are taking matters into their own hands.

On Saturday, 300 plumbers from unions across the country descended on Flint to install new faucets and water filters for free.

Many Flint residents needed new faucets because their existing faucets were so old they could not accommodate water filters provided by the state.

 

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By PAUL L. WHALEN

To see the original story, click here.

Kentucky’s House needs to vote against passage of Senate Bill 9 which would repeal the prevailing wage for the construction workers on Kentucky school projects. Kentucky’s Senate needs to reconsider its views on the prevailing wage.

In an era of funding shortfalls, it is understandable to consider areas to cut costs. However, repealing the prevailing wage for construction workers would negatively impact their families who send their children to Kentucky’s public schools.

Prevailing is defined as the hourly wage, usual benefits and overtime paid to the majority or average of workers, laborers and mechanics within a particular geographic area.

 

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The Kentucky Working Families Legislators’ Reception is tomorrow, Feb. 2, from 5- 9 p.m. at the Buffalo Trace Clubhouse at 113 Great Buffalo Trace in Frankfort.

“Please invite legislators and we look forward to seeing those that can attend,” said Bill Londrigan, Kentucky State AFL-CIO president.

The reception is sponsored by Kentucky’s labor organizations. Cocktails and casual fare will be provided.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

The Kentucky State AFL-CIO has endorsed a quartet of Democrats in the March 8 special elections for the Kentucky House of Representatives.

The federation’s Committee on Political Education voted to back Lew Nicholls, William Noelker, Chuck Tackett and Jeff Taylor based on their “strong support of Kentucky’s hardworking men and women and” their “commitment of continued support for the Kentucky State AFL-CIO and its affiliated unions,” said Bill Londrigan, Kentucky State AFL-CIO president.

Taylor is from Hopkinsville and is seeking election in District 8 and Noelker, from Danville, is a candidate in District 54. Tackett, from Georgetown, hopes voters will elect him in District 62 and Nicholls, from Worthington, is running for the District 98 seat.

 

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By BILL LONDRIGAN

It is my sad duty to inform you of the passing of Brother Ron Harsh following a heart attack at his home in Florida.

Among many positions, Brother Harsh served as President of the Kentucky State Council of Machinists; President of the Greater Louisville Central Labor Council and District Representative for Machinists District 27, positions which he held for many years.

Ron’s wife Jeanie said that a memorial service will be held in Louisville in late April or early May. Please keep Ron and his family in your thoughts and prayers. 

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From the Kentucky Democratic Party

FRANKFORT – The State Central Executive Committee of the Kentucky Democratic Party (KDP) elected State Representative and House Majority Caucus Chair Sannie Overly to lead the party today. Chair Overly emerged as the clear choice to lead Kentucky Democrats from Paducah to Pikeville who stand up for public education, affordable health care, and working families across the Commonwealth.

“It’s an honor to be chosen as chair of our Kentucky Democratic Party, the party that I believe is most inclusive and representative of Kentucky values," Chair Sannie Overly said. "We fight for what is important to families."

"Our immediate priority is to win the four special elections next month for the Ky House. All are competitive seats and all have excellent candidates. Wins on March 8th will propel us to wins across Kentucky this November," Chair Overly said.

 

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Found on Facebook is a regular feature by Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council, a member of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board and president of USW Local 9447 in Calvert City. Read more >>>

By DAVE JAMIESON

To see the original story, click here.

WASHINGTON -- Here are some scary findings for anyone who doesn't support Donald Trump for president.

Working America, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO union federation, just spent five weeks canvassing in the Cleveland and Pittsburgh areas, focusing on likely voters who live outside the city and have household incomes at or below $75,000 (read: white and working class). The group's canvassers spoke to 1,689 people, 90 percent of whom cast ballots in 2012. While the report serves as a non-scientific "front porch focus group," rather than a representative sample of the states' voters, its findings offer a glimpse into some voters' minds.

Of the entire Democratic and Republican fields, the most popular single candidate was Donald Trump -- and it wasn't even close. Thirty-eight percent of people who had already made up their minds said they wanted to vote for the Republican real estate magnate. The candidate with the next highest share was Democrat Hillary Clinton, with 22 percent.

 

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By NEIL H. BUCHANAN

To see the original story, click here.

In early 2015, a remarkable thing happened. Mainstream liberal opinion makers suddenly decided that labor unions do good things, and that they are worthy of the public’s support. Last February, the Editorial Board of The New York Times sadly described America as “a nation where the long decline in unions has led to a pervasive slump in wages,” and they worried about the ongoing struggle between “pro- and anti-union forces,” noting that “Republicans’ support for anti-union legislation is at odds with their professed commitments to helping the middle class.”

The previous week, the Times op-ed contributor Nicholas Kristof had operatically outed himself as a born-again supporter of labor unions. Saying that, “[l]ike many Americans, I’ve been wary of labor unions,” Kristof first repeated some carefully distorted anti-union anecdotes, but then he announced: “I was wrong. . . . [A]s unions wane in American life, it’s also increasingly clear that they were doing a lot of good in sustaining middle class life.”

This new theme has now become prominent in the Times and elsewhere, with (among many examples) another Editorial Board piece in October extolling the role of union power in raising the wages of automotive workers and in pushing for a higher minimum wage, as well as occasional guest op-eds (e.g., here and here) making similar points. Suddenly, it is acceptable for mainstream liberals to say that they support unions.

 

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By JACK BRAMMER AND JOHN CHEVES

jbrammer@herald-leader.com

To see the original story, click here.

FRANKFORT -- Tucked inside Gov. Matt Bevin’s state budget bill is language that would suspend prevailing wage on public works projects and end state funding for Planned Parenthood clinics, two hot-button items for Republicans that are bottled up in the legislative process.

House Bill 303, filed late Wednesday, also would drain $500 million from the Public Employee Health Insurance Trust Fund, a self-insurance fund for 260,000 state workers, retirees and their families, in order to balance the books. Angering some state workers, recent budgets have diverted between $50 million to $93 million a year in surplus funds to plug revenue holes elsewhere. But no cash grab has come close to the size of Bevin’s proposal.

 

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By BILL FINN
State Director, Kentucky State Building and Construction Trades Council

Republican state senators and Gov. Bevin have ramped up the attacks on the members of Kentucky’s Building Trades.

Senate Bill – 9, Prevailing Wage Repeal on Educational Facilities, was heard in the Senate committee and passed the Senate by a floor vote of 26-11. 

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By MARY POTTER

I watched "Mine Wars" last night and wept.

Being from Eastern Kentucky - Barbourville, Knox County -I grew up knowing a little about the UMWA and coal mining (my father was born and raised in Coalport Holler). But I never heard the whole story of Matewan and what WV miners went through. What hell it must have been!

I was struck by several parallels in that story to where we are today.

 

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EDITOR'S NOTE: The column is based on a letter-to-the editor published in the Louisville Courier-Journal on Jan. 26.

By SCOTT PULLIAM

 Thursday's Courier-Journal contained a column by Kent Oyler, President and CEO of Greater Louisville Inc. Mr. Oyler apparently decided to weigh in on the “right to work” debate by simply repeating the same old lies that have been circulated by proponents of this misnamed legislation since the 1930s.

I have read and reread his column and could only find one sentence that was factually accurate, “Kentucky has a strong history of protecting workers’ right to organize.” As for the rest of it, I am reminded of a quote attributed to Joseph Goebbels, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”

Space won't permit me to list them all so I'll just go with the really ridiculous such as,“Kentucky finds itself at the bottom of the competitive ladder when it comes to the discussion of attracting desperately needed new jobs to the state. As a business-attraction organization, Greater Louisville Inc. finds that many companies won’t even put us on their list to consider because we are not a Right to Work state.”

 

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By KYLE HENDERSON

To see the original story, click here.

Like Mr. Jim Waters, I would also like to congratulate former Cincinnati Reds player Ken Griffey Jr. for being elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. If I claimed to be a lifelong Cincinnati Reds fan and questioned the National Baseball Hall of Fame, it would have to be on the denial of admission to one of the greatest Cincinnati Reds players of all time, Pete Rose. I guess I have always rooted for the ones who are so often overlooked, much like the men and women who build and maintain Kentucky's infrastructure.

I must take exception to Waters' recent comments regarding Kentucky's prevailing wage law. Mr. Waters' woefully misinformed article about higher building costs for schools offers an unbalanced and inaccurate view of Kentucky's prevailing wage law.

Prevailing wage is not set by unions like some would lead you to believe. Prevailing wage is determined by data submitted from construction jobs that exceed $250,000 in a specific county or locality. Interested parties are notified of the survey either by email, the Kentucky Labor Cabinet website, and/or the largest area newspaper. All contractors have the option to participate in the surveys, whether union-affiliated or not. Once the data is submitted and processed, the wages that are paid to the majority of the area workers then become the prevailing wage. That is how it works; nothing more, nothing less.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

“It’s like déjà vu all over again,” Yogi Berra supposedly said when he found himself in some situation he thought he’d been in before.

The calendar says it’s January, 2016. I’m feeling like it’s Nov. 8, 1972, the day after the presidential election.

I’m back in graduate school commiserating with a classmate. Our candidate for president, Democrat George McGovern, had lost in a landslide to Republican Richard Nixon.

 

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BY SAM YOUNGMAN
syoungman@herald-leader.com

To see the original story, click here.

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin spoke at a Republican presidential forum in New Hampshire Saturday afternoon, less than 24 hours after declaring a state of emergency and activating the Kentucky National Guard to help residents stranded by a massive snowstorm.

Bevin, who grew up in the Granite State, was the guest speaker at a Saturday luncheon during the New Hampshire GOP’s First-in-the-Nation town hall in Nashua, N.H.

Boston Globe reporter James Pindell posted a picture on Instagram of Bevin speaking at the luncheon, which cost $65 to attend, according to the event’s website.


 

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In less than two months’ time, four legislative districts across the Commonwealth will send new representatives to Frankfort through special elections. Our success in these races is crucial if we are going to keep the House in Democratic hands, and continue our fight on behalf of the hardworking people of Kentucky. Here at the Kentucky House Democratic Caucus, we have been hard at work recruiting candidates that will hit the ground running from Day 1 in Frankfort. They are hard workers, leaders in their communities, and most importantly, they will always put the interests of Kentuckians first.

On that note, it is my pleasure to introduce our candidate for State Representative for the 54th District, Bill Noelker. Bill is the owner of a successful law practice in Danville, and he also serves as Assistant Commonwealth Attorney for Boyle and Mercer Counties. Prior to studying law, Bill enjoyed a successful career in the U.S. Navy. A former fighter pilot, Bill flew numerous combat missions during operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and eventually rose to the rank of Commander. After a stint in the Navy Reserve, Bill once again volunteered to return to active duty following the attacks of September 11. Today, Bill’s law practice is committed to defending the rights and freedoms of others, just as he did for over a decade in the U.S. Navy.

I know Bill will go to Frankfort and work hard every day for the people of Boyle and Casey Counties. He has an unimpeachable record of public service, and a firm understanding of the issues that matter to the 54th District: Jobs, quality education for our children, and strong, commonsense leadership that prioritizes Kentucky over special interests.

 

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By SAHID FAWAZ

To see the original story, click here.

When Walmart workers engaged in a strike in 2013, the company responded by firing them. The NLRB has now ruled that the firings were illegal.

As Yahoo reports:

"Administrative Law Judge Geoffrey Carter said in a ruling posted on the [NLRB's] website that the U.S. retailer violated labor law by 'disciplining or discharging several associates because they were absent from work while on strike.'

Carter was ruling on a complaint filed by the NLRB on behalf of a union-backed worker group, OUR Walmart, in 2014. Most of the allegations related to a coordinated set of strikes collectively referred to the 'Ride for Respect' because they involved traveling by bus to the company's headquarters in Arkansas for protests at its shareholders' meeting in June 2013.

 

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To read the original editorial, click here.

Gov. Matt Bevin of Kentucky is dismantling the state’s highly successful exchange on which people buy private health insurance policies or enroll in Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. His shortsighted and pointless show of defiance against the Obama administration’s health care reforms could harm thousands of people in Kentucky, who may fall between the cracks as the state shifts their coverage from its own exchange, known as Kynect, to the federally run exchange at HealthCare.gov.

If Mr. Bevin, a Republican, wanted to take a stand against cooperation with the federal government, he picked an odd way to do it. He is shutting down an independent state program and turning instead to the federal government to run the exchange. While the federal website appears to be working well, the transition to a different system could cause problems.

With Health Care Switch, Kentucky Ventures Into the UnknownJAN. 13, 2016
The Kentucky exchange has made it extremely easy for people to enroll in a plan appropriate for them. If someone tries to sign up for private insurance but is judged by the exchange to be poor enough to qualify for Medicaid, the application is forwarded to Medicaid, which enrolls the person. If someone tries to sign up for Medicaid but is deemed ineligible by that program, the application is forwarded to the exchange for enrollment.

 

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Found on Facebook is a regular feature by Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council, a member of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board and president of USW Local 9447 in Calvert City. Read more >>>

By JOY ARNOLD

Have we the people made a decision to resign ourselves to turning over our government to mega, multi-national corporations completely? Are we going to pretend that because we are allowed to vote we live in a democracy?

It is crucial to pose this question loudly because Congress is about to finally deal with the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Maybe we should have been in the streets over this a year or more ago, but we don’t have 2015 anymore, so should we do nothing?

What’s it all about, anyway? Certainly the main line media has not informed us. The public who know, have had to search out information on the internet – perhaps the best source has been Public Citizen, though there are others.

 

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BY SAM YOUNGMAN
syoungman@herald-leader.com

To see the original story, click here.

Flanked by Democratic allies, Nancy Jo Kemper, a Woodford County minister, filed paperwork Thursday morning to begin her campaign against 6th District U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Lexington.

Kemper, a longtime activist and Lexington native, said she intends to run a grassroots, issues-based campaign, and she thinks she can raise enough money to be competitive against Barr.

“I wouldn’t be in this if I did not think I could do this and win,” Kemper said. “I think that I’ve got the passion, the fire and, I hope, the support of a lot of people to move it forward and to win this seat back for Democrats.”

 

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Found on Facebook is a regular feature by Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council, a member of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board and president of USW Local 9447 in Calvert City. Read more >>>

By STATE SEN. JOHNNY RAY TURNER

To see the original story, click here.

FRANKFORT — During the second week of the 2016 General Assembly, state legislators settled into the familiar rhythm for a session.

Bills began to be introduced, debated in committees and brought to the Senate floor for a vote. It is the institution’s customary way to bring order out of a chaotic-appearing democratic process that has worked for a century and a half.

Three bills — tackling everything from what construction workers are paid to build public schools to how much Kentucky bourbon visitors can drink on distillery tours – made it through that time-honored process. The bills, on issues that have been debated for years in the capitol, will now go to the state House of Representatives for further consideration.

 

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Dear Friend,

As you are by now well aware, March’s special elections will play a huge in role in deciding the future of the Commonwealth, and the vitality of our House Majority heading in to November. We have been diligent in recruiting candidates that can win in March, and go on to represent their districts honorably in Frankfort. It is my pleasure to introduce another one of these upstanding Kentuckians, our candidate for State Representative for the 62nd District, Chuck Tackett.

As a Scott County farmer and successful businessman, Chuck knows the value of hard work, and as a former Scott County Magistrate, he firmly understands the importance of effective leadership for Scott, Owen, and Fayette Counties in Frankfort. Chuck has lived his entire life in Scott County, and operated his business there for over 30 years. The lessons and values he has learned on the farm and in business will be put to excellent use in Frankfort on behalf of the people of the 62nd District.

Chuck is a natural leader who knows how to reach across the aisle to create commonsense solutions for hardworking Kentuckians. The fate of the Commonwealth hinges on sending leaders like Chuck to Frankfort to fight for us, and I am confident that the 62nd District will elect him in March.

 

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By MARK JOHNSON

In response to the Daily Independent editorial supporting the repeal of Kentucky’s construction prevailing wage law. The editorial cited no credible source of its decision other than hearsay myths quoted by individuals outside the industry claiming overall construction cost savings as high as 20% by slashing worker’s pay.

The editorial claimed the prevailing wage intentionally favored union workers with inflated wages. Again, there is no facts cited to support this claim. In Kentucky, the labor cabinet surveys the many regions of our state. For the union wage to prevail the majority (51%) of the work of the specific craft must be performed by contractors paying this rate on both private and public projects. In Kentucky it’s a mixed bag of both union and often below union pay levels that actually prevail in each region.

One myth that must be debunked is this is strictly an organized labor issue. The law was first put into place at the federal level known as the Davis-Bacon Act to protect legitimate local contractors who employ local workers from being undermined by out of state contractors paying low wages to migrant employees.

 

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We thank Chad Rennison of Paducah IBEW Local 816 and Gary D. Osborne, Owensboro-based IBEW 4th District organizing coordinator, for providing us a link to this video from last night's "Kentucky Tonight" program.  Read more >>>

By SUZANNE GAMBOA

To see the original story, click here.  

The AFL-CIO has launched a "Raise the Wages" campaign to talk to its members about race and Trump's politics, hoping to persuade listeners that his rhetoric hurts them economically in the end.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said it is unacceptable for the labor movement to "be in the middle of the pack" on race and immigration.

"If you are trying to raise wages for working people, you cannot do that so long as racism exists, so long as immigrants are exploited," said Trumka, AFL-CIO president on Thursday at a panel on race held in Washington, D.C. just days before the Martin Luther King Day holiday,

 

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By MICHAEL McKAY

To see the original story with links and video, click here.

Braving single-digit temperatures and subzero wind chills on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, hundreds of people bundled in scarves and coats Monday to march through downtown Lexington.

Afterward, in the warmth of Heritage Hall, many remained for a commemorative program that also was part of the city’s celebration of the slain civil rights leader, whose birthday has been a national holiday since 1986.

Brenda Gray, who has been attending the event for about 20 years, said she wasn't going to let the cold deter her.

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By BRENT McKIM

To see the op-ed column online, click here.

A recent commentary by Jason Nemes included a number of false and misleading assertions about union fair share fees in general and JCTA in particular. Readers deserve to know the rest of the story and the truth.

When a majority of teachers (or other employees) in a school district vote, by secret ballot, to be represented by a labor organization, the union is then required by law to provide services and benefits for all employees in that group, regardless of whether the individual members of that group choose to join the union or not. In 1977, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that if a union is required by law to represent an individual, the union can charge the individual his or her “fair share” of the cost of doing so.

The fact that the union is required by law to pay for staff and legal expenses to represent nonmembers was conveniently omitted from Mr. Nemes op-ed. This caused me to wonder if Mr. Nemes would also support litigation and legislation to require the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce to represent all businesses in Kentucky whether they join the chamber and pay dues or not. I suspect he would not.

 

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Found on Facebook is a regular feature by Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council, a member of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board and president of USW Local 9447 in Calvert City. Read more >>>

Union membership and prevailing wage laws will be debated tonight at 8 p.m. eastern time on KET’s “Kentucky Tonight” program, hosted by Bill Goodman.

Kentucky State AFL-CIO President Bill Londrigan and Anna Baumann, research and policy associate at the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, will take on Dave Adkisson, president and CEO of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, and Julia Crigler, state director of Americans for Prosperity.

The program is live on KET and at KET.org for about an hour from the KET studio at 600 Cooper Drive in Lexington.

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Democratic House hopeful Jesse Wright of Mayfield says attracting industry is his top priority.

A “right to work law” is the way to do just that, claims his opponent, second district Rep. Richard Heath, R-Mayfield.

Wrong, says Wright, who has earned a unanimous recommendation for endorsement from the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360


David Ramey of Murray calls himself a “no buts Democrat.”

“You hear people say, ‘I’m a Democrat but,'” the Fifth District state House of Representatives candidate explained. “I’m a no-buts Democrat.

“I don’t apologize for being a Democrat. The Democratic Party has a history of fighting for the working men and women of this country. And I’m proud to keep making that fight.”

 

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360


Jeff Taylor says “right to work” and prevailing wage repeal are red herrings.

Proponents of both anti-union measures “want to throw you off the track,” he added. “What they really want to do is decrease wages.”

Taylor, from Hopkinsville, is the Democratic candidate in the March 8 special election to replace state Rep. John Tilley, D-Hopkinsville, who stepped down to become justice and public safety secretary under Republican Gov. Matt Bevin. Read more >>>

Found on Facebook is a regular feature by Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council, a member of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board and president of USW Local 9447 in Calvert City. Read more >>>

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Two deep western Kentucky Democrats say “right to work” will again fail in the state House of Representatives.

State Rep. Will Coursey, a Marshall countian, and Gerald Watkins of Paducah agree prevailing wage repeal is doomed, to boot.

The Republican-majority state Senate approved SB3, a bill to eliminate the prevailing wage on school and university construction projects. The upper chamber is expected to pass SB9, a RTW measure.

 

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Found on Facebook is a regular feature by Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council, a member of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board and president of USW Local 9447 in Calvert City. Read more >>>

By JOE BRENNAN

Webster defines CHOICE as "the opportunity or power to choose between two or more possibilities: the opportunity or power to make a decision". It is evident that when the Governor uses this word he has something completely different in mind. Let us examine a few examples.

- Ex felons will have no choice in whom they may vote for, a limited choice in where they will find work, and certainly no choice in how the state spends their tax money.

- Single parents working in low paying jobs will have no choice in the selection of cheaper less healthy food for their children, rather than more nutritional foods.

 

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Found on Facebook is a regular feature by Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council, a member of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board and president of USW Local 9447 in Calvert City. Read more >>>

By BILL LONDRIGAN
President, Kentucky State AFL-CIO

Trade unionists, friends and supporters: On Monday, P.R.I.D.E., Inc. will be conducting the 44th Annual Motorcade and Rally in Louisville in recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Organized labor has always had a large contingent in the motorcade and rally and you are requested to participate once again in honor and recognition of the close bond between Dr. King and the labor movement and his unwavering efforts to advance workers’ rights and civil rights.

Line up time for participants is 10 a.m. and move out time is 11 a.m. The parade start time is noon.


 

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By BILL FINN
State director, Kentucky State Building and Construction Trades Council

The Kentucky state senate has voted 26-11 to pass Senate Bill-9, a repeal of the Kentucky prevailing wage law on educational facilities.

Senate Minority Floor Leader Ray Jones and Sen. Robin Webb spoke in support of Kentucky’s workers and against this bill. Republican C.B. Embry voted once again in support of Kentucky’s Building Trades members. SB-9 will now be sent to the House for consideration.

All other Republican senators and Democratic Sen. Dennis Parrett voted to cut workers’ pay in Kentucky.

 

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To see the original article, click here.

LAWRENCEBURG, KY - The Director of Kentucky Laborers Employers Cooperation and Education Trust Fund, Robert Akin, wrote this response to Jim Waters' editorial from last weekend, which dealt with the prevailing wage issue in Kentucky's legislature:

I am writing this in rebuttal to the opinion published in your newspaper by Jim Waters. After reading this, it is quite clear that Mr. Waters knows little about the Construction Industry and even less about what a “Water Boy” in his words does on a Construction Site.

To begin with there is no classification under Kentucky Prevailing Wage Law (KRS 337) that calls for a “Water Boy” nor is there a classification for “General Laborer”. The Wage Rates determined by the Labor Cabinet are done through public hearings held yearly in each of Kentucky’s 38 Senatorial Districts and in four Districts for the Department of Transportation. Evidence is collected by the Kentucky Labor Cabinet Hearing Officer, and the Determination is made based upon the evidence submitted. Any Contractor may submit evidence with a signed affidavit attesting to the validity of the evidence. This is a fair and democratic way for the State to determine what the Prevailing Wage will be.

Kentucky has had a Prevailing Wage Law since 1940 and it is based on the Federal Davis-Bacon Law which was instituted to help establish standards in the Construction Industry which would allow a stable local trained workforce and prevent workers from being imported from other areas and leaving local workers jobless.
 

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To read the editorial online, click here.

It’s disappointing that Gov. Matt Bevin felt compelled to follow through on an illogical position that he staked out early in his campaign, based on limited knowledge.

Bevin’s decision to move forward with dismantling Kynect, Kentucky’s much-praised health insurance exchange, flies in the face of the classic conservative belief that state control is better than federal control.

The move will frustrate Bevin’s goal of enlarging the state’s workforce while disrupting the most competitive health-insurance market that individuals and small businesses have probably ever enjoyed in Kentucky — at a time when insurance industry mergers are shrinking competition.

 

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To see the original post, click here.

You know who collects the data from doctors and clinics and hospitals all over the state, figures out when cases of dangerous diseases are increasing and gets the word out to parents, caregivers, teachers, doctors, hospitals and others who need that information?

Government employees, that’s who. State workers. The ones Governor Matt "Connecticut Yankee Lying Coward" Bevin is planning to get rid of. By the thousand.

From the Kentucky Department of Public Health, housed in the Cabinet for Health and Family Services:

 

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By KEVIN BAIRD
AFSCME Council 962

As you may have heard by now, a teacher in California by the name of Rebecca Friedrichs filed a lawsuit claiming her constitutional rights were violated concerning her freedom of speech.

Friedrichs has taken this case to the United States Supreme Court, after the lower courts did not rule in her favor. Four justices decided to hear the case.

Oral arguments were heard Jan. 11 and the court could overturn a decades-old ruling giving public sector unions the right to collective bargaining.
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Staff Report

To see the story with graphics, click here.

According to information released by Interact for Health and the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, nearly 7 in 10 Kentucky adults (68 percent) favor increasing the minimum wage for all workers to $10.10 per hour. Results are from the 2015 Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP).

The current minimum wage in Kentucky for most workers is $7.25 per hour. This is about $15,000 per year for a full-time employee.

In July of 2015, an executive order by Gov. Steve Beshear raised the minimum wage for state employees only to $10.10 per hour. However, this increase was repealed by an executive order from newly elected Gov. Matt Bevin in December.

 

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Found on Facebook is a regular feature by Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council, a member of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board and president of USW Local 9447 in Calvert City. Read more >>>

Found on Facebook is a regular feature by Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council, a member of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board and president of USW Local 9447 in Calvert City. Read more >>>

By EMMA ROLLER

To see this story with graphics and links, click here.

In Donald J. Trump’s first television ad of the 2016 campaign, released last week, a photo of Hillary Clinton and President Obama flashes across the screen, followed by stark black-and-white images of the San Bernardino, Calif., attackers, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik.

“The politicians can pretend it’s something else,” the ad’s narrator says. “But Donald Trump calls it radical Islamic terrorism. That’s why he’s calling for a temporary shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until we can figure out what’s going on.” The ad also promises that Mr. Trump will stop illegal immigration by “building a wall on our southern border that Mexico will pay for.”

In another ad released last week, Senator Ted Cruz’s campaign showed a swarm of insurance-commercial-ready actors rushing across a border, their sensible heels getting caught in the sand on their way to stealing American jobs. It was a deft political move on the Cruz campaign’s part — the ad implied the threat of Mexican immigrants without having to show them at all.

 

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To see the original story, click here

Funny how when jerb-creeters like Bevin shut down government programs and cancel government services they never mention the thousands of jobs they are killing.

And if you don't consider government jobs to be "real" jobs, you might try explaining why the biggest employer in almost every county in Kentucky is the public school system.

From the AP:

Kentucky Republican Gov. Matt Bevin has notified federal authorities he plans to dismantle the state's health insurance exchange.
 

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By MARC MURPHY

To see the Facebook posting and cartoon, click here

I just can't draw a cartoon about Kim Davis as a guest of some misguided soul at the State of the Union address tonight. It's late and I'm tired. And I'm tired of her, and those who would celebrate her. She's not a hero. Her (those propping her up, more precisely) ignorant whining about Religious Freedom is just that: Ignorant, literally contrary to the Constitution, and dangerous. The President knows that. Intellectually honest people who have spent any time considering the issue know that. The federal judge who jailed her knew it. It's not too broad an extrapolation to say that she, and her ilk, are both an example and a reason why 25% of Kentucky's children live in poverty, and the state is in the throes of an anti-intellectual descent into the Dark Ages. If you missed it, there is legislation being considered to delay the start of school to encourage our children to attend the Ark Park when it opens. I'm not making that up.

She's not a hero. She's a bully and a thug. The heroes are the men and women who stepped forward to proclaim their love for each other as well as their humanity in the face of this bigot and her supporters. Including our now-Governor.

And yet, you know what will happen when she tries to enter the Capitol Building to hear a speech based upon the very Constitution she denies? Nothing. Because, despite her misguided efforts to the contrary, this is a America. And she will be welcomed, because we are a nation of laws. Except in Rowan County, and, apparently, Kentucky.

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

I wonder if Harlan Elrich, one of the plaintiffs in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, was the kind of kid who took his bat and ball and went home if he didn’t get his way on the sandlot.

He evidently doesn’t believe in the democratic process or in majority rule.

Elrich and nine other teachers are are suing the CTA to get out of paying the union their fair share to represent them. The Supreme Court heard arguments in the suit Monday.

A victory for Elrich and his co-plaintiffs could end up putting every public sector union in the country under “right to work,” meaning workers would be able to enjoy union-won wages, work hours and benefits without paying a dime to support the union. That's called freeloading.

 

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By BRAD BOWMAN

To see the original story, click here.

The Senate Standing Committee on Appropriations and Revenue heard and passed with favorable expression one of the Republican majority’s priority bills exempting prevailing wage for public education buildings, a topic opposed by labor organizations for more than a decade in Kentucky.

Sponsoring the bill, Republican Sen. Will Schroder of Wilder testified Tuesday before the committee on the merits of the bill, which received no traction in the House during last session.

Schroder’s bill would exempt the state’s prevailing wage law on any public education construction projects of $250,000 or more. The prevailing wage law in Kentucky requires construction workers for local and state government and school construction projects estimated to cost more than $250,000 be paid the average benefits and wages of the area in which they work.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

This old reporter turned in his press pass a long time ago.

But a pack of newshounds spent last weekend trying to track down what House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, meant when he hinted that Monday might be “an historic day” in Frankfort.

They should have talked to State Rep. Gerald Watkins, D-Paducah.

 

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Found on Facebook is a regular feature by Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council, a member of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board and president of USW Local 9447 in Calvert City. Read more >>>

“Right to work” sounds so appealing, doesn’t it, with the vague suggestion that if West Virginia could just get some oppressor’s boot out of its back, its people would be free to prosper?

It might be good marketing by out-of-state political interests, but it’s not good policy.

The AFL-CIO is right to point out that states that enacted “right to work” laws have suffered. The most worrisome correlation is workplace deaths, which are 54 percent higher in “right to work” states.

But there are other concerns. Federal Bureau of Labor statistics show that seven of the 10 states with the highest unemployment are “right to work.” Employee earnings are $6,000 a year lower in “right to work” states. Some of the difference can be accounted for in a lower cost of living, but not most of it.

Perhaps desperate states that are already suffering job loss and shrinking earnings are susceptible to the sales pitch for “right to work.”

