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EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the last in a series of articles examining the relationship between religion and organized labor.

American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A.
   “We reaffirm our position that workers have the right to organize by a free and democratic vote of the workers involved. This right of organization carries the responsibility of union leadership to protect the rights of workers, to guarantee each member an equal voice in the operation of its organization and to produce just output labors for income received.” -- American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A. Resolution, 1981

Central Conference of American Rabbis
   “Jewish leaders, along with our Catholic and Protestant counterparts, have always supported the labor movement and the rights of employees to form unions for the purpose of engaging in collective bargaining and attaining fairness in the workplace. We believe that the permanent replacement of striking workers upsets the balance of power needed for collective bargaining, destroys the dignity of working people and undermines the democratic values of this nation.” -- Preamble to the Workplace Fairness Resolution Adopted at the 104th Annual Convention, June 1993
 

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By JOE BRENNAN, Kentucky Labor News director

At first this seems like a foolish question. Why of course they do. A true patriot defends our traditions, preaches them, and practices them for all to see. The true patriot exemplifies what has been good and noble in our history and our people. It means truth, fair dealings with all, honesty, justice, the defense of the articles found in our Bill of Rights, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of press, etc. etc.. "We hold these truths to be self evident that all persons are equal". No true believer in these words would doubt their validity, although from time to time our Supreme Court might interpret how they are to be understood, and what is or is not protected.

And then come our elections. Self proclaimed "Patriotic Candidates" rise up from nowhere and explain how they will protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. Our history will demonstrate that there have been many way this has been done in the past. While Washington was in Valley Forge freezing with his fellow soldiers, many of our leading Patriotic leaders were not there with him. There was no Colonel Thomas Jefferson, no General Franklin, a lot of other names were missing from the battle field, and so it is today. While Eisenhower, Kennedy, and George H. Bush saw more than their share of direct military action, other Presidents did not. Franklin Roosevelt was not like his distant cousin Teddy, and yet few would question either's dedication to their country.

 

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Thanks to Matt Barron and Jeanie Embry of http://bluegrass-rural.com/ for sending us this.  

WHITFIELD PANEL TO HOLD HEARING ON OIL EXPORTS: [First District] Rep. Ed Whitfield's Energy and Power Subcommittee will hold a hearing in two weeks on the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975, the law that blocked the export of most crude oil exports. It's one of the first congressional forays into exploring lifting the ban, though within the Republican Party there is a rift between the pro- and anti-export camps - the new Senate energy chief, Lisa Murkowski, supports oil exports, but House leadership has remained quiet, and Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton is withholding opinion ahead of more hearings on the topic. Energy Information Administration chief Adam Sieminski will testify at the Dec. 11 hearing, with more witnesses TBA.

By BILL LONDRIGAN, Kentucky State AFL-CIO president

Please come out and support Walmart workers on Black Friday and be a part of a nationwide movement that challenges the power of the largest private sector employer in the nation - Walmart.

We all know that our country cannot sustain poverty wages by its largest employer and that justice and fair wages will only come through collective action, organizing and collective bargaining.

So join us on Black Friday to support the movement for all workers struggling on low wages and no benefits. See below for details and go to the website http://www.blackfridayprotests.org/actions?zip for additional information and where other Black Friday protests are happening. Hope to see you there!

 

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By JOE BRENNAN, Kentucky Labor Insitute director 

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Mc Donald's had a reported revenue loss of 30 percent The "cause of the problem" was obvious to the WSJ - blame the unions and the movement to increase the minimum wage. Of course one obvious error is that unfortunately, there have not been any unions currently formed to protect underpaid and overworked Mc D. workers. Then again, the sparse increase in wages in three states could also hardly explain the loss in Mc D.'s revenue. But, this does make a nice front page headline in the WSJ. Truth in publication is not always the hallmark of modern journalism.

A casual examination of the data might reveal other reasons for Mc D.'s losses. In a country that is finally becoming a bit nutrition conscious, ingredients and additives come into question. What about all those rumors of "tasty" pink slime, or the contaminated meat produced for fast food chains in their China restaurants? What about the foreign currency exchange that makes customers pay twice as much for a standard American style Big Mac in some European countries, and half that amount in some Asian nations? What about more market centered issues and newer American food preference for customer dictated ingredients as offered in Chipolte or Five Guys? Then there is the competition with the wider diversity found in other fast food chains offering breakfast meals or salads for lunch. Bottom line, Mc D.'s ought to start looking at its own products, its quality, and yes, consider paying their employees a living wage.

 

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By TIM MURPHY, Mother Jones

Last week, a federal grand jury indicted former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship for allegedly conspiring to violate mine safety standards in the run-up to the 2010 explosion that killed 29 workers at the Upper Big Branch Mine. The four-count indictment describes a culture of negligence under Blankenship's watch, in which essential safety measures were ignored as the company sought to squeeze every last cent out of the ground. Blankenship, who left Massey in 2010, pleaded not guilty Thursday.

But the indictment also came as a sobering reminder: In the four years since the disaster, little has been done to make the mining industry safer. Legislation designed to rein in the worst offenders and give regulators teeth was beaten back by big business. Meanwhile, tens of millions of dollars in safety fines have gone uncollected.

"We've taken some actions after the various accidents that have taken place, but unfortunately, Congress can apparently only legislate in this area after someone dies," said Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), who sponsored mine-safety legislation in the wake of the Upper Big Branch explosion.

 

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In January 2014, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, responding to the introduction of the latest “Fast Track” legislation, said, “It is past time for the United States to get off the corporate hamster wheel on trade.”

On the issue of trade, investment and global economic rules, America’s workers—and our brothers and sisters overseas—certainly are on a hamster wheel.

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By JIM ELLIOTT

Democrats have had big losses across America this past election, and they are once again puzzled and confused because they believe that “people are voting against their own self interests.” Is it possible that Democrats themselves are not very good at understanding the self-interests of others?

The Democrat’s perception of the issue is that Democrats stand for everything that Americans want and need; lower taxes on individuals, universal and inexpensive public education, social programs for the old, poor, and infirm, etc., and that the voters are either uninformed or unappreciative of that fact.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   Are the Republicans out of gas on right to work?
   “They may file legislation, as they always do, but I think we have seen the last major push for right to work for quite some time,” said Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, speaker of the Kentucky House of Representatives.
   The Republicans very publicly promised to make Kentucky the 25th right to work state if they wrested control of the General Assembly’s lower chamber from the Democrats on Nov. 4. Read more >>>

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the third in a series of articles examining the relationship between religion and organized labor.

ENCYCLICAL LETTER, CARITAS IN VERITATE, OF THE SUPREME PONTIFF BENEDICT XVI TO THE BISHOPS PRIESTS AND DEACONS, MEN AND WOMEN RELIGIOUS, THE LAY FAITHFUL AND ALL PEOPLE OF GOOD WILL ON INTEGRAL HUMAN DEVELOPMENT IN CHARITY AND TRUTH

Point 25: “From the social point of view, systems of protection and welfare, already present in many countries in Paul VI's day, are finding it hard and could find it even harder in the future to pursue their goals of true social justice in today's profoundly changed environment. The global market has stimulated first and foremost, on the part of rich countries, a search for areas in which to outsource production at low cost with a view to reducing the prices of many goods, increasing purchasing power and thus accelerating the rate of development in terms of greater availability of consumer goods for the domestic market. Consequently, the market has prompted new forms of competition between States as they seek to attract foreign businesses to set up production centres, by means of a variety of instruments, including favourable fiscal regimes and deregulation of the labour market. These processes have led to a downsizing of social security systems as the price to be paid for seeking greater competitive advantage in the global market, with consequent grave danger for the rights of workers, for fundamental human rights and for the solidarity associated with the traditional forms of the social State. Systems of social security can lose the capacity to carry out their task, both in emerging countries and in those that were among the earliest to develop, as well as in poor countries. Here budgetary policies, with cuts in social spending often made under pressure from international financial institutions, can leave citizens powerless in the face of old and new risks; such powerlessness is increased by the lack of effective protection on the part of workers' associations. Through the combination of social and economic change, trade union organizations experience greater difficulty in carrying out their task of representing the interests of workers, partly because Governments, for reasons of economic utility, often limit the freedom or the negotiating capacity of labour unions. Hence traditional networks of solidarity have more and more obstacles to overcome. The repeated calls issued within the Church's social doctrine, beginning with Rerum Novarum[60], for the promotion of workers' associations that can defend their rights must therefore be honoured today even more than in the past, as a prompt and far-sighted response to the urgent need for new forms of cooperation at the international level, as well as the local level.”

 

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By LAUREN RABB, CHRISTINE MAI-DUC, Los Angeles Times   

The bus drivers who take Facebook employees to work in the morning and home again at day's end voted to unionize, the Teamsters union announced Wednesday.

The drivers work for Loop Transportation, a San Francisco company that contracts with Facebook, whose headquarters are in Menlo Park. They have complained of long days, split shifts and wages too low for them to buy homes near their jobs.

Eighty-seven drivers will be joining Teamsters Local 853, Bob Strelo, president of the local, told the Los Angeles Times. He said 43 drivers voted in favor of joining the union and 28 voted against it.

 

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By HANNAH HESS, Roll Call  

Rep. Edward Whitfield is facing new allegations he has been using his House seat for family gain and is pushing back against a report that he was using his position to boost his wife’s stock portfolio.

On Nov. 21, 2012, Constance Harriman-Whitfield, the Kentucky Republican’s wife, was elected to the board of LaserLock Technologies, Inc., a security technology company that delivers product and document authentication aimed at combating counterfeiting and fraud in health care and other industries.

Six months after she joined the board, the congressman submitted LaserLock’s testimony to a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee convened for a hearing titled, “Securing Our Nation’s Prescription Drug Supply Chain.” LaserLock recommended its technology could be part of the electronic system established under the bill to trace pharmaceuticals through the supply chain.

 

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EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the second in a series of articles examining the relationship between religion and organized labor. 

We Churches of the United States have a message of hope for a fearful time. Just as the churches responded to the harshness of early 20th Century industrialization with a prophetic “Social Creed” in 1908, so in our era of globalization we offer a vision of a society that shares more and consumes less, seeks compassion over suspicion and equality over domination, and finds security in joined hands rather than massed arms. Inspired by Isaiah’s vision of a “peaceable kingdom,” we honor the dignity of every person and the intrinsic value of every creature, and pray and work for the day when none “labor in vain or bear children for calamity” (Isaiah 65:23). We do so as disciples of the One who came “that all may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10), and stand in solidarity with Christians and with all who strive for justice around the globe.
In faith, responding to our Creator, we celebrate the full humanity of each woman, man, and child, all created in the divine image as individuals of infinite worth, by working for:
Full civil, political and economic rights for women and men of all races.
Abolition of forced labor, human trafficking, and the exploitation of children.
Employment for all, at a family-sustaining living wage, with equal pay for comparable work.
The rights of workers to organize, and to share in workplace decisions and productivity growth.
Protection from dangerous working conditions, with time and benefits to enable full family life.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the first is a series of articles examining the relationship between religion and organized labor. 

From its start with John Wesley, the Methodist movement has focused particular attention on the concerns of workers. Justice, dignity and equality for workers are an integral part of our social teachings and heritage. For 100 years, we have fought for a living wage in every industry and our Social Principles make clear that we believe people - not profits - should be at the heart of our economic system.

Collective Bargaining

We support the right of all public and private employees and employers to organize for collective bargaining into unions and other groups of their own choosing. Further, we support the right of both parties to protection in so doing and their responsibility to bargain in good faith within the framework of the public interest. In order that the rights of all members of the society may be maintained and promoted, we support innovative bargaining procedures that include representatives of the public interest in negotiation and settlement of labor-management contracts, including some that may lead to forms of judicial resolution of issues. We reject the use of violence by either party during collective bargaining or any labor/management disagreement. We likewise reject the permanent replacement of a worker who engages in a lawful strike.

 

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By RABBI MICHAEL LERNER, Huffington Post

On Sunday afternoon, December 12, 2014, an important national gathering will convene at the University of San Francisco sponsored by the (interfaith and atheist; secular humanist &/or religious welcoming) Network of Spiritual Progressives to consider how to reclaim our country after the takeover by both houses of the U.S. Congress by the political right. We are going to grieve, express our anger, explore our own possible responsibility as liberals and progressives for what has gone wrong, and then move to develop strategy.

You should be there, or help convene a similar gathering wherever you live in the next few months.

And please read this long analysis of what we need to do -- I know it's a pain in the neck to read long statements, particularly in a society of instant gratification where every thing is supposed to be sayable on short little tweets or sound bytes. Still, I promise you that if you take the time to read this from top to bottom you'll have a better idea of how to change America than you've ever gotten from hundreds of shorter articles you've read and speeches you've heard. After you've read it, if you want to be involved with us in building a movement that embodies these ideas and strategy, please join the Network of Spiritual Progressives as a dues paying member at www.spiritualprogressives.org and then lets talk about how to implement these ideas in your context (by emailing the executive director, Cat Zavis).

 

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By THOMAS B. EDSALL, The New York Times

A paradox of American politics is that Republicans take organized labor more seriously than Democrats do.

The right sees unions as a mainstay of the left, a crucial source of cash, campaign manpower and votes.

“Unions are the largest player in American politics and they will be for some time,” Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, declared in March at the Conservative Political Action Conference. “Fourteen million Americans have to pay union dues. If they average $500, and that is a low estimate, that’s a $7 billion slush fund for the left.”

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   I’m a 64-year-old, union card-carrying Chevy man, so I cheered and clapped in front of my TV when Kevin Harvick won the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup championship in his red-and-white number 4 Budweiser Impala SS.
   It was a twofer for me. Chevy also snagged the manufacturer’s championship for the 12th time in a row and the 38th time overall.
   Chevy, Ford and Toyota compete in NASCAR races. The UAW represents hourly workers at Chevy and Ford factories. Toyota’s American plants are nonunion. Read more >>>

By BERRY CRAIG, AFT 1360

If you're a motorhead like me, you're probably exhibiting NASCAR withdrawal symptoms.  

Mine include compulsively surfing the net for anything NASCAR. 

It's silly season, NASCAR's version of baseball's hot stove league. Sunday night, "Happy" Harvick hefted the Sprint Cup in a shower of star-shaped confetti. The green flag won't flutter again until the Daytona 500 in February.  

Anyway, I just ran across a 2013 video that shows how those famous Goodyear Eagle racing tires are made in Akron, Ohio: http://www.wkyc.com/story/sports/2013/10/27/3280051/.

 

 

 

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By JOE SONKA, Insider Louisville

The board of the Metropolitan Sewer District rejected the contract offered by its workers in a special meeting Monday, meaning a possible work stoppage by their 150 employees represented by LIUNA Local 576 may be imminent.

After two hours in a closed session to discuss the workers’ last contract offer, MSD board vice chairman Tom Austin read a prepared statement indicating the board had rejected their offer because they claimed it limited their right to contract out work and that its grievance procedure — allowing a three-fourths vote of the board to overturn an arbitrator’s decision — is illegal.

“A supermajority vote is not allowed under state law KRS 76.050,” said Austin. “Any action of the board is required by simple majority. While we agree with the vast majority of your contract offer, we cannot accept it for the above mentioned reasons.”

Austin added that the board directed MSD executive director Greg Heitzman to deliver their final contract offer to LIUNA on Wednesday, which must be accepted by Dec. 3.

 

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By GEORGE PACKER, The New Yorker

In the two decades between 1968 and 1988, Democratic candidates lost the Presidency five times out of six. This miserable run forced the Party to move closer to the electoral center on issues from welfare and crime to the role and the scope of government in postindustrial America. In 1992, Bill Clinton, calling himself a “New Democrat,” broke the spell and initiated a two-decade period in which Republican candidates for President failed to prevail five times out of six. (The Supreme Court prevented the country from definitively establishing the result of the 2000 election.) President Obama’s reëlection in 2012 devastated Republicans. They reacted, as Democrats had, by asking themselves what went wrong. They wrote earnest opinion pieces, organized soul-searching retreats, formed high-minded study groups, and launched reformist efforts such as the Growth and Opportunity Project, which published a scathing report about the dire state of the Party.

On November 4th, it all seemed to pay off. Political offices around the country, from governorships and state legislatures to Congress, are now decisively red. Even given the Republicans’ advantages in electoral geography and turnout, their sweep should be more chilling to Democrats than the Tea Party triumphs of 2010, because it came in a period of partial economic sunshine, with Republicans statistically less popular than Democrats. The Party that has spent the past six years doing everything in its power to prevent the President from stimulating growth, boosting wages, improving infrastructure, controlling health-care costs, and regulating Wall Street was rewarded with clear majorities in both houses. The only prize left is the big one in 2016.

Republican leaders, determined to prove that they can build as well as destroy, have made a mighty effort not to seem high on victory. “There will be no government shutdowns,” Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader-elect, promised. Cory Gardner, the Senator-elect from Colorado, warned, “If Republicans don’t prove that we can govern with maturity, that we can govern with competence, we’ll see the same kind of results two years from now, except it will be a wave going back a different direction.” Senator Rand Paul, a potential candidate for the Presidency, said, “You know, I think the gridlock is going to end.” He sounded like a patient trying to talk his way out of rehab.

 

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    (Chattanooga, Tenn.) – Gary Casteel, secretary-treasurer of the UAW, today released the following statement regarding Volkswagen:
   "We appreciate Volkswagen's effort to articulate a policy for how it will engage with UAW Local 42 and its members in Chattanooga. We have questions about this policy, which we'll work through in discussions with management. But this is a step forward in building stronger relations between management and employees.
   "Today, we will begin working with Volkswagen so the company can verify our substantial membership level, which now is in excess of a majority of workers at the plant. When that verification has been completed, we will take advantage of the company's offer to establish regular meetings with Volkswagen Human Resources and the Volkswagen Chattanooga Executive Committee. In the first conversations that will occur, we will remind them of the mutually agreed-upon commitments that were made by Volkswagen and the UAW last spring in Germany. Among those commitments: Volkswagen will recognize the UAW as the representative of our members. We believe Volkswagen made this commitment in good faith and we believe the company will honor this commitment. Additionally, we will present the Chattanooga plant management with the September letter of intent in which the influential Volkswagen Global Group Works Council expressed its desire for the Chattanooga plant to be a 'UAW-represented facility.' Read more >>>

Editor:

It has been proven over and over that "the best defense is a good offense".

Having repeated that: I think that the present climate where huge selfish interest groups and many selfish and greedy individuals are scurrying to elicit support for "RIGHT TO WORK FOR LESS LAWS" in all states which are currently "NON RIGHT TO WORK STATES" to "AS THEY SO FALSELY PROCLAIM LEVEL THE PLAYING FIELD WITH RESPECT TO RECRUITING INDUSTRY AND PROVIDING JOBS" just might be a golden opportunity to TURN THE TABLES ON THE ENEMIES OF ORGANIZED LABOR" by soliciting their help as follows:

A. We should emphatically proclaim to our enemies that all labor unions, their officers, their representatives and the overwhelming majority of union members would welcome an opportunity to 'INSTANTLY, RESPONSIBLY AND IN A FOOLPROOF MANNER JOIN WITH THEM AND WORK ALONGSIDE THEM TO CORRECT THEIR FALSELY PERCEIVED BARRIER TO THEIR EFFORTS".

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   I asked Dorothy Barkley what she’d say if Sen. Mitch McConnell showed up at her door in Paducah.
   “I’d tell him, ‘Granddaddy was a yellow dog Democrat, and I can see right through what you are doing by using his name,’” the feisty septuagenarian replied.
   Her granddaddy was Alben W. Barkley of Paducah, Harry Truman’s vice president and the only Kentuckian to serve as senate majority leader. But McConnell, who often praises Barkley for his leadership, is almost certain to become the second one when the new GOP-majority senate convenes in a few weeks. Read more >>>

By ROBERT REICH, Salon

This originally appeared on Robert Reich's blog.

The President blames himself for the Democrat’s big losses Election Day. “We have not been successful in going out there and letting people know what it is that we’re trying to do and why this is the right direction,” he said Sunday.

In other words, he didn’t sufficiently tout the Administration’s accomplishments.

I respectfully disagree.

 

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By ELIZABETH DREW, The New York Review of Books

 It’s actually not all that stunning for the party out of power to make sizeable gains in the sixth year of a president’s time in office, even after the president has won a smashing reelection victory two years earlier. As of now, the Republicans will have picked up seven to nine Senate seats in the 2014 midterms. But it happened to Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1958, when the Democrats gained thirteen Senate seats, and it happened to Ronald Reagan in 1986, when the Democrats picked up eight seats. In fact the average mid-term loss of Senate seats for the party of a second-term president is nearly six seats. So what was all the commotion about?

There was the widespread surprise over the scale of the Republican sweep, not just in the Senate but also the House, where with 250 seats they have the largest majority since 1929; and in the governorships and state legislatures—where they set an all-time record of control of two-thirds of state legislative bodies. The victories at lower levels of government give them many long-term advantages, including significantly greater opportunities to draw electoral districts and groom future leaders.
But the shock was mainly caused because, purely and simply, the polls were wrong across the board. They overestimated Democratic turnout by almost twice as much as they underestimated it in 2012. (Midterm elections are notoriously hard to poll.) In fact the turnout this year—just 36.6 percent of eligible voters—was the lowest since 1942, when many Americans went off to war. David Wasserman of The Cook Political Report termed it an “epic turnout collapse.” The Democrats’ much-vaunted turnout operation worked extremely well in 2008 and 2012, when there was an appealing, to millions even exciting, candidate at the head of the ticket. An unpopular president cannot work the same magic.

Nor did the Democrats have a persuasive message to sell. They had no message at all. They feared any association with Obama, which included mentioning his achievements, and they worried that any boasting about the improvement in the economy since he took office would make them appear out of touch, since the recovery’s positive effects have done little to improve the situation of much of the middle class. The unwillingness to tout the benefits of the Affordable Care Act despite its clear success was a major missed opportunity: exit polls showed that people listed health care as the second reason they voted for a Democratic candidate.

 

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By KEVIN BANATTE

 In my two years working at a Walmart in Florida, I learned a valuable lesson: The Waltons, who own Walmart, got richer while the workers who helped build their fortune suffered. I saw it every day.

I remember trading stories about not being able to pay bills and what it’s like to have power and lights disconnected at home. There were times I couldn’t even afford food for my lunch break. And I wasn’t the only one.

That’s why Walmart workers across the country stepped up last month to call on Walmart to publicly commit to $15 an hour and a full-time schedule. Workers are taking huge risks—like being arrested or going on strike and holding a sit-in in Los Angeles today—to protest retaliation for speaking out for better wages and hours. They’re tired of living in poverty and being bullied out of talking about it, while employed by a billion-dollar corporation.

 

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By TASINI, Daily Kos

A common myth: the auto industry is dying. The reality: no, it's increasing employment but largely in NON-UNION assembly plants in the South owned by foreign companies like Mercedes and Nissan, and at independent parts suppliers. Let's see if this breaks open some new opportunities.

Via The Wall Street Journal:

The United Auto Workers union expects Volkswagen AG to make an announcement this week that would pave the way for the union’s local bargaining unit in Chattanooga to be recognized at the German auto giant’s U.S. manufacturing plant.
News of the potential announcement was shared in a letter sent to voluntary members of a UAW unit formed this summer after the union failed to officially organize the Tennessee plant. In that letter, provided to The Wall Street Journal, Local 42 President Mike Cantrell said “we await details from the company...our expectation that Volkswagen will recognize Local 42 is based on discussions that took place in Germany last spring, between representatives of the UAW and Volkswagen.”

In February, as many know, the UAW lost the NLRB-sponsored representation election amid widespread interference by right-wing anti-union organizations and individuals, including Sen. Bob Corker. There was much debate, among pro-union advocates, about how the organizing campaign had unfolded--principally, whether the UAW had done enough to contact workers--but what is not debatable is that the anti-union forces illegally interfered in the election and intimidated workers by threatening the loss of jobs.

 

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Before you put together your Thanksgiving dinner shopping list, check our list of union-made in America food and other items that are essential to a traditional family Thanksgiving feast. Speaking of thanks, a big “thank you” to the Union Label and Service Trades Department (ULSTD), Union Plus and the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor's resource site, Labor 411, for compiling their extensive catalogs of union-made products. Read more >>>

Wasting no time after the midterm elections, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka immediately stepped back into the policy arena, calling on President Barack Obama to take executive action on immigration. Executive action is particularly important now that a historically obstructionist Congress is likely to be followed by one that takes even less action on issues important to working families. Read more >>>

By PAUL BLUMENTHAL, Huffington Post   

WASHINGTON -- Following the Republican wave that swept away the Democratic Senate majority last week, reporters, advocates and pundits debated the efficacy of the estimated $3.7 billion in political spending shelled out over the past 22 months.

Articles pondered whether all the money spent even mattered. Billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer's funds were widely deemed wasted, as were the millions spent by Mayday PAC, led by campaign finance reformer Lawrence Lessig. Meanwhile, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce crowed in a blog post, "Out of the 15 primary races, runoffs, and special elections the U.S. Chamber invested in, we were successful in 14." And each outside group's return on investment on Nov. 4 was ranked.

Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.), the leading House proponent of campaign finance reform, thinks much of this coverage missed the mark. While the Election Day results matter, they are only a means to the real end -- the legislation and regulation that does and does not move in the next Congress.

 

 

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By BRUCE SCHREINER, Associated Press

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The Republican tidal wave that swept Democrats out of office nationwide didn't solve U.S. Sen. Rand Paul's potential quandary in Kentucky, where the tea party favorite could become entangled in a state election law if he decides to run for president and another Senate term in 2016.

Legislation tweaking the once-obscure law to ensure Paul could appear on Kentucky's ballot running for both offices simultaneously easily passed the GOP-led Kentucky Senate this year. But it died across the Capitol in the House, where Democrats remain in charge.


This fall, Republicans seemingly had their best chance in decades to gain control of the House in a state where President Barack Obama is deeply unpopular. Had Republicans consolidated their power in the legislature, it seemed almost certain they would deliver on Paul's request to change the law. But Democrats hung on to their majority, leaving the first-term senator and his supporters looking for other potential options.

 

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By JAIME FULLER, The Washington Post 

 In today's episode of "Never Underestimate the Hidden Beauty of a Government Report," we offer up two new ones from the House Ethics Committee — both of which occupy that wonderful space between C-SPAN and soap opera.

The first deals with Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), who is under investigation because of potential connections between his office's business and his wife's. His wife, Connie Harriman-Whitfield, has been a lobbyist with the Humane Society Legislative Fund since 2011. She lobbied on legislation her husband sponsored or co-sponsored — and called Whitfield's office to discuss her work. The Ethics Committee is basically trying to find out if this is an Underwood household-type situation.

Because Harriman-Whitfield works for the Humane Society Legislative Fund, all the legislation she works on — and Whitfield sponsored or co-sponsored — has an amazing name, like the "Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act of 2011," the "Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety Act of 2013" and the "Veterans Dog Training Therapy Act of 2011."

 

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By DAVE JAMIESON, Huffington Post

WASHINGTON -- Republican leaders have warned President Barack Obama that pursuing more executive actions after last week's midterm drubbing would be like playing with fire. But Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said on Monday that unilateral action by the president on economic issues is more necessary than ever.

"The president is in a pivotal position to go assertively with executive orders to create a political balance and an economic balance," Grijalva told reporters on a conference call. "I'm one member that urges them to use that as a balancing tool and a leadership tool in these next two years."

Grijalva and his fellow caucus co-chair, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), are putting their weight behind two proposals in particular: one executive order that would give federal contracting preference to firms that pay a living wage of $15 and provide basic benefits to workers, and another guaranteeing that contractors wouldn't interfere with worker efforts to unionize. Branded as "More Than the Minimum," the proposals are being pushed by Good Jobs Nation, a labor group backed by the Change to Win union federation, and other progressive allies.

 

 

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By Cristina Marcos, The Hill

Reps. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) and Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) are under prolonged investigation by the House Ethics Committee.

The Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) has been reviewing the cases involving both lawmakers and referred them to the House Ethics Committee over the summer. The House Ethics Committee announced Monday it is further extending its review of both cases.

Rush allegedly used campaign funds for the Beloved Community Christian Church in Chicago and accepted contributions in the form of free office rental space, according to the OCE report.

 

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By DAVID TEDROW, Special to the Washington Post

The Obamacare subsidies saved my life. Now, I’m scared the Supreme Court is going to gut them.

In 2010, at 54, I was diagnosed with non-alcoholic cirrhosis (end-stage liver disease). It’s debilitating, and a transplant is the only cure.

At that time, I owned a jewelry store with my wife in Pawleys Island, S.C. On weekends we would meet friends, walk on the beach and join in community events. My wife and I would travel regularly to see our daughters and take annual vacations. We enjoyed a rich and full life.

 

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By PAUL ABRAMS, Huffington Post

Unless you found the end of Rocky IV to be a surprise, you do not need your popcorn. There is no drama, no suspense.

You also do not need to be a legal scholar, know anything about the U.S. Constitution, nor reference legislative history or precedents. That is not how to understand the Roberts Court.

It is a sign of the continued delusions of the lamestream media, legal analysts and commentators that they still indulge in debates over precedents, legislative history and the prior opinions of individual justices on the same matter to try to justify and predict how this Court will rule on King v. Burwell, the latest absurd case to reach this Court on appeal.

 

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By PAUL KRUGMAN, The New York Times

The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet midterms to men of understanding. Or as I put it on the eve of another Republican Party sweep, politics determines who has the power, not who has the truth. Still, it’s not often that a party that is so wrong about so much does as well as Republicans did on Tuesday.

I’ll talk in a bit about some of the reasons that may have happened. But it’s important, first, to point out that the midterm results are no reason to think better of the Republican position on major issues. I suspect that some pundits will shade their analysis to reflect the new balance of power — for example, by once again pretending that Representative Paul Ryan’s budget proposals are good-faith attempts to put America’s fiscal house in order, rather than exercises in deception and double-talk. But Republican policy proposals deserve more critical scrutiny, not less, now that the party has more ability to impose its agenda.

So now is a good time to remember just how wrong the new rulers of Congress have been about, well, everything.

 

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By JOAN McCARTER, Daily Kos

Spending on this year's elections is on pace to reach $3.67 billion, from candidates, parties, Super PACs, and the so-called non-profits—like the Koch's Americans for prosperity. That's a record for a midterm, led by outside groups.

The 2014 elections will be remembered as the cycle when outside groups handled much of the mudslinging, which traditionally was the responsibility of candidates and their campaigns. In Kentucky, for instance, a secretly funded group called Kentucky Opportunity Coalition ran 12,000 TV ads—many of which attacked Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes, depicting her as an Obama clone. The group's commercials accounted for one out of every seven ads run during that race, according to the Center for Public Integrity. On paper, Kentucky Opportunity Coalition was independent of the candidate it supported, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. But the group was run by a former McConnell aide and functioned effectively as an offshoot of McConnell's campaign.

This pattern unfolded across the country, as outside spending ramped up. In all, outside groups pumped $554 million—$301 million from Republican-aligned shops, $225 million from Democratic allies—into 2014 races. And you guessed it: That, too, is a new record for a midterm election.

 

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By THOMAS C. FROHLICH and ALEXANDER E.M. HESS, Huffington Post 

In the wake of mounting protests from labor groups, numerous U.S. localities have approved minimum wage increases, including two of the nation’s largest cities, Seattle and San Francisco. Yet, especially among many of America’s largest employers, the remarkably low wages of most workers are in stark contrast with the compensation of shareholders and executives. And while the average hourly earnings of an American worker was $24.53 as of September, these companies pay most of their workers far less.

Companies that pay employees the least tend to be part of one of three industries: retail, restaurant chains, and grocery stores. According to Arun Ivatury, campaign strategist at the National Employment Law Project, “These industries have embraced a low-wage business model. Their way of doing business is trying to squeeze as much out of their employees as they can, while paying them as little in wages and benefits as possible.” These industries fall into one of two sectors — leisure and hospitality and wholesale and retail trade — that together accounted for almost 70% of all jobs paying the minimum wage or below it, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

According to Ivatury, one reason wages are so low in these industries is that low pay represents an accepted practice. Ivatury was especially critical of how large-scale, low-wage employers viewed their workers. “You can come up with all kinds of labels like associate, or team partner,” Ivatury said. “It doesn’t change the fact that you’re paying them as little as $7.25 an hour.” Employees at these companies “are basically treated as dispensable.”


 

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By KEN THOMAS, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats are planning an extensive review of what went wrong in the 2014 and 2010 elections, hoping to find ways to translate success in presidential campaigns into future midterm contests.

A party committee will conduct a "top-to-bottom assessment" of the Democrats' performance in recent midterm elections and try to determine why they have struggled to turn out its core voters in nonpresidential elections.

"It's apparent that there are increasingly two separate electorates: a midterm electorate and a presidential electorate. We win one and we don't seem to be able to win the other," said Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who leads the Democratic National Committee, in an interview Saturday. "That is a fundamental dynamic that we have to change."

 

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Dear Labor Brothers and Sisters,

I just wanted to say a great big thanks to everyone for your support of my candidacy. You endorsed me, worked hard door to door, made phone calls and donated money. I could not have won without Labor support. I am thrilled that you have given me another term in the state House. I will work hard to make you proud.