But it’s not a cure for economic ills. It takes advantage of uninformed people who believe these laws make it illegal to force someone to join a union. It is already illegal to force someone to join a union.

What these laws do is interfere with employers’ and unions’ relations and negotiating. Democratically elected unions collect dues from members to finance their work. Sometimes there are provisions for specific fees for workers who object to paying dues. In “right to work” states, unions are still obligated to represent all workers, even those who choose not to pay their share. This makes the union less viable and less effective.

The promised return of prosperity does not materialize. Oklahoma has lost manufacturing jobs in the 10 years since it passed “right to work.” Indiana is held up as a “right to work” success story, but Indiana’s manufacturing jobs have grown thanks to the federal government’s saving the auto industry under President Obama, says Kenny Perdue, president of the West Virginia AFL-CIO.

What is the problem that “right to work” is supposed to cure? It appears to be having any union workers in the state at all.

But there aren’t even that many union workers left in West Virginia, after union-busting executives such as Don Blankenship and others got done with them in recent decades.

It sounds like a cure that is worse than the disease, a prescription to drive down wages everywhere and make it less likely that injured workers will report problems before they become fatalities. Who needs more of that?

Anyone whose business relies on others having discretionary income to spend should oppose this effort likely to further impoverish West Virginians.

- See more at: http://www.wvgazettemail.com/gazette-opinion/20160107/gazette-editorial-right-to-work-dangerous-for-wv#sthash.oy8mwu9k.dpuf 

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By TOM LOFTUS and MIKE WYNN

To see the original story, click here.

FRANKFORT, Ky. - House Speaker Greg Stumbo emerged from a caucus meeting Monday, saying that House Democrats have not lost any more members despite wide speculation that Republicans might continue chipping into Democratic ranks.

House Republican Leader Jeff Hoover hinted last week that Monday could be a "historic" day in the House.

Stumbo said the only reason to call the day historic is that Hoover "has built upon his legacy. He is the longest-serving minority leader in Kentucky's history."

 

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To read the original story, click here.

Because running government like a business always fails. It fails for the same reason that trying to grow vegetables in a vat of herbicide fails: mutually exclusive goals.

The goal of every business is to make a profit at the expense of customers. The goal of government is to provide public services that enrich the community, even at the expense of business.

Because a government that seeks to turn a profit - for itself or for its corporate cronies - can not perform its responsibilities as the public's protector.

 

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By RICHARD WOLF

To read the original story, click here.

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court left little doubt Monday where it stands on the issue of requiring all workers in a bargaining unit to help support its public employees union: It's ready to strike the requirement down.

The court's more conservative justices sharply criticized the current system whereby public employees in 23 states and the District of Columbia must contribute to the cost of collective bargaining, even if they disagree with their unions' demands on issues involving public policy.

"The problem is that everything that is collectively bargained with the government is within the political sphere," said Justice Antonin Scalia, seen as the lone conservative who might side with the unions.

 

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By JANA KASPERKEVIK

To read the story with links, click here.

Last year the US supreme court handed major victories to liberal Americans, legalising gay marriage and throwing out a challenge to Barack Obama’s landmark healthcare reforms. But 2016 may be less kind. On Monday the justices will begin to hear a case that labor leaders argue could “bankrupt” public sector unions and geld one of the most powerful forces in politics.

Rebecca Friedrichs, who has taught elementary school children for close to 30 years, mostly in the Savanna school district in Anaheim, California, is the lead plaintiff in a case she says is being brought against the “tyranny” of union dues.

“We are required, as a condition of employment, to financially support teachers unions and their political agendas,” Friedrichs wrote in an editorial for the Orange County Register.

 

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Union membership has been falling for years. It may drop even more after this case.

By DAVE JAMIESON and CRISTIAN FARIAS

To see the story with links, click here.

WASHINGTON -- In what may turn out be a painful blow to labor unions, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Monday in a case that could make the entire U.S. public sector a right-to-work zone.

In the case, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, a group of public-school teachers in California want the court to rule that the First Amendment prohibits their union from requiring them to pay what are known as "fair-share fees." Such fees, which all workers in a bargaining unit are obligated to pay, help cover the costs of maintaining union contracts.

If the court rules against the union and workers are given the option of not paying those fees, public-sector unions stand to lose significant funding. The lawsuit, backed by a host of groups on the right, gives conservative justices -- especially Justice Samuel Alito -- the chance to overturn a four-decade-old precedent that essentially declared fair-share fees to be legal.

 

 

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By AVA-MARGEAUX TIERNEY

To read the original online story, click here.

I grew up across the river from Louisville, in Harrison County, Indiana, and have always cherished Louisville as a big part of my hometown and growing up experience.

As an adult, my life took me to graduate school in New York and then I became a public charter school teacher across another river in New Jersey. As Louisville and the state of Kentucky are poised to make some important decisions regarding charter schools, I feel it right and honorable to warn people that charter schools are a gargantuan mistake.

First, I'll tell you why charter schools are disastrous and then I'll outline what's needed to make our schools thrive.

 

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"Found on Facebook" is a regular feature by Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council, a member of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board and president of USW Local 9447 in Calvert City. Read more >>>

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Gail Hardy, one of our most faithful correspondents, emailed us a copy this letter to the editor she espied in the Jan. 5 Lexington Herald-Leader.

“I think her last line says it all,” said Hardy, a KEA activist and retired teacher from Cadiz, the Trigg County seat.

The letter was headlined “Brand Ky. Red.” To see it as the H-L published it online, click here.

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EDITOR:

What Jeanie Embry wrote ("Leave politics at the church door") about some pastors was concise and short. It should get published in a number of papers.

My hope is that members in these kinds of churches will have their eyes opened and as a church body confront their preacher and ask him or her to stop preaching politics. These preachers need to repent and ask forgiveness for misleading the flock -- and stop fueling hateful attitudes among members toward Democrats and others.

Preachers need to get back to the purpose for which they were called by God--to preach the good news. If they weren’t called by God, they should resign and go and try to find a secular job.

 

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

UPDATE: SB 9 has been referred to the Labor and Industry Committee.

Predictably, “right to work" and a measure abolishing the prevailing wage are in a baker’s dozen of “priority” bills the Republican-majority state senate wants the General Assembly to pass.

“Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, said the bills mark ‘a conservative agenda’ and expressed hope that work on them will start soon,” wrote the Lexington Herald-Leader’s Jack Brammer.

The 13 bills will almost certainly pass the senate where the GOP has a 27-11 edge. “They face a tougher road in the House, where Democrats hold a 50-46 advantage,” he added.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

It might not be illegal for a politician to get elected on one party’s ticket and to change to another party afterwards.

But it’s pretty easy to make a case that such party switching is less than ethical. At the very least, it betrays the voters who put the switcher in office.

State Reps. Denny Butler of Louisville and Joe Gooch of Providence won as Democrats in November, 2014. They became Republicans after Republican Matt Bevin was elected governor last November 3.

 

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By TOM LOFTUS

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Regina Stivers, wife of Senate President Robert Stivers, will begin work in the Bevin administration on Monday as deputy secretary of the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet.

Jessica Ditto, communications director for Gov. Matt Bevin, confirmed the hiring in an email late Wednesday. Ditto said further details of the appointment will be released later by the cabinet.

Regina Stivers currently works in the Lexington field office of Sen. Mitch McConnell. She did not return messages left at McConnell’s Lexington and Washington offices on Wednesday seeking comment.

 

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"Found on Facebook" is a regular feature by Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council, a member of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board and president of USW Local 9447 in Calvert City.  Read more >>>

By RICK WILSON

One piece of legislation likely to be considered in West Virginia in 2016 is misleadingly called "right to work," or RTW. It really has nothing to do with that right but a lot to do with targeting all working families. It's more like "right to work for less."

According to current law, if most eligible workers in a private-sector job vote to join a union in a National Labor Relations Board election, all belong.

And all benefit from wages, benefits, conditions and representation in grievances that membership provides. RTW would weaken unions and ultimately all workers by allowing some to benefit without contributing.

 

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The Kentucky General Assembly returned to the Capitol this week for the 2016 Session. Before the session closes in April, lawmakers will need to pass a budget that determines our commonwealth’s revenue and spending for the next two years. That process begins when Gov. Matt Bevin releases his budget proposal on Jan. 26.

The Kentucky Center for Economic Policy will be hosting a conference Jan. 29 at the Capital Plaza Hotel in Frankfort to give you all the information you’ll need to know to understand and take part in the budget process. The program will last from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The $15 registration fee includes lunch.

Save your spot now by registering here.

 

 

 

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By NICK SWARTZELL

For only the second time in 40 years, Kentucky has a Republican governor — and his election might signal a sea change in the Bluegrass State, which has traditionally favored Democrats in statewide offices and the state legislature.

Tea party favorite Republican Gov. Matt Bevin swept into office by grabbing a convincing 53 percent of the state’s voters, trouncing Democrat Jack Conway. The victory was especially surprising given polls predicting Conway’s victory, Kentucky’s historic lean toward Democrats, Bevin’s rocky previous GOP primary campaign for U.S. Senate and his hard-right — some would say radical — conservative politics.

Bevin has wasted no time putting those politics into action, giving a sneak-peek at what could lie ahead in the state by undoing a raft of progressive policies put in place by popular outgoing Democrat Gov. Steve Beshear.

The change could have huge implications. After less than a month in office, Bevin has already rolled back measures extending voting rights for former inmates and a minimum wage boost for state workers, and could reduce federally provided healthcare for nearly half a million Kentuckians.

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Click here to view a video of Stumbo. 

By JOSEPH GERTH

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo said the Democratic Party may sue lawmakers who left the party to join the GOP in the weeks since the party took heavy losses in the 2015 general election.

Democrats now hold a 50-46 majority in the House with four special elections slated for March 8 to fill four remaining seats. Since the election of Republican Matt Bevin in November, state Reps. Denny Butler and Jim Gooch announced they were headed to the GOP.

After a Democratic Caucus meeting, Stumbo said that members who accepted money from donors or assistance from the Democratic Party to run for election and then became Republicans may have defrauded the party and donors.

 

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A charter-school bubble is growing, and it's young black kids in cities who are most in danger

EDITOR’S NOTE: Gov. Matt Bevin and Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton strongly support charter schools.

By JENNIFER BERKSHIRE

To see the story with links, click here.

A new study warns that we may be headed towards a charter school “bubble.” Jennifer Berkshire of the Edushyster blog spoke with one its authors, Preston Green, who is also the John and Carla Klein Professor of Urban Education at the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut.

It’s unusual to see the words “hair-raising” and “academic study” in tandem, but your new study merits that marriage. You and your co-authors make the case that, just as with subprime mortgages, the federal government is encouraging the expansion of charter schools with little oversight, and the result could be a charter school “bubble” that blows up in urban communities. Do I have it right?

The problem of subprime mortgages began in part because the government tried to increase homeownership for poor people and minorities by enabling private entities to offer more mortgages without assuming the risk. Under the old system, the mortgage originator was still at risk if the mortgage went into default. With subprime, they were able to spread that risk by selling the mortgages on the secondary market. You had all these mortgage originators that could issue more mortgages without careful screening because they no longer had skin in the game. Now how are charter schools similar to subprime? In the charter school context, charter school authorizers are like mortgage originators.

 

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EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is a letter to the editor published in the Louisville Courier-Journal on Nov. 26. It is still relevant, especially as the legislature has convened. 

EDITOR:

In her Nov. 22 article, “Many on Medicaid in Kentucky Work for Low Pay,” Deborah Yetter once again makes the case for expanded Medicaid, reminding CJ readers and Gov.-elect Bevin that many of our hard-working neighbors will not be able to afford Indiana-style adjustments to Medicaid. Deductibles and co-pays will deter patients from getting needed care – for themselves, or for a child.

For Gov.-elect Bevin, private insurers, and many in the GOP, the solution to rising costs is “skin-in-the game,” a cruel concept that recalls Shakespeare’s “pound of flesh.” Obviously, the cost-cutters want patients to bear the pain – to absorb higher deductibles, co-pays and co-insurance for treatment and/or for medications. As is the case for many enrolled in private plans today, Medicaid patients will end up under-insured – with a policy they can’t afford to use.

Thinking that nothing else can be done to control costs, many well-meaning business people have bought into the “skin-in-the-game” fallacy. I suggest they (and Mr. Bevin) explore a solution that is not only more humane, but also makes sound economic sense.

 

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The Associated Press

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- In a story Jan. 4 about U.S. Sen. Rand Paul's run for re-election, The Associated Press reported erroneously that no one has filed to run against Paul. Two Democrats and one Republican have filed for Paul's seat, though none is well-known.

A corrected version of the story is below:

By ADAM BEAM
The Associated Press


FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Rand Paul may be running for two offices, but only one is generating any competition.

The Republican presidential candidate so far has not drawn a well-known challenger for his other race, re-election to his U.S. Senate seat. With the filing deadline set for Jan. 26, Kentucky's only Democratic federal officeholder worried publicly on Monday the struggling party might not be able to field a viable candidate.

"I am concerned we might not have a credible candidate," U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth of Louisville told reporters while filing for re-election to his U.S. House seat on Monday. "So far the people we have talked to are not champing at the bit to run, but they are thinking about running and it's getting late."

 

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UPDATE: Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, introduced a "right to work" measure (SB 3) on Jan. 6).

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Despite the departure of four of their own, House Democrats should be able to keep the Republican "right to work" wolf away from organized labor’s door.

Prevailing wage repeal, another long-cherished GOP goal, also faces an unlikely future in the General Assembly’s Democratic-majority lower chamber.

For several years, the House has been labor’s last hope against a RTW law and against PW repeal. (In Kentucky, a simple majority of the House and Senate overrides a governor’s veto.)

 

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By DEBORAH YETTER

Homeless and battling severe mental illness and alcoholism after years of brutal childhood abuse, Gene Miller said that gaining Medicaid coverage in 2014 was a lifeline.

Regular health coverage for the first time in his adult life provided him with a way to pay for mental health treatment and medication he needs, Miller, 44, of Louisville, said in a recent interview.

"We really need to keep this," Miller said. "I don't know what I'd do without it."

 

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Editor:

Pastors who are misleading and intimidating their members and exploiting their members' trust by using the bully pulpit to spread lies and deceit should fear eternal damnation. It's high time churches (you know who you are) leave politics at the door and stick to spreading the gospel rather than influencing votes. The right thing to do is leave the politicking to organizations who are NOT tax exempt. Perhaps declining membership is God's punishment for turning his house of worship into a cesspool of party politics. Speaking as a Christian AND as a Democrat, I attend church service to hear about the 'Good News' and not that I'm going to hell if I vote for a Democrat.

Jeanie Embry, Paducah

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Gail Hardy is tired of bloggers and pundits “beating up” on Jack Conway.

“Yes, Democrats could and should have worked harder and done better,” conceded the devout Democrat, KEA activist and retired teacher from Cadiz. “Yes, Jack Conway had a full-time job as attorney general, but should have been more involved in his campaign’s decisions."

Hardy added, “I believe some paid staffers unintentionally helped him lose the election by giving him wrong advice. They weren’t really up to the job of running a winning governor’s election campaign. He trusted them as they kept assuring him that all was well and that he was going to win.”
 

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"Found on Facebook" is a regular feature by Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council, a member of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board and president of USW Local 9447 in Calvert City. Read more >>>

By COLIN TAYLOR

To see the story with links, click here.

It’s become clear over the past few decades that the democracy that our nation was founded on and that our citizens hold so dear is on life support. Our political system has become utterly corrupted by its lust for money, ceding power to the whims of the mega-rich and to the multinational corporations that by their nature have no interest in anything but enriching its shareholders. A recent study released by the esteemed Princeton University has confirmed those fears; after analyzing “1,800 different policy initiatives from 1981 to 2002,” they have concluded that our nation is no longer an actual democracy, but an oligarchy – “a government in which a small group exercises control especially for corrupt and selfish purposes.”

The report notes that “the central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy,” they write, “while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence. The results provide substantial support for theories of Economic-Elite Domination and for theories of Biased Pluralism, but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy or Majoritarian Pluralism.”


Given the events of the past two decades, it’s clear that this is the truth. Our democracy is a sham; the desires and opinions of the common people are briefly considered before being discarded if they don’t line up with those of the elites. From Ronald Reagan’s reckless deregulations, Clinton’s revoking of the Glass-Stegall Act (which forced banks to behave like banks and not like casinos), the continued deregulation of the George W. Bush years leading directly to the Great Recession – our government has acted to enrich the oligarchs and empower the institutions which they control. The American middle class has been consistently mistreated and abused by the elites, turned upside, shook like a piggy bank, a plaything to be exploited to keep the money and power funneling up to the top until today, when the middle class is naught but a carcass of what it once was.

 

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 Remi Bellocq, Lexington  Read more >>>

By PAUL KRUGMAN

To see the article with links, click here.

Wealth can be bad for your soul. That’s not just a hoary piece of folk wisdom; it’s a conclusion from serious social science, confirmed by statistical analysis and experiment. The affluent are, on average, less likely to exhibit empathy, less likely to respect norms and even laws, more likely to cheat, than those occupying lower rungs on the economic ladder.

And it’s obvious, even if we don’t have statistical confirmation, that extreme wealth can do extreme spiritual damage. Take someone whose personality might have been merely disagreeable under normal circumstances, and give him the kind of wealth that lets him surround himself with sycophants and usually get whatever he wants. It’s not hard to see how he could become almost pathologically self-regarding and unconcerned with others.

So what happens to a nation that gives ever-growing political power to the superrich?

 

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EDITOR'S NOTE: This article appeared in the Dec. 30 C-J.

By MATT ERWIN

As 2015 draws to a close it would seem an appropriate time for Kentucky Democrats to look back and take stock of the past 12 months. Let’s not do that.

The bones of the 2015 elections have been picked over sufficiently and, after all, looking ahead is a more fitting activity on New Year’s. So let’s take a look at what’s in store for Democrats in 2016 and how sticking to one simple New Year’s resolution could help make or break it all.

With their hold on the governor’s office gone, Democrats are focused on the right things: keeping a majority in the House of Representatives, maintaining a robust and well-funded party apparatus, engaging activists and, above all, making sure they deliver for Kentucky’s working families.

 

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"Found on Facebook" is a regular feature by Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council, a member of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board and president of USW Local 9447 in Calvert City. Read more >>>

Petition by Holly Patterson

To be delivered to The Kentucky State House, The Kentucky State Senate, and Governor Steve Beshear

The ultimate goal of "Right to Work" is to break unions so businesses can lower pay and benefits to workers. It has nothing to do with your right to work!

There are currently 5,398 signatures. NEW goal - We need 7,500 signatures!

 

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Trade Unionists:

Kentuckians for the Commonwealth – KFTC – is holding a “We Are Kentuckians” Rally in the Capitol Rotunda at noon on Tuesday, the first day of the 2016 General Assembly.

I wanted to pass along this information and an invitation to those unions that would like to participate. If you would like additional information or details about the event please contact Richard Becker, NCFO/SEIU at: beckerr@ncfo.org.


 

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First, he's a lying coward. He's not cancelling or even freezing the expansion, probably because somebody explained that the feds would drop the entire government on his head if he tried it.

Gov. Matt Bevin announced Wednesday he has begun work to transform Kentucky's Medicaid program by 2017.

But in the meantime he envisions no major changes in the government health plan that covers nearly 1.3 million Kentuckians.

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 Not gonna hype Matt Bevin’s intentionally stupid Medicaid nonsense from yesterday but it is DEFINITELY worth checking out the statement former Governor Steve Beshear released:

As a result of numerous media requests, here is my response to Gov. Bevin’s press conference today:

“All of Kentucky looks forward to the day when our new governor transitions from strident partisan rhetoric and petty name-calling to the real and more difficult business of governing. Mottos that make good bumper stickers rarely make good public policy. Medicaid expansion was and remains a smart policy move – it’s the most cost-effective way to get the poorest Kentuckians healthy, to shore up our local hospitals which were losing huge amounts of money providing indigent care, and to keep our workforce healthy so businesses can grow. And contrary to what Gov. Bevin alludes to, facts and figures show that the reform we implemented is both sustainable and effective. It’s paying for itself, and it’s paying off with better health. Today he proposed a vague solution to an unclear problem with hopes that it may or may not be implemented at some undetermined point in the future — all for reasons of political ideology. Kentuckians deserve better.”
 

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By PETER DREIER

Fred Hiatt, the Washington Post's editorial page editor, has fired columnist Harold Meyerson, one of the nation's finest journalists and perhaps the only self-proclaimed socialist to write a weekly column for a major American newspaper during the past decade or two.

At a time when America is experiencing an upsurge of progressive organizing and activism -- from Occupy Wall Street, to Black Lives Matter, to the growing movement among low-wage workers demanding higher minimum wages, to Bernie Sanders' campaign for president -- we need a regular columnist who can explain what's going on, why it's happening, and what it means.

More than any other columnist for a major U.S. newspaper, Meyerson provided ongoing coverage and incisive analysis of the nation's labor movement and other progressive causes as well as the changing economy and the increasing aggressiveness of big business in American politics. He was one of the few columnists in the country who knew labor leaders and grassroots activists by name, and who could write sympathetically and knowledgeably about working people's experiences in their workplaces and communities.

 

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By BILL STRAUB

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin moved into his plush first floor office in the state capitol a little less than a month ago and immediately began fulfilling many of his campaign promises.

Hence the problem.

If you’re a poor person trying to make your way in the Commonwealth – and lord knows Kentucky has an abundance of folks who find themselves in that complicated situation – the Republican now running roughshod over the state is plotting to make your lives that much more difficult. From suppressing wages to making it more challenging to obtain health care to undermining workers’ efforts to organize collectively, Bevin is plotting feverishly to transform Kentucky into a banana republic – a second rate one, at that.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

In his annual tongue-in-cheek Christmas “Gifts for Kentucky politicians” column, the Louisville Courier-Journal’s Al Cross suggested a special present for Attorney Gen. Jack Conway: “a portrait of Henry Ward, Conway's predecessor as the worst Democratic candidate for Kentucky governor in modern times (1967).”

The veteran political scribe added, “But there are some good similarities, too. Ward was an outstanding public servant, as parks and highway commissioner, and Conway has been a good attorney general; he deserves to be remembered as more than a poor candidate.”

Conway’s loss to tea party Republican Matt Bevin is more proof, as if proof were needed, that style almost always trumps substance in Kentucky elections.

 

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By MAX EHRENFREUD

To see the story with links, click here.

A new study shows that negative ads targeting President Obama in 2008 depicted him with very dark skin, and that these images would have appealed to some viewers’ racial biases.

The finding reinforces charges that some Republican politicians seek to win votes by implying support for racist views and ethnic hierarchies, without voicing those prejudices explicitly. The purported tactic is often called “dog-whistle politics” — just as only canines can hear a dog whistle, only prejudiced voters are aware of the racist connotations of a politician’s statement, according to the theory.

That debate has been prominent in the 2016 campaign, primarily targeting Donald Trump, but it has existed in almost every recent presidential election. To hear their opponents tell it, when Republican politicians say they oppose a generous welfare system, they really mean black beneficiaries are lazy. If they endorse strict immigration enforcement, they really mean that Latinos are criminals, critics say.

 

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By BOB BURNETT

Whether it's fiscal austerity, Benghazi, or opposition to gun control, the Republican Party is remarkably disciplined. Day after day, press conference after press conference, Republican members of Congress speak from the same hymnal. But it's not a Christian hymnal. While the Republicans claim to be true believers they actually eschew the moral teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.

Beginning in the '50s, Christianity began to infiltrate American politics -- in 1954 the phrase "under God" was added to the pledge of allegiance. Thirty years later, during the Reagan presidency, Republicans rebranded as the "Christian Party" and labeled Democrats the Party of secular socialism.

The election of George W. Bush heralded a second wave of Republican religiosity. Dubya emphasized his fundamentalist credentials and his decision "to commit my heart to Jesus Christ." During the 2000 presidential campaign, Bush was asked what "political philosopher or thinker" he identified with most and responded, "Christ, because he changed my heart."

 

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By MICHAEL BYRNE

To read the article with links, click here.

Right-wing media in West Virginia are working overtime in an effort to squelch the labor movement’s legitimate complaints about “right-to-work” laws.

First, the state’s largest commercial radio network and its ultra-conservative owners pulled three radio ads sponsored by the AFL-CIO, calling them “inflammatory,” even though the ads simply laid out the facts about the adverse consequences of so-called right to work (RTW).

Then, the editorial board of the Charleston Gazette-Mail used anti-union sources to criticize the ads, without refuting any of the facts. In fact, the editorial acknowledged that the AFL-CIO's contention that "right-to-work states have lower average wage rates [...] is true," while defending those low wages because the states have lower costs of living.

 

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By JAMES DeVINNIE

Former U.S. Senator and Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole, like so many other Reagan-era Republicans, has sharply criticized the ignorance, bigotry, and extremism of this year’s rancid crop of Republican presidential candidates. In an interview on MSNBC today, Dole bemoaned the current state of the Republican party, which he said had become “an extreme group on the right.” Dole joined the growing chorus of Republicans who have harshly criticized fascist front-runner Donald Trump in the wake of his proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the United States. Dole called Trump “over the top” and set that he “couldn’t understand” how people supported him.

Dole also had harsh words for the much-hated egomaniac and unabashed religious extremist Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who pulled into first place in a poll of Iowa Republicans released yesterday, saying “Cruz is so extreme, he’s not a traditional conservative” and roundly criticizing his so-called Senate “achievements” of shutting down the government twice and calling Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) a liar on the Senate floor. Dole, like many traditional and Reagan-era Republicans, represent an era that modern conservatives constantly idealize but is seriously disillusioned with the current extremism and ignorance of the Republican Party, which he’s said is “out of ideas.” Dole also said that he doubted Ronald Reagan would win the nomination if he ran in the current extremist climate of the Republican Party.


In a refreshing break from the traditional rhetoric of the Republican Party, where acknowledgement of even the slightest positive achievement by President Obama is seen as heretical, Dole also praised the president as a “very good man.” While saying that he probably wouldn’t support Hillary Clinton in a potential general election matchup with Trump or Cruz, Dole suggested that he wouldn’t be able to bring himself to vote for either of those Republican demagogues, saying with a laugh that he “might oversleep” on election day. The Republican Party certainly needs more people like Dole, who, despite their flaws, are at least sensible enough to see and call out blind hatred and extremism when they see it, and who work towards unity and compromise rather than divisiveness and confrontation.

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Dave Adkisson is at it again on “right to work.”

It looks like another newshound let him get away with it, too.

“…Adkisson, an advocate of right-to-work legislation, said Daviess County lost out on economic development opportunities during his time with the local chamber of commerce, saying a southern right-to-work state landed one such opportunity and with it 5,000 to 8,000 jobs,” cn2 reporter Kevin Wheatley recently wrote.

 

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 https://animoto.com/play/nKaSPtHfFgTCA345mwrEVw?autostart=1 Read more >>>

By DAN AREL

Ever since Bernie Sanders announced his candidacy, much attention has been focused on the fact he calls himself a democratic socialist. Socialist, in the American lexicon, has a negative connotation, mainly because of common misunderstandings.

Sanders himself has tried many times to explain the difference between "socialism" and "democratic socialism," but the right still seems hung up on misrepresenting his views and exploiting people's fears. America has a rich socialist history many people are unaware of, but still fear the "S" word and picture evil dictators and red flags.

To quell any fears and to put a great deal of misinformation to rest, here are five things that democratic socialism is not.

 

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By JESSE WEGMAN

To see the story with links, click here.

Matt Bevin, Kentucky’s new governor, has only been in office a couple of weeks, but he’s already managed to re-disenfranchise tens of thousands of his state’s residents with the stroke of a pen.

He did it by reversing an executive order issued late last month by his predecessor, Steven Beshear, that made as many as 140,000 Kentuckians with a nonviolent felony conviction immediately eligible to register to vote. Kentucky is one of three states, including Florida and Iowa, to impose a lifetime voting ban on people convicted of felonies. (Individuals may still petition for a restoration of their rights, which the governor decides on a case-by-case basis — an arduous, “quasi-monarchical” process.)

Mr. Bevin, a Tea Party Republican, said he supports restoring voting rights to those with criminal records, but that it is an issue that should be “addressed through the legislature and by the will of the people,” not the governor’s office.

 

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"Found on Facebook" is a regular feature by Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council, a member of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board and president of USW Local 9447 in Calvert City. Read more >>>

By JEANIE EMBRY
http://www.bluegrass-rural.com

It seems Senator Rand Paul plans to hold a Town Hall at the Commerce Center, 300 S. 3rd St. in Paducah, on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m., local time.

The senator will provide a "Washington update" and take questions from constituents in attendance.

Paul has compiled an egregiously hurtful record on issues of concern to rural Kentuckians. There is a huge difference between being a fiscal conservative and going out of your way to harm your state.

 

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Petition by Common Cause

To be delivered to The Kentucky State House and The Kentucky State Senate

Petition to KY Legislature: Kentucky’s newly elected Gov. Matt Bevin just revoked an executive order that would have restored voting rights to 140,000 individuals with previous convictions. Restore voting rights to individuals with previous convictions.

There are currently 242 signatures. NEW goal - We need 300 signatures! Click here to sign.

PETITION BACKGROUND: If you live in Kentucky, last month you heard some welcome news. If you had a previous felony conviction and served your time you were about to regain your right to vote thanks to an executive order by the outgoing Governor Steve Beshear. That all changed when the new Governor, Matt Bevin, rescinded that executive order, snatching away the promise of restoring the vote.

 

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To read the story with links, click here.

Remember Jim Gooch?...

People like [Kentucky GOP leader] Scott Jennings are wetting themselves in excitement today, as he’s joined the Republican ranks.

Yep, another Democratic bigot – notorious for denying science on national television – has joined the Republican Party. The Party he’s voted with consistently since forever.

The fun part isn’t watching the Kentucky Democratic Party fall apart. The fun is watching people like Jennings [welcoming]…all these bigots they’ve claimed to abhor for years and years.

 

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By BILL FINN
State Director, Kentucky State Building and Construction Trades Council

The 2016 KY Legislature convenes next Tuesday. The Democratic majority continues to decline with the news today that Democratic State Representative Jim Gooch has switched parties to become a Republican. Prior to the November 3 election of Republican Governor Matt Bevin, Democrats held a 54-46 Democratic majority in the House. Since that time, several changes have taken place:

-- Democratic State Rep. Denny Butler switched to the Republican Party.
-- Democratic State Rep. John Tilley accepted a job in the Bevin administration and will be resigning his House seat.
-- Democratic State Rep. Tanya Pullin accepted an administrative law judge appointment for workers compensation and will be resigning her House seat.
-- Democratic State Rep. Jim Gooch switched to the Republican Party.
-- Republican State Rep. Mike Harmon was elected auditor and will resign his House seat.
-- Republican State Rep. Ryan Quarrels was elected agriculture commissioner and will resign his House seat.

If all the resignations and appointments take place by next Tuesday, the Democrats will have a 50-46 majority at the start of the session. There will then be 4 special elections needed to fill those 4 vacancies in the House. The special elections should take place at the end of February or early March.

 

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By PAUL KRUGMAN

To read the column with links, click here.

2015 was, of course, the year of Donald Trump, whose rise has inspired horror among establishment Republicans and, let’s face it, glee — call it Trumpenfreude — among many Democrats. But Trumpism has in one way worked to the G.O.P. establishment’s advantage: it has distracted pundits and the press from the hard right turn even conventional Republican candidates have taken, a turn whose radicalism would have seemed implausible not long ago.

After all, you might have expected the debacle of George W. Bush’s presidency — a debacle not just for the nation, but for the Republican Party, which saw Democrats both take the White House and achieve some major parts of their agenda — to inspire some reconsideration of W-type policies. What we’ve seen instead is a doubling down, a determination to take whatever didn’t work from 2001 to 2008 and do it again, in a more extreme form.

Start with the example that’s easiest to quantify, tax cuts.

 

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By TOM LOFTUS

FRANKFORT, Ky. - In a move that further weakens the Democratic Party's tenuous control of the Kentucky House of Representatives, State Rep. Jim Gooch, of Providence, has switched his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican.

Gooch, who has served in the House since 1995 and chairs the Natural Resources and Environment Committee, released a statement Monday announcing he had changed parties because of the environmental policies of President Barack Obama.

"Let my departure from the Democrat Party send a message loud and clear. I stand behind the thousands of Kentuckians who have lost their jobs all across the coalfields," Gooch said in the statement.

 

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BY ANNALEE ABELL

Throughout Gov. Matt Bevin’s election campaign, he continually asserted his support for the charter school movement as a way to replace failing schools in Fayette and Jefferson counties.

On a radio show in November, Bevin promoted his platform for charter schools by stating, “Let’s start with public charter schools, put them in those communities where young people are being destined for failure by having to go to these failing schools.”

Bevin also stated that the fault did not lie with the teachers but with a system that restricts teachers from innovative teaching.

 

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"Found on Facebook" is a regular feature by Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council, a member of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board and president of USW Local 9447 in Calvert City. Read more >>>

By ED KILGORE

To read the story with links, click here.

Wonder what a new Republican president might do in January 2017 to reverse Barack Obama's policies? Newly elected Kentucky governor Matt Bevin gave Kentuckians a taste of that particular lash with five executive orders reversing prior edicts issued by his Democratic predecessor Steve Beshear.

Bevin's actions will probably be treated by friendly media as a Christmas gift to culture warrior Kim Davis, since one order removes a legal requirement that the name of county clerks appear on marriage licenses. That means Davis can keep her job without performing a key component of it, to the greater glory of what she considers to be the homophobic stance of the Prince of Peace.

But for other constituents, the orders will be experienced as a big lump of Kentucky coal in their Christmas stockings. He killed Beshear orders restoring voting rights to about 100,000 ex-felons who have paid their debt to society, and raising the minimum wage for state employees and those working on state contracts.

 

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Reagan embarrassed himself in news conferences, Cabinet meetings. Recalling how GOP cringed at his lack of interest

By WILLIAM LEUCHTENBURG

Excerpted from "The American President: From Teddy Roosevelt to Bill Clinton"
No one had ever entered the White House so grossly ill informed. At presidential news conferences, especially in his first year, Ronald Reagan embarrassed himself. On one occasion, asked why he advocated putting missiles in vulnerable places, he responded, his face registering bewilderment, “I don’t know but what maybe you haven’t gotten into the area that I’m going to turn over to the secretary of defense.” Frequently, he knew nothing about events that had been headlined in the morning newspaper. In 1984, when asked a question he should have fielded easily, Reagan looked befuddled, and his wife had to step in to rescue him. “Doing everything we can,” she whispered. “Doing everything we can,” the president echoed. To be sure, his detractors sometimes exaggerated his ignorance. The publication of his radio addresses of the 1950s revealed a considerable command of facts, though in a narrow range. But nothing suggested profundity. “You could walk through Ronald Reagan’s deepest thoughts,” a California legislator said, “and not get your ankles wet.”

In all fields of public affairs—from diplomacy to the economy—the president stunned Washington policymakers by how little basic information he commanded. His mind, said the well-disposed Peggy Noonan, was “barren terrain.” Speaking of one far-ranging discussion on the MX missile, the Indiana congressman Lee Hamilton, an authority on national defense, reported, “Reagan’s only contribution throughout the entire hour and a half was to interrupt somewhere at midpoint to tell us he’d watched a movie the night before, and he gave us the plot from War Games.” The president “cut ribbons and made speeches. He did these things beautifully,” Congressman Jim Wright of Texas acknowledged. “But he never knew frijoles from pralines about the substantive facts of issues.” Some thought him to be not only ignorant but, in the word of a former CIA director, “stupid.” Clark Clifford called the president an “amiable dunce,” and the usually restrained columnist David Broder wrote, “The task of watering the arid desert between Reagan’s ears is a challenging one for his aides.”

No Democratic adversary would ever constitute as great a peril to the president’s political future, his advisers concluded, as Reagan did himself. Therefore, they protected him by severely restricting situations where he might blurt out a fantasy. His staff, one study reported, wrapped him “in excelsior,” while “keeping the press at shouting distance or beyond.” In his first year as president, he held only six news conferences—fewest ever in the modern era. Aides also prepared scores of cue cards, so that he would know how to greet visitors and respond to interviewers. His secretary of the treasury and later chief of staff said of the president: “Every moment of every public appearance was scheduled, every word scripted, every place where Reagan was expected to stand was chalked with toe marks.” Those manipulations, he added, seemed customary to Reagan, for “he had been learning his lines, composing his facial expressions, hitting his toe marks for half a century.” Each night, before turning in, he took comfort in a shooting schedule for the next day’s television- focused events that was laid out for him at his bedside, just as it had been in Hollywood.

 

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To read the story with links, click here.

By SAMANTHA LACHMAN

Kentucky's new Republican Gov. Matt Bevin reversed a move Tuesday by his Democratic predecesor to restore voting rights to at least 140,000 people with felony convictions.

The state is just one of just three, along with Florida and Iowa, that permanently disenfranchises all people with felony convictions. Kentuckians with felony convictions who want their right to vote, serve on a jury, hold elected office and obtain a professional or vocational license have to individually petition the governor to have those rights restored.

Former Gov. Steve Beshear attempted to rectify this problem by signing an executive order on Nov. 24, just before he left office, that would have made the rights restoration process automatic after a Kentuckian with a past felony conviction had served their sentence. The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University said that the order would have made it possible for more than 170,000 Kentuckians to get back their right to vote, with an estimated 140,000 eligible for the rights restoration immediately.


 

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Jim H. Key, vice president of USW Local 550 in Paducah, tried to send this email to Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., in response to a “Dear Friend” Christmas email he received from Paul’s office. He replied to the email address that came with the greeting but it came back as undeliverable.

Dear Senator Paul:

If you want to give the constituents of Western Ky a Christmas gift, or brighter future for the coming year & beyond, lead the fight to help bring in other energy related projects from the Department Of Energy into the 3,500 Acre DOE Paducah Site Reservation, that will produce highly technical jobs for the highly skilled, well trained, safety conscience workforce while providing them family sustaining wages with good benefits.

Fight for DOE Projects in The Commonwealth like Senator Graham does for South Carolina, or former Senator Doc Hastings fought for Hanford, Washington.

Contrary to Senator McConnell's opinion, it IS the job of a Senator to create jobs for his constituents.

 

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"Found on Facebook" is a regular feature by Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council, a member of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board and president of USW Local 9447 in Calvert City. Read more >>>

"Found on Facebook" is a regular feature by Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council, a member of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board and president of USW Local 9447 in Calvert City. Read more >>>

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

“Right to work” boosters keep claiming a slew of companies are shunning Kentucky because we’re not RTW.

But I’ve yet to see RTW advocates name any of those companies in newspaper stories and opinion columns or on TV and radio news reports or commentary.

Reporters let the RTW proponents get away with it, too. I haven’t come across any stories saying the RTW booster “declined to name any companies.”

 

Read more >>>

"Found on Facebook" is a regular feature by Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council, a member of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board and president of USW Local 9447 in Calvert City.  Read more >>>

By TOM LOFTUS

FRANKFORT, Ky. – The first plank of the platform that Matt Bevin released as a longshot candidate for governor early this year is labeled: “Right to Work. Enacting Pro-Business Legislation.”

So as the Republican governor settles into office – with a shrinking Democratic majority in the Kentucky House – the outlook is better for passage of the so-called right-to-work bill that would ban union membership or payment of union dues as a condition for employment.

But some key legislators on both sides of the aisle say it’s no sure bet to pass in the 2016 session.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Less than 31 percent of eligible voters went to polls on Nov. 3.

I suspect people stay home on election days mostly because they think voting doesn’t matter. We’ve all heard the claim, “There really isn’t much difference between Republicans and Democrats, so why bother voting?”

Some conservative Kentucky Democrats do sound like Republicans, especially on the so-called social issues, which one of my union buddies calls the “Three Gs—God, guns and gays.”

 

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To see the story with links, click here.

By STEVE BENEN

Former Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D) earned a reputation for competent, effective leadership. After two terms with the Democrat in office, the Bluegrass State’s unemployment rate fell to a 14-year low, while Kentucky’s uninsured rate dropped by over 40%.

But this year, the state decided it wanted something very different, so it easily elected far-right Gov. Matt Bevin (R) – a man Republicans had previously labeled a “con man” who lies “pathologically” – to take Kentucky in a dramatic new direction.

Well, Kentuckians, if that’s what you wanted, that’s what you’re getting. The Lexington Herald Leader reported yesterday on some of the first moves taken by the new governor, who’s never held any elected office at any level.

 

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By BILL LONDRIGAN
President, Kentucky State AFL-CIO

Trade Unionists, Friends and Supporters: On behalf of the Officers, Executive Board, Affiliates and Members of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO please accept our best wishes for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I have attached several items that you might want to check out over the holiday season - both positive and negative. Rest assured that in the coming year we will face many challenges and opportunities and working together as trade unionists and with our allies we will meet the challenges ahead and take advantage of the opportunities that will surely arise as a result of the zealotry and hubris inherent in the philosophy of the new administration.

 

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"Found on Facebook" is a regular feature by Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council, a member of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board and president of USW Local 9447 in Calvert City. Read more >>>

By JOE SONKA

Gov. Matt Bevin announced five new executive orders on Tuesday, instituting a hiring freeze for state workers and taking the name of county clerks off marriage licenses — as well as rescinding former Gov. Steve Beshear’s executive orders this year that raised the minimum wage for state workers and contractors and automatically restored the voting rights of non violent former felons.

In rescinding Beshear’s executive order just before leaving office that allowed what is estimated to be over 100,000 nonviolent former felons who had completed their sentences to have their voting rights restored, Bevin’s press release said that order was “contrary to the Kentucky Constitution and undermines the very right it seeks to restore by circumventing elected representatives in the state legislature and the voice of the people at the ballot box.” The statement also indicated that Bevin’s executive order does not affect anyone whose rights have already been restored since Beshear’s order was signed.

“Today, I took action to uphold several commitments I made during my campaign so that we can implement real solutions that will help the people of Kentucky,” said Bevin. “While I have been a vocal supporter of the restoration of rights, for example, it is an issue that must be addressed through the legislature and by the will of the people.”


 

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Central Kentucky contractor must pay workers $133,942.02
in back wages and interest


FRANKFORT, Ky. - The Kentucky Supreme Court’s decision December 10 denying a request for discretionary review by TECO Mechanical Contractor, Inc. (TECO) brought to a close a precedent-setting, decade-long court battle waged by the Kentucky Labor Cabinet and the Kentucky Building & Construction Trades Council against the central Kentucky contractor to recover unpaid wages for the affected employees.

The Supreme Court’s decision effectively upholds Franklin Circuit Court Judge Phillip J. Shepherd’s ruling requiring TECO to pay their workers back wages plus interest that has accrued since the Labor Cabinet first determined the amount owed.

Former Kentucky Labor Cabinet Secretary Larry Roberts said, ““This is a victory for every hard-working Kentuckian who strives to earn an honest paycheck and it puts every unscrupulous contractor like TECO on notice.”

 

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"Found on Facebook" is a regular feature by Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council, a member of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board and president of USW Local 9447 in Calvert City. Read more >>>

By JIM H. KEY
Vice president, Steelworkers Local 550

If the Commonwealth of Kentucky had strong congressmen who were concerned about representing their constituents in western Kentucky, they could be the champions to bring additional Department of Energy Star Energy projects (that would provide family-sustaining wages, good benefits, and increased tax revenue) assigned to the available 3,500-acre DOE Paducah Site Reservation, much like other members of Congress who are fighting for their regions in Tennessee, Idaho, and Georgia and are bringing in the funding necessary to create jobs for future generations, as examples below illustrate:

-- Small Modular Reactors: Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said they will give utilities and the military the ability to generate clean, cheap, reliable nuclear power in new ways.

-- Funding to continue advancing additive manufacturing technologies at the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT LOCAL 1360

“No argument is needed to convince the intelligent observer of passing events of the growing need of a labor press that has no entangling alliances with any of the agencies which have undertaken the task of emasculating the labor unions or destroying them entirely.”

I didn’t lift that quote from the notes I took at last week’s Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board meeting in Frankfort.

Nor did I glean this from my jottings: “The most superficial reader of the daily press is quick to notice the manner in which the news agencies of the world are continuously and forever giving Labor the worst of it in every conceivable manner.”

Read more >>>

"Found on Facebook" is a regular feature by Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council, a member of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board and president of USW Local 9447 in Calvert City. Read more >>>

 "Found on Facebook" is a regular feature by Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council, a member of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board and president of USW Local 9447 in Calvert City. Read more >>>

"...Real threats take hard work and tax money to deal with. Fake threats just take demagoguery."  Read more >>>

Posted on December 19, 2015 by HBR

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Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin appoints former Lexmark International executive Daniel Bork as Commissioner of Revenue.

Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting

At Lexmark, Daniel Bork left behind an imbroglio that has forced the company to conduct a top-to-bottom overhaul of its accounting controls for income taxes. In its annual report for 2014, Lexmark said it “did not maintain effective monitoring and oversight of controls over the completeness, existence, accuracy and presentation and disclosure of our accounting for income taxes.” Lexmark did not put a dollar amount on the resulting bookkeeping errors. Read more.

 

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The House I Live In
Lyrics: Lewis Allan Music: Earl Robinson

What is America to me? A name, a map, the flag I see,
a certain word -"Democracy"- what is America to me?

The house I live in, the friends that I have found,
The folks beyond the railroad and the people all around,
The worker and the farmer, the sailor on the sea,
The men who built this country, that's America to me.

The words of Old Abe Lincoln, of Jefferson and Paine,
Of Washington and Jackson, and the tasks that still remain,
The little bridge at Concord, where Freedom's fight began,
Our Gettysburg and Midway, and the story of Bataan.

 

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Update from Page One Kentucky: "A Bit More About David Dickerson" and more xenophobia from the governor. 

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

In his inaugural address, Gov. Matt Bevin tried to remake himself as a kinder, gentler, bipartisan sort of guy and not a tea party-tilting, John Birch Society-schmoozing reactionary.

David A. Dickerson, Bevin's new Public Protection Cabinet secretary, is more proof, as if proof were needed, that the gov is still every bit the far-right wing extremist he proved himself to be on the campaign trail.

Dickerson is "an Ann Coulter-loving, Michele Bachmann-supporting, anti-health care, wishes he could use racist language, anti-immigrant, death panel myth believer, Islamophobic, possibly delusional birther. He doesn’t try to hide it in the least,” says Page One Kentucky, the no-holds barred blogsite that’s got the goods on Bevin's soulmate who is a Glasgow Republican and a former Barren County judge executive.
 

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By ERNIE POWELL

For two presidential cycles and during midterm elections as far back as the mid 1990's, older voters have given more votes to Republicans than Democrats. This will change in 2016 and it will change dramatically. Older voters will support Democrats in 2016.

The reasons for this sea change are simple. The Republican Party has fundamentally gone off the deep end. Nearly every single Republican presidential candidate offers a harmful and dramatic set of changes for Social Security that will, without question, lower benefits. And lowering benefits means less money in beneficiaries' monthly Social Security checks. To add insult to injury, many of these same Republican Presidential hopefuls suggest an equally bad set of ideas for Medicare that will give seniors a more expensive and less accessible health care system.

For example, Jeb Bush wants to privatize Social Security, raise the retirement age and end Medicare. Ted Cruz calls for privatizing Social Security, raising the retirement age and cutting benefits. John Kasich supports privatizing Social Security and cutting benefits. Ben Carson favors raising the retirement age and Marco Rubio would like to raise the retirement age and has considered cutting benefits. Only Donald Trump has steered clear of these kinds of proposals, at least so far.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360


Beware of bad bills, warns Marcus Trammell, AFL-CIO senior field representative.

“We haven’t seen the worst of it,” the Nashville-based Trammell told Wednesday’s meeting of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO executive board.

The Kentucky General Assembly convenes next month. So far, the Republicans have not pre-filed a “right to work” bill or legislation to abolish the prevailing wage.

 

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360


A year ago this month, Warren County became the first of a dozen Kentucky counties to pass a “right to work” ordinance.

“People constantly ask me, ‘When is this judge going to make his ruling?’” Kentucky State AFL-CIO President Bill Londrigan told Wednesday’s meeting of the federation’s executive board in Frankfort. “The answer to that question is that it is up to the federal judge to decide when to issue his decision.”

In January, nine local and international unions filed suit in federal district court in Louisville against the Hardin County ordinance. But Judge David Hale’s decision would likely affect all 12 ordinances.

 

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"Found on Facebook" is a regular feature by Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council, a member of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board and president of USW Local 9447 in Calvert City. Read more >>>

No time for politics as usual: Sander's campaign to fight for America's middle class, supported decisively by CWA members in grassroots endorsement process

Citing the need for a candidate who will break with politics-as-usual and fight for America's working people, CWA voted today to endorse U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in the 2016 race for President of the United States. With 700,000 members, CWA is one of the largest unions in the U.S.

"CWA members have made a clear choice and a bold stand in endorsing Bernie Sanders for President," CWA President Chris Shelton said. "I am proud of our democratic process, proud of CWA members, and proud to support the candidate whose vision for America puts working families first. Our politics and economy have favored Wall Street, the wealthy and powerful for too long. CWA members, like voters across America, are saying we can no longer afford business as usual. Bernie has called for a political revolution – and that is just what Americans need today."

 

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To see the story with links, click here.

Changing Demographics will be the death knell for the Republican Party — even though it may take White House in '16

By SEAN ILLING

No matter who wins the nomination battle, the Republican Party has a much bigger problem: demographics. A new report released by the Center for American Progress analyzed the demographic advantages for Democrats in 2016 and beyond and the results are overwhelmingly positive.

And this should surprise no one.

Observers on both sides have long questioned the Republican Party’s viability in an increasingly progressive and less white America. With every national election, it becomes more obvious that the GOP’s “Southern Strategy,” which exploited racial and cultural resentment for votes, has finally backfired.

 

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To see the story with links, click here.

By JAMES MCNAIR

Gov. Matt Bevin’s newly appointed commissioner of revenue left his last job, at Lexmark International, after the Lexington-based technology company found a host of accounting errors and declared its internal financial controls to be deficient and in need of remediation.

Bevin named Daniel Bork to the Department of Revenue job on Monday. In a news release, Bevin’s office said Bork “recently retired” as Lexmark’s vice president of tax, a job he had held since 2001. Bork’s LinkedIn profile says he worked there until September.

“His expertise in the tax field will serve the cabinet and the administration well,” Bevin said Monday. The Revenue Department administers tax laws, collects revenue and provides services to other state agencies and citizens.

 

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TRIANGLE, Va. -- United Mine Workers of America International President Cecil E. Roberts issued the following statement today:

“We are extremely disappointed that, as it was agreeing to a $1.1 trillion spending bill and another $650 billion in tax breaks for a variety of corporate interests, Congress could not find a way to live up to our nation’s promise to preserve retirement security for tens of thousands of retired coal miners, their dependents and widows.

“We can only ask why? What is it about these senior citizens Congress doesn’t like? They spent decades putting their lives and health on the line every day, providing the raw material our nation used to become the strongest, most powerful nation on earth. Many paid the ultimate sacrifice, either being killed in our nation’s mines or contracting black lung disease and dying a slow, choking, painful death. Read more >>>

"Found on Facebook" is a regular feature by Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council, a member of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board and president of USW Local 9447 in Calvert City. Read more >>>

DeLane Adams, the AFL-CIO’s Southern Region field communications director, has been providing us outstanding Animoto video slide shows for some time. We think this one is among his very best. Thanks, Brother Adams.

Click here to enjoy the show. Happy holidays to everybody!

In solidarity,
Berry
Berry Craig, webmaster-editor

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Fritz Winter North America LP, a German-owned automotive parts maker, is set to open a $193.7 million foundry and factory in Simpson County.

Simpson is one of a dozen Kentucky counties that passed “right to work” ordinances.

RTW boosters claim such ordinances – which unions are challenging in federal court -- will naturally attract more companies and create more jobs.

Here’s the funny thing. In the online Lane Report story I read about the new plant, neither the company nor pro-RTW Republican Gov. Matt Bevin said the RTW ordinance was a factor in the firm’s move to Simpson County.
 

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 "Found on Facebook" is a regular feature by Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council, a member of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board and president of USW Local 9447 in Calvert City. Read more >>>

By JULIE McCALL 

Rudolph the Union Reindeer

Rudolph the Union reindeer
Pulled the sleigh for old St. Nick
He signed a Union contract
He knew North Pole politics.

All of the other reindeer
Worked long hours around the clock
They paid no heed to Rudolph
They worked in non-union shops.

 

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By JIM HIGHTOWER

Don Blankenship didn't get what he deserves in his federal trial, but he definitely deserves what he got.

"Guilty," declared all 12 West Virginia jurors who pondered the charge that this arrogant and avaricious CEO of Massey Energy Company willfully conspired to violate America's mine safety laws. As a result of that conspiracy, 29 miners were essentially murdered by the corporation on April 5, 2010, in a horrific explosion deep inside Massey's Upper Big Branch coal mine.

Blankenship, a multimillionaire right-wing ideologue, union-buster, and political heavyweight, ran the Upper Big Branch mine like a lawless third-world operator. It was one of the most dangerous workplaces in the country, because this kingpin of King Coal relentlessly put profit over people, recklessly endangering miners. But coal is, indeed, king in West Virginia, so the laws are written to coddle the royals of the industry. Thus, Blankenship's guilt is to be punished by a maximum of one year in prison – and his diamond-studded legal team intends to have the jury's unanimous verdict of guilt tossed down the dark shaft of judicial favoritism for the rich.

 

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To see the story with links and graphics, click here.

BY DORIAN T. WARREN

Thousands of Americans who work in fast-food restaurants walked off their jobs for a day again [last month]…once more disrupting breakfast, lunch, and dinner hours in neighborhoods around the country.

Their strikes have provoked a broad debate over minimum wage levels at local and national levels, which is long overdue.

But that’s just part of what this movement is about. From the beginning, the fast-food cashiers and cooks who launched the “Fight for $15” declared that they have a vision for how they can turn their jobs into work that sustains their families and frees them from depending on public assistance: a union.

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To see the article with links, click here.

By ABBY GOODNOUGH

WASHINGTON — More than seven in 10 residents of Kentucky want their new governor, Matt Bevin, to keep the state’s expanded Medicaid program as it is, according to a new poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation. And more than half of respondents described Medicaid as important for themselves and their families, underscoring the program’s substantial reach in the state and the challenges Mr. Bevin may face if he seeks to scale back or modify it.

Mr. Bevin, a Republican who took office Tuesday, is an opponent of the Affordable Care Act who earlier this year called for reversing the Medicaid expansion on the grounds that it was unaffordable for the state. He has since backpedaled to say he will seek changes requiring Medicaid enrollees to have “skin in the game,” such as by charging them monthly premiums.

“I do not intend to re-enroll people at this same level going forward,” Mr. Bevin said in a news conference after his election.

 

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To see the editorial with links, click here.

Our laws provide harsher penalties for depriving investors of information than for depriving miners of their lives.

That’s one takeaway from the conviction earlier this month of Don Blankenship, CEO of the company that owned the West Virginia coal mine where 29 workers were killed in an entirely preventable explosion in April 2010.

Congress has had five years to correct this inequity and to remedy other weaknesses in the law revealed by the disaster at Upper Big Branch. But the Republicans who control Congress have blocked mine-safety legislation, named for the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia, and shown little interest in protecting miners or punishing those who willfully endanger them.

 

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 Primary care physicians in Kentucky have sounded the alarm in today’s Courier-Journal about Gov. Matt Bevin’s dangerous plans to scrap Kynect and cut Medicaid.

“We believe that health care should not be a partisan issue.The Kynect system is currently working for our patients, and they will be the ones that suffer if we dismantle this very successful program.”1

Sign the petition if you agree that Kentuckians’ health shouldn’t suffer from Gov. Matt Bevin’s partisan attack on Kynect and Medicaid.

 

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Comments by House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, on State Rep. Denny Butler, D-Louisville, switching to the Republicans and State Rep. John Tilley, D-Hopkinsville, accepting the post of Justice and Public Safety Cabinet secretary in Republican Matt Bevin's administration:

"It's a shame and a sad comment on and a sad day for Kentucky when members of the legislature truly wear 'for sale' signs around their necks....What the Republicans have not been able to accomplish at the ballot box they believe they can accomplish by opening their pocket books up and offering lucrative jobs and opportunities for members of the legislature who have been elected by constituents to serve."

“I thought John Tilley had more character than that. But of course I thought Denny Butler had more character than that,” Stumbo said. “What that really gives people is the impression that their government is for sale, it’s for sale to the highest bidder.”

 

  

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"Found on Facebook" is a regular feature by Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council, a member of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board and president of USW Local 9447 in Calvert City. Read more >>>

 By JEANIE EMBRY and GAIL HARDY

A recent opinion piece by pundit John David Dyche extolling the virtues of an Adam Edelen candidacy for the U.S. Senate next year got us to thinking. We could not agree more with Dyche’s assertion that “Kentucky’s Democrats cannot find a better candidate.”

There are a host of reasons that Auditor Edelen should rethink his decision not to challenge Sen. Rand Paul in 2016. After leaving his state government post, Edelen will be free to devote his full time and energy to a campaign. Few politicians know how to win rural votes like Edelen who understands that the first rule is showing up in the hinterlands. Edelen has trekked to unincorporated hamlets like Paw Paw in Pike County and to the Kentucky Bend in the western tip of The Purchase to meet voters and hear their concerns firsthand.

Paul has compiled an egregiously hurtful record on issues of concern to rural Kentuckians. There is a huge difference between being a fiscal conservative and going out of your way to harm your state. Unfortunately, Paul has let his ideological libertarianism get in the way of representing Kentucky’s interests in Washington.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Here’s more good news for Kentucky and more bad news for Gov. Matt Bevin and his union-busting buddies at that Crabgrass Institute, or whatever they call it, in Bowling Green.

Bevin and the folks at Crabgrass claim a lot of companies won’t invest in Kentucky because we’re not a “right to work” state. They say the absence of RTW is costing the commonwealth a ton of jobs.

Well, General Motors will plunk down a cool $44 million at its Corvette plant in the Warren County seat. The investment is for boosting “the engine building capacity in its Performance Build Center with the expansion to begin next month,” reported Louisville’s WHAS news radio.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, says he’s ready to prove the GOP wrong again.

“I’m convinced the House Democrats will add to their numbers next year for several reasons,” he said.

The GOP might scoff that the speaker is just whistling past the cemetery. But in 2014, the Republicans bragged that they’d flip the House. Stumbo said they wouldn’t, and they didn’t.

 

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 Jeff Wiggins sent us this one for folks who forgot what to do with their clocks yesterday. Check out "Watching Matt Bevin FAIL Kentucky" on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Watching-Matt-Bevin-FAIL-Kentucky-416926111837140/ Read more >>>

Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council and Steelworkers Local 9447 in Calvert City sent us this one. Send us your favorites at bcraig8960@gmail.com!  Read more >>>

By MATT ERWIN

The swearing in of Gov. Matt Bevin places Kentucky Democrats at a serious crossroads. While Democrats dominated statewide elections in 2007 and 2011, Jack Conway’s loss not only handed the GOP the Governor’s Mansion but also took down the party’s most viable challenger for Senate in 2016. On top of this, Frankfort’s most popular parlor game has become whether the leadership of the Democratically controlled House of Representatives can hold onto the body at the ballot box in an environment where members are willing to switch parties or land a cushy job in the new administration.

The losses have caused a stir of familiar reactions among Democrats that show up every time a tough election goes the other way. Namely, some Democrats are convinced things are over and they are now eternally irrelevant. Might as well pack it in.

This is, of course, complete nonsense. This line of defeatist garbage weakens the party and harms the working families for whom Democrats have been advocating for generations. In short – Democrats, knock it off.

 

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If the improbable political rise of Matt Bevin left your head spinning, the new Republican governor did nothing to ease that dizzy feeling in a lengthy inaugural speech.

Speaking without notes from the Capitol steps on a balmy, sun-soaked day, Bevin swung from motivational-style speaker, urging people to be the best versions of themselves and practice the Golden Rule, to Tea Party orator, invoking the 10th Amendment and ranting against federal overreach.

He insulted the six preceding governors on the stand with him by bemoaning what a mess Kentucky is, then called for more cordiality and a change of tenor in public discourse.

 

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By MIKE WYNN

Takeaways from Gov. Matt Bevin’s inaugural speech:

» He is standing by his campaign platforms: Although he only spoke briefly about policy, Bevin reiterated essentially all of his major goals as governor, including more oversight of public pensions, streamlining government, implementing charter schools and modernizing the tax code. On closing of the state health insurance exchange, the governor was unambiguous: “We are going to shut that redundant program down. This is what we are going to do next year.”

» No proposals on pension funding: Bevin has already chastened former Gov. Steve Beshear over rising shortfalls in state pensions, and he pledged Tuesday to make the hard decisions necessary to honor commitments to retirees. Still, Bevin provided no indication of where he might find the $570 million in additional money needed to fund public pensions next year. (Tweet This)

 

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Elected as a Democrat last year, State Rep. Denny Butler of Louisville switched to the Republican party last month.

Trade Unionists, Friends and Supporters:

I wanted to share with you some information about Rep. Denny Butler that I thought you might find interesting as well as disturbing.

In reviewing Rep. Butler's campaign finance reports for the two elections that he has sought office he raised a total of $107,300. Of this total $43,000 was contributed by the Democratic Party through various accounts including the House Caucus and $23,900 was contributed by organized labor and allied groups (Kentucky Justice Assoc. - KJA; Horsemen's Benevolent Assoc.) for a combined total of $66,900.