God Bless You!

Yours in labor, State Representative Gerald Watkins
Paducah, Kentucky District 3
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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   “Oh it ain't what you do it's the way that you do it,” Ella Fitzgerald famously crooned.
So it goes with lots of things, including public opinion polls: “It ain’t what you question it’s the way that you question it.”
   In their failed right to work push, the GOP may have been heartened by a Survey USA Bluegrass Poll that had 55 percent of respondents answering “yes” to the question, “Should laws be changed to allow people to work in businesses that have unions without joining the union or paying union dues?”
    Read more >>>

EDITOR’S NOTE: In the so-much-for-journalistic-objectivity-department, Chuck Todd, moderator of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” declared that Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democrat who went on to lose to Sen. Mitch McConnell, “disqualified herself” by refusing to say who she voted for in the 2008 and 2012 presidential election. Team Mitch used Todd’s comment in a campaign ad.

By GIDEON, Daily Kos

...The NYT ran a review of Chuck Todds' new book about Obama, entitled "The Stranger."

The book -- described as a "stinging indictment" of Obama's presidency - removes any lingering doubt (if there actually is any) about Todd's attitudes. The book apparently is replete with conventional, inside-the-beltway type of complaints that trivialize or ignore the actual merits of any policy.

Here are some snippets from the review:

 

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EDITOR'S NOTE: McConnell will likely be the Senate majority leader.

By IVAN POTTER, publisher, West Kentucky Journal

Somewhere deep within McConnell's Washingtonified subconscious mind, he sees himself as a great leader on the scale of Alben W. Barkley. How sad!

After 30 years of doing nothing, Mitch is now telling Kentucky voters that if they send him back to Washington for one more term, he will invoke the late great Barkley as his personal model for conducting business in the nation's Capitol.

On what planet is that type of thinking even possible? Does Mitch, in this late hour of his re-election bid even care for the facts? Or is he in such a state of denial about his own service to Kentucky and the nation that he must invent a fantasy world to run his campaign?

Maybe, Mitch, you are afraid to confront the real legacy of Barkley.

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   State Rep. Gerald Watkins’ victory lap included a Thursday night pit stop at the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council’s November meeting.
   “I would not have won my race if not for organized labor,” the Paducah Democrat said. “So I will be eternally grateful for the AFL-CIO and all of its affiliates, including the Firefighters.
   “They were my biggest supporters, my biggest base. They were out there first for me. That’s where most of my money came from and most of my shoe leather came from.”
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By TOM PEREZ, U.S. Secretary of Labor

It’s been almost two years since President Obama first called for an increase in the national minimum wage. He believes more strongly than ever that no one who works full-time should have to raise a family in poverty. He believes that the current rate of $7.25 per hour undermines our basic bargain, failing to reward hard work with a fair wage.

But Congress hasn’t exactly seen it that way. Members have blocked a raise to $10.10, in defiance of strong public support that continues to grow. Bottom line: they’re not keeping up with the views of people around the country. In Tuesday’s election, a higher minimum wage went five-for-five. By convincing margins, voters in Alaska (69 percent), Arkansas (65 percent), Nebraska (59 percent), South Dakota (53 percent) and Illinois (67 percent) said loud and clear that they want to give hardworking people a raise.

Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota (all reliably red states, by the way) will implement changes in their state law, with a total of about 325,000 people set to get a raise. (The Illinois ballot measure was a non-binding resolution urging the state legislature to act).

 

 

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By MATT Z, Daily Kos 

Disclaimer:

I am on the spectrum. This is the first diary I have ever written that is going to be pretty much only political. But I need to let people know ahead of time that I am not trying to start a flame war. Because of my Asperger's anytime I get flamed I take it personally and usually wind up in a deep depression that last days. Please do not flame me for this diary.

But nobody is talking about the real reason we lost the election. And since nobody else is I'm going to have to be the one to do it. I might have a bad few days if I accidentally start a flame war. But since nobody seems to understand WHY we lost the election I have to be the one to point it out, even if I wind up hurt. I usually only write about mental illness, cartoons, and Muppets. Pure politics is out of my wheelhouse a bit. I am only doing so now because I am certain I am right.

Disclaimer out of the way? Good. Below the fold I'll tell you the REAL reason the Dems lost the election. And why both the activists and pundits trying to analyze the results and figure out what they mean are going about it all wrong.

 

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By PAUL ROSENBERG, Salon

In 1964, there were five black members of the House of Representatives — barely over 1 percent — compared to the 11 percent of the population who were black. But the American people were evenly split, 30 to 31 percent, on whether blacks should have more or less influence, with 28 percent saying things were “about right” as they stood. What’s more, those opposed to government social spending programs were three times more likely to say blacks should have less influence compared to those supporting social spending.

Those historical tidbits, from “The Political Beliefs of Americans; a Study of Public Opinion” by Lloyd Free and Hadley Cantril, immediately came to mind last week when Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, locked in a tight reelection fight — as always — made a lot of headlines with her comments noting that race had something to do with President Obama’s unpopularity in the state.

“I’ll be very, very honest with you. The South has not always been the friendliest place for African-Americans,” she told NBC News in an interview. “It’s been a difficult time for the president to present himself in a very positive light as a leader.”

 

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By TIM MAREMA and BILL BISHOP, The Daily Yonder

Across the board, city, small town and rural voters made similar shifts from Democrat to Republican candidates in the 2014 midterm elections. Compared to the national elections in 2008 and 2012, metropolitan and nonmetropolitan votes for Republicans grew at about the same rate.

One exception was in Kentucky, where the Democratic Senate candidate who refused to say whether she voted for Obama did far worse among rural voters than the president did there in 2012.

Kentucky’s Allison Lundergan Grimes lost to incumbent Republican Mitch McConnell by about 15 points statewide. Among the state’s rural (noncore) voters, McConnell’s margin of victory was a whopping 34.5 points. Nearly three out of four voters in noncore counties voted for the Republican. (Noncore counties are nonmetro counties that don’t have a city of 10,000 or bigger.)

 

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By GEORGE LAKOFF, Daily Kos  

It is time to shine a light on the strategies used by Democrats, and on the Democratic infrastructure that uses those strategies.

Democratic strategists have been segmenting the electorate and seeking individual self-interest-based issues in each electoral block. The strategists also keep suggesting a move to right. This has left no room for the Democrats to have an overriding authentic moral identity that Americans can recognize.

Those strategists form an infrastructure that all Democrats have come to depend on; not just the candidates, but also the elected officials, Democrats in government, and citizens who either do, or might, find progressive policies morally and practically right. The strategic infrastructure includes PR firms, pollsters, consultants, researchers, trainers, communication specialists, speechwriters, and their funders.

 

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By RON LEGRO, Daily Kos

EDITOR'S NOTE. The Kentucky turnout was 46.37 percent, according to unofficial numbers from Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes's office. 

So what really happened Tuesday? The simple and most telling answer is that not enough happened.

National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" news program today shared some preliminary statistics about Tuesday's midterm elections and the numbers are so startling it's a wonder this isn't front-page news everywhere. Check this out:

In the last presidential election two years ago, 130 million Americans voted. The total population of the country then, including children and everyone else, was around 316 million.

 

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By PHOEBE LOOSINHOUSE, Daily Kos

Putting aside hand wringing, here are some positive things Dems can do before the next election.

Since Dems held both the Presidency and the Senate in the last midterms, we are/were perceived to be the Party in Power. The Democrats were wrong to think that the midterms would not be a referendum on the President or the Party in power.

So, let's just accept that all elections are referendums on the powers in place. People will either vote to reinforce your success or to punish you for your failure. All attempts by the Democratic Party and any individual candidate to distance themselves from the President was doomed to failure in advance. Bill Clinton advised voters to not allow the election to be a referendum - he might as well have shouted at the tide not to come in.

 

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By THE GRACE KELLY, Daily Kos

If you look at Yougov survey of state rankings, then you will see that Minnesota is ranked 18th in scoring on progressive issues. Minnesota was behind Wisconsin and Michigan. Yet Minnesota is doing better in elections. Why? While even Minnesota can improve what we do, I do think that we have significant differences from national trends in campaigning.

Proud to be a Democrat, Proud of Democratic Leadership and Proud of Democratic Policies

When Democrats are proud to be Democrats and proud of Democratic policies, then we win. Minnesota did lose significant house seats in rural house districts where there is less spoken in that strong kind of pride. Minnesota was especially strong on comparing itself favorably to Wisconsin, where Minnesota's choice of Democratic policy and leadership has really helped the Minnesota economy. Duh, Obama is one of our greatest speakers. How did we ever get talked into not using him? On every poll, Democratic policies score higher, why wouldn't one run on winning numbers?

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

EDITOR’S NOTE: You can read Jim Pence’s union-friendly blog at www.hillbillyreport.org. The masthead features twin Pence quotes: Never before have so few with so much promised to take away so much from so many and then laugh their asses off as the so many with so little vote for the so few with so much...American Politics, a sport for the rich and enslavement for the rest of us.
   Some liberal pundits are predicting a Democratic comeback at the polls in two years.
   Longtime Bluegrass State blogger Jim Pence isn’t among them. “I have a feeling 2016 will be much worse with all of the right-wing outside money flowing to the Republicans.”
   The Kentuckian is a septuagenarian who packed a union card for years. He is angry and frustrated.
    Read more >>>

By RYAN GRIM and AMANDA TERKEL, Huffington Post

WASHINGTON -- When a congressional caucus shrinks, it tends to solidify the politics of the remaining members, as conservative Democrats and moderate Republicans are always the first to get swept away in a wave. As the Democratic caucus numbers in the Senate have gradually shrunk, from a high-water mark of 60 in 2009 to 46 this January, the rump has gotten more progressive.

It hasn't just been by subtraction. The arrival of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) last cycle has given the growing liberal bloc a power base to rally on, muscle that was flexed most prominently in the high-profile rejection of Larry Summers as chairman of the Federal Reserve before he'd even been nominated.

In 2016, as Democrats work to retake the Senate, they have a chance to do it while simultaneously expanding the ranks of their progressive members, given the tilt of the playing field. In Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Wisconsin and Iowa, Democrats have the potential to elect progressive senators in seats currently held by Republicans. Much, however, will depend on recruiting, and whether the decision is made to target populist-progressive types in the vein of Warren, or more centrist, corporate-friendly picks such as Virginia's Mark Warner.

 

 

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By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   You have to look pretty hard to find something for unions to celebrate after the election.
   But take a gander at the Bluegrass State beyond its much-publicized and hotly contested U.S. Senate race, and you’ll see where anti-union Republicans failed, big time.
   The Kentucky GOP very publicly promised to put the Bluegrass State in the right to work column if they flipped the Democratic-majority state House of Representatives. The Republicans came up short. Read more >>>

By HUNTER, Daily Kos

Tuesday's elections brought both a rout of Democrats and a new standard for just who can be a national Republican these days. That's not good, but let's have a quick look at the new House and Senate conservatives most likely to rise to (unintended) prominence in the next two years. It's time for Meet Your New Craziest Republicans.

Glenn Grothman, WI-06: Any list has to start with new Wisconsin Representative Glenn Grothman. Grothman is a finely tuned gaffe machine, if by "gaffe" we mean "saying the things Republicans are not supposed to say out loud." He is a fervent believer in stopping The Gay Agenda, which he believes exists in our nation's classrooms, but it's the full scope of Grothman's bizarre statements that have led us to predict that he will quickly rise to challenge Texas Republican Louie Gohmert for the title of America's Dumbest Congressman. Does he have the stuff? We'll soon know.

Jody Hice, GA-10: Another beneficiary of a hard-right conservative district, Georgia's Jody Hice can't be considered a gaffe machine. He's just plain mean. A tea party Republican right out of central casting, Hice is a preacher, a conservative radio host, a gun-toter, and the district's replacement for Paul "Evolution and embryology and the big bang theory are lies from the pit of Hell" Broun. Hice's most recent hit has been the assertion that Muslim-Americans are not protected by the First Amendment because Islam is not a true religion; he also is frothingly anti-gay and is for women entering politics only if it is "within the authority of her husband." Look for Hice to be a loudmouth Steve King type; not dumb, but meaner than a bag of rattlesnakes and a whole lot louder.

 

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By DAVID CORN, Mother Jones

As the postelection celebration (for the GOP) and cleanup (for the White House and the Democrats) continues, some political observers of a D bent are trying to push a silver-lining idea: Now that the Republicans fully control Congress, they will have to act more responsibly and demonstrate that they can govern and not just say no to everything.

Isn't it pretty to think so.

There is little evidence to support this lovely notion. The fundamental political dynamic of the Republican Party has not shifted; it's advance has been fueled by its Obama-hating tea party wing. Joni Ernst of Iowa and Cory Gardner of Colorado will be two new GOP stars in the Senate, and they both hail from the far-right region of their party. Their model senator will likely be Ted Cruz of Texas, who on election night refused to endorse the newly reelected Mitch McConnell of Kentucky as Senate majority leader, signaling his intention to lead what might be called the Monkey Wrench Caucus. And in the House, the tea party club—which blocked House Speaker John Boehner's deal-making with the White House and pushed for government shutdowns and a debt ceiling crisis—will likely have a few more members when the new Congress convenes in January. The lesson the House tea partiers will probably draw: Obstruction pays off, big-time.

 

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By ALAN COLMES, Huffington Post

Some of the most extreme right-wing radicals got elected to Congress Tuesday. Let's begin with Glenn Grothman, who won Wisconsin's 6th District. Grothman wants to eliminate weekends, and believes "no people...care about Kwanza, just white left-wingers." He co-sponsored a bill that equated single-parenthood with child abuse. In addition...

He calls Rick Santorum his "soul mate" and labor union activists "slobs." He wants to end not only the minimum wage but weekends and paid sick leave and called for the elimination of municipal water disinfection, calling it "big government."

He opposes abortion for any reason and wants to make it a felony for a doctor to perform an abortion even to save the life of the mother.

 

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By JEFF SCHWEITZER, Huffington Post

Politicians of all stripes since the dawn of time have perfected the art of feigned regret and false outrage in the face of opposition, while embracing blind indifference to their own failures. Standard fare for the left and right. But the depth, intensity, and institutionalized hypocrisy of the political right has taken our country on a new course; conservatives are writing a new chapter if not a new book on cynicism, deceit and delusion. As we contemplate our world dominated by Republicans controlling the House and Senate, we must therefore consider life in the face of deep hypocrisy.

Mitch McConnell, with a straight face and no apparent appreciation for irony, said that voters should install a Republican majority in the Senate because his party would "be able to bring the current legislative gridlock to a merciful end." This really reaches new heights of absurdity. The Filibuster King, the Guru of Gridlock himself, says that in order to end gridlock we need to elect the people who are responsible for bringing us Olympian records of obstruction. McConnell's Republican army in the Senate has led more filibusters than any previous Congress in our nation's history, attempting to thwart any progress on a gleeful spree of "no." This is the McConnell who made obstruction his publicly announced number one goal when Obama was elected to his first term. But now McConnell wants to say yes, to have you vote for him because he is the one to rid us of the scourge of the gridlock he created. Give him a majority and voila he will make sure gridlock is a distant memory. This means of course that he expects the newly-made minority to simply go along with his agenda; you know, like he went along with the Democrats when they had the majority. Sigh. It is enough to make one's head explode.

 

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   Gerald Watkins just might be the House Democrats’ Col. Joshua Chamberlain.
   Union victory in the battle of Gettysburg depended on Chamberlain and his Maine regiment holding the Army of the Potomac’s endangered left flank.
    He held and drove the Rebels back. The Yankees went on to win a great turning point battle of the Civil War.
    Watkins, a union-endorsed Paducah Democrat, anchored his party’s threatened western flank tonight.   He held and the Democrats are still the House majority party.

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   It’s still our House.
   The Democrats held their 54-46 majority in the state House of Representatives in today's election, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader
   “Kentuckians chose elected officials who will improve the economy and move us in the right direction,” said Bill Londrigan, Kentucky State AFL-CIO president.
   

 

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   Google uses special graphics to mark special days.
   Today, a spinning, American flag-wrapped ballot box appears on the popular search engine.
   A twirling white box with red dollar signs might be more appropriate. The dollar signs would symbolize the millions of dollars right-wing, union-hating billionaires like the Koch sibs have spent trying to buy the election by lavishing a mountain of cash, especially on Red State, right-wing Republican candidates, including Mitch McConnell, the senior of Kentucky’s two union-busting senators.

Election day is here.

We want to thank all of you that have taken the time to volunteer & to recruit volunteers that have been the backbone of our 2014 Labor Program. Our Labor Program has been the major ground force this election cycle. We need to finish strong today.

We are still walking and calling our voters. Unions are still hitting their worksites. We need to push every vote out before today ends. We are hearing reports across the state that turnout is very high. This should be good news if that holds true.

If you hear of anyone experiencing issues at the polling sites, please contact 866-OUR-VOTE. 

We can still use your help today. Contact us at 502-751-0075.

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   “If we get our voters out, we win,” Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), told a group of volunteers preparing to knock on doors for her. “If we don’t, we lose.”
   What’s true in the Granite State is also true in the Bluegrass State and in every other state tomorrow.
   “Only you can prevent Republicans,” said a sticker the Illinois Democratic Party put out in 1980.
   

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Alison Lundergan Grimes apologized for arriving about an hour late for her election eve rally in Paducah.

“I know you had to wait for us to get here,” she told the crowd of about 300 Team Switch partisans who jammed the Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 184 hall Monday morning.

“It was worth it!” a guy yelled. The candidate grinned and added, “Good things are worth waiting for, like going on to get rid of Mitch McConnell.”

 

By ZACH CARTER and JASON CHERKIS, Huffington Post

WASHINGTON -- Most polls show Alison Lundergan Grimes trailing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky's closely watched Senate race. But a secret weapon for Grimes may be something she struggled to embrace for most of her campaign: Obamacare.

More than 413,000 people in Kentucky have obtained health insurance thanks to Kynect, the state's adaptation of the Affordable Care Act. About 330,000 residents received insurance under the law's Medicaid expansion, while more than 82,000 have purchased insurance through Kynect's insurance exchange. For a lightly populated state like Kentucky, those are numbers with the potential to alter election results on Tuesday.

McConnell defeated Democrat Bruce Lunsford in 2008 by 106,811 votes -- 953,816 to 847,005 according to the Kentucky Board of Elections.

 

 

By JENNIFER BENDERY, Huffington Post

Political activist Ralph Nader is warning Kentuckians against voting for Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), unless they're happy being represented in Washington by a corporation pretending to be human.

"If most polls are accurate, a slim majority of the minority of eligible voters actually voting will return Senator Mitch McConnell, a cruel corporation masquerading as a lawmaker, to the U.S. Senate," Nader said in a statement Monday.

"Given his record of serving Wall Street over Main Street, of opposing a restoration of an inflation-ravaged minimum wage for hundreds of thousands of Kentuckian workers, of taking scores of gifts from tobacco, banking, transportation, mining, insurance, drug and other commercial interests whose greed and over-reaching he has always duly served, the voters who choose McConnell can be properly described, with a few wealthy exceptions, as political masochists."

 

By EGBERTO WILLIES, Daily Kos

If one listens to the news, one would believe that the outcome of the 2014 midterm is a foregone conclusion: Democrats will lose the U.S. Senate and many House seats. The reality is that many times the narrative feeds the reality instead of the other way around.

There are, in fact, many head winds for Democrats. The corporatized media has an intrinsic bias against Democrats and as such minimizes their successes. It is a big story that even with Republican obstruction and intransigence, policies that were put into place in the first two years of the Obama administration remain the catalyst for today’s economic expansion (the government has been practically devoid of substantive policy since the 2010 Republican takeover).

The traditional media never touts the reality. America has climbed out of a huge hole dug by Republican policies—the stock market is at all-time highs, gas prices are at multi-year lows. Unemployment is at a multi-year low, and health care is now affordable for most Americans. Those who could not get health care now can. The student loan burden has been improved (although much more is needed that will be unattainable under GOP rule). Women no longer pay more for health care than men.

By NICHOLAS CONFESSORRE and DEREK WILLIS, The New York Times

A stealthy coterie of difficult-to-trace outside groups is slipping tens of millions of dollars of attacks ads and negative automated telephone calls into the final days of the midterm campaign, helping fuel an unprecedented surge of last-minute spending on Senate races.

Much of the advertising is being timed to ensure that no voter will know who is paying for it until after the election on Tuesday. Some of the groups are “super PACs” that did not exist before Labor Day but have since spent heavily on political advertising, adding to the volatility of close Senate and House races.

Others formed earlier in the year but remained dormant until recently, reporting few or no contributions in recent filings with the Federal Election Commission, only to unleash six- and seven-figure advertising campaigns as Election Day draws near. Yet more spending is coming from nonprofit organizations with bland names that have popped up in recent weeks but appear to have no life beyond being a conduit for the ads.

 

By PAUL HOGARTH, Daily Kos

I grew up in a liberal, city-dwelling, NPR-listening household—and my parents always taught me that while we don’t agree with Republicans, we respect their right to vote.

Because in a democracy, everyone has the right to have their voices heard. We want everybody to vote.

Which is why I find the Republican War on Voting so distressing. They know they can’t win an election fair and square, so they have to rig the system to stay in power.

 

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   The Kentucky Industrial Workers of the World will present “Precious Memories,” a new play by Si Kahn and starring Sue Massek as folk musician Sara Ogan Gunning, on Nov. 20 in Louisville.
   The performance is set for 7:30 p.m. at the Chapel of St. Phillip Divine, 230 Woodbine St.
   Gunning was a folk singer and songwriter from the coal country of eastern Kentucky. Her friends and admirers included Woody Guthrie.
   Tickets are $15. More information is available from J.P. Wright at 502-553-0495.
   

By LAUREN WINDSOR, The Nation

Mitch McConnell traveled to a secret meeting of donors connected to the Koch brothers network—and it now appears he didn't disclose the expenses for that trip.

Documents obtained by The Nation, The Undercurrent, and the Center for Media and Democracy from the Orange County Sheriffs Department reveal that Mitch McConnell was scheduled to arrive for the confab at the St. Regis Resort in Dana Point, California on Saturday, June 14. Audio from the conference, which we reported in August, confirms that he gave a speech there the following day.

Yet the hotel expense for that night at the St. Regis does not appear to have been disclosed in McConnell's filings with the FEC nor to Senate Ethics.

 

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

    I’m one of those “liberal national Democrats” that conservative Kentucky Democrats sometimes scorn.
   I know some Kentuckians of my persuasion are less than enthusiastic about Team Switch. They say Alison Lundergan Grimes is merely the anti-McConnell.
   I beg to disagree.
    

LOUISVILLE – Caught up in a firestorm that has engulfed the entire Commonwealth and piqued the interest of the national media over his voter suppression tactics, Mitch McConnell appears ready to “no comment” his way to Election Day – refusing to answer why he would authorize what appears to be a completely illegal and unethical action against Kentuckians.

Here are 5 questions Mitch must answer about the sleazy, illegal voter suppression campaign he and the Kentucky GOP have unleashed on Kentucky voters:

1) Political pundits and the media have said this campaign tactic appears to be an intentional attempt to mislead voters. Do you deny that your mailer is falsely designed to look like an official government document?

 

By MIKE ELK, Politico

All eyes will be on Kentucky Tuesday as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell faces a serious challenge from Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes. But beneath that marquee matchup lies a fierce battle between labor unions and anti-union groups over whether Kentucky, long a rare pro-union outpost in the anti-union South, becomes a right-to-work state.

Republicans hold a majority in the Kentucky state Senate; the Kentucky House is controlled by Democrats, 54-46. That means Republicans need to pick up only five seats to flip it — a task made easier if McConnell wins and extends coattails down the ballot. Should the Kentucky House go Republican, state Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer has already said that his first priority will be to pass a right-to-work bill.

Kentucky is a state with 194,000 union members, so if it passes right-to-work — shorthand for allowing individuals covered by union contracts not to pay union dues or their equivalent (thereby creating a “free rider” problem financially costly to unions) — that will deal a serious blow to organized labor. Unions have already lost tens of thousands of members in recent years from the passage of right-to-work in Indiana and Michigan. According to partial FEC filings, AFL-CIO super PAC Workers’ Voice has spent $1.08 million on the Kentucky Senate race alone.

 

By JOSEPH GERTH, Louisville Courier-Journal

Alison Lundergan Grimes' U.S. Senate campaign said it has filed suit in Franklin Circuit Court alleging that the Republican Party of Kentucky is trying to suppress voter turnout in Eastern Kentucky, where it sent official-looking mailers that say "Election Violation Notice" on the envelope, and is asking for a criminal investigation into voter intimidation.

"This is clearly a scare tactic, and what they are doing to try to manipulate voters," said Jonathan Hurst, Grimes' campaign manager.

Republican Party of Kentucky spokeswoman Kelsey Cooper dismissed Grimes concerns.

 

By DELANE ADAMS, AFL-CIO Southern Region Field Communications Coordinator

Frankfort, KY – With the opportunity to defeat the U.S. Senate’s top Republican and keep the State House in working family-friendly hands, the Kentucky AFL-CIO has undertaken one of the largest grassroots voter outreach efforts in the nation. Workers are fired up and talking to their fellow union members and to the general public about labor’s endorsed candidates and the important issues at stake in this election. The program, which launched in early August, has made over 200,000 contacts with union members, the general public, and their families.

The AFL-CIO has also sent 200,000 pieces of mail to members in Kentucky since August and an additional 150,000 personalized letters were mailed from union leaders to their members. The pieces highlighted the need for working people to fight back against corporate control of politics, strengthen workers’ rights, support public education, and guarantee paid sick leave. The program also included over 200,000 conversations with members at work, on the phone, and at their homes.

“Working families in Kentucky have suffered from 30 years of Mitch McConnell’s shutdown-style politics which have benefitted the wealthy few at the expense of Kentucky families. Kentuckians are ready for fresh leadership and we need a Senator like Alison Lundergan Grimes who will stand up for her constituents, not millionaires and billionaires like the Koch Brothers,” said Bill Londrigan, President of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO. “We are also working hard to push back against the attempts by out-of-state corporate interests to pressure the Kentucky State House into passing legislation that will decrease wages, lower median household income, increase poverty, and undermine workplace safety. Those are the true aims of the misnamed ‘Right to Work’ bill, and the workers of Kentucky will strongly oppose any effort to bring this deceptive and destructive plan to our state.”

 

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   The Republicans got what they think is better than a sack full of Halloween candy.
   The final Bluegrass Poll showed Sen. Mitch McConnell with a 48-43 lead over Alison Lundergan Grimes, the labor-endorsed Democrat who’s after his job.
   But McConnell’s edge is only .9 percentage points outside the margin of error. And I know you've heard it a million times, but it's true. The only poll that counts is Tuesday.    Meanwhile, “millions of dollars continue to pour into the state from shady PACs that often provide no donor information and only list a post office box,” the Kentucky State AFL-CIO says. “They are running non-stop attacks on Alison Grimes.”
 

WYMT-TV

HAZARD, Ky. - Tonight, an alert for Eastern Kentucky voters. The Perry County Clerk and others called us today concerned about a campaign flyer mailed to folks across the coverage area.

On the outside it reads election violation notice. However, once you open it up, it’s actually an attack ad by the Kentucky Republican party against U.S. Senate Candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Perry County Clerk Haven King says you should not worry if you received one of these. “This means nothing; I don't know what people are trying to do. There's nothing fraudulent to my knowledge going on and the people in Perry County if you are registered to vote, you will be able to vote and you will be able to vote at your precinct.”

We reached out to the G.O.P. and McConnell campaigns, neither returned our calls or emails.

If you have questions about your registration to vote you can check that by going Elect.KY.gov and clicking on the voter information center.

LOUISVILLE – In the final days of a dead-heat Kentucky Senate race that threatens to end Mitch McConnell’s 30-year record of failure in Washington, McConnell himself has just been caught engaging in the most despicable tactics imaginable in a democracy—a widespread campaign to intimidate Kentuckians from exercising their Constitutional right to vote.

The Grimes campaign has filed for an immediate injunction to prevent McConnell from engaging in these unprecedented and shameful campaign tactics. We will also be asking both state and federal authorities to investigate what, on its face, appears to be a clear violation of both Kentucky and federal laws.

Designed to look like an official government document, McConnell’s campaign mailer is labeled as an ‘Election Violation Notice’ – a transparent attempt to create the impression that scare and intimidate the recipient into believing they have committed or will commit some type of crime by exercising their right to vote. After creating the impression the voter has or is about to do something wrong, a statute is posted suggesting to recipients they could be fined or face as many as six months in prison.

 

By LUKE BRINKER, Salon

As he seeks to fend off a challenge from Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell has taken to accusing Grimes of perpetrating fraud on Kentucky voters, with the Republican authorizing mailers that warn voters they “are at risk of acting on fraudulent information.”

Mailed in envelopes that blare “ELECTION VIOLATION NOTICE” and state “You are at risk of acting on fraudulent information,” the Kentucky Republican Party issued a letter that accuses Grimes of “blatant lies” about McConnell’s advocacy for a local coal plant and his support from “anti-coal activists like Michael Bloomberg.” The letter also takes Grimes to task for her support among “anti-coal and anti-gun” Hollywood celebrities and accuses her of hypocrisy in her call for an increased minimum wage because a restaurant owned by her family pays employees less than the minimum.

“This document serves as a notification to you, as a resident of Kentucky and a registered voter in the aforementioned Commonwealth, of fraudulent information that is being deliberately spread to voters in your area,” the mailer reads.

“This information is provided as a public service,” the letter concludes.

 

 LOUISVILLE – After a full week of taking heat for stonewalling his agenda to privatize Social Security, Mitch McConnell remains on defense on the issue in the final four days of the campaign. And now, McConnell has been caught looking directly to the camera and lying to Kentucky voters about his long-held support for privatizing Social Security.

Both local and national reporters have pointed out McConnell’s refusal to discuss Social Security after a bizarre statement last week in which he boasted of how hard he pushed to pass it in 2005, with some speculating that last minute campaigning by Mitch on such an unpopular issue could ultimately cost McConnell the election.

Again yesterday, Mitch offered up a bald-faced lie on his plans – his worst yet – saying: “Nobody wants to privatize Social Security. It’s such a phony allegation that makes you want to almost gag.”

PHONY? REALLY?!? The only reason anyone is talking about Mitch’s plans to privatize Social Security is because he, himself, brought the issue up last Thursday. And they’re not just talking about it – it’s leading local Kentucky news:


“Mitch McConnell’s agenda to privatize Social Security – a top priority of Mitch and his billionaire donor friends – has now come front and center in the final four days of this neck-and-neck sprint to Election Day,” said Grimes campaign manager Jonathan Hurst. “After a 30-year record of failure in Washington, Mitch McConnell has been reduced to lying directly to the voters of Kentucky about his plans to privatize Social Security in a desperate attempt to hold onto the power that has made him wealthy on the backs of ordinary Kentuckians.”

EDITOR'S NOTE: The poll had McConnell ahead 48-43. His lead is only .9 beyond the margin of error. 

LOUISVILLE – Today, Alison for Kentucky campaign manager Jonathan Hurst issued the following statement on the latest Bluegrass poll:

“Against all odds, this race has been a dead heat for nearly a year and a half and it will be a toss-up until the end. Mitch McConnell's recent attempt to buy the election by dipping into his own pockets for $1.8 million more in attack ads won't fool Kentuckians. They will go to the polls knowing that Alison is the only candidate who is willing to put partisanship aside and put the people of Kentucky first.

 

By MARK BLUMENTHAL and ARIEL EDWARDS-LEVY, Huffington Post

With the most crucial Senate races remaining close, we look at how the polling might be disproved on Election Day. National polls show little consensus on which way the political environment is moving. And campaign robocalls may be on the downturn. This is HuffPollster for Wednesday, October 29, 2014.

HOW POLLS COULD ERR - With less than a week remaining before Election Day, HuffPost's poll tracking model continues to report roughly the same forecast for control of the U.S. Senate as it has for the past two weeks: The polling averages show Republicans leading at least nominally in enough states to gain a 53-seat majority. The margins remain close enough, however, that the overall probability of a Republican majority is just 63 percent as of this writing. In other words, polling shows the Senate battle leaning Republican, but there is still a real potential that Democrats could hang on due to late shifts or polling errors. So how could these polling averages be wrong?

Randomness in the closest races - Combining polls, whether in a simple average or in a more complex tracking model, helps reduce the purely random variation inherent in all sample surveys, but doesn't eliminate it completely. That random noise comes not just from the number of interviews completed for each poll but also the myriad of design choices made by pollsters and modelers in combining the polls. RealClear Politics' Sean Trende examined polls back to 1998 in the FiveThirtyEight database and found that when the leader in simple polling averages was ahead by 2 percentage points or less in the final week of the campaign, they won only slightly more often not. As should be obvious, when the win probabilities produced by the HuffPost Pollster model stand near 50 percent, it means there's a close to 50-50 chance that the leader will lose.

 

By JASON CHERKIS and ZACH CARTER, Huffington Post  

WASHINGTON -- With Alison Lundergan Grimes down in almost every poll in a tight race against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, her success may hinge on whether she can bring Paducah, a small city more than three hours west of Louisville, into her camp.

Paducah has long been a lynchpin in McConnell's simple but effective "west of Interstate 65" strategy. McConnell, who started his career as a political moderate, has pursued a campaign strategy that depends on winning over the counties west of I-65, the highway that bisects Kentucky from Louisville in the north to the Tennessee border in the south. McCracken County, which covers Paducah, didn't swing McConnell's way when he was first elected to the Senate in 1984. But the county soon fell into McConnell's column and has remained there ever since.

McConnell has relied on a Cold War-era uranium facility for the core of his support. The plant helped put Paducah on the map, and the town's identity has long been tied to it. Paducah called itself "The Atomic City" during the postwar years, and murals celebrating its 1950s heyday still line the town's floodwall along the Ohio River. By the mid-1980s, however, the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant had become a relic. As similar facilities were shuttered in other states, McConnell pitched himself as the one man who could work the Senate to keep the plant open.


 

 PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - It has been one of the most talked about endorsements in the U.S. Senate race, especially in our region. The United Mine Workers of America is backing democratic candidate, Alison Lundergan Grimes.

On Wednesday, with less than a week to go until Election Day they held a rally for Grimes in Pikeville.

Members of the union alongside their president, Cecil Roberts, lead a high spirited rally in the heart of coal country.

Roberts told the crowd, "This election is not really about Mitch McConnell or Alison. This election come Tuesday of next week, is about us and what kind of life we choose to have."

 

LOUISVILLE – Last night, another disastrous day on the campaign trail for Mitch McConnell’s fading re-election bid closed with a “rally” that was sparsely attended and widely panned by reporters in attendance as boring and entirely bereft of energy. McConnell spent the evening sitting next to fellow Social Security privatization champion Bobby Jindal, after being peppered earlier in the day with questions and lying about his agenda to privatize Social Security.

Meanwhile, Alison concluded another full day on the campaign trail with a tele-town hall meeting where she spoke to more than 16,000 Kentuckians about her plans to raise the minimum wage, end tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas, help students earn degrees instead of debt, and fight for equal pay for women in the workplace. Today, thousands are expected at campaign events featuring President Bill Clinton as Alison continues to out-hustle Mitch in the closing days of the race.

The enthusiasm gap between the two campaigns was on full display, and noted by reporter Joe Sonka thusly:

“The difference in energy between the Louisville crowds at last night's Grimes events and this Restore America event... quite vast.”

 

LOUISVILLE – On Thursday Alison for Kentucky is proud to welcome President Bill Clinton back to Kentucky to campaign with Alison Lundergan Grimes in Louisville and Ashland. The events will be free and open to the public.

WHAT: Louisville rally with President Clinton

WHEN: Thursday, October 30 – Doors open at 9:00 AM ET

WHERE: Muhammad Ali Center, 144 N 6th St, Louisville, KY 40202


WHAT: Ashland rally with President Clinton

WHEN: Thursday, October 30 – Gates open at 12:00 PM ET

WHERE: Veteran's Riverfront Park, 15th St and Front St, Ashland, KY 41101

 

By JED LEWISON, Daily Kos 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell last Thursday, boasting about having worked with George W. Bush in a failed effort to create private Social Security accounts—and complaining that Democrats refused to help:

“After Bush was re-elected in 2004 he wanted us to try to fix Social Security,” said McConnell. “I spent a year trying to get any Democrat in the Senate — even those most reasonable Democrat of all, Joe Lieberman – to help us.”
When asked if he would try the same thing as Senate Majority Leader, McConnell refused to answer, but he was nonetheless proud of his effort. But now that the election is one week closer and he's faced with attacks about his support for Social Security privatization from his opponent Alison Lundergan Grimes and her Democratic allies, McConnell is denying the whole thing:

"That's just one of the many fictions the Grimes campaign has been spinning. Obviously, preserving and protecting Social Security is the most important thing any of us can do," said McConnell.

 

 LOUISVILLE – As heat continues to build on Mitch McConnell for tone deaf and politically damaging remarks made last week that he had pushed Social Security privatization in 2005 as hard as he could – including subsequent stonewalling and dishonesty when facing follow-up questions – he’s chosen a particularly ironic, ill-advised time to bring Gov. Bobby Jindal to the Commonwealth to campaign for him. Why?

Back in 2005, Jindal was a champion in the U.S. House of the very same privatization scheme that McConnell is being hammered over in the closing days of the election. In fact, Jindal was the original chief co-sponsor of the “Growing Real Ownership for Workers Act of 2005” – the House version of the privatization scheme McConnell pushed so hard in the Senate.

McConnell continues to evade and obfuscate his true agenda, now saying he wants to “preserve and protect” Social Security. The problem for Mitch – and Kentuckians dependent on the program – is that his own words from 2005 show that his definition of “preserving” Social Security is privatizing it. Renewed focus on the issue with privatization champion Bobby Jindal will only reinforce and clarify that position, a stance so unpopular with voters that some have speculated it could ultimately cost McConnell the election.

LOUISVILLE – Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-North Dakota) was to join Alison Lundergan Grimes for a series of events today.

The women of the Senate are rallying behind Alison, and together, they will continue forging the kind of solutions this country needs. Alison looks forward to joining the women of the Senate to fight on behalf of Kentucky.

“Sen. Heitkamp is a legislator who looks for common ground and works with the opposite party to get things done in Congress,” said Alison for Kentucky campaign manager Jonathan Hurst. “As Alison will do in the senate, Sen. Heitkamp champions the issues important to hardworking families, including fighting for a place for coal in America’s energy future. With just days to go in this election, Alison is proud to have the endorsement of an independent, solutions-focused Senator like Heidi Heitkamp.”

 

By IRIN CARMON, MSNBC 

In his hotly contested race to keep his Kentucky Senate seat, Republican Mitch McConnell has found himself in some unusual positions recently. He’s depicted himself, a 30-year veteran of the Senate, as an ordinary guy at the deli counter; he’s moderated his language on the Affordable Care Act; and, perhaps most awkward of all, has cast himself as a champion of women. That message was recently delivered in a television ad by several young women, who claimed McConnell was the real pro-woman candidate, not his Democratic opponent Alison Lundergan Grimes.

“McConnell’s staff found four people to appear in the ad who actually believe this?” wrotemsnbc’s Steve Benen, pointing to McConnell’s votes against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay, the Violence Against Women Act, and the Paycheck Fairness Act, as well as to undermine contraceptive access.

It’s technically true the McConnell campaign found four people who are young women to express enthusiasm for him in a video. But at least one of them is registered to vote in Pennsylvania, as The New York Times reported last week. That’s not all: msnbc has learned that the same woman, Dallas A. Knierman, 20, has never voted in any election, and has not requested an absentee ballot for this election, according to a Mercer County official whose confirmation was pointed to msnbc by the Grimes campaign.

By STEVE BENEN, MSNBC 

A variety of adjectives come to mind when describing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), but “undisciplined” isn’t one of them. It’s why it came as something of a surprise last week when the longtime incumbent, unprompted, reminded voters of his support for George W. Bush’s plan to privatize Social Security out of existence.

Ironically, the Kentucky Republican was looking for an example of his bipartisan outreach, and the first thing that came to mind was his effort to find Democrats willing to replace the Social Security system with private accounts.

Alison Lundergan Grimes and her allies were only too pleased to take advantage – if McConnell wants to spend the final week of the campaign talking about his work trying to kill Social Security, Democrats don’t mind at all. Indeed, the Senate Majority PAC launched this hard-hitting ad in Kentucky late last week.

 

LOUISVILLE – Today, Alison for Kentucky releases a new web video featuring Coach Joe B. Hall – title-winning University of Kentucky basketball coach and player – who encourages all Kentuckians to join him in support of Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Hall recognizes what is at stake in this campaign and knows that Alison has a proven record of working for the people of Kentucky. Alison remains the only candidate in this race with the action plan needed to grow Kentucky’s middle class. Coach Hall agrees with Kentuckians in all 120 counties that 30 years of Mitch McConnell is long enough.

To ensure all Kentuckians’ voices are heard on Election Day, information on voting and polling places can be found at www.KentuckyVotes2014.com. 

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   Talk is cheap. Words to purportedly patriotic tunes can ring hollow too when they are sung by a guy who skipped military service in wartime yet bases his whole show biz persona on very public professions of love for God and country.
   I mean Lee Greenwood. The country music star is famous for crooning “God Bless the U.S.A.” The tune was “voted the most recognizable patriotic song in America,” according to his website.
   The Grammy Award-winning Greenwood, 72, sang his signature song at a free concert on behalf of the Mitch McConnell campaign Tuesday night on a farm near Murray. McConnell stood next to Greenwood as the crooner belted out “God Bless the U.S.A.”

LOUISVILLE – Mitch McConnell can see the writing on the wall. With his struggling campaign and his 30-year record of failure in Washington nearing its end – and with heat turning up on McConnell for stonewalling his agenda to privatize Social Security – Mitch finally answered a question on the issue last night in Bowling Green.

Both local and national reporters have pointed out McConnell’s refusal to discuss Social Security after a bizarre statement last week in which he boasted of how hard he pushed to pass it in 2005, with some speculating that last minute campaigning by Mitch on such an unpopular issue could ultimately cost McConnell the election.

Unfortunately for the voters of Kentucky, Mitch offered up a bald-faced lie, both refusing to reveal his agenda to privatize Social Security, and offering the meaningless statement that: “preserving and protecting Social Security is the most important thing any of us can do.” That's just one of the fictions McConnell is clutching onto in the final six days of this campaign. Indeed, his record suggests that this very answer is an admission that he will aggressively pursue privatization of Social Security if re-elected. In fact in 2005 when he was pushing privatization as hard has he could, McConnell used the exact same phraseology – calling privatization the “way we can strengthen and save Social Security.”

 

By ADAM BEAM, Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren brought her brand of populist politics back to Kentucky on Tuesday to campaign for Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes one week before voters go to the polls in one of the country's most closely watched Senate races.

Warren, making her second trip to Kentucky this election season, jumped between full throated attack mode against Republican policies and soft stories of how her janitor father helped her family "make it into a middle class that America's labor unions built."


"There is no better fighter for America's middle class, for America's working people, than Alison Lundergan Grimes," Warren said, citing Grimes' support of raising the minimum wage. "Alison is willing to fight back and better yet, Alison is willing to fight forward."

 

By GREG SARGENT, Washington Post

 The other day, the Dem-aligned Senate Majority PAC made a splash by going up in Kentucky with a very harsh ad hitting Mitch McConnell over his previous support for Social Security privatization. The ad linked that stance to an assertion that McConnell had “rearranged his portfolio” after private calls with a top Treasury Department official, implicitly suggesting McConnell had milked inside connections to bolster his own retirement security while gambling with that of others.

The ad ticked off the McConnell campaign, which circulated a fact check that said it had oversimplified the claims in the original article on which it was based and overlooked the fact that it had alleged no wrongdoing.

The McConnell campaign is trying to get TV stations to stop running the ad. I’ve checked in with Kentucky stations, and most declined to reveal their plans for the spot, though an official at one — Fox affiliate WDRB — told me: “We reinstated the spot, finding the assertions factual.”

 

EDITOR:

Thanks to our brother Jay Dennis of Teamsters Local 89, our firm reviewed our members’ election rights under KRS 118.035. What we found is incredible! KRS 118.035 gives our members to request a minimum of four hours unpaid leave to vote early (absentee) or to vote on election day. The only way our member is protected from reprisal if they request time off to vote is TO VOTE!!! That means for members whose facilities, work sites etc. are outside of the counties where they live, they have the right to request and take not less than four (4) hours off this week TO VOTE! Again, they have to VOTE! For members who live in the county where they work, they can request not less than (4) hours unpaid leave on election day TO VOTE!!!

Attached is our legal memorandum and proposed sign up sheets for both types of employees (those that have to vote on election day and those who can vote early). Hopefully you see the powerful GOTV tool that we see.

Let’s bring this home!!!

In solidarity,
Dave Suetholtz, attorney at law, Louisville

 

By LAURA BARRON LOPEZ
The Hill

EDITOR’S NOTE: Labor Secretary Liz Shuler was also expected to appear at the Madisonville Rally, set for 10 a.m. (CDT) at the Rizpah Temple. Grimes and Roberts will appear Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. (EDT) at the Pikeville University gym.

The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) is holding two rallies this week to encourage pro-coal voters to come out in support of Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes on Election Day.

The two events will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday in Madisonville, and Pikeville, Ky., according to the UMWA.

"Alison Grimes doesn't just care about coal, she is the only candidate in this race who cares about coal miners," Cecil Roberts, international president of UMWA, said in a statement.

 

EDITOR'S NOTE: Kentucky State AFL-CIO President Bill Londrigan says "thanks to allThanks to all those that attended today’s “Put the Middle Class First” Bus Tour event in Louisville and Lexington.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) - Putting the middle class first is the message being spread by Americans United for Change.

The "Put the Middle Class First" bus tour is making its way through Kentucky to encourage voters on November 4 to vote for Alison Lundergan Grimes, who has campaigned for raising the minimum wage.

The group came to Louisville's Metro Hall on Monday.

Americans United for Change is urging voters to support candidates who are for raising the minimum wage.

The group also says they want to ensure that women receive equal pay.

"This is about equity, it's about fairness, mostly about respect, but it's because it's in everybody's interest to make sure that everyone earns a living wage for honest work and that's what this is all about," said Congressman John Yarmuth.

Congressman Yarmuth says the minimum wage is 30 percent lower than it was four decades ago and that it's time to give middle class families a relief.

Executive Summary: After 30 years in Washington, Mitch McConnell is as out of touch with reality as he is with the people of Kentucky if he expects people to believe his “all is well” narrative. The truth is, the wheels have come off his campaign in the final weeks, as undecided voters break towards Alison and she rallies large, enthusiastic crowds in every corner of the Commonwealth.

Simply put, people who believe their (historically inaccurate) internal pollster’s data showing them leading comfortably don’t write themselves $1.8 million checks in the final days of a campaign. Candidates who are truly connecting with Kentucky voters don’t have to pay people to show up and act enthusiastic at their campaign events. McConnell may insist to the media he remains confident and holds a healthy lead, but his actions are those of a man who sees the writing on the wall as his 30-year record of failure in Washington comes to a close.


Despite The Millions McConnell & His Billionaire Friends Have Thrown Into The Wind, He Can’t Crack 45% in Any Legitimate Poll. That’s a Ceiling of a Losing Candidate. 

 

By ROBERT CREAMER, The Huffington Post

It's lucky for the Republicans that most general elections fall so close to Halloween. That gives them an excuse for their great bi-annual GOP Halloween Masquerade Ball.

This year the Republicans are doing their very best to prevent the voters from remembering who they really are and what they really stand for. They're putting on their "moderate masks" and the costumes of ordinary middle class Americans.

Why do they have to pretend to be something their not? Their problem is that most Americans disagree with their positions on just about every economic and social issue of the day. Voters disagree with Republicans on economic issues like:

 

By STEVE BENEN, MSNBC

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), in the midst of the toughest race of his career, still isn’t quite sure how he wants to present himself to voters. On the one hand, the longtime Republican senator is proud to be the nation’s top obstructionist, helping create the most dysfunctional Congress in modern history. On the other hand, McConnell wants the public to see him as the consummate dealmaker.

To help prove the latter point, the GOP incumbent cited an interesting example last week.

Though he hasn’t mentioned it much on the campaign trail over the past year, McConnell specifically touted his effort to push President George W. Bush’s plans to reform Social Security in 2005, which would have set up private accounts for retirees.

“After Bush was re-elected in 2004 he wanted us to try to fix Social Security,” said McConnell. “I spent a year trying to get any Democrat in the Senate – even those most reasonable Democrat of all, Joe Lieberman – to help us.”
We now know, of course, that Democrats weren’t interested in privatizing Social Security. Neither was the American mainstream, which hated the Bush/Cheney idea. But the fact that McConnell brought this up, unprompted, was a clumsy error from a senator who’s usually more disciplined.

 

By SHANNON McMURRAY, special to the Louisville Courier-Journal

In the hit series “The West Wing,” a character mistakenly refers to Kentucky as a right-to-work state. In defense of the show’s writers, you can understand their confusion. Kentucky remains the only state in the South not to pass one of these laws, which shows our political independence and common sense. But Republicans in Frankfort, Sen. Mitch McConnell, and a group of out-of-state, big-moneyed special interests are doing everything in their power to change that.

I strongly oppose right-to-work legislation because I love Kentucky and want a bright future for our children and grandchildren. Right to work is a sham. It is, as Martin Luther King Jr. said, “a false slogan” which will “rob us of our civil rights and job rights.”

Slogans are catchy. They are designed to get a quick emotional reaction rather than a detailed understanding. That is why I believe some polls show support for these laws. No one opposes the right of Kentuckians to go to work and earn a living. But slogans are also misleading. They do not tell the full story. A majority of Kentuckians also support collective bargaining and higher wages, both of which are under attack as a result of right to work. As people learn more about who is behind right to work and the harm it causes working families, opposition is going to grow substantially.

 

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   I asked Dan O’Malley how the old conservative wedge issues like guns, gay marriage and abortion were playing among working class Kentuckians this election cycle.
   “We’re not hearing that,” said O’Malley, Bluegrass State director for Working America, the community affiliate of the AFL-CIO that started in 2003.
   “Working America organizes people who don’t have a union on the job,” O’Malley explained. “This time of year, the organization reaches out to voters.”
   He said jobs and the economy are the issues that Working America is hearing the most about in the Bluegrass State. “Folks here have seen how the Kentucky economy has really taken a hit the past 20 years or so. People want to know what their next U.S. senator is going to do to put Kentucky first and rebuild the middle class.”
   

By SCOTTY PULLIAM

Looking forward to November 4th, there are a few things we need to bear in mind that were pivotal in the June take-down of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. You remember Cantor, right? Second-in-command of Republicans in the House of Representatives; heir apparent to John Boehner for the speaker-ship.

Going into the Republican primary in Virginia, Cantor looked virtually unbeatable. He was up by double digits in the polls over his relatively unknown opponent, an economics professor at Randolph-Macon College with tea party ties. When the polls closed and the votes were counted, underdog extraordinaire Dave Brat had reversed the numbers and won going away by a 12-point margin.

So the first thing we want to remember is this: Forget the polls. In the case of Mr. Cantor, his assumption of a big lead gave him a false sense of security which, in turn, led to complacency. Yes, the big lead became a big head and caused a big fall. Conversely, facing an almost certain shellacking, the victorious Brat ignored the polls and pulled out the biggest upset in recent political history. Polls are okay to give you an idea how your candidate is being perceived by the public but they are totally useless if voter turnout doesn't reflect those people surveyed.

The second thing to take away from Cantor's collapse is that no matter how much more money is spent on behalf of one candidate over the other, the one with the most votes wins. Cantor outspent Brat 40-to-1 and still got swamped. Why? Because dollars don't vote; people do. Citizens United gives incumbents an unfair advantage and is a lousy law but it doesn't guarantee victory. More votes does guarantee victory.

By now, it's fairly obvious where I'm going with this. It all boils down to voter turnout. If we get out the vote, we win. It's as simple as that. What's not so simple is getting it done. We have 13 days to call, walk, persuade, plead, cajole, cheer-lead or do whatever else it may take to convince our members and families of the importance of VOTING and voting for our labor-endorsed candidates. We have the numbers to win and less than two weeks to turn those numbers into victory. Let's GET OUT THE VOTE!

LOUISVILLE – Usually it takes a secret recording of Mitch McConnell hanging out with his millionaire and billionaire backers to hear him tell the truth. But in a rare moment of candor before the Louisville Rotary Club late last week, McConnell proudly boasted about how hard he worked to privatize Social Security in 2005.

After the electoral drubbing Republicans took for pushing Social Security privatization and the precarious state of his reeling campaign, it’s hardly surprising that Mitch McConnell refused to elaborate or answer any further questions about Social Security privatization from reporters after the event. As reported by WLEX-18 News:
“McConnell was also asked if he would push for the privatization of Social Security accounts if he became Majority Leader. McConnell said he wasn't going to say what his agenda would be.”

But in addition to his recent bragging, Mitch McConnell’s record shows he would clearly be an advocate for Social Security privatization if he became Majority Leader in 2015. In fact, Social Security has been a recurring element of McConnell’s 30-year record of failure in Washington. Back in the 1990’s, McConnell cast crucial votes in favor of early privatization schemes, and while campaigning for privatization in 2005, called the idea an “extraordinarily good investment” and the “way we can strengthen and save Social Security.”

 

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   “This is the most important election in your lifetime.”
   Politicians say that so often that a lot of voters don’t believe it. After all, elections and politicians come and go.
   But this time the statement is true for those of us who pack union cards in the Bluegrass State.
   If the Republicans flip the state House of Representatives a week from Tuesday, Kentucky will almost certainly become the 25th right to work state.

By ANNA BRAND, MSNBC 

In a new ad from Kentucky Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes, a handful of women from the Bluegrass state stare straight into the camera and blast Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell for his shameful 30-year record on women.

“Shame on you Mitch McConnell,” an African-American woman says, arms crossed.

“You’ve turned your back on our mothers, our daughters, and me,” another woman continues.

More women lambaste the Senate minority leader for voting against the Paycheck Fairness Act and declining to vote for an expanded Violence Against Women Act in 2012: “Instead of enforcing equal pay for equal work, you called it preferential treatment” // “You’ve stood against stronger laws on domestic violence.”

With a recent Bluegrass poll released on October 20 finding the candidates in a dead heat without a gender gap in either direction, both candidates are fighting aggressively over the women vote with the little time left until the midterm election on November 4.

 

By LAWRENCE LEWIS, Daily Kos

Have you had enough? Are you tired of being played? Have you figured out that the members of the major media are not your friends, and that they exist to mesmerize and manipulate so that you can serve their owners' ends? When was the last time a major news story made you feel better? How long did it last? Do the major media ever go 24/7 with something inspiring, or is it easier to suck you in by playing on your fears?

Remember ISIS? It was just weeks ago that a bunch of vicious terrorists videotaped themselves cutting off the heads of a few captured humanitarian Britons and Americans, and suddenly people halfway around the globe were terrorized into thinking it could happen to them. The media hyped it and the Republicans slavered over what they saw as a political opportunity. Then suddenly a man traveling from Liberia became the first person in the United States to become symptomatic with the Ebola virus, and ISIS was forgotten. A pandemic was coming! Break out your HazMat suits! Once again, the media obsessed, the Republicans with despicable cynicism tried to play the political angle, and much of the public was dutifully terrified.

This is what the major media so often do: terrify and terrorize. That's what Republicans always try to do: prey on people's deepest fears. And never mind that no American who wasn't traveling to Iraq or Syria ever was in any danger from ISIS, and never mind that Ebola is so difficult to transmit that not even one person who flew on a transcontinental plane or even lived in a small apartment with the one man in the United States who subsequently died from it ever came down with it. The major media held people enthralled, the Republicans sought to blame it all on President Obama and the Democrats, and in neither case was the general public ever at any risk.

 

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Louisville Courier-Journal and the Lexington Herald-Leader are Kentucky's two premier newspapers. The C-J, the state's largest paper, has earned 10 Pulitzer Prizes. The H-L, the second largest paper, has earned three Pulitzers.  

The Lexington Herald-Leader and the Louisville Courier-Journal have endorsed Alison Lundergan Grimes for the U.S. Senate. The editorials are in today's editions of the two papers.

Lexington Herald-Leader editorial

Elect Grimes to Senate for a better future

As targets of probably the costliest U.S. Senate race ever, Kentuckians should do themselves — and the country — a favor by electing Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.

 

LOUISVILLE – Over the last week, Mitch McConnell confirmed to Kentuckians that he’s an out-of-touch DC insider who stands with the billionaires who are trying to buy his way back to Washington for another six years of gridlock and dysfunction.

McConnell sees the writing on the wall, and is starting to crack under the mounting pressure of the impending end to his 30-year career in Washington. He’s hit rock bottom, resorting strictly to deceptions and absurdly false attacks against Alison. This past week:

McConnell’s latest disingenuous ad targeting women was thoroughly discredited, featuring a woman from Pennsylvania and airbrushing over his anti-women record;

McConnell wrote himself a nearly $2 million check to prop up his flailing campaign;

McConnell bizarrely reaffirmed his deeply unpopular plan to privatize Social Security;
Local media continually hounded McConnell for buying “enthusiasm” for campaign events;

McConnell told Kentuckians: elect me to run the Senate and I’ll tell you my agenda after the election.

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   Reporters are still bird-dogging Sen. Mitch McConnell over a story in The Hill that said his campaign offered to pay volunteers to help boost “an enthusiastic atmosphere” at his campaign rallies.
   The other day, Louisville’s WAVE TV ran a news story featuring McConnell’s response to the continuing controversy. Predictably, the senate majority leader wannabe tried to fluff it all off.
   But what got my attention was how the WAVE story ended:
“McConnell also faced a question…about whether if he became majority leader he would push legislation to offer privatized accounts for Social Security. McConnell said he wasn’t going to say what his agenda would be” [Italics mine].

By TRIP GABRIEL, The New York Times

In the tug-of-war for women’s votes in Kentucky, Senator Mitch McConnell has released a new ad starring four “young Kentucky women’’ criticizing his Democratic opponent, Alison Lundergan Grimes. But one of the women appears to be registered to vote in Pennsylvania, not Kentucky.

That woman, Dallas Knierman, who criticizes Ms. Grimes in the ad because “she wants me to believe that strong women and strong values are incompatible,’’ is registered in Mercer County, Pa., according to both states’ voter databases. On a personal blog, Ms. Knierman says she is student at the University of Louisville “hailing from Pennsyltucky.’’

A spokeswoman for the McConnell campaign, Allison Moore, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

 

Washington DC – Americans United for Change has hit the road with the national “Put the Middle Class First” bus tour to help drive home the clear choice before voters on November 4 between having a Democratic Congress that works for them or a Tea Party Congress that works for corporate special interests like the Koch brothers. NEXT STOP: Kentucky on Monday, October 27th, 2014, first in Louisville at 10:00 a.m. ET, followed Lexington at 2 p.m. ET. (SEE DETAILS BELOW.)

With the backdrop of the 45’ long ‘fair shot advocate on wheels’, Americans United will be joined by Congressman John Yarmuth, Elisabeth Jensen, Candidate for Kentucky’s 6th Congressional district, local state representatives, candidates, paycheck fairness and seniors’ advocates who agree that a strong economy can only be built to last from the middle-out.

 

 LOUISVILLE – As public and internal polling confirm that undecided voters are breaking Alison Lundergan Grimes’s way, there is no question that Kentucky is on track to make history in just 11 days’ time.

The wind is at Alison’s back in the final stretch. This week:
Thousands of Kentuckians joined Alison and President Bill Clinton in Owensboro and Paducah for a series of high-energy jobs rallies;

Alison continued to crisscross the Commonwealth and outmaneuver McConnell on the ground;

Polls show Grimes is on a winning trajectory to defeat Mitch McConnell.

 

EDITOR'S NOTE: More photos of the rally can be viewed by clicking on "Photo Albums" on the site's home page.

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   Former president Bill Clinton, stumping for Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes in Paducah, revealed his version of how Sen. Mitch McConnell is trying to con voters by tying her to President Barack Obama.
   “Now here’s what the real message is,” Clinton told about 1,800 Grimes partisans who jammed the McCracken County High School gym.
   Grinning broadly and standing before a huge American flag reminiscent of the opening scene from the movie Patton, he pretended to be the senate majority leader wannabe: “I know you don’t like the president.

 

GRAYSON – Never mind the people of Kentucky – whose interests Mitch McConnell long ago abandoned during his 30-year career in Washington – does Mitch McConnell even know what’s going on within his own campaign?

After multiple news reports showing that McConnell has been paying “volunteers” to generate “enthusiasm” at bus tour events across Kentucky – in the form of warm bodies to fill his campaign events – the Senator was finally asked why he would need to do such a thing unless he’d truly lost touch with Kentuckians in the communities he was visiting.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was posted on the Forbes website on Dec. 11, 2012. It is still timely, especially in Kentucky where the Republican Party is pushing a right to work law.

By RICK UNGER
One of the enduring myths of legislation designed to bring ‘right-to-work’ laws to the states is the notion that these laws actually have something to do with the right to work.

They decidedly do not.

While—as we will see—the misnomer has nothing whatsoever to do with granting anyone a right to get work or protecting those who have a job from losing it, this “misunderstanding-by-design” has not prevented the Michigan legislature from sending two bills to the desk of Governor Rick Snyder.—legislation that, upon execution, will turn Michigan into the 24th state to adopt right-to-work laws.
Accordingly, this seems an appropriate moment to set the record straight on what these laws are, in actuality, intended to achieve.

Let’s begin by noting that many Americans continue to believe that unionism is based around the concept of the ‘closed shop’ —an agreement between an employer and the union representing the employer’s workers requiring that the employer hire only labor union members or, if nonmembers are employed, they must become a member of the union within a stated period of time or lose their job.

Not true.

 

By STEVE BENEN, MSNBC

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) knows the value of a strong closing message. The incumbent senator is in the midst of the toughest race of his lengthy career – polls show him clinging to a tiny lead over Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) – and with very little time remaining, McConnell wants to sprint to the finish line with his strongest message.

And yet, for some reason, the longtime lawmaker has chosen to emphasize women’s issues in his final pitch.

 

EDITOR'S NOTE: Jeanie Embry of Paducah, our friend at the Bluegrass Rural PAC bluegrass-rural.com sent us this musing.
   The Republican Party is dominated by cheap-labor conservatives. "What's a cheap-labor conservative?" you might ask. Cheap-labor conservatives defy a physical description, but they can be identified. Here's how:
   Cheap labor conservatives:
…oppose a woman’s right to choose. Why? Unwanted children are an economic burden that put poor women over a barrel, forcing them to work cheap.
…encourage racism, misogyny, homophobia and other forms of bigotry. Why? Bigotry among wage earners distracts them, and keeps them from recognizing their common interests as wage earners.
 

 LOUISVILLE – Today, Grimes campaign manager Jonathan Hurst released the following statement on the increasingly desperate McConnell campaign's shoddy internal polling:

"We knew the McConnell camp was scared, but the timing of this release -- with public polls showing the wind at our back and undecideds breaking our way, huge grassroots momentum across the entire Commonwealth, and an enormous amount of energy following statewide events with both Clintons -- couldn't be more transparent. Mitch McConnell can sense his 30 years in Washington are dangerously close to an end, and a two-paragraph memo from a pollster with a terrible track record only shows how terrified they've truly become."

 


By DAVID NIR, Daily Kos Elections

KY-Sen: Mitch McConnell did not like that new PPP poll very much-the one showing Democrat Alison Grimes leading him 48-46-so he's fighting back with his own internal from Voter/Consumer Research that has him up 49-42. Of course, that flies in the face of just about every legitimate poll of this heavily polled race, but there's also the fact that, like so many Republican pollsters, VCR is pathetic.

In Hawaii's Senate race last cycle, they found Democrat Mazie Hirono leading Republican Linda Lingle just 47-43 a few weeks before Election Day, and earlier in the race, they even showed Lingle up 5. Hirono won by 25 points. They blew the Democratic primary as well, showing Hirono just 1 point ahead of Ed Case, whom she crushed by 16.

That's not all. They had Mitt Romney leading Barack Obama by 1 in Iowa in September, when everyone but Rasmussen had the president ahead. He went on to win by 6.

 

By BILL LONDRIGAN
President, Kentucky State AFL-CIO

   Frankfort, Ky. -- Just like the Kentucky Derby, this senate race is most anticipated race in the country. This senate horse race is neck and neck going into the final turn and whoever crosses the finish line will be determined by which candidate gets the most voters out on November 4th. It will come down to who has the best ground game. This race is a tossup.
   Our members are having conversations with people all across Kentucky and they are all saying the same thing, 30 years of Mitch McConnell has not worked for working Kentuckians. In the final days of the campaign, we will continue to send out campaign mail pieces and pass out leaflets at worksites all across Kentucky. We will continue to make phone calls and knock on doors because there is only one choice for working Kentuckians, Alison Lundergan Grimes. The voters of Kentucky want fresh, new leadership to represent them. Alison does not have to pay for enthusiasm, it is the real deal.

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   The new Bluegrass Poll seems to prove Team Switch’s contention that the last Bluegrass Poll wasn’t an “outlier,” pollster-speak for a survey that’s the exception, not the rule.
   Released Monday, the survey had Sen. Mitch McConnell up 43-42 over Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes. The previous Bluegrass Poll put Grimes out front, 46-44.   Both surveys were well within the margin of error.
   The new poll “confirms yet again that the 15-month campaign plan from which we have never wavered has Alison poised for a narrow but decisive victory on November 4th,” said a Monday statement from Grimes campaign manager Jonathan Hurst.

By ALEXANDRA JAFFE, The Hill

EDITOR’S NOTE: This old newspaper feature writer and columnist can confirm Jaffe’s story. Long ago, I was on assignment at a Fancy Farm picnic when this busload of McConnell supporters rolled up, from Louisville, I think. I asked a passenger, a guy in his late teens or early 20s, why he was for McConnell. He said he wasn’t all that into politics. He said the McConnell campaign paid him to come to Fancy Farm and root for the senator.