As a percentage of Rep. Butler's total contributions the Democratic Party accounted for 40 percent and Labor and allies 22 percent for a combined total of 62 percent. These figures only refer to campaign contributions and don't include the costs expended by organized labor for canvassing, phoning, mailing and leafleting to help get Rep. Butler elected.
 

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Today is a huge day for the future of our health care. Governor Matt Bevin's inauguration is happening right now and we have to let him know we’re watching.

This is a crucial moment. We've got to do all we can to stop Bevin from dismantling Kynect and making harmful changes to Medicaid.

 

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To read the story with graphics and links, click here.

By SUSAN GRIGSBY

Ted Cruz is so much more than a Tea Party Republican who believes that the best way to balance the budget is to get rid of the Departments of Energy, Commerce, Education, and Housing and Urban Development. And that we won’t need the IRS either, because with a 10 percent flat tax, we will all be able to fill out our tax returns on the back of a postcard.

He will save additional funds by dismantling the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Corporation for Travel Promotion, the Legal Services Corporation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and National Endowment for the Humanities. Unsurprisingly, the American Spectator thinks this is a good plan, by golly.

But a good spend (on defense)-and-not-tax conservative is not all that Ted is. Which is fortunate because there simply aren’t enough tea partiers to elect a president. But if you combine them with the fundamentalist/evangelicals, the prospect brightens.

 

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 By Joel Pett, Lexington Herald-Leader Read more >>>

Cartoon of the Week by Joel Pett, Lexington Herald-Leader

 

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By ERIK SCHELZIG

CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee (AP) — Skilled-trades workers at Volkswagen's lone U.S. plant on Friday voted to be represented by the United Auto Workers, marking the union's first victory at a foreign-owned automaker in the South.

The workers who specialize in repairing and maintaining machinery and robots at the German automaker's factory in Chattanooga voted 108-44 to have the UAW negotiate collective bargaining agreements on their behalf.

The vote comes nearly 20 months after the union was narrowly defeated in an election involving all hourly employees at the plant. The UAW has been thwarted for decades in its attempts to represent workers outside of General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler.

 

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 Washington, D.C. – High wages are NOT to blame for the loss of 5.4 million U.S. manufacturing jobs since 1997, according to a new report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). Currency manipulation and unfair trade practices are responsible for the decline in manufacturing jobs and closing of over 82,100 factories between 1997 and 2013.

“American factory workers are the solution, not the problem,” said Alliance for American Manufacturing President Scott Paul. “Instead of scapegoats, America needs a manufacturing strategy. That strategy should be built on balancing trade, investing in our infrastructure, enhancing our training programs, and rebuilding our innovation base.”

Ending unfair trade practices will help rebuild U.S. manufacturing without cutting wages in the sector, EPI Director of Trade and Manufacturing Research Robert E. Scott argues in Exchange rate policies, not high wages, are why U.S. lags China and Germany in export performance.

 

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Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council and Steelworkers Local 9447 in Calvert City sent us this one. Send us your favorites at bcraig8960@gmail.com!  Read more >>>

Trade Unionists, Friends and Supporters:

UFCW Local 227 is asking for your support on Tuesday, December 8th at 3:00 p.m. at the Bashford Manor Wal-Mart, 2020 Bashford Manor Lane, Louisville, KY to stand with Wal-Mart workers demonstrating for fair treatment, respect and fair wages. So join with fellow trade unionists, community and civil rights activists and others and show Wal-Mart that we stand with the workers in their struggle for fair treatment. 

In Solidarity, Bill
Bill Londrigan,
Kentucky AFL-CIO president

 

 

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By KENNETH QUINNELL

More than five years after 29 miners were killed in an explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine in Raleigh County, W.Va., justice was finally served as former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship was found criminally guilty for a conspiracy to willfully violate the Mine Safety and Health Act. While the tragedy was the largest loss of life in a mine accident in the United States since 1970, numerous other workers have lost their lives in Massey mines.

Mine Workers (UMWA) President Cecil Roberts issued the following statement in response to the conviction:

A measure of justice has been served through the conviction of Don Blankenship on federal charges of conspiring to violate mine safety standards. The truth that was common knowledge in the coalfields—that Don Blankenship cared little for the safety and health of miners working for his company and even less for the laws enforcing their rights—has finally been proven in court.

 

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"Found on Facebook" is a regular feature from Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council and Steelworkers Local 9447 in Calvert City. Send us your favorites from Facebook at bcraig8960@gmail.com!

In solidarity,

Berry

Berry Craig, webmaster 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

I guess Ford Motor Co. bigwigs didn’t get the memo from Matt Bevin, Kentucky’s almost-governor.

Bevin, who will be sworn in Tuesday, says a lot of companies don’t want to invest in Kentucky because we’re not a “right to work” state. He claims the absence of RTW is costing the commonwealth dearly in jobs.

But Ford Motor Co., one of the world’s largest corporations, is investing $1.3 billion at its Kentucky Truck Plant on Chamberlain Road near Louisville so the facility can start making the brand-new aluminum-body 2017 F-series Super Duty pickup trucks. The result will be 2,000 new jobs at the plant.

 

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Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council and Steelworkers Local 9447 in Calvert City sent us this one. Send us your favorites at bcraig8960@gmail.com! Read more >>>

To see the story with graphics and links, click here.

By ROBERT SOBEL

One can only wonder why average working class Americans would vote for a party that is so obvious in their bias towards the wealthy. It would make sense that someone in the top 1 percent of the income bracket would vote for the Republican party since they have the wealthiest American's best interest at heart. You could even make the case that highly religious Christians would vote for Republicans even though, at times, they vote against their own best economic interests. So the question remains, while scratching your head, why do working class Americans vote for Republican candidates?

I once sat down and spoke with an acquaintance of mine, trying to get a grip on what people are thinking about the future of our country. He said he voted for Mitt Romney in 2012 because, "we need a business person to get our debt down." I asked where he got his news and information from, and after trying to deflect from the question, the answer finally came. "I don't pay attention too much, but when I do, I watch Fox." Fox News is the primary source for information for millions of Americans across the country and that's where the problem starts.

Whether it's Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity or other right wing ideologues, Fox News is a tunnel vision information outlet with only one particular agenda that is being pushed through. Millions of Americans watch Fox News, listen to the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Neal Boortz, Michael Savage and others while getting information from right wing think tanks like the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute. With big businesses and billionaire allies, the truth and facts in American have gone from a clear right and wrong, black and white situation to muffled shades of gray. It's not to say that Fox News, the Cato Institute and others like them totally lie because that would be too difficult to pull off. What these think tanks do, is take a fact and twist it to fit their own personal agenda, leaving out key information that would contradict with the platform they're trying to create.

 

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In preparation for the 2016 elections and subsequent legislative and issue battles, the AFL-CIO is working to create a national ‘worker media bank’, consisting of workers who could be a part of union rapid response and proactive communications efforts.

We need your help identifying union members to be a part of the media bank. Please click on the link below and enter the information of any member you approve to be a part of the media bank.

Link to sign union members up for Worker Media Bank Read more >>>

Trade Unionists, Friends and Supporters:

There is still time to register for the upcoming first ever Kentucky Young Workers United Conference which is scheduled for this Friday, December 4th to Saturday, December 5th at IBEW Local 369, 4315 Preston Highway, Louisville, KY 40213.

Friday's Session will commence with Registration at 8:00 a.m. and the class will run from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. and on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. We have engaged the University of Arkansas Labor Education Program to conduct this training as they have experience conducting similar training for the Arkansas AFL-CIO with great success.

We would like to engage and train as many young trade unionists as possible and we still have room for more unionists. Send names and contact information (including cell phone number and e-mail address) to our Kentucky State AFL-CIO Young Worker Coordinator Chris Ormes at chris.ormes@gmail.com as soon as possible.

 

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Today, we are starting a new feature, “Found on Facebook.” Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council and Steelworkers Local 9447 in Calvert City sent us this one. Send us your favorites at bcraig8960@gmail.com!

In solidarity,

Berry
Berry Craig, webmaster

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By CHRIS OTTS

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Ford Motor Co. is adding 2,000 jobs and investing $1.3 billion in its Kentucky Truck Plant in eastern Jefferson County in preparation for making the all-new 2017 F-series Super Duty pickup trucks next year, Ford officials will announce at the plant on Tuesday.

A news conference is set for 10:30 a.m. at the plant with Gov. Steve Beshear and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.

Kentucky Truck currently employs about 4,400 – the vast majority of which are production workers represented by the United Auto Workers’ Local 862.

 

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To see the story with graphics and links, click here.

By STEVE SINGISER

A week ago, we explored the historically precarious position the Democratic Party is currently in as it relates to the balance of power in the 99 state legislative chambers. At present, the Democrats control just 31 of those 99 chambers, and have exclusive control of just eleven state legislatures: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Meanwhile, the GOP not only controls more than two-thirds of the state legislative chambers in America, they have exclusive control of the state’s levers of powers in eight states where Barack Obama twice carried the state: Florida, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

This disparity is both jarring and terribly problematic, given how much policy that impacts our day-to-day lives is not carved out in the District of Columbia, but rather in cities like Carson City, Columbus, Harrisburg, and Madison. While the overwhelming bulk of the public conversation is devoted to the twists and turns of the presidential sweepstakes (admittedly, a wildly entertaining story), the real story about the policy direction of America is being waged in relative silence.

 

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Hello folks,

You are receiving this email because we need some help. If you have people in your email contact list that would be interested in Labor History or Kentucky Folk Music. Please forward this information to them.
This show is being organized very rapidly and at the last minute and any help getting the word out would be very appreciated.

Thank You, J.P.

For release :

Joe Hill 100 Tour comes to Lexington Kentucky!
A national tour commemorating the life and times of a labor legend!
Don’t Mourn, Organize!
https://www.facebook.com/events/179268862419612/
Thursday, December 3rd
Free Event –

Al’s Bar of Lexington
601 N. Limestone
Lexington, KY 40508

8 PM

Performers include:
Jack Herranen & the Little Red Band – Knoxville, TN
JP Wright,
Ken Tunnel
Brett Ratliff
Spoken Word by Black Atticus - Knoxville
And Special Guests

Contact – John Paul Wright for more information
502-553-0495

Read more >>>

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Donald Trump has inspired blogger Manny Schewitz to update a famous quote attributed to writer Sinclair Lewis, the first American to win a Nobel Prize in literature.

"When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross," Lewis supposedly said in the 1930s.

“When Fascism Comes To America, It’ll Come Wrapped In Racism And Wearing A Bad Toupee,” Schewitz headlined a recent posting on his Forward Progressives blog.
 

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Frankfort, KY –“ Kentucky’s working families commend Governor Beshear’s decision to restore voting rights to individuals that paid their debt to society. This is a fix that was long overdue. And it’s only fair that working people who contribute to Kentucky’s economy be allowed to have a voice in our government. This executive order is good for our community and we welcome our fellow Kentuckians’ participation in the civic process.” --Bill Londrigan, president, Kentucky State AFL-CIO Read more >>>

Looks like the theme for the 2016 elections is going to be "Democrats Hate America; Real Americans Vote Republican."

Here's an old but still relevant response:

"We[Liberals] love America just as much as they[Conservatives] do. But in a different way. You see, they love America like a 4-year-old loves his mommy. Liberals love America like grown-ups. To a 4-year-old, everything Mommy does is wonderful and anyone who criticizes Mommy is bad. Grown-up love means actually understanding what you love, taking the good with the bad and helping your loved one grow. Love takes attention and work and is the best thing in the world. That’s why we liberals want America to do the right thing. We know America is the hope of the world, and we love it and want it to do well."

-- Al Franken

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To see the full article with graphics and links, click here.

By MANNY SCHEWITZ

We’ve seen a lot of hatred from the GOP over the past few months prior to the new resurgence of Islamic extremist terrorism. They’ve talked a lot about America being a “Christian nation,” and candidates like Donald Trump have embraced an ultra-nationalist ideology which is extremely disturbing.

This rhetoric has resounded solidly with the GOP base, and it is indicative of how far to the fringe the Republican Party has drifted over the past few years. Their anti-immigrant, hyper-conservative message makes the days of George W. Bush seem progressive in comparison, and it is continually getting worse.

Combine this with ramping up of conservative talking points, and it is no wonder that the Republican base has become more rabid with their demonization of everyone who isn’t on their side. If you’re not a conservative Christian gun fanatic who believes evolution is a lie and that Christians are being persecuted for not being able to force their beliefs on others, you are the enemy and a traitor to this country.
 

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To see the full story with links, click here.

By MANNY SCHEWITZ

Remember Matt Bevin, the Kentucky Tea Party candidate for governor who accidentally said he wanted to drug test seniors on government assistance? The same Matt Bevin who mounted a primary challenge to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell because the Kentucky Tea Party thought McConnell was too liberal?

Well, guess what? Kentucky voters just elected that same Matt Bevin, a man with no real political experience, as governor of their state.

For the most part, people have overlooked 2015 and are so wrapped up in the latest shenanigans from Donald Trump that they haven’t bothered to vote in a year where there isn’t a congressional or presidential election.

 

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To see the editorial with links, click here.

America has just lived through another presidential campaign week dominated by Donald Trump’s racist lies. Here’s a partial list of false statements: The United States is about to take in 250,000 Syrian refugees; African-Americans are responsible for most white homicides; and during the 9/11 attacks, “thousands and thousands” of people in an unnamed “Arab” community in New Jersey “were cheering as that building was coming down.”

In the Republican field, Mr. Trump has distinguished himself as fastest to dive to the bottom. If it’s a lie too vile to utter aloud, count on Mr. Trump to say it, often. It wins him airtime, and retweets through the roof.

This phenomenon is in fact nothing new. Politicians targeting minorities, foreigners or women have always existed in the culture. And every generation or so, at least one demagogue surfaces to fan those flames.

 

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Gov.-elect Matt Bevin hasn’t even been sworn in and he’s already mentioning the groups he is going to stick it to, such as the poorest of the poor -- more than 400,000 Kentucky people who didn’t have insurance and now have it thanks to President Obama and Gov. Breshear.

He has said he will overrule Gov. Breshear by giving millions of tax dollars to the Noah’s ark theme park, which is limiting hiring to Christians. I am not anti-religion, I attend the Methodist church regularly but do not believe taxpayers should be supporting this endeavor or any other religious organization since they are tax exempt and there is supposed to be the “separation of church and state”.

Matt Bevin is also going to stick it to the state workers and school teachers along with unions when he tries to get a right-to-work law passed which is a right-to-work for less. Unions created the middle class and are like tidal waves – they raise all ships. Non-union workers’ wages rise when the union workers’ wages go up. Unions also push for higher minimum wages, which help non-union workers.

 

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John Bel Edwards’s surprise victory in Louisiana offers a lesson to Democrats: Campaign fiercely, mobilize urgently.

By JOHN NICHOLS

The last time Louisiana backed a Democrat for president was not in some Democratic landslide year like 1964 or 1936; nor even in some particularly good Democratic year in the South like 1976. It was in 1996, when Bill Clinton won the state with an outright majority of 52 percent to just 39 percent for Republican Bob Dole.

Even in 2012, when Democrats were writing off the Deep South, the 2012 Obama-Biden ticket secured more than 40 percent of the vote statewide, carried ten counties and finished with more than 45 percent in a half dozen others. The Obama-Biden ticket actually ran better in Louisiana in 2012 than it did in 2008—despite the fact that Republicans ran better nationally in 2012 than in 2008.

So there are distinct dynamics in play in Louisiana, a state with a rich history of economic populism and wild politics. But, then, most Southern and Western states that are now seen so rigidly Republican and consistently conservative have richer and wilder political histories than the practitioners of today’s diminished politics would have us believe.

 

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“Remember that when you say ‘I will have none of this exile and this stranger for his face is not like my face and his speech is strange,’ you have denied America with that word.” – Stephen Vincent Benet

“Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd.” – Bertrand Russell

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

At least Matt Bevin, the guy Sen. Mitch McConnell's campaign called an "East Coast con-man" during last year's GOP senate primary brawl, is a consistent panderer.

 

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The vice president of the AFL-CIO fled violence in Ethiopia and walked through a desert to come to America. "I don't think we can afford as a country to say no to these people," he says of the Syrians.

By DAVE JAMIESON

Tefere Gebre has been following the political debate over Syrian refugees this week from his downtown D.C. office, about a block from the White House. At times, he said, the discourse has turned his stomach.

"It's been a tough week," Gebre, the vice president of the AFL-CIO labor federation, told The Huffington Post.

 

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By SEN. BARBARA BOXER, D-CALIF.

When Donald Trump said he would not rule out special identification cards for Muslims, I got the chills. It took me back to when I was a child, and I learned that Jews were forced by the Nazis to wear the Star of David on their clothing.

And it isn't just Donald Trump. Ben Carson compared some Syrian refugees to "rabid" dogs. Chris Christie said he wouldn't let "even three-year-old orphans" into his state. Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush said they support a religious test that would keep Muslim refugees out of the United States.

When are we going to learn that this type of hateful targeting is a stain upon us all?

 

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Men channel their inner Tom Selleck in November by growing mustaches to bring attention to the second-greatest killer of men – prostate cancer.

While many men are reluctant patients, access to health insurance remains an important first step in getting tested and treated for what has become a largely treatable disease.

These medical advances are remarkable but once were only available to Kentuckians of a certain class, excluding those who had fallen on hard times.

 

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EDITOR’S NOTE: We thank KEA activist Gail Hardy of Cadiz for sending us this. To see the story with graphics and links, click here.

By ALEC MacGILLIS

This story was co-published with The New York Times' Sunday Review.

It is one of the central political puzzles of our time: Parts of the country that depend on the safety-net programs supported by Democrats are increasingly voting for Republicans who favor shredding that net.

In his successful bid for the Senate in 2010, the libertarian Rand Paul railed against “intergenerational welfare” and said that “the culture of dependency on government destroys people’s spirits,” yet racked up winning margins in eastern Kentucky, a former Democratic stronghold that is heavily dependent on public benefits. Last year, Paul R. LePage, the fiercely anti-welfare Republican governor of Maine, was re-elected despite a highly erratic first term — with strong support in struggling towns where many rely on public assistance. And earlier this month, Kentucky elected as governor a conservative Republican who had vowed to largely undo the Medicaid expansion that had given the state the country’s largest decrease in the uninsured under Obamacare, with roughly one in 10 residents gaining coverage.

 

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By ERIC BRUMFIELD

 As a lifelong Kentuckian, I watched the Nov. 3 election results with disbelief, sensing an ominous turning of the page in our state's history.

Since the early 19th century, until quite recently, Kentucky has produced a number of public figures celebrated for their moderate temperament and centrist ideology.

Whig leader Henry Clay, the Great Compromiser of the antebellum era, mediated debate between the North and South in Congress, delaying the impending crisis of the Civil War and advocating preservation of the union.

 

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By SCOTT PULLIAM

I was among those attending a meeting held yesterday at the Teamsters Local 89 hall in Louisville. Convened by state AFL-CIO President Bill Londrigan, the purpose was, in my estimation, to determine why the general election turned out so badly for Democrats, to identify the underlying causes and to set a course for Organized Labor in Kentucky to right the sinking ship (long term) and try to capture the two seats in the House that were vacated by Republicans as a result of the election. That, of course, is overly simplistic but it is probably fairly accurate.

There seemed to be general agreement among the attendees that the Kentucky Democratic Party is in a state of disarray. This is easily provable when considering that there were no Democrats “waiting in the wings” to run for these two seats in the event of their current occupants winning their campaigns for constitutional office. The fact that Democratic control of the House was already by a razor-thin margin should have been enough reason to have a stand-by plan in place. Now, with the announcement of a party change by (formerly Democrat and labor stalwart) Denny Butler, there's a really good chance the GOP could take over before the legislature convenes in January. I, personally, have no doubts there will be more rats abandoning ship in the near future.

With that in mind, our immediate focus should be on doing whatever it takes to win these special elections (dates to be determined). And since there are only two districts in play, we should be able to throw enough manpower into the fray to determine the outcome. Please make yourself available to participate whether or not your personal district is one of them.

 

 

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EDITOR'S NOTE: To see the story with links and graphics, click here.

By JOAN McCARTER

The Koch brothers are really going to have to kick their public relations efforts into high gear now to make the latest revelation about their nefarious efforts to acquire the U.S. system of governance in a hostile takeover look like politics as usual. They have a "secretive operation that conducts surveillance and intelligence-gathering on its liberal opponents, viewing it as a key strategic tool in its efforts to reshape American public life." No, it's not April Fool's Day. They're really doing this.

The operation, which is little-known even within the Koch network, gathers what Koch insiders refer to as "competitive intelligence" that is used to try to thwart liberal groups and activists, and to identify potential threats to the expansive network.

The competitive intelligence team has a staff of 25, including one former CIA analyst, and operates from one of the non-descript Koch network offices clustered near the Courthouse metro stop in suburban Arlington, Va. It has provided network officials with documents detailing confidential voter-mobilization plans by major Democrat-aligned groups. It also sends regular "intelligence briefing" emails tracking the canvassing, phone-banking and voter-registration efforts of labor unions, environmental groups and their allies, according to documents reviewed by POLITICO and interviews with a half-dozen sources with knowledge of the group.

 

 

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But it is just at this point, when things look darkest for the Democrats, that you can count on the Republicans to do something that will save the day--that is, it will save the day for us. You can always count on the Republicans, in an election year, to remind the people of what the Republican Party really stands for. You can always count on them to make it perfectly clear before the campaign is over that the Republican Party is the party of big business, and that they would like to turn the country back to the big corporations and the big bankers in New York to run it as they see fit. They are just not going to do it.

Just leave them alone, and the Republicans will manage to scare the daylights out of the farmer and the wage earner and the average American citizen. They always do that.

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 Thanks to Jeff Wiggins, president of the Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council and president of USW Local 9447 for sending us this. Send your favorite cartoons to bcraig8960@gmail.com. Read more >>>

By KIRSTI KNOLLE and TIM GHIANNI

FRANKFURT/SPRING HILL, Tenn. Nov 19 (Reuters) - Germany's largest trade union and the U.S. United Auto Workers (UAW) said on Thursday they would deepen their partnership and set up an office in Tennessee to boost labor rights at German automakers and their suppliers based in the United States.

Frankfurt-based union IG Metall estimates that 100,000 employees work for German auto manufacturers in the United States.

"We want to help the UAW to comprehensively ensure good working conditions, fair remuneration and genuine employee participation rights in the United States," said Wolfgang Lemb, an IG Metall executive board member.

 

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By STEVE BITTENBENDER

Officials in Lexington, Kentucky, voted on Thursday to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour by the year 2018, becoming the second city in the southern state to pass a minimum wage law.

The ordinance, which exempts agricultural workers and wait staff, was expected to benefit some 30,000 workers in Lexington, the second-biggest city in Kentucky behind Louisville.

"This is a community that values quality of life," Steve Kay, Lexington's vice mayor and one of nine supporters on the 15-member Urban County Council, which has jurisdiction over the city. "And we know that quality of life is what is building the economy of our community."

 

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EDITOR'S NOTE: We appreciate this email from Jack Conway.  

Berry,

I want to personally thank you for being an ardent supporter of our campaign. Sannie and I, and our families, are so grateful for all the help you’ve given us throughout this campaign for Governor and Lt. Governor of Kentucky. It’s truly been an honor to make this journey with you.

While we are all certainly disappointed by the results of the recent election, I’m proud of the strong and principled campaign that we created together. We raised critical issues that are important to Kentucky families, and that’s always positive and productive. I hope you are not deterred by our loss, and continue to support worthy candidates in the future.

It’s been a tremendous honor to serve as Attorney General and to have the privilege to fight for the values and interests of all Kentuckians. Whether in public or private life, I look forward to continue working for the good of our Commonwealth.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

On election night, House Speaker Greg Stumbo of Prestonsburg urged his fellow Democrats to not let Republicans “make people believe that we are not Godly people.”

Republican Gov.-elect Matt Bevin won with a big boost from Christian conservatives. Calling himself “PRO LIFE, PRO FAMILY, PRO 2ND AMENDMENT,” born-again Christian Bevin, ran hard on the so-called social issues. One of my union brothers labeled them “the Three Gs – God, guns and gays.”

The matchup between Bevin and Attorney Gen. Jack Conway, the Democrat, was yet another election in Bible Belt Kentucky where the Republicans wanted the voters to think their party is the Godly party. "They act like ‘GOP’ stands for 'God’s Own Party,'” one longtime western Kentucky Democrat griped.

 

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EDITOR’S NOTE: We thank Jeff Wiggins, president of the Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council and president of USW Local 9447 for sending us this:

Hi,

Alabama, Utah, Indiana, Tennessee and Georgia all had the highest filing bankruptcy rates in 2013 by state. Another thing they had in common was they are "right to work" states.

"Right to work" is unfair and unequal to unionized workers. That's why I signed a petition to the Kentucky State House of Representatives, the Kentucky State Senate and Gov. Steve Beshear, which says:

"The ultimate goal of "Right to Work" is to break unions so businesses can lower pay and benefits to workers. It has nothing to do with your right to work!"

 

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By BILL LONDRIGAN
Kentucky State AFL-CIO president

This is a reminder of the Political Action Meeting scheduled for TOMORROW, Thursday, November 19 at 10 a.m. at Teamsters Local 89, 3813 Taylor Blvd., Louisville, to review the election results, our efforts during this election cycle and plan for the upcoming special elections for House Districts 62 and 54 and discuss what we plan to do to hold the Kentucky House in November, 2016.
Clearly, these are huge agenda items for every union in Kentucky and with the shocking outcome of the recent elections we better get ready for some challenging times and figure out how to take advantage of every opportunity to maintain our margin in the House. I hope to see you tomorrow.

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

“Kentucky counties with highest Medicaid rates backed Matt Bevin, who plans to cut Medicaid,” read the headline on John Cheves’ Lexington Herald-Leader story online.

So here I go again: “You’d think convincing people to vote against their own best interests would be mission impossible. But it was mission accomplished for the Republicans.”

I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve written that about a GOP winner in a Kentucky election.

 

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Hi,

Thank you for signing the Stop Governor-elect Matt Bevin from Taking Our Healthcare Away! petition. Now, it's really important that we get more visibility for this issue. Can you please take a moment to write a quick letter to the editor? Decision-makers regularly read letters to the editor to see what residents are talking about.

You don't need to write a lot. Your letter should be no more than a few sentences and it should reiterate the main message of the petition, which is:

"Governor-elect Matt Bevin said last week that he wants to dismantle Kentucky's healthcare exchange, known as Kynect, by the end of 2016. "

 

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By RANDY YOHE

With health insurance options on the line, many Kentucky legislators are pushing the positives, but treading carefully, on the Govenor-elect Matt Bevin's vague plan to dismantle the state's health care exchange program.

Yvette Moore says her family is among the half million Kynect clients who better off healthcare-wise now, then before they signed up.

"I'm on disability so helps me to get doctor care and the stuff I need, and it helps her to see a doctor with low co pays," Moore said.

 

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By LAURA CLAWSON

Bernie Sanders got his second major national union endorsement this week. The American Postal Workers Union announced it was backing the Vermont senator in his Democratic presidential campaign. The APWU represents more than 200,000 current and retired postal workers, and joins National Nurses United, which endorsed Sanders in August.

"Sen. Bernie Sanders stands above all others as a true champion of postal workers and other workers throughout the country," APWU President Mark Dimondstein said in a statement. "He doesn't just talk the talk. He walks the walk."

"He is a fierce advocate of postal reform to address the cause of the USPS financial crisis and an outspoken opponent of USPS policy that degrades mail service," Dimondstein added, saying Sanders had fought the closure of post offices.
The APWU endorsement makes particular sense since Sanders has been a strong advocate for expanding the Postal Service’s offerings to include things like banking, strengthening rather than weakening the institution while offering needed services for unbanked and underbanked Americans.

 

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By JOHN CHEVES

BOONEVILLE — The 66 percent of Owsley County that gets health coverage through Medicaid now must reconcile itself with the 70 percent that voted for Republican Governor-elect Matt Bevin, who pledged to cut the state's Medicaid program and close the state-run Kynect health insurance exchange.

Lisa Botner, 36, belongs to both camps. A Kynector — a state agent representing Kynect in the field — recently helped Botner sign up for a Wellcare Medicaid card for herself and her 7-year-old son. Without that, Botner said, she couldn't afford the regular doctor's visits and blood tests needed to keep her hyperthyroidism in check.

"If anything changed with our insurance to make it more expensive for us, that would be a big problem," Botner, a community college student, said Friday at the Owsley County Public Library, where she works. "Just with the blood tests, you're talking maybe $1,000 a year without insurance."

 

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Kentucky Republicans have declared war against jobs. How do you eliminate 35,000 jobs? Ask Matt Bevin he has all of the details.

Kentucky Governor elect Matt Bevin has promised to dismantle Medicaid expansion and thousands of jobs.

Bloomberg View

 

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 Will you take our survey to help decide our priority issue in Kentucky?

We want to make sure we stand together to hold Gov.-elect Matt Bevin accountable, and we need to hear from you. We’re closing the poll shortly, and I’m asking for your input before the deadline this weekend.

You can fill out the survey here--it only takes a moment.

 

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EDITOR’S NOTE: We just received this from Emily Sturgill, a MoveOn member in Georgetown . To sign the petition click here.

I'm Emily Sturgill, a MoveOn member in Georgetown, Kentucky, and I started a petition to the Kentucky legislature and Governor Steve Beshear, which says:

Governor-elect Matt Bevin said last week that he wants to dismantle Kentucky's healthcare exchange, known as Kynect, by the end of 2016. We can't let that happen. Add your name to stand up for Kentucky's healthcare.

 

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By THOMAS HUELSKOETTER
In the wake of last week’s gubernatorial election in Kentucky, the immediate future of health reform in the state remains unclear. Newly elected Gov. Matt Bevin (R), who opposes the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, has pledged to shut down Kynect, Kentucky’s state health insurance marketplace, and switch enrollees to the federal marketplace. Similarly, he also initially pledged to repeal Kentucky’s Medicaid expansion immediately after taking office. However, he backtracked in recent months on this second pledge, and lately, he has focused primarily on modifying the Medicaid expansion with a waiver from the federal government rather than repealing it outright.

Yet what is perfectly clear is that any ideologically motivated rollback of Kentucky’s successful health reforms would be a disaster. Repealing Medicaid expansion would blow a massive hole in the state’s budget, imposing a negative fiscal impact of up to $919 million over the next few years. At the same time, repeal would cause the state to miss out on the creation of 28,000 jobs and up to $30.1 billion in economic activity, as well as jeopardizing the 12,000 jobs that Medicaid expansion has already created.