 

The Kentucky Republican Party is offering volunteers all-expenses-paid trips to join Sen. Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) campaign bus tour and "contribute to an enthusiastic atmosphere" at his events.

In an email sent earlier this month and obtained by The Hill, Taylor Bumgardner, a Kentucky Republican Party regional political director, offers volunteers the opportunity to join McConnell on his tour, which launched Monday. Meals, lodging and transportation are included in the trip.

"Senator McConnell is seeking volunteers to join him on a 3-day campaign bus tour around the state on October 20-22 to show our support for Kentucky coal. You would join local supporters in contributing to an enthusiastic atmosphere at each of his events," she wrote.

 

LOUISVILLE – After repeatedly stonewalling questions about what he knew regarding campaign manager Jesse Benton’s role in a federal bribery-for-endorsement scandal—a scandal that saw Benton resign in disgrace—McConnell insisted “we’re moving on” in an interview on September 2nd. Apparently McConnell and his campaign were not quite done “moving on,” as new FEC records show an additional $5,000 payment to Benton the next day.

Benton was subpoenaed in July, more than a month before his resignation, and evidence shows his deputy Dimitri Kesari made cash payments of which Benton had explicit knowledge regarding negotiations in what federal investigators are calling the “focus of the probe.”

 

Editor:
   What are the odds? On page A10 of today's Courier-Journal, an Associated Press article authored by Adam Beam violated what seems to be a "media ban" on telling the truth about so-called "right to work" laws.
   The headline reads Local governments push minimum wage, right-to-work laws and the article deals with Republicans who apparently can't kill efforts to raise the minimum wage and/or get RTW passed on a federal and statewide basis. So they are introducing bills in municipal governments, which shouldn't come as a surprise to anybody.
   Heretofore, typically speaking, newspaper articles referring to RTW laws describe them by saying merely that they would "outlaw mandatory membership in a labor union as a condition of employment". Apparently Mr. Beam has dug a little deeper than his peers in researching this particular story. Following a statement regarding Democrats in Louisville attempting to increase the minimum wage locally he writes, "In more conservative areas, Republicans have pushed back by trying to pass local laws that would weaken unions". Laws that would weaken unions! When was the last time you read that in reference to RTW in a mainstream publication? Allow me. NEVER!
   

By SCOTTY PULLIAM
   I saw a campaign commercial for Mitch McConnell the other day that stated, “We can't trust Alison Grimes”. I wondered how many people would actually cast a vote for McConnell based on that slanderous assumption. Well over a hundred million dollars is being spent on this one race alone to saturate the airwaves and the Internet with lies, half-truths and vicious attacks containing very little useful information and apparently that works for a lot of voters. Sadly, it seems many of us don't want to be bothered with doing a little research to find out what is in our best interest.
   For those who actually do want to be well informed, I humbly offer some food for thought. While Alison Lundergan Grimes has a limited political resume, having served about two-thirds of a four-year term as Kentucky Secretary of State, there is quite a bit of readily available information about her in print. Although she has been politically active since early childhood, following her graduation from law school, Mrs. Grimes worked from 2004 to 2011 as an associate in private practice with a Lexington law firm. Mitch McConnell, on the other hand, has a long history in the public eye dating to 1968. And yet, there is much about him that is shrouded in secrecy. And that, my brothers and sisters, is cause for concern.

 

EDITOR:
   For years, State Rep. David Floyd has told the working people of Nelson County that he isn't for right to work for less. But his comments in debates and his actions when the House is in session in Frankfort contradict what he says back home.
   Rep. Floyd told David Avis, a member of our union local, that he has never been for RTW for less and that when he co-sponsored bills to end prevailing wage and make Kentucky a RTW for less State (2013 H.B. 308) he showed "bad judgment" and acted out of "frustration."
   When Dick Heaton ran against him in 2012, Jeremy Goff, another member of our local, asked Floyd his position on RTW for less. In a public debate held in New Haven, Rep. Floyd said he wasn't for RTW for less.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Louisville Courier-Journal, Kentucky’s largest newspaper, said self-promotion was the theme of McConnell’s speech at this year’s Fancy Farm political picnic, the largest event of its kind the state, and maybe the country:

“Mr. McConnell…listed as his top priority…himself.

“‘There’s only one way to begin to go in a different direction,’ he thundered in the closing line to a speech that lasted under six minutes. ‘That’s to change the Senate and make me the leader of the new majority and take America in a different direction.’

“While identifying his personal advancement to Senate majority leader as an overriding goal, Mr. McConnell gave scant attention to the more than 4 million Kentuckians he represents in Washington….So it appears that after five terms and 30 years in the U.S. Senate, for Mr. McConnell, it’s all about me.”

LOUISVILLE – This weekend, Mitch McConnell finally acknowledged what Kentuckians have known all along: that his desire to return to Washington is “obviously…self-serving:”

“I’m hoping — obviously it’s self-serving — but I'm hoping the American people would like to try something different.” – Mitch McConnell [Herald-Leader, 10/19/14]

EDITOR’S NOTE: This essay by Edwin Lyngar that appeared in Salon on July 16, 2014. It as timely as ever as election day draws nigh.
By EDWIN LYNGAR
Salon

   I was a 20-year-old college dropout with no more than $100 in the bank the day my son was born in 1994. I’d been in the Coast Guard just over six months. Joining the service was my solution to a lot of problems, not the least of which was being married to a pregnant, 19-year-old fellow dropout. We were poor, and my overwhelming response to poverty was a profound shame that drove me into the arms of the people least willing to help — conservatives.
    Just before our first baby arrived, my wife and I walked into the social services office near the base where I was stationed in rural North Carolina. “You qualify for WIC and food stamps,” the middle-aged woman said. I don’t know whether she disapproved of us or if all social services workers in the South oozed an understated unpleasantness. We took the Women, Infants, Children vouchers for free peanut butter, cheese and baby formula and got into the food stamp line.
   Looking around, I saw no other young servicemen. Coming from the white working class, I’d always been taught that food stamps were for the “others” — failures, drug addicts or immigrants, maybe — not for real Americans like me. I could not bear the stigma, so we walked out before our number was called.

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   "Elections belong to the people. It's their decision. If they decide to turn their backs on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will have to sit on their blisters." -- Abraham Lincoln.
   About this time four years ago, I was driving past a western Kentucky Walmart and spotted a woman in a “Rand Paul for Senate” tee shirt loading groceries into an old compact car.
   Based on her wheels, I guessed the shopper lives far from Easy Street.
   I saw the same car pulling out of the Walmart the other day. A fresh “Team Mitch” sticker was on the back bumper.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We enjoy hearing from our readers. Tell us what’s on your mind. Make it short, or go long. We want to hear from you.
Dear Editor:
McConnell is trying to play both sides on Ebola of course. According to the talking heads there are no direct flights from that part of the world. All flights go through Europe before passengers come here. So the question to McConnell should be: Do you ban flights from Europe? It's all continuing election bull to change the conversation from the Party of NO!
Jimmie Johnson
Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 184
Paducah

 

By CHUCK STINNETT, The Gleaner

HENDERSON, Ky. - The Tri-county Council of Labor expressed its gratitude to United Mine Workers of America International President Cecil Roberts in Henderson on Saturday night for fighting for Peabody Coal Co. and Patriot Coal Corp. retirees whose promised lifetime health benefits were threatened.

Kentucky State AFL-CIO President Bill Londrigan presented the council’s Platinum Award Community Service Award to Cecil at its 18th annual Awards Banquet.

“It is, it is said, easy to sit up and take notice,” labor council President John Coomes declared. “What is difficult is standing up and taking action. Tonight we are celebrating the fact that someone stood up and took that action. Tonight we are celebrating the leadership, enthusiasm, commitment and sheer hard work of International President of the United Mineworkers of America Cecil Roberts.”

 

By JOSEPH GERTH, Louisville Courier-Journal

Sen. Mitch McConnell is fond of drawing a connection between Alison Lundergan Grimes and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, of Nevada, and suggesting that she will do his bidding for him if she gets to the U.S. Senate.

And while Reid’s Senate Majority PAC has spent nearly $2.4 million on television ads propping up Grimes, it might not be to Reid whom she owes her biggest debt in Washington if she can upset McConnell, the Senate’s minority leader.

 

By LARRY DALE KEELING in the Lexington Herald Leader

FRANKFORT — What a kerfuffle over nothing.

Folks at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee opted not to make another television ad buy (at this time) in support of Alison Lundergan Grimes' bid to oust Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and state and national media went all atwitter about the DSCC writing off her campaign.

Maybe the media pack shouldn't have jumped to a conclusion quite so fast. It appears the DSCC was simply shifting from an "air war" to a "ground war" in its effort to retire McConnell. The day after opting out of another ad buy, it contributed $300,000 to Grimes' "get out the vote" efforts in Kentucky. If the DSCC is writing Grimes' campaign off, it's doing so in a darned expensive manner.

 

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   No sooner did Scotty Pulliam read today’s Louisville Courier -Journal than he dashed off an email to me here in deep western Kentucky.
   “If everything we've written doesn't convince people this is going to happen, perhaps reading it in the C-J will!” suggested Scotty, a former business agent and president of Falls City IBEW Local 369.
    Retired though still a union activist, Scotty meant Tom Loftus’s front page article about how Republicans plan to pass a right to work law and repeal the prevailing wage law on public construction projects if they win a majority in the state House of Representatives Nov. 4.

 

LOUISVILLE – Today, Alison for Kentucky begins airing a new 30-second television ad entitled, “Feel Safe.” The ad features a testimonial from Markas Brunson, a son of a domestic violence victim, and highlights Alison’s dedication to protecting victims of domestic violence and her commitment to putting politics aside to get Washington working for Kentucky.


In the Senate, Alison will work across the aisle to raise the minimum wage, enforce equal pay for equal work and protect victims of domestic violence. As Kentucky’s first female U.S. Senator, Alison will continue fighting for women just as she’s done as Secretary of State and as a volunteer lawyer for victims of domestic violence.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Bill Clinton made campaign stops in Paducah the night before election day in 1992 and on Aug. 30, 1996. 

LOUISVILLE – Alison for Kentucky is proud to welcome President Bill Clinton back to Kentucky in support of Alison Lundergan Grimes.

On Tuesday, October 21, President Clinton will join Alison at get-out-the-vote rallies in Owensboro and Paducah. This will be the third time the President has campaigned with Alison in her bid for the U.S. Senate, and follows a hugely successful rally with Hillary Rodham Clinton and Alison this past Wednesday.

“The Clintons’ commitment to Alison’s candidacy is a testament to what a strong, independent leader she will be in the U.S. Senate,” said Grimes campaign manager Jonathan Hurst. “Kentucky is Clinton country, and we are honored to have both Hillary and President Clinton here in the Commonwealth to campaign with Alison in the final days of an election that will significantly impact the future of our state and our nation.”

 

By ANDY KROLL, Mother Jones

Many Ebola experts think that banning travel to the US from West Africa, where an outbreak of the deadly virus has killed thousands of people, would do more harm than good. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agree. But Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) can't seem to settle on a position. On Wednesday, he stumped both for a ban and for letting the experts decide—a same-day flip-flop.

In an interview with NBC News, McConnell was asked if he thought the US should ban flights from West Africa. "I'd leave that up to the CDC to determine what the techniques ought to be in trying to contain the disease," he said. He added, "I think we ought to listen to what the CDC thinks they need either in terms of financing or certainly they'll decide the procedures for travel and all the rest. I think we need to follow the advice of the experts who know how to fight scourges like this."

But later that same day, McConnell abruptly changed course. Asked by a Kentucky TV station about containing Ebola, McConnell said the US needs to "do everything we can to try to contain the problem where it is." He went on, "I'm not an expert on this, but it strikes me that it would be a good idea to discontinue flights into the United States from that part of the world."

There are currently no direct flights from the Ebola-affected countries to the US, the New York Times' Jonathan Weisman reported Friday.

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   Scott Pulliam, former business agent and president of Louisville IBEW Local 369, doesn’t mince words about the election.
   “Democrats in Frankfort are our friends. Republicans are our enemies. If Republicans win, union members lose. It's really that simple.”
   If they flip the Democratic-majority House of Representatives on Nov. 4, the Republicans promise to pass a right to work law and repeal the state’s prevailing wage law.

    In their debate the other night, Sen. Mitch McConnell took umbrage at challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes’s suggestion that he’s gotten cashing in on his job.
   A brand-new article in Mother Jones magazine suggests otherwise.
   There may be no Washington lawmaker cozier with K Street than Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.),” write Andy Kroll and Katie Rose Quandt. “DC law firms and lobbying shops are stuffed with ex-McConnell staffers and pals. And he uses them well to preserve his power and position.

LOUISVILLE – Yesterday, 4,500 grassroots supporters in Louisville and over 17,000 more via live webcast joined Hillary Rodham Clinton and Alison Lundergan Grimes for an energetic and electrifying rally with less than 3 weeks until Election Day.

To rousing applause, Hillary endorsed Alison’s jobs plan to grow our economy, raise the minimum wage, and enforce equal pay for equal work. She urged the crowd and Kentuckians across the Commonwealth, “to vote for a better future, not the same … to vote for their hopes, not their fears … to vote for their dreams and the dreams of the young people of this great state.”

“Let’s put another crack in that glass ceiling and elect this incredible young woman to the United States Senate,” Hillary said of Alison in closing.

Special from Jonathan Hurst, Grimes for senate campaign manager

 Executive Summary: The 15-month campaign plan we’ve put together and ridden to a statistical tie entering the final 20-day stretch of the election remains in place—and we’re confident Kentucky voters will choose a fresh, independent voice to represent them in Washington over the embodiment of Washington gridlock and dysfunction. Recent process stories and pundit hyperventilating have focused on issues proven to have no impact on the fundamentals of this race – and ignore key factors and data that will determine the actual outcome.

 

A new Public Policy Polling survey of voters in Kentucky finds strong support for increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, and that Mitch McConnell- and Republicans more generally- could face backlash for their opposition to the raise.

Key findings from the survey include:

-56% of Kentuckians support increasing the minimum wage to $10.10, compared to only 35% who are opposed. In addition to 70% of Democrats, 62% of independents and even 36% of Republican voters support the increase.

-Mitch McConnell’s opposition to increasing the minimum wage makes voters less likely to support him- and that could make the difference in what’s shaping up to be a very tight race. 39% of voters say McConnell’s stance makes them less likely to vote for him, compared to just 31% who say it makes them more likely to support him. McConnell’s postion has the potential to particularly hurt him with critical independent voters- 48% say it makes them less likely to vote for him, to only 27% who say more likely. Right now the Huffpost Pollster average shows McConnell and Alison Lundergan Grimes within 4 points of each other, so a position that voters say makes them less likely to vote for McConnell by a 8 point margin could really hurt him.

 

By JAMES R. CARROLL, The Louisville Courier-Journal

WASHINGTON – Late one night earlier this year, Michigan Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow was shopping in a grocery store when her cell phone rang.

It was Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate, and she wanted to talk.

"I have her cell phone and e-mail, and she has mine," Stabenow said.

In fact, that's an arrangement most if not all of the Democratic women senators have with Grimes and other Democratic women who are Senate candidates this year.

Call it the most exclusive women's club.

 

 

 

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   The news that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee evidently isn’t going to buy any more TV ads for Alison Lundergan Grimes has sent the celebrity pundits scurrying to their word processors to compose obituaries for Team Switch.
   “Democrats are pulling out of the Kentucky Senate race. Here’s why that’s important,” trumpeted a headline on “The Fix,” Chris Cillizza’s Washington Post column (at least it was the headline on the Internet).
   “The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has stopped its TV advertising for the final three weeks in the Kentucky Senate race,” Cillizza wrote. “That decision effectively leaves Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes on her own and is rightly read as a sign that national Democrats believe the race is effectively over.”

By ROBERT FARLEY,  FactCheck.org

Sen. Mitch McConnell claims in a TV ad to have “shocking” video evidence from Alison Lundergan Grimes’ “own staff” to prove “Grimes is lying” about her support for coal. He doesn’t.

The ad cites an Oct. 6 article in the Free Beacon about the videos, but the original source is James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas Action Fund. O’Keefe, a conservative activist, surreptitiously videotaped Grimes supporters saying the Democratic candidate doesn’t actually support the coal industry. But none of those featured in the ad is a paid staffer with the Grimes campaign, and all of them are expressing their personal opinions — not revealing campaign strategy.

Genuine support for the coal industry has been a hotly contested issue in the Kentucky Senate race. Both candidates have been outspoken in support of coal, and against Obama administration regulations of it, but both sides have accused the other of simply paying lip service to the issue.

 

By JEANIE EMBRY

Greetings from Western Kentucky.

I'm wearing my Bluegrass Rural hat at this moment and wanted to update you all on what we've been up to with this project.

Bluegrass Rural is a 527 'independent expenditure' committee -- a 'Super' PAC -- w hose mission is focused on voter education in rural Kentucky, and specifically, exposing Mitch McConnell's record to the voters in the rural parts of the state.

Forty-five percent of Kentucky residents are classified as rural, The Bluegrass State is the nation’s ninth most-rural state. Of the 120 counties, 85 are rural.

Rural voters are going to make or break this election for Alison Grimes.

 

 LOUISVILLE – Today, Alison for Kentucky is proud to announce our campaign has raised nearly $4.9 million for the final 21 day stretch. The campaign has nearly $4.4 million cash on hand – more than any Democrat in a competitive US Senate race.

Our strong grassroots campaign has consistently out-raised Mitch McConnell in three out of the last four quarters, as well as nearly every other campaign in the nation. Despite the record-breaking quarter, the median contribution remains at $25 and we’ve received a total 164,264 contributions less than $50.

“From Day One, this campaign has been about middle class Kentuckians and grassroots supporters from every county across the Commonwealth,” said campaign manager Jonathan Hurst. “We’re thrilled that our grassroots supporters are carrying this campaign forward during the final three weeks of this race, and our momentum has us primed to sprint to the finish line.”

COVINGTON – Today, Alison joined Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) for a joint press conference in Covington to underscore the urgent need for Kentucky to have a Senator committed to creating jobs, and improving infrastructure and public safety.

Following Alison’s strong performance at the KET debate last night, where she was the only candidate to outline her commitment to critical infrastructure projects, Alison continued speaking about her achievable, bipartisan plan to rebuild the Brent Spence Bridge.

 “We have to have a Senator that has a plan…not one that drives by, waves and says it’s not his problem,” said Alison. “This is a project that matters to Kentucky, to Ohio, to this nation and we have to build coalitions necessary to make sure it becomes a reality.”

CINCINNATI – Today, Alison Lundergan Grimes met with the Kentucky Enquirer editorial board as Kentuckians across the state tuned in via live webcast.

Building on Alison’s strong performance last night at the KET debate, where she was the only candidate to outline her commitment to critical infrastructure projects, Alison laid out her achievable plan for Northern Kentucky which includes rebuilding the Brent Spence Bridge and addressing the growing heroin epidemic.
“I will put partisanship aside” and “will work with anyone that has the best interests of Kentucky at heart,” said Alison during the meeting. “We have to fix the infrastructure here in Kentucky” and “close tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires.”

Alison demonstrated her strong understanding of the issues that matter most to Kentuckians as she outlined her commonsense, bipartisan action plan that will create jobs, grow our economy for the middle class, end tax breaks that ship jobs overseas and enforce equal pay for equal work.


 

LEXINGTON – Last night, Alison Lundergan Grimes’ energy and passion dominated the debate – striking a clear contrast with a “testy” and uncomfortable Mitch McConnell, who could only offer more of the same tired, old solutions to problems facing the Commonwealth.

Alison continued to put forward her commonsense, bipartisan action plan that will create jobs, grow our economy, raise the minimum wage, end tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas and enforce equal pay for equal work.

Forced to answer to Kentuckians, Senator Gridlock couldn’t duck behind the millionaires and billionaires who bankroll his campaign. With Kentuckians watching, McConnell predictably had no explanation for his 17 votes against raising the minimum wage or his belief that equal pay for equal work is “preferential treatment.”
 

 LEXINGTON – In an attempt to distract from his own 30-year record of Washington gridlock, Mitch McConnell continues to present a misleading caricature of Alison Lundergan Grimes. His very first words were an angry and shrill attack on Alison as a "partisan Democrat." Contrary to McConnell’s false, elementary criticisms, Alison will be a strong, independent and effective leader for the Commonwealth. Kentuckians deserve a Senator who will put them first, not one who prides themselves on the problems and dysfunction they create.

LEXINGTON – In last night's debate, Mitch McConnell attempted to obscure his record on improving the working lives of Kentucky women, falsely and deceptively asserting that equal pay is already the law of the land and a reality in our current economy. What he didn’t mention is that he has habitually blocked legislation to end pay discrimination and has even gone as far as to claim that attempts to give women equal pay amount to “preferential treatment.”

 

By LAURA GOLDMAN, Huffington Post  

Recent polls suggest Kentucky Democratic Senatorial Candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes, a 35-year-old Southern woman with the shoot from the hip style of former Texas Governor Ann Richards, is beating Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The key to Grimes' victory over a 30-year incumbent might be her hard and consistent attacks on McConnell's record on women's issues. He has repeatedly voted against both the Paycheck Fairness Act and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act despite the fact that women in Kentucky earn 76 cents per dollar a man makes.

According to an LEO Weekly transcription of McConnell's speech at a campaign stop, he claimed that gender pay disparity no longer exists. He argued that "we've come a long way... in pay equity and uh... there are a ton of women CEO's now running major companies." Research from Catalyst shows there are actually only 48 women (5.3 percent) that head a Fortune 1000 company.

McConnell, later in the speech, promulgates the notion that equal pay for equal work is preferential treatment instead of justly deserved equality.

 

By BILL LONDRIGAN, Kentucky State AFL-CIO president

It is my sad duty to inform you of the passing of the wife (Paula Kay Thacker) of National Conference of Firemen & Oilers (NCFO/SEIU) President John Thacker. Please keep John and his family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. The obituary for Paula Kay Thacker is below. Sincerely, Bill.

 

LEXINGTON – In last night’s debate, Mitch McConnell did what he’s done on coal for his entire career: he neglected the hard working Kentuckians who put their lives on the line to keep the lights on. McConnell saying that, “my job is to look out for Kentucky’s coal miners,” is simply laughable. McConnell’s Senate tenure is defined by a consistently unacceptable record on mine safety.

McConnell has repeatedly voted to gut protections for Kentucky’s mine workers, cutting funding for inspections just after major disasters like those at Sago and Upper Big Branch.

What’s more – even as reports emerge about black lung’s increased danger, McConnell has refused to acknowledge the problem and won’t support legislation to help miners and their families get the health care and benefits they are due and deserve.

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   In tonight’s KET debate, Sen. Mitch McConnell bristled at Alison Lundergan Grimes’s intimation that he became a millionaire by cashing in on his job.
   No way, he shot back at the Democrat who wants his job. The senator protested that Grimes knows he and his spouse got rich as "a result of an inheritance that my wife got when her mother passed away." 
   Joe Raese was even more candid four years ago: “I made my money the old-fashioned way, I inherited it. I think that’s a great thing to do.”

 

By JONATHAN HURST, campaign manager

Tonight, Alison Lundergan Grimes and Mitch McConnell meet at KET Studios in Lexington. Alison looks forward to the opportunity to hold Mitch McConnell accountable for his failed 30-year Washington record. It is not surprising that McConnell has repeatedly refused any joint appearances or debates with Alison throughout this race.

Again tonight, Kentucky will see two very different philosophies: Alison, who stands up for the working families of Kentucky, and Mitch McConnell, who stands up for millionaires, billionaires and Washington insiders.

 LOUISVILLE – Today, Alison for Kentucky releases a new 30-second television ad entitled, “Wendell.” The statewide ad features Senator Wendell Ford’s strong endorsement of Alison Lundergan Grimes and her commitment to working across the aisle to put Kentucky first, just as Ford admirably did throughout his career.

Ford, who understood as a legislator that finding common ground and compromise were signs of strength, not weakness, has been a model for Alison in her career. A welcome departure from Mitch McConnell’s petty partisanship, Alison will be a Ford-style Senator – independent-minded, results-oriented and unquestionably loyal to Kentucky.

 

By MATT L. BARRON, contributor
The Hill

Democrats are playing offense in Georgia and Kentucky in their fight to maintain control of the U.S. Senate and rural voters are critical to wresting both seats away from the GOP column this November.

In the Bluegrass State, Alison Lundergan Grimes has emerged as a good fundraiser and excellent retail campaigner, proving she really is like the "Kentucky Woman" that Neil Diamond sang about, as she tries to deny Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) a sixth term. Grimes needs to pull a huge vote out of the Louisville and Lexington areas as well as college towns like Bowling Green, but keeping McConnell’s vote down in the rural counties is essential if she is to win.

In the state's eastern coalfields, McConnell has used the "war on coal" as a cultural weapon to tie Grimes to the unpopular current occupant of the White House. "Everybody just hates Obama and I don't know what you can do to turn that around. I don't know why, it's like they're brainwashed," says longtime Democratic activist Linwood Hardy of Cadiz, Ky.

 

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360
   EDITOR’S NOTE: This is another in a series of articles on union heroes in Kentucky, some well-known or others unsung. But they all embody ‘Solidarity,” that old union byword.

   The West Kentucky Building and Construction Trades Council, AFL-CIO, was organized in 1908, the same year W.B. “Bill” Sanders was born.
   When Sanders died at age 91, he was still the Paducah union group’s executive secretary and possibly the oldest union officer in America. At 90, he was at least the “oldest living Building Trades official in the country,” according to Robert A. Georgine, a past president of the AFL-CIO’s Building and Construction Trades Department in Washington.
   Sanders became council executive secretary when he was 72. Before that, he was president for many years.
 

By MATT L. BARRON, contributor
The Hill

Eight years ago, when the Democrats captured the U.S. House and Senate, they did so largely on the backs of strong candidacies of moderates from rural districts and states. The party continued to add seats in the 2008 elections with a respectable vote from the countryside.

But all that progress seems like a distant memory today. With Senate control hinging on the outcome of races in four of the nation's 10 most rural states (West Virginia, Arkansas, South Dakota and Montana), Democrats have allowed what little rural electoral and policy infrastructure they once had to wither away and atrophy.

With the exception of a Native American outreach effort, the national party committees have no rural vote components anymore. When the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) announced its community outreach chairs in March 2013, labor, LGBT, New Americas, defense and tribal panels were named to accompany the women and Latino councils that were previously appointed. The councils are designed to keep the DCCC connected with various communities supportive of Democrats. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has no rural desk.

 

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   Kentucky State AFL-CIO President Bill Londrigan doesn’t care if Alison Lundergan Grimes, the labor-endorsed Democrat who wants Sen. Mitch McConnell’s job, voted for President Barack Obama or not.
   “This election is about Grimes versus McConnell,” Londrigan said. “He is the arch enemy of workers, and we need to be focused on that.”
   Londrigan found agreement aplenty in the mostly union crowd at Saturday’s “Stand Up and Fight Back” labor rally in Paducah.

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   Team Mitch’s website claims, “As the next majority leader, Senator McConnell will fight to protect Medicare for all Kentucky seniors.”
   I’ll believe that when hogs fly and kids don’t shoot hoops in Kentucky anymore – nah, not even then.
   I’m a 64-year-old union retiree on Social Security. I’ll go on Medicare a little over a month after the election.
   On Nov. 4, I’m voting for Alison Lundergan Grimes for a number of reasons, not the least of which is her pledge to safeguard Social Security and Medicare.
   McConnell’s vow that he’ll protect Medicare reminds me of the proverbial fox who promised to protect the hen house – and smiled, revealing chicken feathers stuck between his teeth.

By BRUCE SCHREINER, The Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, KY. — U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes is getting help from another Clinton — this time from Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The Kentucky Democrat's campaign says the former U.S. secretary of state and potential presidential candidate in 2016 will campaign for Grimes next Wednesday night in Louisville. Grimes spokeswoman Charly Norton said Friday the event is open to the public, and free tickets will be available at Democratic headquarters in all 120 Kentucky counties.

Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton, has made two trips to Kentucky this year to makes pitches for Grimes in Louisville, Lexington and Hazard in eastern Kentucky. Bill Clinton carried Kentucky both times he won the White House in the 1990s.

Grimes is challenging Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in one of the nation's mostly closely watched campaigns.

   LOUISVILLE – With less than 25 days left until Election Day, Mitch McConnell spent the week pumping the brakes on his already dithering campaign. McConnell’s ugly week was marked by the latest Bluegrass Poll, showing Alison Lundergan Grimes ahead of the 30-year incumbent and a majority of Kentuckians declaring that it is time for McConnell to go.
   The Senator proceeded to do his campaign no favors when he made a fool of himself by acting “unnecessarily combative” on the largest radio show in Kentucky – earning derision from Kentucky voters and media alike. This disastrous week culminated in a natural response from McConnell: a wailing cry for help from his billionaire buddies to bail him out.
   Kentuckians made clear this week that they are done with Mitch McConnell and his tired Washington ways – 30 years is long enough.

 

By JOE BRENNAN, Kentucky Labor Institute                                                                      

"Cuantos anos tienes? Como doce", was the reply. This child of twelve was sweating with the rest of her family in a Kentucky tobacco field. Yes, we still grow tobacco in Kentucky, burley tobacco, I am told. The harvest size has been reduced, farmers pressured to grow other crops, still there is a market both nationally and internationally for tobacco products. And there is a need for laborers, mostly Latino to harvest the crop. We all know about Cesar Chavez, but has anyone heard about FLOC, the Farm Labor Organizing Committee AFL-CIO? Most likely not. FLOC is just now starting to organize here in Kentucky. In any case, Maria is too young to join.

That doesn't mean that she is too young to work twelve hours in the fields. Child labor is cheaper than even the miserable pay her parents receive. Labor laws seem to have overlooked the hard manual labor performed by her and her parents. The Labor Relations Act of 1935, specifically excluded agricultural and domestic workers, and it still does. The fact that most of the adults working with Maria, some 90 percent, do not have proper immigration papers, only puts her family one phone call away from the Migra, Immigration. Tobacco helped make Kentucky what it is. It also helped poison many of the workers who harvested the then valuable leaves.

 

NEWPORT – Last night, Alison Lundergan Grimes joined several hundred enthusiastic supporters for a rally in Northern Kentucky.

With an excited crowd ready for a Senator who will put Kentucky first, Alison shared her commonsense action plan to create jobs and continued to challenge Mitch McConnell to finally answer to the people of Kentucky.

Yesterday’s spirited event outshined Mitch McConnell’s recent forays into Northern Kentucky during which he reminded area residents of his blatant disregard for the top issues facing the region, including rebuilding the vital Brent Spence Bridge and combating the heroin epidemic.

 

LOUISVILLE – Today, Mitch McConnell continues to take heat from media, pundits, Big Blue Nation, and Kentuckians across the Commonwealth alike for his “unnecessarily combative” and thoroughly embarrassing interview on Kentucky Sports Radio, the state’s most popular radio show. McConnell may try to dodge questions, feign affinity for UK and refuse debate invitations, but the people of Kentucky demand and deserve better.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING:

KSR Host Matt Jones On MSNBC: McConnell “Came On And Punched Me In The Face To Start With.” [MSNBC, 10/8/14]

 McConnell Refuses Yet Another Debate During Disastrous KSR Interview. “McConnell's Democratic challenger Alison Grimes was on the show in September. She agreed to a KSR debate. Here's McConnell's answer to that challenge: The only scheduled debate between the candidates is coming up Monday night on KET.” [WHAS, 10/8/14]

 

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   It looks like the fickle fellow of football and politics has gone over to Team Switch.
   I mean Old Mo, Momentum.
   It’s like we’re in the fourth quarter of a smash-mouth, slobber-knocking grid grudge match. Alison Lundergan Grimes has quarterbacked her underdog eleven to a slim lead over powerhouse Team Mitch.

By CURTIS ELLIS and HARRY WU
Special to the Cincinnati Enquirer

   Sen. Mitch McConnell is one of the strongest supporters of free trade and closer ties with China. Some say his attitude is a result of his marriage to Elaine Chao. After all, Jiang Zemin, China's former Communist Party boss and dictator, is a close family friend of the senator's wife, and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao praised her father for building up China's industry. Jiang Zemin, the hard-liner who took power following the Tienanmen Square massacre, is notorious for his repression of religious minorities and Tibet.
   It would be easy to blame McConnell's wife for his pro-China stance.
   But it would be wrong.
   

By SAHIL KAPUR

Talking Points Memo                                                                                                                

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) had an unusually confrontational interview on Wednesday with Kentucky Sports Radio host Matt Jones, who later described him as "needlessly angry" and "the consummate politician."

Early in the interview, McConnell emphasized that he supports sports teams from both the University of Louisville and University of Kentucky, telling Jones that that's "probably not acceptable to you, as an Obama enthusiast." He defended his fandom by pointing out that he'd attended both institutions, Louisville for his undergraduate degree and Kentucky for law school.

At another point, quizzed on the impacts of repealing Obamacare on Kentuckians, where the law has been wildly successful, McConnell interrupted and said, "Yeah, can I finish my answer?"

 

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   “A jackass can kick a barn down, but it takes a carpenter to build one,” legendary House Speaker Sam Rayburn famously observed.
   Kentucky unions think they have a master carpenter in Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democrat who is after Sen. Mitch McConnell’s job.
   The barn McConnell wants to bash is organized labor, says the Kentucky State AFL-CIO, which endorsed Grimes last year.
   

By ALEXANDRA BOLTON  

The Hill                                                                                                                                                                                     

If Republicans fall short of expectations this fall, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) could face a leadership challenge.

Republican senators say there is much riding on the Nov. 4 elections for McConnell, who is gunning to become majority leader while also attempting to defeat a well-funded Democratic opponent.

 

   Talk about birds of a feather.
   Sen. Mitch McConnell was in Atlanta Monday night hobnobbing with David Perdue, the Georgia Republican senate candidate who says he is “proud” to be an outsourcer.
   The issue of protecting tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas is one of the most important in the Kentucky Senate race, as it represents a sharp contrast between McConnell and Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democrat who wants his job.
   Alison has been vocal from the outset of the campaign that she would seek to eliminate these loopholes, and work to incentivize businesses to invest and create jobs in Kentucky. McConnell has staunchly protected these loopholes and the businesses that exploit them to relocate their operations and jobs overseas.
   In the past two weeks, McConnell has doubled down on his position. First he held a fundraiser and press conference last week with Mitt Romney, a well-known “pioneer” of outsourcing. And McConnell was in Atlanta to raise money for businessman and candidate for U.S. Senate David Perdue. This is the second fundraiser McConnell has held for Perdue in less than one month.
   

By JOSEPH BRENNAN, D.S.W., M.Div. 
Kentucky Labor Institute 

   Unfortunately, many missed Dr. Toni Gilpin's presentation on Local 236 of the United Farm Equipment Workers. This is my attempt to summarize the presentation for our KLI records, and for the inspiration of union members currently struggling for a just wage and safe working conditions. I realize that these lines may need some corrections and I would appreciate such for the sake of recording a valid history of those events.
   Local 236 no longer exists, nor does the International Harvester Company, nor, in fact, does the building in which production took place. What lives on is the history and memory of one union's example of worker solidarity and dedication to the struggle for dignity and union representation. What was once described as one of the strongest unions in the nation became that because of the strength of the membership, and the willingness to share that strength as one.
   Two of the outstanding leaders of 236 were Jim Wright and Jim Mouser, one white, the other Afro-American. The solidarity between these two men was to exemplify the unity that existed for ten year among union membership. In a city ruled by racial segregation, 236 stood out as a model of what could be achieved, and what was achieved, in the racial brotherhood created by the workers. The relationship that existed between black and white workers earned for them the self designated title of "the most perfect union".
 

LOUISVILLE – Today, Kentucky Sports Radio (KSR) host Matt Jones blasted Mitch McConnell for going back on his word to do an interview on one of the state’s most popular radio shows.

As McConnell loses ground in the polls, his behavior begs the question: why is Mitch running scared from Kentucky voters and media?

Rather than offer straight answers, Mitch McConnell continues to hide behind his millionaire and billionaire special interest backers. Consider the fact that in the last week alone, McConnell’s campaign has haphazardly gone up with six new ads.

Kentucky deserves better – 30 years of Mitch McConnell is long enough.

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   Talk about happy October surprises.
   “I’ve heard Mitch McConnell has never trailed in a poll in October,” said a jubilant Democratic Party activist from Paducah when he heard Alison Lundergan Grimes was up 46-44 in the brand new Bluegrass poll.
   The poll followed other recent surveys that showed the captain of Team Mitch pulling ahead. The Bluegrass poll did mirror a couple of Grimes internal polls that had her out front by one or two points.
    

LOUISVILLE – With 28 days until Election Day, the latest Bluegrass Poll confirms that Alison Lundergan Grimes is firmly in the lead.

Kentuckians are telling Mitch McConnell that his 30-year career as a Washington insider who puts himself and his party first is coming to an end. Despite the $40 million worth of negative, nasty and misleading ads McConnell and his billionaire backers have dumped on the airwaves, Kentuckians won’t be bought.

The campaign’s strong and increasingly motivated grassroots supporters continue to amplify Alison’s action plan to create jobs, grow our economy and work across the aisle to solve problems. Kentuckians' overwhelming enthusiasm for electing Alison is reflected in yesterday's Bluegrass Poll results showing her leading McConnell, 46-44.

Furthermore, the new Bluegrass Poll underscores the fact that a majority of Kentuckians believe it is time for McConnell to be replaced:

 

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   Union volunteers broke the century mark Saturday with 105 canvassers trooping door-to-door in neighborhoods across the state.
   “We had a great day,” said Arte Blanco, AFL-CIO Western Region campaigns coordinator. “Zone 2 had 43 folks at 3 staging locations earning them the top spot for all zones.” Zone two is the Henderson-Owensboro-Bowling Green area of western and south-central Kentucky.
   

LOUISVILLE – Political pundits and journalists predict that the hotly contested Kentucky Senate race between Alison Lundergan Grimes and Mitch McConnell will go down to the wire.

On Friday, appearing on MSNBC, The Courier-Journal political reporter Joe Gerth said he anticipated a slugfest over the last month of the election. “It’s going to be a close race no matter what,” Gerth said. “McConnell doesn’t have much of an edge in this state.”


Gerth discussed McConnell’s deep unpopularity in Kentucky, highlighting the 30-year incumbent’s high vulnerability. Gerth also noted that Hillary Clinton will campaign with Alison in Kentucky for a series of events in mid-October. “That could have an impact,” Gerth said.

LOUISVILLE – Today, Alison for Kentucky campaign manager Jonathan Hurst released the following statement on the Bluegrass Poll results showing Alison Lundergan Grimes leading Mitch McConnell, 46-44:

“Today's new Bluegrass Poll reflects the overwhelming grassroots enthusiasm Alison and our campaign see everyday across the Commonwealth. Throughout this campaign, Mitch McConnell has attempted to convince the Washington cocktail circuit and other pundits that this race is not close. However, today, Kentuckians made their voice heard: they are ready for a new Senator who will put the people of Kentucky first -- not one who cares more about his own self-promotion. Last week, our internals from pollster Mark Mellman showed Alison leading Mitch McConnell by the exact same margin, because Kentuckians continue to rally around her forward-looking vision to create jobs.” 

LOUISVILLE – With just 30 days to go until Election Day, Mitch McConnell is struggling to keep the one job he cares about: his own. Over the last week, Mitch McConnell was up to his old, tired tricks: dodging questions about his work to shut down a coal plant, failing to provide plans for Northern Kentucky, chumming around with outsourcing pioneers, and contradicting himself on the minimum wage. It was a lot of hot air from Mitch to reach the same-old conclusion: Mitch McConnell is more interested in a self-promotion than creating good jobs for Kentuckians.

Washington isn’t working and 30 years of Mitch McConnell is long enough.

LEBURN – This weekend, Alison Lundergan Grimes visited six Eastern Kentucky counties and challenged Mitch McConnell to finally answer to the people of Kentucky.

Rather than explain why he has repeatedly voted against commonsense legislation that will help Kentuckians, Mitch McConnell chooses to dodge and duck behind his millionaire and billionaire backers. McConnell hopes to buy his way to a self-promotion, but the people of Kentucky will not be bought.

Alison challenges Mitch to:

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360
   Hear the snickers?
   Turn around. It’s Team Mitch and the Republican Party of Kentucky.
   They laugh behind organized labor’s back every time there’s an election. Why? They always expect to sucker some union members into voting Republican.
   In the presidential election of 2012, for instance, about a third of union members nationwide voted for Mitt Romney, according to AFL-CIO-sponsored election night polling. (Romney, who carried Kentucky big-time, recently was in Lexington helping raise money for Sen. Mitch McConnell, the captain of Team Mitch.)

 MOREHEAD – This evening, Alison Lundergan Grimes challenged Mitch McConnell to stop hiding behind his millionaire and billionaire cronies and finally answer to the people of Kentucky. On issue after issue, McConnell owes Kentuckians answers as to why he chooses Washington gridlock and obstruction over the interests of the Commonwealth’s hardworking families.

Mitch McConnell will clearly say anything to get a self-promotion. That is the only explanation as to why McConnell tells the Koch Brothers and his Wall Street backers one thing – and Kentuckians another.

The people of Kentucky, however, are overwhelmingly sending the message that they will not be bought. Kentuckians are proud to join Alison in her call for Mitch McConnell to provide honest answers to the mounting questions he faces.

 

Editor’s note: Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Kentucky State AFL-CIO-endorsed Democratic U.S. senate candidate, visited the picket line Thursday.
By JANET PATTON
Lexington Herald-Leader

   About 170 workers at Bluegrass Station in Lexington went on strike at midnight Tuesday. By Wednesday, they were walking in picket lines outside the gates of the facility, which provides supplies for Army Special Forces.
   The strike is over unfair labor practices, said Bob Wood, spokesman for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. He said workers were being asked to take a pay cut of 30 percent to 50 percent.
   The union has yet to see the contact between subcontractor AllSource Global Management and Lockheed Martin that mandates the reclassification of employees to a lower pay grade, Wood said.
  

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT LOCAL 1360

   Attention Walmart shoppers.
   A western Kentucky friend just sent me this email: “Talked to a walmart employee today and they told me in their intro talk they are told if they are approached by anyone from a union, they are to immediately contact a supervisor. If they talk to anyone from a union, their hours are cut and basically they lose their job.”
   Want to know what a right to work Kentucky would be like?

 LOUISVILLE – Today, Alison for Kentucky releases a new web video featuring Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3) on why #AlisonCares. Rep. Yarmuth is voting for Alison because “she wants to create an economy that works for everybody.”


Following this week’s launch, Rep. Yarmuth is the latest Kentuckian to share why #AlisonCares. The Grimes campaign encourages all Kentuckians who want a better, brighter future for the Commonwealth to share their story by submitting letters to the editor, sharing photos and videos online and using the hashtag #AlisonCares on Facebook and Twitter.


 

By RONNIE ELLIS

CNHI

U.S. Senate candidate Alison Grimes got a boost from a social justice group Thursday as she tries to turn her campaign message to economic issues.

Grimes, who is challenging five-term Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell, was a featured speaker at a stop here by Nuns on the Bus, a network of Catholic nuns who advocate for justice and peace and encourage voter participation.

With the sounds of the Youngbloods’ “Get Together” playing in the background, speakers invoked the words of the U.S. Constitution’s preamble, saying it’s time for “We the people” to increase the minimum wage, an issue supported by Grimes and opposed by McConnell, and end the influence of big money in modern politics.

 

 LOUISVILLE – Today, Alison for Kentucky releases a new web video, “Rich McConnell,” spotlighting Mitch McConnell’s insatiable pursuit of the billionaires and millionaires who bankroll his campaign: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-X7vPU8ge3w.

Rather than work for the people of Kentucky, McConnell banks more money from lobbyists and Wall Street than any other elected official, and spends time courting the Koch Brothers, Donald Trump, Karl Rove and Mitt Romney. It’s no wonder that Mitch only manages to attend seven percent of his Senate committee meetings on issues important for Kentucky.

 

 LOUISVILLE – Today, Mitch McConnell visited Northern Kentucky with his same tired excuses and no plans for the future. Appearing at the Kentucky Enquirer editorial board meeting this morning, McConnell reminded area residents of his abject failure on the issues important to them.

Mitch McConnell said it himself: he has no plans for the Brent Spence Bridge, no ideas to combat the heroin epidemic and he’s still giving the same stale excuses for his failed leadership that Northern Kentuckians have been hearing for the past decades.

@Joe_Gerth: .@Team_Mitch making his final pitch. "I'm powerful. Elect me," sums it up. [10/2/14]
FACT: Last week, Mitch McConnell stopped in Northern Kentucky to admit he has no credible plan to address the region’s most pressing issues:

 

By FRANK BOYETT

The Henderson Gleaner 

HENDERSON, KY - “We are where we are today with campaign finance thanks to Mitch McConnell,” according to the U.S. senator’s Democratic opponent Alison Lundergan Grimes who was drawing clear-cut lines Wednesday between herself and the Senate minority leader.

“This, again, is a distinction and a difference between Mitch McConnell and myself,” she said, calling McConnell “the father of Citizens United,” the U.S. Supreme Court case that opened the floodgates of corporate and union money to political campaigns. “I think our democracy is too important to be auctioned off to the highest bidder.”

The Kentucky U.S. Senate race is one of the most closely watched contests on the national scene, and is shaping up to be the most expensive Senate race in the country’s history. But Grimes said it will be the common citizen who is going to bring change to Washington, D.C., “instead of the millionaires and billionaires” she said McConnell represents.

 

 LOUISVILLE – Today, Alison for Kentucky releases a new 30-second television ad entitled “President Clinton.” The statewide ad highlights President Bill Clinton’s strong support for Alison Lundergan Grimes and their shared commitment to standing up for the middle class.


President Clinton carried the state twice and has deep roots across the Commonwealth of Kentucky. He strongly endorsed Alison’s jobs plan to create good-paying jobs earlier this year, and the two have a solid friendship.

“I am honored to have President Clinton’s continued support in this race,” Alison Lundergan Grimes said Wednesday. “This campaign is about the possibilities of tomorrow and building Kentucky not just for our generation, but for future generations.”

Following President Clinton’s two record crowd-drawing visits to Kentucky, the new ad marks the President’s first advertisement for a Senate campaign in the 2014 cycle. 

By JOE BRENNAN

Kentucky Labor Institute
The following are notes taken at an organizational meeting of FLOC now organizing a drive for representation among KY agricultural tobacco workers 90% undocumented, 10% guest workers.

Union origin began with tomato field workers in Ohio and Campbell Soup - identifying farms that sold directly to Campbell, the "supply chain search" was an initial problem Efforts were directed at suppliers not packers ending in an 8 year strike when C was convinced to bring farm owners to negotiate together as one body with FLOC, and raise pay levels to prevailing wage. C. fortified contract by agreeing to supplement agreement with its own health ins.

FLOC extended coverage to other tomato companies and the pickle industry covering the crossover of field workers. The Keystone Group chaired by Dr. Dunlap, Dept. of Labor, and two reps. each from workers and owners entered into negotiations. An Accretion Clause, the equivalent of the card check, was included to cover the rest of the workers. Since 1935, agriculture workers have been excluded from the Labor Relations Act.

 

By BILL LONDRIGAN

President, Kentucky State AFL-CIO

Please join us as we welcome the “Nuns on the Bus” tour for economic justice and voter empowerment, which will be rolling through Kentucky Oct. 1 and 2. Check out the schedule below.

We need you to attend the Nuns on the Bus “Town Hall for the 100%” TONIGHT (Oct. 1) AT 7:00 p.m. at the Hotel Louisville – Please join members of the community and trade unionists as we highlight the economic problems facing working folks and why it is so important to vote on Nov. 4th!

Also, TOMORROW, we need you to help us welcome Nuns on the Bus to Lexington for three important events: 1) Labor Roundtable with your State Fed President and others at 10:00 a.m.; 2) Minimum Wage and Voter Registration Rally at NOON at the Courthouse Square with Alison Lundergan Grimes and your State Fed President ; 3) After the rally please plan to help us “welcome” Mitt Romney as the millionaires and billionaires gather in Lexington to raise more money for millionaire Mitch!

 

By ALISON LUNDERGAN GRIMES

Louisville Courier-Journal op-ed 

When Mitch McConnell speaks to the Koch brothers and the other billionaires who bankroll his campaign, he pledges to them what he will NOT do. He will not permit votes, or even debate, on raising the minimum wage. He will not permit votes, or even debate, on extending unemployment insurance. He will not permit votes, or even debate, on easing student loan debt.

I prefer to tell Kentuckians what I WILL do.

I will fight for you every day that I am in the United States Senate. I will put benefits for Kentucky ahead of partisan gain. And I will hit the ground running on Day One.

I pledge that I will tackle these six issues as soon as I take office:

 

A tentative agreement that would have allowed a single employee to operate a train on the BNSF Railway has been voted down by the membership of SMART union GO-001.

Of those eligible to vote, nearly 70 percent cast a ballot. And of those voting, 623 were in favor while 3,056 were opposed or roughly 5-to-1 voting against the contract.

“The trainmen on the BNSF have spoken  loud and clear”, according to J.P. Wright, co-chair of Railroad Workers United (RWU). “They have
demonstrated to the big rail corporations that train crews cannot be bribed and fooled by a smoke and  mirrors contract. They are not willing to sell out their safety and that of the communities they run their trains through to subsidize corporate profits.”

 

By AMELIA HOLLIDAY

Hazard Herald

LOUISVILLE—The incumbent to the U.S. Senate seat for the Commonwealth in this year’s general election may have taken issue with the construction of a coal processing plant while he was seated as Jefferson County Judge-Executive—well before his pro-coal stance had become such a concrete part of his political career.

The Courier-Journal reported in July 1984 that Louisiana Dock, a subsidiary of American Commercial Lines, and Convenient Energy were in the planning stages of building a coal-crushing plant and converting an old dock into a coal dock on the Louisville riverfront. The plant would receive coal from barges at the dock and would crush and dry it to sell to small industries that were at the time using oil or natural gas.

According to documents from the Louisville Metro Archives, then Jefferson County Judge-Executive Mitch McConnell received notice for the proposed construction in May, and responded.

 

By JAMES HOHMANN
Politico

Alison Lundergan Grimes’ internal polling continues to show her keeping pace with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky, leading by 2 points in the latest survey, conducted for her campaign through this weekend by Democratic pollster Mark Mellman.


Grimes is ahead, 42 percent to 40 percent, with 3 percent backing a Libertarian and 16 percent still undecided. She leads among independents by 9 points, 38 percent to 29 percent, and among self-identified moderates by 22 points, 49 percent to 27 percent.

Mellman’s memo to the campaign was obtained by POLITICO from a Democratic source.

 

LOUISVILLE – After getting caught behind closed doors telling his billionaire backers that he would not allow a vote on raising the minimum wage, Mitch McConnell is unmistakably trying to backpedal at home. Which McConnell will Kentuckians believe?

McConnell in June to the Koch Brothers: “McConnell himself seems quite proud of this legislative record, at least in front of an audience comprised of wealthy donors … ‘And we’re not going to be debating all these gosh darn proposals. That’s all we do in the Senate is vote on things like raising the minimum wage.’” [The Nation, 8/26/14]

McConnell on Friday when pushed by Kentucky reporters: “‘Yes,’ McConnell said,” when asked if “he’d allow votes on such things as the minimum wage” if he became Senate Majority Leader. [CNHI, 9/26/14]

 LOUISVILLE – Today, Alison for Kentucky launches #AlisonCares, a campaign initiative that will continue the campaign’s overwhelming online engagement with grassroots supporters across the Commonwealth.

Kentucky community leaders and supporters of all political affiliations will share their story and highlight why Alison Cares about Kentucky. To kick things off, Andrew Grimes – Alison’s husband and best friend who knows her better than anyone – is detailing why #AlisonCares:


The Grimes campaign encourages all Kentuckians who want a better, brighter future for the Commonwealth to share their story by submitting letters to the editor, sharing photos and videos online and using the hashtag #AlisonCares on Facebook and Twitter.

   LOUISVILLE – This past week, Mitch McConnell writhed through yet another horrific week, as he continued to dodge debates, fundraised with millionaires and billionaires and reminded Kentuckians just how far removed from reality he is.
   SNAPSHOT – MITCH’S DISASTROUS WEEK:
Runs From Yet Another Debate
Reveals He Has No Plans For Northern Kentucky
Remains Under Fire For Skipping Work
Hits National Fundraising Circuit, Receives “Speaker” Endorsement From Donald Trump
Attacks Members Of His Own Caucus For Bipartisanship
Refuses To Answer Questions About Working Against Kentucky Coal Miners

   

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   Kentucky State AFL-CIO President Bill Londrigan wanted more volunteers to staff phone banks, go door-to-door and pass out leaflets on behalf of union-endorsed candidates.
   So he sent out an “All hands on deck!” email to a number of labor activists statewide.
When Louisville labor troubadour and composer J.P. Wright got the cyber message, he grabbed his guitar and wrote a song, actually he came up with some new words to the old union classic, "Which Side Are You On?" He titled his version, “United We Stand and Divide We Fall, ‘All hands on deck!’ Is the union's battle call!”
   "It's sort of an old folk tradition," said David Nickell, a sociology professor at West Kentucky Community College in Paducah and a member of American Federation of Teachers Local 1360. "Keep the melody and update the words." You can hear Wright's song at https://soundcloud.com/john-paul-wright/which-side-are-you-on.

LOUISVILLE – According to new reports, Alison Lundergan Grimes is under attack from billionaires across the country.

It’s no wonder why the ultra-rich are pumping an obscene amount of money into Mitch McConnell’s campaign. As Mitch protects the interests of the billionaires bankrolling his campaign, Alison’s top priority is growing the middle class and improving the lives of hardworking Kentuckians across the Commonwealth.

Alison has laid out a clear agenda on the issues that matter most to Kentucky families:

Raising the minimum wage
Championing equal pay for equal work
Ending tax loopholes that ship Kentucky jobs overseas
Fighting to reduce Kentucky students’ loan debt

The contrast in this race couldn't be clearer. Washington is broken – 30 years is long enough.

By DAVE JOHNSON

Campaign for America's Future

Politicians need to know that the public “gets it.” So-called “trade” deals that were sold with a promise to increase jobs and prosperity have instead sent jobs out of the country and forced wages down. People get it.

Ask people what they think of NAFTA and you’ll learn that people get it. “NAFTA” is a catch-all phrase for these deals, like opening up trade with China in 2000, the recent Korea deal and the upcoming Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). All of these deals were and are designed to give the owners of giant corporations more power over the ability of We the People to demand fair pay, safe and reasonable working conditions and a clean environment.

People absolutely hate “NAFTA-style” trade deals. People are voting based on this — when given the chance. For example, the Senate Majority PAC is running an ad targeting Mitch McConnell for his support of “free trade” agreements that send jobs out of the country and force down the wages of the jobs that are still here.


 

By LANA BELLAMY

The Independent

If there is an issue in this year’s U.S. Senate race that can resonate with northeastern Kentuckians it is legislative efforts to combat the state’s illegal drug use, which seems to have reached near epidemic proportions in recent years.

On Wednesday, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate and current Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes called The Independent to discuss how her ambitious new drug policy plan could make a difference in the thousands of lives affected by drug abuse in Kentucky on a daily basis.

Her three-pronged plan to combine prevention, treatment and law enforcement efforts covers everything from federal funding for local programs to creating jobs that could lead to economic prosperity, which she said has a hand in preventing drug abuse.

 

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   I don’t know if two big photos hanging on Sen. Mitch McConnell’s office wall reflect cynicism or no sense of the ironic.
   Maybe it’s both.
   Anyway, a staffer for Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democrat who wants McConnell’s job, emailed a press release the other day that caught my attention more for what it showed than what it said.
   

By DAVE JAMIESON

The Huffington Post 

WASHINGTON -- The campaign of Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes has ripped her opponent, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), for siding with the coal industry over miners on issues of mine safety. But now the Grimes camp is extending that attack to McConnell's wife, Elaine Chao, the former secretary of labor under George W. Bush.

In a statement to HuffPost, Grimes spokeswoman Charly Norton said that Chao's tenure as head of the Labor Department, which includes the Mine Safety and Health Administration, was a disaster for miners.

"It’s horrific that rates of black lung disease have skyrocketed back to levels of the early 1970s as Mitch McConnell raked in campaign contributions from coal operators and Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao gutted standards at the Mine Safety and Health Administration," Norton said. "McConnell’s blatant disregard for miner safety and health is reprehensible and clearly shows that he’s more interested in serving the billionaires and millionaires bankrolling his campaign than our hardworking coal families."

A spokeswoman for McConnell's campaign didn't respond to requests for comment, and an email sent to Chao through her website on Tuesday went unreturned.

 

LOUISVILLE – Here they go again.

One thing is clear: Mitch McConnell’s desperation reeks through his dark money Super PACs’ latest “bizarre” and “hypocritical” attacks. The latest television spot from McConnell’s Karl Rove-front group, Kentucky Opportunity Coalition, shows just how frantic Mitch is as he resorts to attacking members of his own caucus by “criticizing Alison Lundergan Grimes for supporting the bipartisan immigration reform plan passed by the U.S. Senate last year.”

In a new web ad out today, the Grimes campaign highlights that McConnell will say anything to get a self-promotion:


 

 LOUISVILLE – Today, the Grimes campaign is proud to launch “Kentucky Women for Alison,” a campaign initiative aimed at mobilizing women and highlighting Alison’s strong leadership on issues important to Kentucky women and their families. Governor Martha Layne Collins, a Kentucky governor known for creating jobs, will serve as the official chair of “Kentucky Women for Alison.”

“I’m so proud to be a part of the launch of ‘Kentucky Women for Alison,’” Governor Collins said today. “That’s because Alison is the candidate in this race who will stand up for women – just as she has as Secretary of State. She understands that women of all ages, races, and regions still face barriers – and that we need a voice in Washington.”

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   Democrat Jesse Wright of Mayfield says bringing back industry to the second house district is his top priority.
   A right to work law is the way to do just that, says his opponent, Rep. Richard Heath, R-Mayfield.
   Wrong, says Wright. “One of the most damaging consequences of right to work is that it lowers wages. We need good paying jobs.”

By KENDALL BREITMAN

Politico

If you live in Kentucky or New Hampshire, that next phone call could be from Donald Trump.

Trump told Fox News’ “Fox and Friends” on Monday he might be making house calls this election cycle for Republicans such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, and former Sen. Scott Brown, who’s running in New Hampshire.

“I have a lot of people that want to run for office or who are running for office … and it’s not even the money that they want, they want robocalls,” Trump said. “That’s the new thing, you do a robo.”

 

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   Team Mitch is tooting the dog whistle again.
   This time, Sen. McConnell is letting a fan club borrow it. The Kentucky Opportunity Coalition, a group linked to Karl Rove, has put out a TV ad claiming that President Obama and Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democrat who wants McConnell’s job, aim to give “amnesty” to “illegal immigrants.”
   By tooting “amnesty” together with “illegal immigrants,” the KOC ad crafters knew a lot of Kentucky white folks would think Mexicans, not the 50,000 undocumented Irish and other white Europeans in the country.

By LEO W. GERARD
International president, United Steelworkers of America

   The GOP is working desperately to deny the right to vote to citizens it doesn’t like. You know, poor people, black people, Hispanic people, old people, female people, especially people it believes are inclined to vote for Democrats.
   Republican politicians have hatched a multitude of schemes in states across the country to accomplish this gambit, passing laws demanding specific voter identification at polling places, eliminating early voting days and purging voters from registration rolls.
   The right-wingers on the U.S. Supreme Court last year gave Republicans a hand in this effort by striking down key protections in the Voting Rights Act. Joining them this month were three Republican judges on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
In a rush-job, five-paragraph order issued just hours after the trio heard testimony, the GOP panel overruled a lower court’s 70-page decision and allowed Wisconsin to demand voter ID of 300,000 residents who don’t currently have it for an election that is less than 7 weeks away.

By Joseph Brennan, D.S.W., M.Div.
Kentucky Labor Institute

   The following is a series of quotes related to the minimum wage and economic inequality which were gathered for a presentation for a local group of decision makers.
   Jason Bailey, Director of the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, "Increasing the Minimum Wage in Kentucky" (2-3-14): Those who would benefit are primarily adults (particularly women), full time workers that rely on the income to make ends meet, not teenagers
- 88% are at least 20 years old
- 51% are at least 30 years old
- more are over 55 years old (11.7%) than are teenagers (11.3%)
- 54% work full time (at least 35 hours)
- average affected worker earns 55% of family income: averaged affected
parent earns 64%.
- if the minimum wage had kept up with growth in productivity, it would be
$18.30/hour.
- the share of Kentucky workers making wages below the poverty line for a family of four grew from 26% to 33% between 2001 and 2012.
- 46% of Kentucky's fast food workers are paid so poorly that they are
eligible for public assistance programs.
Increasing KY's Minimum Wage Would Help 1 in 4 Workers Make Ends Meet
basis of these studies, it seems likely that the increase in the minimum wage of nearly 25% (from $7.25 to $9.00 an hour) will have little or no effect on the number of jobs." (p.313).
 

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   Union-endorsed State Rep. Gerald Watkins, D-Paducah, has a message for right to work Republicans.
   “In the six years I was on the Paducah City Commission and in the two years I’ve been in the legislature, I have directly supported incentives that have created and or retained over 2,000 jobs for Paducah and McCracken County. Not a single company cited a right to work law as a factor in their decision where to locate.”
   Watkins, a political science professor at West Kentucky Community and Technical College, is running for a second term. His Republican challenger, Randy Bridges, supports a right to work law, which would enable employees at a unionized workplace to enjoy union won wages and benefits without supporting the union by paying dues or service fees.

By DERRICK GRAHAM

Op-ed in The State Journal

Providing our children with the best education and opportunities early in life is more than just an investment in the future — it is an obligation.

Kentucky suffers from one of the highest unemployment rates in the United States. Our economy is struggling, and has been for a long time. Tough times make for tough choices, and too many working parents are simply unable to provide their children the opportunities they need and deserve. We cannot give up. Investing in our children and ensuring that they have access to a world-class education is key to revitalizing our economy.

Early investments in children are not only critical to strengthening our children’s future, but also the future of the Commonwealth. Many studies show that the attention and education children receive in their early years is pivotal to helping them unlock their full potential later on in life. Early childhood education sets children on the road to success early, so that they can learn, grow and become productive members of society down the road.

 

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   A platoon of union volunteers fanned out across the Bluegrass State from Paducah to Covington Saturday, knocking on doors and passing out fliers in support of labor-endorsed candidates.
   “Special shout out to SEIU32BJ-NCFO and UFCW Local 227 for walking in Paducah for Gerald Watkins,” said Arte Blanco, Kentucky State AFL-CIO’s Labor 2014 coordinator. “Robert, Joe, Kevin and Luz spoke with some good voters about Gerald Watkins and Alison Lundergan Grimes.”
   Watkins, a Paducah Democrat, is seeking a second term in the state house of representatives. Grimes, Kentucky’s secretary of state, is the Democrat who wants Sen. Mitch McConnell’s job.
  

By RUSS CASSADY

Appalachian News-Express 

Citing an upcoming bus tour as the reason, U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell told the News-Express this week that he would not participate in a debate to which his opponent, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, had agreed.

Grimes announced late Tuesday that she was agreeable to appearing in a late October debate with McConnell proposed by the News-Express, making her the first to, according to News-Express Publisher Jeff Vanderbeck, “formally commit to all the parameters previously discussed to bring a calm and sober debate to Pikeville.

However, just hours after Grimes’ announcement, Vanderbeck was informed by McConnell’s staff that the senator would not appear at the debate, which was set to be held at the University of Pikeville.

 

By KEVIN WILLIS

WKU Public Radio

The Kentucky AFL-CIO is launching a mail campaign against Senator Mitch McConnell that the group says is part of a “massive political mobilization” that will also include knocking on doors, worksite fliers, and phone banking.

The labor group is coming to the aid of McConnell’s Democratic challenger, Alison Lundergan Grimes.

The state AFL-CIO says it will distribute over 70,000 mailers in the coming days attacking Sen. McConnell, saying the Louisville Republican has “been in Washington too long, and he’s lost his way.” The labor group blasts the incumbent for voting against bills that would increase the minimum wage and black lung benefits for miners.

 

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   House Speaker Greg Stumbo will join state senator and former governor Julian Carroll in firing up the crowd at Paducah’s Oct. 11 “Battleground Kentucky: Stand up and Fight Back in the 2014 War on Labor” rally.
   “Who better than Speaker Stumbo to warn us what will happen to organized labor if the Republicans take the house?” asked Sanderson, a retired UA international representative.
   The Republicans control the state senate. They have made passage of a right to work law a top priority should they win the house.

By BRAD BOWMAN

The State Journal

Words like “fair wage,” “forgotten veterans” and “support for working-class families” were repeated often during a Ditch Mitch Rally at the Capitol on Thursday, hosted by the Kentucky American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations.

Former 6th Congressional District House of Representatives Democratic primary candidate Geoff Young, retired veterans, and Bill Londrigan, Kentucky president of the AFL-CIO, spoke to about 20 attendees who shouted “ditch Mitch” during talking points Thursday.

Derek Pugh, a campaign consultant from the People For The American Way (an advocacy group founded by television producer Norman Lear), spoke and said one of the group’s biggest concerns was money.

 

LOUISVILLE – Mitch McConnell has revealed his true loyalties yet again: he has a specific agenda for millionaires and billionaires, and offers nothing for the hardworking people of Kentucky.

McConnell’s Two Agendas:
ONE FOR BILLIONAIRES: “We’re not going to be debating all these gosh darn proposals."

In a bombshell secret recording of an exclusive Koch Brothers retreat, Mitch McConnell promised the millionaires and billionaires bankrolling his campaign that they can count on him to do their bidding if they help him win re-election this November. On issues like raising the minimum wage, extending unemployment insurance and helping Kentuckians afford college, McConnell promised his party’s rich backers that he stands with them, no matter the cost to Kentuckians and this nation.


ANOTHER FOR KENTUCKIANS: “I’m not going to lay out what the agenda is going to be, if in fact we become the majority.”