Furthermore, shutting down Kynect and switching to the federal marketplace would cost the state at least $23 million and raise premiums by up to 2.5 percent for Kentucky marketplace enrollees.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Some pundits compare Matt Bevin, Kentucky’s Republican governor-elect, to Donald Trump. They call the two millionaire conservative political “outsiders.”

David A. Love, one of my favorite columnists at the Grio.com, likens Jenean Hampton, the Bluegrass State’s lieutenant governor-elect, to Dr. Ben Carson. Like Trump, Carson is a current frontrunner for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.

Love doesn’t pull punches. “Imagine Ben Carson, but as a woman living in Kentucky, with all the atrocious political positions and appeals to white racists,” he wrote.

 

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Thanks to Jeff Wiggins, president of the Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council and president of USW Local 9447 for sending us this. Send your favorite cartoons to bcraig8960@gmail.com. Read more >>>

On Democrats who stayed home on election day: “You're getting exactly what you deserve. Too bad the rest of us have to live with the consequences of your stupidity.”

On Gov.-elect Matt Bevin’s support for charter schools: “Eliminating public education is what charter schools do. Besides enriching their corporate owners and Bevin's buddys, of course."

On Bevin’s call for getting rid of Kynect: “And working people who need kynect and Medicaid get to die in the streets while Bevin makes sure that Kimmy Davis gets to keep drawing her $80,000 in tax dollars without having to do her job."

Read more >>>

To see the story with graphics and links, click here.

By LAURA CLAWSON

Donald Trump is not backing down from his assertion that "our wages are too high" during the most recent Republican presidential debate. Here's how he explains it:

“Let me just explain. That was on minimum wage and it was how we're going to compete with other countries," Trump told "Fox and Friends" in a telephone interview. "They were talking about increasing the minimum wage. And whether it's taxes or minimum wages, if they’re too high, we’re not going to be able to compete with other countries."

Exactly which other countries does Trump think we need to compete with by keeping the minimum wage low? Because if you’re looking at other advanced countries, the United States lags behind Australia, Luxembourg, France, Belgium, Ireland, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, and Austria. But I doubt Trump is even talking about Israel, Slovenia, Spain, and Greece, which are just behind the U.S. when it comes to minimum wage.

 

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Dear Trade Unionist:

You are invited to attend a very important meeting next Thursday, November 19 at 10 a.m. at Teamsters Local 89, 3813 Taylor Blvd., in Louisville to review the election results, our efforts during this election cycle and plan for the upcoming special Elections for House Districts 62 and 54 and discuss what we plan to do to hold the Kentucky House in November, 2016.

Clearly, these are huge agenda items for every union in Kentucky and with the shocking outcome of the recent elections we better get ready for some challenging times and figure out how to take advantage of every opportunity to maintain our margin in the House. So, please put this important meeting on your schedule so that we can work together to prepare for the major battles that are just ahead.

 

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Trade Unionists, Friends and Supporters:

I am delighted to announce the first ever Kentucky Young Workers United Conference which is scheduled for Friday, December 4 through Saturday, December 5, at IBEW Local 369, 4315 Preston Highway, Louisville, Ky. 40213.

Friday's Session will commence with registration at 8 a.m. and the class will run from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

We have engaged the University of Arkansas Labor Education Program to conduct this training as they have experience conducting similar training for the Arkansas AFL-CIO with great success.

 

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Trade Unionists, Friends and Supporters:

Those of you in the broadcast area of WEKU 88.9 FM, the public radio station located at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, can tune in today for a debate about RTW featuring Jim Waters of the Bluegrass Institute and your Kentucky State AFL-CIO President Bill Londrigan starting at 11 a.m. until noon.

So please tune in and send your questions or comments to: wekueasternstandard@gmail.com or their Facebook page or send a tweet @wekuest or leave a voicemail at 859-622-1657. 

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To see the story with links, click here.

By STEVE BENEN

Arguably more than any other state, Kentucky has created an amazing health network. Under Gov. Steve Beshear’s (D) leadership, the state’s success story has served as a national model for overhauling an ineffective system, replacing it with an effective system that costs less and covers more.

And now it’s likely to be torn down on purpose. Gov.-elect Matt Bevin (R) ran on a platform of dismantling Kynect and scrapping Medicaid expansion on the state, despite the fact that it’s been a literal life-saver for many families in his adopted home state. Last week, the Republican won his race easily, offering him the opportunity to do exactly what he promised to do: gutting health security for much of Kentucky.

The obvious question, of course, is why voters who stood to lose so much would vote for a gubernatorial candidate intent on deliberately making their lives harder. Republican officials, however, assumed that many of these Kentuckians wouldn’t bother to show up on Election Day, and those assumptions largely proved true.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

It seems almost every Democrat has an opinion about what our party needs to do in the wake of last Tuesday’s election.

"Make no mistake, folks, the rebuilding of the Democratic Party starts tomorrow," Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes pledged on election night, according to Adam Beam of the Associated Press.

Grimes won a second term. She and Attorney General-elect Andy Beshear were the only Democrats who survived the Republican tsunami that almost nobody saw coming.

 

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EDITOR’S NOTE: John Hennen is a Morehead State University history professor, author and member of the Kentucky Labor Institute Board of Directors.

When a candidate for public office faces the voters he does not face men of sense; he faces a mob of men whose chief distinguishing mark is the fact that they are quite incapable of weighing ideas, or even of comprehending any save the most elemental — men whose whole thinking is done in terms of emotion, and whose dominant emotion is dread of what they cannot understand. So confronted, the candidate must either bark with the pack or be lost... All the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre — the man who can most adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum. -- H. L. Mencken (1880-1956)

By JOHN HENNEN

H. L. Mencken was a wit, a cynic, an admirer of lunatic libertarian Ayn Rand, and a dedicated opponent of representative democracy. His contempt for voters is reflected in the quote above and in his famous comment that “On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

I try not to be a cynic. I believe Ayn Rand was a twisted psychopath. I believe in representative democracy. I do not have Mencken’s contempt for voters, even when they support a fanatic like Matt Bevin. Republican voters remind me as remarkably like the folks Mencken derided. But they do have enough sense and responsibility to get off their butts and vote for candidates who are (or pretend to be) as narrow minded and mean spirited as they are.

 

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By SHOCKO FROM SEATTLE

Not the people, let's start there. Yes, this is a conflicted state. The Lexington Herald-Leader front-paged a poll last week which said 46 percent of the state wanted Kim Davis impeached, 47 percent wanted her to stay in office.

That's not why we lost big last night.

We lost big because we didn't get out the votes. And that, in part, is the inevitable result of a pragmatic national strategy.

 

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To see the story with graphics and links, click here.

By STEVE BENEN

Under two-term Gov. Steve Beshear (D), Kentucky has been one of the best-run states in the nation. Not only is the Bluegrass State’s unemployment rate at a 14-year low, but Kentucky has been so successful in implementing health care reform, it’s cut its uninsured by over 40%.

Perhaps the state’s voters grew tired of success and decided to go in a different direction.

Voters in Kentucky elected Republican Matt Bevin as governor Tuesday.

 

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We thank State Rep. Jim Wayne, D-Louisville, for sending us this email:

Berry,

Thanks for writing about the importance of "mourning the dead and fighting like hell for the living." Labor is not dead, but EVERY union member must wake up from their slumber and start now to organize to expand control of the Kentucky House in 2016.

House races, unlike the race for governor, are neighborhood races. They are won door to door with human energy and money.

There is no excuse for any union member to sit on the side lines now. We are all needed in this fight, which begins now.

 

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By ERNIE YANARELLA

If the Kentucky Democrats are smart, they will follow the lead of Alison Lundergan Grimes' comment election evening that "the rebuilding of the Democratic Party starts tomorrow." The deeper question though is what that reconstruction program will look like.

The past two elections have proven that trying to become milquetoast Republicans is no winning strategy. Grimes and gubernatorial candidate Jack Conway moved right and kowtowed to a dying coal industry rather than describing the outlines of a post-coal economy offering a new hope and a fair shake to current coal communities.

While Conway joined other state candidates at a closed-door meeting with Kentucky coal operators and promoters, simultaneous forecasts for Kentucky coal remained ominous, and some coal owners closed their mines for greener pastures and more lucrative investments.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Go ahead and call it wishful thinking, or whistling past the graveyard, on the part of this union card-carrying lifelong Kentuckian whose politics are left of liberal.

But I’m not the only one who sees a potential Fletcher Factor in Matt Bevin’s election as Kentucky’s governor. Okay, it seems like everybody else who sees it  too is a Democrat who, like me, voted for Attorney Gen. Jack Conway, our party's candidate. 

"Ernie Fletcher and his posse rode into Frankfort determined to flatten the place, and the natives rose up and brought him down," the no-holds-barred, liberal Blue in the Bluegrass blogsite remembered. "It's Bevin's turn now."

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To see the article with graphics and links, click here.

Here's why the radical Republican's surprise win in Kentucky isn't just bad for Democrats in the Bluegrass State

By ELIAS ISQUITH

As my colleague Simon Maloy deftly explained..., Matt Bevin’s Tuesday victory in Kentucky’s gubernatorial race is yet another sign that the Democratic Party is in trouble.

Sure, Bevin is better on the campaign trail than he was during his failed attempt to oust Sen. Mitch McConnell in 2014. But as a recent piece about the race in the Atlantic made clear, he still isn’t good. And while the voters of Kentucky are undoubtedly conservative, a look-over of Bevin’s political history reveals a man on the wrong side of the line separating “hyper-conservative” from “radical fringe.”

But he won, anyway. And despite what pre-election polls suggested, the outcome wasn’t even close.

 

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The Kentucky Center for Economic Progress will host “A Budget for Kentucky’s Future" policy conference Jan. 29 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Capital Plaza Hotel in Frankfort.

"With the 2015 elections decided, focus now moves to the priorities we will pursue as a Commonwealth through the biennial state budget," the KCEP says. "Following the release of Gov.-elect Bevin’s budget proposal in January, the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy will host a policy conference reviewing his proposals, discuss the issues facing Kentucky and explore ideas on how to move Kentucky forward."

The registration fee is $15, which includes lunch. Save your spot by clicking here.

 

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"The essence of trade unionism is social uplift. The labor movement traditionally has been the haven for the dispossessed, the despised, the neglected, the downtrodden, the poor."

Feel free to email us your favorite union quotes at bcraig8960@gmail.com.

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Here's the Cartoon of the Week.

We hope you enjoy the humor. We also welcome cartoons that tickle your funny bone. Send them to bcraig8960@gmail.com.

Berry Craig, webmaster

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EDITOR’S NOTE: The election of Kim Davis’ governor and Jim Pence’s reminder to “thank your pastor” over Matt Bevin’s win put us in mind of “The Preacher and the Slave,” the song immortalized by the legendary union troubadour Joe Hill’s immortal song.

Listen to the song here and sing along to the tune of "In the Sweet Bye and Bye:"

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Jim Pence, a union retiree who runs Hillbilly Report, one of our favorite blogsites, sent us this post-election musing.

By JIM PENCE

If your pastor has been preaching the gospel of Matt Bevin and the evils of Obamacare please don’t forget to thank him/her when Matt Bevin eliminates your healthcare coverage as he has promised to do.

Oh, and one more thing. Your tithing is important so please continue to give your hard earned money to your Matt Bevin gospel preaching church because it cost a lot of money to spread the gospel of Matt Bevin and eliminate your healthcare coverage.

Also don’t forget to let your Matt Bevin gospel preaching church know when you get sick and you’re without healthcare coverage so they can pray for you. As you may or may not know, prayer is more cost effective.

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Dear fellow Democrats:

We are back to work already. First and foremost, let us celebrate our victory! On Tuesday, November 3, we re-elected Alison Lundergan Grimes as our Secretary of State. Alison is an amazing public servant, and will continue to make us proud. We also elected Andy Beshear as our Attorney General . We are fortunate that Andy has chosen to dedicate his many talents to public service. Both of these individuals make us proud as Democrats and will serve all Kentuckians with skill, integrity and commitment. So hold your head up high!

Along with these victories, we also experienced some big disappointments in the races for Governor, Auditor, Treasurer and Commissioner of Agriculture. Jack Conway, Adam Edelen, Rick Nelson and Jean Marie Lawson Spann are amazing people and candidates. They made us proud as we worked day-in and day-out sharing their records of accomplishments and plans to move forward Kentucky forward. Let us never forget the dedicated public service of Jack Conway as Attorney General, Adam Edelen as Auditor and Rick Nelson as State Representative (a role we hope he plans to continue).

I am looking forward to the continued leadership and service of all of our candidates. Which brings me to all of you, my fellow Democrats… We had a victory Tuesday, and don’t let anyone tell you differently. Here’s why: over the last year, no, over the last eight years, the Democrats of Kentucky have joined together to bring Kentucky enlightened policies expanding access to education, health care, jobs and making our communities safer. Through the work of Governor Beshear, Lt. Governor Luallen, Attorney General Conway, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, Auditor Adam Edelen, Treasurer Todd Hollenbach, Congressman John Yarmuth, the Democratic controlled House of Representatives, our Democratic Senators holding the line in the Senate and, most of all, folks like you, we made Kentucky a better place for all Kentuckians. And our work is not done, nor is our fighting spirit.

 

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By ANDREW DEWSON

Matt Bevin's win is perhaps most depressing for what is says about Democrats' ability to explain issues to voters.

Not content with a summer spent making national headlines over marriage licenses and rural bigotry, Kentucky voters yesterday decided to take “Back to the Future” nostalgia to heart and elect a Tea Party carpetbagger named Matt Bevin, only the second Republican governor here in the last 40 years. Bevin comfortably defeated Democrat Jack Conway and independent Drew Curtis, despite trailing by more than the margin of error in almost every poll in the run-up to the election.

“Back to the Future” is pretty apt because Bevin has a thin-skinned, boorish and bullying personality; he’s Kentucky’s very own Biff Tannen. He already has a list of journalist enemies that he won’t talk to, a list that will likely get longer not shorter as his term progresses. However, not even a perfectly-pitched John Oliver piss-take was enough to prevent Bevin turning the polls around and romping into the governor’s mansion.

Cue much wailing and gnashing of teeth from Democrats, most of it centered on their “shock” and “surprise” that Bevin could win. I can only assume those people have never left the confines of Louisville and Lexington. However, spend five minutes in the Bluegrass countryside and it was clear that a tedious policy wonk like Conway never really stood a chance against a rabble-rousing demagogue like Bevin.

 

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To see the article with graphics and links click here

By PHILIP BUMP

If you'd asked most political people a week ago who'd be celebrating his victory in the Kentucky gubernatorial race Wednesday morning, they'd have probably guessed it would be the Democrat, Jack Conway. Kentucky has a long tradition of electing Democrats to the highest position in the state; since 1971, only one Republican had won the position (Ernie Fletcher in 2003).

But also, the polls! Surveys conducted in late October showed Conway with a decent lead over Republican Matt Bevin -- suggesting that the race would be close, but Conway was likely to win.

Conway didn't win. Conway got beaten, badly -- as did three other Democrats running in Kentucky's six statewide elections.

 

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EDITOR'S NOTE: This article also appeared as an op-ed piece in the Louisville Courier-Journal.

By WENDELL BERRY

A good many people hoped and even believed that Barack Obama's election to the presidency signified the end of racism in the United States.

It seems arguable to me that the result has been virtually the opposite: Obama's election has brought about a revival of racism.

Like nothing since the Southern Strategy, it has solidified the racist vote as a political quantity recognizable to politicians and apparently large enough in some places to decide an election.

 

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By E.J. DIONNE

To understand the disappointment of Democrats with Tuesday’s off-off-year election results, consider what they might have said had two key states, Kentucky and Virginia, voted differently.

Kentucky, a deeply red state in presidential years, has a habit of electing Democratic governors, including Steve Beshear, the popular incumbent who was term-limited. Polls gave Attorney General Jack Conway a strong chance of beating Republican Matt Bevin, a staunch tea party supporter not much liked by the GOP establishment. A Conway victory would have been heralded by Democrats as a sign of the dangers of right-wing extremism to the Republican Party.

Instead, Bevin won, and won big. In eastern Kentucky, home of the state’s old coal mining areas, counties that had long supported state and local Democrats, shifted sharply Bevin’s way. Neither President Barack Obama nor the Environmental Protection Agency are popular in those parts.

 

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By ANDY BOROWITZ

FRANKFORT, KENTUCKY (The Borowitz Report)—In an improbable development that few saw coming, on Tuesday night Senator Rand Paul lost his title as the most embarrassing thing about Kentucky.

Paul’s reign as the state’s most embarrassing thing began in 2010, when he took the title from fellow Senator Mitch McConnell.

Prior to Paul’s reign, McConnell had been the undisputed most embarrassing thing about Kentucky for a staggering twenty-five years.

 

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To see the story with graphics and links, click here

By JOE SONKA

Tuesday’s election in Kentucky was a historic triumph for the Republican Party and an unmitigated disaster for the Democratic Party, as Matt Bevin breezed to a shockingly comfortable victory over Jack Conway in the race for governor and Republicans were close to an unprecedented sweep of all down-ballot races for constitutional offices.

How did it all go down, and what does it mean going forward? Here are some of our takeaways.

Conway underperformed expectations… everywhere

 

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EDITOR'S NOTE: To see the story with links and graphics, click here.    

By AARON BLAKE

Republicans stole a key governor’s seat in a hotly contested race in Kentucky on Tuesday, installing an outsider businessman who has drawn comparisons to Donald Trump as the state’s next chief executive.

Meanwhile, neighboring Ohio voted against becoming the fifth state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.

In Kentucky, millionaire GOP investor Matt Bevin led state Attorney General Jack Conway (D), 52.5 percent to 44 percent, with 99 percent of precincts reporting. The race, perhaps the most watched in a series of lower-profile races in Tuesday’s off-year elections, has been called for Bevin.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Jack Conway called the governor’s election a race “between the mainstream and the extreme.”

The extreme won.

Governor-elect Matt Bevin’s extremism is nowhere plainer than in his hatred for unions.

 

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By DAVID A. LOVE

Oh, Ben Carson, what went wrong? He was the pride of the black community back in the day, with his leadership in neurosurgery and his autobiography-turned-film, Gifted Hands.

But then he started speaking out — about politics — and decided to run for president. Now we don’t know him anymore, as he has become the darling of white conservatives.

Ben Carson would be the anti-Obama, the first black president designed especially for white conservatives. For the white right wing, he would be their useful Negro in Washington — better yet, their magical Negro.

 

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PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS AND PAYCHECK! VOTE FOR TEAMSTER ENDORSED CANDIDATES!

Jack Conway-GOVERNOR
Sannie Overly-LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR
Alison Lundergan Grimes-SECRETARY OF STATE
Adam Edelen-STATE AUDITOR
Andy Beshear-ATTORNEY GENERAL
Rick Nelson-STATE TREASURER
Jean-Marie Lawson-Spann-AGRICULTURE COMMISSIONER
Dennis Burke-DISTRICT COURT JUDGE (Jefferson County)
To find you polling location, click here.

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By BILL LONDRIGAN
Kentucky State AFL-CIO

Today is the day. The polls are open and the choice is yours. Many of you know how important it is for us to elect labor friendly candidates and now’s the time for you to come out and show that support.

All across Kentucky, lots of folks will vote today. We know this race will be close, and we need your vote.

Click here to make sure you know where to go to cast your vote.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Sen. Mitch McConnell figured to boost his new buddy Matt Bevin, the GOP gubernatorial hopeful, by pointing to polls that got last year’s senate race wrong.

His comparison was apples-to-oranges. Make it apples-to-apples and it looks like Attorney Gen. Jack  Conway, Bevin's Democratic foe, might win big. 

Anyway, after slamming Bevin as an "East Coast con man" and a "pathological liar," McConnell drubbed him in the May GOP primary. In November, he buried Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky's secretary of state, in a landslide.

 

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Jack Conway, Sannie Overly and their spouses hopped on a plane and made several prop stops across Kentucky yesterday.

Click here to see DeLane Adams' Animoto of their visit to Paducah. The photos by Berry Craig are available by emailing him at bcraig8960@gmail.com.

Adams is the AFL-CIO's Southern region field communications director. Craig is the Kentucky State AFL-CIO webmaster-editor.

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By BILL LONDRIGAN
Kentucky State AFL-CIO president

Trade unionists, friends and supporters: the polls are open!

Remember, registered voters only have between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. (local time) to cast their ballots for the labor-endorsed candidates!

All of the work and effort to inform and motivate union members and their families comes down to one word: TURNOUT!

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

If Kentucky votes like Marshall County High School students just did, Attorney Gen. Jack Conway will be the next governor.

Conway, the Democratic hopeful, polled 339 votes to 204 for Matt Bevin, his Republican opponent. Independent Drew Curtis trailed with 53 ballots.

Marshall is in the deeply conservative Jackson Purchase region, as far west as Kentucky goes.

 

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By BILL LONDRIGAN
Kentucky State AFL-CIO president

We are down to the finish line for tomorrow's elections with less than 24 hours before the polls close and the fate of Kentucky's workers and their families will be decided.

All of the work and effort to inform and motivate union members and their families comes down to one word: TURNOUT! Yes, that is what is going to decide tomorrow's election for governor and constitutional officers -- how many of our people TURNOUT tomorrow to VOTE FOR THE LABOR-ENDORSED CANDIDATES!

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Sam Youngman, the Lexington Herald-Leader’s political scribe, posed a quintet of questions about tomorrow’s election in his column today.

They are all worth pondering.

“1. Is boring brilliant?”

 

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By NICK STORM

UPDATED: The Kentucky Democratic Party is attempting to warn teachers in the state that Republican candidate for governor Matt Bevin is overstepping the law in his attempts to contact them via email.

KDP Chairman Patrick Hughes said the Bevin campaign’s direct email to teachers is a violation of Kentucky election law.

“Matt Bevin’s refusal to follow state laws in pursuit of his political ambition demonstrates yet again that he lacks the judgement, ethics or temperament to be governor,” Hughes said in a statement. “The fact that multiple public school teachers received Bevin’s campaign propaganda on their government email accounts also raises the question of how Bevin obtained these email addresses in the first place.

 

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POWEDERLY, Ky. (10/29/15) — As Election Day draws near, the candidates for Kentucky Governor are making their last jaunts through western Kentucky.

Democratic candidate for Governor, Jack Conway began his “Moving Kentucky Forward Tour” today. The tour will make stops throughout Kentucky, starting with several stops in Western Kentucky.

One of those stops was in Powderly at the Convention Center Inn. It was there Conway held a meet and greet with retired mine workers.

 

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The choice between Republican Matt Bevin and Democrat Jack Conway, the two leading candidates in a close race for Kentucky governor, comes down to this: One is a combative and uncompromising conservative on the far right who often refuses to explain what he would do in office and belittles those who seek clarification. The other is a mostly centrist Democrat who knows the workings of state government and Kentucky but has spent the bulk of his campaign engaging with donors and has not yet proven he has the leadership skills to solve the state’s most pressing problems.

This is a difficult choice, but Kentucky cannot trust the governor’s office to a man who is so hell-bent on being right that it seems unlikely he could humble himself to work through issues that ultimately require at least some compromise. In that regard, we believe Bevin has essentially disqualified himself to lead Kentucky.

It is telling that many in the GOP are wary of Bevin. Take, for example, the observation of conservative columnist John David Dyche, whose opinion pieces run in this newspaper and several others across the state. He wrote earlier this month, “It is incredibly hard to pin Bevin down. He is evasive, fluent in conservative buzz words and does not blanch at denying his own words.”

 

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By SAM YOUNGMAN

For about the last two years, Matt Bevin, the Republican candidate for governor, has angrily lashed out at anyone who questioned whether he has had tax problems in the past.

When voters have asked him about it, Bevin has called the claims bogus and bunk. And if you own a television, you've probably seen the clip of him saying "I have no tax delinquency problem, nor have I ever."

So it was pretty remarkable earlier this week when Bevin admitted to the Associated Press in an interview that he had in fact been late in paying his taxes at least 30 times.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Trailing by five points in the last two polls of the campaign, it looks like Matt Bevin has retreated to the GOP’s last ditch in Bible Belt Kentucky: the social issues.

One of my union buddies calls them “the Three Gs: God, guns and gays.” I’d add an “A” for abortion.

It’s not that Bevin hasn’t been campaigning on the Three Gs and an A all along. It’s just that he seemed to be pushing harder for his neo-Social Darwinist economic agenda.

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FRANKFORT, KY -- One day after the Associated Press reported that Matt Bevin "acknowledged he has been late paying his taxes," Bevin denied that he had ever failed to pay taxes in yet another contentious confrontation with reporters.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reported that "despite confirming to The Associated Press just days ago that he had been late paying his personal and corporate taxes at least 30 times, Bevin said when asked that that wasn't true."

From David Bergstein of the Kentucky Democratic Party: "'East Coast Con Man' Matt Bevin cannot go 24 hours without lying about what he said -- and his rampant duplicity speaks directly to his dishonest character and unhinged temperament. This is exactly why Republicans called him a 'Pathological Liar' and why Kentuckians do not trust Bevin to be governor."

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Feel free to email us your favorite union quotes at bcraig8960@gmail.com.

Berry Craig, webmaster

"These campaigns get heated, but Matt, when I look at you and your family, without a doubt you have provided some children that wouldn’t otherwise have a wonderful home with a wonderful home and that is something to be respected.” -- Jack Conway to Matt Bevin at the end of their last gubernatorial debate. 

“I look forward to you having the opportunity to join the private sector.” -- Bevin's reply.

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  Here's the Cartoon of the Week.

We hope you enjoy the humor. We also welcome cartoons that tickle your funny bone. Send them to bcraig8960@gmail.com.

Berry Craig, webmaster

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

“This race is a have to, not a want to,” Attorney Gen. Jack Conway, the Democratic candidate for governor, told supporters over breakfast at Lone Oak’s Little Castle restaurant.

Conway is union-endorsed. Nobody better understood what Conway meant by "have to" than union members in the crowd.

All of us who pack union cards know “right to work” and the prevailing wage are our biggest issues. We understand there's a world of difference between where Conway and Matt Bevin, his Republican opponent, stand on both issues.

 

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Support for Jack Conway is as solid in Paducah Ironworkers Local 782 as the structures the union members build.

Conway, Kentucky’s attorney general, is the labor-endorsed Democratic candidate for governor in Tuesday’s election.

“I’m for Jack Conway because we need to continue to keep our union work,” said Philip Orr, Local 782 business agent.
 

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EDITOR'S NOTE: To see the story with links and graphics, click here.

By KYLE KONDIK, Managing Editor, Sabato's Crystal Ball October 29th, 2015

In this year’s two most prominent gubernatorial races, the Republicans have taken what probably should have been victories and put them into doubt by selecting weak nominees. Whatever the results, the GOP better hope that these races are not harbingers for 2016. Because while deep-red Kentucky and Louisiana still might ultimately vote for flawed Republican candidates this year, the country probably will not do the same next year.

First of all, in Kentucky, it appears to us that the Democrats are now small favorites to hold the governorship. We are moving the race from Toss-up to Leans Democratic.

Most of the available information in the Bluegrass State’s governor’s race, which is five days away, suggests that Attorney General Jack Conway (D) is outperforming businessman Matt Bevin (R). Conway has led every recent public poll, although there have not been that many of them. Conway was even narrowly ahead in a Bevin internal poll.

 

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EDITOR'S NOTE: The Kernel is the University of Kentucky student newspaper.

While this year’s gubernatorial election has failed to garner much public interest, the choice for Kentuckians should be very clear.

If voters want a candidate who is qualified, sensible and will likely be able to reach across the aisle to accomplish progressive legislation, then they should elect Democratic candidate Jack Conway.

During his two-term career as Kentucky attorney general, Conway and his office have worked to curb Kentucky’s prescription painkiller epidemic, as well as prosecuted cases of Medicaid fraud and cybercrimes against children.

 

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EDITOR’S NOTE: To see the story with graphics, click here.

By BY JOHN CHEVES AND JACK BRAMMER

Candidates with more money to spend on television commercials pulled ahead over the last 30 days in most of Kentucky's down-ballot races for statewide office, according to the Bluegrass Poll.

In the race for attorney general, for example, 47 percent of likely voters polled last Friday through Monday said they supported Democrat Andy Beshear, compared to 35 percent for Republican Whitney Westerfield and 17 percent who were undecided.
Beshear and Westerfield tied at 38 percent in the previous Bluegrass Poll a month ago. But October brought a bombardment of television advertising in their contest — largely attack ads, with Westerfield on the receiving end more often than not. As of Oct. 19, both candidates and two outside committees reported spending a total of $5.52 million in the race. The cash advantage skewed toward Beshear, son of outgoing Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear.

There was similar movement in two other down-ballot races with lopsided finances that were all but tied a month ago, according to SurveyUSA, which polled 798 likely voters for the Herald-Leader and WKYT-TV in Lexington and The Courier-Journal and WHAS-TV in Louisville.

 

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By SAM YOUNGMAN

With just days remaining in the race to be Kentucky's next governor, Democrat Jack Conway continues to hold a slight advantage over Republican Matt Bevin, according to the latest Bluegrass Poll.

The poll, conducted by SurveyUSA on behalf of the Herald-Leader and WKYT-TV in Lexington and The Courier-Journal and WHAS-TV in Louisville, showed Conway leading Bevin 45 percent to 40 percent, with independent candidate Drew Curtis pulling 6 percent.

The poll surveyed 798 likely Kentucky voters on their home phones or electronic devices from Oct. 23 to 26 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, which means the race for governor technically remains a statistical toss-up.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Candidates commonly ply campaign volunteers with free food and soft drinks.

Barbecue and sweet tea are big in my neck of the deep western Kentucky woods.

Anyway, the Kentucky Democratic Party has come up with a novel inducement to boost volunteering for its down-to-the-wire, get-out-the-vote effort: an online contest to update “the famous KDP Billboard.”

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Kentucky State AFL-CIO President Bill Londrigan will speak at a “Time to get the vote out kick-off rally” set for 9 a.m. Saturday in Louisville at the IBEW Local 369 hall, 4315 Preston Hwy. #102.

U.S. Rep John Yarmuth, D-Louisville, also has been invited to speak.

Phone banking and canvassing will follow the rally. But canvassing will be the priority.  Read more >>>

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Some union leaders are worried that if State Rep. Rick Nelson, D-Middlesboro, is elected state treasurer Tuesday, an anti-union Republican might win his seat.

“I assure my organized labor friends that we’ve got an A-plus candidate,” said Nelson, House Labor and Industry Committee chair.

On a campaign swing through Mayfield, he declined to name the candidate. “But this candidate is young and popular and has enough money to self-fund a campaign. The candidate is labor-friendly – very labor-friendly—and an excellent candidate.”

 

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EDITOR'S NOTE: The Kentucky Kernel is the University of Kentucky student newspaper.

Following Sunday’s gubernatorial debate at Eastern Kentucky University, Republican candidate Matt Bevin bumped heads with a number of Kentucky’s respected political reporters.

During the press conference that followed the debate, Bevin refused to answer questions from Sam Youngman of the Lexington Herald-Leader and followed up by saying, “I’m taking a lot of questions tonight, just not from you.”

Check out cn|2’s video of the press conference

 

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 One week until voters go to the polls in Kentucky.

We need to make it plain, so Kentucky voters know the truth. So far, we have knocked on over 25 thousand doors. We’ve made over 42 thousand phone calls and mailed over 63 thousand letters.

Come and canvass with us. Join us in the phone bank hall. Support Jack Conway for Governor! Together we can build a political movement to win for regular working people.

We support Jack Conway for Governor, because he supports us. We know he’ll be powerful for working people, because he already fought to save and expand Ford jobs in Kentucky. He sued FedEx for cheating workers, and won back pay for those workers. Jack Conway believes in your freedom to bargain for a better life.

Jack Conway’s opponent is a backward-looking dinosaur who wants to take away that freedom.

It’s happening. We need your help. Join us for Jack Conway and for Kentucky!

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 FRANKFORT, KY -- During last night's KET gubernatorial debate 'East Coast Con Man' Matt Bevin repeatedly demonstrated that he doesn't have the temperament to lead.

When Bevin wasn't lying about what he said on video, he was admitting that his plans would hurt hardworking Kentucky families. And his decision to flee the premises after his explosive confrontation with the press on Sunday night dominated the coverage:

See for yourself:

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

“Angry,” “arrogant,” “bitter,” “pompous,” “thin-skinned.”

Add “lacks class” to those terms that describe Matt Bevin, the Republican who wants to be the Bluegrass State's next governor.

At the tail end of last night’s Kentucky Educational Television gubernatorial debate, Democrat Jack Conway seemed to be extending the olive branch to his opponent by praising Bevin for adopting some African children.

 

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THE BIG RED POLL

The 2015 Gubernatorial Race in Kentucky

October 19-25, 2015

Dr. Joel Turner
Director, Western Kentucky University Social Science Research Center

To see the poll's full breakdown, click here

Executive Summary

BIG RED POLL
The WKU Social Science Research Center (SSRC) conducted the Big Red Poll, a live-caller, dual frame (landline and cell phone) survey of 770 likely Kentucky voters between October 19-October 25, 2015. 70% of respondents were reached via land line, and 30% were reached via cell phone. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 3.5%.

GUBERNATORIAL RACE
According to the latest Big Red Poll, Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway leads Republican Matt Bevin 45% - 40% among likely Kentucky voters. 7% indicated support for Independent candidate Drew Curtis, and 8% indicated that they are still undecided.

Among Democrats Conway leads Bevin 85%-5%, and among liberals Conway leads 84%-6%. Republicans, Bevin leads Conway 80%-12%, and among conservatives Bevin leads 65%-23%. Conway leads among independents by a margin of 40%-30% and moderate voters 60%-26%. There is also evidence of a gender gap in Kentucky. Conway leads among female voters (51%-34%), while Bevin leads among male voters (46%-41%).

 

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FRANKFORT, KY -- Following last night's Eastern Kentucky University gubernatorial debate Matt Bevin had yet another combative and explosive meltdown with the press -- and it's on video. Here are the highlights:

Bevin refused to take questions from the press, prompting the Lexington Herald-Leader's Sam Youngman to ask him "Do you have the temperament to be Governor if you can't answer questions?"

Bevin lied about having "private conversations" with the press -- a claim immediately refuted by the reporters.

 

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Kentucky AFL-CIO Mail to hit thousands of households across Kentucky

(Frankfort, Kentucky October 26, 2015) - This week the Kentucky State AFL-CIO sent out 84,000 pieces of mail to union member households informing them why Jack Conway is labor’s choice for Governor on November 3rd. This mailing is an element of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO’s massive political mobilization program which includes distributing flyers containing information about the labor-endorsed candidates to union members where they work, talking to union members and their families at their homes, calling them on the phone to inform them about the differences between the candidates and motivating them and their families to vote for the labor-endorsed candidates on November 3rd.

This week’s mailing focuses on gubernatorial candidate Jack Conway’s long and consistent record of standing up for Kentucky’s hard working men and women. The mailing shows that this election is about the working people of Kentucky and the kind of future we want for our children and communities. The Kentucky State AFL-CIO member mobilization program is built on the trust that union members have in their unions, the solidarity within unions in promoting candidates that stand with workers and families and is designed to help encourage those that may be discouraged by partisan politics to look beyond the bickering and vote for those who truly support their right to fair wages, benefits and a voice on the job.

Jack Conway will ensure Kentucky’s workers are treated fairly. During his time as Attorney General, Jack has stood with workers by opposing anti-union, anti-worker efforts. The Kentucky State AFL-CIO wants to have the voices of working families heard on Election Day by informing and encouraging union members and their families to support candidates that stand up for hardworking Kentuckians.

 

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From the IBEW

For Kentuckians, Jack Conway may be the last obstacle standing between conservatives and their dream of a right-to-work law that would prove devastating to the state’s working people.

The Nov. 3 election for governor, which pits Conway, the current attorney general, against Republican businessman Matt Bevin, is critical if Democrats hope to stymie the effort that has become something of an annual Kentucky tradition.

Every year, at least for the past several decades, the Republican-controlled Kentucky Senate passes right-to-work legislation, and every year, the Democrat-controlled House steps in to protect the state’s working men and women from the lower wages and decreased workplace protections that plague states who have enacted such laws.

 

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 FRANKFORT, KY -- At tonight's Eastern Kentucky University gubernatorial debate, Matt Bevin proved once again why even Republicans called him an 'East Coast Con Man' and a 'Pathological Liar."

Here are the top 3 lies Bevin told tonight:

1. Bevin Claimed He Never Said He Would End The Medicaid Expansion. The reality is that on the first day of his campaign, Bevin was asked about his plans for Medicaid and he said, on video: "Absolutely. No question about it. I would reverse that immediately." Learn more about Bevin's lies about his Medicaid position here.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

No doubt Matt Bevin, the Republican gubernatorial hopeful, dismissed the Lexington Herald-Leader’s editorial endorsement of Attorney Gen. Jack Conway, his Democratic foe, as more “liberal media bias.”

“[Bevin]...has repeatedly demonstrated how little he knows about Kentucky and the role of state government,” the editorial argued.

 “Bevin also has shown himself to be prickly, easily riled and defensive — traits that would likely render him ineffective in Frankfort, where getting anything done requires thick skin and the ability to negotiate. He has backtracked on positions he's taken on — to name a few — health care, early-childhood education and public-private infrastructure partnerships.”

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The race for governor of Kentucky this year offers one of the clearest choices voters could wish for: One of the leading candidates is fundamentally unsuited to govern, both by temperament and experience, while the other is among the most qualified candidates in memory.

Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway brings a broad and deep understanding of issues facing the state and what government can — and can't — do to address them.

Matt Bevin, who narrowly captured the Republican nomination this spring, touts his status as a non-politician. He's a talented, engaging salesman, but through this race — one he took up after a crushing loss to Sen. Mitch McConnell in the Republican primary last year — we've gotten to know Bevin too well. He has repeatedly demonstrated how little he knows about Kentucky and the role of state government.

 

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Feel free to email us your favorite union quotes at bcraig8960@gmail.com.

Berry Craig, webmaster

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Here's the Cartoon of the Week.

We hope you enjoy the humor. We also welcome cartoons that tickle your funny bone. Send them to bcraig8960@gmail.com.

Berry Craig, webmaster 

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 LOUISVILLE, Ky. (October 24, 2015) – Today, Attorney General Jack Conway joined approximately 150 supporters in west Louisville to share his message of growing Kentucky’s economy by creating good-paying jobs and expanding early childhood education.

During a meet-and-greet rally at the Kentucky African American Heritage Center, Conway joined community leaders, local elected officials, and the entire Democratic ticket to discuss how he’ll improve workforce development and strengthen Kentucky’s education system at every level as Kentucky’s next governor.

Over the course of the campaign, both Conway and his running mate, Rep. Sannie Overly, have been crisscrossing the state, sharing with Kentucky voters their key priorities outlined in both their Kentucky Jobs and Education Plans. Read more >>>

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

“Never forget the minimum wage earner,” Father Tony Shonis reminded the 200 or so delegates and others who gathered at the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Convention inside Louisville's Crowne Plaza hotel.

“These are the people that are cleaning your rooms right now. These are the people in the nursing homes taking care of our most prized possessions, our parents. These are the people in the fast food restaurants who are trying to hold their families together."

Added Shonis, associate pastor at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church in Henderson: “At the very heart of the labor movement is our moral concern for those on the bottom rung of our society.”
 

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EDITOR’S NOTE: To see this story -- post number 1,000 on the website -- with links, click here.

By CHRIS WEIGANT
Political writer and blogger at ChrisWeigant.com

Hillary Clinton just had the best week of her campaign yet. Not only did she shine at the Benghazi hearing yesterday, three of her Democratic opponents dropped out of the presidential nomination race. Joe Biden was never actually in the race, but his announcement that he wouldn't run was more significant than Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee ending their campaigns. This leaves Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O'Malley, and Lawrence Lessig. Of those four, only Sanders and Clinton have any chance at winning the nomination, and Hillary's doing better in the polls than Sanders. So, all in all, a very good week for Hillary Clinton.

Republicans are getting a little worried, as they should. One House member from Alabama is already on the case, though, warming up the all-but-inevitable "Impeach Hillary Clinton Committee." No, really. Here's what Mo Brooks had to say about Hillary Clinton: "She will be a unique president if she is elected by the public next November, because the day she's sworn in is the day that she's subject to impeachment because she has committed high crimes and misdemeanors." Good thing Republicans are planning ahead, eh?

Speaking of Republicans planning ahead, the coronation of Paul Ryan is apparently now officially going to happen. In a hilarious turnabout, Ryan met with the Tea Partiers and issued his own list of demands to them. Shoe's on the other foot now, guys! If you don't like Ryan making take-it-or-leave-it demands of you, perhaps you should think for one tiny minute about how the rest of the country feels when you do it to us.

 

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By DOUG CUNNINGHAM

Kentucky AFL-CIO President Bill Londrigan is looking forward to a federal judge’s ruling on whether Hardin County Kentucky’s anti-union ordinance is illegal or not. The AFL-CIO and several unions sued Hardin County because they say the county anti-union ordinances violate the National Labor Relations Act. Londrigan says a Koch brothers funded anti-union campaign tried to get counties across the state to pass socalled Right To Work ordinances. Just 11 counties went for it. They outlaw agreements with employers to deduct union dues or collective bargaining fees from paychecks in workplaces where worker majorities decided to form unions. Advocates of these anti-union laws claim they stop unions from forcing workers to join unions. But it’s a lie. Workers are not forced to join unions since that’s already illegal.

[Bill Londrigan]: “It’s incredible how they have spun this whole Orwellian phraseology into something that’s not what it is, and some folks have unfortunately believed it. We’re lookin’ forward to the opinion of the federal judge in this case because I think it’ll really throw the strategy of the Koch brothers who are funding this effort here in Kentucky - throw them back - and deny them this illegal action.”

Londrigan says labor in Kentucky didn’t just fight these county by county anti-union attacks in court. They waged a successful campaign to inform county leaders about what this anti-union attack really is.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Okay, maybe Todd Dunn stated the obvious in his welcoming remarks at the recently-concluded Kentucky State AFL-CIO convention in Louisville.

Dunn, president of the Greater Louisville Central Labor Council, pointed out that "it has never been more paramount for us to band together” and that we must “educate the citizens of the commonwealth” about what unions do.

Go ahead. Say Dunn was preaching to the choir, if you will. I say he hammered home two crucial points on the eve of an election in which the stakes could hardly be higher for organized labor in my home state.

 

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FRANKFORT, KY -- As Matt Bevin's campaign implodes, his behavior is becoming increasingly erratic and unhinged. Take these two examples from Wednesday:

First, the Glassgow Daily Times reported that Bevin exploded in front of a group of High School students when questioned about his various dishonest statements and his refusal to release his tax returns. Following the event, Bevin berated a Conway supporter -- video of the incident is available here.

Later that same day at the Fairway Neighborhood Association meeting, Bevin engaged in a heated confrontation with a voter about his plan to end Kentucky's Medicaid expansion. Video here.

 

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DeLane Adams and Berry Craig have teamed up again on an Animoto – this one on the just-concluded 31st biennial Kentucky State AFL-CIO convention in Louisville.

More than 200 delegates, guests and others attended the two-day conference at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. Cecil E. Roberts, president of the United Mine Workers of America, was again the featured banquet speaker. He spoke at the last convention in 2013.

This year’s convention included a new format that featured panel discussions on a variety of topics of interest to Bluegrass State trade unionists.

 

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By SETH HUTCHINSON

Across the country, we’ve seen a wave of assaults on the ability of public employees
to organize strong public-sector unions.

These attacks are an attempt to silence public employees and open up public services to privatization and elimination. Even where these attacks are successful, we can and must continue to organize and fight. My experiences organizing in the South show that this is possible.

I work in an open-shop state, for a non-collective bargaining, non-majority, public-sector union with no right to strike. It’s not easy to organize workers under such circumstances, but the fact that my union has been in existence for more than three decades, winning victories, shows that it is possible. The key to organizing success in such an environment is focusing on short-term goals and a long-term vision simultaneously.

The academic term for this double vision is praxis. It means asking (1) What immediate tasks and short-term goals can improve the lives of everyone around us? and (2) What is the longterm vision of the world we wish to see? The answers
to both questions must be in sync.

 

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By PAUL GARVER

Throughout the spring, liberal Democrats and some Tea Party Republicans, aided by a coalition of labor, environmental, and progressive groups, joined forces against a massive corporate power grab known as “Fast Track” Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) only to see it narrowly pass the House by a 218-208 vote in early June. TPA and the accompanying Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) bills were signed into law by President Barack Obama on June 29.

Polls show that a majority of American voters oppose “trade deals” that endanger workers’ jobs and environmental regulations. But the political game is rigged. Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority, which allows U.S. trade representatives to negotiate agreements in secret (retroactively in the TPP case), is not really about “free trade.” Such authority would cement the current inequitable structure of the global economy by enacting three sweeping investor protection treaties (Trans Pacific Partnership [TPP], Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership [TTIP], and the Trade in Services Agreement [TISA]). Together these treaties would make it almost impossible for any political authority in any nation to enforce serious protections for workers, communities, or the environment.

Capital plans to ensure perpetual corporate dominance through the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism for enforcing these treaties. Corporations that claim losses in their expected profits as a result of any governmental action that protects a country’s citizens can sue for monetary damages by taking it to a private and secretive panel of corporate lawyers. However, labor, environmental, or consumer organizations have no direct access to ISDS. The rulings of ISDS panels cannot be challenged in any court. Corporate ISDS claims under previous trade treaties are already threatening governments with massive damages for environmental and consumer protection regulations. For instance, Philip Morris has sued the governments of Uruguay, Australia, and the United Kingdom because those countries require very clear warnings on cigarette packages.

 

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first in a series of articles on the recently concluded 31st biennial convention of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO in Louisville. Ira Grupper is a veteran labor and civil rights activist from Louisville who teaches at Bellarmine University in the Falls City. He was part of a panel discussion titled “Religious Teachings, Beliefs and History of the Moral Basis of Labor Unions and Workers’ Rights.” Charles E. Clark, AFL-CIO Southern Region director, was moderator. Clark is an elder in the Church of God in Christ in Montgomery, Ala. The other panelists were the Rev. William Nelson, pastor at Louisville’s Greater St. Mark Baptist Church and moderator of the Central District Baptist Association in Louisville; and Father Tony Shonis, associate pastor at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church in Henderson. Grupper filled in for Rabbi Robert B. Slosberg of Congregation Adath Jeshurun in Louisville.

By IRA GRUPPER

Sisters and Brothers:

I received a call yesterday from the president of the KY AFL-CIO. Bill said a rabbi who was to have been on a panel this morning was ill, and would I take his place.
Well, I’ve done a lot of things in my life, but take the place of a rabbi on a panel on religion is not one of them.

So, I told him I like my steak medium, and he said ok. Then I said I’d like him to buy the plane tickets and we’d fly to New Orleans to eat the steak, and he said he’d meet me there. Some people are really cheap.

 

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Kentucky needs a governor who knows how to listen to Kentuckians, reach out to both Democrats and Republicans, and lead on policies that move the commonwealth forward.

Kentucky voters should choose Democrat Jack Conway as their next governor.

Conway, currently the commonwealth’s attorney general, may not have all the answers to Kentucky’s troubles. But he has a collaborative approach that will reap dividends in terms of cooperation and outcomes.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

On his website, Matt Bevin, the Republican candidate for governor, says he favors “passing comprehensive Right to Work legislation and eliminating prevailing wage requirements for state contracts” to heal Kentucky’s “self-inflicted economic wounds.”

What wounds?

“Kentucky’s preliminary September 2015 unemployment rate fell to 5 percent from 5.2 percent in August 2015, according to the Office of Employment and Training, an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet,” the Lexington Herald-Leader reported today.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

The Lexington Herald-Leader’s Sam Youngman recently wrote that “liberal frustration is palpable again this campaign season,” but he added that most liberals “will vote for Conway no matter how frustrated and disappointed he makes them.”

"Matt Bevin is that scary," Youngman quoted a liberal who refused to vote for Alison Lundergan Grimes for senator last year. The Democrat and current secretary of state was too conservative for the guy.

My politics are to the left of liberal. I don’t think “socialism” is a dirty word.

 

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Today, we are introducing “Our Union Heritage,” a column that will feature Kentucky labor history. Thurman Wenzl leads off with this article about an all-but-unknown chapter in the history of Newport, across the Ohio River from Cincinnati. Wenzl is a retired member of AFGE and a volunteer organizer at the Cincinnati Interfaith Workers Center. His article is primarily based on newspaper accounts available on microfilm at the Kenton County Public Library in Covington. We welcome your history stories, too. Email us at bcraig8960@gmail.com.

By THURMAN WENZL

If we think of Newport history, we more often think of the gambling, sex and booze that ended some few decades ago. But who knew that large strikes in the iron foundries and steel mills took place there in 1904 and 1921, with major support from the community.

First, in late 1904 the managers at Newport Foundry tried to force their union men to accept lower wages and refused to negotiate, setting off a long strike. The company tried to discredit the strikers (in the Iron Molders Union) by claiming that they were initiating violence, but the local police disagreed, saying that shots had been fired by supervisors and strike-breakers from within the plant. This industry was quite important in Newport at the time, with 28 foundries, 12 of which tried to force their workers to accept lower pay. Newport Foundry’s owners got so desperate in the face of community and police support for the strikers, that they went to Federal Court to try to transfer jurisdiction over local policing to federal marshals. Several mass meetings were held in Newport city council chambers, and one local activist expressed his support for the strikers by saying that ‘if the law was enforced half of your capitalist parasites would be in the penitentiary.’

Press coverage in the Kentucky Post was certainly not hostile to the strikers nor to the labor movement as a whole, which at the time was made up of numerous craft unions. In one brief listing on Jan 6, 1905 - they listed that nearly 30 craft unions were having meetings that night, including the Shoe Lasters, Broom Makers, Stove Mounters and Carriage Trimmers. Only in the following decades would industrial unions gradually develop more strength, with everyone in a single workplace in the same union.

 

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Here's the Cartoon of the Week.

We hope you enjoy the humor. We also welcome cartoons that tickle your funny bone. Send them to bcraig8960@gmail.com.

Berry Craig, webmaster

Read more >>>

Republican gubernatorial nominee Matt Bevin has two conflicting attributes: His intense need to appear decisive and firm, and his profound lack of knowledge about state, or any, government.

This was in evidence in the recent distracting dustup over his proposal to drug test Medicare recipients, or perhaps Medicaid recipients, or both, he said one thing and an aide later said the other.

For the record, Medicare is a federal health insurance program available to people over 65 who have paid into the program usually through payroll deductions and to some people with disabilities.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

We’ve all heard it at election time: There’s not two cents worth of difference between the candidates.

Sometimes, that’s true. It’s not true in the in governor’s race, especially on issues affecting workers, where the difference could hardly be starker.

Democrat Jack Conway and his running mate, Sannie Overly, oppose “right to work.” They favor the state prevailing wage law.
 

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 LOUISVILLE, Ky. (October 13, 2015) – Today, the Conway-Overly campaign released a new TV advertisement: “Clear Contrast.”

The spot highlights the clear contrast between Attorney General Jack Conway and Matt Bevin on critical issues like taxes, transparency, and standing up to special interests.

The spot begins airing today on cable and satellite in markets across Kentucky. Read more >>>

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

GOP gubernatorial hopeful Matt Bevin’s holy war against unions includes workers Pittsburgh-based labor radio host Charles Showalter calls “the not yet union.”

Jenean Hampton, Bevin's running mate, said in last night’s lieutenant gubernatorial debate that an increase in the minimum wage amounted to “a disaster waiting to happen.” Bevin has said he is “absolutely, adamantly” opposed to hiking the minimum wage.

Union members make more than the minimum wage. The federal or state established hourly pay rate affects non-union workers. 

 

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By BILL LONDRIGAN
Kentucky State AFL-CIO president

Please accept my apologies for not sending this information to you sooner! I got behind on planning for the convention and should have sent these earlier! That being said, attached are the criteria and nomination forms for the awards that are listed below that we have traditionally presented during our biennial convention. So, please take a quick look at the criteria for each award and see if you can think of anyone special that might be worthy of these important awards. You don't have to write a whole lot or submit tons of documentation. Just think about the award criteria and see if anyone comes to mind that deserves an award and send that information to me via e-mail: blondrigan@kyaflcio.org or fax: 502-696-9030. I know it is really short notice but it will only take a few minutes if you can think of that right person. If you can get your nominations in by Thursday, October 15, that would work.


 

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EDITOR’S NOTE: To see the story with graphics and links, click here.

By PETER DREIER

I learned about our extraordinary kinship through a brief article in the New Republic, which mentioned that Charles Koch, and his younger twin brothers David and William, were members of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity at MIT. I was a Beta at Syracuse University (Class of 1970). And it is well known that all Betas are brothers, forever.

I admit that I haven’t stayed in touch with my Syracuse frat brothers or paid much attention to Beta happenings, but learning about my kinship with the Koch brothers reawakened my fraternal feelings.

I was hoping to run into Charles (MIT 1957) or David (MIT 1962) at their Palm Springs get-together in January for the ultra-conservative wing of the .001 percent. I only live two hours away and I was willing to pay for my own hotel room. Alas, they didn’t invite me, but I found out what happened anyway.

 

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By BAILEY CHILDERS

Republican candidate Matt Bevin has made public-pension reform a centerpiece of his gubernatorial bid, promising to dismantle Kentucky's pension systems in a misguided attempt to cure the state's financial ills.

Bevin says that as governor he would improve the state's financial outlook by replacing state employees' defined-benefit pension plans with risky 401(k)-style accounts. But that move would rob thousands of Kentuckians of their hard-earned retirement security and could actually prove disastrous to Kentucky's financial health.

For generations, defined benefit plans have afforded public workers the ability to retire with dignity. After dedicating their working lives to serving their communities and paying 5 percent or more of their paychecks into their retirement, police officers, teachers, nurses, firefighters and others can retire with some peace of mind knowing they can count on a modest but stable monthly benefit to cover their basic needs.

 

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EDITOR’S NOTE: To see this story with graphics and links, click here. Thanks to Tim Donoghue, president of the Northern Kentucky Labor Council and Kentucky State AFL-CIO President Bill Londrigan for sending us the story.

By MJB

“The union tent is a big tent,” says Pete McLinden, head of the Cincinnati Labor Council, the umbrella organization for 128 local unions, representing 100,000 members in Southwest Ohio.

There is room for many different ideas and political affiliations, says McLinden, who also strives to build working relationships with those outside the tent. To underscore the importance of unions in the American economy, the White House hosted a Summit on Worker Voice on Oct. 7 “to explore ways to ensure that middle class Americans are sharing in the benefits of the broad-based economic growth that they are helping to create.”

In Cincinnati, C4AD spoke with union representatives and labor advocates about their challenges and opportunities over the next 12 months. The President’s theme of “sharing in the benefits” of economic growth resonated in all responses, but individual priorities differed. Building diverse alliances. Creating more jobs with living wages. Protecting workers’ against illegal practices. Fending off legislative efforts to diminish workers’ rights. And enhancing the bargaining position of workers.

 

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By BILL FINN
State Director, Kentucky State Building and Construction Trades Council

Union construction workers have much at stake in the election of Kentucky’s next governor. Attorney General Jack Conway is strongly endorsed by the Kentucky State Building and Construction Trades Council and all of Organized Labor in Kentucky.

Jack Conway stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Labor against the county, state and national efforts to silence our voice in the workplace. The continuing efforts to shove a Right-To-Work Law on Kentucky’s workforce would be devastating to union and non-union workers alike.

The anti-union forces behind the Kentucky Right-To-Work ordinances include one line at the end of the document that should cause our union members great concern. It prohibits workers “to be recommended, approved, referred, or cleared by or through a labor organization.” The translation is that our construction members can no longer be referred to work through our Union Halls. Most of us in the Building Trades have spent our entire careers being referred as apprentices or Journeymen to jobsites or contractors. This sentence alone will change the proven, efficient, non-discriminatory system we have operated under for generations in construction hiring halls.

 

 

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Democrat Jack Conway leads Republican Matt Bevin by two percentage points in the latest Mason-Dixon poll.

Statewide, 43 percent of likely voters are for Conway and 41 percent back Bevin. Six percent favor independent Drew Curtis.

The gender gap is significant. Conway leads Bevin among women 45-36 percent. Bevin is ahead among men by 46-40.

 

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By RONALD P. FORMISANO

Since the 1980s inequality of income has grown and social mobility has declined more rapidly in the United States than in most economically advanced countries. Wealth in the U.S is more concentrated than in any peer country: the top 10 percent own more than 75 percent of all wealth.

The billionaire Koch brothers, Charles and David, and their network of “think tanks,” lobbyists, and phony grass-roots “citizens” groups — “astroturf” in today’s political lexicon — have expended hundreds of millions in campaigns that have worsened inequality and damaged the quality of life for millions.

And that’s not counting Koch Industries ranking among the top three polluters of the nation’s air, water, and climate with its plants generating 24 million tons of greenhouse gases a year; it has paid out more millions in civil and criminal environmental penalties than any other company.

 

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By STEVE BENEN
The Rachel Maddow Show producer

EDITOR'S NOTE: To see the original story with links, click here.

In recent years, a growing number of Republican officials, especially at the state level, have pushed drug-testing programs for Americans on “welfare.” The idea is predicated on an unfortunate assumption: if you’re struggling and need to rely on a safety net, the government should suspect you of drug addiction and check your bodily fluids.

The drug-testing programs have, in general, been a costly and pointless disaster. But in Kentucky, Republican gubernatorial hopeful Matt Bevin has expressed support for expanding drug testing to include senior citizens on Medicare.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reported yesterday on the latest debate between Bevin, who has never held public office, and state Attorney General Jack Conway (D).
…Conway asked Bevin about his statement from April that recipients of Medicaid and Medicare should be drug-tested.

 

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To see the original story with the link to the podcast, click here.

By LARRY RUBIN
People’s World

RALEIGH, N.C. - "Organize, organize, organize - that's how we can overcome income inequality," AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre told union communicators meeting here last month from Sept. 24 through Sept. 26.

Stressing the importance of organizing workers on a day-to-day basis he said, "We can't depend upon a hero on a white horse coming to fix things.".

"We can make government more pro-labor," he said, "but it doesn't work to try to change politicians. We must work to change voters."

 

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Attorney Gen. Jack Conway, the labor-endorsed Democratic candidate for governor, visited McCracken and Hopkins counties Thursday, sharing his ideas for growing Kentucky’s economy, supporting businesses and creating more good-paying jobs.

Joined by elected officials, business leaders, educators and other community members, Conway hosted a roundtable at the Madisonville-Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce, where he spoke about his economic development and education plans.

Conway discussed how, as part of his jobs plan, he’ll hold the line on taxes and keep Kentucky competitive using commonsense proposals that build on our economic strengths, attract new companies to the Commonwealth, and make certain Kentuckians have the education they need to land a good-paying job. Read more >>>

Thanks to Mary Potter of Clinton, editor of the West Kentucky Journal online, for sending us this cartoon in response to Republican gubernatorial candidate Matt Bevin’s call for drug testing Medicaid and Medicare recipients. Read more >>>

By BILL LONDRIGAN
Kentucky State AFL-CIO president

Remember Scott Walker? The Republican governor of Wisconsin who ran for president on a platform of attacking working people and doing his best to make it harder for workers to feed their families? Heck, he bragged about it.

Well, it seems we’ve got our very own Scott Walker here in Kentucky. His name is Matt Bevin, and he’s funded by many of the same extreme out-of-state interests as Walker was when he ran for governor and during his recent failed presidential bid.

His policies were too extreme, and Bevin supports some of the policies that Walker supports such as the “right to work” for less and the repeal of prevailing wage. But you can stop him!

 

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By BILL LONDRIGAN
Kentucky State AFL-CIO President

Please join National AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and me for a very important conference call about the upcoming elections on November 3.

When: Tuesday, October 13
Time: 4 p.m. EDT
Call: (800) 230-1085

With less than 30 days to go before November 3, WE must do everything WE can to prevent anti-worker candidates like Matt Bevin from taking control of Kentucky! Kentucky’s hard working men and women need the Kentucky labor movement to lead the way. We need to kick our efforts into high gear as we approach the final furlong of this critical race for Governor/Lt. Governor and Constitutional Officers. We must do everything we can to reach out to union members and their families to inform and motivate them to vote for union-endorsed candidates. Below is a short list of what it will take to win:
 

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At today's Coal Association Meeting, Matt Bevin proved why Republicans called him an “East Coast Con Man” and a “Pathological Liar.” Just like he always does, Bevin is lying to Kentuckians about Jack Conway’s proven record of standing up for Kentucky’s coal economy.

See the facts for yourself:

Herald-Leader: “Campaign Watchdog: Claim that Conway Supports Cap-and-Trade Plan ‘False.’” [Herald-Leader, 10/26/10]

 

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FRANKFORT, KY -- Today local seniors joined Kentucky Democratic Party Chairman Patrick Hughes to hold a news-conference condemning Matt Bevin's statement during this week's AARP-Centre College Debate that Medicare recipients are "On the Draw."

WHAS reports that "Bevin was asked specifically why he supports random drug testing for Medicare recipients...and he responded that seniors receiving Medicare are 'on the draw,' even though recipients must have paid into the program during their working life."