 

By JASON EASLEY
PoliticusUSA

   ….It is an understatement to say that McConnell has been dodging a debate with Grimes. The McConnell camp clearly doesn’t want to debate the younger and more energetic Grimes. They are desperate not to put their candidate in a position where he has to share the stage with Alison Lundergan Grimes.
   The visual of Grimes and McConnell side by side could be enough to sway a close election to the Democrat. The McConnell folks remember how John McCain stacked up when he shared the stage with Barack Obama. McConnell would look even worse trying to debate Grimes.
   The McConnell strategy is centered around an extremely negative campaign that is focused on dragging Grimes down into the mud. They have no interest in any debates. McConnell is hoping to win reelection by carpet bombing Kentucky with negative ads about Alison Grimes. 

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   Here’s hoping the good people of Scotland – my ancestral homeland – will vote with their noggins and not their guts today and stay in the United Kingdom.
   I understand the romance and the allure of William Wallace, Bannockburn, Robert the Bruce, Bonnie Prince Charlie, the skirl of the pipes, the Highlands, heather and history.
   I’m crazy about all that myself.

By GABE LaMONICA

CNN

Now it's about family. A new heartbreaker television ad from the Democratic candidate looking to wrest Mitch McConnell from his perch atop the Republican Party in the Senate makes Medicare a gut issue.

The ad describes the struggle of Alison Lundergan Grimes' grandmother after her husband's stroke.

"My husband was a strong person, but the stroke just took everything away," says Grimes' grandmother, Elise Case, in the ad.

 

LOUISVILLE – Today, Senator Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) released the following statement on Alison Lundergan Grimes’ strong commitment to coal country:

I know Alison’s commitment to coal and more importantly her commitment to coal miners. I know Alison will stand with me to pass legislation that protects the pensions that coal miners have earned and deserved.

Alison has the courage to stand up to those in her party who try to deny that coal will be a vital part of our energy for decades to come, and I know that Alison will fight against the War on Coal right beside me in Washington.

 

LOUISVILLE – Today, Mitch McConnell is up with another intentionally misleading and brazenly hypocritical attack on Alison Lundergan Grimes and coal. It is Mitch McConnell and his wife Elaine Chao who have personally profited from the decimation of the coal industry:

HEADLINE: Mitch McConnell's Wife Sits On The Board Of A Group Working To Kill The Coal Industry [Yahoo News, 8/8/14]

Elaine Chao Sits On The Board Of An Organization “With The Expressed Goal Of Killing The Coal Industry.” “McConnell’s wife, former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, sits on the board of directors of Bloomberg Philanthropies, which has plunged $50 million into the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal initiative, an advocacy effort with the expressed goal of killing the coal industry.” [Yahoo News, 8/8/14]

 

LOUISVILLE – Late yesterday, after months of discussion and meeting in-person to discuss debate terms, Mitch McConnell snubbed coal country and rejected a serious debate in Pikeville.

Publisher of the Appalachian News-Express Jeff Vanderbeck affirms that all of McConnell’s parameters were met.

FROM WHAS-TV'S REPORT:

The publisher of the Appalachian News-Express, Jeff Vanderbeck, told WHAS11 that he had been in talks with both campaigns for months and believed they had reached a consensus.

“Grimes basically accepted everything they had required," Vanderbeck said. "The parameters McConnell set out have been met."

Contrary to one of McConnell's original debate conditions he listed in May, the debate would have been held before a live audience and included questions from a moderator (Vanderbeck).

"The coal region is big in this race," Vanderbeck said. "It’s about time the people of this region are being recognized as an economic engine for Kentucky."

 

By GLENN KESSLER

Washington Post


Video of President Obama: “We want to be sure we have got a pathway to citizenship.”

Voiceover: “Alison Grimes, proud supporter of Obama’s amnesty plan…”

Video of Grimes: “We need an immigration bill…giving a pathway to citizenship to so many millions.”

Voiceover: “Their plan? Citizenship for millions who broke the law. Illegal immigrants would become eligible for taxpayer-funded benefits. Food stamps, unemployment, even Medicare. Obama and Grimes: Two liberals for amnesty, too liberal for us.”

–text of a new ad sponsored by the Kentucky Opportunity Coalition

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second in a series of articles about Kentucky union heroes that we will post from time to time. Some of the heroes are well-known and others unsung. But they all embody ‘Solidarity,” that old union byword.
   Ermon Harp left her native western Kentucky looking for work, not a place in American labor history.
   She found both in Detroit, where she worked in a factory and joined one of the first-sit down strikes. The year was 1937. “They called us Communists -- and just about everything else you could think of,” said Harp. “But it didn't bother me a particle. We were the United Auto Workers, and we felt like we were doing right.”
   She felt that way until she died at age 97 in 1992.

 

LOUISVILLE – Today, the Grimes campaign is thrilled to announce that Alison Lundergan Grimes has formally accepted an invitation to attend the Appalachian News-Express’ U.S. Senate Debate at the University of Pikeville.

Secretary Grimes has accepted the following proposed dates. It is the Grimes campaign’s hope that Sen. Mitch McConnell will join Alison on either evening:
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Thursday, October 23, 2014
In addition to the joint KET appearance on October 13, Kentuckians deserve to have multiple opportunities to hear both candidates’ viewpoints and the real differences in their visions for the Commonwealth’s future. We remain hopeful that Mitch McConnell’s team will come back to the table to find dates that work for debate offers in West Kentucky, Northern Kentucky, Louisville and Lexington.

Alison looks forward to the debate this fall and appreciates the University of Pikeville hosting this important event in the heart of coal country.

 LOUISVILLE – In the latest ad from the Karl Rove-front group Kentucky Opportunity Coalition, Mitch McConnell’s allies continue to spread "intentionally misleading" attacks regarding Alison Lundergan Grimes’ stance on immigration.

Grimes spokeswoman Charly Norton released the following statement:

“Mitch McConnell voted against immigration reform that would have helped Kentucky farmers and secured our border by putting thousands more agents on the border. Alison opposes President Obama in any attempt to alter our immigration system by executive order and believes Congress needs to do its job and pass comprehensive immigration reform.”

The millions crossing our border illegally is a major, systemic problem that extends from the border to our backyards in Kentucky. This cannot be solved through a band-aid, piecemeal approach. Rather, we must deal with the problem in a way that is advantageous to our economic future.

In the U.S. Senate, Alison Lundergan Grimes has made clear that she will work with Republicans and Democrats to:
Oppose President Obama in any attempt to alter immigration by executive order
Champion immigration reform that is tough and fair
Pass comprehensive immigration reform that includes a tough, earned pathway to citizenship:
Learn English
Pay taxes
Have jobs
No criminal history
Mitch McConnell voted against comprehensive immigration reform supported by Republicans and Democrats that would have helped our farmers and helped secure our border by putting thousands more agents on the border. McConnell’s piecemeal approach will fail to pass, fail to solve the problem and is bad for Kentucky.

Today’s desperate attack is just another example of how far removed Mitch McConnell is from reality and how out of touch he is with Kentuckians. As our next U.S. Senator, Alison will be an independent problem-solver who will reach across the aisle to create jobs and always do what’s best for the Commonwealth.


BACKGROUND:

Politifact: Characterizing Comprehensive Immigration Reform As An Obama Plan Is “A Distortion Of Reality.” In May 2014, Politifact wrote, “But it’s a tough sell to pin the bill entirely to those two Democratic leaders, and by calling it a ‘liberal’ plan, Cantor conveniently leaves out that it had sizeable Republican backing. For starters, the bill is largely the product of the so-called ‘Gang of Eight,’ a group of four Democratic and four Republican senators who spent months working on the legislation before successfully ushering it through the upper chamber. Obama’s efforts were mostly behind the scenes. Perhaps the most significant addition to the Gang of Eight was Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who joined Republican Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and added a critical conservative and Latino voice to the debate. Someone on the left could just as easily call it the Rubio-Graham plan. It's far more accurate to label it a bipartisan proposal…That’s not to say it’s not a contentious or politically charged piece of legislation. But characterizing it Reid and Obama's liberal bill is a distortion of reality.” [Politifact, 5/28/14]

Politifact: Calling Immigration Reform “Amnesty” Is “Intentionally Misleading.” In May 2014, Politifact wrote, “In recent campaign literature, Cantor said the Senate immigration bill is ‘liberal’ and the ‘Obama-Reid plan to give illegal immigrants amnesty.’ Reasonable people might consider this amnesty, but it’s a much more rigorous path to citizenship than Cantor lets on in his flier. It’s certainly not a ‘give’ away. Further, the plan had significant support from both sides of the aisle, both inside the Senate and from outside organizations. The bipartisan Gang of Eight is credited with putting together the package, not Obama and Reid. Weighing all of that, we think Cantor is intentionally misleading Virginia voters on this issue. We rate his claim Mostly False.” [Politifact, 5/28/14]

Calling Comprehensive Immigration Reform “Amnesty” Has Been Called “Inaccurate” By Independent Fact Checkers. In 2013, Factcheck.org wrote, “We have no doubt that the term amnesty will continue to be used liberally throughout the coming immigration debate. We note that, as always, we take no position on any legislation, but the term — as applied to the Senate plan — is inaccurate.” [Factcheck.org, 1/30/13]

Factcheck.org: Describing Comprehensive Immigration As “Amnesty” Only “Misleads.” In 2013, Factcheck.org wrote, “Use of the term ‘amnesty’ predictably arises in nearly every immigration policy debate, but as we have noted when it has been used in the past, it is an emotion-laden term that misleads many to believe that plans call for immediate, permanent legal status for illegal immigrants, when in fact they do not. Neither does the latest Senate ‘Gang of Eight’ plan.” [Factcheck.org, 1/30/13]

 LOUISVILLE – Today, Alison for Kentucky campaign manager Jonathan Hurst released the following statement on Mitch McConnell’s latest desperate lie:

“In a sign of weakness, Mitch McConnell’s campaign scurried to respond directly to our latest strong ad underscoring just how worried Mitch McConnell is seven weeks from Election Day. This dishonest attack shows how little respect McConnell has for the voters of Kentucky. He’s throwing the entire kitchen sink at our campaign in one shallow ad, desperately hoping that Kentuckians will forget Alison is independent and has always put Kentucky first on coal, guns and the over burdensome EPA regulations. Her record and positions are clear. Mitch McConnell can’t run an honest campaign against Alison, and is now stooping to attack the straw man opponent he wish he had.”

 LOUISVILLE – Today, Alison for Kentucky spokeswoman Charly Norton issued the following statement on Mitch McConnell's vote against equal pay legislation:

“In the U.S. Senate, Alison Lundergan Grimes will champion equal pay for equal work because ending workplace discrimination and eliminating the wage gap will make Kentucky families stronger. Mitch McConnell has voted to deny enforcing equal pay for equal work for women time and time again. Kentucky families deserve a senator who recognizes that women making 76 cents for every dollar is simply unacceptable.”


 

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT LOCAL 1360

   “Super PAC.”
   You’re thinking Charles and David Koch, those union-busting billionaire brothers, right?
   Wrong. Think low budget. Think grassroots. Think tiny Melber.
The little Graves County community is headquarters for Bluegrass Rural – http://bluegrass-rural.com – a new 527committee headed by a pair of Kentucky women and a guy from Massachusetts. None of them are millionaires, or even close to it.
   “Our mission is focused on voter education in rural Kentucky, specifically exposing Mitch McConnell’s record,” said treasurer Jeanie Embry of Paducah, up the road from Melber.
 

LOUISVILLE – Yesterday, President Clinton lambasted Mitch McConnell for selling Kentuckians out to the Koch brothers.


The President chided McConnell for admitting to a room full of millionaires and billionaires at a secret Koch brothers gathering that the “worst day” of his political life was when President George W. Bush signed bipartisan legislation that increased transparency for campaign contributions.

As Mitch McConnell and the Koch brothers try to buy Kentucky’s Senate seat, the people of Kentucky deserve a Senator who puts them first – not one more concerned with a self-promotion.


 

By JAMES CARROLL

The Courier-Journal 

WASHINGTON - Former President Bill Clinton just made an ad for Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Well, not really, but it sure sounded like the kind of attack that would make Democratic ad copy against Grimes' opponent, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who is seeking election to a sixth term.

 

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   Do a majority of Kentuckians really support a right to work law?
   In a recent Bluegrass Poll, 55 percent of respondents answered “yes” to the question, “Should laws be changed to allow people to work in businesses that have unions without joining the union or paying union dues?”
   I’m not challenging the integrity or the motives of whoever wrote the question. But it was woefully incomplete and thus misleading.

 LOUISVILLE – Twenty years ago today, President Bill Clinton signed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) into law – a piece of bipartisan, commonsense legislation providing much-needed resources for the investigation and prosecution of violent crimes.

A staggering one in six women will suffer domestic abuse in her lifetime, but the Violence Against Women Act empowered victims to speak up and changed the way the nation deals with domestic abuse.

Despite the undeniably positive impact of VAWA, Mitch McConnell has repeatedly voted against it. What’s worse, he intentionally tried to mislead Kentuckians on his abysmal record of opposition to VAWA, releasing an ad touting his support for the bill that garnered a “mostly false” rating from Politifact.

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT LOCAL 1360

   “Do you repudiate Richard Fink’s remarks at the Koch retreat this summer?” a reporter asked Mitch McConnell the other day.
   His chattiness was caught on tape at the now famous Father’s Day fund-raising conclave hosted by Charles and David Koch. But when the scribe aimed a mike at McConnell, mum was the word from the senate majority leader-wannabe.
   McConnell had heaped high praise on the Koch sibs. He promised the billionaire Republican donors present that hogs would fly before a GOP senate under his reign would hike the minimum wage. Fink, a Koch political guru, compared any such pay boost to fascism.

 LOUISVILLE – Today, Alison Lundergan Grimes released the below statement following Mitch McConnell blocking a constitutional amendment to rein in unlimited campaign spending:

“At this critical time for our country's future, Sen. McConnell remains more concerned about the whims of millionaires and billionaires than Kentuckians struggling to make ends meet. My opponent shamefully admits that the 'worst day' of his political life was not the VA scandal or the Great Recession that saw 118,000 Kentuckians lose their jobs, but rather when Congress decided to limit the money his wealthy friends could give him for reelection. As Mitch McConnell and the Koch brothers try to buy Kentucky's Senate seat, the people of Kentucky deserve a Senator who puts them first – not one more concerned with a self-promotion and his own quest for personal power.”

September 10th, Frankfort –Kentucky State AFL-CIO President Bill Londrigan responds to Courier-Journal article “Ky. House GOP takes cue from Ala. Handshake”

“I made a statement last week telling you that I thought the Kentucky Republican Leadership’s Handshake with Kentucky could not be any worse. I stand corrected. Today it was reported by the Courier- Journal that the Kentucky Republican Leadership “borrowed” heavily from the Alabama Republicans to draft their plan. Let that sink in for a moment. They presented Kentuckians with old failed promises that will only benefit the rich and powerful. If Kentucky were Alabama or Texas, it would be all right for Kentuckian Republicans to borrow political solutions, some verbatim, from those states. However, Kentucky is not Alabama or Texas. Kentucky faces a unique set of challenges that require Kentuckian solutions. We need for our politicians to be capable of generating new ideas that address the specific conditions we face in the boundaries of our state. We don't need outside solutions; we are capable of making our own! We also need political representatives who are able to produce original ideas, not just cut and paste the ideas others and claim they are solutions for Kentucky. Remember what our teachers called this form of “original” work? We need hard working representatives who are willing to closely study the economic and political challenges that Kentuckians face. The importation of ideas from outside of our state will only increase the exporting our jobs and futures outside the state by Kentucky’s Republican Leadership.” 

By ALEX JAFFE

The Hill  

A prominent Kentucky businessman contributed $10,200 to Sen. Mitch McConnell’s campaign four days after the Republican leader appointed him to a government commission tasked with tackling hunger.

The timing of the donation is sure to draw scrutiny, as McConnell previously faced questions about a similar donation from a Delta Airlines CEO that shortly followed a breakfast the donor shared with McConnell in the exclusive Senate Dining Room.?

On April 11, McConnell appointed Spencer Coates, the president of grocery conglomerate Houchens Industries, to the newly created National Commission on Hunger, a nonpartisan committee meant to craft recommendations to tackle hunger and streamline existing food aid programs.

Four days later, Coates contributed $10,200 to McConnell’s joint fundraising committee with the Republican Party of Kentucky, according to his most recent Federal Election Commission filings.?

 

LOUISVILLE – Earlier today, Alison for Kentucky hosted a press conference call for reporters to hear from Mark Mellman of The Mellman Group on his new poll, which shows Alison Lundergan Grimes ahead of Mitch McConnell, 43-42.

 

Nate Silver rated The Mellman Group the most accurate campaign pollster in the country. 

From Mark Mellman:

“Alison’s positive job ratings as Secretary of State are actually higher than McConnell’s as U.S. Senator – six points higher.”

 

By JAMES  HOHMAN

Politico 

The Kentucky Senate race remains very much in play, according to a new internal poll conducted for Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes’ campaign.

Grimes leads Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, 43 percent to 42 percent, in the survey conducted by pollster Mark Mellman and obtained by POLITICO.

The live-caller survey of 800 likely voters, in the field Thursday throughSunday, used a registration-based sample and included landlines and cellphones. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.5 percent.

 

 LOUISVILLE – Tonight, Mitch McConnell is hosting a Washington fundraiser for businessman and notorious outsourcer, David Perdue. As a candidate for U.S. Senate in Georgia, Perdue has been on the hot seat for a business career in which he “closed down factory lines in America and outsourced production overseas.”

Grimes spokeswoman Charly Norton issued the following statement:

“Mitch McConnell’s record of protecting tax breaks for corporations that ship good-paying Kentucky jobs overseas will be on stark display this evening in Washington. Instead of fighting to save 600 Kentucky jobs being shipped to Honduras, McConnell is doling out financial aid to a man who led an effort to ship American jobs overseas. Clearly, he would rather rub shoulders with outsourcing champions than the hardworking people of the Commonwealth.”

 LOUISVILLE – After running from scandal after scandal over the August recess, Mitch McConnell is now back in Washington siding with the millionaires and billionaires attempting to buy his sixth term.

If Mitch McConnell had been listening to Kentuckians while he was home instead of trying to deceive them for political gain, he would have heard them demand he get his priorities in order.

HOPKINSVILLE – Yesterday, Alison visited West Kentucky to launch “Veterans and Military Families for Alison,” a campaign initiative to mobilize veterans and families across Kentucky. On Monday, Alison met with veterans and military families to discuss their experiences as well as her comprehensive plan to get Washington working again for Kentucky.

“VETERANS AND MILITARY FAMILIES FOR ALISON” HIGHLIGHTS:


Kentucky New Era: Young, Old Come Out for Grimes in Hoptown

Two likely voters in November — a 17-year-old who turns 18 a month before the election and a local woman whose 101st birthday is just weeks away — came out Monday in support of Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes’ bid to unseat U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

I

 LOUISVILLE – New information raises new questions of why Mitch McConnell paid Jesse Benton’s former deputy Dimitri Kesari – a central figure in the federal criminal investigation – over $70,000 to the same P.O. Box that funneled bribe money in Benton’s past campaign.

Additionally, the McConnell campaign’s explanation of the work Kesari did matches the project description used to cover up potentially illegal activity in Iowa.
McConnell senior advisor Josh Holmes claims Kesari’s firm was “contracted to consult and work on a specific field project involving … voter history research.”

And the Paul campaign stated bribery payment to the shared P.O. Box was for “voter file lists.”

McConnell campaign said payments to Kesari’s P.O. Box were for “voter history research.” Kentuckians deserve an explanation as to why Mitch McConnell is funneling money for what appears to be the same type of “project” through the same post office box used in the federal bribery scandal.
 

HOPKINSVILLE – Today, the Grimes campaign is proud to launch “Veterans and Military Families for Alison,” a campaign initiative to mobilize veterans and families across Kentucky.

In a new web video released Monday, Roger Frazier of Muhlenberg County and Chase Williams of Marshall County detail the stark contrast in this race on issues important to Kentucky’s veterans and military families.

Just as she has throughout her career, Alison Lundergan Grimes will make Kentucky’s veterans and active duty service members a top priority in the U.S. Senate. Alison led the way as among the first to call for General Shinseki’s resignation, standing up to her own party on behalf of the Commonwealth’s veterans.

 

By Sam Youngman
Lexington Herald-Leader

As U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell returns to Washington after the August recess, a union working overtime to deny

McConnell a sixth term is trying to bring some heat to him back home in Kentucky.

The AFL-CIO will unveil a new ad, part of its “Koch sisters” campaign, in the Lexington market beginning Monday just as McConnell and the rest of the Senate return for an abbreviated session in which Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is expected to introduce a measure that would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.

 

By JOSEPH BRENNAN, D.S.W., M.Div.
Kentucky Labor Institute

   There are two aspects to one's understand the minimum wage: one emotional or personal, the other cognitive or economic. Both aspects are related to the acceptance or rejection of income/wealth inequality.
   Social psychologists have experimented with a rigged game of Monopoly, one in which one player is deliberately given the advantage over the other. Two dice means larger moves, more money collected at Pass Go, more potential to buy up properties. Soon the advantaged player assumes an attitude of privilege and entitlement. She/he is rewarded because of their capabilities, the designated loser is to blame for his/her defects and will be a loser for the entire game.
   Such is a model for the one percent versus the ninety- nine percent. A fixed mentality is set and there is little to change this. The low wage earner will always be a low wage earner because of lack of skills, initiative to change, or lack of motivation. Socially it will be nigh impossible to convince the advantaged for the need to change a game that has been rigged in his/her favor.

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   Not surprisingly, union members booed and heckled a Republican candidate for the state legislature when he touted a right to work law at the annual Labor Day picnic in Paducah, Ky.
   Emcee Larry Sanderson said the guy inspired him – “to organize an old-time revival of a union meeting. If what he said doesn’t fire us up, I don’t know what else would.”
   A 68-year-old retired UA international representative, Sanderson has rented the city’s Carson Park horse race track grandstands for an Oct. 11 rally. “We’re going to call it ‘Battleground Kentucky: Stand Up and Fight Back against the 2014 War on Labor,’” he said.

'Follow the money,’ say ads funded by big-money groups
Washington Post // Glenn Kessler

“Follow the money” is perhaps the most-cited phrase from the Watergate affair, though the source called Deep Throat never actually said that to Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward. Instead, it was a line written by screenwriter William Goldman for his Oscar-winning screenplay of “All the President’s Men” (1976), based on the book by Woodward and co-author Carl Bernstein.

In the movie, Deep Throat urges Woodward to “follow the money” in order to unravel campaign malfeasance by the Nixon administration. But in a bizarre development, the phrase has now been adopted by Super PACs and 501(c)(4)s, campaign groups which can raise unlimited amounts of money from corporations, unions and others — to attack candidates who are the beneficiary of largess from other Super PACs and 501(c)(4)s. (Note: Super PACs must disclose their donors while 501(c)(4)s do not.)

Here are two examples.

 

By DAVID NIR
Daily Kos

   CNN and ORC International finally released their long-teased poll of Kentucky's Senate race, finding GOP Sen. Mitch McConnell up 50-46 on Democrat Alison Grimes. Rather notably, this is the first and only time McConnell's hit 50 percent in a public poll—ever. There's a good reason, too: CNN didn't bother to include Libertarian David Patterson in their questionnaire.
   That's a fairly bizarre choice, given that Libertarians in general have been polling unusually well this cycle, and given that recent SurveyUSA and PPP polls have given Paterson 5 and 7 percent of the vote, respectively. Yes, Republicans are trying to knock Patterson off the ballot, but while Libertarians aren't particularly good at actually winning any elections, they usually are quite adept at securing ballot access for themselves.
   And yes, Patterson is likely to wind up with a smaller share of the vote than he's getting now in other polls, but he can certainly have an impact on the race nevertheless, especially since he's liable to scoop up some anti-McConnell protest voters who would never pull the lever for a Democrat.

 

LOUISVILLE – Last week, Mitch McConnell was under fire for secret comments at a shadowy Koch brothers’ conference before millionaires and billionaires. The tape revealed McConnell’s willingness to sacrifice the interests of Kentuckians in pursuit of his own personal agenda.

BEFORE BILLIONAIRES (AUDIO): “And we’re not going to be debating all these gosh darn proposals. That’s all we do in the Senate is vote on things like raising the minimum wage.”
The McConnell campaign did not dispute the audio and played it off as just another “stump speech.” But just yesterday, when pressed by a local Louisville reporter, Mitch McConnell changed his tune.

IN KENTUCKY (VIDEO): “There are circumstances under which, when you have a better economy, raising the minimum wage might make sense.”
Mitch McConnell is trying to have it both ways on the minimum wage, deceiving Kentucky voters in the process. After voting against increasing Kentuckians’ wages 17 times, it comes as no surprise that McConnell is running from his comments.

Kentuckians cannot trust Mitch McConnell and his support for the Koch brothers’ agenda – 30 years is long enough.

By ELIZABETH JENSEN
   The American worker today is being squeezed between two very powerful forces: corporations that want to minimize worker bargaining power and wages, and Tea Party activists who want safety-net programs to be eliminated.
   These two forces are cutting the very things that organized labor has worked so hard to provide for the American worker — the belief and reality that if you commit to working hard every day, you can provide a better life for your family than your parents were able to provide you.
   Mobility in the United States is at its lowest level in generations — and this is no accident. When John F. Kennedy spoke to the AFL-CIO in 1963 he spoke of the principles and programs which have made our country strong: raising the minimum wage, committing to social security, providing benefits to children of jobless workers and many more.

New National TV Ad: https://www.youtube.com/user/KochSisters

(Washington, DC, September 4, 2014) – Every antagonist needs a protagonist.

You’ve heard of the multi-billion dollar political colossus known as the Koch Brothers. No matter where you live in America, their corporate cash has flooded your airwaves, shown up on your doorstep or influenced your life in some fashion. But while their money dominates the American political and legislative spectrum, their values and ideals do not.

Today, the AFL-CIO is introducing “The Koch Sisters” to the American electorate – a national project featuring two women, Karen and Joyce, who share the same last name, but not the same values as the Koch Brothers. The Koch Sisters will bring the issues most Americans care about – from fair wages to protecting Social Security – to the forefront of the political debate.

 

 LOUISVILLE – Mitch McConnell’s campaign manager Jesse Benton resigned late last week under a cloud of suspicion for his ties to an ongoing federal investigation into public corruption. The relationship between McConnell and the man he entrusted to run his reelection campaign raises serious questions for the Senator.

Senator McConnell:

1. When did you know that Benton was potentially tied to the federal criminal investigation of a bribery scandal?

2. What did Benton tell you his involvement was in paying off the former state senator in Iowa? Is Benton the subject of a federal investigation?

3. Are you certain none of your endorsers have been paid off to join your team?

 

By BILL ESTEP
Lexington Herald- Leader

   SOMERSET — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday declined to discuss the resignation of his former campaign manager, Jesse Benton, who quit last week as questions swirled about his role in a federal bribery case in Iowa.
   McConnell and his campaign had reportedly avoided questions about the issue over the weekend, but stopped to talk with reporters Tuesday afternoon following a speech to the Somerset-Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce.
   He responded to several questions, criticizing President Barack Obama and pushing for Republican control of the Senate, which would likely put McConnell in charge. However, he did not respond directly when asked what Benton had told him about the situation in Iowa and whether he was confident Benton had done nothing wrong.

Lexington Herald-Leader editorial

There are billionaires and then there are billionaires.

Some, like Warren Buffett and Nick Hanauer, warn that historically high levels of income inequality are stifling economic growth. They recognize that capitalism needs lots of consumers who can afford to buy what's being produced. They see that the super-rich are better off with a smaller share of a fast-growing economy than a larger share of a slow-growing or stagnant economy.

Then, there are billionaires like Charles and David Koch. Driven by ideology and narrow self-interest, they seek to depress wages, push even more wealth to the top and limit government's ability to protect workers, public health and the environment.

 

September 2nd, Frankfort –Kentucky AFL-CIO President Bill Londrigan responded to the Kentucky Republican House Leaders’ "Handshake with Kentucky" agenda:

“I have been in politics a long time but this beats all. Kentucky Republican House Leaders are asking for voters' support to decrease wages, lower median household income, increased poverty, and undermine workplace safety, the true aims of the misnamed "Right to Work" legislation. The Handshake Platform is not a legislative agenda but a Bad Faith deal for Kentucky and a boondoggle for corporate interests looking to take advantage of hard working Kentuckians. The cynical Republican Leadership want to decrease our employment rights while they support the outsourcing of American shipbuilding jobs to China. The handshake platform is anti-growth!

Some states have been so-called “right to work” states for 67-years, and have yet to demonstrate any benefits for right to work legislation. The evidence is clear that right to work is neither a job creator or would improve the lives of working families in Kentucky. Right to work states suffer from lower incomes, education levels, social well-being and so many other key measures. Since 1947, certain Republicans have been selling right to work as a panacea for economic distress; it is not. Kentucky Republican House Leaders are not offering new policy solutions to create jobs and improve the state economy; they are dusting off old failed promises that benefit the rich and powerful. The voters of Kentucky need to refuse the bad faith handshake and the ruined economy that goes with it!”

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   Republican Randy Bridges, who is running for the Kentucky House of Representatives, told the crowd in Paducah that his father, a retired plumbing contractor, spurned unions and “paid his guys top wage.
   “They made a good living and he’s made a good living and I’m proud of what he’s done and I thank you, Dad.”
   Bridges also touted a right to work law and urged his listeners not to believe “the propaganda that some of these high [paid]…union leaders are telling you to keep their…pay up. Don’t let the rank and file hear that, folks.”

 Friend,

As we spend time with our families today, we also have an opportunity to reflect on the profound contributions of labor to our national life. 

The determined, principled efforts of organized labor achieved the five-day work week, an end to child labor, fair wage-and-hour practices, health care and retirement benefits. These accomplishments, and many more, built stronger families and laid the foundation for the greatest expansion of the middle class in history.

But today our middle class is under siege. Unemployment in Kentucky is 7.4 percent, well above the national rate of 6.2 percent, which itself is much too high. Wages, adjusted for inflation, have fallen.

 

By BILL LONDRIGAN
President of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO
Special to the Courier-Journal

   On Monday, when we gather to celebrate the 132nd Labor Day, please take a moment to reflect on the contributions and importance of America's trade union movement. Remember that the fundamental rights enjoyed by all workers such as health and safety laws and regulations, Social Security benefits, wage and hour protections, child labor laws, pensions, health care and so much more were achieved only through the organized efforts of the working men and women of the American labor movement.
   I have heard and read many predictions about the future of the American labor movement.
   Many prognosticators advance the belief that the labor movement is comparable to the dinosaurs and will eventually face extinction from having lost its relevance and economic and political power in our hyper-capitalist economy.

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   So How can you help your union get better coverage in small-town media?
   First, try getting to know the newspaper, TV and radio reporters. Introduce yourself by calling them up or sending them an email with your photo. It’s a good idea to put a face with an email. Better yet, drop by for a visit.
   The anti-union newspaper publisher or station owner may think we have horns. But reporters cover the stories. Show them we don’t.

 


By HOWARD FINEMAN
Huffington Post

   WASHINGTON -- The five words a senator least likes to hear are not “you have lost the election.” They are “the federal investigation is ongoing.”
   Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky might have a reason to be concerned that the second sentence could lead to him hearing the first.
   On Wednesday, a federal investigation in Iowa forced a state senator there to plead guilty to obstruction of justice charges stemming from $73,000 in bribes he admitted taking from Rep. Ron Paul's campaign in 2012.

 

By JOSEPH W. BRENNAN, D.S.W., M.Div.
Kentucky Labor Institute

Much is said today about the quality of life. Victor Frankel found meaning in life even in a Nazi prison camp. Millions continue to survive despite starvation, war, and violence. But isn't life more than mere survival, more than a temporal passage until death? Life's value comes from our commitment to improve the human condition for ourselves, and for others.

The Minimum Wage and Social Security are not just social programs, they are a moral commitment to preserve "The Right to Life". Conceived by America's first woman Cabinet Secretary Frances Perkins, both programs envisioned the preservation of the dignity of life during all its phases, to ensure "The Right to Life", from the indignities of poverty, sickness, starvation, and an unseemly death.

Today, some deride such programs subsidies for the indolent. They maintain that strong individualism, personal initiative, and financial planning would eliminate such dependency on government. Why should anyone subsidize those hands seeking a stipend? Aren't there churches, organizations, and family members to assume these responsibilities? 

 

By BERRY CRAIG

AFT Local 1360

“Why is the media so anti-union?” Many are the times this old reporter-turned-history-teacher could retire if he had a dime for every time he’s heard a union brother or sister ask that question out of deep frustration.

They mostly mean Fox News and local newspapers and radio and TV stations.
There’s not much to say about Fox except that it’s blatantly biased. It’s the Republican Party’s propaganda ministry.

“Fair and balanced” is the network’s motto, but I’ll believe that when hogs fly and kids don’t shoot hoops in my native Kentucky any more. Nah – I won’t believe it even then.
 