"I paid into Medicare my entire life, I earned this program, and I'm outraged that Matt Bevin thinks seniors like me are 'on the draw,'" said Doyle Stacy, a senior from Louisville. "Bevin is proving once again that seniors cannot trust him to lead Kentucky, and he needs to apologize for his insulting comment. For Kentucky seniors like me, Bevin's statement just made the choice in this election even more clear: we back Attorney General Jack Conway for governor."

 

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This week, we’re starting another feature called “Quote of the Week.” It will highlight famous, and not so famous, quotes about unions that might be good for tacking on union hall bulletin boards. Feel free to email us your favorite union quotes at bcraig8960@gmail.com.  

Berry Craig, webmaster

The Scab

After God had finished the rattlesnake, the toad, the vampire, He had some awful substance left with which He made a scab.

A scab is a two-legged animal with a cork-screw soul, a water-logged brain, a combination backbone of jelly and glue. Where others have hearts, he carries a tumor of rotten principles.

When a scab comes down the street, men turn their backs and angels weep in heaven, and the Devil shuts the gates of Hell to keep him out.

 

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Today, we're debuting a new feature: The Cartoon of the Week.

We hope you enjoy the humor. We also welcome cartoons that tickle your funny bone. Send them to bcraig8960@gmail.com.

Berry Craig, webmaster

 

 

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By JOSEPH GERTH

Democrats on Wednesday continued their assault on Republican gubernatorial candidate Matt Bevin, claiming that he has supported the idea of randomly drug testing senior citizens who receive Medicare, a claim that could harm Bevin with the most staunchly active voting bloc.

But Bevin’s spokeswoman, Jessica Ditto, dismissed the Democratic claims as “lies and scare tactics” and said that Bevin simply “misspoke” in April at a tea party rally in which he called for drug testing of those who are both Medicaid and Medicare.

At that event, according to a video released by the Kentucky Democratic Party, Bevin told the crowd, "If we give help to people who don't need it, we're literally taking it from people who truly do and so what we need to do is hold people to a level of individual responsibility and accountability. I firmly believe, frankly, we should drug test people who are on medical, that are on Medicaid and Medicare."

 

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By SAM YOUNGMAN

With platoons of Republicans running for president, the Democratic National Committee has had too much on its plate to spend much time commenting on Kentucky's gubernatorial race.

At least until Tuesday.

During a debate between Republican Matt Bevin and Democrat Jack Conway at Centre College, Conway asked Bevin about his statement from April that recipients of Medicaid and Medicare should be drug-tested.

 

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American refinery jobs and our country’s security are at risk if the House of Representatives votes to lift the crude oil export ban Friday.

Our oil should stay here.

Call your representative right now at 1-844-285-0229. Tell your representative to put working people before corporate profit and keep the crude oil export ban.

Read more >>>

Outdoor Channel and Sportsman Channel have been removed from Verizon Fios carriage service. The contracts for both networks with Verizon have expired.

Unfortunately, for those who enjoy hunting, shooting and fishing, Verizon has taken away access to this outdoor lifestyle channel.

The Union Sportsmen's Alliance recommends Verizon customers—who want and now cannot receive Outdoor Channel and Sportsman Channel—switch providers today. A list of providers in your area that carry the network can be found at www.KeepMyOutdoorTV.com or you can call 800-710-1922 and be directed to one of the providers in your area.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

In the recent gubernatorial candidate debate at Centre College, Republican Matt Bevin deviated slightly from his campaign MO:

-- He says something pretty strong.

-- He walks it back or claims he didn't say it (or has his new flack speak for him).

 

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At today’s debate, Matt Bevin proved why Republicans called him an “East Coast Con Man” and a “Pathological Liar.” Just like he always does, Bevin is lying to Kentuckians -- he said on video that seniors on Medicare should be drug tested.

 

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KDP Chair Statement on Tonight's Kentucky Gubernatorial Debate:

Following tonight's Kentucky gubernatorial debate at Centre College and Matt Bevin's statement that seniors receiving Medicare are "on the draw," Kentucky Democratic Party Chairman Patrick Hughes issued the following statement:

"Matt Bevin's statement that Kentucky seniors who have paid into Medicare their entire lives and earned these benefits are 'on the draw' is wildly insulting. Tonight, Bevin blended fantasy, paranoia and his trademark chronic dishonesty — and in the process he proved exactly why Republicans called him an ‘East Coast Con Man’ and a ‘Pathological Liar.’ As Bevin’s campaign implodes, his unhinged behavior and blatant disregard for the truth are escalating. The contrast between the candidates was clear: Attorney General Jack Conway understands Kentucky, he’s delivered for Kentucky, and he has a plan to move the Commonwealth forward — which is why Jack is the only candidate that hardworking Kentuckians can trust to serve as our governor.”

 

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EDITOR’S NOTE: We received this from Todd Johnson with the notation, “This economic impact from the Bourbon industry has created jobs WITHOUT Right to Work in Kentucky. Workers at many distilleries belong to unions.

With September proclaimed as National Bourbon Heritage Month, distilleries and bourbon connoisseurs across the Commonwealth herald the drink’s historical significance.

We hear legends about the origins of bourbon and the history of distillation during prohibition. Kentuckians proudly spout facts such as 95 percent of all bourbon is made right here in Kentucky and the Commonwealth has more aging barrels of bourbon right now than residents.

And all those things are important parts of the bourbon industry.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Somebody at Kentucky Democratic Party headquarters in Frankfort changed that sign that drives Matt Bevin batty.

“MATT BEVIN, NEXT TIME BRING YOUR TAX RETURNS,” is the new message.

Bevin is the GOP gubernatorial hopeful. His Democratic opponent is Attorney Gen. Jack Conway.

 

 

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By JACK BRAMMER and JOHN CHEVES

FRANKFORT — The race for Kentucky attorney general slid to the right during the last 60 days as Democrat Andy Beshear lost the seven-point lead he held in July over Republican Whitney Westerfield.

Beshear and Westerfield are tied at 38 percent in a new statewide Bluegrass Poll of 701 likely voters conducted Sept. 22-27 by SurveyUSA. Twenty-two percent said they were undecided; 2 percent said they were not following the race.

The poll, taken on behalf of the Herald-Leader and WKYT-TV in Lexington and The Courier-Journal and WHAS-TV in Louisville, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.

 

 

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By JOSEPH GERTH

Just days after U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield announced that he will not seek a 12th term in office next year, politicians on both sides of the aisle are scrambling to line up support, clear it with their families, and jump into a race for that rarest of beasts in the country’s politics — an open congressional seat.

Kentucky’s 1st Congressional was once known as the Democratic “Rock of Gibraltar,” having never gone to a Republican until Whitfield won it during the 1994 GOP wave that swept former House Speaker Newt Gingrich to power along with his Contract with America.

Now, the Republicans view the seat as one solidly in their camp while the Democrats see this as a chance to win back a seat in part of the state that once birthed Democratic leaders like Vice President Alben Barkley, and Happy Chandler and Earle C. Clements, who served as both governor and U.S. senator.

 

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By LIZ SHULER
AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer

Social Security benefits traditionally have been protected from debt collectors. But Republicans in Congress—always looking for an opportunity to cut Social Security benefits—created a loophole in 1996 that allowed outstanding federal student loan debt to be taken from the benefits that help recipients pay for medication, food and basic necessities.

Right now, more than 700,000 people currently getting Social Security benefits are still paying student loans and 160,000 of them are having their Social Security checks garnished to pay off student loans. President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan can stop this outrageous practice right now.

Sign the petition urging Obama and Duncan to issue a moratorium or an administrative solution to stop the garnishment of people’s Social Security benefits to pay for their student loan debt.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

It looks like Old Mo – momentum -- is still playing on Team Conway.

A June PPP Poll had Republican Matt Bevin up by three over Democrat Jack Conway in the governor’s race.

In July, Attorney Gen. Conway was up by three in the race’s first Bluegrass Poll. Conway is plus five in the new Bluegrass Poll.

 

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By JOSEPH GERTH
Louisville Courier-Journal

University of Louisville trustee Steve Wilson has resigned and Gov. Steve Beshear says he will appoint an African-American to replace him in order to fulfill a state law that requires racial balance on the board.

The announcement came just moments after Attorney General Jack Conway's office released a ruling that said Beshear violated the state law requiring minority representation when he removed its only African American member in June.

In a statement, Beshear acknowledged that he erred in not appointing the required minority members to U of L's board of trustees but defended his appointments in other areas. "I’ve worked very hard the last 8 years to diversify our boards and to diversify our appointments in a number of ways. My administration has a great track record. I made landmark diversity judicial appointments in Jefferson County," he said.

 

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By JOSEPH GERTH
Louisville Courier-Journal

Democrat Jack Conway still leads Republican Matt Bevin by 5 percentage points in the latest Bluegrass Poll as the gubernatorial candidates gear up for the final run before the Nov. 3 election.

The poll found that Conway, Kentucky’s attorney general, leads Bevin 42 percent to 37 percent, in a race that has gone largely unchanged since the Bluegrass Poll was last released in late July. That poll also found the Democrat with a five-point lead over his GOP foe.

Independent Drew Curtis was at 7 percent in the most recent poll.

 

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At today’s Kentucky Sports Radio debate, Matt Bevin proved why Republicans called him an “East Coast Con Man” and a “Pathological Liar.” Just like he always does, Bevin is lying to Kentuckians about Medicaid and how he would kick nearly 500,000 Kentuckians off of their healthcare immediately.

See the facts for yourself:

 

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

James “Sarge” Sargent was disappointed.

He hadn't been able to give away a single Jack Conway-for-governor yard sign at the annual Anderson County Burgoo Festival. The big feed attracts a big crowd to Lawrenceburg, the county seat.

“Then she started in on me,” said Sargent, county Democratic chair and member of Louisville-based Communication Workers of America Local 3310. “I was all by myself in our booth last Saturday. I didn’t even know who she was. I had 25 signs, but after she started going on, people took all but one of my signs.”

 

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The Associated Press reports that the Republican Governor's Association will stop running television ads in support of Matt Bevin.

In response, today Kentucky Democratic Party Chairman Patrick Hughes issued the following statement:

 

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SHOT: Bevin: “I will make it an absolute priority that we will rebuild that bridge.” [Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce,3/27/15]

CHASER: "Maybe the region doesn’t need a new Brent Spence Bridge...Kentucky Republican gubernatorial candidate Matt Bevin said during a 90-minute meeting with the Enquirer editorial board." [Cincinnati Enquirer, 9/28/15]

 

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By BILL LONDRIGAN
President, Kentucky State AFL-CIO

Every day, decisions are being made about your future by politicians in Frankfort. Their decisions have big consequences on our wages and benefits, the quality of education for our children and whether our communities will thrive.

Your vote is the most powerful way to make sure politicians are doing the right things on the issues that are important to you. That’s why we’re working hard to make sure working people get to the polls this year, but we want to make sure you’re ready to vote, too.

Click here to register to vote today! The last day to register to vote in Kentucky is fast approaching on Monday, Oct. 5, so don’t delay.

 

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FRANKFORT, KY -- On the heels of Republican Lt. Governor candidate Jenean Hampton's statement that Head Start is used for "indoctrination," today the Kentucky Democratic Party is releasing never before seen video of Matt Bevin disparaging the program in similar terms during his 2014 campaign, stating that "regimes" have tried to get the minds of children.

Bevin: "And the fact that now as part of this latest Ryan-Murray budget deal, a vast swath of money being applied toward expanding the Head Start program. Expanding it down to now include 4 year olds. You look throughout history, and I'll tell you if I name the particular regimes that I'm talking about that it will get all snipped out and they'll make negative ads about how I'm comparing people to whatever. But you look at these various regimes throughout history and what is it that they've always said? Give me the children. Give me the minds of the children. That's what they've always said. And it's true. Because I'll tell you, it's not coincidental or accidental that you have them now trying to get four year olds." [Bevin at Reno's Steakhouse, 1/31/14]

 



 

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Charles E. Clarke, the AFL-CIO's Southern regional director, was the keynote speaker at the 22nd annual Coalition of Black Trade Unionists' banquet in Louisville Saturday. 

"Owning Our Future--Building our Community" was the banquet's theme.

Other speakers included Kentucky BCTU President Edna M. Ford; Treasurer Cylista Williams; Augusta Y. Thomas, American Federation of Government Employees national vice president for women and fair practices; Kentucky State AFL-CIO President Bill Londrigan and Todd Dunn, president of the Greater Louisville Central Labor Council.

 

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To see the story with graphics and links, click here.

By TODD S. PURDUM

Like the sudden death of a terminal cancer patient whose doctors thought he had at least a few more months to live, the dramatic demise of embattled Speaker John Boehner was a surprise that could hardly be counted as a shock.

But in a larger sense, Boehner’s fall was just the latest example of the self-consuming culture that has bedeviled the House GOP conference for nearly 60 years—all the way back to the Eisenhower era. Whom the Gods would destroy, it sometimes seems, they first make the Republican leaders of Congress.

In fact, John Boehner becomes the third GOP speaker in a row to resign under duress after overstaying his welcome with his own brethren. Boehner’s predecessor as party leader, Dennis Hastert resigned after a series of scandals cost the Republicans their majority and is now under federal indictment for alleged financial misdeeds. Hastert, in turn, only got the job after Newt Gingrich resigned after a poor showing in the 1998 elections and a mounting party insurrection. In resigning amid his party’s unrest, Gingrich declared, “I’m not willing to preside over people who are cannibals.”

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

“WE STILL CAN’T TRUST MATT BEVIN,” the Kentucky Democratic party headquarters sign still says.

Bevin still can’t trust himself with the sign.

The GOP gubernatorial hopeful got miffed at the message again today. This time he stormed the enemy HQ to give the staff a piece of his mind.

 

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By BILL LONDRIGAN
President, Kentucky State AFL-CIO

Trade unionists, Friends and Supporters, our Labor 2015 program is in full swing with union member-volunteers hitting the doors, making phone calls, mailing their membership and distributing worksite leaflets.

In order to win we must pick up the pace until every union member in Kentucky gets multiple hits with our materials and contacts. The only way for us to win on November 3 is for a huge turnout of union members and their families. That is where you come in!

It will not happen without you. No matter which part of the state you reside or work you can help us win for workers by informing and motivating them and their families to vote for union-endorsed candidates on November 3. Please get involved.

 

 

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Trade Unionists, Friends and Supporters:

The CWA is currently in contract negotiations with AT&T.

AT&T has refused to agree to basic terms and conditions and address long-standing issues affecting workers' health, safety and job opportunities. To focus attention on AT&T's refusal to agree to a fair contract the CWA will be holding a rally to "Stand Up To Corporate Greed" TOMORROW, Saturday, September 25, 2015 at 1:00 p.m. (EDT) at AT&T's Kentucky Headquarters at 601 W. Chestnut Street in Louisville.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

I guess Republican gubernatorial hopeful Matt Bevin is going to ride his “You've Never Heard Me Say That” horse all the way to Nov. 3.

“Moments ago at the Kentucky Association of Private Providers (KAPP), Matt Bevin once again proved why Republicans called him a 'Pathological Liar' -- falsely claiming that he never said that he would do away with Kentucky's Medicaid expansion," says an email the Kentucky Democratic Party's David Bergstein just blasted out to the media.

I’ve lost count of how many emails like this one that have landed in my inbox from Bergstein, the party's PR guy.

 

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The Independent, Lana Bellamy
Sept. 23, 2015

http://www.dailyindependent.com/gallery/conway-stresses-need-for-skilled-work-force/article_2a3a974c-626e-11e5-bb36-c7c953d6f22f.html

Ashland, Ky. -- Good-paying jobs exist in Kentucky, but employers are having difficulty finding workers skilled enough to fill positions, according to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jack Conway.

Conway, Kentucky’s attorney general, hosted a roundtable at Steelworkers Local 1865 on Wednesday to discuss his economic development and education plans if he is elected governor 40 days from now.

He said employers in manufacturing, and other jobs that require highly skilled workers, told him on the campaign trail they have jobs available, but  “can’t find” qualified local candidates to fill the positions.
 

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By ALEXANDRA BRADBURY
Editor, Labor Notes

To see the article with graphics and links, click here.

Tensions over whether unions should join, oppose, or sit out the Black Lives Matter movement are drawing long-overdue attention to the simmering racial divides inside labor.

“Our brother killed our sister’s son,” AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka said last summer after police officer Darren Wilson shot teenager Michael Brown, son of a Food and Commercial Workers member in Ferguson, Missouri. “How can we not be involved?”

But involved how? It’s an issue where union members are far from united. In a logical first step, several unions are launching national programs to get members talking to one another—and more important, listening to one another—about race.

 

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By DAVID MACARY

If -- as so many Republicans, reactionaries and Chamber of Commerce minions would have us believe -- the American labor movement is more or less dead in the water, then there would be no reason to spend hundreds of million of dollars seeking to further cripple or destroy it.

If organized labor is as moribund as they claim (with barely 11-percent of the workforce, totaling 14.6 million members nationwide) then why do they remain scared shitless of it? After all, if your "enemy" has been rendered frail and ineffective, why continue to marshal valuable resources in opposition to it?

Here are three arguments for why the labor movement is far stronger than it appears.

 

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By JOE BRENNAN
Executive Director, Kentucky Labor Institute

Some unsuspecting political volunteer had the misfortune of requesting a few minutes from me to answer a questionnaire. He identified himself as representing Americans for Progress (a Koch-created PAC). What an opportunity!

The question was " Given the "fact" that KY net would soon be financed by reducing child care and elementary school funding , would I be in favor such a move? " Really! What a loaded question!! An affirmative answer would be an agreement with the proposition, the negative an affirmation of Americans for Progress, a no win choice. I said that this was a invalid question since its suppositions were slanted and incorrect, and there was no empirical evidence substantiating the basic premise.

There was confusion on the sender's phone. I expected an abrupt phone termination. Collateral conversation on the other end indicated no one knew how to cancel the questionnaire program. The poor volunteer has no idea of what I was saying, and I was not going to offer a research 101 class. He made no more attempts to proceed any further.
 

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Trade Unionists, Friends and Supporters:

Join AFSCME in support of Lexington Sanitation Workers in their struggle for fair treatment TOMORROW, September 24th at 5:30 p.m. (EDT) at 200 East Main Street for the Lexington City Council meeting. I hope to see you there.

In solidarity,
Bill
Bill Londrigan, president
Kentucky State AFL-CIO

 

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By BILL LONDRIGAN
Kentucky State AFL-CIO president

Carpetbagging Florida Governor Rick Scott announced today that his job poaching expedition to Kentucky had netted “40 new jobs” for Miramar, Fla., and claimed that “1st Choice Aerospace chose to expand in Florida instead of at their Kentucky location.”

Scott’s desperate effort to lure businesses to Florida from other states such as Connecticut, Pennsylvania, California and now Kentucky, a state that has been named first nationally in 2014 by Site Selection magazine for new and expanded industry activity per capita, shows how out of touch Gov. Scott is with what really matters for employers looking to invest: an educated, trained and ready workforce; efficient and modern transportation systems and a 21st-century communications infrastructure.

What Gov. Scott’s press release failed to mention was that 1st Choice Aerospace is not a Kentucky company, but is registered in the State of Ohio. 1st Choice Aerospace has never been registered with the Kentucky Secretary of State and as Tampa Bay Times reporter Steve Bousquet observed, “the geography on this job poaching trip is tricky” and “the company’s own web site barely mentions Kentucky…”
 

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By SAM YOUNGMAN
Lexington Herald-Leader political writer

Florida Gov. Rick Scott was all smiles Tuesday morning as he walked up Broadway in downtown Lexington, warmly greeting the throng of Kentucky reporters waiting for him.

Is something so terribly wrong with the technological infrastructure in Tallahassee that he couldn't send us an email?

Why else would Scott feel compelled to travel to Kentucky to spike the football in the faces of Bluegrass State workers when a news release from Florida would've sufficed?

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

When it comes to “right to work,” Matt Bevin is no wolf in sheep’s clothing.

He’s the wolf.

The AFL-CIO's Marcus Trammel supplied us this photo. It shows the GOP gubernatorial hopeful and his running mate, Jenean Hampton, posing with some RTW guy for somebody with a cell phone camera.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

I’m an old reporter. So I know it’s unwise to argue with folks who buy their ink in barrels.

But Lexington Herald-Leader scribe Larry Dale Keeling is tad off base in his column about the recent gubernatorial candidate debate--or forum, or whatever—that starred Democrat Jack Conway, Republican Matt Bevin and independent Drew Curtis.

I don’t know who Keeling plans to vote for. But in the interest of full disclosure, Jack Conway is my candidate. So feel free to malign my musings as partisan palaver or wishful thinking, or a combination thereof.

 

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By SCOTT PULLIAM

In an analogy my good friend Charlie Essex would appreciate, the candidates in November's gubernatorial election are rounding the final turn and heading for home. And just like the “crowds” at Churchill Downs, projections are calling for low voter turnout. This is particularly troubling for the Democrats, Attorney Gen. Jack Conway and his running mate, State Rep. Sannie Overly.

Conway and Overly are endorsed by every labor organization in Kentucky and are deserving of our support. And yet, I am concerned that there doesn't seem to be much enthusiasm among quite a few of our members who, for whatever reason, tend to stay home on election day. To do so would be a huge mistake.

For starters, we should consider the fact that under the current administration of Governor Steve Beshear, Kentucky has become the NUMBER ONE state in the nation, per capita, and sixth overall in economic development through capital investment according to the March, 2015 issue of Site Selection Magazine*. A Conway-Overly administration will continue the policies that have made this possible. However, in his speeches and commercials Republican nominee Matt Bevin claims that our “right-to-work” neighbors Indiana and Tennessee are “eating our lunch” when it comes to capital projects and the jobs they provide. Mr. Bevin, like all those who promote R-T-W legislation, never offers any proof, just hearsay.

 

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To see the story with links and graphics, click here.

By HAROLD MEYERSON

This article appears in the Summer 2015 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here.

Santayana had it wrong: Even if we remember the past, we may be condemned to repeat it. Indeed, the more we learn about the conflict between the North and South that led to the Civil War, the more it becomes apparent that we are reliving that conflict today. The South’s current drive to impose on the rest of the nation its opposition to worker and minority rights—through the vehicle of a Southernized Republican Party—resembles nothing so much as the efforts of antebellum Southern political leaders to blunt the North’s opposition to the slave labor system. Correspondingly, in the recent actions of West Coast and Northeastern cities and states to raise labor standards and protect minority rights, there are echoes of the pre–Civil War frustrations that many Northerners felt at the failure of the federal government to defend and promote a free labor system, frustrations that—ironically—led them to found the Republican Party.

It’s the resilience of the Southern order and the similarities between the Old South and the New that are most surprising—at least, until we disenthrall ourselves from a sanitized understanding of that Old South. It’s taken nearly 100 years for the prevailing image of the pre–Civil War South to become less subject to the racist falsifications that long had shaped it. The malign fantasies of 1915’s The Birth of a Nation and the Golden Age hooey of 1939’s Gone with the Wind have given way to the grim realism of 12 Years A Slave. Through all its incarnations, however, the antebellum South has retained its status as a world apart from the rest of America, whether (as D.W. Griffith would have it) for its chivalry or (as the historical record shows) its savagery.

 

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To see the story with links, click here.

By RANDI WEINGARTEN
President, American Federation of Teachers

Republicans have staked out endless signature issues: shutting down the government, vilifying immigrants, denouncing rights like paid sick leave and equal pay because they are "women's issues," privatizing education, and -- wait for it -- obliterating the rights of working people to negotiate together for better wages and benefits that can sustain their families.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie recently said that our teachers union deserves a "punch in the face." Fellow presidential longshot and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker wants to nationalize his plan to destroy public sector unions. Yet unions are now more popular with Republicans than Christie and Walker are. That's right, the latest polling shows that while Christie and Walker have negligible support among Republican voters (1.5 and 3 percent, respectively), a full 42 percent of Republicans support unions.

In fact, support for unions is increasing. Last month's Gallup poll showed that in just one year, support for unions grew five points to nearly 60 percent. And according to the Brookings Institution, more than 50 percent of nonunion workers say that if an election was held in their workplace tomorrow, they would vote for union representation.

 

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The House Energy and Commerce Committee has approved a measure that would lift the longstanding ban on crude oil exports from the United States.

The Republicans are pushing a similar bill in the senate.

The vote was 31-19 with a trio of Democrats joining all of the committee Republicans in supporting the legislation. A vote by the full House is expected.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Matt Bevin was, well, Matt Bevin in the recent three-way gubernatorial candidate debate.

Again, he flat contradicted himself.

By now, Bevin has got to know some reporter will call his hand on his flip-flops.
My guess is he doesn’t care. Bevin is banking that John and Jane Q. Citizen won’t do any fact checking. Or he figures they’ll overlook his flip flops as long as he makes sure they know he loves God, guns and Kim Davis.

 

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To see the story with links, click here.

By DAVE JAMIESON
Labor Reporter

WASHINGTON -- If you get fired for trying to organize a union in the U.S., federal labor law does a pretty weak job of protecting you. Even if your employer is found to have broken the law, the most you can win under the current system is back pay and reinstatement -- that is, the right to go back to work under a boss who already illegally retaliated against you.

Labor unions have sought for years to strengthen those protections, and on Wednesday Democrats in Washington took up the latest version of the cause. Lawmakers proposed a bill, crafted with the input of the AFL-CIO union federation, that would make workplace organizing akin to a civil right.

The bill, called the Workplace Action for a Growing Economy (WAGE) Act, would do so by amending the National Labor Relations Act, the bedrock Great Depression-era law that set the boundaries for collective bargaining. The Democratic proposal would triple the amount of back pay that workers are owed when their employers fire them for what's known as protected concerted activity. It would also give workers the right to pursue damages in federal court, just like those who've been discriminated against over their race or gender.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker says if he wins the White House, he’ll push for a national “right to work law,” ban federal public employee unions, abolish the National Labor Relations Board and repeal the prevailing wage on federal highway projects.

“Our members need to understand that if Matt Bevin gets elected governor, it will be a similar situation in Kentucky,” said Kip Phillips, a retired USW international vice president at large and a Kentucky native.

Bevin, the GOP nominee, is a big Walker booster. He touted Wisconsin’s governor on “The Glenn Beck Show.”
 

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FOP president: endorsement 'an easy choice'

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (September 15, 2015) – Today, the Conway-Overly campaign announced the endorsement of the Kentucky State Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP).

“I am honored to have earned the endorsement of the Kentucky Fraternal Order of Police,” Attorney General Jack Conway said. “As attorney general, I’ve been proud to work alongside law enforcement officers from across the Commonwealth to get real results for Kentucky families by fighting the scourge of drug abuse in our communities, protecting our kids online and cracking down on Internet crimes, and vigorously prosecuting child predators. Each day, the dedicated men and women who protect our streets and keep Kentuckians safe stand by us, and as governor, I will always stand by them as we continue working together to move Kentucky forward.”

“The Kentucky Fraternal Order of Police is proud to support Jack Conway in this year’s governor’s race,” said Kentucky FOP President Berl Perdue. “Jack is a friend of law enforcement and his long record of standing up for the issues important to us and critical to the public safety of our Commonwealth made this endorsement an easy choice. We know that we can count on Jack Conway to continue supporting Kentucky law enforcement as our next governor.”

 

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FRANKFORT, KY — In advance of the Kentucky gubernatorial debate, today the Kentucky Democratic Party is launching a new website: www.TheBevinCons.com.

The site will serve as a hub for voters to learn and share the facts about Matt Bevin’s lies — including his failure to pay his taxes, his refusal to release his tax returns and his positions on critical issues like early childhood education, healthcare, and pensions. The site also features a "Bevin Lie Generator,” highlighting some of Bevin's most outrageous and dishonest statements.

“From his failure to pay his taxes to his positions on critical issues, Matt Bevin has spent his campaign lying to Kentuckians and proving why Republicans labelled him an ‘East Coast Con Man,” said Kentucky Democratic Party Chairman Patrick Hughes. “As Bevin’s flailing campaign becomes increasingly desperate, we fully expect that his chronic dishonesty will escalate — and this site will be an important tool for voters to learn and share the truth about each of Bevin’s Cons. Republicans were right when they called Bevin a ‘Pathological Liar,’ and that's exactly why we can’t trust Bevin to serve as our governor.”

Visit www.TheBevinCons.com to learn more.

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By BILL CONN

As a fifth generation teacher, I was saddened to read about the proposal from gubernatorial candidate Matt Bevin.

As a teacher, I know that I make the sacrifice to be wealthy, especially considering the education background that we have. There were always two things that I could say: 1. My family would receive medical care, because we have good health insurance. 2. I could retire without worrying about financial strain.

Under Bevin’s proposal, I would no longer be able to feel financial secure about my future. Mr. Bevin would want teachers to do what is known as a defined contribution. Teachers would have to put their money into a 401K and hope for the best. We would then have to figure out exactly how we would receive health care and finally how social security would factor in as well considering every teacher in the state can only receive a portion of what they put in. Presently, once a teacher retires he or she will receive about 65 percent to 75 percent of an average of 3 to 5 years of his or her salary. The teacher will also receive health care, which has been one of the true benefits of our field.
 

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By WENDELL BERRY

A good many people hoped and even believed that Barack Obama’s election to the presidency signified the end of racism in the United States. It seems arguable to me that the result has been virtually the opposite: Obama’s election has brought about a revival of racism. Like nothing since the Southern Strategy, it has solidified the racist vote as a political quantity recognizable to politicians and apparently large enough in some places to decide an election.

I grant the polite assumption that not one of the elected officers of the states or the nation is a racist. But politicians do not need to be racist themselves in order to covet, to solicit, or to be influenced by the racist vote. This is shown by the pronounced difference between two by now established ways of opposing the President.

There is the opposition that is truly political and varyingly respectable. This opposition is identifiable by its incompleteness, which is to say by its focus upon particular issues about which a particular case or argument can be made. Such opposition is credible as such because it implicitly concedes the President’s humanity: Like the rest of us, he is a partial and fallible mortal who, if he is partly wrong, may also be partly right.

 

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KY Teachers: Bevin’s Pension Record Shows We Cannot Trust Him
State Journal Reveals That Bevin’s Pension Company Charged ‘Above-Average’ Fees While Jeopardizing Retirement Security

FRANKFORT, KY — Today, Jefferson County Teachers Association President Brent McKim issued the following statement in response to a report in the State Journal revealing Matt Bevin’s “less than stellar” record on pensions. The story details how Bevin’s investment company charged “above-average” fees while the retirement funds they managed underperformed, jeopardizing retirement security for thousands.

“This latest revelation is another reason why Kentucky teachers cannot trust someone who knowingly profits at the expense of others' retirement security, as Matt Bevin has done,” said Jefferson County Teachers Association President Brent McKim. “It was bad enough when Bevin was pushing an ill-advised corporate takeover of our teachers pension plan that would jeopardize teachers' retirement and drain funding from our public schools — but now it turns out that Bevin has a long history of enriching himself through ‘above-average’ taxpayer funded fees while poorly managing pensions and hurting retirees. Bevin told us that his pension experience was one of his central qualifications — but his real record on this issue is actually just another reason to back Attorney General Jack Conway for governor.”