By THOMAS E. PEREZ

Special to the Louisville Courier-Journal

It used to be that you could support a family on a minimum wage salary. Today, a minimum wage worker has to make a choice every day: Buy a gallon of milk for the kids, or buy a gallon of gas to get to work.

The current national minimum wage, frozen at $7.25 per hour since 2009, simply hasn’t kept up with inflation. As a matter of fact, its purchasing power has declined by one-third since the 1960s, and it’s worth less today than it was in 1981. Bus fare has certainly gone up since 1981. Same with the price of a dozen eggs, or a week of child care. Landlords aren’t sending out rent decreases. And yet the value of the minimum wage is eroding.

It’s time to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, which would make a difference in the lives of 28 million people, including 497,500 Kentucky residents.

 

Frankfort –Kentucky AFL-CIO President Bill Londrigan made the following statement in response to news that Sen. Mitch McConnell’s campaign manager, Jesse Benton resigned: “Mitch’s campaign is in shambles. The McConnell campaign is self-destructing from within.

"McConnell's gambit to appeal to tea partiers by hiring Jesse Benton, Ron Paul's former campaign manager, was a serious error. Knowledge of Benton's potential legal and ethical breaches were well known and McConnell's hiring of Benton reveals a serious lack of due diligence. Benton's involvement in illegal campaign activities in Iowa is just the tip of the iceberg for McConnell's campaign. McConnell owes the voters of Kentucky an explanation for hiring Benton and paying him hundreds of thousands of dollars while knowing about his tainted past."

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   “Faith,” to paraphrase the Good Book, “can move mountains.”
   So can just one union member like Chris Ormes.
   President of United Steelworkers Local 1241 in Bardstown, Ormes challenged a "right to work" speaker on less than friendly union-friendly turf and won.
   Ormes’s story is worth retelling this election season because the "right to work" (for less) crowd is pouring tons of money into the coffers of state house and senate candidates who want to make Kentucky another  "right to work" state.

By JOSEPH GERTH
The Courier-Journal

   A crowd of about 70 people showed up outside Mitch McConnell's office on West Broadway Thursday to protest the U.S. Senate minority leader and call for voters to toss him out of office.
   The protest was planned by the West Louisville Urban Coalition and Moveon.org as a way to show displeasure about McConnell, who faces a tough challenge in November's election against Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.
   "This is just to highlight that Mitch McConnell has not worked for the state," said Janice Rucker, who helped organize the event.
   

By JOAN McCARTER

Daily Kos 

The audio tape release of Mitch McConnell cozying up to the Kochs is raising some eyebrows back home in Kentucky. Particularly that part where he tells the billionaires gathered at the Koch retreat that the "the worst day of my political life" was when the campaign spending limits in McCain-Feingold passed. So the Courier-Journal decided to take a look at the financial relationship between McConnell and the Kochs.

My research finds $40,800 in contributions from the Koch family and PAC to     McConnell's re-election campaign. But the PAC of Koch Industries has also given $25,000 this election cycle to McConnell's own PAC, Bluegrass Committee.

 

By U.S REP. JOHN YARMUTH, D-LOUISVILLE
From Leo Weekly

   When I was considering my initial run for Congress in early 2006, one of my first priorities was a meeting with local organized labor leaders. At that point I wasn’t seeking their endorsement (That would come later.); rather, I wanted to know whether their priorities were the same as mine, namely to work to create an economy that benefits every American and not just a few.
   During our long meeting, it became clear to me that while they were certainly interested in a legislative agenda specific to unions, they were far more interested in a broader economic agenda that would help reverse decades of setbacks for the American middle class.
   Indeed, it is not stretching to argue that the stagnation in earnings growth for the vast majority of American workers corresponds almost exactly with the drop in the percentage of the workforce represented by unions. Following World War II, unions once represented about a third of all workers in the private sector; today they can claim membership of less than 7 percent. Controlling for all other factors, union members earn between 10 and 30 percent more than non-union workers doing the same job.
So I was greatly encouraged by my conversation with those union leaders, because I had long felt that without a strong, vibrant organized labor movement, the middle class would have no voice in public policy debates.
   

By BILL LONDRIGAN

President, Kentucky State AFL-CIO

Remember the last government shutdown? The one that led to delays in Social Security benefits for Kentucky seniors, layoffs at the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training and that held up benefits for veterans in Kentucky? That government shutdown harmed tens of thousands of Kentuckians.

Sen. Mitch McConnell was a key player in the last shutdown that hurt working families in Kentucky—and, last week, he hinted that he might push for another one if he doesn’t get his way in Congress after the November elections. Can you believe that? Another government shutdown?!

Watch our video calling out Sen. McConnell for his shutdown-style talk, then share it with your friends.

 

LOUISVILLE – Yesterday, a secret audio recording surfaced of Mitch McConnell selling out hardworking Kentuckians and siding with millionaire and billionaire donors. At a closed-door conference hosted by the shadowy Koch brothers, McConnell shamefully assured the crowd that if they help give him a self-promotion, they could count on him to stand in the way of proposals that help Kentucky families.

As expected, McConnell was far from eager to face the press at a public event later in the day. Mitch darted from Kentucky reporters in an attempt to run away from just how out-of-touch he is with the Commonwealth.

LOUISVILLE – Yesterday, leaked secret audio revealed Mitch McConnell’s willingness to sacrifice the interests of Kentuckians’ in pursuit of his own agenda – pandering to wealthy donors to boost his own national party.

In McConnell’s own words:

“And we’re not going to be debating all these gosh darn proposals. That’s all we do in the Senate is vote on things like raising the minimum wage—cost the country 500,000 new jobs; extending unemployment—that’s a great message for retirees; the student loan package the other day; that’s going to make things worse. These people believe in all the wrong things.”

The McConnell campaign did not dispute the audio and played it off as just another “stump speech.” It seems denying relief to students, minimum wage workers, and unemployed Kentuckians while pocketing donations from millionaires and billionaires is just another average day for Mitch McConnell.

Support Mission

Transport Workers (TWU) Local 527 provides support services for U.S. troops as they train and learn signal command at the Fort Gordon military base in Augusta, Ga. TWU members do everything from issuing and repairing equipment and vehicles to making sure the well water is safe to drink and the facilities are heating and cooling properly. Read the full article>>>

By BILL LONDRIGAN
President, Kentucky State AFL-CIO

   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 2014! Don’t forget to attend a union-sponsored Labor Day event in Louisville, Lexington, Catlettsburg, Cincinnati or Paducah. This is your day to celebrate with your fellow workers and families and to remind the wealthy elite and their political puppets like Mitch McConnell 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!
   I have heard and read many predictions about the future of the American labor movement. Many prognosticators advance the belief that the labor movement is comparable to the dinosaurs and will eventually face extinction from having lost its relevance and economic and political power in our hyper-capitalist economy. Others believe that when workers become so desperate, demeaned and exploited and no longer fear the consequences of employer reprisals and illegal terminations they will channel their anxiety into creating the next wave of mass union organizing.
Like a pendulum which swings from one side to the other with economic and political power split between the wealthy few and struggling masses, these opposing viewpoints frame current discussions about the status of the American labor movement. Yet it is easy to see which way the pendulum has swung during the past forty-plus years - in the direction of the few to the detriment of the many. The facts are indisputable. The richest few have accumulated the greatest concentrations of wealth in history. While accumulating this unprecedented wealth they have denied workers an equitable share of the wealth they helped create.

 

By JOSEPH GERTH

The Louisville Courier-Journal

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told a conference of rich, politically active conservatives in June that he wouldn’t allow votes on the minimum wage and extending unemployment if he becomes majority leader, according to a leaked audio recording.

In the audio recording, which appeared on the website of The Nation, he also said that passage of the McCain-Feingold Act to limit political contributions was “the worst day of my political life.”

McConnell’s campaign didn’t deny the recording was accurate and, in fact, said it shows that he is “committed to fighting President Obama’s liberal, anti-coal agenda.”

The event was organized by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, who donate heavily to conservative and tea party causes.

 

   LOUISVILLE – Today, Grimes spokeswoman Charly Norton released the following statement on the new secret recording obtained by The Nation, revealing the lengths Mitch McConnell will go to please his deep-pocketed donors:
   Shockingly, Mitch McConnell will do and say anything it takes to secure his grip on personal power, including promising to hurt Kentuckians to benefit billionaires. Kentuckians who are struggling with unemployment, low wages and the soaring costs of higher education are the furthest thing from McConnell’s mind. For the past 30 years, Kentuckians have questioned Mitch McConnell’s priorities, and now we have the hard evidence that his allegiances lie with his millionaire and billionaire donors at the expense of hardworking Kentuckians.”

By JOSH ISRAEL
Think Progress

   At a Koch Brothers-hosted secret strategy conference of right-wing millionaire and billionaire political activists in June, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) promised that if his party wins control of the United States Senate this November, the Senate will not waste time on things like increasing the minimum wage for people making only about $15,000 annually. Instead, audio of his remarks obtained by The Nation reveals, his Senate will focus on repealing Wall Street reforms, environmental protections, and affordable healthcare.
   McConnell spoke at an annual event hosted by oil billionaires Charles and David Koch at the St. Regis Monarch Bay resort in Dana Point, CA. The conference, titled “American Courage: Our Commitment to a Free Society,” reportedly attracted hundreds of the nation’s wealthiest individuals and aimed to raise $500 million toward making McConnell the Senate majority leader next year and another $500 million to defeat a potential Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.
  

   LOUISVILLE – According to a new secret recording obtained by The Nation, Mitch McConnell revealed his true quest for power. In the secretive closed-door meeting with wealthy special interest backers, he outlined how he plans to hurt Kentucky families and pander to millionaires and billionaires. On issues like raising the minimum wage, extending unemployment insurance and helping Kentuckians with college affordability, McConnell promised his party’s rich backers that he stands with them, no matter the cost to Kentuckians and this nation.
   

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   I often think about the old Knights of Labor on Labor Day. Okay, I’m a retired history teacher who still packs a union card.
   The Knights “tried to teach the American wage-earner that he was a wage-earner first and a bricklayer, carpenter, miner, shoemaker, after; that he was a wage-earner first and a Catholic, Protestant, Jew, white, black, Democrat, Republican, after,” historian Norman Ware wrote.
   The Knights stressed that whatever else divided working people, work itself was what we all have in common. Work is, by far, the most important factor in our lives. Thus, workers should unite as members of the working class, the Knights urged.
   

Please join the West Louisville Urban Coalition, Moveon.Org, organized labor and allies and supporters for a “Ditch Mitch" rally  Thursday at 12:30 p.m. (EDT) in front the Federal Building, Sixth and Broadway.

“Join us to let the public and voters know what Mitch has been doing for them since 1985 – nothing! Let’s tell the voters that Mitch has voted against seniors, veterans, children, workers, unions and the poor and it is time for him to be replaced on November 4th!,” said Bill Londrigan, Kentucky State AFL-CIO president.

For additional information please contact Janice Rucker, West Louisville Urban Coalition, at 510-364-4914.

By ALISON LUNDERGAN GRIMES
For the Huffington Post

Today on Women's Equality Day, we commemorate the passage of women's right to vote -- celebrating how far we have come, but also recognizing the work that remains.

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was among those who paved the way for women in government as our nation's first female Secretary of State, and I am proud to accept her endorsement for my U.S. Senate candidacy on this important day.

Secretary Albright broke glass ceilings, both as Secretary of State and as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations under the Clinton administration. Secretary Albright's got grit. In a career field dominated by men, she overcame many hurdles to succeed -- not just professionally, but also as a mother to two girls. I'm elated and humbled to have her in my corner.

 

LOUISVILLE – As we celebrate Women’s Equality Day, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright – one of the United States’ most distinguished foreign policy leaders and the first woman to serve as Secretary of State – has formally endorsed Alison Lundergan Grimes’ campaign for U.S. Senate.

“Alison is one of the brightest young leaders in America, and I am proud to stand with Alison in her campaign. Her detailed plan to build the middle class will make our country stronger at home and abroad,” Secretary Albright said Tuesday. “We need more leaders who will go to Washington and put the American people before partisan politics. I know that Alison will be one of those leaders.”

“I am honored to earn Secretary Albright’s support in this race and appreciate her wise counsel on the many issues that our country faces,” Alison said. “Secretary Albright and I share a vision for creating jobs for hardworking Americans, strengthening the middle class and maintaining American leadership in the world.”

LOUISVILLE – As Mitch McConnell promises to shut down the government again, Kentuckians remember all too well the staggering impact of McConnell’s reckless 2013 shutdown.

McConnell’s government shutdown:
Prevented Kentucky small businesses from opening their doors 
Delayed financial support for Kentucky’ small businessesStopped support for small businesses to grow and sell their products abroad

Small businesses help create jobs and foster economic growth in communities across the Commonwealth. And yet, Kentucky’s senior senator stands in the way in an attempt to score cheap political points.

Kentucky deserves better – 30 years is long enough.


 

   LOUISVILLE – Today, Alison for Kentucky releases a new web ad highlighting Mitch McConnell’s promise to shut down the government if re-elected.
   Last year’s reckless government shutdown cost Kentuckians $127 million and the country $24 billion. McConnell ignores the devastating impact his shutdown had on        Kentucky families, and instead attempts to rewrite history, taking credit for ending something he enabled.
   Mitch McConnell’s message is clear: six more years of Mitch McConnell means six more years of brinkmanship and partisan games in gridlocked Washington, DC.

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   “Today is not about me,” insisted veteran union leader Jeff Wiggins after he was presented the 2014 W.C. Young Award. “It’s about doing the right thing for working people.”
   Wiggins is the 21st recipient of the annual award, the highest honor the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council bestows.
    W.C. Young was a national labor and civil rights leader from Paducah.
   “This is about you; all of you are my brothers and sisters,” said Wiggins, 53, of Reidland. He is president of the council, president of United Steelworkers Local 9447 in Calvert City and a member of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO Executive Board.
   Added Wiggins: “It’s about all of us working together to do the right thing for working people, about making sure people having a decent wage, about people being able to retire with dignity, and it’s about our kids growing up and having decent paying jobs so they can raise families.”

 

USW Next Generation: Making History, Making Progress
The last day of the United Steelworkers of America 2014 constitutional convention concluded with high energy as delegates overwhelmingly approving Resolution No. 4, which encourages all local unions to build Next Gen committees, calls on young and new workers to become active in all parts of the union and says that our union will help fight against predatory student debt that is drowning our members, their families and many other Canadians and Americans.

The resolution lays out a path forward for the Next Generation program and can be read on the convention Website. Also Thursday, the union’s first-ever Next Generation district coordinators were recognized with a standing ovation as USW celebrated the progress it’s made in formalizing the program over the past three years.
 

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   Sen. Mitch McConnell knows he probably won’t get a lot of union votes on Nov. 4.
   Oh, he’ll keep trying to grab as many as he can by pandering to so-called “social issues” like guns. Neal Knox, a former NRA head, once bragged that the gun issue “is the one thing that will spin the blue-collar union member away from his union." (See “The Right Wing Attack on the American Labor Movement” by Joanne Ricca, who is retired from the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO: http://www.d.umn.edu/)
   The NRA, which is cozy with anti-union groups like the National Right to Work Committee, has endorsed McConnell. (The NRTWC is in the senator’s corner, too.)

 

LOUISVILLE – This week, Kentuckians were reminded of something they’ve known for years: Mitch McConnell cares more about himself than the hardworking families he is supposed to represent.

Below are McConnell’s five unbelievable excuses for skipping work:

1. His national party “takes precedence” over Kentuckians.

McConnell told Politico that as Senate Majority Leader, he would have no qualms about shutting down the government if it meant gaining a political advantage. Adding insult to injury, McConnell then admitted his "duties as Minority Leader take precedence" over Kentucky farmers.

2. He’s too busy selling Senate Dining Room access to high-dollar donor “friends.”

As National Journal reported this week, “only one week after Sen. Mitch McConnell took the CEO of Delta Air Lines to breakfast in the exclusive Senate Dining Room last month, the airline executive and his wife wrote $10,000 worth of checks to help fund McConnell's political operation.”

When asked, McConnell claimed that the donor was a “friend” – but evidently it didn’t cross Mitch’s mind to use the relationship to help Kentuckians.

 

   Labor historian Toni Gilpin will be in Louisville on Sept. 16 to speak on the city’s historic Farm Equipment Workers Local 236, which has been called “a groundbreaking Louisville union dedicated to the anti-racist struggle.”
   Gilpin, who earned a Ph.D. from Yale University, will give two talks, each titled “'Louisville's ‘Most Perfect Union:’ An Examination of United Farm Equipment Workers Local 236 at International Harvester.”
   The first talk is at 1 p.m. in Room 300 of the Bingham Humanities Building on the University of Louisville’s Belknap campus. The second talk will be at 6 p.m. in the National Association of Letter Carriers union hall, 4815 Poplar Level Road, which is also the meeting place for the Louisville Central Labor Council.

By GENE NETTLES
Hickman, Ky.

A major change occurred in Kentucky just a few years ago. For 350 years the population had been rural, the change came when city and environs populations out numbered others. Often we long for a return to simpler times, times when neighbors were neighborly and all were alike in eking a living from farming. Forgotten are the callouses, sweat and blisters. Farm folks knew animals quite well, even the smallest tyke knew the difference between a donkey and a jack. Girls knew from experience that an old jack was likely to bite or kick them. They little understood the vendetta the jack showed in singling them out. Times change but old jacks, such as the one we send to Washington,continue to bite and kick females. Just ask Ms. Ashley.

 

By SHANE GOLDMACHER
The National Journal

   Only one week after Sen. Mitch McConnell took the CEO of Delta Air Lines to breakfast in the exclusive Senate Dining Room last month, the airline executive and his wife wrote $10,000 worth of checks to help fund McConnell's political operation.
   The donations, which were reported to the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday, made Rick and Susan Anderson the largest contributors to McConnell's Bluegrass Committee in July. Delta Air Lines' PAC contributed another $2,500 within days of the breakfast.
   The proximity between the meal on Capitol Hill and the date of the donations provides a window into how modern Washington works. It's a place where incumbent lawmakers, especially those who—like McConnell—face a serious reelection fight, are relentlessly courting contributors at all hours to fund multimillion-dollar political campaigns.

   Veteran Kentucky labor Jeff Wiggins will receive the 2014 W.C. Young Award Saturday at the annual presentation dinner in Paducah.
   “I hope to see you Aug. 23 as we celebrate and honor labor’s own W.C. Young, a labor and civil rights icon from West Kentucky,” said Bill Londrigan, Kentucky State AFL-CIO president. “Congratulations to Jeff Wiggins on this great recognition.”
   The program begins at 3 p.m. at the United Steelworkers Local 550 hall, 2525 Cairo Road. A donation of $10 per person is suggested.

 

From the USW

Adjunct professors at Point Park University and Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA., recognized they shared common interests and common workplace challenges when their employers tried to reduce their wages and hours.

The United Steelworkers were there to provide the needed support to assist them in forming a union. Without the strength of an established union, their employers would have taken advantage of the workers.

In Toronto, Canada, a group of taxi cab drivers were struggling to make a living wage working seven days a week. The system was so terribly broken and the workers were being inhumanley exploited. The drivers realized they needed the support of a powerful union to partner with and that is why they chose the United Steelworkers.
 

From the USW

The Rev. William J. Barber II ignited the United Steelworkers on the first day of their recent convention, urging some 5,000 delegates and guests to forget about geographic, racial, age, gender or other lines and come together to build an all-inclusive movement to “save the soul of this democracy.”

Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP, has already started the movement, known as the Moral Monday Movement, uniting people of faith, students, workers, unions and others.

 

By ADAM BEAM and BRUCE SCHREINER
Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kentucky's U.S. Senate candidates had a hard time talking about farming without slinging mud.

Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell and Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes took turns attacking each other in a cramped board room of the Kentucky Farm Bureau on Wednesday in the candidates' first joint question-and-answer session of the contentious campaign.

Grimes set the tone early by attacking McConnell in her opening statement for his prolonged absences from the Senate Agriculture Committee. By not showing up, Grimes said, McConnell diluted his influence, which led to his inability to stop the lapse in the federal farm bill last year that provided crop insurance for Kentucky farmers.

 

LOUISVILLE – Today, Mitch McConnell’s performance at the Kentucky Farm Bureau forum fell flat. Here are Senator McConnell’s top three gaffes from this afternoon’s candidate forum:

McConnell said he doesn't have time to show up at committee meetings because he's busy looking after national party priorities instead of Kentuckians. McConnell said, "Harry actually resigned from all of his committees because you don’t have time...Because you don't have time to do justice to committee work if you’re one of the party leaders, you’re involved in other issues, honestly, much more consequential issues than being there for particular hearings on a subject that may or may not be relevant to what’s going on."
 

LOUISVILLE – At this afternoon’s Kentucky Farm Bureau candidate forum, Alison Lundergan Grimes held Mitch McConnell accountable for his failed record and proved that she is the only U.S. Senate candidate who will fight for Kentucky agriculture.

For at least three years, Mitch McConnell has not even shown up to work for our farm families, skipping committee meetings for DC photo ops and high dollar fundraisers. The contrast in this race could not be starker. Unlike McConnell who plays hooky on the taxpayers’ dime, Alison Lundergan Grimes believes the Senator for the Future needs to show up to work every day. Mitch McConnell’s Era of the Big Earmark is over.

 LOUISVILLE – As both Kentucky Senate candidates head to the Kentucky Farm Bureau candidates forum today, Mitch McConnell is under fire for skipping Senate Agriculture Committee hearings “to make time” for “issues far removed from Kentucky’s farmers.”

Today, the Grimes campaign releases a new web ad and the following statement from campaign manager Jonathan Hurst on Mitch McConnell’s inexcusable absence from the Agriculture Committee:

 

By ALEXANDRA JAFFE
The Hill

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has touted his work for Kentucky farmers on the campaign trail, but back in Washington has a trend of skipping out on Senate Agriculture Committee hearings for events unrelated to his home state.

He’s already been hit by Democratic opponent Alison Lundergan Grimes for missing every Agriculture Committee hearing since 2009. However, it’s not uncommon for lawmakers to miss the occasional hearing — particularly members of leadership, who have varied demands that take them away from their committee duties.

But a review of committee hearings and McConnell’s public schedule reveals many times when he’s missed hearings, he’s still managed to make time for media appearances or meetings on issues far removed from Kentucky’s farmers.

 

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT LOCAL 1360

   Retired Paducah Fire Chief Leon Dodge, 91, doesn’t think he ever rode in a fire truck in the city’s Labor Day parade.
   He won’t this year either. His mount will be a convertible out front.
   Dodge, who spent almost 38 years in the fire department – his last 17 as chief – is grand marshal for the 39th annual end-of-summer holiday procession. “It’s quite an honor,” he said.

 

By ERIKA EICHELBERGER
Mother Jones

   Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will not say if he will stop blocking a major spending bill in the Senate that contains funding to help identify and prosecute rapists—or whether he would support a separate bill to break the log jam.
   As I reported last week, since June, Senate Republicans have held up a $180 billion appropriations bill that would fund several federal agencies, including the Department of Commerce, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Justice. Part of the funding allotted for the DoJ is supposed to go toward a $41 million grant to help states and localities go after rapists by funding jurisdictions to process backlogs of rape kits, the samples of DNA evidence that are taken after a sexual assault and used to identify assailants. There are over 100,000 untested kits waiting to be processed at crime labs and police departments around the country, partly because states and localities don’t have enough money to test them. The kits can go untested for decades, allowing countless rapists off the hook.
   The sweeping spending bill has hit a wall in the Senate because McConnell and other Senate Republicans want Dems to let them add several unrelated amendments to the legislation. The amendment McConnell introduced would make it harder for the EPA to enact new rules on coal-fired power plants. Democrats have complained that GOPers are abusing the amendments process to hold up a bill they don’t like. "Regardless of the outcome of the amendment votes…Republicans have indicated that they are not willing to support the underlying bill," a Senate staffer told me last week.

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   Timing is everything in politics, for better or worse.
The National Rifle Association is sending a mailer into Kentucky portraying Mitch McConnell as the savior of the Second Amendment against President Barack Obama and – wait for it – Michael Bloomberg, the millionaire anti-coal guy on whose foundation board the senator’s spouse sits.
   Bloomberg is also for tougher gun control laws.
   Okay, it’s Bloomberg Philanthropies’ anti-coal stand that has put Chao in the news because her husband says coal is the love of his political life.

 

 “We rate the claim Mostly False.”

PolitiFact: Mitch McConnell ad says he supported 'stronger' Violence Against Women Act than Barack Obama

Sen. Mitch McConnell enlisted the help of his wife, former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, to push back against claims from Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes that the Kentucky Republican is anti-women.

"Have you ever noticed how some liberals feel entitled to speak on behalf of all women? As if every woman agrees with Barack Obama," Chao says in an ad released Aug. 5, 2014.

A narrator adds: "Mitch McConnell co-sponsored the original Violence Against Women Act – he’s always supported its purpose. Mitch voted for even stronger protections than Obama’s agenda will allow."

We took a look at Grimes’ ad in a separate fact-check. We said the claim that McConnell voted "two times against the Violence against Women Act" was Half True, given McConnell’s history of voting in favor of the law at times.

But what about McConnell’s response that he "voted for even stronger protections" than the Violence Against Women Act that President Barack Obama signed?

 

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   Birds of a feather, right?
So does that make Elaine Chao, Mitch McConnell’s spouse, a closet you-know-what?
   A Liberal?
   Those of us who pack union cards remember the senator’s significant other as the conservative, anti-labor secretary of labor under conservative, anti-labor President George W. Bush.
   Well, now it’s all over the news that Chao is on the board of directors of Bloomberg Philanthropies, the charity that agreed to chip in a cool $50 million to the Sierra Club’s “Beyond Coal” campaign. The campaign’s objective is to end the country’s reliance on “dirty coal, plant-by-plant, community-by-community, state-by-state.”

   A Labor 2014 Political Action meeting is set for 10 a.m. (EDT) Monday at the UAW Local 862 hall, 3000 Fern Valley Rd., in Louisville. "Please make every effort to attend this important meeting to discuss our labor political action program and what we will need to make it a success," said Bill Londrigan, Kentucky State AFL-CIO president. "Please let me know if you have any questions."

By LANA BELLAMY

Ashland Independent

Eight state leaders signed their names to a letter to Kentucky Coal Association President Bill Bissett asking for him and the association to join them in demanding Elaine Chao, former U.S. Labor Secretary and wife of U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, resign from Bloomberg Philanthropies’ board of directors.

Action from these leaders, all Democrats from coal-producing regions of eastern and western Kentucky, was fueled by a Yahoo! News report on Friday that detailed Chao’s involvement with the board that had invested $50 million in the Sierra Club’s “Beyond Coal” initiative.

Names attached to the letter included: Speaker of the House Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg; House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins, D-Sandy Hook; Sen. Johnny Ray Turner, D-Prestonsburg; Rep. Leslie Combs, D-Pikeville; Rep. John Short, D-Mallie; Rep. John Will Stacy, D-West Liberty; Rep. Brent Yonts, D-Greenville; and Magistrate Chris Harris of Pikeville.

 

LOUISVILLE – Today, Mitch McConnell will prove once again that he says one thing in Kentucky and does another in Washington. Instead of standing up for the women of Kentucky, McConnell would rather run from his disastrous record of opposition and obstruction.

In fact, when asked by a Kentucky reporter specifically about women’s issues, he ignored the question – just as he has Kentucky women and families for 30 years.

With less than three months until the election, Mitch McConnell owes the women of Kentucky an explanation for his track record on key issues, including his active efforts to block a spending bill that contains $41 million in grants for reducing the rape kit testing backlog:
 

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   Alison Lundergan Grimes says Bluegrass State union members are her “secret weapon.”
   Grimes is the Democrat seeking to unseat Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
“You will be the reason we bring this election across the finish line,” said Grimes, Kentucky’s secretary of state.
   “You are what Mitch McConnell can’t buy. He may be able to buy those airwaves, but he can’t buy the heart and soul of hardworking Kentuckians.”
For the second straight year, Grimes was the headliner at the Pre-Fancy Farm Picnic Luncheon in Paducah.

By CHRIS MOODY
Yahoo News

   For months, Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell has accused his Democratic opponent, Alison Lundergan Grimes, of engaging in a “war on coal,” casting her as an outright enemy of one of the state’s most vital industries.
   But while McConnell presents himself as a defender of Kentucky coal mining, a member of his own family who serves as a key campaign surrogate is taking a role in an organization that funds one of the most aggressive anti-coal campaigns in the country.
   McConnell’s wife, former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, sits on the board of directors of Bloomberg Philanthropies, which has plunged $50 million into the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal initiative, an advocacy effort with the expressed goal of killing the coal industry.

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   With friends like Cheryl Grana, Mitch McConnell doesn’t need foes.
   “It’s not his job to go up there and hunt for jobs in Kentucky,” the McCracken County GOP vice chairwoman and McConnell fan told The Hill’s Alexandra Jaffe.
   Grana evidently figured she was showing solidarity with the senator who in April told Edmund Shelby, editor and general manager of The Beattyville Enterprise newspaper, that it “is not my job” to bring jobs to Lee County, of which Beattyville is the seat. The unemployment rate was 12.8 percent.

LOUISVILLE – Coming on the heels of Alison Lundergan Grimes’ historic Hazard rally with President Bill Clinton, today, the McConnell campaign attempted to play catch-up with an underwhelming ‘Not My Job’ bus tour in Eastern Kentucky.

Taking all of their stops today together, Mitch McConnell could not match the sheer number of people Alison Lundergan Grimes drew to one event yesterday in the same region.

By MIKE WYNN
Louisville
Courier-Journal
FRANKFORT, Ky. -- With much of the U.S. Senate race focused on coal, union miners are seeking a "game change" for Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky's embattled coalfields — starting at a stopover by former President Bill Clinton today.

The United Mine Workers of America endorsed Grimes over the weekend and is planning an undisclosed amount of advertising this fall in Eastern Kentucky, where animosity runs high toward President Barack Obama and his policies on coal.

Union leaders, who declined to back Obama in 2012, are also pulling together two busloads of miners from the western portion of the state and urging hundreds of miners from the eastern region to turn out when Clinton stumps for Grimes in Hazard, Ky.

 

 

It's pretty frustrating seeing all the headlines that claim the economy is alive and kicking. Sure, there is economic growth and a steady increase in jobs, but what kind of jobs are we talking about exactly? Well, they aren't the kind of jobs we think of first when it comes to steady, middle-class jobs. No big surprise here, low-wage service sector jobs like those in the fast-food industry are seeing the biggest gains. Bryce Covert at The New Republic has a nice summary of what America's workers are up against when it comes to wages. Read more >>>

When President Barack Obama first announced his candidacy for president, he said: “I am running in this race because of what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called ‘the fierce urgency of now.’ Because I believe that there’s such a thing as being too late. And that hour is almost upon us.” Like Dr. King, our president was calling on America to make real the promises of our democracy. That fierce urgency of now is here for thousands of refugee children from Central America. I know many of these kids’ stories because it is my story, too. Read more >>>

GRIMES CAMPAIGN STATEMENT ON MCCONNELL'S 'BREATHTAKINGLY DISHONEST' NEW AD


LOUISVILLE -- Today the McConnell campaign released a new ad that a local Kentucky journalist has already called "breathtakingly dishonest." As Mitch McConnell attempts to distract from his failed record on behalf of Kentucky women and families, Grimes spokeswoman Charly Norton releases the following statement:

“Simply saying, ‘I’m married to a woman’ doesn’t speak loud enough. Your actions and record over 30 years in Washington indicate where and how you will stand up for women.”


 

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., keeps claiming Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democrat who wants his job, is Barack Obama’s faithful ally in the president’s “war on coal.”
   I wish a reporter would ask the senator a simple question: If Grimes really is a coal warrior, why has the United Mine Workers of America endorsed her? 
   Obviously grateful for the union nod, the Grimes campaign emailed a UMWA release announcing its support for Grimes, who the Kentucky State AFL-CIO endorsed last December.

Louisville Courier-Journal Editorial

Fancy Farm's political speeches Saturday may not decide Kentucky's U.S. Senate race in November.

But they sure revealed a lot about the candidates, five-term Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell and his Democratic challenger, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Ms. Grimes, 35, offered a checklist of reasons she wants to be elected to the U.S. Senate, using the full eight minutes allotted for her speech by organizers of the political event at the annual St. Jerome parish picnic in Western Kentucky.

LOUISVILLE – On Saturday afternoon, Alison for Kentucky clearly dominated the McConnell campaign at the most important Kentucky political event of the year: the 134th Fancy Farm Picnic. With the eyes of Kentucky and the nation upon her, Alison’s performance surpassed even the highest expectations and changed the dynamics of the race.

Here are the top takeaways from Saturday’s historic event:

Alison for Kentucky supporters outnumbered and were far more energized.
The buzz around Alison at the Fancy Farm picnic was unmistakable, verifying how well she has fired up the grassroots to volunteer their time and turn out the votes to win in November. On Saturday, Alison led a huge procession of hundreds of supporters, including Governors Steve Beshear and Martha Layne Collins, Attorney General Jack Conway and Auditor Adam Edelen, into the picnic grounds, showcasing the unprecedented unity behind her candidacy.
 