 

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Join the Greater Louisville Central Labor Council Saturday for a “Day of Action Canvass/Neighborhood Walk.” Participants are asked to meet at 9 a.m., EDT, at UAW 862’s large hall, 3000 Fern Valley Rd. Participants will receive training, a walk list and everything they need to talk about the governor’s race and how to fight back against “right to work.” For more information, contact Tim Morris by email at tim.morris@glclc.com. Read more >>>

Click here to see DeLane Adams’ Animoto of the Greater Louisville Central Labor Council’s 16th annual Labor Day at the Zoo, festivities that drew a large crowd and included a picnic, car show and political speaking. The bill of fare featured food, fellowship and fun. Adams is the AFL-CIO’s Southern Region field communications director.  Read more >>>

To see the article with graphics and links, click here.

By LORETTA JOHNSON

I started working as a classroom aide in Baltimore 50 years ago. My colleagues and I—mostly black women—were making $2.25 an hour with no benefits. A gallon of milk cost a dollar and a dozen eggs cost 60 cents, and we knew the work we did was worth a lot more than that.

So, we organized. We joined with the Baltimore Teachers Union. And in 1970, when we negotiated our first contract, we won a grievance procedure and salary steps.

That’s the power of a union. Being union members helped me and my colleagues win the respect we deserved as education support professionals.

 

 

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To see the article with graphics and links, click here.

By AMIEE PICCHI

Given the steep drop in the percentage of workers in a union, organized labor has clearly had a tough decade.

Yet within those numbers is a surprising trend: The share of working women who are union members is holding relatively steady, giving women a rising share of representation within the labor movement. Last year, more than 45 percent of all union members were women, a share that jumped from just one-third in 1984, according to a recent report from the Institute for Women's Policy Research.

The changing face of the labor movement has come slowly over the past few decades, led by changes in male-dominated sectors and a push in some traditionally female occupations to unionize. For instance, some industries that males have heavily dominated, such as manufacturing, have been shedding jobs. It's possible that women could represent a majority of unionized workers by 2025, noted Ariane Hegewisch, study director at the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR).

 

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To see the article with graphics and links, click here.

By NOAM SCHEIBER

It is well established that unions provide benefits to workers — that they raise wages for their Members (and even for nonmembers). They can help reduce inequality.

A new study suggests that unions may also help children move up the economic ladder.

Researchers at Harvard, Wellesley and the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, released a paper Wednesday showing that children born to low-income families typically ascend to higher incomes in metropolitan areas where union membership is higher.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

No doubt GOP gubernatorial hopeful Matt Bevin figures to make a ton of political hay in the Bible Belt Bluegrass State by hitching his wagon to Kim Davis’s star.

Davis is the Rowan County clerk who just got sprung from the slammer where she did a five-day stretch for defying a federal judge’s order to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

In June, the Supreme Court struck down state bans against same-sex marriage.
 

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Click here to see an Animoto of Paducah's 40th annual Labor Day parade. DeLane Adams, the AFL-CIO's Southern Region field communications director, produced the slide show. Berry Craig, Kentucky State AFL-CIO webmaster-editor, took the photos.

Kudos to the chief parade organizers: Larry Sanderson, a retired UA international representative; and his son, Derek  Sanderson, Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 184 financial secretary-treasurer.

The parade is sponsored by the Western Kentucky Labor Day Committee, an all-volunteer non-profit group.

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By BOB BLAIR

Labor Day was created to pay tribute to America’s hard-working men and women, but for many working and middle-class families in Kentucky, taking time off during the holiday is not an option. For too many Americans, Labor Day is just another working day when the realities and challenges they face only grow.

Countless hard-working Kentuckians and Hoosiers who help to feed, serve, clothe, and build this country still struggle like never before in low-paying full- or part-time jobs. Nationally, wages have not kept up with inflation. If the minimum wage had kept up with growth in productivity it would be $18.30/hour.

Erratic work schedules are becoming the norm, especially for workers in the service sector like those at Wal-Mart and McDonald’s. This kind of scheduling makes it all but impossible for workers to control their lives, let alone go to school or take care of a child or a loved one.

 

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To see the story with graphics and links, click here.

By KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN White House Producer

Boston (CNN) -- President Barack Obama lambasted Republican presidential candidates Monday, charging the GOP is treating American workers like a hostile force while looking out only for the rich.

Obama delivered a Labor Day speech in Boston, where he traveled to unveil a new executive order he signed forcing companies who contract with the federal government to provide paid sick leave to their employees.

Obama, saying he was relieved to not be on the ballot next November, hit at Republicans who he claimed were espousing policies that would erode the middle class.

 

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To see the story with graphics and links, click here.

By DAN MERICA, CNN

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (CNN) -- Hillary Clinton remained focused on Republicans during a two-day swing through Iowa, and told voters on Labor Day one of her biggest jobs as president will be "to defend and protect your right to organize collectively."

Clinton marked the Labor Day holiday at an event in Illinois -- just across the Mississippi River from Iowa and within the Davenport media market -- at an event with union organizers.

Clinton promised to "make sure that some employers go to jail for wage theft and all the other abuses they engage in" and to protect union pensions.

 

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To see the story with links, click here.

By Sen. BERNIE SANDERS, I-Vt.

Labor Day is a time for honoring the working people of this country. It is also a time to celebrate the accomplishments of the activists and organizers who fought for the 40-hour work week, occupational safety, minimum wage law, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and affordable housing. These working people, and their unions, resisted the oligarchs of their day, fought for a more responsive democracy, and built the middle class.

Today we can - and we must - follow their example. It's time to rebuild the crumbling middle class of our country and make certain that every working person in the United States of America has a chance at a decent life.

Against overwhelming odds, the men and women of the labor movement changed society for the better. If you've ever enjoyed a paid vacation, a sick day, or a pension, they are the people to thank. And if you don't have those benefits on your job today, they are the people who can help you get them.

 

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was first published in September, 2014

By ARTHUR DELANEY
Senior reporter, The Huffington Post

WASHINGTON -- Most people know Labor Day as an extra day off of work. Fewer know the holiday comes from a time when the government was offing workers.

It all started with a bad recession in the early 1890s that reduced demand for railway cars, prompting Chicago railway magnate George Pullman to lay off workers and reduce wages. Many of his workers went on strike. The sympathetic American Railway Union refused to handle Pullman cars, hampering commerce in many parts of the country.

"The boycott tapped the deep and pervasive alienation of labor in general," historian David Ray Papke wrote in his 1999 book The Pullman Case: The Clash of Labor and Capital in Industrial America.

 

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Paducah’s 40th annual Labor Day parade down Broadway will start at 9:30 a.m. , CDT.

The Monday parade will include the traditional union floats plus high school bands, vehicles and other marching and mobile units.

The parade will travel along Broadway starting at 14th Street.  But when it reaches 7th Street, it will turn left and then turn right on Jefferson Street until it disbands at Water Street.

 

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The Bluegrass Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, will host a Labor Day picnic and car, motorcycle and tractor show at Lexington’s Masterson Station Park, 3051 Leestown Rd.

Monday’s picnic and show starts at 11 a.m., EDT, and goes until 4 p.m.

Union members and their families are asked to bring their own lawn chairs.

 

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By DeLANE ADAMS
AFL-CIO Field Communications, Southern Region

Thousands of union members and leaders, families, elected officials and faith and community leaders will come together Monday at the Greater Louisville Central Labor Council’s 16th annual Labor Day Picnic and Car Show to celebrate the incredible achievements of people who are "Working. For a Better Life," the 2015 AFL-CIO Labor Day theme.

Featured speakers include Greater Louisville Central Labor Council President Todd Dunn; Kentucky State AFL-CIO President Bill Londrigan; Congressman John Yarmuth, D-Louisville; Attorney General Jack Conway, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate; Democratic State Auditor Adam Edelen; Democratic attorney general Candidate Andy Beshear, Jean-Marie Lawson Spann, the Democratic nominee for commissioner of Agriculture. They and others will highlight working people’s local efforts to drive a “Raising Wages” agenda. The Kentucky State AFL-CIO endorsed Conway and his running mate, State Rep. Sannie Overly, D-Paris, as well as Edelen, Beshear and Lawson Spann.

“Every day, working people get up and work hard to create a better life for their families and for their communities, as well as all working people,” Dunn said. “It’s time for America’s economic policies to put people and families first, instead of the interests of a handful of wealthy and out-of-touch corporate CEOs. Working people deserve to make a good living in order to live a better life. Kentucky should continue to work for we the people, not just the wealthy and well-connected.” 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Bait goes for naught if the fish won’t bite.

The same is true for politicians.

The other day, Matt Bevin, the GOP gubernatorial hopeful, bit on the Kentucky Democratic Party’s bait, namely the billboard at party headquarters in Frankfort.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Life is full of mysteries.

Why do tires wear out and not leave rubber all over the road? Why do the supposedly sophisticated French think Jerry Lewis is so funny?

But the mystery of mysteries to me is why so many union members vote on the so-called social issues, not union issues that directly affect their very livelihoods.

One of my union buddies calls the social issues “the three Gs—God, guns and gays.”
 

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My name is Matt Struhar and I’m owner of Maddio’s Pizza & Subs, a small shop in Brackenridge, Pa., just outside of Pittsburgh. Our town is a great place to live, work and watch our kids grow up. We’re a place where everyone knows everyone.

That’s why when Allegheny Technologies Inc. unfairly locked out our friends, our family and our neighbors from their jobs a few weeks ago, I decided to speak up. In just one week my little business lost 40 percent of its sales.


 

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By KENNY COLSTON 

It’s a time-honored tradition to do as little work as possible on Labor Day. So many of us will spend the time off work at the lake, with family cooking out or relaxing on the couch.

Whether or not we pay homage to what Labor Day was created to celebrate – five-day work weeks, a ban on child labor, fair labor laws – the reality is that American workers still face many barriers when it comes to being treated fairly.

Since the end of the Great Recession, stocks have soared, unemployment has dropped and it appears everything is back on the up and up. But for workers, there are many problems that haven’t improved.

 

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By MARK TRUMBULL

WASHINGTON — America’s leading spokesman for organized labor urged Donald Trump to back off from racially charged anti-immigrant rhetoric, and warned that the tone of Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign could damage not just the Republican Party but also the larger body politic.

“When the leading [candidate] for one of the parties talks in an un-American, racist way, it starts to become mainstream. Racism can never become mainstream,” Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, said Tuesday, at a breakfast for reporters hosted by The Christian Science Monitor.

“He doesn’t refer to white immigrants…. He only refers to people south of the border,” Mr. Trumka said. “That’s un-American, that’s dangerous. And six months from now, the country will suffer the scars from this, unless somebody calls them out on it.”

 

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To see the story with graphics and links, click here.

By KEVIN DRUM
Political blogger

As a blogger, it's hard not to love Donald Trump. Here's the latest, in an interview with Mark Halperin and John Heilemann:

I'm wondering what one or two of your most favorite Bible verses are and why.

Well, I wouldn't want to get into it because to me that's very personal. You know, when I talk about the Bible it's very personal. So I don't want to get into verses, I don't want to get into—the Bible means a lot to me, but I don't want to get into specifics.

 

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A Koch-backed political blitz is betting that Kentuckians won't let health care facts stand in the way of anti-Obama emotion.

The ad launched Monday by Americans for Prosperity could not be more misleading.

And the advocacy group, which was founded by David Koch of the Koch Industries conglomerate and helped fuel the Tea Party movement, is promising to send people to your door to further mislead you.

 

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To see the article with graphics and links, click here.

By NOAH SCHEIBER

WASHINGTON — With little fanfare, the Obama administration has been pursuing an aggressive campaign to restore protections for workers that have been eroded by business activism, conservative governance and the evolution of the economy in recent decades.

In the last two months alone, the administration has introduced a series of regulatory changes. Among them: a rule that would make millions more Americans eligible for extra overtime pay, and a guidance suggesting that many employers are misclassifying workers as contractors and therefore depriving them of basic workplace protections. That is an issue central to the growth of so-called gig economy companies like Uber.

 A little more than a week ago, a federal appeals panel affirmed an earlier regulation granting nearly 2 million previously exempted home care workers minimum wage and overtime protections. And on Thursday, President Obama’s appointees to the National Labor Relations Board issued an important ruling that makes it easier for employees of contractors and franchises to bargain collectively with the corporations that have sway over their operations.

 

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 LOUISVILLE, Ky. (August 31, 2015) – Today, the Conway-Overly campaign announced a new wave of Republican supporters who are backing Attorney General Jack Conway and Rep. Sannie Overly for governor and lieutenant governor.

 

The group – comprised of a broad coalition of business leaders, teachers, a city commissioner, and other community members – marks the third round of “Republicans for Conway” released since July, and reflects the strong and bipartisan support the campaign is receiving from Kentuckians across the political spectrum.

 

“This election is not about partisan politics – it’s about electing the person who is best for all Kentuckians,” said Pikeville City Commissioner Barry Chaney. “That’s why I’m proud to back Jack Conway for governor. Jack is focused on the issues that matter to Kentucky families and businesses, like creating and growing good-paying jobs, building out broadband Internet across Kentucky, and making sure that our workers have the skills they need to get hired. As our attorney general, Jack has always put Kentucky – and its people – first, and I know that’s exactly how he’ll serve as our next governor.”

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FRANKFORT, KY — In response to a new report that the Koch Brothers are beginning a door knocking campaign in Kentucky’s gubernatorial race, today the Kentucky Democratic Party is releasing 5 questions Kentuckians can ask these Koch Brothers operatives if they show up at their door.

"Matt Bevin’s East Coast allies are pushing desperate attacks to try to distract from the truth about Bevin: he’s an 'East Coast Con Man’ who is lying about his failure to pay his taxes and his positions on critical issues — and he’s still breaking Kentucky’s long and bipartisan tradition by hiding his tax returns,” said David Bergstein of the Kentucky Democratic Party. “If they do show up at your doorstep, this guide will help Kentuckians get some answers out of Bevin’s lackeys — because we all know that we aren't hearing anything truthful from Bevin himself.”

1. Didn't You Attack Matt Bevin For Failing to Pay His Taxes? During the primary campaign, the Koch aligned super PAC Citizens for Sound Government attacked Matt Bevin for failing to pay taxes on his Maine vacation home.

 

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By TIM KOECHLIN
Director of the International Studies Program, Vassar College

As of Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had plummeted nearly 2000 points in a week; more than ten percent of its value had disappeared. A troubling turn of events, for sure.

Fortunately, Wisconsin Governor (and Republican presidential hopeful) Scott Walker has an explanation: it's China's fault (facilitated, as usual, by a clueless President Obama). While America plays fair -- as always! -- almost everyone else (China, in this case) cheats. "Americans," Governor Walker declared on Tuesday, "are struggling to cope with the fall in today's markets driven in part by China's slowing economy and the fact that they actively manipulate their economy. Rather than honoring Chinese President Xi Jinping with an official state visit next month, President Obama should focus on holding China accountable over its increasing attempts to undermine U.S. interests."

Yes! Hold them accountable! It's as if China's leaders haven't prioritized the interests of American investors at all. Who -- in this brutal, unforgiving global economy -- is looking out for the well-being of America's investors?

 

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EDITOR'S NOTE: To see the article with links and graphics, click here.

By TIMOTHY EGAN

One man hasn’t watched television in 25 years, gets around in a Ford Focus, and is named for a nature-loving pauper who didn’t believe in owning money, property or shoes. He is considered infallible, but often doubts his daily utterances.

The other man spent 14 years in the mirrored embrace of a television show about him, is transported by a fleet with his name on the side, and looks down on anyone who hasn’t amassed a mountain of property. He thinks he’s infallible.

In a few weeks, Pope Francis will visit our fair land, a fitting pivot from the Summer of Trump, closing out a gluttonous episode of narcissism, rudeness, frivolity and xenophobia. For all that the orangutan-haired vulgarian has done to elevate the worst human traits a public figure can have, Francis is the anti-Trump. He has more power, media magnetism and authenticity in his lone functioning lung than Donald Trump has in his entire empire of ego.

 

 

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EDITOR'S NOTE: This article comes from the KLI's new Union Active website. To visit the site, click here.

The use of the terminology Right to Work (RTW) is at best misleading. As will be demonstrated, such legislation when proposed in state legislatures does not provide for the protections of rights for workers, rather it limits their abilities to obtain certain benefits which ought to be part and parcel of what is due to them as a results of their efforts in the labor market. Proponents of RTW will contend that such legislation attracts more businesses, increases the number of jobs, and improves union accountability. Opponents will refer to such legislation as right to work for less laws that are anti-union, harm unions’ ability to obtain higher wages, and allows non-union workers to receive the labor benefits obtained through union negotiation without contributing financially to supporting such efforts. This paper will cite research conducted by Elise Gould, Heidi Shierholz, Lawrence Mishel, and Gordon Lafer, researchers at the Economic Policy Institute. The position of these researchers is that the position proposed by the proponents of RTW is erroneous and presents conclusions based on incorrect research methodology. This paper will rely primarily on the extensive work of Gordon Lafer who addresses a broad scope of RTW proponents’ propositions.

In defining the scope of RTW, Gould and Shierholz state that “these (RTW) laws do not guarantee a job for anyone. In fact, they make it illegal for a group of unionized workers to negotiate a contract that requires each employee who enjoys the benefits of the contract terms to pay his or her share of the costs for negotiating and policing the contract. This provision directly limits the financial viability of the unions reducing their strength and ability to negotiate favorable contracts, higher wages, and better benefits”. (epi.org, 2-17-11) Given this perspective, RTW limits the potential for union representatives to obtain more favorable negotiation results not only for their members, but also for other fellow employee who are not dues paying members. In fact, Mishel writes the “ The mean effect of working in a right to work state results in a 6% to 8% reduction in wages for workers in these states, with an average wage penalty of 6.5 %”. (epi. org., 8-21-01) “Median wages for workers in right to work states were $11.45, while wages for those living in non-RTW states were $13.00, indicating that wages were 11.9% lower in RTW states” (op. cit.). 

 

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By SCOTTY PULLIAM

During the 2014 election cycle, I spent a lot of time phone banking. This consisted of calling union members, asking questions about their electoral preferences and/or encouraging them to support union-endorsed candidates. Some of the responses I got to my questions prompted this article.

Union members are no different from anybody else when it comes to voting on issues. Our members have many of the same concerns as citizens of all persuasions. Some of the people I spoke to expressed reasons why they couldn't vote for Alison Grimes in her contest with Senator Mitch McConnell. Rarely did they say why they intended to vote for McConnell, only that they couldn't vote for Grimes. In most cases, they actually admitted to not liking Mitch but apparently their personal issues took precedence.

The comments ranged from “I'm a Christian” to “She's gonna take my guns” to “I support coal miners” and “She's for Obamacare." Then again, there were actually some who said they didn't like Grimes but would vote for her based on her support for working people/unions. Of all the reasons to vote for or against someone, that last one is the only one that makes any sense in my opinion. Think about it.

 

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Thanks to Scotty Pulliam for sending this article. To see the article with graphics and links, click here.

By JIM HIGHTOWER

Peter Georgescu has a message he wants America's corporate and political elites to hear: "I'm scared," he said in a recent New York Times" op-ed.

He adds that Paul Tudor Jones is scared, too, as is Ken Langone, and they're trying to get the Powers That Be to pay attention to their urgent concerns. But wait – these three are Powers That Be. Georgescu is former head of Young& Rubicam, one of the world’s largest PR and advertising firms; Jones is a quadruple-billionaire hedge fund operator; and Langone is a founder of Home Depot.

What is scaring these powerful peers of the corporate plutocracy? Inequality. Yes, amazingly, these actual occupiers of Wall Street say they share Occupy Wall Street's critical analysis of America's widening chasm between the rich and the rest of us. "We are creating a caste system from which it’s almost impossible to escape," Georgescu wrote, not only trapping the poor, but also "those on the higher end of the middle class."

 

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Thanks to Mary Potter of the West Kentucky Journal for sending us this. To read the article with graphics and links, click here.

By LYDIA DePILLIS

A federal labor board voted Thursday to redefine the employee-empoyer relationship granting new bargaining powers to workers caught up in an economy increasingly reliant on subcontractors, franchisees and temporary staffing agencies.

The decision by the National Labor Relations Board could upend the traditional arms-length relationship that has prevailed between corporate titans such as McDonald’s and its neighborhood fast-food franchises. And it comes as concerns are growing about a generation of new Internet-fueled business such as Uber and Lyft that depend heavily on independent contractors.

In a case that drew intense lobbying by both business and union groups, Democratic appointees on the panel split 3-2 with Republicans to adopt a more expansive definition of what it means to be an “joint employer," making it more difficult for companies to avoid responsibility through various forms of outsourcing.

 

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Thanks to Scotty Pulliam for sending us this article. To see the article with graphics and links, click here.

By JIM HIGHTOWER

Progressive forces battling that God-awful gob of global corporate gobbledygook, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, encountered an odd problem: Incredulity.

As the Lowdown has detailed (August 2013, January 2015), the 1,000-page TPP trade scam is an unprecedented power grab by corporate elites. It is so unbelievably bad for workers, consumers, the environment, and our democracy that people literally can't believe what they're hearing.

While the deal is crammed with uglies, two impacts are downright nasty. One: Consistent with every "free trade agreement" of the past 20 years, TPP provides US corporations more and bigger incentives to export shiploads of our remaining middle-class jobs to low-wage countries. Still throbbing from Bill Clinton's 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement, the US majority no longer swallows the myth that free trade is invariably good for us. So people fume with disbelief and outrage when they learn that, far beyond Bill's three-nation agreement, they're about to be pounded with a 12-nation, nuclearized NAFTA, pitting our workforce against exploited labor in such repressive regimes as Brunei, Malaysia, and Vietnam (where some workers get 59 cents an hour).

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

I cast my first presidential ballot in 1968.

Hubert Humphrey got my vote. He didn’t win, but the late Democratic Minnesota senator and vice president is one of my all-time favorite politicians.

I often think of HHH, especially around Labor Day. He was one of the best friends unions ever had in Washington.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT LOCAL 1360

The other day, Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez said getting more workers into unions in low-wage countries like Mexico would stop U.S. companies from shipping jobs there.

“We need to address the concerns and the structural deficiencies that make it harder for people to organize,” Perez told the Detroit News. “If you address those things... then you create a situation where you can raise the standard of living for Mexican workers...then the dynamic of manufacturing going over there because it’s cheaper will change.”

Leo Gerard, the USW’s international president, said pretty much the same thing seven years ago – more on that in a minute.

 

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To see the story with illustrations and links, click here.

By MICHELLE CHEN

Their boss is famous for firing people with merciless gusto. So you can imagine it took just as much chutzpah for the workers at the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas to rally today and demand the right to unionize and to gain respect on the job.

While the Donald seeks election to a new post, roughly 500 workers at the hotel are focusing on a very different vote: They’ve been pushing to form a union for months, and are trying to snatch a bit of Trump’s campaign spotlight this summer to call on him “Make America Great Again” right on his home turf. As a recent ad for the unionization campaign proclaims: “We think that working for Mr. Trump in Las Vegas is a chance to make our lives better…but only if he pays us the same wages and benefits as everyone else working on the Strip.”

Of course, what do they expect from the man who’s built a brand for himself as a ferocious corporate overlord? His attitude on the campaign trail is as ruthless as his management style, laced with racial invective and almost self-caricaturing jingoism. (Not to mention hypocrisy—just ask the many low-wage immigrant laborers he has exploited over the years). But amid the buffoonery, the local hospitality union, Culinary Workers Union Local 226, is pressing serious charges of labor violations and denouncing his operations as a bastion of union busting in an otherwise union town.

 

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By BILL LONDRIGAN
Kentucky State AFL-CIO president

On behalf of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board, affiliates and members please accept our best wishes for a safe and enjoyable Labor Day 2015!

Don’t forget to attend a union-sponsored Labor Day event in Louisville, Lexington, Cincinnati, Owensboro or Paducah. This is YOUR day to celebrate with your fellow workers and their families and to remind the wealthy elite and their political puppets that workers built America and we are ready to stand up and fight back against those intent on robbing us of our proud working class heritage and our pivotal role in building our economy and protecting our democracy!

On Friday, August 21, the Ohio AFL-CIO sponsored a rally and march to protect the American dream, while a group called “American’s For Prosperity” held their convention in Columbus, Ohio. The so-called American’s For Prosperity (AFP) is a front group for the $100 billion Koch Brothers to spread their anti-union propaganda and promote legislation such as right to work for less, repeal prevailing wage, no increase in the minimum wage and a host of other anti-union, anti-worker policies.

 

 

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EDITOR’S NOTE: To see the story with links and graphics, click here.

By RYAN COOPER

A major plank of the conservative agenda these days is so-called "Right to Work" laws, something Scott Walker recently passed in Wisconsin. Such a law makes it illegal for an employer and a union to enter into a contract ensuring any new employee will be automatically enrolled in the union or its dues program. Conservatives often insist that this is neither a pro- nor an anti-labor position, but merely a question of individual liberty and economic growth. Unions are okay, they say, but justice requires that people not be "coerced" into joining a union just to get a job, which hurts workers' incomes by choking off growth.

This is a crock.

For the moment, let's toss aside the "unions are okay" rhetoric (obvious BS) and temporarily put on ice the "justice" logic (also BS), to focus on the dollars and cents argument. If you're an average worker who just wants to make more money, should you oppose "Right to Work" statutes? Absolutely.

 

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Matt Bevin, the Republican candidate for governor, and his running mate, Jenean Hampton, share their party’s deep disdain for teachers’ unions and public education. Bevin said early childhood education programs like Head Start “serve no purpose,” then tried to deny he said it. The tea party-tilting Bevin and Hampton, a tea party activist, favor a school voucher program that would drain millions of dollars from public schools, sapping them of vital resources critical to educating students. The Kentucky Education Association has endorsed the Democratic candidate, Attorney Gen. Jack Conway, and his running mate, state Rep. Sannie Overly. “Attorney General Conway and Rep. Overly have stellar records of advocating for our students and their families. Time and again they have stood up for us and for the children to whom we dedicate our lives,” said KEA President Stephanie Winkler. To see this story with graphics and links, click here.

By STEPHEN W. THRASHER

It’s August, the heat is miserable, kids are going back to school and that means one thing for America’s conservatives: it’s the perfect time to take a cheap shot at the nation’s teachers.

John Kasich, the Republican governor of Ohio – who is generally considered less extreme than Texas Senator Ted Cruz, less dynastic than former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and less crazy than professional troll Donald Trump – recently said: “If I were, not president, if I were king in America, I would abolish all teachers’ lounges where they sit together and worry about ‘woe is us’.”

Kasich addressed a New Hampshire “education summit” sponsored by the 74 Million, an education “news site” which Huffington Post points out is run by failed CNN host Campbell Brown “despite having little to no training in education, and never having taught students herself.” Many other Republican presidential hopefuls, including Governors Bush, Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Chris Christie of New Jersey, addressed the gathering.

 

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By JOE BRENNAN
Executive Director, Kentucky Labor Institute

While he may proudly proclaim that he belongs to the party of Honest Abe Lincoln, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry can claim no connection with President Roosevelt, Theodore, certainly not Franklin.

The GOP presidential hopeful wants to make the impression that "it is the Republicans, not the Democrats, who are truly offering African Americans the hope for a better life for themselves and their children."

The governor stated that while he had not eliminated black poverty, Texas supplemental poverty levels were lower than levels in New York, California, and Washington D.C. Supplemental poverty level measurements take into consideration a wide number of regional factors: housing, food, etc.

 

 

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By JOE BRENNAN
Executive Director, Kentucky Labor Institute

He is the three time elected winner in a traditionally blue state. He has battled with unions, university faculties, correctional officers, teachers, and the public in general.

All this obviously came with substantial outside financial support in the millions from the brothers from Kansas. He will undoubtedly continue to be their choice, and the choice of ALEC membership, in the upcoming primaries.

It must be said however, that he has merited their support, not by his skills as an independent thinker or leader, but rather as a fervent follower of ALEC ideology. In following the libertarian line he has been able to achieve a position wherein he has come to be a symbol of all that ALEC and its membership represent.

 

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“Hardy Williams was a great trade unionist, a great friend and a great supporter of the state federation for many years,” said Bill Londrigan, president of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO.

“We’ll all miss him,” added Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council. “He was part of the council for as long as I can remember.”

Williams, a Symsonia resident, died Friday. Retired, he was a longtime area council officer and delegate and a member of Calvert City Machinists Local Lodge 1294.
 

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FRANKFORT, KY — In a stunning reversal, this morning Matt Bevin told the Kentucky Automobile Dealers Association that he is now open to tolling Kentucky’s parkways. Previously, Bevin claimed he was opposed to tolling, saying “Tolls are taxes. Straight up.”

Q: Would you be a proponent for tolling the existing parkway system to continue maintaining and expanding it?

Bevin: "I mean I would be willing to look at it, talk to people. The one thing with parkways, that are interesting. If you have other alternatives and you’re willing to pay a fee to get from A to B in a direct line and not, if you're willing to take the hypotenuse for a fee instead of that right angle for free, then you pay for that. It happens everywhere, people do that. So it’s certainly something I would be willing to consider."

 

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Check out this great video of today's Labor Unity Breakfast by DeLane Adams. Read more >>>

Bloomberg’s Josh Eidelson reports on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s rocky relationship with the unions. He speaks on "Bloomberg Markets.” Read more >>>

By BILL LONDRIGAN
President, Kentucky State AFL-CIO

Trade Unionists, Friends and Supporters: This Friday, the Ohio State AFL-CIO is conducting a "Rally To Defend The American Dream" at McFerson Commons, John McConnell and Nationwide Blvds., in Columbus, the state capital.

The rally and march is being held while the Koch Brothers' front group, Americans for Prosperity (AFP), holds a national convention in Columbus to develop their plans to take control of the American political system and destroy the labor movement.

Here in Kentucky we are very familiar with the work of the Koch Brothers' AFP as they are some of the prime supporters of the illegal county RTW effort we have been fighting for the past year! In fact, AFP has provided over $50,000 to defend the RTW lawsuit in federal court.

 

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EDITOR'S NOTE: To see the article with links and graphics, click here.

By PETER DREIER

On Sunday, Ben Carson told “Fox News Sunday’s” Chris Wallace that socialism is gaining ground in America. He’s right – sort of.

Carson was explaining why his idea for a flat tax of 10 percent won’t fly with lots of Americans.

“You make $10 billion, you pay $1 billion. Now, I know a lot of people say that’s a problem because that guy’s still got $9 billion left, we need to take his money,” said Carson. “But you see, Chris, that’s called socialism. And I recognize a lot of people here who believe in socialism. That number is increasing.”

 

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