    U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Louisville, has scheduled a press conference for 10 a.m. (EDT) today in Louisville to talk about the need for raising the federal minimum wage.
The press conference will be held in in Martin Luther King Jr. Park on the north side of the Mazzoli Federal Building facing Chestnut Street.
   ”We will join Congressman Yarmuth, low-wage workers, Jobs With Justice, community groups, and elected representatives,” said Bill Londrigan, Kentucky State AFL-CIO president. “Please join us if you can.”

   Democratic senate hopeful Alison Lundergan Grimes is expected to be the featured speaker at Friday’s annual pre-Fancy Farm picnic labor luncheon at Paducah’s Walker Hall, 229 Madison St.
   The meal is sponsored by the Western Kentucky Building and Construction Trades Council, AFL-CIO, and area unions. The program starts at 11:30 a.m., Central Daylight Time.

    Minority leader Mitch McConnell and senate Republicans have killed the Bring Jobs Home Act, a measure that would limit tax breaks for American companies that send operations overseas.
   “Mitch McConnell said it is not a serious bill,” said Alison Lundergan Grimes, McConnell’s Democratic challenger. “That is because he does not take job creation seriously.”
   She added, “He is wrong. This is a bill that would produce good-paying jobs for Kentuckians and other Americans. I urge Senator McConnell to support through final passage this much-needed legislation that supports Kentucky jobs and will help grow the middle class.”

The Kentucky UAW State CAP is sponsoring a bus to Fancy Farm on Saturday.

"Seating is available to the first 55 union members or supporters interested in going to this year’s Fancy Farm event," said Bill Londrigan, Kentucky State AFL-CIO president.

Added Londrigan: "This promises to be one of the most exciting Fancy Farm events in a long time with labor-endorsed U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes going toe-to-toe with obstructionist-in-chief Mitch McConnell."

To reserve your seat call the Kentucky Truck Plant UAW union hall in Louisville: (502) 241-9491.

 

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

You’ve got to wonder how many Kentucky Republicans are like Barbara Knott.
She just quit the Daviess County GOP executive committee because she’s not for Sen. Mitch McConnell.
Knott heads the Tea Party in Owensboro, seat of Daviess County in conservative western Kentucky, heretofore mostly McConnell country.


LOUISVILLE – Alison Lundergan Grimes keynoted the annual Wendell Ford Dinner, firing up a packed house of more than 700 in Louisville. Grimes reflected on Sen. Ford’s embodiment of a bipartisan spirit that is missing in Washington today, and also discussed her vision for Kentucky’s future. The contrast between Alison’s strong leadership on issues important to Kentucky and Mitch McConnell’s failed 30-year Washington record could not be starker.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING:

WHAS-TV (Louisville ABC affiliate): Grimes made hard-hitting comments on Kentucky jobs and minimum wage issues

Associated Press: HEADLINE: Grimes focusing on jobs, pay equity

Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes on Thursday night portrayed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell as being out of touch with the struggles of Kentuckians, and said his partisanship has hurt the state.

 

 

By DAVE JAMIESON
Huffington Post

   WASHINGTON -- If your boss tramples on your right to organize in the workplace, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) believes you should be able to sue for damages in federal court. He plans to introduce a bill in Congress next week that would grant you that very right.
  "Union busters are on the march and are aggressive," Ellison, a co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told HuffPost. "I think the [legal] options that are offered by the current process are not adequate."
   Under U.S. labor law, workers have relatively limited recourse in the face of union busting. When workers are fired for union organizing, they can file what's known as an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board, the agency that enforces labor law. If the board pursues the charge against the employer, the worker can win back pay and reinstatement, but not the sort of damages associated with, say, sexual discrimination in the workplace.

 LOUISVILLE – Boasting over 40,000 active and retired members in Kentucky, United Auto Workers (UAW) formally endorse Alison Lundergan Grimes’ campaign today.

“Just as she has throughout her career, Alison Lundergan Grimes will be a strong voice for Kentucky’s working men and women in the U.S. Senate,” Mark Dowell, President of Kentucky UAW CAP, said Thursday. “Alison shares our vision for a thriving middle class and will continue to be a champion for the Commonwealth’s families.”

Beattyville Enterprise / Staff

An April article in The Beattyville Enterprise continues to be the basis of political discourse in the race for the U. S. Senate between Sen. Mitch McConnell and his Democratic opponent Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Grimes has issued a new televison ad this week where she is sitting with an out-of-work coal miner discussing McConnell’s statement that he is not responsible for bringing jobs to Kentucky.

McConnell told the Enterprise in a short interview that job development is a state issue; it is not his job.

 

   Jeff Wiggins will receive this year’s W.C. Young Labor Award at the annual W.C. Young Award reception and dinner in Paducah on Aug. 23.
   The award is the highest honor bestowed by the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council. It is named for the late W.C. Young, a national labor and civil rights leader from Paducah.

EDITOR’S NOTE FROM KENTUCKY STATE AFL-CIO PRESIDENT BILL LONDRIGAN: “All: The teachers of the Jefferson County Teachers Association and classified employees of JCAESP-AFSCME Local 4011 are under attack and would like you to help them bring attention to their situation. So check out the flyer below for all of the details and a link to RSVP for this planned action on Monday, July 28th at 7:00 p.m. and plan to show up and bring some friends and fellow trade unionists. I hope to see you there! Bill.
   Rally with us to protect JCPS Teachers & Employees. RSVP here: bit.ly/jcbe2014
   Stop the Attacks on JCPS Teachers & Employees
   Join us on July 28th at 7pm as we rally at the JCPS Board of Education monthly meeting to highlight the attacks on JCPS teachers, assistant teachers, clerks, bookkeepers, technical employees, and other classified staff, and to demand that the JCPS Board of Education take appropriate action.


FROM BILL LONDRIGAN, PRESIDENT, KENTUCKY STATE AFL-CIO: “All: Below is information from Laborers Local 576 regarding the planned activities at the upcoming MSD Board of Directors meeting on Monday, July 28th beginning at 12:30 p.m. until 2:00 p.m. As many of you know, the Laborers have been in a struggle for a fair contract with MSD that protects their contractual rights and protects their members. They are asking your support for their efforts to bring justice to the MSD workers they represent by coming to the action detailed below. Please take the time to attend and support the hard working men and women of MSD struggling to achieve a fair, enforceable collective bargaining agreement. I hope to see you there. Bill.”
   We want to thank you for your continued support of the CMF MSD Workers.
We are at a very important phase of our campaign for equality and a fair binding contract.
   We are humbly asking each supporting group if they could find 4 volunteers to join us Monday, July 28th beginning at 12:30 p.m. until 2 p.m.
   Location: MSD Headquarters 700 West Liberty, Louisville, KY.
   

 

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   I’ve never been prouder to pack a union card than I was when I visited the Topography of Terror museum in Berlin and the Dachau concentration camp memorial near Munich.
   Both are stark, sobering memorials to victims of Nazi savagery. Both include haunting, black-and-white photos of men and women whom the Nazis murdered, tortured or imprisoned for opposing Adolf Hitler.
   Walter Miertschke and many others in the photo galleries carried union cards. His fate is evidently unknown, but he apparently did not survive the Nazi terror.
Hitler feared Germany’s powerful unions as a serious threat, says Dr. Kenneth Wolf, a retired Murray, Ky., State University historian and author. “So he destroyed them.”

 

   FRANKFORT – As Alison Lundergan Grimes’ overwhelming grassroots support smashed fundraising records this week, Mitch McConnell proved himself once again to be wildly out-of-touch with Kentucky women, students and working families. On Tuesday, Alison announced that she outraised McConnell by nearly $1-million, breaking Kentucky fundraising records and bringing in more than any U.S. Senate candidate nationwide.
   Alison’s focus on the strengthening the middle class draws a stark contrast to Mitch McConnell’s complete inability to connect with Kentuckians. Reports continue to surface on McConnell’s recent sexist and offensive comments towards women and students. In Mitch McConnell’s world, “most of the barriers have been lowered” for women, and students should simply lower their expectations to deal with the costs of higher education.
   The 30-year Washington insider’s views are disconnected with working families’ reality. Unfortunately, this news comes as no surprise given his record of voting against equal pay for equal work, college affordability and measures to help Kentuckians burdened with student loan debt.

 

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT LOCAL 1360

   U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Hopkinsville, probably figured his re-election was a slam dunk.
   After all, his Democratic foe is again the underfunded and largely unknown Charles Hatchett of McCracken County. Whitfield clobbered Hatchett in 2012.
   But the Whitfield bandwagon just might have hit a big bump in the road to Nov.4.

By TIM KOECHLIN
Director of the International Studies Program at Vassar College

Across the country, Republican legislatures -- encouraged and financed, as usual, by corporate money and right wing think tanks -- have undertaken a stunning array of initiatives designed to weaken unions and otherwise undermine American workers. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, along with several other Republican governors, has moved aggressively and conspicuously to disempower public sector unions. Nikki Haley, the Republican Governor of South Carolina, recently declared that unionized businesses are not welcome in South Carolina.

Republicans tell a tired, cynical story about all of this, insisting that union busting is, somehow, good for the economy and good for workers. It's the same old trickle down nonsense.

Democrats, on the other hand, have done too little to defend unions and worker rights.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Kentucky State AFL-CIO President Bill Londrigan shared this AlterNet article with us. He included a sobering warning: “The outcome of November’s elections will determine what Kentucky and America will look like for decades to come. It is that serious. Getting back what is lost is much more difficult than holding onto what you have. We can hold onto what our forbearers built over a century of struggle or we can become the prey for the masters of mankind. You must choose whether you can see a future for your children and grandchildren that offers hope, kindness, peace, equality, justice and love, or a world that is just a living hell for all but a few among a wealthy elite.

Tennessee: Ayn Rand’s vision of paradise

By LES LEOPOLD

The southern state ranks dead last in per capita tax revenue, and its low-income families are paying the price

If you’re worried about where America is heading, look no further than Tennessee. Its lush mountains and verdant rolling countryside belie a mean-spirited public policy that only makes sense if you believe deeply in the anti-collectivist, anti-altruist philosophy of Ayn Rand. It’s what you get when you combine hatred for government with disgust for poor people.

 

 Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes recently lit up a crowd of more than 2,000 firefighters gathered at the International Association of Fire Fighters’ national convention in Cincinnati.
 The Kentucky Professional Firefighters Association endorsed Grimes for U.S. Senate last summer – the first professional organization endorsement in this race. Grimes thanked the association for standing by her.


By FLACO ALEMAN
Kentucky Jobs With Justice

   One of the key ways we can build an economy that works for everyone, and not just those at the top, would be to put more money in the pockets of workers. This would not only help those workers who would receive a wage increase, but it could also boost the economy.
   An ordinance has been filed, and assigned to the Labor & Economic Development Committee, that will raise the minimum wage for Louisville Metro Government employees from $9 to $10.10 an hour. In addition, this ordinance will:
   

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT LOCAL 1360

   George Brown, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for house district 77 in Tuesday's primary, has been endorsed by the Lexington Herald-Leader, but he is not labor's candidate.
   Michael Haskins is, according to Bill Londrigan, Kentucky State AFL-CIO president.
   "Brown is described as unabashedly pro-development and he also supports right to work for less," Londrigan said. "We don’t need a pro-right to work Democrat in the Kentucky House of Representatives.

   FRANKFORT, Ky. – Over the last week, Mitch McConnell’s rusted Washington campaign has been stymied as the central attacks against Alison Lundergan Grimes backfired. The shocking exposure was severe:
While Mitch McConnell desperately tried to paint Alison Lundergan Grimes as an “anti-coal” candidate, his campaign silently accepted thousands from an anti-coal advocate.
   McConnell tells Kentucky voters with a straight face that Alison should be criticized for traveling to raise funds, but Team Mitch has hosted at least eight fundraisers in New York City just this year. As reported by The New York Daily News, McConnell “has made New York's Marriott Downtown practically his third home.”
Mitch McConnell’s shady Super PAC – Kentuckians For Strong Leadership – is spending half a million dollars on a new TV ad that attempts to tie Alison to the President’s contributors. The ad, however, reeks of hypocrisy as KFSL accepts hundreds of thousands of dollars from Obama donors.

By LANA BELLAMY
Ashland Daily Independent
EDITOR’S NOTE: The Kentucky State AFL-CIO, which includes the United Mine Workers of America, endorsed Grimes last year.

   ASHLAND, Ky. — Likely Democrat U.S. Senate candidate Alison Grimes launched her 50-county jobs tour last week, just as news broke of Stanford University's decision to divest its stock in coal companies, which could jeopardize many Eastern Kentucky jobs.
   Needless to say, she is not happy.
   Following a report in the New York Times about Stanford's divestment decision in any company whose primary business is mining coal, Grimes penned a letter to University President John L. Hennessy on May 8, to voice her disapproval.

 FRANKFORT, Ky. – Over the weekend, the Alison for Kentucky Jobs Bus Tour rolled into the second and third days of its extensive 10-day, 50-county cross-Kentucky trip. From Todd County to Daviess County on Saturday and in Jefferson County on Sunday, Alison Lundergan Grimes discussed her forward-looking jobs plan, underscoring the stark contrast between her vision to strengthen Kentucky’s middle class and Mitch McConnell’s lack of a plan for the future.

Hundreds of enthusiastic Kentuckians gathered over the weekend to hear about Alison’s plan. As Mitch McConnell’s Washington grows ever more paralyzed, Kentuckians are increasingly ready to send a commonsense, problem solver to the U.S. Senate.

By MARK E. ANDERSON
Reposted from Daily Kos Labor by Laura Clawson

I get a lot of press releases about labor issues. Most of them are mass mailings trying to get coverage in an ever-crowded media market that is more concerned with the flavor of the week instead of news that actually impacts the average American.

Every once in a while one of these press releases catches my eye. This week I received a a press release about SEIU pushing for phony protests; however, I think they sent this press release to the wrong guy.

This was sent out by "Worker Center Watch," a group that according to their website: "aims to preserve the balance that has effectively governed workplace relations for many decades by exposing the direct operational linkages and funding between unions and worker centers, and by highlighting the worker center tactics that push the bounds of legality."

 

HOPKINSVILLE, Ky. – Alison Lundergan Grimes kicked off the campaign’s extensive 10-day, 50-county jobs bus tour Friday in West Kentucky.

From McCracken County to Christian County, Grimes discussed her forward-looking jobs plan, underscoring the stark contrast between Alison’s vision to strengthen Kentucky’s middle class and McConnell’s lack of a plan for the future.

Are You Ready to 'Stamp Out Hunger'? Tomorrow, you can help “Stamp Out Hunger” by joining with the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) and USPS for the 22nd annual food drive—the largest one-day food drive in the nation. Letter Carriers collected more than 74.4 million pounds of food last year, bringing the 21-year total to 1.3 billion pounds. All you need to do is collect canned goods and dry food, such as tuna, canned meat, soups, pasta, rice and cereal, and leave them in a bag or box by your mailbox. Your letter carriers will pick them up as they deliver your mail.

Donations are given directly to local food pantries. While most food pantries get the bulk of their donations around Christmas and Thanksgiving, the NALC drive is done during the spring, when many food pantries are struggling to meet demand. Also, since many school meal programs are suspended during summer months, millions of children are left scrambling to find alternate sources of nutrition and food banks are a vital resource for families in need.

 

On Friday, Alison for Kentucky will launch an extensive, statewide 50-county jobs bus tour in Western Kentucky. Over the course of the tour, Alison Lundergan Grimes will discuss her forward-looking jobs plan for Kentucky.

“As the divisive GOP primary rages on, Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike are excited to get involved in our grassroots campaign,” Grimes Political Director Elizabeth Cantrell said Wednesday. “The overwhelming enthusiasm around Alison’s candidacy is unmatched as her action plan is the only in this race that will encourage businesses to grow, take full advantage of our natural resources, expand education opportunities, and most importantly, invest in what’s best about the Commonwealth: our people.”

 

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   “What, me worry?” the grinning, snaggle-toothed Alfred E. Neuman, Mad magazine’s cover kid, has been famously asking for umpteen years.
   Sen. Mitch McConnell’s new campaign ad suggests he’s no longer vexed by Matt Bevin, his tea party-tilting challenger in the May 20 GOP primary. McConnell apparently figures Bevin is toast.
   If I were the captain of Team Mitch, I’d be at least a tad concerned about what Bevin and the Bevinites might do if the vote goes against them -- more on that in a minute.

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT LOCAL 1360

   Let’s show our solidarity with thousands of workers and activists rallying for fair trade today in Washington by sharing this “FAIR TRADE NOW” graphic with our union brothers and sisters, families and friends.
   “We’ll be there to ask Congress for a 21st century economy that works for everyone—not just corporations,” said Celeste Drake, trade and globalization policy specialist at the AFL-CIO.
   Before she left for the rally, Drake thanked all supporters of fair trade. Because of their “efforts, we’ve changed the conversation in Washington about trade and stalled—for now—efforts by politicians and Big Business groups to pass the anti-democratic ‘fast track’ trade bill. 
  

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT LOCAL 1360

   Think there’s not much difference between Democrats and Republicans on our issues?
   Think again. Better yet, check out the AFL-CIO’s online US House and Senate Legislative Voting Record at http://www.aflcio.org/Legislation-and-Politics/Legislative-Voting-Records.
   The numbers clearly show Democrats are a whole lot more likely to vote for legislation that benefits us than Republicans are.


EDITOR'S NOTE: This just in from the Alison Lundergan Grimes campaign. Note that the map is marked with a route that would take Sen. McConnell from Washington to Durham, N.C., home of the Duke University Blue Devils, then on to Churchill Downs. 

DATE: May 2, 2014
TO: Mitch McConnell
FROM: Kentucky


Just wanted to send a quick reminder that the Kentucky Derby is this weekend, Senator. You know – in Louisville, only 542 miles away from Duke. Anyway, it would be great if you could attend. I think it should be safe – no reporters will ask you questions, you don't have to pretend to have a jobs plan and you can root to your heart's content for the colts while demanding that any fillies at the racetrack be paid less.

 

KENTUCKY STATE AFL-CIO
COPE Endorsements – 2014 Primary Elections

U.S. Senate
Alison Lundergan Grimes

U.S. Congress:
Ron Leach – 2nd CD
John Yarmuth – 3rd CD
Peter Newberry – 4th CD
Elisabeth Jensen – 6th CD

 

By HUNTER WALKER
BUSINESS INSIDER

Editor’s note: “Just when we thought it couldn’t get worse, Mitch McConnell’s high-dollar donors are now rewarding him for his votes against women across the Commonwealth,” Grimes spokeswoman Charly Norton said of the Business Insider story, which ran on April 30. “From repeatedly blocking the Paycheck Fairness Act, to labeling the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act nothing more than a ‘special interest vote’ before voting against it, Mitch McConnell’s blatant disregard for issues important to women and families is incomprehensible. McConnell’s true loyalties are shining through as he does his anti-women donors’ bidding and continues to refuse to fight for the women of Kentucky.”
    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has received nearly $10,000 in campaign contributions from the head of a company at the center of a high-profile sexual discrimination case. Cintas Corporation Chairman Richard Farmer has given $9,800 to McConnell over the past 13 years, the vast majority of which was contributed after the start of an ongoing lawsuit alleging the company engaged in a "pattern" of discrimination against female job applicants.

    The University of Kentucky chapter of United Students Against Sweatshops is sponsoring a May Day rally on campus at 6:30 p.m.
   "If you are in the Lexington area this evening, please join us as we support those that support us on this important day for working men and women,” said Bill Londrigan, president of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO.
   Traditionally, May Day is celebrated as a workers’ holiday throughout the world.

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   It’s no secret that the Religious Right is none too fond of unions.
  “Labor unions should study and read the Bible instead of asking for more money,” said the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, founder of the Moral Majority. “Unions are one of the organizations leading the world to wickedness,” said the Rev. Tim La Haye, an early Moral Majority leader.
   Joanne Ricca, who is retired from the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO, mined those quotes for “Politics in America: The Right Wing Attack on the American Labor Movement.” It is still timely and still online at: http://www.d.umn.edu/~epeters5/MAPL5112/5112%20Articles/Ricca%20TheRightWingAttack.pdf
   The fact is, millions of union men and women are people of faith. Every meeting of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council, where I am recording secretary, begins with a prayer (and the Pledge of Allegiance).

 

By BONIFACO ALEMAN
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
KENTUCKY JOBS WITH JUSTICE

   On April 28th, 2014, after being asked by the Louisville Metropolitan Sewer District Central Maintenance Facility workers to address the atrocious work issues on their behalf, I gave the follow address to the MSD Board. It was an honor and a pleasure to stand on behalf of the many hard working women and men who keep us safe during hazardous conditions, and with so many supporters. You can find more information on the MSD CMF issues here.
   “Hello. Thank you for the time to address the MSD Board today. My name is Bonifacio Aleman and I am the executive director of Kentucky Jobs With Justice. KYJwJ is an organization of churches, community groups and labor unions dedicated to fighting for workers’ rights. We have been asked by CMF Workers to come today. I am proudly here with sisters and brothers from LiUNA Local 576, AFSCME Organizing Committee 962, Teamsters, SEIU 32BJ NCFO, Nurses Professional Organization, Kentuckians For The Commonwealth, the Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, National Action Network, Neighborhood Planning and Preservation, Louisville Showing Up For Racial Justice, C.L.O.U.T., UAW Local 862, District 1 Councilwoman Attica Scott, the Kentucky State AFL-CIO, the Greater Louisville Central Labor Council, Kentucky Laborers District Council, National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 14, International Association of Machinists Local 861, United Steel Workers Local 1693, Sowers of Justice Network, ATU Local 1447, Adjunct Professor and Social Worker Khalilah V. Collins, and many other community members.


By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   A rainy day failed to dampen the enthusiasm of about 50 people who turned up to meet the “Give America a Raise” bus when it stopped in Lexington Monday afternoon.
   The crowd rallied ‘round the big bus, which is traveling the country in support of boosting the minimum wage to $10.10 hour. Several speakers, including Democratic senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes, and Bill Londrigan, president of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO, called on congress to hike the wage.
   Londrigan today thanked everybody who braved the elements to come to the rally at Thoroughbred Park. He also said it’s been reported that Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., the senate majority leader, “will try to get the votes this week to be able to get the minimum wage increase to the senate floor.”

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

    This just in from Joseph Gerth of the Louisville Courier-Journal:
   “Matt Bevin relies on his young daughter, Olivia, to call U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell a liar in his latest television ad, which stars Bevin and his whole clan.”
   Bevin is the anti-union tea party hero challenging the anti-union McConnell in next month’s Kentucky Republican primary. The ad opens with Olivia, one of Bevin's nine bairns, piping: "Mitch McConnell is telling a bunch of lies about my dad. Don't be fooled." The ad must have really riled Team Mitch. One of the players couldn’t resist taking a swipe at the Bevin bunch with a tweet: “I was waiting for ‘My dad went to MIT!'” 


By BERRY CRAIG
AFT LOCAL 1360

   “Safe Jobs Save Lives. Make Your Voice Heard” is the theme for this year’s Workers Memorial Day, which is Monday.
   The voice of history, the subject I taught for two dozen years, could hardly be louder or clearer when it comes to unions and worker safety and health laws. We need them both.
   In an ideal world, everybody would live by the Golden Rule, some form of which can be found in just about every religion. But we live in a real world where greed is the gospel of many employers.
   If most bosses had their way, we wouldn’t have unions or worker safety and health laws. For a long time, we didn’t have either in the United States. Not until the 1930s did Congress pass legislation giving workers the right to organize unions and requiring employers to recognize unions.

 
   The “Give America A Raise” bus tour is scheduled to stop in Lexington at 4 p.m. (EDT) Monday.
   The bus will halt for a rally at Thoroughbred Park, East Short St. at Eastern Ave. Rally sponsors include Americans United for Change, the Kentucky State AFL-CIO, Kentucky Jobs with Justice, the Bluegrass Central Labor Council and the University of Kentucky Students Against Sweatshops.
   Sponsors of the nationwide tour include the AFL-CIO, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Service Employees International Union, United Auto Workers, USAction and the National Employment Law Project.


By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360
   EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a first on series of articles on union heroes in Kentucky, some well-known or others unsung. But they all embody ‘Solidarity,” that old union byword.

   When W.C. Young died in Paducah, he was living next door to his church and down the street from his last union office.
   The symbolism wasn’t lost on the national labor and civil rights leader and the man for whom the city’s W.C. Young Community Center is named.
   “I really believed what I was taught in Sunday school,” said Young, who died in 1996 at age 77. “You are supposed to love your brother and sister. That’s the way it is with the union movement.”


By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

   Sen. Mitch McConnell probably figures he can again win some union votes with the old social issues sucker play. Retired UA leader Larry Sanderson of Paducah, calls it "the three Gs con job," as in "God, guns and gays."
   Unfortunately, some union members will again fall for McConnell’s scam, even though the captain of Team Mitch is one of the most anti-union lawmakers in Washington.
   Don’t take my word for it. Check out his record.

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT LOCAL 1360

   Jeff Wiggins, president of the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council, had just one question after delegates unanimously chose him as the 2014 recipient of the W.C. Young Award, the council’s highest honor.
   “Who’s going to emcee?”
   “I will,” replied council vice president Bo Johnson, an organizer-union representative with AFSCME Indiana-Kentucky Organizing Committee 962. He nominated Wiggins, who is president of Steelworkers Local 9447.

By BERRY CRAIG

AFT Local 1360

Early in the Great Depression, a lot of jobless Americans concluded that President Herbert Hoover didn’t care about their plight, or he was just clueless.

Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt defeated Hoover, a Republican, in a landslide in 1932.

So, what are Kentuckians, unemployed or otherwise, to make of Sen. Mitch McConnell’s comment to Beattyville Enterprise editor Edmund Shelby that it is “not my job” to bring jobs to the Bluegrass State?

McConnell sounds Hooveresque to me. Read more >>>

Now at the end of its second full day on the road, the Life in Rand Paul’s Radical World Tour has already covered hundreds of miles and hit 8 stops. We’re currently winding our way south from Metropolis, IL, but more on that later. On our way west, we hit worksites in Owensboro and Madisonville, Wickliffe and Paducah.

In Owensboro yesterday, the tour took activists to the Swedish Match Company facility where workers have processed tobacco for smokeless products since 1973. The facility is an anchor of the local economy and a testament to the quality and commitment that union workers bring to the job. More than 270 union members work at the facility in a wide variety of capacities and most of the members to whom we spoke expressed their intention to vote for Jack Conway. All around Owensboro, jobs have been shipped overseas and the need to elect a Senator who will bargain hard for friar trade policies, not just “free trade” policies, is essential if the area is going to succeed in the coming years. Click here to read more...

If you’re reading this post, you likely know that in his quest to reach the U.S. Senate, Rand Paul has waged an all out war on the Kentucky worker.

You know that if he could, Rand Paul would deregulate Kentucky’s mines, leaving thousands of workers at risk.

You know that if he could, Rand Paul would implement a Medicare deductible of $2,000 even if it bankrupts tens of thousands of retirees.

You know that if he could, Rand Paul would dissolve of the U.A.W., an organization that has fought for workers rights, civil rights and progress for decades.

You know that if he could, Rand Paul would grant and extend tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas, demolishing entire communities in the process.

And now, if you click here, you'll know the newest front that Rand Paul has opened up in the war against the Kentucky worker...


Under George W. Bush, working families faced an unrelenting assault on their way of life. On his watch, tens of thousands of union jobs were shipped to China and entire communities were devastated just so shareholders could make a buck.

While the last two years have been a struggle, and times are still difficult, signs point to better days ahead. But here in Kentucky, working families are once again in a fight for their life. That’s because Rand Paul, candidate for U.S. Senate, is the greatest threat to the American worker since Ronald Reagan.

And now he wants to see the entire auto industry deunionized. Is your union next?

Click here to read more...

Fact: Rand Paul wants a $2,000 deductible for Medicare

For many, the back and forth of political campaigns is annoying at best. For most, it's enough for them to throw up their hands in despair.

But with the stakes as high as they are, we cannot afford to let dangerous ideas float past unaccounted for. Now, more than ever, the candidates running for Senate need to be taken to task for the positions they've adopted.

On Sunday, during the first debate of the general election, Rand Paul said that his statements on Medicare had been taken out of context. This, brothers and sisters, is a lie. On no less than SEVEN occassions, Rand Paul has said that he believes the solution to the Medicare "problem" is a $2,000 deductible. And we have the video to prove it: http://bit.ly/aaMqQl

Going even further, Rand Paul, just today, was quoted as calling Medicare a form of welfare. Well, 800,000 Kentucky seniors don't look at it like that. We need to ask ourselves a simple question: can Kentucky afford a Senator so disturbingly out of touch with the reality of so many citizens?

Join The Bloodhound Brigade Today!

One thing is clear: we need to get some straight answers from Rand Paul. But to do that, we need to know where he's going to be! That's why we've started this new group.

The whole purpose of the Brigade will be track Rand Paul as he travels from public campaign event to public campaign event. Today's encounter with the candidate shows just how powerful you can really be.

To sign-up for the Brigade, just click here and fill out the form.

If you read about a Rand Paul event in the paper, hear about one on tv or from a friend, or see that he's going to be in your town while out and about, please let us know.

It's time for the working men and women of Kentucky to stand up and protect themselves - this is one way you can do just that.

At a public meet and greet in Pineville today, Rand Paul once again refused to discuss Social Security and Medicare with working Kentuckians. Right before closing his car door in our brother's face, Paul even said: "Hell No" he wasn't going to answer any questions. How's that for respect?

The event took place at a Dairy Queen in a region of Kentucky where, as you know, good jobs are scare, the economy is worse than the national average, and many residents depend upon social security as their sole source of survival. Prior to Rand's escape act, a group of working Kentuckians from the UMWA, USW, and IBEW were patiently waiting at tables inside the Dairy Queen, hoping to have the chance to talk with Paul. They never got the opportunity. Click here to watch the video and here to read more...

Important news from this weekend: a new Courier-Journal/WHAS11 Bluegrass Poll shows that the U.S. Senate race, featuring our AFL-CIO endorsed candidate Jack Conway, is all tied-up! This comes after Rand Paul and his George W. Bush-era friends in Washington, D.C. have opened up their coffers to attack Jack in television ads that are filled with misinformation and outright lies. But Kentucky voters are beginning to understand just how radical Rand Paul really is. The Bluegrass Poll shows the Conway campaign absolutely surging, having made up more than ten points in three weeks. Click here to read more...

This week, the Kentucky AFL-CIO is releasing a hard-hitting piece of mail that doesn't editorialize - it just let's Rand speak for himself.

Rand Paul has gone to great lengths to avoid talking about the impact his radical agenda would have on the working class. Since winning the GOP primary, he's refused to give interviews with any reporters except those from Fox News. He's refused to offer specifics on how he'd draw down the national deficit or rework crucial programs like social security. And he's refused to talk to voters, instead preferring the company of his chauffeur...click here to read more

But just because Rand Paul won't talk today about his policies, doesn't mean he hasn't talked about them in the past. We know that Rand Paul is anti-union (the National Right to Work Committee donated $2,500 to his campaign), we know that he is anti-worker (he's been quoted as saying wages need to be lower) and we know he's anti-minority (he supports the business owner's right to discriminate on the basis of skin color), but he's also anti-retiree, anti-unemployed and anti-workplace safety.

Yesterday, Rand Paul, candidate for U.S. Senate, came to Louisville for a “meet and greet” with voters. Over three dozen union members from across Kentucky attended the public forum to ask Paul about his policies. Unfortunately though, Paul forgot to meet or greet anyone in attendance. After speaking for no more than 15 minutes, Paul quickly turned on his heels and headed for the door. Once outside, he immediately jumped into a waiting car, locked his door, and drove away.

Click here to watch the video, and here to read more

One of the most important issues for the working men and women of Kentucky, especially those that have already retired, is that of social security. The Kentucky State AFL-CIO sat down with two retired Steelworkers to discuss social security and why union members can't to have Rand Paul as their next U.S. Senator. Click here to read more; click here to watch the video.

Union members and pro-Labor candidates mobilized today at the Ford Louisville Assembly Plant in support of candidates who understand the importance of the working class in Kentucky. Close to 20 members worked the afternoon shift change, handing out literature focused on: Jack Conway's U.S. Senate race, Congressman John Yarmuth's re-election race, the Louisville Mayoral contest involving Greg Fischer, and Marty Meyer's 38th State Senate District race. Roughly 1,000 Ford employees received information and committed to campaign for pro-Labor candidates over the next 54 days. Click here to learn more...

With only 54 short days to go before Election Day, member action has kicked into high gear here in Kentucky. Two polls launched late yesterday show a statistical tie between the candidates for the open U.S. Senate seat and, riding the momentum built during Labor Day, Jack Conway has begun to raise serious money from the informed voters of the Commonwealth. Additionally, both Kentucky candidates have launched their first advertisements of the general election cycle (so too has one ultra-conservative special interest group run by George Bush’s former advisor Karl Rove). As you can imagine, both media and voter interest in this most important of races has begun to rise in earnest. Click here to learn more...

New Video of Louisville Labor Day!!!

New video from Louisville Labor Day Now LIVE!

Click here to watch your fellow members and pro-labor candidates talk about the upcoming election and the need to mobilize.

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